Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Achel Trappist Extra - Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse

Not Rated.
Achel Trappist ExtraAchel Trappist Extra

Educational use only; do not reuse.

211 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 211
Hads: 445
Avg: 4.27
pDev: 13.82%
Wants: 128
Gots: 55 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: dsa7783 on 01-22-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 211 | Hads: 445
Photo of alex_hart
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A deep brown with a red hue that comes through when shown in the light. Strong carbonation present with a 1/4 finger tan head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits, some belgian yeast, and then some more dark fruits. Pleasant to smell. Looking forward to the taste.

Taste: Much of the same with the dark fruits coming forward. Alcohol presence that is easy to detect but not overpowering. A slight belgian yeast comes through on the back.

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation and slightly oily on the tongue. Pleasant for the style.

Overall: This is a good strong dark, but I'm glad it was a gift. I'm not sure I would pay the $15 price-tag myself.

 674 characters

Photo of trappistlover
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle from Bruery Provisions). Pours hazy mahogany with a khaki head. Aroma has candied sugar, dried pit fruit (apricot and date-maybe some fig). Taste is sweet with the fruit and candied sugar even stronger than the nose. Thin to medium bodied with a slick texture. Smooth, sweet finish. This beer borders on being cloyingly sweet, but just before it falls off the cliff, it comes back with some light wine notes and some acidity. A very good beer.

 456 characters

Photo of crossovert
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

750ml green capped bottle.

Pours into my tulip with a fizzy, billowing slightly off-white head. The beer is a hazy brown/amber/reddish brown.

The yeast is very powerful n the scent with hints of lemon. There is also some dark fruit scents like red grape, raisin, and prune. And also some hints of dark malts and caramel.

The taste is actually very similar to the smell. It is more astringent than most Belgian strong darks. There are a bit more spices in the flavor and I am definitely picking up some cinnamon-like character. It has just a bit of tartness which is welcome for this style. After the sediment is poured the tartness vanishes and loads of caramel and yeast goodness come to the forefront. It is one damn complex brew.

The mouthfeel is a bit too carbonated, that is the only real flaw of this beer.

Overall it is a great Trappist beer, I expected better but this is pretty good.

 897 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml capped bottle, best by April 2009. Served at cellar temp. Lets see how this holds up 2 years after the best by date and being on a store shelf almost the entire time.

Pours murky reddish-brown with a short-lived one finger tan head leaving a few spots of lacing and holding not much more than a ring.

Aroma is smooth dark fruits, raisins, plums, figs, Belgian candi sugar, bread and yeast, like jam-slathered toasted bread. Good strength.

Flavor is more dark fruits, raisins, red grapes, plums, figs, candi/brown sugar, rather sweet, very smooth, no alcohol noticed.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, low carbonation. Damned good Abt/Quad even two years past its prime according to the brewers. Comes across as kinda a cross between a Rochefort 10 and a 10-year-old JW Lees Harvest Ale.

 794 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy caramel-brown color with a light tan head that dissipates quickly into a bubbly film.

Smell: Fairly [dessert-]bread-like aroma that's a bit sweet, with hints of roasted nuts, raisins, and some hints of alcohol.

Taste: Rich earthy malt flavor with some dark fruit (particularly raisins) and bitter sweetness. No real alcohol in the taste, but you can feel the warmth. Some slight astringent hints in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium- to full-bodied and generally smooth, with minimal carbonation.

Drinkability: Can definitely sense the alcohol, though it isn't really present in the taste. Tasty and pretty easy to drink.

A bit different for this style, as it isn't so dark coloured, has a warmer taste/feel, and has more raisins than other fruits. But, still an enjoyable one, and I'm glad I finally managed to get a bottle of it!

 901 characters

Photo of Roguer
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours a fizzy head that immediately dissipates to nothing. Brew is a dark nut brown, clear in body with some carbonation in the center and a graininess around the edges.

Strong and sweet BSDA aroma: prunes and figs feature prominently, along with nuts and a touch of cola.

Flavor follows: this is a classic, potent, sweet BSDA. A little too sweet for my liking, in fact; it's rich and smooth but too cloying. Figs and prunes again are the dominant flavor; there's a bit of cola, as well as a subdued touch of tobacco.

Dry effervescent finish at first, but it lingers cloyingly around the gums. Very smooth. Just a touch of building warming heat in the chest; beyond that, the 9.5% is completely absent. Lively with just a touch of sting.

This is a very good BSDA, but it's sweeter than I'd like. It aged tremendously well, showing no ill effects.

~3 year old bottle for review.

 882 characters

Photo of ikantspel
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

served slightly chilled into a duvel tulip

pours a heavy dark brown with a lot of carbonation. heavy carbonated head but not as bad as their 8 bruin. little bit of sticky lacing

the only thing i can get from the smell is a toasted malty yeast. other than that its anyones guess

carbonated mouthfeel. earthy taste and the alcohol slightly creeps in. not bad for a 9.5.

great beer. only BSDA better imo would be TROIS PISTOLES but then again i haven't had them all

 467 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark reddish brown with decent clarity, but some yeasty chunks. The slightly tan-white head is large and aggressive out of the bottle and it leaves thick lace on the glass as it quickly settles down to a thin film.

S - Rasiny, with brown sugar and prunes. A little bit rosey/ fruity with alcohol and a slight note of herbal hops in the background.

T - Alcohol and dark fruit. Spicy, peppery notes and a hoppy, alcoholic finish with a lingering bittersweet chocolate flavor.

M - Thick and palate coating despite high carbonation, but it finishes nice and dry.

D - Not bad drinkability for such a strong, flavorful beer. The alcohol note is a bit harsh and some of the flavor is a bit muddy/ undefined, but the finish shows great promise. It seems like this beer could benefit a great deal from ageing (the one I had was presumeably only a couple of months old).

 876 characters

Photo of jbone78
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a couple of these, just now got around to reviewing.
A- Poured in my St. Bernardus goblet. A reddish color with a nice carbonated head. Lacing not bad.
S- sugar, bold fruits like raisins.
T- This is the surprising part. there are the flavors of dark fruits, but less belgian sugar flavors and more of a sourness that I do not expect. Could bee the yeast?
M -Traditional Trappist, well carbonated.
D -Not Bad, I just prefer other trappist ales.


 458 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.87/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at the bottle share held at Chloe's inside Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a murky honey brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Tiny chunks of sediment are seen floating around in the beer after the pour. Smell is of malt, dark fruit, caramel, toffee, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with fruit, caramel, and slight cardboard flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a great smell but there is a slight amount of oxidation coming through in the taste.

 755 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.85/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, best before November 2009. Served in a chalice, the beer pours a dark chestnut brown color with an inch off-white head. Head retention is good, lacing is average. This bottle was definitely a gusher, it didn't take long for the carbonation/foam to come out of the bottle after opening. It smells like dark fruit (raisins, plums), brown sugar, oranges and peppery spice. Taste is similar to the aroma, but there's some toffee, yeast and bitter herbal/grassy hops noticable. However, there's also a slight metallic taste in the finish that I don't care for. Mouthfeel/body is medium, with high (but soft) carbonation which works well in this brew and makes it feel nice and creamy. Drinkability is good, it's not hard to drink at all. Overall I think it's a decent enough beer, but for the price I don't think I'll pick this one up again anytime soon.

 864 characters

Photo of tmoneyba
3.84/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle on 12/29/2005.

Poured hHazy brown color with a huge frothy light brown head that was lasting and produced excellent lacing. Good complex sweet fruity aroma. Medium body with a sticky texture. Heavy sweet bitter flavor with a long bittersweet finish with a small alcohol tone.

Very good brew.

 300 characters

Photo of stcules
3.83/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany color, with some floating bodies. Light beige head, quite creamy and compact.
Toasted malts, caramel, ripe red fruit, cheeries.
At the taste candy sugar, yeast, quite smooth. Bread crust, marzipan.
Quite variegated, sometimes the bread crus - yeast prevail, and just a seconf after, red fruit and marzipan.
Even dry fruits, and a light liquorice. Good. Maybe hints of blueberry. Carrob?
In the aftertaste again candy sugar, fruit. Some liquorice in the end.
Good beer.

 482 characters

Photo of radioscooter
3.82/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still making my way through the 'real' Trappists with fervor.

This is the first time I tried Achel.

Thankfully not as frothy and carbonated as I expected.

Appearance is excellent - apple amber with a fantastic, 2" foam that could hold up a set of stripper's ta-tas. Beautiful drapey, pimitive lacing.

None of this dissipating vanishing head - i still have some foam at the end of the glass.

Subdued aroma.

I'm not a Blonde fan, but this one is tasty. Hints of coriander, strong alcoholic vapory fruit flavors. Golden taste, if that makes sense.

No aftertaste here of any impact, making this an all-night drinker. Would be heaven paired with some Baked Brie and apples.

 680 characters

Photo of patre_tim
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Deer skin brown, dark brown and cloudy with a deer hide colour when held to the light, 4 fingers of beige head leaving an amazing lacing. Hard to see any carbonation due to the darkness, but looks like shimmering lake waters when held to the light. Sexy lacing.

S: Deep dark cherries covered in milk chocolate, raisins, floral like a perfume of aromatic fruit blossoms. Light coke like scents, reminiscent of Achel Brune.

T: Dark fruits like dates, figs, raisins, light sweetness and a good hit of alcohol on the tongue. The alcohol almost takes over which really surprises me. A good burn with it as well. Light cherry and floral notes come in but are faint.

M: Medium thick body with light carbonation.

O: An excellent brew. Light on sweetness unlike Achel Brune, high in alcohol, yet a lot of the pleasant tastes of dark fruits. A huge bottle which I think is unnecessary, wish it came in a smaller portion. Bought in Lakeland, FL, drank in Pensacola, FL, July 30th, 2014.

 982 characters

Photo of DrewShal9
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy, golden with a white head that remains laced on the sides as the beer is drunk or stays if you don't haha
S: very fragrant, fruity, floral
T: sweet initially with tropical fruits of pineapple and guava maybe some mango that turns slightly bitter and drying at the end
M: moderately carbonated with a milky body. Dries like a champagne
O: not bad but not great either. Will return to see if it's different on a fresh palate as I had a few other brews before tasting this one.

 482 characters

Photo of chefscott79
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well I was super excited to buy this because I liked their blond so much.
I was not disappointed but not super stoked on it

Appearance:dark brown with a nice head...not as carbonated as some Trappist ales that I have had recently

smell:great malt smell and as it warmed more notes of dark stone fruits

taste:it seemed a bit mellow and I did not get allot of fruit notes as much as I did on the aroma...mostly just dark malt flavors(while good) it did not wow me...also did not have a bunch of estery quality's which I was expecting

mouth feel:creamy and easy to drink

drinkablity: super easy to drink a bit too easy maybe...considering the alcohol content

 660 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this from a 750mL bottle. Tasted sweet but highly alcoholic, not nearly as good as I'd hoped for a high-end Trappist.

I'd been waiting to sample this for a while, but was disappointed once I tried it. Kind of run-of-the-mill for a Belgian Strong Ale. Just OK. the flavor was good but not outstanding or anything.

I guess I can't recommend it strongly. Go to other Trappist beers first.

 396 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 9/12/08. Bottle. Pours a dark brown with lots of floating yeast particles and a small light tan head. Aroma of sweet fruit, sugar, and slcohol. Flavor is quite fruity (apple, pear, and lots of cherries!), with some Belgian yeast, and slight alcohol presence. Yum! The cherry presence gets a little medicinal by the end, but this is a tasty, quite fruity, sweet beer. An interesting quad.
8/4/7/4/15 (3.8/5)

 418 characters

Photo of Chrysostom
3.69/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

As always, I review live, not from notes, puzzling out the libation brewed in houses of salvation. As always, I review to style (ala BJCP), modified by personal taste (contra BJCP), not solely to personal taste, which would be unfair to many great examples of styles that I don't personally favour.

My second beer from Achel (my first was a Bruin 8º), and my first had from a 750mL, or when I was even halfway sober.

(Note, that since my words below to most people won't seem to match up with my numbers on first sight, that I can not stand Rochefort. I'd drink Budweiser first. This has some of those similar spiced flavours, but to a lesser degree, so I can drink this, even if I wouldn't particularly want to.)

Without further ado, a review.

Presentation: 750mL crown-capped bottle, $17.99. Served around 45º and warming as I write. They should at least put a cork on it for $18, nearly twice the price of most other Trappists. The crown cap is somewhat difficult to remove, requiring attack with a beer key from several directions. Although I hear it's kind of rare, so I should be thankful for getting half a case. Poured in to a Chimay chalice/goblet.

A: Clear brown coming out of the bottle, somewhat hazy reddish-brown in the glass with red highlights. Poured gently, as with all Trappists, to avoid getting too many lees in the glass: on said gentle pour, one finger of head is produced, which recedes at a moderate rate (over about two to three minutes) to a cap on the face of the beer, leaving a sheet of lace down the side of the glass.

S: Spice that is very similar to Rochefort (it's nearly impossible to describe except by experience), alcohol, and bready malt. There's some yeast in there too. Doesn't sound incredibly complex, but that spice - whatever it's from, spicing or yeast - complexifies it nicely. None of the characteristic Belgian funk, but the Belgian spice, as mentioned, characteristic of Rochefort. No alcohol. No dark fruit.

T: Rochefort spice comes through loud and clear, and first. Some moderate sweetness, a little funk, and some sweet dark-bread flavours follow. Orange peel, coriander, cinnamon, and nutmeg are components of the spice. Spicing is not overwhelming like Rochefort - Rochefort has so much spice the beer is disgusting and undrinkable. Not my preferred kind of Quad/BSDA, and a demerit for the style (I rate Rochefort similarly lowly, and Chimay and St Bernardus Abbot 12 highly). It gets noticeably better and less spicy (in the bad meaning of "spiciness" as is characteristic of Satan's concoctions such as Rochefort) as it warms, bringing the beer from a 2.75 or 3 to a 3.75. Not extraordinarily complex, especially for a Trappist - the (illegitimate) spicing predominates.

M: Rich and creamy, fading to a somewhat nutty astringency on the finish. Highlight.

D: Moderate middle of "low".

O: Drop the spicing and clone Chimay or St Bernardus Abbot 12, or even Achel 8º Bruin. Not a bad beer, but not great, and disappointing for the price, rarity, expectation, and Trappist moniker.

To style (16E): 90/100 (spicing is allowed, according to BJCP)
To taste: 67/100 (spicing is not allowed, according to my palate).

 3,182 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.66/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brewed in 2001, enjoyed in 2013 - very nearly 12 years old at this point... Thanks for the relic, Jeff! The dingy and murky copper body comes as no surprise, and neither does the somewhat poor head formation... A fizzy, beige collar manages to work its way atop the rustic brew, settling softly where the beers meets the glass at the top.

Seemingly sweet aroma with a cornucopia of dark fruits; I'm getting massive notes of red grapes, raisins, prunes, plums, and even a little bit of cherry skin and tannin. Fruity and malty with a touch of residual sweetness in the form of Belgian Candi sugar. Little bit of caramel, too, and despite the extended aging period, there isn't really any detectable oxidation on in the nose... impressive!

The taste is very similar, following the nose quite closely with an introduction of plums and prunes abound. It's decadently sweet, again, with a little bit of Candi sugar in there, as well as a hint of caramel and toffee, too. Though oxidation escaped the aroma, it's present in the palate, but it isn't too much of a heartbreaker. It brings forth a mild sherry note, along with the slightest bit of that unwanted, wet cardboard.

A good bit of finishing malt sweetness, along with a hefty bit of vinous-like characteristics, mainly grape skins that are heavily akin to a fine wine. The oxidation was only a mild hindrance, but luckily gets beaten out in the finish by the other elements of the brew. Creamy, medium bodied, and relatively low carbonation, but still not bad given the age of the beer.

Overall, I was really impressed by how this trappist ale held up against 12 years of sitting in a bottle. It's just that... well, I've had better trappist ales. This beer would certainly be more appreciated by wine lovers, though I still found it to be quite tasty; something about it just wasn't exactly my cup of tea. Still nice, especially considering the age... Just a few steps out of my wheelhouse.

 1,947 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gusher! Pours chestnut with a finger of tan head & lacing

S: Brown sugar, apples, pears & light booze

T: Brown sugar, green apples. Leafy hops & a bit of tartness up front. Orchard fruit, spicy yeast, and oaky notes. Finishes with leafy hops & figs

MF: Soft carbonation & medium bodied

Drank okay but just not complex or malty enough to make me think paying $17 for this bottle was a smart move

 398 characters

Photo of Sephiroth
3.65/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle says to drink before June of 2007. Pours with decent head, body is reddish brown. Some lacing. Smells quite vinous and malty.

Tastes like a dark tripel. Dark fruits, and grainy malt. Individual flavors are tough to pin down. Bready, and fruity. Mouthfeel is average, Drinkability OK. Other than Westy, this seems to be the rarest of the trappists. It is better than Chimay, but I am slightly disappointed. This is a good beer, its just not one of my favorites. Since I've not had this before, I cannot be sure, but I think a fresher sample would be better.

 567 characters

Photo of pkalix
3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

super creamy-looking khaki-colored head; almost Guinness-like film when tilted to the side... one very beautiful pour, indeed!
interesting, lager-like smell, if it were mixed with a nut brown, maybe? and some candi stuff.
rich on the tongue, as first tasted. kind of syrup-y with some light amounts of darker fruit, Belgian-type sugar-y stuff. taste is less impressive than the smell, which is WAY less impressive than that beautiful pour... the bitterness is fighting the sweetness, and the sweet maltiness wins at first, but then gives way to a nasty bitter.
overall, maybe it's me and maybe i'm just not ready the rich Belgians yet. but I know compared to the Belgians I love that this one ranks kind of poorly. as mentioned by nearly ALL other reviewers, this one aint worth the price I paid for it. not anywhere close. i'm not sure i'd prefer to drink 10 budweisers before this one, but it isn't satisfying me much. I was, however, very impressed with that super-weight bottle it comes in. that thing is durable!
I honestly don't know why the taste went so far south compared to the smell. I really liked the smell. it just seemed bitter; and as a few others mentioned, the SPICE was horrible.

 1,198 characters

Photo of sprucetip
3.6/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle poured into a goblet.

Dark amber to light brown, decent tan head stays for a little while, a little bit of lacing. Hazy when held to light, with some yeast chunks visible.

Smells of sweet malt and fruit, mostly. Perhaps dark fruits like raisins or prunes. Some spiciness, and some alcohol warming at the finish.

Taste is dominated by malty sweetness from the beginning right through the finish. But the complexity of the fruit flavors and spiciness, and maybe raisin inspired bitterness, try to balance it through the middle but don't quite get there.

Full and thick feel in the mouth, with strong carbonation and alcohol warming.

It's going down reasonably well, but the sweetness makes this beer one to share or sip.

Overall a good beer, but based on its grandiose repuatation, I am a little bit underwhelmed.

 828 characters

Achel Trappist Extra from Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse
94 out of 100 based on 211 ratings.