Category Archives: Quadrupel

Spencer Trappist Brewery ‘Monks Reserve Ale’ Quad

Rating:

“Spencer Monks’ Reserve Ale is a classic Trappist Quadruple (“Quad”) in the Belgian tradition. This Quad is fragrant, robust and full-bodied, mahogany in color and crowned with a dense, tan, frothy head. Its malt-forward profile yields to a warm finish, with an ABV of 10.2%.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Deep Chestnut brown with a finely beaded two finger mocha head. It slowly peels off and settles to a wispy overlay with little lace on the glass.

Aroma: Smells the goods! Truck loads of banana and clove, cola syrup, molasses, apple pie and Asian spice. Dark fruits galore as well – raisin, dates/prunes, fig and plum jam. Kind of has this sourdough note to it which comes off as toasted pumpernickel. Also rocking some fruitcake and port notes along with pink peppercorn, brown sugar/toffee and licorice. Holy moly! The depth and complexity is incredible!

Flavour: Jeez where do we start?! It’s quite strong and boozy upfront but that’s OK because it gets it all out of the system. What proceeds is an index of complex flavours ranging from yeasty clove and banana, molasses, dark fruits, jammy sweetness and toast to peppercorn, fruitcake, herbal spice, licorice and earthy/nutty gritty-ness. The length on it is just ridiculous too.

Mouthfeel: Sticky and gelatinous. Medium-full body. Low Co2. The 10.2% ABV is noticeable but tempered.

Overall: Very impressive Quad. The last few beers we’ve tried from Spencer have all been traditional with a very subtle new world twist. Not this. This is straight down the line traditional Belgian Quad. Love it.

De Kievit ‘Zundert’ Quadrupel

Rating:

“Zundert 10 is a quadrupel, the second beer from Trappist brewery De Kievit in Zundert. It is the big brother of the Zundert 8. The scent has dried dried fruits, sultry herbs, liquorice and some chocolate. The taste is full and soft, balanced by a nice hop bitterness. The characteristic Zundert spiciness subtly returns in the aftertaste.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Glossy dark brown with a rocky two finger cap. Head retention is excellent with tonnes of thick blotchy lace on the glass.

Aroma: Dominated by the yeast – banana runts, clove/nutmeg, bubblegum and toffee apple. It’s oozing caramel fudge and butterscotch sweetness but it’s well cleaned up by an almost dark berry earthy-ness. Brown bread crusts and cookie dough in spades. We know there’s more to unpack but we don’t have the room to fit it all in! Hitting all the right notes though.

Flavour: Pure silky indulgence. Yeast again is the defining factor with its banana, spice and bubblegum but this time around some dark fruits i.e prune/dates and raisin get a run. There’s a mild toasty-ness developing midway with some warming booze and brioche moving in. The finish is yeast-driven, slightly dry and roasty with incredible duration.

Mouthfeel: So thick and velvety. This is actually the best characteristic of the beer. Smooth and creamy with minimal burn from the booze (10% ABV). Perfect Co2 and full bodied.

Overall: Classy stuff. It’s probably just missing the depth in flavor that the likes of Westvleteren and Urthel possess but it definitely has the credentials. Solid drop.

Moon Dog ‘Most Wonderful Time Of The Beer’ Sticky Date Quad

Rating:

“The holiday season is sorted with this boozy 9.3% Sticky Date Belgian Quad! It’s sweet, caramelly and oozes of Holiday Cheer. It certainly is The Most Wonderful Time of the Beer!”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Light mahogany with deep ruby red edges. It builds a short head which gradually peels off and settles at the rim. Reasonable lace left on the glass.

Aroma: Total decadence. That sticky date base really shines in all of its sweet and caramelised glory. Rum soaked raisins, Xmas cake, banana bread, clove/cinnamon/nutmeg, toffee apple, caramelised pear and honeycomb. They’ve smashed this aroma out of the park! And it keeps evolving too. Brilliant.

Flavour: Oh baby it’s like a mirror image of the nose – crammed full of super sweet and caramelised sticky dates, toffee apple, banana split, Xmas cake, rum soaked raisins and all spice…basically a phenol and ester party in the mouth (gotta love Belgian yeast). Getting subtle hints of Sherry late in the piece but the caramelised sweetness, yeast characters and dark fruits bring it home.

Mouthfeel: Sweet and sticky as the name suggests. Would have liked to see a bit more body though…a tad lean for the style. Perfect Co2. 9.3% ABV slightly evident.

Overall: A very good interpretation of the style. There is only a small handful of Aussie brewers that can brew Trappist ales like the Belgians. Moon Dog were never on that radar…now they are. Top shelf.

Watts River Brewing Quadrupel

Rating:
67586375_1133880303462780_9111744256283770880_n“Big. Rich. Complex. Warming. Comforting. A showcase of our own malted barley devoured by bold Belgian yeast. Inspired the Trappist “Quadrupel” style to be big, but above all else balanced and drinkable. Best served to share.”

Glassware: Trappist Chalice.

Appearance: Fully transparent deep amber with soft red hues fused through. It forms a short head which quickly dissipates. Pretty minimal lace…spotty and streaky as it ebbs.

Aroma: Super sweet! Almost cloying. We pick up a bit of acetone initially but it fades in to those Belgian yeasty phenols and spice, pear, candied sugars, toffee, caramel and dark fruits. There’s a really overpowering artificial sweetness going on – it brings on those banana runts and hints of boiled lollies and blackcurrant juice. Not too bad once it settles actually.

Flavour: Unfortunately we get that harsh boozy acetone character upfront moving into artificially sweet candied sugars and toffee apple, caramel, yeasty phenols/spice and brandy. We detect a bit of tang which reminds us of red currants and banana runts to finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin, watery texture. Has a touch of stickiness on the lips. Its 11% AbV and it certainly is discernible. We lose the flavour and carbonation as we near the end..like a liqueur. This is the point where it almost becomes a chore to finish it off, which is a real shame.

Overall: Slightly disappointing to be honest. We’ll concede that it’s a tough style to brew but we wanted more body, more depth of flavour and less artificial sweetness. We’ve had better.

Boatrocker ‘Sterk & Donker’ BA Belgian Quadrupel

Rating:
57119648_1072624489588362_2244315150272167936_n“Sterk & Donker, our ode to the Belgian Dark Strong Ale, aged in STARWARD whisky casks for 12 months. We created our own dark Belgian style candi syrup to add to the layers of malt complexity. Notes of whisky, dried fruits, oak and Belgian yeast esters combine into a truly harmonious blend.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Dark brown with soft mahogany edges. It forms a thumb of finely beaded foam which persists.

Aroma: Smells of Christmas cake and gingerbread men! Gets more and more complex by the minute. The Starward whisky barrels are a perfect marriage for this beer with its traditionally dark fruit-forward sweetness, caramel and sherry. Not to mention the subtle musty oak it also offers. The yeasty banana, clove, pear and toasty malts just eat it up.

Flavour: Big and luscious, yeasty, super sweet but well balanced by the whisky barrels. It’s too layered and complex so we’ll just blurt it all out – we get banana runts, earthy spice (clove, anise, nutmeg), raisin, fig, prunes, gingerbread, sourdough, sherry, Christmas cake, toasty malt and apple/pear.

Mouthfeel: Thick and gelatinous. Full bodied with mild-moderate co2. Tell you what that 11.2% AbV is very well concealed.

Overall: We have massive respect for any Aussie brewery that can brew a decent quad. We’d kiss the toes of any Aussie brewery that can offer a quad that would rival a Belgian one. Boatrocker are in this category!

Firestone Walker 2017 ‘Stickee Monkee’ BA Quadrupel

Rating:
36303243_883002941883852_8819210288541728768_n“Brewed with Belgian candi sugar and aged in a selection of fine bourbon barrels, Stickee Monkee trailblazes its own category as a “Central Coast Quad.” The name Stickee Monkee is a nod to the Central Coast’s native Sticky Monkey flower, as well as a shout­‐out to the Belgian monks who pioneered the Quad style.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Dark brown with a faint cola hue. It only manages a wispy overlay which quickly vanished. Minimal lace as we indulge.

Aroma: Super rich, super bourbony and absolutely in-your-face! The hallmark quad scents are buried deep down with dense and dark notes of Christmas cake, rum, carob, molasses and leather leaving more subdued hints of vanilla, coconut, pure alcohol and woody oak in its wake. She takes on more of an earthy fig, dark chocolate and coffee roast as it settles in the glass. Brilliant.

Flavour: We absolutely love how Firestone’s barrel aged beers allows that perfect balance of flavour. The Bravo, Sucaba, Parabola and this also, all of them possess this straight 50/50 split of barrel complexity along with the distinct flavours of the beer. Here we have strong yet well balanced notes of dark fruit, spice, molasses, banana bread and treacle which marries up with that rather sharp bourbon, vanilla and toasty coconut. And this magnificent synthesis of flavours goes the distance on the back palate.

Mouthfeel: Chewy, dense and full bodied. The 12.5% ABV does come on aggressively but can we blame it? She’s rough, rugged and dangerous!

Overall: Very impressive, can’t quite put it on Parabola’s level but it’s a bloody fine drop all the same. At the moment it’s still a bit immature so we’re keen to see how it will improve over the years. Supoib!

Kereru ‘Sweet Bippy’ Belgian Quadrupel

Rating:
29694922_836173873233426_5062740234490503721_n“Sweet Bippy is a quadruple Belgian-style ale, dark, strong, and not hoppy. It’s sweet and malty with a strong Belgian candi sugar taste reminiscent of spiced fruity Christmas cake. Makes a great dessert beer.”

Glassware: Trappist tulip.

Appearance: Deep chestnut colour with a finger of well retained head perched on top. Fine lace work as we go.

Aroma: We really get those sweet candi sugars coming through – butterscotch, toffee apple, caramelised sugars, gingerbread, taffy and maple syrup. As she warms we begin to pick up the spicy notes, the slightly funky sourdough and creamy vanilla accents. Just a touch of Sherry in there too.

Flavour: Holy moly, absolutely packed with Belgian fruity esters and accentuated with a toasty and almost burnt sweetness – treacle and molasses come to mind. Raisin, dates and Christmas cake along with burnt chocolate and hints of orange rind finish it all off.

Mouthfeel: Rich, silky and dense in texture. The 9.3% ABV does slightly overplay its hand. Full bodied, low co2.

Overall: After reviewing a few of their beers we’d formed this belief that Kereru were a bit inconsistent. Little did we know that they actually possess a freakish talent of brewing top notch Belgian-style ales. This one doesn’t offer as much class as the Velvet Boot but it comes pretty close.

Dainton Family Brewery Rum-Soaked Raisin Belgian Quadrupel

Rating:
22814322_763820613802086_9078733086737528349_n“Fermentologist Cam returned from a Belgian sojourn with a ‘beer full of mind and a mind beer of thought’….? Behold his exotic creation! Delicate caramel characteristics dance with dark fruit in a lusciously styled brew. Rum-soaked raisins give subtle complexity to deliver an exquisitely enticing elixer.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. She pours that attractive deep mahogany hue with two fingers of well retained head perched on top. It only peels off a smidge which allows a thick and soapy lace to be strewn down the walls of the glass.
The aroma is super sweet but not cloying. The hallmark quad scents of raisin, dates, banana, clove and toffee are all present but there’s a touch of something spiced and caramelised. It has to be the rum component which works in beautifully. It’s certainly showing its ABV (11.2%) but with everything that’s already going on it just simply falls into line. Superb aroma.
Holy moly! A torrent of sweet, sticky and spicy flavours are let loose on the palate. Lots of dark spiced rum, toasty sugars, boozy Christmas cake, banana bread and plum jam make up the body of it. Quite a hefty booze burn is felt throughout, although not as prominent in the finish where we get a dry sweetness and hints of spice on a length.
The texture is sticky and dense but it’s very well balanced by a mild dryness and the brawny 11.2% ABV. Full bodied, mild-moderate co2 and just….full on.
Bloody impressive quad. As most would know, this is a very difficult style to brew but Dainton have hit the nail on the head. The injection of rum is genius, it works in so well with the sticky, sweet and spicy characters of the quad. Could have either masked or scaled back on the booze a touch but that aside…ooph. Top shelf drop.

Deschutes Brewery ‘Not The Stoic’ Belgian Quadrupel

Rating:
22279595_757034764480671_881489524923112817_n“Aged and sequestered in select oak casks. The result – a contemplatively brewed quad created in homage to all those who doubted the original. This unrepentant rendition is definitively Not The Stoic. (Released April 2014).”

Served in a snifter. It hits the glass with a deep and murky brown hue which forms a finger of tanned foam on top. The head falls away and settles to a thin veil. Despite the diminishing head it still paints a nice wavy lace as we imbibe.
The nose offers a lot of residual sweetness – a lot like a barleywine only more complex due to the Belgian aspect. It’s teeming with brown sugar, alcohol, banana bread, clove, raisin, cherry, red grapes and black pepper. Also getting a lot of caramel and toffee, butterscotch and molasses. Brilliant.
Oh wow that syrupy sweetness really comes on strong. Plenty of assistance from the booze here but nevertheless those sugary and super sweet dark fruits like raisin, fig, plum and cherry fuse with the banana and spicy rye notes beautifully. Seeing a bit of dryness around the mid palate as it surges in to a sweet finish which offers apple, plum and subtle caramel on a length.
Sticky, chewy and gelatinous in the mouth. Medium-full body, mild-moderate co2. 12% ABV.
Quadrupel or barleywine? That is the question. We could literally cut down the centre of the two styles here although the slightly stronger Belgian yeast component maybe just inches forward in the end. All of that aside it’s still a really good drop that deserves respect.

Little Brewing Co 2016 Vintage Xmas Ale – Quadrupel

Rating:
22195650_755785517938929_752211307981373282_n“Like a Christmas cake in rum, this Belgian Dark Strong festive beer has aromas and flavours of rum, dried fruits, spices & sweet alcohol.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. The 2016 vintage offers a murky brown pour with chestnut edges. It only manages a wispy cap before it retracts to a ring. Wet and streaky lace is seen following it down.
Just a heads up….you may hear us saying this a lot during this review but it’s very similar to the 2015 vintage with its dominant notes of raisin, fig, toffee, port, plum jam and clove. There’s certainly a stronger presence of spice in this year’s release, it’s showing a bit more pepper, five spice and nutmeg. And what would a top shelf quad be without banana bread, sourdough and apple pie? Impressive.
The flavour profile hits that Christmas cake character perfectly. Fistfuls of yeasty spice, banana, gingerbread, dates, figs and dark fruits envelop the front palate. Just an inkling of warmth which is monumental considering the 11.1% ABV. Caramelised pear and a warming peppery spice ties it all up with some good duration on the back end.
Sticky, thick and gelatinous in the mouth. Co2 is perfect and the body is full and well rounded.
Tell ya what, stand the ’15 and the ’16 side by side and it would be very difficult to choose which is better. Although the ’15 had a bit more complexity the rye component in the ’16 puts a whole new spin on it. Really not a lot of difference between this and the likes of Westmalle and Rochefort.

Little Brewing Co 2015 Vintage Xmas Ale – Quadrupel

Rating:

22195768_754646508052830_7404020866250263857_n“Like a Christmas cake in rum, this Belgian Dark Strong festive beer has aromas and flavours of rum, dried fruits, spices & sweet alcohol. This is the brewery’s highest ABV% beer yet and a new regular beer in their Mad Abbot range.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. Dark brown hue which reveals chestnut edges when held to the light. A finger of finely beaded head forms before it recedes to a thin sheet. Seeing some nice wavy lace work as we imbibe.
The aroma is giving off some incredibly sweet and sticky perfumes. Truck loads of dark fruits: prunes, raisin, fig and blood plums. Equal amounts of yeasty spice and phenol, apple pie, maple syrup, caramelised pears, gingerbread, cola, toffee and dark berries. Boozy accents of Sherry and port with undertones of doughy malt. Wow!
The flavour backs up the aroma really well – it’s super sweet, absolutely flush with raisin, prunes, treacle, gingerbread, Candi sugar and cola on a length. Relentless.
So nice and sticky in the mouth, really coating the whole palate. The 11.3% ABV is predictably evident and so it should be! Low co2. Medium-full body.
Even though TLBC has fallen on hard times we still believe they are one of, if not the best Belgian Style brewers in Australia. This 2015 vintage further solidifies our position. Best of luck for the future Warwick & Co (we can only hope it involves brewing more craft beer)

 

3 Ravens ‘The Druid’ Quadrupel

Rating:
21752133_748795638637917_1601090570109818470_n“The Druid is as arcane and eldritch as the name suggests. Dark malt sweetness, banana and bubblegum esters combine with raisin, fig and plum characters from the Pedro Ximenez barrel ageing process, to form an extremely smooth and dangerously easy drinking beer.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. The Druid offers a dark brown body that reveals chestnut edges when held to the light. It struggled to maintain its short head, eventually settling to a halo that deposits thin rings as we imbibe.
Bam! The nose is absolutely spot on. It’s hitting those rich and super sweet raisin notes and accommodating for the yeasty banana and spicy clove as well. Then we’ve got this creamy vanilla accent, a syrupy caramel and toffee and caramelised pear/apple pie scent over here. Even getting hints of blueberries as it warms. Brilliant.
The flavour comes on strong with prunes, raisin, clove, banana and stewed plums. It holds this combo so well as hints of brown sugar and toffee apple are offset with a bit of warmth from the booze (10% ABV). The alcohol burn hits a crescendo then eases in to a yeasty finish where we see an arsenal of flavours like banana, clove, bubblegum, rum & raisin and vanilla finish it off with excellent length in the tail.
Dense and syrupy in texture but held up really well by the alcohol. Full bodied with mild co2.
Jeez the difference between the Little Raven tripel and this is like chalk and cheese. This quad has all and we mean ALL the traditional aromas flavours whereas the tripel was left lacking and a bit off target. More of this please! Top shelf offering from 3 Ravens here.

St.Bernardus Brouwerij Abt 12 Quadrupel

Rating:
17553805_668724236645058_8616718346359850567_n“The St.Bernardus Abt 12 is the pride of our stable, the nec plus ultra of our brewery. Abbey ale brewed in the classic ‘Quadrupel’ style of Belgium’s best Abbey Ales. Dark with a full, ivory-colored head. It has a fruity aroma, full of complex flavours and excells because of its long bittersweet finish with a hoppy bite. (10,0% ABV) Worldwide seen as one of the best beers in the world. It’s a very balanced beer, with a full-bodied taste and a perfect equilibrium between malty, bitter and sweet. One of the original recipes from the days of license-brewing for the Trappist monks of Westvleteren.”

Uncaged, uncorked then carefully poured in to a Trappist tulip. We’re met with a brilliant mahogany hue that’s covered by a cappuccino head that swells to two fingers before settling to a sheet. Good retention with a healthy lace sticking to the glass.
The nose matches perfectly to this cool, dark afternoon with a rich chocolate malt backing. It’s structured beautifully with caramel and toffee pudding, dark fruits, sultana and a lovely plummy tartness. Lighter notes of sour dough, bubblegum, banana and clove tie it all together magnificently. Superb, really hitting that traditional Belgian quadrupel note well.
The mouth feel is nicely balanced between the chewy texture and the lifted Co2. A slight alcohol warmth is evident but it’s well dispersed around the mouth. A pleasant quaffer for 10% ABV.
Fantastic flavour profile – it initiates with sweet fruity esters against that delicious back drop of dark fruits and earthy fig. A nice warmth backs it up as the yeasty phenols kick in with banana, clove and bready sour dough midway. The booze raises its form slightly as spicy pepper and a delicate aniseed note delivers a warming finish that provides a dry, somewhat herbal, sweet and sticky taste on the rear.
Quite an impressive drop. As we mentioned earlier she goes down very well on a cool, dark afternoon/night. Definitely improves as it warms as well. Another fine offering from this world class Belgian brewery.

De Struisse Brouwerij ‘XXX’ 2014 Reserva Rye Quadrupel

Rating:
17352168_660796860771129_2709477140887310157_n“One of the worlds top rated Quad’s. A sweet and malty beer with rich flavours of caramel, dried fruit, vanilla and spices.”

Served in a Trappist chalice. We’re met with a deep mahogany hue with a thin and wispy overlay. Quick reduction, eventually settling to a lonely island in the middle. Laced fairly well though.
The nose is thick, chewy and sweet – more like a really good dubbel with its decadent caramel and toffee overtones. It has a nice dank cellar room scent to it like it hasn’t seen the light of day since…I don’t know…maybe 2014 perhaps?! Some yeasty notes poking through, a bit of spice, dark jammy fruits and faint booze. Superb!
The mouth feel is incredible. Luxurious, full bodied and sticky as it slides down the throat. Hardly any harsh warmth from the 10% ABV present. Low Co2. Wow this is one dangerously palatable drop.
The class carries in to the flavour with a good impression of moreish caramel, toffee and dark fruits on the front. Loving the subtle rye spice that works in to the mild oak notes, really giving it that aged red wine tannin. A hint of booze opening up as it warms, finishing on a lengthy dark fruit note that offers a touch of dryness on the rear.
Excellent drop. Really hard pressed to find any faults here. It’s super sweet but not cloying. It is thick, chewy and full in the mouth and finishes with a well balanced flavour. Just an impeccably constructed beer.

Brouwerij De Leyerth (Urthel) ‘Samaranth’ Quadrupel

Rating:
15740884_620784711439011_3221264165398517012_n“Urthel Samaranth 12 Quadrium Ale is a malty, full-bodied special Ale, brewed in a way that only Belgian Brewers can. Huge mouthfeel and layers and levels of flavor make Urthel Samaranth the perfect beer for the end of a meal or at the finish of a special day. And when you want something different, Urthel Samaranth 12 Quadrium Ale is with its fine bitterness, definitely something different… Try it! First brewed at Van Steenberge, now brewed at Koningshoeven – La Trappe brewery.”

Served in a Trappist tulip. Urthel pours an elegant burgundy hue with a finger and a half of lightly tanned foam topping it off. The head eventually peels back to a collar with patches of lace left in its wake.
Oh man this smells divine! It has a classic Belgian Quad aroma packed full of toffee, raisin, brown sugar, maple syrup, plum jam, port, clove and crushed red grapes. It is literally layer after layer of this beautiful stuff. It’s almost unfathomable to realise the ABV of this seductive drop is 11.5%, it’s hardly even noticeable on the nose. Incredible!
The mouth feel is big, creamy and borderline edible. The full bodied, well carbonated and viscous texture is almost like eating a booze fuelled Christmas cake. Absolutely delish!
The flavour is complex, well layered and super sweet with hints of port, esters and raisins at the forefront. There’s a short and intense burst of juicy cherries, red grapes and plum before a subtle warmth from the booze is introduced. The intensity is raised up another notch as toffee, candied dark fruits and spice round out and settle in on the back palate.
Super impressive drop. The only downside is that we don’t have another six waiting in the fridge. She’s rich, sweet and elegant and no we’re not talking about a woman….Although this Quad most definitely has the ability to satisfy ones desires! A must for any Quadrupel fan.

Holgate Brewhouse 2016 ‘Beelzebub’s Jewels’ Quadrupel

Rating:
14938402_593392414178241_3680271558045961854_n“Give in to the Prince of Darkness and drown your senses with this wickedly assertive ale. Rich, strong and complex, this is a bold beer for special occasions and a devil-may-care spirit.”

Served in a wide rimmed Trappist tulip. The deep mahogany pour is capped with a finger of tanned foam that slowly peels off and settles to a fine overlay. Not a great deal of lace but some spotty patches are left on the glass as we imbibe. Instantly the olfactory’s are filled with a decadent and super sweet concoction of raisins, fruity yeast esters, candy sugars, banana bread, toffee apple and sweet plummy accents. The 12% ABV conceivably shows up on the nose but no where near the strength it actually weighs in at. As it comes up to room temperature those gorgeous toffee and caramelized malt aromas begin to take shape, adding an extra complexity to this already superb aroma. The beer is quite thick and chewy in the mouth – it has a kind of velvety viscosity. Co2 is kept low, the body is medium-full and the 12% ABV is well behaved. Surprisingly pleasant for a beer its size. A delicious blend of banana bread, fortified wine, fig jam, treacle and ginger snaps pick up a sharp alcohol burn through the mid. The flavour appears to do a full 180 as the booze carries in to rich toffee and dark fruits as it punctuates with a strong estery finish that endures well on the back palate. Clearly the brewers at Holgate possess a remarkable knack of brewing this extremely difficult style of Belgian Abbey beer. Their Double Trouble along with this seasonal Quad are bang on and would surely get the nod of approval from any learned Belgian Monastic brewer. Top shelf stuff here from Holgate.

Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series ‘Sixth Glass’ Quadrupel

Rating:
14485080_573157056201777_1257117732072486946_n”Do you know what dwells in a glass?” asks Ole, in Hans Christian Andersen’sThe Watchman of the Tower. Better known for stories such as The Little Mermaid, Andersen wrote this short, cautionary tale for a somewhat older audience. Our quadrupel ale, also meant for the mature connoisseur, is a deep and mysterious libation, dark auburn and full-bodied, its sweetness deceptive. As Ole describes the glasses in turn, their contents become more ominous until, in the sixth glass…”

Uncaged, uncorked and then served in to a wide rimmed tulip. The murky chestnut pour is complimented by a frothy two finger crown that retains brilliantly. As it ebbs a succession of wavy lace is left clinging to the glass. Exploding out of the glass are rich and complex aromas of banana bread, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, honeycomb, raisin, figs, clove and a subtle rum scent to top it all off. Outstanding! The fact that they are able to cram in so much character is one thing but to be able to have each and every character uniting like one harmonious hegemony is mind blowing. The sheer complexity and brilliance of this aroma simply has to be experienced to understand. So good! In the mouth it’s silky smooth and dangerously drinkable. We say dangerously because she weighs in at 10.5% ABV and it’s quite well masked. Co2 is spot on as it provides a slight tickle. Again, right on the money. A well rounded sweetness meets the taste buds as a spiky alcohol warmth along with stewed dark fruits shoot straight down through the middle. Subtle hints of candy sugar and port dabble around the mid palate as its lead in to a super complex finish with lingering hints of booze-soaked oranges, spice, raisin, plummy notes and boiled candy on the rear. Geez we tell you what this American brewery really has the Belgian Trappist style of brewing dialed in. Between the Long Strange Tripel and this there isn’t a whole lot that differs between them and the monastic brews they’re emulating. Very impressive drop here.

Unibroue ‘Trois Pistoles’ Belgian Quadrupel

Rating:
13532915_533793633471453_6676240670926713451_n“Trois Pistoles (Three Coins) is named after a small village of Quebec. Founded over 300 years ago, Trois Pistoles gave birth to several legends, including one about the Black Horse. It involved a local bishop who conjured up a good devil (appearing in the form of bridled black steed) to haul large brick stones to construct a new church. When someone accidentally removed the bridle, the black horse suddenly vanished just as the last remaining stone was to be set. This stone is still missing, as can be seen when visiting the local church.”

Served in a wide-rimmed chalice. The deep mahogany pour whips up a substantial but rapidly desolving head that settles to a halo with minimal lace clinging to the glass as it ebbs. The aroma is really complex and rich in dark malts and sweetness. There isn’t really one dominant scent, just a multitude of luscious layers of caramel, ginger bread, rum, toffee, chocolate, fig and nougat. There is an interesting sharpness, or acidity if we can call it that, similar to a pomegranate tartness but sweeter like glazed cherries. To sum up it smells like an alcoholic black forest cake in our glass. Just divine. For such a moreish aroma the mouth feel is actually quite light and approachable. The body is medium with a well contained warmth from the alcohol (9%). A slightly higher than usual carbonation adds another unique trait to this Quad. Drinks surprisingly well. The front palate is uber sweet. Tonnes of sweet malts, Belgian candy sugars, cherry and raisin with a spicy and warming rum accent in support. As it flows through the mid we get a slightly doughy flavour. Ginger bread maybe? Earthy fig and hints of banana runts present before it’s punctuated by an extremely sweet, yet malty finish that really goes the distance on the rear palate. Complexity is the name of the game here. Layers of rich malts, Belgian yeast and earthy hops all fuse together to produce this brilliant and extremely intricate Quadrupel. These French-Canadian brewers could easily rival any Belgian Abbey brewery with this. Delicious, we really liked it.

Victory Brewing Company ‘Hoppy Quad’ Quadrupel

Rating:
12804680_486987111485439_3336729997592625983_n“Bright and bold, the Trappist brewers who inspired this style of ale might marvel at the aromatic hints of citrus, resinous cedar and tropical fruit that flow from this special brew. Belgian-style fermentation and impressive American hops make this light bodied ale intense, inviting and entirely unique. Enjoy Hoppy Quad and Taste Victory!”

Uncaged, uncorked then served in to a beer tulip. Straight off the bat this Quad is already unique as we’ve never seen one pour a slightly hazy golden amber hue before. A healthy two finger head forms but recedes to a thick sheet as it draws coral-like lace down the walls of the glass. Blindfold us and we’d be sure we had a glass full of hop-charged IPA under our noses. Booze-fuelled notes of dank resinous hops and juicy citrus fruits like lime, grapefruit and orange all come gushing out of the glass. A reasonable pinch of pepper and aniseed and a sweet scent of candy sugar and it successfully reminds us of a good Belgian IPA. A Belgian Quad though? Not really. For a drop of its size (13% ABV) it actually has quite a smooth texture to it. The alcohol burn certainly provides a stinging heat but the progression down the throat is effortless and pleasant. Co2 offers a good vibrancy with the body weighing in around the medium mark. Overall, a dynamic and energized mouth feel. The flavour of this peculiar beer is on par, if not better than the aroma. A clean, hoppy front palate hastily transfers into a fusion of slightly yeasty funk and estery pear/apple. An assertive bitterness tugs on the tongue as complex notes of mango and cedar are lit up by the burning alcohol through the mid. The finish is dry, bitter and slightly spicy with an encompassing warmth from the ABV. Woah! There’s that much happening here that we’ve literally forgotten about this being nothing like an actual Quadrupel. But it’s hard to pan a beer when it’s so bloody tasty! OK, it’s not true to style at all but she’s packed full of flavour, aroma and body and it’s down right delicious. Kudos, Victory.

Westveleteren Abdij St. Sixtus 12 (XII) Quadrupel

Rating:
12643001_474641189386698_6566564029964240075_nHere it is ladies and gentlemen! A beer that requires no introduction as the rest of the world has already spoken. For those who don’t understand the hype, this Belgian Quadrupel informally comes with the tag of best beer in the world. These tags don’t come willy nilly either, what with a list of beer blogging sites including Beer Advocate and Ratebeer scoring it a collective 100/100, it should say something. Speaking of tags if price is a problem for you then it may be best to go halves…or even quarters with someone as this Quad comes with a hefty price tag of $65 per bottle! They certainly don’t miss you. Let’s see if the price tag matches the quality shall we?

Served in a snifter glass. Pouring an elegant chestnut hue with a three finger cappuccino crown forming on top. The head peels back slowly but maintains a thick blanket as it ebbs. Laced well. So much happening on the nose. Hallmark aromas of toffee, caramel, fig and banana bread lead out as moreish notes of fruit cake, port, clove and or nutmeg, plum and raisins add extra dimension. We love the subtle crusty bread scent too, almost has that doughy 6am fresh bakery smell to it. Gorgeous! Absolutely divine aroma. In the mouth it’s thick, creamy and silky smooth. Co2 is low and the body is medium-full. A good viscosity here and it still finds a way to effortlessly breeze down the throat. So, so complex on the palate. There’s so many flavours our taste buds have to try and isolate. The broad description includes port, fruit cake and banana bread. The intricate description contains toffee, caramelized pear, prunes, nutmeg/clove/cinnamon, plum, figs, alcohol and candi sugars. All of this on a rich, nutty malt base. Phenomenal. Let’s finish by saying that coming in to this we were of the belief that this will be as good as any other Trappist Quad. Yes, but also a resounding no. Call it the hype factor if you like but this Quad has it all plus the pin point accuracy of every aroma and flavour along the way. Although it’s hard to say which beer is the best in the world, this Quad right here deserves every accolade that’s handed to it. Worth every cent of the $65 price tag. Excellent drop.