“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!
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.
”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.
“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.
“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.
Here 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.
“The Reverend, was created in tribute to the life of our friend Tom Boogaard’s grandfather, an ordained Episcopal Reverend. Tom was inspired by the life of his grandfather and wanted to create a tribute beer that contained his sterling traits. True to the spirit and character of the departed Reverend, this beer is strong willed, assertive, and pure of heart. Our brewers included as many authentic imported Belgian specialty malts as they could, making this the perfect beer for folks who love malty beers and are ready to take the next step. A divinely complex and beautifully layered beer with hints of dark cherries, currants, and molasses, complimented by an underlying spiciness. Sinfully smooth considering the high alcohol content.”
Served in to a snifter glass. The murky chestnut hue is capped off by a tightly packed one and a half finger head that defiantly holds but eventually shrinks down to a thin sheet over the top. Laced reasonably well. The nose is brimming with rich, yeasty aromas. Banana bread, toffee, caramel, candy sugar, ripe cherries and fig are jumping out of the glass. Quite a robust syrupy character as strong wafts of honey and maple come through as well. In the background we pick up subtle wafts of peppery spice, pot pourri and just the faintest touch of honeycomb. The depth on this nose is simply amazing. Solid start to this Quad. In the mouth it’s surprisingly smooth. The texture is slightly chalky but what must be mentioned is how well they’ve masked the 10% ABV – hardly any heat on the palate whatsoever. The Co2 is mild and the body is about medium-full. Really nice overall feel. Upon entry we taste loads of sweet, dark fruits like raisin and dates. Candied banana, toffee apple, and a delicate alcohol warmth carries across the mid and ushers it all in to a malty sweet, almost tangy yeasty finish that endures well in to the next sip. This is a damn fine representation of the style. What we love the most is how the brewers have kept it traditional and have executed it perfectly! The question proposed now is La Trappe or Avery? Have the Americans beat the Belgians at their own game? Tough call, you decide. All we know is that this is a bloody brilliant Quad.
We’ve been VERY interested in this ale for a long time now. We first bought it about 6 or 7 months ago and we’ve been carefully ageing it ever since. Considering it was brewed in 2010, our 6 month cellaring project probably doesn’t make a huge difference, but when you have to endure an extent of time before enjoying something, it always adds that little bit of extra excitement. Today is the day we crack it open!
Served in a wide-rimmed tulip. The dense black pour offers up a surprisingly carbonated body. Even though the appearance is blacker then the ace of spades, dozens of bubble streams are seen actively forming a thin head with a fizzy halo around the edges of the glass. Unfortunately it laced quite poorly. One whiff of this bad boy and we’re certain that we have a pungent brew here. Very complex notes of dates, carob, dusty, oak-aged port, dank cellar room, molasses, alcohol and ripened plums are totally mind blowing. There are probably half a dozen more scents in here but we just don’t have the senses to pick them up. Wow! So intricate. As we swoosh it around our mouths we enjoy a seriously rich and oily, but ultimately smooth texture. Zero harsh bitterness, medium carbonation and medium-full body. Kind of like sipping on a highly carbonated port. Very unique. Where do we start on this flavour? Our first few sips yield a very sweet, fermented plummy flavour. A rich caramelised sweetness really intensifies the plum and in turn creates a moreish hint of prunes/dates and/or figs. Around the mid is where the oak kicks in, slightly nullifying the extreme sugary sweetness. The 10% ABV is up to this point kept in check, but a delicate warmth does enter the fray, leading on to this extremely sweet and labyrinthine finish. Just as many flavours draw out to the back end as there are in the main flavour profile. Crazy! Let’s make one thing clear, this is not for the unadventurous beer drinker. The amount of depth and sheer complexity of this brew is remarkable. Prepare for an onslaught of the senses, this is some heavy shit. But you know what, we loved it!
“The Belgian motto is “strength in union.” No phrase better describes three philosophers, which unites malty Belgian-style ale with imported Kriek, authentic Belgian cherry ale. Dark, mysterious cherry-chestnut colour. Pair with strong cheeses, desserts, or sip as an after dinner ale.”
Fresh off our review of their brilliant Dubbel, we thought we’d have a crack at their Quad. It was only after we bought the Dubbel that we learned that this brewery is, as the bottle states, “part of the Duvel family of fine Belgian ales.” So, really, how can you go wrong? Exactly the same type of bottle as the Dubbel – 750ml with a cage and cork – which we hastily disposed of. As it was a bit of a gusher we carefully poured, expecting a mountainous head to ensue….but we were dead wrong. The mahogany pour reveals a bright red hue but she looks as flat as a tack. Whatever head which had formed upon the pour disappeared before we could even put the bottle down. Visually appealing? Not so much. Off the nose we’re getting plenty of dark, tangy fruits such as cherry, plum and blood orange. The orange component certainly has a slight Cointreau-like astringency to it as it offers a stinging effect on the olfactory’s. Maybe a touch too medicinal for our liking though, the artificial aromas of cherry and raspberry kind of remind us of our younger years when our Mum used to force us to drink Dimetapp when we had the flu. A very subtle suggestion of chocolate/cocoa pulls the fruits back but it’s almost futile against the extreme sweetness. Can’t say that we’re big fans so far. In the mouth it’s well weighted with a chewy texture. Mild-medium carbonation and the body is about medium-full. Our palates aren’t well trained for, nor do we like Kriek but a sharp and almost phenolic injection of currants and bitter fruit initiates the flavour profile. Thankfully, this wanes and the more traditional Quad flavours like clove, treacle and molasses carry forward through the mid. The ABV (9.7%) develops quite late effectively bridging on to the fruity, sweet and ultimately complex finish. The arsenal of flavours that are lingering on the rear palate is amazing. Fig, toffee, molasses and cherry hang around for an eternity displaying excellent duration. Well, we’re glad we didn’t write this off too soon because we would have been sorely mistaken. As our palates warmed to this unique drop the more we like it, so good move to sell it in a big bottle because this beer isn’t one for a sprint. Trust us, pop it and slowly sip over an hour or two. The way it matures is exceptional. Way to come back!
“The Star Trek geek in me inspired this beer. The classic episode, “The Trouble with Tribbles,” referenced a type of grain called quadrotriticale (pronounced “quádro-trítĭ-kay-lee”). As described in the episode, this was a high-yield, four-lobed grain hybrid of wheat and rye with a bluish color. The flaked triticale we used is a cross between rye and wheat and makes up about 10 percent of the grain bill in this Belgian-style quadrupel.”
If you were to check out the website these guys have it would be difficult not to be impressed. This kind of hyper-techno futuristic feel is continued on the label with a 3-d feel and a satanic head popping out. Really cool and definitely eye catching. Anyway, enough gawking over the bottle, let’s get drinking! Served in to a beer tulip. Quite an interesting appearance. We’re first amazed by the clarity that cuts through this brilliant copper body. Capping it off is a creamy 1 finger head that gradually peels off and retains as a fine layer over the top. Lacing is minimal, streaky at best. The feature grain in this brew is the ‘Triticale grain’ which is an ingredient we’ve never come across before. The description on the bottle, plus a quick bit of research confirms that it is a hybrid grain between wheat and rye. Armed with this knowledge it is still very hard to pick up any wheat/rye spiciness over the rich yeasty notes but it does come through. But what is a quad without those sweet, raisiny overtones? Both are in abundance with a good backing of toffee, plums, alcohol, prunes, fig, caramelised pears and brown sugar. Brilliant! In the mouth it’s surprisingly smooth considering the ABV (9.3%). Certainly feeling a hint of warmth on the sides of the tongue though. Carbonation is low. Body is about medium with minimal grip on its way down. On entry we get a rich toffee flavour with that slight alcohol warmth we mentioned before…but somewhat softened by the sweet candy sugars and Cointreau-like tangy orange. As it progresses through the mid a touch of spice is developed, leading on to a rich, liqueurish finish. Nicely drawn out on to the back end where a lingering taste of artificial fruits endures between sips. It’s elegant, full flavoured and a well represented Quad. A real tip of the hat to the Belgian Abbey brewers. We think they’ve done a sterling job, we wouldn’t begin to imagine how hard it would be to successfully put a spin on a recipe that has been largely unchanged for centuries. Decent beer from an excellent brewery.
Over the years there has been a really respectable progression from this brewery. Beginning with simple beers such as the blanc and the pilsner. The creative flare started to shine through with brews such as the white IPA and the imperial stout. Which leads us to this brand new release of complex, special addition beers such as this rum barrel aged quad and the sauvignon Tripel (Which we will be reviewing soon).
Loving the cage and cork. Very regal. Once it was uncorked we served it in to a beer tulip. Our eyes fix upon this deep tawny/mahogany pour. Gorgeous ruby red hues are highlighted when held against the light. On top sits a tightly held and compacted cappuccino head that maintains well, omitting wavy lacing as we imbibe. This aroma is something that has to be experienced to believe. Absolutely amazing complexity and depth on offer as a firm bretty sourness is the first to excite the olfactory’s. Coming through strongly behind are firm wafts of oak, vanilla and dank cellar room. There is a certain dark fruity element to it too which kind of resembles red wine. Rum does creep in but it also has a slight raisiny, date-like character to it. Wow, this is the first quad of this kind. In the mouth it has a smooth texture with an outrageous sourness that forces the taste buds to produce extra saliva. Nothing unapproachable happening, it’s just sour, very sour. Moderately bodied. Upfront there is an explosion of lemony/bretty sourness on the tongue. Some muted flavours of vanilla and oak try to push through as it moves forward through the mid. As we near the finish the sourness finally eases up and allows a hint of rum to come through before it finishes dry and fruity. Thank heavens for a bit of duration as the dank, oaky and raisiny flavours finally come out. 9.3% ABV was actually quite well hidden. Well, if we were drinking a wild ale or a sour we’d be loving life, but considering this is a quadrupel we don’t know what to think. This heavy brettanomyces-ridden quad isn’t what we wanted. Very disappointing. Far from the quality this brewery normally produces.