We all love the refined taste of quality Belgian beers, their deep flavour complexities tantalize us and have been tempting our taste buds for centuries. It is now that breweries in the great old US of A, not happy with making their own styles of excellent beer, start to dabble in making these types of ale. Some of the Belgian breweries have been going for longer than the USA has been in existence and so have some authority in the matter of brewing Belgian. So can these new guys just turn up at their doors claiming any right to be held amongst these brewing heavyweights?
This was found at a local beer festival in Saltaire, UK, and it was something we were very excited at trying out. The beer pours as a dark chestnut-brown ale with a very small tan head, very light in weight dissipating quickly leaving very little lacing atop the nut-brown ale. There are a vast quantity of aromas issuing forth from the beer, mainly of dark rich fruits with hints of banana. Deep robust malts punch through and engage you fully before dissipating off into mild spicy hoppiness. The beer most certainly has the nose of a Belgian now on to the flavours.
Once drunk the mouth is hit with serious fruits. Plums, raisins and fig come to the fore mixed in with hits of spice and dark malts this beer comes across like a liquid version of a rich fruit cake. The malts and caramels weave expertly around these fruits giving an excellent flavour palate worthy of any Belgian masterpiece. The mouth feel however feels a little thin, where as most Belgian quadruppels have a thick rounded feel to them. This isn’t a bad thing necessarily as its lightness gives it a vibrancy and zing that many Belgians do not have in this style, however the beer only feels that it uses its 9.9% ABV as the thing that gives the power behind the punch. Most Belgians have a slight more subtlety to their flavour/ABV balance and in fairness 9.9% is lightweight when it comes to quads whose ABV is usually easily 10% plus. The beer has a good bitter quality to it however, balancing the sweeter fruits, this and the slightly light mouth feel enables it to be drunk easier than a usual quad which can be big heavy bruisers.
All in all, this is an excellent beer we would be happy to have again. Its rich fruity qualities and the obvious Belgian ‘flavour’ are well done. If we were being hyper-critical then it wouldn’t be as good as some of the very best Belgian quads, however they have been doing this thing for numerous centuries. Let’s be honest, this is an excellent beer worthy to be held amongst its Belgian friends, just not necessarily right at the top. The Quadraceratops is not extinct, and will not be for a long long time.