Ultimately, it was a realization that we needed to broaden our terminology. Hosting a “quad tasting” simply didn’t make sense—not when you have the likes of St. Bernardus Abt. 12 defined as “quad” and Chimay Grande Réserve (Blue label) defined as Belgian strong dark ale. In the modern beer landscape, the two names boil down to marketing tools more than anything else—an American brewery in particular is going to name its beer whatever they think will appeal most to the drinker—be that quad or “dark Belgian ale” or anything else. Any specific difference implied by the choice of name has long ceased to be relevant.
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- We accepted anything sent to us, as long as it involved “quad” or “Belgian dark strong ale” in the description, or was categorized as such. There was no ABV limit, as this style is all over the place.
At first I was thinking wth 3 months before I can drink it!?! Let me just tell you this it is well worth the wait!! This beer is delicious and I plan on keeping it around for a while. It was recommended to let it bottle condition so that’s what I did. Iv opened a couple bottles so far during the conditioning phase and they are getting better and better.
- Beers were judged completely blind by how enjoyable they were as individual experiences and given scores of 1-100, which were then averaged. Entries were judged by how much we enjoyed them for whatever reason.
It’s fascinating, the way one’s perception of a specific beer style will change over the course of a large blind tasting. This is something we at Paste have been cognizant of ever since we started regularly doing our tastings blind with American IPA back in 2015 (soon to be repeated!)—the fact that our overall opinion on a beer style will probably be shifted to some degree by the process of processing and evaluating so many. This time, however, my perception of a style changed before we even began tasting.
First, what does it mean that dubbels, tripels and quads are all varieties of Belgian Trappist ales? Simply, these are beers that have been brewed for generations—at least the late 1600s—at Christian monasteries throughout Belgium. These ales are described as Trappist after the Cistercian order most renowned for incorporating beer-making into their self-sustaining communities. And the Trappists take their name from the region in which they founded their very first monastery: La Trappe, which is actually located in Northwest France.
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Due to the high starting gravity of this kit, we recommend pitching multiple packs of yeast or preparing a yeast starter for best results.
One decision we specifically made in tasting quads was to allow ALL VERSIONS of this style, regardless of how they’ve been treated or aged. That includes barrel-aged offerings, which I know many will object to in the comments. We could have attempted to conduct a tasting of “only regular quads,” but in a style that classically is treated with spices and sometimes aged in oak, what is regular? If a nontraditional spice such as cinnamon or chiles is present, would that disqualify the beer? Nor do we agree with the assumption that just because something is barrel-aged it will inherently be superior. In fact, the tastings provided several instances of the opposite.
Finally, the quad or quadrupel is a more recent, non-Belgian style that combines the hue and flavor profile of the dubbel with the kick of the tripel. The first beer to bear the name quadrupel was a seasonal ale brewed by De Koningshoeven Brewery in the Netherlands. Beer aficionados may also sometimes find quads referred to as Belgian strong dark ales. Amber, lighter in body, but more bready and peppery overall, quadrupels can be surprisingly mild in both their sweetness and hoppiness. But make no mistake: quadrupels are very strong, with ABVs routinely above 10%. Popular quads include the Trappistes Rochefort 10, St. Bernardus Abt 12 (both Belgian in origin) and the Ovila Quad, brewed for Sierra Nevada by the Cistercian monks of the Abbey of New Clairvaux in neighboring Vina, Calif. Memphis Flying Saucer also offers the Lazarus, a uniquely smoky bourbon-barrel-aged quad concocted by New Hattiesburg, Miss., craft brewery Southern Prohibition.
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Northy 12 is cloaked with a silky, lacy and firm off white head exuding a montage of toffee, honey, caramel, and phenolic aromas. If you can display the patience of a monk and abstain from immediate consumption, aging will do wonders for this beer. Brewing Notes:
We don’t have any. Feel free to leave a haughty comment about it. Some of us have tasted it before, and it is indeed delicious stuff. We’re sure it would probably do quite well in these rankings. Now let us never speak of Westy again. Alright then.