The Belgian quadrupel is the strongest in a series of Trappist styles, beginning with the single (better known as an abbey), the dubbel (double) and the tripel (triple). Quads are the strongest of the Belgian beers, often over 10 percent ABV. The monks seem to have stopped at four. They probably passed out. Quad is a dark beer that ranges from black to deep red or garnet, with a rich bold maltiness that combines with yeasty hints of raisin, dates, figs, grapes, and plums. The quad is not hoppy. It’s known for alcoholic warmth and a complex sweetness, with wine and liquor-like characteristics. Today, Peaks & Pints presents an in-house flight of quads — both Belgian and domestic — a flight we call Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Quadrupel.
Peaks and Pints Beer Flight: Quadrupel
10.5% ABV, draft
The St. Bernardus Abt 12 is a classic Belgian dark quadrupel brewed since 1946, on the basis of the original recipe compiled by the Westvleteren monks. The Abt, or Abbot, is the highest-ranking monk in the abbey; so perhaps it’s no surprise that the brewery sees the Abt 12 as the highest-ranking amongst abbey beers. It hits the nose with banana, tropical fruit, raisins, spices, and rum. The flavors come through as intensely fruity, with notes of banana, pineapple, as well as spicy clove, añejo rum and anise. Throughout the sip, spicy pepper and black licorice counter the sweetness before a flash of bitterness segues to the beer’s enduring dry finish.
10.2% ABV, draft – bottle in the cooler
Continuing an age-old Belgian tradition of brewing steep beers for cold months, Monkless Belgian Ales humbly offers their winter Belgian quad. Friar’s Festivus captures the senses with aromas of citrus and dark fruit, and a complex ﬂavor proﬁle of caramel, spicy clove, and a slight malty sweetness. Modest amounts of classic dark Belgian candi syrup and fermentation using multiple traditional Belgian-style yeast strains help this traditional winter ale strike the balance between spicy and sweet.
10.2% ABV, bottle
The Bruery Terreux Tonnellerie series showcases his “wildly traditional bière.” French for “cooperage,” each beer in the series shares one core trait: they were all fermented in oak. Beyond that, the recipes and styles are as unique as the cues they take from nature. Quadrupel Tonnellerie, a barrel-fermented Belgian-style quad with blackberries, is no exception. A style known for being at the more malty, complex, and rich end of the Belgian strong ale spectrum, the fruit addition lends a brighter streak to what is typical of the style, lending a fruity verve, while the wild organisms from the barrel-aging give a tart, acidic cut throughout. It still boasts the typical quad notes of sweet caramel, dark fruit, fig, and complimentary undercurrents of oak, just in a more lifted, tightly wound package. The natural esters from the Belgian yeast compliment the rustic, earthy qualities derived from the barrels and piquant flavors from the fruit for a dynamic flavor profile and mouthfeel that will evolve over time.
10.7% ABV, bottle
Brouwerij Van Steenberge Gulden Draak 9000 pours a lovely chestnut brown, unusually light for a quadruple and is topped by the trademark towering, tan colored creamy head. It hits the nose with sweet malts, alcohol, caramel (almost burnt sugar) spicy yeast, floral notes (herbal and grassy) and crisp orchard fruits. On the tongue, expect a big caramel sweetness lead followed by biscuity, doughy malts coupled with dark fruits — though not as heavy as other quads, more berry like than dried fruits. A slight tartness from green apples and pears cut through along with just the right amount of clove spicing. Mild hops and a warming alcohol note finish things off perfectly.