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% 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 a to-go flight of quads — both Belgian and domestic — a flight we call Peaks and Pints Pilot Program: Quadrupel On The Fly. Confession: We posted a quad flight a month ago, but the arrival of Cascade’s Contemporary Fashion forced us to revisit the style again. It’s that delicious.
Cascade Contemporary Fashion
Cascade Brewing Barrel House has released Contemporary Fashion, a sour quad ale aged in bourbon barrels for up to two years with orange peel, then infused with aromatic bitters made by Portland Bitters Project. A tribute to the Old Fashioned cocktail, this sour beer interpretation captures notes of bourbon and fresh orange peel with a complex botanical bouquet and a soft malt sweetness. It’s crazy complex and delicious.
Brouwerij 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, another name for quadruple, 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.
Produced by the oldest brewery in Bruges, Belgium, Brouwerij De Halve Maan’s Straffe Hendrik is a top fermented and bottle conditioned quad that made its debut in 1981 to commemorate the inauguration of a statue of St. Arnold, the patron saint of brewing, in Bruges. The name is not only a reference to the “strong” (straf) beer, but also pays homage to the generations of Maes scions, all called Henri — Hendrik — who were in charge of the brewery. Expect toasty malt, licorice, allspice, and pepper notes. Warning: It hides the alcohol well.
The Abbaye Notre-Dame de Saint-Remy monks McGyvered their quadrupel. To elevate the alcohol by volume they steeped the candi-sugared wort in metal baskets. Furthermore, two malts were used in the brewing process: pils and caramel malt, as well as wheat starch, two varieties of hops and Rochefort’s own yeast. The result is a robust dose of alcohol, much like port. Rochefort 10 hits the nose with roast wheat, figs, cherries, nuts, and dark chocolate. On the tongue, expect caramel, chocolate, ripe fruits and herbal touches of hops.