Tag Archive: Quadrupel

La Trappe: Quadrupel (Netherlands: Quadrupel: 10% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany polished red touch in a clear fizzy body that has a small grey, evenly spread head.

Nose: Sawdust. Honey. Fresh toffee. Fresh fudge. Fresh crusty white bread. Lightly creamy. Shaved red wood.

Body: Cherries and shortbread. Fizzy mouthfeel. Honey to golden syrup. Liquorice touch. Sherbet lemon. Hop oils to generally oily. Gummy sap. Frothy. Nutty.

Finish: Clean, bitter oils. Palma violets. Light greenery. Sap. Oily. Licking varnished wood. Resin.

Conclusion: This starts out a fairly standard Quad – big hit of cherries, honey and fudge notes. Basically the big sweetness you expect to come with the big abv and big malt bill. However it soon moves on from there.

It starts the change with the more oily character coming out – some of it is hop oil notes, but generally it is just a more oily, into thick sap feeling character that gives a chewiness and stickiness to the beer along with light resinous notes. Already with just this extra element it feels different to the big sweet quads out there.

Then it gains more range – a palma violets to noble hop feel and taste, light greenery that starts seeping into an oily nutty character. The nutty character sticks around, going into a more nutty weight as the sweetness behind it bleeds away just leaving a soft vanilla and creamy backing.

This feels like what would happen if a biere de garde met a quad – big and oily with slow sweeping flavours. Considering the comparison I am now wondering what ageing would do to this? On one side the fizzy sherbet notes help offset the heavier notes and I feel they would be lost with age, but I can imagine this becoming a smooth still bodied beast with time.

Creamy backed, oily fronted – nutty with sparks of the fruity quad style. A very different quad and worthwhile as that, if not quite as fine as St Bernardus or Westvleteren at their best.

Background: Having the USA Spencer Trappist beer recently reminded me that while I had tried a lot of beers from the first non Belgian Trappist brewery – La Trappe, I had never actually done notes on any of them. So I grabbed this quad from Independent Spirit – from my memory it was my favourite of their beers when I first encountered it, so thought it was a good one to return to and see how it held up to memory. Had been to a Propagandhi gig the night before so put on Potemkin City Limits to listen to – in my opinion still their best album.


Haand: Narke: Birrificio Del Ducato: #1000 (Norway: Quadrupel: 10.4% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown. Thin brown head. Still body.

Nose: Bitter almonds. Raisins. Sour wine. Wholemeal bread. Malt drinks. Slight sulphur. Nutmeg. Light musty air.

Body: Almonds. Vinous – sour red wine. Seven Thai spice. Fruitcake and sultanas. Figs. Cocktail bitters. Earthy bitterness. Marzipan. Marmalade.

Finish: Almonds. Cocktail bitters. Malt biscuits and malt drinks. Port. Earthy notes. Slight funky yeast feel.

Conclusion: Maybe I need to walk away from barrel aged beers for a while. I keep feeling like I have to dig and fight through the ageing to get to the beer. Or maybe I don’t need to go that far, it is just on my mind after drinking this. I do have a lot of barrel aged beers in the cupboard right now, and it would be horrible to waste them. Anyway, as you may have guessed this is very barrel aged influenced, very vinous, with additional notes in cocktail bitters like character and bitter almonds taking the front.

Now time does help to get the beer out and about, with malt chocolate and fruitcake character coming out. Also the mix of base and barrel ageing seem to create a marmalade like character which I would more expect of cognac aged beer that I would expect to find it here.

While it is always very vinous dominated, I did soften to the beer over time. For one, what seemed like a slightly thin mouthfeel early on develops into a light, creamy thickness as you get used to the vinous element that seems to block the feel of the main body. Similarly the aroma gains a slight sulphur, bready thickness to it as the vinous element simmer down – calling to memories of a hand pulled real ale in some ways.

The latter half of the beer still has a heavy, bitter, sour wine influence, oddly mixing with the sweet marmalade base. However with more hop character and earthy bitterness coming out, matched with more dark fruit below that, which gives a more satisfying beer base.

I think a lighter touch on the oak ageing would benefit this a lot. That is presuming the base beer is good, it seems so, but it is hard to tell at this point. If the base beer is not good – well good job blunting it with the vinous notes then!

So, basically, if you are interested in the barrel ageing this is reasonable, if not massivly influenced by the base beer – it leans on an eathy, yeast influenced base more than anything else. If you are more interested in the beer it loses much of that, so it is probably not for you.

Simple, eh?

Background: So, a quad aged in Amarone casks, done in collaboration with the awesome Narke, and Ducato – who I didn’t get along with the last beer I encountered from them, but generally have a good rep. Also I don’t think I have ever tried Amarone , so don’t expect any wise comparisons to the original wine from me today. This beer was grabbed from Brewdog’s guest beer section and saved for when I wanted something big and booming to try. So, on going with awesome music for backing my drinking – went with Anti-Nowhere League – “We are … the League. May not be everyone’s choice of punk, but I love their over the top stylings.

Mikkeller: Brandy Barrel Aged Raspberry Quadrupel (Denmark: Quadrupel: 13% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black with a thin brown head. Had a slightly purple hue on pour as it hit the light.

Nose: Raspberry. Fig rolls. Suet and mince pies. Raisins to fruitcake. Brandy cream hints. Sweet sherry. Marmalade. Crusty bread rolls. Calvados.

Body: Thick. Raspberry. Cream. Cognac. Marmalade. Tart grapes. Sherry and port. Malt chocolate and oatmeal biscuits. Apples. Stewed apricot. Raisins. Toffee. Liqueur.

Finish: Marmalade. Raisins. Oatmeal. Port. Tannins – tea. Calvados. Raspberries.

Conclusion: OK, this has a lot more beer at the base of it than the recently tried Trippelbock did, and the barrel ageing has given it a lot of spirity high points to make it interesting. Which means, unlike the Trippelbock, that as big as the raspberry character is in this thing, they don’t run the show – and the beer is much better for having that range.

I have the feeling that the base quad is slightly dry – it delivers figgy, sweet dark fruit notes, but in a seemingly a slightly dry way. I have to say “I have the feeling” as it is hard to tell with everything else that is squashed into this beer. The barrel ageing mixes with the tart fruit to crate a cavalcade of spirity expressions – from sherry, port, to apple Calvados. The mix creates so many of the high, spirity notes that I mentioned earlier. The most obvious of them is the thick cut marmalade character, a sugary sweet cognac chunk of character squatting in the middle of the beer, which I presume is the Brandy ageing. By comparison the raspberry influence seems fresh, tart and natural, offsetting the artificial feeling, spirity flavours.

So, does it work? As a quad, probably no – the base beer is recognisable, but is surpassed massively by the other elements. The artificial feeling spirity notes colliding with the tart natural raspberry take up the vast majority of the beer.

It is big, brash and … yes, enjoyable – pretty much by shoving everything in at once and hoping it works. It is about as subtle as a sledgehammer shot. It is far from a carefully layered masterpiece -more a dodgem car collision of notes- but it has character and value as that. Make of that what you will.

Background: OK, this I had to grab, a big quadrupel, barrel aged in brandy, and stuffed with raspberries. The barrel ageing is indicated by a discreet BA on the label, and the specific type is only detailed in tiny text on the back. They seem to be almost anti-advertising this. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit and poured into a Westvleteren glass – I decided a huge beer like this deserved the glass. Continuing my attempt to revisit classic albums I put on Iron Maiden – A Matter of Life and Death while drinking this. Easily my favourite of the Iron Maiden albums since their resurgence with Brave New World.

De Struise: St Amatus Vintage 2013 (Belgium: Quadrupel: 11% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Thick off white head.

Nose: Raisins. Malt chocolate. Nuts. Liquorice. Brandy cream. Dry red wine. Slightly dry overall.

Body: Vanilla. Custard. Raisins and fruitcake. Cherries. Walnuts. Slight cloves. Condensed cream. Very smooth. Malt chocolate. Marshmallows. Slight cinnamon. Chocolate liqueur. Mashed banana. Bready. Bourbon and orange liqueur.

Finish: Creamy chocolate. Fruitcake – lots of cherries and raisins. Sweet red wine. Dried banana to banana bread. Brown bread. Liquorice.

Conclusion: Ok, super smooth Belgian style beers impress me – be oft feel like they lack something. Rough edged Belgian gems are just my jam, but the rough edges can put others off. This thing walks the fine line between the two perfectly.

It is very smooth textured, but somehow doesn’t sacrifice the weight of the body to do so. Rock! It brings in lots of fruitcake, nuts and malt chocolate – all you would expect from a big quad; It also brings in some unexpected notes – big shots of mashed banana and light clove, even some walnut character to the nuttiness. Together it actually makes me wonder if this is the Belgian Quad equivalent of my beloved Weizenbock Aventinus – it plays with so many of the same notes, and if that was their intent I have literally no objection. Also metaphorically no objection but that is less important.

This is so well done – it even managed to bring in some slight licorice, which is hard to use well, without hurting the overall feel. Also, early on I wasn’t sure if this was barrel aged, however as it warms I am now 100% sure – it plays with vanilla and custard notes mid body – however it seems very different in style to many barrel aged beers and doesn’t break out any obvious spirit notes for a long time. Again that smoothness is done so very well. It has impeccable subtlety in how the barrel ageing adds to the beer.

Late on as it warms you still have that impeccable smoothness from the barrel aging but you finally get the bourbon influence more obviously – just some flavour – that definite bourbon taste and light orange notes – still barely any spirit character at all – I approve.

So, as you may have guessed this is an excellent heavy duty and yet smooth as hell beer. If you like big beer there is no reason not to get this one.

Background: I think, from googling around, that this was aged in Woodford Reserve barrels – however reports differ and the bottle doesn’t say – it definitely is bourbon barrel aged – not sure of the exact nature. I only found out after tasting, so was unsure during the tasting itself if it had been oak aged. I am a big fan of De Struise – they make some huge beers – and I think Belgium is probably the best beer making country in the world. So, yeah, wanted this to be good. Grabbed from Independent Spirit – I’ve had this since before Christmas and was waiting for the right moment to break it open. Drunk while listening to Brassick’s album – only found out they had done a full album recently and quickly grabbed it – some great punk energy there.

Vliegende Paard: Prearis: Quadrupel (Belgium: Quadrupel: 10% ABV)

Visual: Dark brown, with overripe banana colour at the edges. Thin grey to brown dash of a head that leaves sud rims.

Nose: Dried sultanas and liquorice. Coffee beans. Malt chocolate. Crushed Blackpool rock. Dry roasted peanuts. Banana.

Body: Candy floss. Banana syrup. Frothy mouthfeel. Lemon sherbet. Treacle. Light chalk. Apples sweets. Caramel. Very milky coffee. Raisins. Cloves. Carrot.

Finish: Caramelised brown sugar. Dried banana and toffee syrup. Malt drinks. Bitter nuttiness. Mild apple sours. Coffee and caramel. Bitter cocoa. Carrot.

Conclusion: It is heavy duty Quadrupel time again, and damn today we have a doozie. Been over a year since I last broke open a Quad so I was looking forwards to this. The thing I love about Quads is that, due to the high strength, they have plenty of time to develop strong, often radically different, flavours in one beer.

Take this for example – candyfloss sweetness and banana mix – that could be one beer. Toffee and caramel with bitter cocoa and milky coffee- that could be another beer. Cloves spice, carrot savoury and lightly chalky over dark fruit – that could be yet another beer. Yet here they all act together in one big, balanced entity.

So, what is dominant, and does it work? Well the caramel and the very syrup styled banana are the most evident up front. Yet this mix of sweet flavours is smoothly delivered to not be sickly, and then the spice and grounding note slowly rise to restrain and then expand upon it. You get a big instant pleasure hit dancing on your taste-buds up front, and then it slowly lets the complexity come out, and makes sure that the original big wow doesn’t wear out its welcome. Very nicely done.

So, in case you haven’t guessed, to answer the second questions. Yes it does work. It seems unlike a lot of Quads that I’ve enjoyed in that it doesn’t follow the Trappist Quad examples very closely. It is smoother, sweet caramel style, but without losing those awesome Belgian rough edges. For flaws? Well it is very sweetness dominated, despite having a lot more to it than that. Not a problem for me, but if you don’t have sweet tooth then your probably want to look at some of the less overly sweet Quads. That aside, damn there is a lot in this beer – It is like A Belgian rough edged take on a USA smooth take on a Belgian Quad. That may have made no sense whatever. Any which way, I highly recommend this.

Background: Ok, I had to look up the brewers name just to check – I thought it was Prearis until I read the bottle carefully then did some googling to confirm. Any which way, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit – new Belgian brewery turning out a Quad, how could I resist? Not much else to add to that, was going in fairly blind on this one – put some Shadow’s Fall on for listening to while I drank.

Boston Beer Co Samuel Adams Barrel Aged Collection Tetravis

Boston Beer Co: Samuel Adams: Barrel Aged Collection: Tetravis (USA: Quadrupel: 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Cherry red to brown. Thin brown head. Hazy mid body.

Nose: Figs. Raisins. Brandy cream. Tart cherries. Port. Rum fudge. Light sweet crushed nuts.

Body: Very smooth. Warming. Cinnamon sticks. Raisins. Liquorice. Brandy cream. Sherbety touch as it froths up. Fig rolls. Christmas pudding. Brown sugar. Cherries.

Finish: Liquorice. Figs. Malt chocolate drinks and malt loaf. Vanilla. Slight spice. Brandy cream. Nutty notes. Marzipan. Slight Belgian esters.

Conclusion: Quads really deserve a few years on them before they can be correctly judged I feel. When tried young they tend to have a light fizzy feel to them from the carbonation, when what they really need is that thicker, still, stodgy pudding affair that they become after a year or two.

So, I , of course am having this one young. Leave me alone, I can be a hypocrite if I want. Also, I guess I really should judge a beer on it’s base experience before tinkering with ageing. I guess.

Anyway, Belgian style quads! The Christmas pudding of beers, and this is so very much that. Figs, brandy cream, cherries, port, cinnamon sticks – Let’s face it with all this level of Christmas style it is almost demanding you age one up at least until the 25th of Dec for a real winter warmer.

While it does have some of the smoother character I associate with American interpretations of Belgian ales, this has far more than normal of those lovely rough edged gem characteristics and I heartily approve. These are backed up by some dry spice notes that add a rough underline to the sweet figgy body.

As a standard quad this is towards the higher end of the quality spectrum, not the top, but nicely placed. There doesn’t seem to be a vast amount extra from the oak ageing – a slight sickly sweet vanilla note which seems to be the trend of this collection, but little else. A slight disappointment there, but the ale is already high quality as it is. With the spice, dark fruit, brown sugar and malt drink notes it is already packed enough.

On the downsides? Well there is room for a bit more of the Belgian esters and character, and it could do with a bit thicker body and less fizz, which may come with ageing. However overall it is a very good beer. I would still go with the Rocheforts and Westvleterens of this world as a first choice, but that very well defined Christmas character would earn it a place come tail end of the year.

Background: So, I’ve been enjoying the “Barrel Aged Collection”, so I decided to head back to Independent Spirit to see if they had any left. And walked out with this, the barrel aged quad of the group. I really do dig Quadrupels, so was interested to see how this would play out. This was drunk with friends, which at the abv was probably for the best.

Brewdog Abstrakt AB 16

Brewdog: Abstrakt AB 16 (Scotland: Quadrupel : 10.6% ABV)

Visual: Very dark black cherry to brown. Large off white head.

Nose: Sultanas. Vinous. Light wheat character. Cloves. Light milky coffee. Carrot and coriander.

Body: Wheat. Raisins. Red wine. Milky chocolate. Vanilla pods. Banana notes. Coriander. Carrot. Coffee edges. Toffee.

Finish: Milk chocolate. Toffee. Wheat. Vinous. Liquorice toffee. Sour cream.

Conclusion: Ok, here’s where I start. This is significantly better in bottle than keg. I’ve had both and this is better textured and has more depth of flavour.

Right with that out of the way we move onto where this gets odd. This tastes like a dark wit beer. An odd term, but is it a stupider term than Black IPA? Actually, probably, yes. Live with it. OK, lets try for something closer, it is like a dark Belgian Quad meets a German style hefeweizen. That is probably slightly closer. Maybe. I’m fairly sure they didn’t use wheat in the making of the beer so I have no idea where these notes come from.

There are wheat like notes in the texture and aroma, and banana and clove notes from hefe, with carrot and coriander calling more to the wit. I repeat, I am fairly sure this is not a wheat beer. What is going on? It is however a dark beer, and those elements are the defining ones. Toffee, chocolate, raisins and red wine. The expected Belgian Quad style in the fore, which just makes the subtle backing notes even odder.

For all this, you know what I don’t get much of? The coffee. I mention it in the notes as you can get it, but you have to work for it. If you hold the beer for a while, or let it run around your mouth then there are coffee notes, but not that much, and not reliably expressed. For a coffee infused beer that is kind of unexpected, though it is better done here than in keg where the element was entirely absent.

What does come through though is vanilla, and in a call back to AB 01 you could almost imagine that vanilla pods have been used in the making.

This is a very nice beer with a lot of twists on the style, when compared directly it is weaker than a lot of Belgian Quads, but that wit/hefe mix of flavours at the back does make it fun. It mixes vinous and fruity with wheat and lightly spiced. If you are going to get it, get it for that, not for the nigh absent coffee. Do that and you get a mix of American smoothness in interpretation, Belgian fruitiness, German banana and cloves and more. It has just enough rough edges, enough smoothness and enough quirks. Not a classic, but definitely holds your attention.

In bottle at least.

Background: A Belgian Quad made with coffee beans. This is by far not the weirdest beer I have drunk. This week. Abstrakt is generally Brewdog’s one off mad experimental beers. Ok, I guess a coffee quad is at least slightly non standard. I had drunk this on keg before, and found the coffee elements nigh unnoticeable there. This was drunk while listening to Paradise Lost’s Gothic album, because some times you just want gothic growling. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

Van Eecke: Het Kapittel Watou ABT (Belgium:Quadrupel:10% ABV)

Visual: Delicious looking gold, just slight amount of loose sediment. Large yellowed white head.

Nose: Wheat. Light banana syrup. Yeasty. Tangerine rind.

Body: Thick mouthfeel. Golden syrup and candyfloss. Yeasty, very yeasty. Banana. Champagne. Slightly spicy. Liquorice. Chocolate chews touches underneath.

Finish: Banana. Cloves. Candy cane. Fluffy popcorn feel. Some bitterness. Shortbread. Turmeric.

Conclusion: What an odd choice for the big gun of a brewers range. Despite being a quadruple this thing is a blazing gold. Despite its odd colour the thick body still shows that Belgium yeast feel well. The mouthfeel is initially smooth, but builds into that fluffy funky Belgium character over time. The result is a quite drying beer despite the smoothness.

Around the texture they stack sweet flavours which go the banana and candyfloss route, sweet but not sickly as it allows a bitter presence at the end. This mixes well with the popcorn like yeast feel and with the dryness makes a slow rounding off from the sweetness. It seems like it was very highly attenuated during brewing.

That dryness is almost wine like, and is the best hint to the alcohol. The strength isn’t hidden, but is refined, never burning, just parching.  Flavour wise it is rounded out with light spices that I can’t quite put my finger on the exact nature of. The finish seems dry and earthy which I would most likely call as turmeric, but it isn’t an exact match.

Very atypical, very dry. An abbey wine of a beer. Despite its strength its characteristics make it a beer that could be drunk for a long while. Very nice, though there doesn’t seem to be a single stand out element for it’s success, it is more the combination of elements work together well.

Overall it is odd that it is such a dry beer that seems to demand further drinking when the high abv would suggest a slower consumption.  Thus I like it, and it’s great to share with friends but I can’t quite work out it’s place in the beer world. A good bottle to share though.

Background: Abbey style ales. Not actually from an abbey, not even a lost one. Despite the range of imagery associated with them they are commercially made brews. Basically they tend to take styles normally associated  with Trappist breweries and play on the reputation of those breweries in their promotion.  Thing is, while Trappist breweries are legendary, and rightfully so, there are only seven of them. There are a hell of a lot of abbey ale creating competitors and some of them are pretty damn good.  Thus I return to the Kapittel range, I think to review for the first time. These guys knock the varied abbey styles out of the park and I have always enjoyed them.  It is easy to get snobby about the abbey ales/trappist ale difference, but you would miss a hell of a lot of good beers if you do so.



8 Wired: The Sultan (5th Release) (New Zealand: Quadruple: 10% ABV)

Visual: Deep copper red. A thin off white rim of suds and bubbles.

Nose:  Masses of raisins. Malt. Bitterness. Old stone monasteries. Cherries. Slight wheat chaff.

Body: Sultanas. Fruitcake. Liquorice and glacier cherries. Very big and booming. Some bitter chocolate. Port. Can froth slightly to a sherbet style. Plums. Brandy cream.

Finish: Tongue coating oils. Solid bitterness. Rum and raisin. Liquorice. Brown sugar. Bitter chocolate. Digestives. Prunes.

Conclusion: Now, I have had a few American abbey style beers recently and nice as they were they seemed to go very smooth in their interpretation of the style. This on the other hand remembers that Belgium beers should kick.  Admittedly this is a quadruple, which makes it much easier to do so, but still. They really let you feel as well as taste the flavour on this one.

Despite that kick it still manages to mask the abv pretty well. The thickness of sheen and sticky fruit flavours ride shotgun, riding the weight the abv brings so it never seems burning. Various port and rum like touches do give a hint of the strength, but overall it is well masked.  A very well done way of working with not against the styles strength.

Like Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found this has added fruit, in this case sultanas rather than raisin puree, however here they really stand out. The sultana aroma just roils over the glass and the flavour hovers mid body. The body is slightly smooth in the American style, but it never compromises on the power to integrate it. Frankly an amazingly competent take on a heavy Belgium style. One of the beest non Belgium takes on it in fact.

Sod it. That’s a too restrained complement. For the mix of smoothness to raw power and flavour combined with a good integration of unusual ingredients I would say this stands tall for a beer of any country. Spirit like touches, slick and fruity body, yet amazingly easy to drink.  This is a damn good beer.  A fine combination of fruitcake, bitterness and class. Not quite above the best of the Belgium like Rochfort or Westvleteren, but against anything else it does the job.

Background: The fifth release of the Sultan beer from 8 Wired, a set of New Zealand brewers I’ve come to get quite a bit of respect for. My sister had mentioned the beer before, and since I was trying to decide which 8 Wired to try next that swung it.  Thanks sis.  According to the bottle this was brewed with dark candy sugar and sultanas. The Quadruple is a wonderful Belgium style, and I’m always intrigued to see other countries take on it. Though I will admit I usually find the Belgium originals better. Drunk while listening to Paradise Lost: Tragic Idol

Tasting Notes:Westvleteren 12

Westvleteren 12 (Belgium:Quadrupel:10.2% ABV)

Visual: A very dark brown, with cherry tones lurking. Pours like coffee liquor.  Resurging bubbles form islands of off white froth.

Nose: Slightly vinous, possibly red wine. Cream, raisins. Mint leaves and toffee. Malt loaf mixes with candy floss and banana. Brown sugar granules and malt room turnings. A refreshing feel to the air overall.

Body: Brown sugar. Plums. Spotted dick. Very smooth and creamy. Figs, or in fact an overwhelming range of dark fruits. Banana yoghurt. Toffee. Milk chocolate and raisins.

Finish:  Lots of plum pudding, with a sugar dusting. More dessert is obvious as rhubarb crumble and custard comes out. Carmel and milk chocolate. Figs again, which lead into bitter chocolaty undertones. Finally a light gin air.

Conclusion: GLO over at “Its just the booze dancing” recently asked for opinions on ageing beer, after reviewing Bells Expedition Stout. Conveniently I just happened to have this nearly four years aged bottle of liquid gold lying around. What a delicious coincidence.

Now this is beer exemplified. Sweet, laden with dark fruits in style of their Westvleteren 8, but mixed in with massive toffee sweetness and banana. All this is massively rounded off and smoothed by the ageing, which adds richness to the experience that does a lot for the beer. It’s silk textured, and goes into a wonderful chocolate and desserts finish.

This has frequently been called the greatest beer in the world, and much as my punk leanings would wish to disagree with such a statement, just for the sake of it, I would be hard pressed to drop it below the top five, and that’s if I was being harsh.

A real dessert of a beer, banoffee pie is especially called to mind, an alcoholic banoffee pie. The joy such words bring to mind should be enough to sell you on this beer.

I’ve had the unaged version of the beer before, and it is still fantastic, as any truly great beer should be. The ageing mainly makes it much smoother, making the previously punchy alcohol into a more graceful backdrop, and allowing the massive dark fruits to the fore. It’s creamier, far less harsh, and the fizziness has dropped significantly. For this beer those elements are perfect. Despite the lower presence of the abv, it’s still a beer that can be shared easily with friends, if you’re a that kind a soul that is.

A fantastic dessert beer of epic proportions.

Background: Drunk early 2011, with a best before of 26/05/10. I’d presume this has had between 3.5 and 4 years ageing (note: Best before dates on this beer are a lie, and oft should be considered best after dates).  Due to its nature, this beer had been saved for a special occasion. As mentioned in prior tasting, Westvleteren is the hardest of the Trappist ales to get hold of.  You need to pre book by ringing and giving your car license plate to the abbey. Well that or buy it in one of the reselling shops like I did, ignoring the monks’ request that people do not resell this beer.   Several web sites and journalists have declared this the greatest beer in the world on more than one occasion, leading to the already small stocks becoming incredibly hard to get outside of Belgium.

This was drunk whilst listening to Voydanoi 8 track, over at Warren Ellis’ web site, giving an appropriately odd backdrop (and well worth a listen with any heavy beer of slow drinking nature).  Also this is the first beer to be photographed by my new camera.

This also is possibly the longest tasting note I have ever written.

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