Better late than never right? To celebrate the birth of my first child I brewed a Belgian Quadrupel with hopes of brewing it annually in honor of her birthdays. In turn, after 3 months of adjusting to being a parent and opening some bottles I decided that it was time to take some time to share the beer’s recipe and my tasting notes for this special beer.
Size: 5.5 US gallons
Boil Time: 90 Minutes
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75% (Set to 74%)
Original Gravity: 1.087 (Target 1.088)
Final Gravity: 1.010
Bitterness: 35.1 IBUs
Mash Temperature: 150F for 75 minutes follow by a 15 minute mash out and fly sparge to collect 7 gallons.
11 lbs Belgian Pilsner Malt (66.7%)
1 lb Aromatic Malt (6.1%)
1 lb Caramunich Malt (6.1%)
12oz Special B Malt (4.5%)
4oz Munich Malt – 10L (1.5%)
1 lb D90 Candi Syrup (6.05%)
1 lb D180 Candi Syrup (6.05%) – added @ 10 minutes remaining in boil
8oz Demerara Sugar (3%) – 4oz added @ 10 minutes remaining in boil
1.30 oz Hallertau Mittlefrueh (6.3% AA, 18.4 IBUs) @ 60 minutes remaining
1.30 oz Hallertau Mittlefrueh (6.3% AA, 14.1 IBUs) @ 30 minutes remaining
0.50 oz Hallertau Mittlefrueh (6.3% AA, 2.6 IBUs) @10 minutes remaining
Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity: 2 smack packs in a 2.2 liter starter
Started at 68-70F for first 3 days, then added D90 candi syrup and 4oz of Demerara sugar and raised the temp to 69-71F, raised to 72F for 10 days because I thought the fermentation had stalled at 1.020. Primary Fermentation: 3 weeks after which I bottled the beer.
Aroma (10/12): Though there’s been some variation between bottles this beer’s overall aroma has remained consistent. Upon first whiff the malt character was almost as rich as a an English barleywine with notes of caramel and toffee. However, those notes were quickly joined by dried dark fruits esters such as dates, figs, and cherries. In the background there was a faint hint of phenolic spiciness, but it did not lend balance to the aroma like in some commercial example of this style. In other words despite its low FG this beer’s aroma presented as rich and sweet.
Appearance (2/3) : Pours deep amber to mahogany in color with an off white to khaki head which lingered for longer than expected for the beer’s style, carbonation level, and alcohol content. Though not opaque the beer had(/has) less clarity than I feel is appropriate for the style. This was due to either a rough pour or secondary fermentation taking place in the bottle without first conditioning in a second fermentation vessel. Carbonation was visible in the form of small bubbles around the entire glass. Alcohol legs coated the glass as I sipped on.
Taste (17/20): Follows the aroma almost seamlessly. The rich malt character and dried dark fruits lent sweetness and were joined by hints of molasses and faint yet present phenolics and moderate alcohol heat which kept the finish from being too sweet. In my video review of this beer I remarked that the beer’s taste at front and mid-palate seemed very similar to sweeter Belgian strong dark ales that I’ve tried, but did not finish nearly as sweet which allowed me to enjoy sipping this beer as a night cap / dessert. No obvious off flavors.
Mouthfeel (4/5): As mentioned above despite this beer’s rich and sweet malt character it did not come off as being too sweet. Medium bodied with high end of medium carbonation. Moderate to high alcohol heat present, but as mentioned above certain bottles had more than others. (see video review).
Overall (8/10): This beer’s rich and complex malt and candi/demerara sugar character and overall great drinkability within its first 6-8 months in the bottle are what made this beer (my first attempt at a quadruple) a success. With some more age it’ll be even better. For future vintages I may tweak the recipe to increase phenolics and overall balance.