Feeling brave about your brew? Got a spirit of adventure when it comes to a cold one? A Belgian Quadrupel is the beer for you!
Why? Find out!
What Is Belgian Quadrupel?
To understand the origins of the Qudrupel, you’ll need to know all about the Belgian tradition of Trappist beer. There’s a type of beer in Belgium that is strictly made under the supervision of the Trappist monks, and the three types of beer made available to the public are Dunkel, Tripel and Quadrupel, with Enkel being a lighter version made for the monk’s consumption and not sold to the general public.
The names are self-explanatory, they’re numerically listed for degrees of alcohol content, with Quadrupel being the strongest. These beers are made using traditional methods of ale brewing, or top-fermenting, making a delicious punchy beer.
What Is The History Of Belgian Quadrupel Beer?
The history of Quadrupel beer dates back to the 1600s when the Trappist monastery started making Belgian ales for public consumption. This was used as a way to keep the monks busy and to earn money for monastery living costs and charities.
With European clientele, the monks abided by what was popular, and the stronger the drink the more it sold, and so the Quadrupel was born. The Quadrupel’s alcohol content is so high that the classification of “beer” wouldn’t fly in somewhere like the US.
How Is A Quadrupel Beer Made?
The secret behind making a Quadrupel all lies in the ageing process. The Quadrupel is made in the traditional ale fermentation style, with top-fermenting yeast and is then aged in barrels until alcohol content is up and flavours are bursting.
This is also what makes the reddish, dark hue in the beer, making it look just as good as it tastes. Something that makes Quadrupel stand out is that a bit of sugar is added to balance out the bitterness of the alcohol, resulting in a mouth-watering molasses taste.
What Makes A Belgian Beer A Quadrupel?
In times like today, microbreweries dabble in the craft of traditional beer making from medieval days, that’s why you’re able to find any style of beer almost anywhere if you know what you’re looking for.
A Quadruple beer in Belgium is specific to the style of ale brewed by the Trappist monks, and therefore that’s how you’d know it was a genuine Quadrupel, by the hexagonal sticker on the bottle saying ” authentic Trappist product”. However, your next fix of Quadrupel doesn’t have to come from the hands of the monks, as long as the same ingredients, method and alcohol content is there, you’ve got yourself a Quadrupel.
What Does Belgian Quadrupel Taste Like?
The Quadrupel can be known as the “dessert beer” to those who are familiar with it. The alcohol content is strong and the methods used take the brew to a flavour profile that’s decadent and fruity. Winter fruits like dates, plums and figs. Some even say it reminds them of the spicy fruity flavours of red wine.
The alcohol content is noticeable in the taste, but the bitterness is only present on the first sip before it has developed. All in all, Quadrupel is a well balanced sipping drink, that isn’t too overpowering but is the star of the show, as opposed to a lighter ale you can use to wash a meal down.
How Do You Serve And Drink A Quadrupel?
Okay, so you’ve gotten ahold of a Quadrupel but you’re enjoying it from the comfort of your home, how do you go about making sure to do the delectable beer justice?
A medieval beer needs a medieval glass, and so the chalice or goblet style best suits this beer. This shape also allowed the carbonation to stream strongly, creating that nice foamy head you’re looking for. You’ll also want something with a wide rim, as the aromas of caramel and spice get the taste buds going before you’ve even had a sip, so you’ll want to experience it as well as possible.
Best Belgian Style Quadrupel You Have To Try Right Now
The most noteworthy Belgian style Quadrupel on the market at the moment is the La Trappe. This one comes from the monastery where the Trappist order was formed. This monastery is actually in the Netherlands, not Belgium, but it holds the most legitimacy when it comes to the craft of Quadrupel.
Although it’s illegal to put the “Trappist” name on a Quadrupel style beer without it being made in one of the approved monasteries, the term “Quarupel” has become a blanket term for any dark ale with the same flavour profile, which can be found brewing at any one of your local breweries, so you don’t have to look far and wide to find a rare Trappist beer.
What Foods To Pair With Quadruple
Unlike a lot of food and beer pairings, Quarupels should be thought of as an element to the meal, and not just a pallet cleanser or thirst quencher. The flavours and alcohol in a Quarupel are strong, so it should be paired to accompany a treat instead of a whole meal. Think desserts or cheeses.
Fatty, buttery, and strongly flavoured dishes would work the best. A classic bread pudding with raisins would be perfect, as you’ll have the notes of the bread and raisins in the food and in the beer. A simple piece of meat, cooked to perfection would also bode well and add hints of flavour to the pallet. It’s definitely not something you’d want to pair with the subtle flavours of fish.
How Do I Order A Quadrupel In Belgium?
If you ever find yourself wandering through the streets of Brussels, looking to taste this moreish beer, you’re probably wondering how to politely order one at the local bar. Somewhere like Brussels, most will speak French so you can simply say “Une Quadrupel, s’il te plaît”. Or if you’ve made it to the Dutch parts, you can say “een Quadrupel, Alsjeblieft”.
One thing for sure, the Belgian will be impressed you know your way around their beer, and if you get your hands on the good stuff (Trappist authentically made product), you can rest easy knowing your money is going towards charities and monks, so it’s a win-win situation!
Jake has been a craft beer and homebrew enthusiast since his college days. He loves scouring Europe for unique and unusual hops to add to his beers.
Founder of Jake’s Brew Haven – he currently hosts beer-tasting sessions at select local pubs in Baltimore.
Jump To a Section Below
- What Is Belgian Quadrupel?
- What Is The History Of Belgian Quadrupel Beer?
- How Is A Quadrupel Beer Made?
- What Makes A Belgian Beer A Quadrupel?
- What Does Belgian Quadrupel Taste Like?
- How Do You Serve And Drink A Quadrupel?
- Best Belgian Style Quadrupel You Have To Try Right Now
- What Foods To Pair With Quadruple
- How Do I Order A Quadrupel In Belgium?