Jim Beauregard's Tasting Notes: A fourth star in the Belgian ale lineup
If you are A LOVER of Belgian ales, you've no doubt heard of Belgian dubbels and tripels. You might have read about some of them in this very space.
But how many of you are familiar with the quadrupel?
The names (there is also an enkel — single — ale to round out the lineup) all refer to the amount of malt containing fermentable sugar prior to the fermentation.
Quads, having loads of malt, are typically darker in color than their dubbel and tripel siblings, ranging in color from dark brown of deep red.
The quadrupels' alcohol content ranges from the 9.0 percent abv typical of their companions, to a higher 13 percent. (More malt equals more sugar, which equals more alcohol at the end of the fermentation process).
There are a few quad-style beers available locally, including the Three Philosophers Belgian Style blend from Ommegang, Smuttynose Gravitation and some of Sierra Nevada's Ovila beers.
Today I want to tell you about a newcomer continuing this distinguished history, just about to be released, from Sam Adams. It's called Tetravis, and it's part of the Sam Adams Barrel Room Collection (the barrel shaped bottles under the Champagne cork. At the base of this collection is a beer that the brewery refers to as KMF — Kosmic Mother Funk, an ale that is aged in Hungarian oak for up to a year before release.
Let's take a look:
Samuel Adams Tetravis Belgian Style Quadrupel Ale, 10.2% abv, suggested retail price $9.99-$10.99. The head is the classic Belgian: frothy, tan colored and lasting. The beer is a dark brown color, opaque. The nose is malt, with bread, molasses, grain, caramel and toasty notes. There's a teeny little bit of hops.
The palate is complex and develops. It's dry, but some sweetness emerges toward the end. The bitterness is medium, as are the acidity and tannin. The alcohol level is on the high side at 10.2% but is very well integrated, and the body is medium-plus, creamy, with medium-plus flavor intensity that includes everything on the nose, plus fig, and the palate develops stronger flavors of grain, molasses and brown bread as it moves through the long finish.
All in all, I'd say this is one of the best Sam Adams releases in the past couple of years, well worth the effort to find it. If you love beers that have a predominantly malt profile, this is one for you.
Next Week: Yes, there are still under $10 wines out there, and some of them are pretty good.
Contact local beer and wine writer Jim Beauregard at email@example.com.