Thursday, April 23, 2009

Koningshoeven Quadrupel Trappist Ale

I am a big fan of heavy-duty belgian style ales, especially those that are dark and have a high alcohol content. This Quadrupel, at 10% alcohol, pretty much fits that ideal and is a fantastic bottle of beer. Quadrupel refers to the number of times the beer has been fermented, so you can imagine that after 4 fermentations it's hard to keep the alcohol very low. Also, it is interesting to note that Dubbels and Quadrupels are generally dark beers while trippels are light. As far as I know there is no real reason for this - but maybe I am missing out on some nuance of belgian beer crafting. Koningshoeven is here clearly working in the tradition of great beers like St. Bernardus abt. 12 and Rochefort 10, and I think they did so pretty successfully while not quite reaching the level of those two beauties.

As with most heavier Belgians the Koningshoeven is quite carbonated, which may be to some people's distate as it forces you to sip rather than gulp the beer (which is a pretty good idea given it is 10% abv) unless you want to fill your belly with a lot of air :). There are excellent root flavours, vanilla, and a little spicy herbalness to the palate. The finish is quite nice and of a decent length (given this is beer after all). Overall I'm pretty impressed with this and it will definitely be added to my rotation of top heavy Belgian ales.

$6 / 280ml bottle in BC - ($10 for 750ml in California)

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