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Quadrupel

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Some Belgian breweries brew strong, dark beers, as strong as or stronger than a Tripel but with a Dubbel's dark color and rich, full maltiness. These beers are sometimes called Quadrupel or Dark Strong Ale. This category includes the strongest offerings from many of the Trappist breweries, such as Westvleteren 12 and Rochefort 10.

Contents

History of Quadrupel

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Types of Quadrupel

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Brewing Quadrupel

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Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF recognize a Belgian Strong Dark style, although the BJCP definition excludes the strongest of the Quadrupels from the category, considering them to be examples of Specialty Belgian Beer.

BJCP Style Guidelines

Belgian Dark Strong Ale

18E. Belgian Dark Strong Ale Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 15-25+ SRM: 15-20 OG: 1.075-1.110+ FG: 1.010-1.024 ABV: 8-12+
Aroma: Complex, with a rich malty sweetness, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness. The malt is rich and strong, and can have a Munich-type quality with an occasional caramel, toast and/or bready aroma. The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity. Hops are not usually present (but a very low noble hop aroma is acceptable). No diacetyl. No dark/roast malt aroma. No hot alcohols or solventy aromas. No recognizable spice additions.
Appearance: Deep amber to deep coppery-brown in color ("dark" in this context implies "more deeply colored than golden"). Huge, dense, moussy, persistent cream- to light tan-colored head. Can be clear to somewhat hazy.
Flavor: Complex, with a rich malty sweetness, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness. The malt is rich and strong, and can have a Munich-type quality with an occasional caramel, toast and/or bready aroma. The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity. Hops are not usually present (but a very low noble hop aroma is acceptable). No diacetyl. No dark/roast malt aroma. No hot alcohols or solventy aromas. No recognizable spice additions.
Mouthfeel: High carbonation but no carbonic acid "bite." Smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. Body can be variable depending on interpretation (authentic Trappist versions tend to be medium-light to medium, while Abbey-style beers can be quite full and creamy).
Overall Impression: Complex, with a rich malty sweetness, significant esters and alcohol, and an optional light to moderate spiciness. The malt is rich and strong, and can have a Munich-type quality with an occasional caramel, toast and/or bready aroma. The fruity esters are strong to moderately low, and can contain raisin, plum, dried cherry, fig or prune notes. Spicy phenols may be present, but usually have a peppery quality not clove-like. Alcohols are soft, spicy, perfumy and/or rose-like, and are low to moderate in intensity. Hops are not usually present (but a very low noble hop aroma is acceptable). No diacetyl. No dark/roast malt aroma. No hot alcohols or solventy aromas. No recognizable spice additions.
History: Most versions are unique in character reflecting characteristics of individual breweries.
Comments: Authentic Trappist versions tend to be drier than Abbey versions, which can be rather sweet and full-bodied. Higher bitterness is allowable in Abbey-style beers with a higher FG. Barleywine-type beers (e.g., Scaldis/Bush, La Trappe Quadrupel, Weyerbacher QUAD) and Spiced/Christmas-type beers (e.g., N'ice Chouffe, Affligem N̦el) should be entered in the Belgian Specialty category, not this category.
Ingredients: Belgian yeast strains prone to production of higher alcohols, esters, and sometimes phenolics are commonly used. Soft water. Complex grain bill: Belgian pils or pale base malt, Munich-type malts for maltiness, other Belgian specialty grains for character. Candi sugar to lighten body and to add color and flavor (if dark candi is used). Noble-type, English-type or Styrian Goldings hops commonly used. Spices generally not used; if used, keep subtle and in the background. Avoid US/UK crystal type malts (these provide the wrong type of sweetness).
Commercial Examples: Rochefort 10 (blue cap), Westvleteren 12 (yellow cap), Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue), Rochefort 8 (green cap), St. Bernardus Abt 12, Gouden Carolus Grand Cru of the Emperor, Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru, Gulden Draak, Kasteelbier Bi̬re du Chateau Donker


GABF Style Listings

Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale

62B. Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Belgian dark strong ales are amber to dark brown in color. Often, though not always, brewed with dark Belgian "candy" sugar, these beers can be well attenuated, ranging from medium to full bodied. The perception of hop bitterness is low to medium, with hop flavor and aroma also in this range. Fruity complexity along with the soft flavors of roasted malts add distinct character. The alcohol strength of these beers can often be deceiving to the senses. The intensity of malt character can be rich, creamy, and sweet with intensities ranging from medium to high. Very little or no diacetyl is perceived. Herbs and spices are sometimes used to delicately flavor these strong ales. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.064-1.096 (16-24 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.024 (3-6 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 5.6-8.8% (7.0-11.0%)
Bitterness (IBU): 20-50
Color SRM (EBC): 7-20 (14-40 EBC)