I love quads. I can’t say why for certain, but there’s just something compelling about that big, dark, sweet and smooth taste that never tires for me. And just as I have trouble explaining why I love it, I find the beer world equally silent on just what the quad style is. Quads are sometimes referred to as ABT. This designation comes from the word Abbot, the head monk of the monastery. Of all the beers traditionally brewed in a Belgian monastery, the biggest and strongest beers were served to the Abbot’s most special guests.
Just as Abbeys produce different styles, the Brasseurs du Monde has a line of so-called Abbey or Trappist ales each differentiated by a number: 6, 8, 10 and this 12 ABT. The Quadrupel means that it was fermented four times to produce the most rich, strong, and complex flavors.
This quad pours out like a clear, dark red ale reminding me of a varnished walnut. The head is a thin off-white cream frothing that dissipates quickly, and clings to the rim of the glass. While the nose has a light bouquet, I smell candied cherries. The alcohol is immediately apparent mixed in with a syrupy mixture of thick malts and sugars. These beers are always pretty much devoid of hops and taste very smooth. There is a warming effect from the alcohol, but the aftertaste lasts forever, leaving a very pleasant sweet dried fig taste. Clove and maybe a hint of nutmeg spices are present, which make me think of mulled wine. This one is bottle fermented, and that provides just enough carbonation to provide a light fizz on the back of the tongue that highlights the spiciness.
This is a solid effort from a Quebec micro-brewer. For lovers of the style, it is difficult to find quads made outside of a Belgian monastery. If you’ve heard the hype around Westvleteren, might I suggest this significantly cheaper version as an entry point. Kudos to Les Brasseurs du Monde for sharing with us a great example of that most privileged of beers.
An article by T.J. Blinn