Belgian Quad – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Beer Styles Glossary

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What is a Belgian Quad?

A Belgian Quad, also known as a Quadrupel, is a strong, dark ale that originated in Belgium. It is characterized by its rich maltiness, high alcohol content, and complex flavors. Belgian Quads are typically brewed with a variety of malts, sugars, and yeast strains, resulting in a beer that is both sweet and robust.

History of Belgian Quads

Belgian Quads have a long history in Belgium, dating back to the Trappist monks who first brewed these strong ales in the 17th century. The term “Quadrupel” was first used by the Westvleteren Brewery in the 1990s to describe their strongest beer, which was a darker, more complex version of their Tripel ale. Since then, many Belgian breweries have adopted the term to describe their own strong, dark ales.

Belgian Quads are known for their deep amber to dark brown color, with a thick, creamy head. They have a complex aroma that includes notes of dark fruits, caramel, toffee, and spices. The flavor of a Belgian Quad is rich and malty, with a sweetness that is balanced by a slight bitterness. These beers often have a high alcohol content, ranging from 8% to 12% ABV.

Brewing process of Belgian Quads

The brewing process for Belgian Quads is similar to other Belgian ales, but with some key differences. Belgian Quads are typically brewed with a combination of Pilsner, Munich, and dark malts, as well as candi sugar or other fermentable sugars. The use of Belgian yeast strains is crucial to achieving the unique flavors and aromas of a Quad. The fermentation process is often extended to allow the yeast to fully develop the beer’s complex flavors.

Food pairings with Belgian Quads

Belgian Quads are versatile beers that can be paired with a variety of foods. Their rich, malty flavors make them a great match for hearty dishes such as stews, roasts, and grilled meats. The sweetness of a Quad can also complement desserts like chocolate cake, fruit tarts, and caramel flan. Cheese pairings for Belgian Quads include strong, aged cheeses like Gouda, Stilton, and Roquefort.

Notable examples of Belgian Quads

Some of the most well-known Belgian Quads include:

1. Westvleteren 12: Brewed by the Trappist monks at the Westvleteren Brewery, this Quad is often considered one of the best beers in the world.
2. St. Bernardus Abt 12: This Quad from the St. Bernardus Brewery is rich and complex, with flavors of dark fruits, caramel, and spices.
3. Rochefort 10: Brewed by the Rochefort Brewery, this Quad has a deep, complex flavor profile with notes of figs, raisins, and toffee.
4. Chimay Grande Réserve: This Quad from the Chimay Brewery is known for its dark fruit flavors and smooth, creamy mouthfeel.
5. La Trappe Quadrupel: Brewed by the La Trappe Brewery in the Netherlands, this Quad is a classic example of the style, with a rich, malty flavor and a warming alcohol presence.

In conclusion, Belgian Quads are a unique and flavorful style of beer that has a rich history and a loyal following among beer enthusiasts. With their complex flavors, high alcohol content, and versatility in food pairings, Belgian Quads are a great choice for those looking to explore the world of craft beer.