Session # 111 | St Sixtus | Westvleteren 12 | 10.2% ABV
Quadrupel | Westvleteren, Belgium | Rating: 98/100
It’s a pretty special day when you can say you’ve created over 100 video beer reviews in less than a year. It’s an even more special day when you can celebrate it with the highest rated beer on planet earth (according to Beeradvocate). This bottle of Westvleteren 12was given as a gift from the good folks over at Beer Paintings, and it was delivered at a very convenient time – my one year celebration. The beer, a Belgian Quadrupel, pours murky and brown with intense amounts of dark fruits popping out into the room before you even get your nose in the glass. The taste is extremely complex with miles of dark fruits like prunes, figs, dates, and raisins. There’s even the signature grape bubblegum component I love so much. The overall mouthfeel is perfectly balanced and it is equally sweet, bitter, and dry. Ultimately, there’s really not a whole lot you can say about this beer that hasn’t already been said. Is it the best beer in the world? Probably not. Probably so. It’s hard to argue against it, but I think it’s pretty dang close to perfect. It certainly lived up to my expectations and will make any drinker happy with its complexity and easy drinkability (for 10.2% ABV that is).
Continuing on with Boulevard week, we now come to the second session with the Bourbon Barrel Quad (BBQ). This is a Quadrupel that has been aged in oak bourbon barrels for at least a year with tart cherry added along the way. Before bottling it is blended to create what some people here call the best high-gravity beer Boulevard makes. It is part of the brewery’s Smokestack Series limited release lineup and literally flies off the shelves as soon as it’s released. If you sleep for even a week you can miss your chance to get one of these bottles. When Tim and I poured this one into our Boulevard tulips it became pretty apparent that there was a cherry element based solely on the color. It has a very nice rich ruby caramel color with a healthy amount of light tan soapy head that dissipates somewhat quickly. The aroma is of figs, prunes, dates, tart cherries, and caramel. It is only subtly met with a faint amount astringency and booziness that rounds it out quite nicely. The taste lives up to the aroma and highlights the cherries first but then follows everything up with the deep sticky fruits and caramel afterwards. At 11.8%, it’s certainly one that is good to share with one or two other people, but ultimately the goal should be to let this beer sit for at least six to eight months if you buy them fresh. Time is of the essence here and this beer is miles ahead of where it was when I bought them. Now Kansas City has the best BBQ (food) and BBQ (beer). How can you be unhappy with that combination? Up next: Boulevard Imperial Stout
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This beer can be found in these states.
On the iPod: M83 “Kim & Jessie”
There has certainly been a trend around The Hopry lately – and that is the fact that I’ve been drinking a lot of great canned craft beers. For the most part, they have all been IPAs…until now. On this night we moved to Abt/Quadrupel territory. I have to admit that the first time I heard someone was selling a Belgian-style Quadrupel in a can I just had to search for some to get on the show ASAP. As such, I was able to get a four-pack of the Monk’s Blood from 21st Amendment out of San Francisco. I was very surprised, too, with the amazingly nice packaging. It comes in a square cardboard box with the beer’s information on all sides (seen here and borrowed from here). Since this beer came to me via Minnesota, I figured I would have my good friend Martin back over to share it with me (he’s originally from the area). What we had was a very nice beer that met the expectations of the can, which says “Belgian-style dark ale brewed with cinnamon, vanilla, oak chips and dried figs.” They were pretty spot on with the description because that’s exactly what it tasted like…oh and some with dark cherries.
I’m not 100% sure of what prompted me to pick up this bottle of beer by R.J. Rockers out of South Carolina. Perhaps it was the blue waxed top, perhaps it was because I’d never heard of the brewery, or perhaps it was because it is considered a black IPA. I’d say the latter was the most compelling reason for buying this Black Perle. So when I had my friend Martin over one night to watch the latest Wilco documentary Ashes of American Flags, I thought let’s knock this one back since he loves hoppy beers. Well, needless to say I think our reaction was very similar in that we didn’t really pull out a lot of the hops that were promised on the bottle. Rather, we felt this one tasted more like a combination of a Porter and Abbey-style Quad — which is disappointing in some ways. In my eyes, the dark hoppy beers are becoming the new fad; much like barrel-aging beers became the fad in recent memory. I, for one, am a big fan of them and am excited to see what breweries have to offer in this style. So I was hoping this beer would compare to the Southern Tier Iniquity or Laughing Dog Dogzilla. After we were able to move past the fact that there were not a ton of hops here I think we both realized that what we had was just a good beer that we both could slowly drink while kicking back to a great documentary and snow storm. Stay tuned as I will have another review with Martin next week…
I first tried the Rochefort 10 about a year and a half ago, and unfortunately I had a soured bottle. I wasn’t quite sure if it was how the beer was supposed to taste, but I dumped it nonetheless because it was so off-putting. I bought another bottle the next day from a different store…and…MAGIC! It was amazingly better than the first go around. I’ve been a fan since and have had this beer on numerous occasions. I still think it’s wicked cool to say “this beer was brewed by monks.” In fact, every time I pour one of the seven Trappist beers (six from Belgium and one from the Netherlands), I find myself enamored by this fact. I mean let’s face it; having monks in the brewing equation is something that makes your ears perk up. And then…once it hits your lips…it’s sooo good. The Rochefort Trappistes 10 is one of the better ones, though many would argue that it’s the best (that people can actually locate). At the end of the day, however, you will not lose by choosing any one of them. I myself am very partial to the Orval, which will be coming up soon on The Hopry. And this might be a good time for a local plug; Boulevard Brewing Company is doing a collaboration with Orval soon. But this Rochefort 10 is quite different from the Orval. It’s dark, dense, and extremely complex. I always ask people if they taste grape bubblegum and the response is usually yes. That is one of the main flavor profiles I pick up out of this beer, along with lots of dark sticky fruits like dates, figs, and prunes. Maybe even a touch of spice. And at just over 11% ABV, this one is quite a warmer on the system.
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This beer can be found in these states.
On the iPod: Wilderness