La Trappe Oak Aged Quadrupel

Name: Oak Aged Quad – Batch 19
Brewery: La Trappe
Country: Netherlands
Style: Special Belgian Ale (Quad)
Rating: 4 / 5

You know you’ve found something special when your beer has a batch number – that you can subsequently track the process of on the site. My La Trappe Oak Aged Quad had the following write up:

La Trappe Oak Aged Quad

This Oak Aged Batch 19 was matured on casks of Banyuls, an enhanced French dessert wine from Roussillon, also called Vin Doux Naturel. The aroma and flavour of Banyuls remind you of plum compote and cocoa.

This aroma and flavour are very distinctive in this batch, in addition to the nectar and smoked oak wood. In the foreground we can still distinguish the flavour of La Trappe Quadrupel. The sensation in the mouth of alcohol lingers and complements the complex and sweet flavour perfectly. The bitter, distinctive of this beer, is not affected by this combination. The carbonic acid gas leaves a slight tingling on the tongue and the smoky flavour lingers in the throat.

When I first popped the cork (yes, it is corked) and poured the deep amber-brown beer into my goblet, I gave it a whiff and nearly passed out from the alcohol aroma. It’s similar to smelling a port, sherry or bourbon. But I gave it another sniff and started getting some other notes – most notably plum and raisin. It has a sweet, stone fruit aroma and some of the woody/smokiness comes through too.

On first sip, it was hard for me to distinguish anything except for the warming alcohol. But yet again, I had to give it a few more sips to make sure. Once I got past that, and the beer had also settled down a little, I got some interesting flavours. There is some caramel and malt sweetness, a little liquorice, plum and raisin flavours and even a some spice.

Look, this is not a beer that you down – at R220 for 375ml, it’s not even a beer you buy regularly. It’s a special occasion beer that you sip and savour very slowly. It smacks of a vintage port that your grandpa saves for you from birth to your 21st birthday.

Academically, I want to give this beer full marks – because it’s crafted in such a way that forces you to slow down, evaluate and enjoy it. It’s not a common style nor will it appeal to everyone, but if you like Belgian style ales and you like a good bourbon or dessert wine, you might really enjoy this. I gave it a 4 because even though I love Quads, this one was just too much for me. Too alcoholic (not in ABV, but in flavour).

Featured image cred: La Trappe

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