The Stoic from Deschutes Brewery: An American Quad
Let's start this off by admitting that I know very little about the Belgian Quadrupel style. I've had several versions, La Trappe Quadrupel, St. Bernardus Abt 12, Trappistes Rochefort 10, Allagash Grand Cru, and so forth. However, compared to the amount of Portland and Oregon based beer that I have to drink for this site, the numbers are very small. There are very few Quadrupel style ales brewed in the Portland and even fewer bottled. In fact, I can't think of any other that has been bottled in Oregon. So admittedly, I can't be an expert here. In leiu of my historical knowledge on the style, I grabbed a La Trappe Quad from The Beermongers last week and lined it up next to The Stoic to see how our Oregon version compared to a more traditional Belgian Quad.
The Belgian yeast strains used in brewing this style not only tend to produce more alcohol, but also contribute many distinct flavors to the beer like spices in the aroma and dark fruit like raisins, plums, and figs in both the nose and taste. The malt levels will also be quite high, creating a medium bready body and a very rich malt sweetness. The hop profile should also be very low to absent, meant only to balance some of the malt and sit way in the background.
Side by side, the La Trappe Quad and The Stoic are similar in their core values. The yeast and the malts come through right away and rise to the top of the profile. The vintage Belgian yeast strain used in The Stoic and yeast strain used in the La Trappe Quad contribute very similar flavors to the beer: plum, dates, figs, and light spices. The high sweetness of the style does create some overlap in flavors between the yeast and the malt, but the combination makes for a great distinctive flavor for the style.
Both styles also have very high ABV numbers, between 10% and 11%. The Quadrupel style does insist on a high alcohol profile, which is a different approach to most styles that do their best to mask some of that bite. While not overpowering, the alcohol is definitely high in the mix, without being too hot in either beer.
The La Trappe was noticeably darker and cloudier, and higher in malt sweetness. Though lending sweetness and body through the 100% Pilsner malt grain bill, the complexity of this beer really comes from the addition of Belgian candy sugars, pomegranate molasses, and aging in both Rye Whiskey and Pinot Noir barrels. The barrel finishing adds subtle notes of wood, rye barrel spice, and very light wine. Both ales have a high sweetness in the flavor, but The Stoic finishes a bit drier, with the La Trappe Quad having more of a lingering sweet finish.
While these two beers have many similarities, The Stoic travels down a different path through it's simple grain bill, addition of pomegranate molasses, and finishing process with barrel aging. The Stoic remains true to the style, yet Deschutes Brewery imparts some of it's magic through several years of recipe testing. It tastes great now, but I'll pick up two more, put them in the cellar, and see what happens in a year or so. The style dictates a lot of malt, low hop profile, and high alcohol, a combination worthy of the cellaring process. What do I expect to find? I'm not sure, but I love surprises!
Much like the story of Hop in the Dark, this beer has been in the works for five years, popping up as different Quadruppels served on tap at the Deschutes pubs. During these runs, the recipe was discussed and perfected and now in it's final version, released today on tap and in bottles. The Stoic is another worthy addition to the amazing Reserve series lineup from Deschutes Brewery.
From Deschutes Brewery: The newest beer in Deschutes Brewery’s coveted Reserve Series, The Stoic’s journey from Belgian-style Tripel to American Quad is a remarkable one. A simple German Pilsner malt bill and a low-key profile of Hallartau, Czech Saaz, and Northern Brewer hops equip you for the more distinctive aromas and flavors that lay ahead. Ingredients like Belgian candy sugar, beet and date sugars, and pomegranate molasses impart a clean, tangy sweetness. Pinot Noir and rye whiskey barrel-aging suggest notes of spice, citrus, pepper, vanilla, and toasted caramel like offerings to the gods. Unraveling the intricacies of The Stoic is evidence of a life bravely done.
A prized, potent, Belgian-style Quad of stirring depth and complexity. Four nuanced fermentations. Aged, sequestered, in select rye whiskey & wine casks. Ergo a stoically brewed quad, with the spellbinding complexity of its medieval ancestors. IBU: 20 AVB: 11%
Find it: At the Deschutes Pubs in Portland and Bend, on draft and in bottles. Released in bottles today around Portland. Also, check out this great release event at Belmont Station:
Wed. August 17 | 8-10pm | Deschutes Night
Taste Deschutes Brewery’s latest Reserve Series beer, The Stoic, an American Quadruple, remarkably smooth, yet complex, featuring pomegranate molasses, dark candy sugar, Pinot Noir and Rye Whiskey barrel-aging. The Stoic reveals itself this night. Join us to taste…and testify! Plus Beer recipes, hop giveaways, special prizes, and FOR TWO HOURS ONLY you can buy glasses of Black Butte XXI, XXII, and XXIII or a flight of all 3. Deschutes will only permit the XXII to be served from 8 - 10PM so you have been notified!
Plus a homebrew competition: Attention homebrewers…stand up and be recognized! Bring your proudest homebrew to Belmont Station this evening and Deschutes will transport it to Bend for a thorough Deschutes Brewery Sensory Panel evaluation. Prizes will be awarded for best label, story, and overall flavor. The Grand Prize Winner will earn a day with a brewer in one of Deschutes Brewery’s brewhouses in Bend or Portland!
To enter: Please bring one 22 oz. bottle of your brew to Belmont Station on August 17th. Attach a creative label to the bottle. Also attach some paper. All with a rubber band. This paper should include: name of beer, style and description, IBU’s and ABV (if known), full name of homebrewer, phone number, e-mail address…and the story behind the beer. Then count yourself in!
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