Style: American Quad aged in Oak Barrels
Fermentation: Lucha Libre
From: Paso Robles, CA
Brewery’s Note; “A Belgian Quad by recipe, but aging it in spirits barrels garners its own category: Central Coast Quad. A beer formulated to sit on the sweeter and malty side so that we could utilize it for blending. Turbinado brown sugar from Mexico and Belgian candi sugar add wonderful molasses flavors. It has a full body and lush texture with barrel expression all over this beer: toasted oak, coconut, leather and cigar tobacco.”
The beer pours a deep, rich mahogany/maroon color, like dark maple syrup. It forms a tiny head of light khaki bubbles. Without light, the beer appears opaque, but when held before the light, it is quite clear and clean of particles, while giving off a black ruby coloring. When splashed against the sides of the glass it leaves thick legs of alcohol along the sides, as well as a flurry of lacing bubbles. On the nose, the beer is hugely expressive of rum-soaked raisins (or perhaps that’s bourbon-soaked raisins…) with thick brown sugar syrup, rich plums, subtle cocoa, toffee, fruit bread, bourbon, subtle oak, toasted coconut, slight Maraschino cherry, chocolate fudge, and a thousand subtler hints I just can’t lay my finger on. The nose is decadent in the extreme, and lies squarely on the boozy and sweet sides of the tracks, without appearing cloying. On the tongue, the beer tastes richly, bready sweet, with a balancing bite of booze and subtle bitters that drop off at the end to allow the finish and aftertaste to languor in succulent sweetness that keeps mostly away cloying notes that easily find their way into beers of this style. There may also be some acidity in the taste, as the beer has a slight sense of ‘pop’ to it, that reminds me a subtler acidic bite, and would not be out of place with a Quad yeast. In flavor, it begins as boozy chocolate fudge and bourbon-soaked raisins, which quickly is enveloped with marshmallow and brown sugar notes that also hint of cherries. Strong fusel alcohol notes burn through the nose and tongue on the beginning of the sip, but mellow away to simply a lingering and balancing bite by the finish of the beer. Plum and toffee notes, as well as chocolate pudding, unravel on the tongue as the sip progresses, and the finish is of boozy bourbon and brown sugar, while the aftertaste is of bourbon-soaked oak, subtle herbal bitters, and a lingering taste of (as my beautiful and brilliant girlfriend pointed out to me) maple sugar candy. In the mouth, the beer feels thick and luxurious, with a chewy, softly syrupy mouthfeel that languor’s over the tongue. It’s a touch flabby and under-attenuated, but that works for the style. You can feel the sugars on the tongue. Carbonation is weak-to-nearly-none-existent, but the alcoholic notes provide the bite where carbonation lacks, and that does wonders to keep the beer level. Overall, this is obviously a slow sipping drink, and it is certainly a bomber to share around the campfire. A full snifter is even a little too much of this digestif beer. The flavors are decadent and complex, as is the norm from the Proprietor’s Vintage series. It’s a great beer, but finishing a bottle of this will definitely put you at risk for diabetes. It is a decadent (how many times have I said that word now?) treat that can leave you feeling a little taxed by the time you reach the bottom of your glass. Have a glass of this beside a dark cigar and a long contemplation of life. As to its style? It’s more like a barleywine, but really it’s just its own beer. Central Coast Quad works fine by me.