Yet another BrewView on La Trappe Quadrupel? Yes indeed. However, this BrewView from us is several years overdue, and we wanted to give this Trappist ale the reverence it truly deserves. Having enjoyed La Trappe Quadrupel since the early 90’s, (and not seeing this beer in our local Redding, California market for about 5-6 years), we found it tucked away behind other Belgian beers at our local Liquor Barn- it was an encounter from Heaven above. In speaking with Liquor Barn’s manager, she guestimated that this particular bottle of La Trappe Quadrupel had been in the store for about a year or so. Therefore, we estimate that this bottle was packaged sometime in 2013… Whatever the bottling date was, it turned out to be EXCELLENT. We are joined once again by our guest BrewViwer, Alan Koziol. (You can read his bio at the bottom of this BrewView, and hear him on our BrewViews of Adelbert’s 2013 Vintage Monks Dubbel and Victory Brewing Company’s VTwelve Quadrupel – 2007 & 2014 vintages.) There is an audio / video of our BrewView of La Trappe Quadrupel as well! (NOTE: We BrewViewed Victory’s VTwelve on the same night, so there is reference to it in the audio.) Read and listen to our BrewView…
ABOUT DE KONINGSHOEVEN BREWERY
The La Trappe name comes from that of the French abbey of ‘Notre-Dame de la Grande Trappe’ in the Normandy village of Soligny-la-Trappe, also known as ‘La Trappe’. This is where the order of Trappist monks originated. As far as back as 1140, Benedictine monks ran a chapel here, which later became the Cistercian ‘La Trappe’ monastery.
FOUNDATION OF O.L.V. KONINGSHOEVEN ABBEY (1881)
French Trappist monks found refuge in the village of Berkel-Enschot in the Netherlands’ Brabant province. A patch of heathland, with farmhouses and a sheep barn. The farmhouses were named ‘De Koningshoeven’, or King’s Farms, after their former owner, King William II.
FOUNDATION OF THE TRAPPIST BREWERY (1884)
The sheep barn was converted into an abbey. Self-sufficiency and the duty of charity inspired the Trappists to start brewing ale. Until the present day, brewing within the walls of this abbey still adheres to the age-old methods of the Trappists. After WWI, the brewery saw a steep rise in production, prompting modernisation of the brewery building to be able to keep up with demand. The difficult years of WWII were marked by a serious scarcity of raw materials. After the war, the monks went all out to get the brewery up and running again. And not without result.
In 1950, the Trappist monks established a lemonade factory. And this was followed by other developments: A new laboratory was opened in 1959, followed by the commissioning of new fermentation and lagering tanks in 1967. In the late 1960s, the brewery grew into a medium-sized brewery that produced dark, Pils, Dortmunder, Super, and Bock beers. Increasing demand prompted the brewery to look to strike up partnerships with other breweries.
BIRTH OF THE BRAND NAME LA TRAPPE (1980)
Monks took brewing back into their own hands and started marketing a top-fermented ale under the name La Trappe. Brewing methods and recipes from the 1950s served as the basis for this ale. Further innovation ensued and a new brewery was taken into operation in 1989. At the end of 1989, the first ale flows from the revamped brewery. More than a hundred open yeast containers and lager tanks had to make way.
LAUNCH OF LA TRAPPE QUADRUPEL (1991)
La Trappe presented La Trappe Quadrupel, the strongest in La Trappe’s range (with alcohol content of 10%). Initially only brewed in winter, its enormous success soon made the monks decide to brew this ale all year round.
RECOGNIZED AS A GREEN, ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE BREWERY
In 2010, The Koningshoeven Brewery was voted the Entrepreneur with the Best Corporate Social Responsibility credentials in the city of Tilburg for 2010-2011. This biennial award goes to the organization that stands out for its efforts to emphasis the link between People, Planet, and Profit. Needless to say, La Trappe intends to continue down this road in the future. When they started developing La Trappe PUUR bier, the abbey and monastery set out to minimise this ale’s carbon footprint by compensating CO2 emissions as much as possible. In February 2011, this aim materialised in the first action: planting a forest on 1.3 hectares of farmland near the monastery. They named this the Puurbos (PUUR forest). From the end of 2011, La Trappe has also been sourcing its barley locally. Among other things, this reduces CO2 emissions from lorries. And it gives La Trappe greater control over the barley’s quality. The brewery invests in solar energy. Initially only to provide energy for the monastery shop and charge electric bikes, but in the longer term also to generate electricity for the entire production process.
(Source: La Trappe)
BEER STYLE AND COMMERICAL DESCRIPTION FROM DE KONINGSHOEVEN BREWERY
Style category: Trappist Quadrupel
Taste: Quadrupel is La Trappe’s heaviest ale with a stunning amber colour. Its warm and intense flavour is rich and finely balanced. Malty sweet, slightly burnt, and pleasantly bitter with a sweet aftertaste. Quadrupel continues to ferment after bottling and offers aromas of banana, almond, vanilla and others.
Additional taste notes from Artisanal Imports: Quadrupel sits at the top of the La Trappe range. At 10% alcohol by volume, it’s a big deep amber beer with a rich, warming flavor. Full-bodied and mild, slightly sweet and just a hint of bitterness round out the palate. In the nose you will detect fruit, a faint, pleasant yeastiness and just a touch of resiny hops.
Although Quadrupel is delicious when consumed fresh, it can benefit from years of aging in a cool, dark place. The flavor of aged Quadrupel is reminiscent of port. We encourage aging of the smaller, capped bottles for best success.
OUR BREWVIEW OF LA TRAPPE QUADRUPEL
APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
10% ABV. Poured into an open-mouthed Trappist goblet and served at 60°F. (Our apologies to the brewery for not having the beautiful La Trappe goblet available for the picture). Poured a dark tobacco / dark amber / light mahogany color; the SRM value being around 15-18. Poured a 1-finger height, white colored head; dense, with small and large bubbles. The meniscus is medium to slow rising. It was bottle conditioned, and of course we poured the yeast sediment into the glass- (we ensured this was a “Beer Clean” glass). As the head collapses, there is even-sheeted Brussels lacing in the glass.
AROMA / BOUQUET:
Sweet caramel, biscuit, toffee, boozy bread pudding with rum floating on the top. Lots of bruised banana esters. Strong crème brulee aromas.
Brandy, vanilla bean, warm Bananas Foster on top of Häagen-Dazs® Vanilla ice cream, roasty crème brulee crackle, with a very slight hint of black pepper. Fresh Trappist yeast flavors round this out. Absolutely delicious… simply phenomenal.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
Low viscosity with extreme drinkability. Subtle bitter raisin, bready, malty, toffeish, fresh Trappist yeast finish.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS:
APPETIZERS: Sweet sauages, Fennel sausage with Trappist cheeses. Triple cream cheeses.
ENTRÉES: Barbeque beef, Mongolian beef. Aged New York pepper steak, with steak au poive.
DESSERTS: Crème brulee, pecan pie, sugared figs, figgy pudding at Christmas time!
Having enjoyed La Trappe Quadrupel since the early 90’s, it has never wavered from its world-class, high quality flavor. The Trappists are masters at what they do- especially in the realm of brewing.
La Trappe Quadrupel is in our TOP 100 beers list of all time and is a must have! We picked up our 2014 bottle at Liquor Barn in Redding, California- (read how we got our hands on this beer at the beginning of this BrewView). God bless the monks at Abdij O.L.V. Koningshoeven! It’s another one of those beers that should be savored very slowly. It may cause you to enter deep contemplation about your relationship with the CREATOR of the Heavens and the Earth. Another one of those beers that you must have before you pass from this life.
5056 RP, Berkel-Enschot
Mon – Fri between 9am and 5pm:
+31 (0)13 535 81 47
After 5pm and on weekends:
+31 (0)13 572 26 50
Our guest BrewViewer, Alan Koziol, started his “Beverage Tasting Adventures” as a waiter at a local Holiday Inn in 1979. Studying more at a local wine shop through reading Decanter Magazines and books there, asking questions of the proprietor, began purchasing bottles of Bordeaux Rouge (Graves & Margeaux mostly), and things sort of evolved from there. Being in Washington State where Merchant du Vin had just started up, many imported beers became available at local markets as well, so great beer also became a passion.
He taught three Oenology courses through an extension program of Central Washington University from 1997 to 2002, where he brought wine makers and grape growers from the Yakima Valley region as guest speakers.
He worked for three years as wine steward/beverage manager for Cost Plus – World Market in Redding, California from 2007-2010. Alan studied a great deal in several great, well-respected reference books to successfully pass the 1st Level of certification through the Court of Master Sommeliers in January of 2012.
He offered catered dinners and events since the mid 90’s and continues to do so. Planning meals and beverages, employing recipe development and pairing techniques to bring a high level of satisfaction to his clients.
Alan is currently forming a deductive tasting wine class in the Northern California region.
BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.
He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15