Brad Darnell's picture

Judge’s Review: 92 Rating - Quad Stack by Pontoon Brewing

March, 2021
Judges Rating: 
92
Aroma: 
22 / 24
Appearance: 
4 / 6
Flavor: 
38 / 40
Mouthfeel: 
10 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Quad Stack by Pontoon Brewing is a Belgian Quadrupel-style ale (a Belgian Dark Strong Ale in BJCP categorization) brewed with maple syrup. I am judging this according to the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, Category 31B, Alternative Sugar Beer, due to the maple syrup contributions.

Slowly lifting the globe-shaped glass to my nose provides a growing rich caramel malt aroma from this brilliantly clear, dark amber Belgian Quadrupel style ale. There are some medium- to fat-sized bubbles laying lazily on top that drift cautiously to the edge while leaving a small, thin and very small-bubbled center-of-the-beer film. As I take my first deep breath over the beer, I notice soft maple notes alongside faint notes of fresh dry wood. At first sip, the caramel and maple notes transition perfectly from nose to palate. Another sniff and medium-light alcohol notes emerge with some kettle caramelization notes, dates and fig jam.

I give the beer a swirl in my glass and rouse a fizzy and rapidly dissipating second round of head and quickly stick my nose into the glass to find underlying toast and nutty malt character. Now, four large sips into this the alcohol warmth takes hold and warms my stomach a bit. While the malt is fairly sweet, it is not cloying – the alcohol and soft wood notes help keep the sweetness at bay. The medium-full body supports a medium-light carbonation and the aforementioned alcohol warmth. Light oak and vanilla tannins provide some dryness too. As the beer dries off of the palate, some light prickliness remains alongside the malt and maple sweetness.

This beer would pair nicely with a variety of fatty or meaty dishes, or a rich and fatty desert, such as beef medallions with a rich peppery blue cheese sauce and cheesecake.

 

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