Joseph Formanek's picture


February, 2016


Judges Rating: 
22 / 24
5 / 6
34 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
16 / 20

Upland’s Stoaked is promoted as an Oak-aged Belgian Quadrupel. While the Quad character is quite evident, the wood notes that would be expected from beers of this style are quite subtle. The aroma of this moderately carbonated, clear, deep amber-colored brew with a fleeting white head is quite Belgian in character, with the expected banana and clove fermentation notes on top of a rather caramelly wine-like base aroma. There is very little oak character, but alcohol and sweetness is evident.  

Sweetness and alcohol, along with those Belgian fermentation-based banana and clove notes dominate the flavor. For a Belgian-type fermentation, there is little of the higher alcohol sharpness that would typically be present in this style. The carbonation is moderate, though perhaps a little bit on the low side for this style. Hop expression is also very subtle, resulting in a brew that lacks any real bite in the middle and finish. Malt and sweeter fermentation characters rule this brew. Any true oaky wood flavors are difficult to detect, but there is a marshmallow-like flavor in the finish that could be coming from the vanillin in the oak. The body is somewhat full, and sweetness lingers through the aftertaste.  

Overall, this is a big, sweet and somewhat cloying Belgian Quad. While sweetness is certainly expected in this style, typical examples have additional bitter or spicy characters in the finish to better balance out this sweetness. That said, this particular example was very fresh, being in the bottle for only a week or so. It is possible that desirable complexity will increase with proper cellaring.