The Belgian Quadrupel: A High Alcoholic Strength Beer

Belgian Quadrupel: A Deep Dive into the World of Abbey Ales

Belgian beers have long been celebrated for their rich history, complex flavors, and high content. Among the various styles of Belgian beers, the Quadrupel stands out as a true heavyweight in terms of both taste and potency. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating world of Belgian Quadrupel beers, exploring their origins, characteristics, and why they have become a favorite among enthusiasts worldwide.

Origins and History:

The Quadrupel style of beer originated in Belgian monastic breweries, specifically Abbey Ales. These ales were traditionally brewed by Trappist monks, who followed strict traditions passed down through generations. The first Quadrupel was brewed by the Trappist Abbey of Westvleteren in Belgium, known for producing some of the most sought-after and revered beers in the world.


Belgian Quadrupels are known for their deep amber to dark brown color, which is a result of the rich used in the brewing process. The aroma is often complex, with fruity notes that can range from raisins and plums to cherries and figs. The malt-forward flavor profile is dominated by caramel, dark sugar, and sweet malts, providing a rich and indulgent experience for the taste buds.

Alcohol Content:

One characteristic that sets the Quadrupel apart from other beer styles is its high alcohol content. With ABV ranging from 7.2% to a staggering 11.2%, these beers pack a punch. The high alcohol presence is quite noticeable in the taste, adding warmth and depth to the drinking experience. It's important to note that the alcohol content should be consumed responsibly, as the high ABV can catch even seasoned beer drinkers off guard.

Food Pairings:

Belgian Quadrupels are known for their versatility when it comes to food pairings. The rich and complex flavors make them an excellent accompaniment to a wide range of dishes. They pair particularly well with strong and bold flavors such as aged cheeses, roasted meats, and dark chocolate. The sweetness and malty character of the beer help to balance out the richness of these foods, creating a harmonious combination.

Notable Examples:

One of the most well-known and sought-after Belgian Quadrupels is the Westvleteren 12, brewed by the Trappist Abbey of Westvleteren. This beer is often considered one of the best in the world, with its complex flavors and exceptional craftsmanship. However, it is notoriously difficult to obtain due to limited availability and strict purchasing restrictions.

Another notable example is the St. Bernardus Abt 12, brewed by the St. Bernardus Brewery. This beer is often praised for its balanced flavors, with a perfect combination of sweetness, maltiness, and fruitiness.

In recent years, craft breweries around the world have also started producing their own versions of Quadrupel beers, adding their own unique twists and interpretations to the style.

Belgian Quadrupel beers offer a truly exceptional drinking experience for those who appreciate complex flavors and a higher alcohol content. With their rich history, unique characteristics, and versatility in food pairings, it's no wonder why these beers have gained a loyal following among beer enthusiasts. Whether you're a seasoned beer connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of Belgian beers, a Quadrupel is definitely worth a try. Cheers!

belgian quadrupel

What Is Belgian Quadrupel?

A Belgian Quadrupel is a type of beer that originated in Belgium. It is known for its amber to dark brown color, which gives it a rich and inviting appearance. The flavors of a Quadrupel are characterized by caramel, dark sugar, and malty sweetness, creating a complex and indulgent taste profile.

One of the defining features of a Quadrupel is its relatively high alcohol content, typically ranging from 8% to 12% ABV (alcohol by volume). Despite its strong alcoholic strength, Quadrupels have a surprisingly light body, which adds to their drinkability and makes them a favorite among beer enthusiasts.

In terms of bitterness, Quadrupels generally have a medium-low to medium-high hop bitterness. This helps to balance out the sweetness of the malt and sugar flavors, creating a harmonious and well-rounded taste experience.

To summarize, here are the key characteristics of a Belgian Quadrupel:

– Amber to dark brown color
– Caramel, dark sugar, and malty sweet flavors
– Relatively light body for its high alcohol content
– Medium-low to medium-high hop bitterness

Quadrupels are a popular choice for those who enjoy rich, complex beers with a touch of sweetness. They are often enjoyed as sipping beers, meant to be savored and appreciated for their intricate flavors.

What Does Quadrupel Mean In Beer?

In the context of beer, the term “quadrupel” refers to a specific style of beer that is characterized by its high alcohol content and rich flavors. Quadrupel is often considered the strongest and most intense version of Belgian-style ales.

Here are some key details about quadrupel beer:

1. Alcohol Content: Quadrupels typically have a higher alcohol content compared to other beer styles. They generally range from 9% to 11% ABV (alcohol by volume), making them quite potent.

2. Color and Appearance: Quadrupels can vary in color, but they often exhibit deep amber, brown, or even dark red hues. The beer may appear slightly hazy or cloudy, with a thick and creamy head.

3. Flavors and Aromas: Quadrupels are known for their complex and rich flavors. They often feature notes of dark fruits like raisins, plums, and figs, along with hints of caramel, toffee, and molasses. The beer may also exhibit spicy and yeasty characteristics, with subtle undertones of alcohol warmth.

4. Malt and Hop Profile: Quadrupels have a robust malt backbone, providing a sweet and malty taste. The use of specialty malts contributes to the beer's caramel-like flavors. While are used in the brewing process, they generally take a backseat to the malt flavors, resulting in a balanced bitterness.

5. Body and Mouthfeel: Quadrupels tend to have a full-bodied and smooth mouthfeel. The beer can be quite rich and viscous, offering a luxurious drinking experience.

6. Serving and Pairing: Quadrupels are often enjoyed in smaller quantities due to their higher alcohol content. They are best served in a tulip-shaped glass to enhance aroma and preserve the foam. As for food pairings, quadrupels complement well with rich and hearty dishes such as roasted meats, stews, strong cheeses, and dark chocolate desserts.

Quadrupel beers are strong and flavorful Belgian-style ales with a higher alcohol content. They boast a range of complex flavors, showcasing dark fruits, caramel, and spice. With their rich and full-bodied nature, quadrupels are a treat for beer enthusiasts seeking a robust and intense drinking experience.


The Belgian-style Quadrupel is a rich and complex beer that offers a unique drinking experience. With its amber to dark brown color and caramel, dark sugar, and malty sweet flavors, it delivers a delightful combination of sweetness and bitterness.

The quadrupel is known for its relatively light body compared to its high alcohol content, making it both enjoyable and potent. Ranging from 7.2% to 11.2% ABV, these beers pack a punch and the alcohol presence is quite noticeable.

Not only are quads flavorful, but they also offer a wide range of aromas, often featuring complex fruity notes. This adds another layer of depth to the already intricate taste profile.

If you're a fan of strong, full-bodied beers, Belgian quadrupels are definitely worth exploring. Their high alcohol content and rich flavors make them a favorite among beer enthusiasts looking for a unique and indulgent experience.

So, next time you're in the mood for a truly special beer, consider reaching for a Belgian quadrupel. With its captivating blend of sweetness, bitterness, and complexity, it's sure to satisfy even the most discerning palates. Cheers!

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Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.