Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle spotlights the brews we're sipping, one by one.
Sometimes complex beers can be created with deceptively simple malt bills. The Stoic, Deschutes Brewery's latest installment in its Reserve Series, is brewed using only German Pilsner malt. Instead of relying on grains for character and depth, the Belgian-style Quadrupel gains its intricacies from four fermentations and multiple sugar additions, as well as the time some of the beer spent aging in Pinot Noir barrels and rye whiskey barrels.
The Stoic pours a bright copper with a fleeting head. An inviting mix of candi sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla open in the aroma, along with hints of the rye barrel spiciness and the Belgian yeast's banana, pepper, and clove. Much of the aroma is present and more pronounced in the beer's flavor, joined by cherry and vinous notes. We did notice that The Stoic lacks some of the rich dark fruit characters—think figs and plums—found in many quads, but instead displays brighter alternatives. The addition of pomegranate molasses provides a rush of tart and sweet fruitiness that runs from first sip to finish. Time in barrels has done much to sand down any brasher alcoholic edges, but there's no disguising 11% ABV. The warming booziness lingers after swallowing, which is about the time the barrel flavor emerges with only a light oak tannin.
This beer would be terrific with braised short ribs or duck and equally brilliant with a fruit tart and fresh cream.
Sample provided for review.
More Belgian-Style Brews
Belgian Dark Strong Ales from American Breweries »
American-Brewed Saisons »
Our 10 Favorite Beers from Ommegang's Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2011 »
Homebrewing: Belgian Tripel »
Belgian Dubbels and American-Brewed Dubbels »
Tasting Belgian Fruit Lambic »
Mostly Sour American Fruit Beers »