Boulevard Brewing Co.
Kansas City, MO
The Sixth Glass Belgian-style Quadrupel
I’ve made it clear that Boulevard is one of the breweries I want to see distributed in South Carolina the most. Every one of their beers I’ve had has been consistently solid, from their year-round products to their rarer offerings. (And, after trying Rye-on-Rye at a recent tasting, my opinion has been solidified ever further.)
But it’s their Smokestack Series that really gets me. Until recently, I’d tried every one in the series – Long Strange Tripel, Tank 7, Dark Truth and Double-Wide – but the most highly touted was The Sixth Glass, Boulveard’s Belgian-style quad. Clocking in at 10.5%, dextrose, brown sugar, dark brown sugar and dark candi syrup are added to a somewhat simplistic malt and hop profile to create “a deep and mysterious libation,” as the website’s description says.
First, I really have to compliment how gorgeous of a beer Sixth Glass is. It’s topped with a massive, foamy head made up of tight bubbles that subside quickly, but never really settle. It’s like there’s a constant half a finger worth of bubbles continuously on top of it. The color is a translucent amber and ruby red with hints of rust and plum in it. Just enough light gets through for you to see how beautiful the colors are.
The nose was surprisingly flat. As with any good quad, there are notes of figs, plums, raisins, toffee, caramel and candied sugar. There’s that thick sweet blend of Belgian yeast, malts and sugar, but nothing really popped on the nose for me.
But the taste? As Magnitude says best, pop pop! That bite of carbonation on the front is a nice bit of foreplay. It continues throughout the mouth as any good Belgian-style beer is wont to do. In the middle of the mouth are big flavors of grape, candied sugar, caramel, bananas and plums. All of those flavors mingle together and linger on the finish, but what’s surprising about the end result is that it’s not overly syrupy or heavy. It’s light, and if anything a bit dry. That sort of zaps the punch of the flavors out a bit, but in a good way. It’s a very sweet quad but in the end manages to keep itself from being too overpowering. It’s a nice break from a lot of quads, which have that syrup flavor linger on the end.
Any quad worth drinking manages to still be big and flavorful but keep everything balanced and in check. Westy 12 does it, as does Straffe Hendrik and Rochefort, and of course the Belgians know how to do it. But for an American quad, The Sixth Glass is one of the best I’ve had. It’s big on flavors, but that dry finish adds a unique touch and one that certainly makes it worth the hype.