the nose: in this bottle it was hard, and nearly impossible to miss: grape runts. As if someone had taken a bottle of water and a package of runts and thought it’d make great babies. There was also acid and low funk – like fleeting wafts mixed with of lots of very “dark cherry.” After an hour or more, it started warming up to “spicy medicine,” a boozy version of what we took as kids.
the palate: As it hits, it’s oak and a “buttery” sort of slick texture. Brett/cherry funk play up more and not the grape. It’s quite, quite dry for something that held a high starting gravity. It’s low “slickness” makes for an interesting drink, and a lot of the complexity in mid/late palate. Mild oak/vanilla with roast is the far back palate. Meandering splashes of coffee feels like your chasing tastes. There is a light “grape” taste and malt is nonexistent – thanks to the brett. My thoughts on how it came to be is this: oak, dark malts, brett all dry out, fruit up and mix to create this flavor. It’s not ‘bad’ but it can be ‘off’.
The result: 7.5/10 – still a favorite, even though in many ways it’s lost a lot about what I initially loved about it. Lis still loves it, Travis still loves it. B Hall’s wife seemingly liked it. It’s not bad, just marred.
Dekkra on Plums
the nose: “the grape runt” flavor is still there but is much more subtle. This version is analogous to macerated plums. It’s got smells less acidic, even quite sweet, like a bag of candied plums. There is also an interesting floral note floating around in there.
the palate: much more tart, and residual sweetness – both do so well it makes my mouth water. The roast is nearly non-existent/faded; oddly enough it’s much cleaner, less complex. Really nice to drink. No oak, MAYBE vanilla, and more carbonation. The acidity and plum push out A LOT of the “grape” – or maybe the plum compliments the profile? It’s got a very lightly roasted coffee flavor hidden deep in the aftertaste. Sipping makes it almost candy-like, but no over-sweetened. This version is seemingly better and more “rounded.”
the result: 8.5/10 – easily something I’d bring out for a friend’s visit or as a treat to myself along a year. I’ll be going through these much more slowly. I’d like to see how the plums, and flavors age together.
the takeaway: No brett. Yes plums. No oak. Yes age. No bulk aging. Yes high gravity. No rye. I think I have a soft spot for this beer. I love it even though I can’t really figure out why. It sounds insane, but I’m not alone on it. So it’s not a Quad – at all. Okay so I don’t know shit about style. That may be obvious by now – and maybe that is part of my problem. I tried to make this beer a handful of things instead of what it was supposed to be: a great quad that had gusto. I grew out it’s hair, let it stay out late and didn’t treat it right. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love it any less. I will, for sure, be brewing this again; about a month or so before plum season and adding a decent helping of plums. The dark malty belgian flavors played so well with plum that I’m hooked. If I were to wager, I’d guess I’d make a split batch with half being just the base. My problem isn’t keeping the grain bill simple, it’s keeping everything after simple and the Dekkra series one was a perfect example of that. This time it’ll be ready for fall when that time comes – a brew calendar and the beer doc are working in conjunction to make a happy 2015.