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Belgian beer styles
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    This discussion was created from comments split from: Need Help Brewing Beer?.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    while I notice a difference in taste between a Dubbel and a Dark Strong, and have even noticed some differences between a Dark Strong and a "Quad" (could just be difference in what the brand/company used) - if someone would be so polite as to lay it out there, what the difference in the grain bill and sugar combos should be, when making each - that would be helpful. I'd like to know what really separates a Dubbel from a BDS - let's say if someone was asking me to describe one vs. the other.

    Also - I'm confused as to exactly what a Quad is vs. a Dark Strong - are we talking strictly ABV - because I think those two would be pretty similar? Or, are we talking a different flavor profile between the two? Any slight similarities or differences other than ABV strength and obvious multiplying / dividing of amounts would be appreciated. I like them all, but there is a gap for me in understanding a true difference outside of just the numbers. Hope that request makes sense. I've heard a Dubbel described as "The little brother of a BDS" and I've heard that a Quad is just an Americanized version of a BDS. Let me know if this is or isn't right, and if it is all just about perspective.

    Thanks in advance!
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    A quad and a BDS are just different names for typically the same thing. Though a quad could, also, be made in a lighter srm and therefore just be a belgian strong ale. Differences in taste between a dark quad and a bds are just the variations on a style you would find in any bjcp classification. I need to double check the latest edition, but I don't believe quadruple is actually listed anywhere and is simply used as a branding mechanism for many beers that fall into the belgian strong ale classification. This is in contrast to the equatability of the imperial ipa and double ipa monikers, which is actually described in the bjcp.

    The terms double and quadruple have a rough correlation to abv, as do the abt (10, 12,etc) descriptors and probably more closely relate to the equis mark designations, which can be described as

    X- small beer
    XX - table, or traditional beer
    XXX - large beer
    And sometimes
    XXXX - fortified beer

    These descriptions also have roots in partigyle brewing, in which XXX is a beer made from the first runnings of a wort, XX the second and X the third. A XXXX was therefore a XXX beer which had been fortified with some additional fermantable sugars.

    Hope that helps
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • scoobscoob
    Posts: 16,617
    Thanks lake, I just learned something!

    I always figured a quad and a bdsa were different mostly by srm the lighter ones being quads, and darker ones obviously being the bdsa but I am questioning now
    Jesus didn't wear pants
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    I just checked, trappist quadrupel is actually listed under Belgian Specialty Ale 16E, as one of the many styles which are representative of the classification, with Dubbel and Tripel being listed as separate subcategories along side Belgian Dark Strong, under category 18 Begian Strong. Likely if Quadrupel were given full standing as a sub classification it would stand next to BDS, though I would find the distinction difficult to draw.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    Thanks Lakewood. I was searching for Quad reviews on You Tube at the same time to hear tasting and aroma notes versus my experiences drinking them and a BDS - it seems like the Quads were closer to Dubbel in color (14-17 SRM) and that the Quad was a way to draw those purposefully seeking out stronger brews that might not have known what a BDS is.

    Also, if brewery has a Dubbel in the lineup, it is obviously the higher ABV of the two. The other difference I am hearing about is that people are identifying Quads as being maltier, not as boozy as a BDS, and even more about the dark fruit, and not as inclusive as the BDS - where you see people adding the caramel malts.

    In general - sounds like a BDS can be a Dubbel up through a Quad, but don't call a Quad something similar to a Dubbel in terms of ABV strength, and expect double digit ABV.

    I could be wrong, but, those are the differences I'm boiling it down to based on what I'm reviewing.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,492
    From my understanding ..... a Quad will typically be a bit lighter in color ... and have a slightly higher gravity than a bds ... the biggest difference however, is that a cleaner yeast should be used .... the esters and phenols should be much more restrained, and not play such a primary role in the overall flavor profile

    CZs
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,492
    There is a lot of overlap between the two styles .... just as there is between a Golden Strong and a Tripple ....
    Interesting that none of these styles existed prior to WWII .... and it may be because of that .....
    The Dubbel has been around since the middle ages....
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    ceannt said:

    There is a lot of overlap between the two styles .... just as there is between a Golden Strong and a Tripple ....
    Interesting that none of these styles existed prior to WWII .... and it may be because of that .....
    The Dubbel has been around since the middle ages....



    the emergence of brews in certain time periods, ingredients and methods used, and how certain styles changed and blended with others, and maybe even due to displacement (war, other events), geographic reorganizing of countries and immigration is all fascinating - if someone did like a History Channel WW-2 like set of encyclopedias, except for beer, I would shell out a good bit for that kind of pain-staking detail - you can tell me if this already exists, obviously besides the usual style guidelines and the "Brew this style" kind of book

    History Channel Presents: "The BDS: A Hundred Years of History" lol - you get the idea though
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    CZs said:

    ceannt said:

    There is a lot of overlap between the two styles .... just as there is between a Golden Strong and a Tripple ....
    Interesting that none of these styles existed prior to WWII .... and it may be because of that .....
    The Dubbel has been around since the middle ages....



    the emergence of brews in certain time periods, ingredients and methods used, and how certain styles changed and blended with others, and maybe even due to displacement (war, other events), geographic reorganizing of countries and immigration is all fascinating - if someone did like a History Channel WW-2 like set of encyclopedias, except for beer, I would shell out a good bit for that kind of pain-staking detail - you can tell me if this already exists, obviously besides the usual style guidelines and the "Brew this style" kind of book

    History Channel Presents: "The BDS: A Hundred Years of History" lol - you get the idea though


    I love this idea
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,492
    Let's do it!!!!
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    ceannt said:

    From my understanding ..... a Quad will typically be a bit lighter in color ... and have a slightly higher gravity than a bds ... the biggest difference however, is that a cleaner yeast should be used .... the esters and phenols should be much more restrained, and not play such a primary role in the overall flavor profile



    While I agree those generalizations may hold true in many cases, I've seen a lot of cases where it doesn't.

    Good news is, they are almost all terrific beers.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • ceanntceannt
    Posts: 48,492
    Lakewood said:

    ceannt said:

    From my understanding ..... a Quad will typically be a bit lighter in color ... and have a slightly higher gravity than a bds ... the biggest difference however, is that a cleaner yeast should be used .... the esters and phenols should be much more restrained, and not play such a primary role in the overall flavor profile



    While I agree those generalizations may hold true in many cases, I've seen a lot of cases where it doesn't.

    Good news is, they are almost all terrific beers.

    I agree ... lots of overlap ... and lots of good beer
    In wine there is wisdom.
    In beer there is freedom.
    In water there is bacteria.
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    actually sounds like a feasible marketing/business master's thesis

    Anyways - to further my understanding of Quad, I carefully selected one at my favorite beer stop. Anyone ever drink Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel? My opinion is that if you sit it down next to a Chimay GR or a Rochefort 10, you may see some differences. It's kind of hard not to be a little biased when experimenting because of what we've discussed and have researched. Ah well, the great thing is, I had a great quad last night!

    The Straffe Hendrik Quad is a dark brown brew with a ruby hue to it. Right away I feel like this is thicker than the Chimay GR or Rochefort 10 - I just taste dark fruit sweetness and nothing else. As this warms up, the only other characteristic I get is chocolate. I don't get any toasty caramel flavors and there isn't a warming alcohol characteristic. Pretty good, but sweet beer. If there is a difference between the Quad and a BDS - this would be the one to drink I think - probably just lucked out that this brew was on the sweeter end. I do have to disagree with some reviewers out there - I don't get the roasty, toasty, coffee, caramel complexity I get a lot from BDSs I mention - but, could just be my taste buds. I purposefully picked this because it came from Belgium and was trying to stay away from the "See, Quad - it's an American v. Belgian thing."
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    CZs said:

    actually sounds like a feasible marketing/business master's thesis

    Anyways - to further my understanding of Quad, I carefully selected one at my favorite beer stop. Anyone ever drink Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel? My opinion is that if you sit it down next to a Chimay GR or a Rochefort 10, you may see some differences. It's kind of hard not to be a little biased when experimenting because of what we've discussed and have researched. Ah well, the great thing is, I had a great quad last night!

    The Straffe Hendrik Quad is a dark brown brew with a ruby hue to it. Right away I feel like this is thicker than the Chimay GR or Rochefort 10 - I just taste dark fruit sweetness and nothing else. As this warms up, the only other characteristic I get is chocolate. I don't get any toasty caramel flavors and there isn't a warming alcohol characteristic. Pretty good, but sweet beer. If there is a difference between the Quad and a BDS - this would be the one to drink I think - probably just lucked out that this brew was on the sweeter end. I do have to disagree with some reviewers out there - I don't get the roasty, toasty, coffee, caramel complexity I get a lot from BDSs I mention - but, could just be my taste buds. I purposefully picked this because it came from Belgium and was trying to stay away from the "See, Quad - it's an American v. Belgian thing."



    Thanks for the additional feedback. I think you are on the right track as far as how to really understand the styles. I'll submit that a sample size of one is insufficient to be statistically significant. Given your interest in the potential for a recognized study, I recommend sampling sufficently such that you can have single variate confidence of greater the 60% using student t distribution.

    Ie. Get really, really drunk on some really really good, strong beer.

    CZs
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny
  • CZsCZs
    Posts: 228
    Lakewood said:

    CZs said:

    actually sounds like a feasible marketing/business master's thesis

    Anyways - to further my understanding of Quad, I carefully selected one at my favorite beer stop. Anyone ever drink Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel? My opinion is that if you sit it down next to a Chimay GR or a Rochefort 10, you may see some differences. It's kind of hard not to be a little biased when experimenting because of what we've discussed and have researched. Ah well, the great thing is, I had a great quad last night!

    The Straffe Hendrik Quad is a dark brown brew with a ruby hue to it. Right away I feel like this is thicker than the Chimay GR or Rochefort 10 - I just taste dark fruit sweetness and nothing else. As this warms up, the only other characteristic I get is chocolate. I don't get any toasty caramel flavors and there isn't a warming alcohol characteristic. Pretty good, but sweet beer. If there is a difference between the Quad and a BDS - this would be the one to drink I think - probably just lucked out that this brew was on the sweeter end. I do have to disagree with some reviewers out there - I don't get the roasty, toasty, coffee, caramel complexity I get a lot from BDSs I mention - but, could just be my taste buds. I purposefully picked this because it came from Belgium and was trying to stay away from the "See, Quad - it's an American v. Belgian thing."



    Thanks for the additional feedback. I think you are on the right track as far as how to really understand the styles. I'll submit that a sample size of one is insufficient to be statistically significant. Given your interest in the potential for a recognized study, I recommend sampling sufficently such that you can have single variate confidence of greater the 60% using student t distribution.

    Ie. Get really, really drunk on some really really good, strong beer.


    Haha - I will get on it as soon as I can shove life aside for a day or two! My tolerance is way up, so, I could be in for a weekend of recovery lol
  • ThymThym
    Posts: 103,819
    This deserves a live webcast.
    The only thing between me and a train wreck is blind luck..... - Kenny