Opening in 2011 and named after the neighborhood that the brewery is located in, Deep Ellum Brewing Co. has embraced the area once known for being the home of one of Henry Ford’s automobile plants and a hotbed of jazz and blues musicians in the early 1920s.

They have made a foothold in the craft beer industry with some of their offerings that include Dallas Blonde Ale, Deep Ellum IPA and Double Brown Stout. In 2013, Four Swords Belgian ale was released and to much excitement, this year a barrel-aged version of the original was added, having being aged in cabernet wine barrels from Calais Winery.

Deep Ellum Four Swords Cabernet Barrel Aged bottle

That is today’s offering, a one-year-old Belgian quad that has been sitting and maturing in oak wine barrels for over a year, ready to be consumed, ready to be savored.

Poured from a 22-ounce bottle with no visible bottled on or drink by date, except for the 2015 that is on the front of the bottle, I pour and anticipate this beer that has been sitting in a dark, cool oak barrel for what must have seemed like an eternity, waiting to release its flavors and aromas to the craft-loving consumer.

As the quad flows from the bottle, I immediately get aromas of red wine and overripe fruits. The color is a beautiful deep reddish-auburn and lays beneath a slightly pink and khaki head with chunky and clingy lacing holding on as best it can. I take another nose full and get big sweetness, plum, light vanilla and a touch of damp leather.

I let the beer settle for a moment and take my first taste, which releases touches of grape must, raisins, dark figs, prunes, light oak, brown sugar and toffee. I get a little red wine feel on the palate as I drink, bringing forth an acidic, tannic feel with a backdrop of sweetness and yeast.

Deep Ellum Four Swords Cabernet Barrel Aged

The carbonation is medium and the mouthfeel is slightly dry and oaky. The alcohol is hidden quite well and only peeks its head out after the beer has warmed quite a bit. There is still an overpowering sweetness that tries to take away from the other nuances and causes the balance to be a little askew. Overall, I pick up quite a bit of the red wine residuals and  they are enjoyed throughout.

Deep Ellum Four Swords Cabernet Barrel Aged
BREWERY: Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Dallas, Texas
STYLE: Belgian Quadrupel
ABV: 10.5 percent
IBU: 44
PRICE: $17.99
RELEASE DATE: 2015
AVAILABLE IN: 22-ounce bottles
BEERS POURED: One
The red wine barrels give this quad a nice tannic, dry and sweet flavor. Unfortunately, the sweetness dominates and overpowers the quality of the quad and causes the balance to be a little off. While the alcohol is well hidden and this beer would probably benefit with a little more time in the bottle.
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