The Belgian quad is a style that when done right can be out of this world amazing. When executed poorly it can be a cloying boozy mess. While most of my favorite examples of the style seem to come from Belgium I have had several American offerings that are also quite enjoyable and many that were far from it. This week’s review is a can of Old Mose from Martin House Brewing out of Fort Worth Texas. Old Mose is a Belgian style quadrupel brewed with figs and plums, the beer was then aged in red wine barrels for five months.
When you add the phrase, barrel aged and quad in the same sentence you have my attention. This beer comes in at a whopping 13.3 percent ABV and is served in a 12-ounce can, both of which score extra points in my book.
Old Mose pours a dark muddy brown with copper edges when held to the light. A thin cola-colored head forms with the pour and dissipates within seconds. It is not the most attractive beer but I generally don’t expect much in that department when it comes to a quadrupel. As one would expect from not only the style, but also the added ingredients in the beer, the first thing I get when I bury my nose in the glass is a big dark fruit character. Raisins, plums and figs dominate the bouquet along with notes of molasses and toffee are big players as well. There is also a heavy boozy alcohol presence coming from this beast of a beer. Thanks to the time aged in red wine barrels there is also a big red wine grape character that adds a layer to the very enjoyable aroma.
My first sip brings more of the same with loads of boozy raisins, a surprising amount of red wine and the residual caramel-like sweetness one would expect from a quad. I also get a sharp alcohol bite halfway through the sip that lingers into the finish. While the ABV does slap me a bit hard as I swallow it does fade into the finish where the figs and plums return to stick around a while. While I am enjoying the beer, I do find the barrel aging to be a bit off. It presents more like red wine poured into a beer rather than a beer laid to rest in a red wine barrel. This could be due to the size of the base beer combined with the shortened amount of time in the barrel but I would still expect a little hint of oak in the finished product.