Belgian Quadrupel

Belgian Quadrupel and Hops Suitable for Crafting a Brew that Hops to It

Reading Time: around 12 min

Belgian Quadrupel is the heavyweight champion in the world of beers. And if you’re aiming to brew one, you’ll want to get cozy with the right hops varieties. 

This beer style packs a punch with its high alcohol content, typically north of 10% ABV, and offers a complexity. The one that can light up a sensory fireworks show in your mouth. 

Its richness is akin to the plot of a Victorian novel. Its flavor profile spans from sweet to spicy.

It’s no wonder it’s earned a spot in the hearts of beer enthusiasts.

Let’s talk hops. 

While you might think that hops are just the loud neighbor in the beer community, always stealing the show in IPAs, they can also play a more refined role. In a Belgian Quad, they’re like that one friend who knows how to accessorize but doesn’t overdo it. 

You’ll want to look for hop varieties that bring subtle bitterness, earthy, herbal or floral notes.

And can harmonize with the malt’s sweetness and the yeast’s fruity esters. Often, hops like Styrian Golding or East Kent Golding are the go-to for Quad brewers…

…looking for that perfect blend of tradition and taste.

Key Takeaways

  • Belgian Quadrupel is a strong, flavorful beer that is both sweet and complex.
  • Choosing the right hops for a Quad requires a balance of subtlety and flavor that complements the malt and yeast.
  • Ideal hops varieties for Belgian Quads often include Styrian Golding or East Kent Golding for the perfect flavor harmony.


History and Origin

Before we dive into the hoppy deep end, let’s take a quick tour back in time to where it all began for the Belgian Quadrupel. Trust me, knowing the roots of this boozy giant will make your next sip that much sweeter.

Trappist Monasteries and Brewing

Monks have been the crafty brewmasters since the 1600s. Where within the serene walls of Trappist monasteries they forged what you now know as Belgian beer. 

These holy men weren’t just about chants and serenity.

They perfected the art of brewing with a heavenly touch. 

Just imagine, each sip of a Trappist beer recapturing centuries of devotion.

It’s like a high-five from history in a glass!

Evolution of the Belgian Quadrupel

Now, put on your beer goggles and witness the hierarchy of Trappist ales. The beer journey starts with the mild enkel and escalates to the flavorful dubbel. Then, it hop-scotches to the stronger tripel before finally reaching the zenith. 

Quadrupel or ‘quad’ if you want to keep it cool.

This is the big brother, loaded with complex flavors. And it didn’t just stumble out of a monastery keg. This ale is a refined evolution of Belgian ingenuity.

Notable Quadrupels

Let me drop some names that will make any beer nerd nod in solemn respect. Abt 12, Three Philosophers, and The Sixth Glass. These aren’t just fancy words on a label. 

They’re the titans of the quadrupel style. Each a tapestry of rich malts, dark fruits, and that signature boozy warmth. So, next time you’re holding one, remember you’re gripping a legend.

Influence of Belgian Culture on Quadrupel

You can’t talk quads without tipping your hat to Belgian culture. From the cobblestone streets to the abbey arches, there’s a reason this beer style is steeped in tradition. 

It cracks the whip on your taste buds with a Belgian yeast strain that’s more cultured than a French novelist. That’s right, you’re not just enjoying a beer, you’re indulging in a liquid slice of Belgian heritage. 

Cheers to that, my friend!

Characteristics of Belgian Quadrupel

Let’s raise a toast to one of the boldest, you might say the ‘Hercules’ of the beer world. The Belgian Quadrupel. Now, buckle up because you’re about to dive into its rich tapestry of aromas and flavors.

Main Characteristics

  • Hoppy aromas: Earthiness, Herbal, Spicy, Floral, Noble
  • Malty aromas: Dark Fruit, Caramel, Molasses, Chocolate, Toffee
  • IBU bitterness: 25 to 50
  • Alcohol level: 9.1% to 14.2% ABV
  • SRM color range: 8 to 36
Belgian Quadrupel - graphic summary

Aroma Profile

When you take a whiff of a Belgian Quad, your nose is in for a wild ride. You’ll be greeted by a potent mix of dark fruit, envision plums and figs doing the tango. 

With a backup band of raisins and figs playing the sax. 

Then, caramel and chocolate notes chime in like the smooth talkers at a jazz club. While spicy phenols add a dash of mystery. Think a spicy whisper that tickles your intrigue.

Flavor and Complexities

Your taste buds won’t know what hit them. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet of complexities.

Bold flavor profile? Check. 

You’ve got luscious fruit notes. Imagine raisins and dates slow dancing on your palate. 

Then the sweet serenade of candi sugar joins in, only to be rounded out by the grainy charms of malt. And don’t forget those spices. They’re like the life of the party without stealing the limelight.

Appearance and Color

The Belgian Quad struts into the room, flaunting its deep amber to coppery-brown hues. In SRM terms that’s 8 to 36. Hold it up to the light, and you’ll see it’s darker than a moonless night. 

Yet radiating a warm, inviting glow that says:

“Come hither, and admire my beauty.”

Texture and Mouthfeel

Imagine your mouth wrapped in a velvet robe. That’s what sipping a Belgian Quad feels like. This brew is all about the smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a body fuller than a harvest moon. 

And the carbonation? It’s just sprightly enough to whisper a fizzy secret across your tongue. Completing the experience with a cheeky tickle.

So, when it comes to Quadrupel, you’re not just drinking a beer

You’re embarking on a sensory holy odyssey. 🍻

Guide to Hops Varieties for Belgian Quadrupel

Hop right in. Choosing the perfect hops for your Belgian Quadrupel is crucial. It helps you achieve the complex, rich flavor profile you’re after. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

And by power, I mean hop bitterness.

Bittering Hops Characteristics

First up, let’s tackle bittering hops. Your Belgian Quad isn’t a hop bomb, but it still needs backbone. Aim for clean bitterness to support, not overshadow, the malt sweetness. 

You’ll want hops that contribute to the International Bitterness Units (IBUs) without making it feel like you’re chewing on a pine cone.

  • Choose hops with moderate alpha acids, around 8-11%. Too high and you’re in palate-wreck territory.
  • Noble hops are your secret weapon here. Think Hallertauer Mittelfrüh or Tettnang. They’re like the trustworthy friends who never let you down.
  • Keep the IBU range between 25-50. This isn’t a race for the highest number. It’s a balancing act.


Aroma Hops Selection

Now, for the sniff test. Aroma hops in a Quad play a supporting role. 

Think best supporting actor, not the star of the show.

  • You’re aiming for subtle whispers of spiciness and fruitiness, not a fruit market explosion.
  • Saaz hops can give you that subtle spicy kick like a nudge from a mischievous friend.
  • For a hint of dark fruit character, try Green Bullets. They’re like a secret ingredient in a family recipe. Barely noticeable but making all the difference.
  • Use aroma hops sparingly in the last 5-10 minutes of the boil. Or during dry hopping, to capture their essence without going overboard. It’s like adding a dash of mystery to your brew.


Hopping Stages and Amounts

Ready to brew a Quadrupel that’s so rich and dark, it makes midnight look like noon? This is the Herculean heavyweight of the beer world, where the malt is the star and the hops are the best supporting actors.

Now, when it comes to hops for your Quad, we’re not looking to steal the spotlight from those yeasty-malty maestros. We want just enough hop presence to whisper, “I’m here,” without actually waking the neighbors.

Let’s dive into the hop cauldron, shall we?

For a classic Quadrupel, we’re going to cozy up with the noble hops again.

Think of them like the butlers of Downton Abbey – discreet and efficient.

Grab yourself some East Kent Goldings, because we’re all about that noble British charm. You’ll need about 1 ounce, maybe 1.25. Toss these genteel little fellows into the boil at the start. They’re there to lay down a foundation as sturdy as a British stiff upper lip.

As for the brewing stages, it’s all about the early game. Add your East Kent Goldings at the beginning of the boil and let them do their thing for the full duration. They’ll impart a gentle bitterness to balance that malt sweetness.

Like a sprinkle of salt on caramel.

And that’s it! No need for late additions or dry hopping shenanigans. The Quadrupel is a showcase of yeast and malt goodness, with the hops taking a back seat, content to enjoy the ride.

Brewing Techniques

Get ready to dive into the arcane art of Belgian Quadrupel brewing. Where the right technique makes the difference between a masterpiece and a meh-sterpiece.

Ingredients and Selection

You’ll begin by handpicking the creme de la creme of ingredients like a master chef on a cooking show. Your malt needs to be as rich and complex as a Belgian chocolatier’s secret stash.

And the hops? Think subtle. Less is more, my friend. 

We’re not crafting a bitter bomb here.

We’re painting aromas and flavors with a light touch.


  • Base malt: A hefty amount for a high original gravity
  • Specialty malts: Add layers of dark fruit and caramel tones



  • Bittering hops: Choose varieties that complement without overpowering (e.g., Magnum)
  • Aroma hops: Sparingly used, just enough to say, “I’m here too.”



  • Candi sugar: Boosts alcohol content without making the beer too heavy
  • Water: Quality water, because even beer is picky when it comes to hydration
Belgian Quadrupel Food Pairing

The Brewing Process

Now, you’re the sorcerer of the cauldron. Temperature control is your wand. Precision is your spell. Start with a mash that’s thicker than a fantasy novel plot. And temperatures higher than my last electricity bill. Aiming for a mash-out as smooth as a jazz solo.

Key Points:

  • Mash temperature: Aim for around 148°F to 158°F to extract those sugary melodies
  • Boil: The magic continues for about 90 minutes. Long enough to thwart any would-be beer spoilers


Fermentation and Yeast

Pour your heart, soul, and, most importantly, yeasty little friends into the primary fermenter. 

Remember, Belgian yeast strain isn’t just any yeast. It’s as discerning as a cat in a room full of antiques. They’ll produce those fruity esters and spicy phenols that make your Belgian Quad sing an aromatic opera.

  • Yeast: A hero in the form of a Belgian yeast strain, ready to withstand high alcohol warfare
  • Temperature: Keep it warm, but don’t let the yeast throw a tropical tantrum. Aim for 68-78°F
  • Gravity: Keep the original gravity (OG) between 1.084 and 1.120 and final gravity between 1.014 and 1.020


Aging and Maturation

Patience is a virtue, and nowhere is it truer than in aging your Belgian brainchild. An extended maturation period lets the complex character develop, smoother than a silk robe and richer than a tech mogul.


  • Time: Age it longer than it takes me to decide on a Netflix show
  • Storage: Keep it cool, dark, and as undisturbed as a hibernating bear


By following these steps, you’ll pour a glass of Belgian Quadrupel so divine, it’ll deserve a standing ovation with every sip. Cheers to your brewing success! 🍻

Food Pairing and Serving

Cracking open a Belgian Quadrupel is like unlocking a treasure chest of deep, rich flavors. 

But, what to munch on while savoring this elixir? Let me give you the rundown.

Ideal Foods to Complement a Quad


  • Bold and Savory: Think big, like your Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving. Pair your Quad with roasted meats like beef or lamb that stand up to the beer’s intensity.
  • Game: Smoked duck or venison? Your Quad’s calling shotgun with these flavors.


Cheese: Strong cheeses are your Quad’s soulmates. Aged Gouda, blue cheese, or that funkier-than-a-disco-ball Roquefort. They’ll tango beautifully with the complex beer profile.

Chocolate & Fruits:

  • Now, for the sweet tooth in you: dark chocolate, with its bitterness, is like a high-five to the Quad’s malty character.
  • Dark Fruits: A slice of rich fruitcake or some brandied cherries? Yes, please.


Other Pairings:

  • Fruit Desserts: Apple pie wears the crown. It’s like eating sunshine while sipping on a cloud.
  • Breads: Go heavy, go dark. Rye or pumpernickel? Bring ’em on!


Serving Tips and Glassware


  • Just Right: Serve your Quad at cellar temperature (50-55°F). Too cold, and it’s like sending a polar bear to Hawaii – just wrong.



  • The Tulip: It’s not just for flowers. This glass hugs the aromas tight and boosts the flavor. Treat it like your beer’s best friend.



  • Pour with grace. A little foam’s good. An overflowing bubble bath? Not so much.
  • Leave the last bit in the bottle if you don’t like your beer looking like a snow globe.


Remember, you’re not just drinking a beer, you’re embarking on a flavor odyssey. So, pair wisely, serve stylishly, and let’s toast to your impeccable taste. Cheers!

Quadrupel Trivia and Fun Facts

Who knew that a beer could be as complex as your favorite crime thriller? 

Belgian Quadrupels, or “Quads” for short, are the novel-length sagas of the beer world. 

Get this. They’re darker than a winter’s night and often come with a story nearly as old as time (or, at least as old as Trappist monks brewing in monasteries).

  • ABV: Ever wanted to sip on a brew that packs a punch? Quads can hit you with an ABV (alcohol by volume) between 9.1% and 14.2% to be precise. But it’s often north of 10%. It’s like a toasty warm blanket, in liquid form.
  • Flavors Galore: Caramel, dark fruit, maybe a hint of chocolate? No, I’m not reading off a dessert menu. Those are typical quad flavors!


So, want a shortcut to sounding like a Belgian beer connoisseur? Just toss around names like Westvleteren 12. It’s like saying “I only watch films, not movies” when you’re discussing cinema.

Trappist Standouts

These Ain’t No Lightweights

Westvleteren 12

High alcohol content

St. Bernardus Abt 12

Complex flavor profile

La Trappe Quadrupel

Forget that 6-pack, one’s enough

Boulevard Brewing Co.’s The Sixth Glass

Cheers to American twists on a Belgian classic


Remember when your uncle told you that “beer is just beer”? Well, he never met a Quad. They’re as refined as they are boozy. Think of drinking one like attending a gala in your honor.

Best wear your fancy pants.

You want hops? Typically, the hopping is understated.

It’s like the quiet friend who’s secretly hilarious. Less about bitterness, more about balance. It’s the whisper of support behind all that malty bravado.

In short, if you’re out to impress, a Quad will be your wingman.

Just pace yourself, because these regal brews command respect… and a clear schedule for the morning after. Cheers to Quadrupels, the dark masterpieces of the beer universe!

Picture of Damian


A lifelong learner, hop enthusiast and a lover of the state of extreme exhaustion.

Finance Analyst in the Investment Bank and co-founder of