Monday, 24 March 2014

Sharp's Quadrupel

Sharp's Quadrupel
Style: Quadrupel
Alcohol Content: 10%
From: Rock, Wadebridge, Cornwall, UK
Purchased from: Beer Boutique, Putney 

Last Tuesday, I attended the UK Beer Academy’s one day foundation course in the Draft House near Tower bridge. My prime aim for my visit was to expand my insight into the UK brewing industry and gain my first qualification in subject. I won't lie to you, I was rather nervous. This sensation left me very quickly once I met my fellow students and our remarkable lecturer Ian Swanson. With over 30 years of experience and knowledge behind him, Ian schooled us in a variety of subjects ranging from the brewing process to good pub management. Obviously, a beer course would not be complete without any social lubricant and the Beer Academy were more than happy to oblige. In total we sampled thirteen beers ranging from a rather bland Carling to the excellent Fuller’s Golden Pride.  

Then came the moment of truth, the test. Feeling rather tipsy, I surprisingly rattled though the questions with great ease and handed in my paper after only fifteen minutes. We then all retired to the main bar for yet another drink and more banter. So in summary, if you are thinking of purchasing the foundation course, then please do. You will never see beer in the same way again and it’s a great way to meet some new beer chums. I will be definitely attending the advanced course later in the year.  

But the big question is did I pass? Well I’m still waiting to find out  but have no fear you will be the first to know when/ if I do. Onto the review.

Sharp's Quadrupel

Sharp’s Brewery first opened its doors back in 1994 as a small microbrewery. Back then, Sharp’s owner Bill Sharp, could not of imagined how his company would grow to be one of the UK’s largest independent breweries. After years of posting healthy profits, Moors Coulson acted quickly and snapped up the brewery for a princely sum of £20 million back in 2011. The merger appears to be a match made in heaven as Sharp’s flagship bitter, Doombar has now become the largest cask ale brand in Molson Coors' portfolio and indeed the UK.  However, the subject of this review is not their famous Doombar, it’s actually their Quadrupel Ale which forms part of their Connoisseurs Choice range.

Colour: Pours a dark ruby red with an amazing two finger deep bubbly white head. Rather unfortunately, this dissipates extremely quickly leaving no trace of its existence after a couple of minutes.

Aroma: Beautiful notes of sweet caramel or molasses dominate the nose. Eventually this gives way to hints of chocolate orange and very faint hints of the 10% alcohol. The use of four hops help to create a beautifully perfumed beer. The Centennial, Simcoe and Aurora hops help to produce the citrus notes whilst the Hallertauer and chocolate dark malts fuse perfect to give the sweetness. Truly remarkable.

Body: The mouthfeel of this beer is very full and extremely sticky. It's almost like chewing on a creamy toffee. The warming alcohol will then cut through to wash over your palate leaving you with a clogging sensation on the back of your throat. A drink not to be rushed that's for sure.

Taste: Big bold flavours of spiced rum dark fruits like currants and sultanas. The taste really reminds me of my Nan's fruit cake that she makes every Christmas. Very faint hints of chocolate and molasses lingers in the background like the big bad wolf. Extremely sweet and sticky at first but as the drink warms, the slowly receding fruit notes will then give way to the warming alcohol and a mild bitter finish. Excellent stuff and well worth all the accolades that it has received over the past couple of years. I had heard a vicious rumour that Sharp's were planning on ceasing production of the Quadruple later this year. Let's hope for all it's fans this is not true.

Sharp's Quadrupel
A simple label hides a complex beer

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