Review: De Struise Pannepot

Review of De Struise Pannepot from De Struise Brouwers in Oostvleteren, Belgium.

Beer Type: Quadrupel  ABV: 10%  Tried on draught.

Their Description: “This ‘Old Fisherman’s Ale’, named after the fishing trawlers on which men would risk life and limb to feed their families, sits somewhere in between a Belgian strong dark ale and a stout. It pours a luscious dark brown with a creamy tan head. Each sip hits you with complex flavors of toasty bitterness and deep caramel sweetness. With all its dark and strong complexity, this beer lends itself perfectly to all types of barrel-aging, which is exactly what we’ve done. We’ve aged it on various different barrels, including bourbon and calvados. Don’t miss out and try it soon!”

The Reality: This beer is dark brown, as described, with a mild scent of dark fruit. The flavor is a strong thick malt sweetness with hints of dark fruit like raisin and date. It does finish with a mild tartness, and the aftertaste has a syrupy quality that sticks to the tongue. The “toasty bitterness” is lost to the “deep caramel sweetness”, and although the beer is complex, the barrel aged sweet notes dominate.

Final Verdict: Quads are one of my favorite types of beer, and this is one of the highest rated quads out there, and yet, it wasn’t my favorite. I didn’t enjoy the balance of this beer that much. If you prefer malty, heavy, thick, sticky quads, than this one is for you. It’s still very complex and well made, I just prefer my quads with more bitter/tart notes to go along with all the barrel aged malty goodness. They named this quad after hardworking fishermen, and if I was a hardworking fisherman coming home at the end of a long trip at sea, I’d be thankful and damned lucky to drink this beer. Hell, if I were Popeye I’d be very thankful to get my hand on this beer, and after a few glasses maybe my forearm tumors wouldn’t hurt so much (although it would be easier to “blow me down”).