Saturday, January 8, 2011

Boulevard Sixth Glass (2011)

Mark Starr of joins me via Skype to review this beer. In fact, Mark himself sent me this beer (a Belgian-style quad), plus one other from Boulevard. This brewery is located in Kansas City, Missouri and it's highly acclaimed for their Belgian-style brews. Mark also sent me their "Tank 7" - a saison, which I'll be reviewing soon. Be sure to come back tomorrow and the next day for two parts of an extensive interview I conducted with Mark.

NOTE ABOUT THE SOUND: I had my external microphone too close to the speaker, so the echo was caused by the natural recording of Mark's audio stream, as well as my mic picking up his voice. That was my bad. I should've moved the mic further away from the speaker.

Grade: 8/10

Here's my 2013 text review:
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (956) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 26, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a Trappist chalice. It had a best by date of 11/9/14. Thanks to Don for the bottle!

Appearance: Opaque burnt umber/rusty orange hue. Initially pours to a huge foaming head, but eventually simmers down. Retains and laces much better than most Belgian beers of the style.

Smell: Dark fruits, dried fruits, sweet Belgian candy sugar and yeasty aromas.

Taste: I’d imagine the Belgian quadruple style is a difficult one to brew. It requires a mammoth amount of malt, and the yeast must be perfectly pampered to get the right taste. I’m impressed whenever I see an American brewery attempt a quad, and even more impressed when they get it right. Boulevard Sixth Glass is one of the best examples of an American brewery getting this old world style - not only right - but extremely well.

The quad is basically the Belgian equivalent of a barleywine, and this beer demonstrates that well. A huge complex malty component to this palette. But it’s not just a random assortment of grain, there’s a method to this madness. There’s luscious fruity flavors of red grape, plum, fig and a hint of citrus. There’s a tasty sweetness as well, with components of bubblegum and syrup, but they’re in no way cloying. At the core of the palette is rich, bready malt. The bitterness is low, but still noticeable. Alcohol also plays a prominent role and imparts a warmth at the end of each swig. It’s a little distracting, but I get used to it eventually (though it’s costing this beer a higher grade).

Drinkability: Boulevard Sixth Glass is a big beer at 10.5% ABV, but it doesn’t throw its weight around like a bull in a china shop. While there is indeed discernible heat, the beer itself doesn’t feel heavy on my system. The mouthfeel is energetic, but not spastic or abrasive like many Belgian strong ales. It’s remarkably smooth and surprisingly clean on the aftertaste.

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