Four Swords Belgian Style Quad by Deep Ellum Brewing Co Taste Test

Four Swords Belgian Style Quad by Deep Ellum Brewing Co Taste Test

Four Swords Belgian Style Quad by Deep Ellum Brewing Co Taste Test

Four Swords Belgian Style Quad by Deep Ellum Brewing Co Taste Test

I’ve seen this beer a few times at my local Total Wine and thought about buying it, but for some reason I waiting until last weekend.  My bad.

This is a really unique and super interesting beer, and I was able to get commentary on it from the head brewer of Four Swords at DEBC.

Here is what he told me about the origins of this beer, their process for making it, and future plans:

“4 Swords started out as a homebrew beer that was brewed by our Lead Brewer. He wanted to tweak a few things and scale it up to a 30 Barrel batch. Collectively, all of us here at DEBC thought that it would make a great addition in our line-up of beers, so… we decided to give it a go!

I took on the responsibility of refining David’s recipe and making it work on our 30 barrel brewhouse. In doing so, I noticed one thing immediately: Once scaled up, the malt charge of this beer would NOT fit into our mash/lauter tun! A seemingly big problem, to say the least. So, I decided to brew the beer with 2 separate mashes. We basically fill our mash tun twice and only take the first runnings from each mash to make 30 barrels of fermentable wort. It is time consuming and a little bit wasteful, but in DEBC’s quest for beer euphoria, we said, “Sometimes it’s great to be reckless!”

And that ethos paid off in dividends. We entered the beer in the prestigious World Beer Cup and came home with a Bronze Medal in 2014. Pretty cool for a brewery hell bent on boundary pushing, esoteric beers to win a medal for a traditional, Belgian style ale! But we thought, what else can we do with this beer?

Four Swords Bottle

Four Swords Bottle

We decided to age some of this beer in Cabernet barrels for over a year, just to see what happened. And what happened was glorious! Barrel Aged Four Swords was a fantastic beer and, to be perfectly honest, the best beer that I have ever had. Bar none. We are all really proud of it.

So… we wanted to see if we could do it again this year. But this year, we made more and have been patiently aging the beer in barrels that previously held the highly regarded Opus One Cabernet. And once again, I am blown away. The beer is tasting amazing and all of us at DEBC are honored and excited to share it with our friends again this year.”

Thanks so much to DEBC for sending so much great info.  Really cool of them.

Pretty awesome background on this beer.  It’s nuts to think that they are literally brewing a beer with too much malt for their equipment and standard process.

Also, everyone needs to keep an eye out for this year’s barrel aged Four Swords that is due out later this year.  That should be ridiculously good.

Here is what the DEBC website says about this beer:

“This beer is not to be taken lightly. Inspired by the strong, dark ales from the Trappist Monastic brewers of Belgium. You’ll notice a big surge of fruity esters on the nose. Think bubblegum, spices and stone fruits. The aromatics lead the imbiber to a full bodied malt profile, laced with caramel and dark fruit flavors. We used a traditional Abbey Ale yeast strain and fermented the beer at a warmer than usual to coax the yeast into producing these flavors.”

Now on to the taste test:

Four Swords in Glass

Four Swords in Glass

Four Swords pours out a thick and dark brown with a tan head.  This definitely is not a light beer.

I got aromas of raisins and grape juice and somehow also a bready aroma mixed in.  The abundance of malts along with the Belgian yeast makes this a super complex beer.

This definitely tastes like a Belgian beer to me.  It’s really, really complex and thick with flavor.

I tasted a heavy dose of raisins and black currant type flavors.  You gets tons of fruity ester flavor from the yeast, but those two were the strongest to me.

Four Swords has some sweetness to it from the mega malts that adds another element to sweetness from the yeast.

There is a strong finish to this beer, also.  You get a little bit of bite followed by lingering fruit flavors.

This is not at all the typical beer that I drink, but it’s a really cool offering from Deep Ellum Brewing Co.  I’m really glad that I snagged some, and I’m keeping an eye out for the barrel aged version that is coming out later this year.

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