Way back in January 2012 I brewed a tribute to Westvleteren 12 which I tongue-in-cheek called Westbennetteren 12. I mentioned at the time that my two brewbrothers-in-arms Shawn and Daniel also ended up brewing quads that same month. Over the course of the next several months, as our quads bulk aged, we started to talk about getting together sometime that winter once they were conditioned for a little tasting.
By the time I bottled my quad in July plans to hold a Quad night sometime in November/December were in full swing. It's funny to read that I'd planned on opening my first bottle then as I ended up imbibing on nearly half the batch by the time we got together. Over the summer Daniel obtained 6 Westvleteren 12s for us to enjoy side by side with our quads. I figured if we were going to enjoy some Westy 12 we should enjoy it out of the proper glass so I grabbed 3 off of eBay.
By August it had officially started to be called Quad fest and by the end of that month I had designed a logo and t-shirts for the event. I've often said that the best thing about homebrewing is you can take it as seriously or as sillily as you want, and the idea of making fest related t-shirts with our logos and beer names was too much fun to pass up.
|The Westvleteren Set|
In October we settled on both a date (December 7th) and location (The Globe - Dine • Bar) for the event. The Globe was an easy choice for something like the QuadFest. In addition to a global focused menu, owner Michael Pauwels has always been extremely accommodating to opening homebrews to share. As a bonus they also have one of Orange County's best selection of Belgian and Trappist beers available, which was key for QuadFest.
After months of anticipation we meet up at Shawn's place, in our official shirts, for some pre-game tasting so some of Shawn's latest triumphs of brewing. Shawn's wife Sonja had volunteered to be our DD and given the amount of 10%+ beer on the schedule to be consumed we felt it was a great idea to carpool. We also brought a bunch of bottles to give each other in addition to the ones we planned on opening that night.
When we got to The Globe we ordered some of the delicious noel beers that Michael had on tap. I personally really enjoyed the St. Bernardus Christmas Ale and felt it was a perfect warm up beer for the night.
Then it was time to start the main event. We decided to open up a couple of bottles of Westvleteren 12 to calibrate our palates and allow us a decent pour. I've had this beer a bunch of times over the last year, some bottles better than others. Fortunately these bottles were spot on what I remembered. I'll get around to doing a full review of it later.
Next up came my Westbennetteren 12. I'm very pleased with how it came out. Lots of nice dark stone fruit flavor. Great character from the yeast. Slightly high level of carbonation but not as bad as I had feared. Similar to the Westvleteren but not as dead on as I was hoping for. It was definitely a little darker and the taste was close but not right there. I had another bottle of it the next day and took some notes for a tasting analysis. Next year I'll follow some of Daniel's advice and simplify the grain bill even more going straight up plisner.
Next came Shawn's quad - The Blessed One. While it wasn't exactly how I remember it tasted it was still very well done. I really loved the added details he put into the packaging of it. I'm glad I have another bottle of this to enjoy later.
Daniel was really concerned with the carbonation levels he'd been experiencing with the bottles of Westy Southwest that he'd been opening for people. He suspects that it's probably a cap issue as there is evidence of sediment on the bottle of the bottles that suggest bottle conditioning had occurred. Fortunately the bottle he opened for us was wonderfully carbonated. Again, it was just a fantastic quad that hit all the right flavor notes.
|Me, Daniel, Sonja and Shawn|
After that we opened a few other beers that Shawn and Daniel had brought. Shawn had another version of his quad that he had soured which I'm really looking forward to trying again soon. Daniel brought a preview bottle of Black Lingerie batch 2. The rebrew of a beer I've gone on the record as saying it was one of the most complex beers I'd ever had. The taste was strikingly reminiscent of the first batch just much younger. I definitely want to grab a couple of bottles when he releases it next year.
To sum it up QuadFest 2012 was a pretty big success. All of us had a lot of fun and want to do it again. We've already starting thinking about expanding it to even more brewers. The big thing is that make it in time all participants have to have beers fermenting in the next quarter. For me I'll probably brew my next batch of it in mid January.
|The poster I made for the day of|
|The line up|
|Shawn and Daniel|
|The Westys we opened|
|Westvletern 12 served in the proper glass|
|The Blessed One|