Bottle number 11829.
Full disclosure, and as I have said on many occasions prior, I have very little interest in barrel aged Belgians of any description. I’ll happily drink anything once, and I’m always pleased to be able to try any such beers, but I’m not going to seek them out and I’m not interested in them in the manner that many seem to be. Having said that, Straffe are such interesting beers in general it’s hard to ignore the opportunity to get stuck into this.
Dark, dark chestnut brown pour with a lovely, light tan head given the ABV. Even some lace along with some of the expected, thin film retention. Incredible copper-red color when the light hits it in a certain manner.
This is quite a young beer, and the degree to which the oak has taken ahold of the beer is quite surprising. The character of the base beer has very significantly changed, and this has gone into Rodenbach territory – at least initially. Now, before people start calling me out, the beer hasn’t become ‘acidic’ per se, BUT the oak character has certainly taken over the original beer. It finishes with that characteristic dryness too. Again, not as if it were a real Flanders Red, but definitely in a manner which only has you thinking of that. Any Quad-like character is mostly gone for me.
Nose has plenty of light, cheesy acid. The initial tastes are very smooth and the beer gives a ton of clove based tannins, but it is OH SO gentle. On one hand absolutely nothing else, but on the other incredibly well-balanced and subtle. It’s quite the achievement to get the beer so obviously changed, but also so gently balanced. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a base beer change so much and still no be overwhelmed. Quite the combo.
As the beer warms the fruit comes through more. Dark, grape skins and some vanilla notes are prominent, and it gets sweeter and sweeter. More vanilla oak, less acid.
The 11% is absolutely nowhere to be seen at all – I mean nothing.
Pretty extraordinary beer BUT I still would rather have the original Quad OR a genuine Rodenbach rather than this hybrid. This is a nice beer, but the unfettered versions of either of the other styles are better. I just see little point in beers like this.
The commercial description;
“Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2022 is a special version of the well-known Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel. The heavy dark beer matures for more than a year in oak barrels of various origins. Every year we add a unique selection of barrels. This is how we create a unique Masterblend every year. This 100% barrel aged beer can be stored for up to 10 years. The beer is only produced once a year in a limited manner.”