In celebration of my mother’s 50th birthday, my family and I went to Antwerp (the photos will be added to the main site asap). Like me, my family likes to taste and experience craft beer (we even arrange beer tasting sessions, but more on that in future posts). On beforehand this weekend promised to be an exciting weekend full of new and delicious Belgian craft beer.
As it just so happens, a few weeks ago, the website Ratebeer.com awarded Kulminator in Antwerp as the best beer bar in the world. So you can guess where I wanted to enjoy a few beers
Kulminator is run by an elderly couple. The interior is kind of messy and feels like someone’s living room rather than a bar. This creates a really relaxed atmosphere. Add to this the incredible selection of beers (the list is as thick as a book) and I can see why this is awarded as the best bars in the world. It certainly ranks among the best bars I’ve ever been to. Unfortunately I do not have pictures from the bar. However, these can be easily found by image searching for “Kulminator Antwerp” on Google.
One of the beers available on draft was the La Trappe Quadrupel Oak Aged. Unlike the regular La Trappe, the Oak Aged variants are matured in different oak barrels. This maturing generates a distinct flavor to the Quadrupel, depending on the type of barrel. Untill now, La Trappe brewed 4 batches of the Oak Aged Quadrupel. Unfortunately I do not know which batch I tried, but I guess it was the second batch. Read on to find out why I think it was this batch.
The first thing I noticed is that the Quadrupel Oak Aged I tasted has a far larger head than the original Quadrupel. It also appears to have a lighter color than the original. However, this could be due to the lighting in the bar. The smell of the Oak Aged is sweet and fruity. I did not notice the smell of spices found in the original Quadrupel.
As for the taste: wow! Like the original, the Oak Aged tastes sweet. However, the bitterness and fruitiness are more balanced in this version. The taste of vanilla was clearly present. It also reminded me of port. A further improvement is the presence of the alcohol. In the Oak Aged variant, the alcohol comes through more than in the original. This provides for a more complex and, in my opinion, better flavor.
The aftertaste of the Oak Aged stays for a long time and is less sweet than the original. The vanilla and fruit stay; an aftertaste I really enjoyed.
On the website of La Trappe, the different batches of the Oak Aged Quadrupel are listed. The second batch consists of the types of oak which most closely resemble the port and vanilla flavors I tasted. Therefore I think this is the batch I’ve tasted. If anyone knows which batch was served on the 19th of February 2011, please let me know if I was right.
Overall, I rate this beer 9/10. It is the second best beer I’ve ever tasted and will definitely order it again in the future. If I will be given the chance due to its exclusivity that is.