It is that time of year again, when the fourth installment in the Cellar Reserve series from Grand Teton Brewing is released. This year, the 2014 Coming Home beer is a Belgian-style Quadruple, which many of you may be more familiar with by its alternate name, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale. What barleywines are to traditional English and American brewing, so a Belgian-style Quadruple is to Belgian and Trappist brewing; both are strong flavorful beers meant to be enjoyed when the weather is cold and the additional alcohol and flavor are most desirable.
As you may know if you’ve read my previous posts on Grand Teton Cellar Reserve releases, many have been excellent (if you have not, check out the tags at the bottom of this post). While I have enjoyed all of the Grand Teton beers that I have had, the brewery really shows off what it can do with the Cellar Reserve series. As with all previous Cellar Reserve beers, the Coming Home 2014 should cellar well and take on added complexity as it ages. Good luck finding a bottle however, as the Coming Home releases have historically been pretty rare.
I usually enter into the review with scores from the two major review sites, but it neither has reviews or a score at this point so, on with the review. Previous Cellar Reserve posts have had additional information from the brewery; if any comes in I will edit this post.
COMING HOME 2014 HOLIDAY ALE
Our intent for our annual Holiday Ale series is to release a special beer each November to be enjoyed with special friends on special occasions. This Belgian-Style Quadrupel ale is full-bodied and robust, boldly showcasing flavors of sweet dried fruits delivered on a smooth, velvety palate. Specialty malts and roasted barley give this beer a sweet malty aroma that complements its complex fruitiness. Brewed in the Belgian tradition with dark and clear candi sugars and a Trappist ale yeast, Coming Home 2014 is rich and flavorful.
The use of traditional Belgian candi sugars allows the alcohol content to be boosted without imparting too many other flavors or a heavy mouthfeel. At 10% alcohol by volume, this beer is warming and complex. Serving the beer at a slightly warmer temperature will help release even more complex aromas and flavors. This Belgian-Style Quadrupel has a dense, pillowy head and a gorgeous dark ruby color, thanks to the dark sugars and special malts.
The Belgian-Style Quadrupel is the biggest and darkest of traditional Belgian-Style ales. Historically brewed by Belgian monasteries as the highest strength beer, the Belgian-Style Quadrupel usually consists of the first runnings from a mash. This style of beer typically sports an ABV of 9% or higher. The high alcohol content, dark malts, and Belgian yeast make this beer a great addition to your cellar and will develop for years to come. The aromas are sweet and rummy, reminding us of delectable treats. Subtle hop flavor gives enough bitterness to balance the brown sugar and caramel flavors, mingling with figs, raisins, and dates. A robust beer on its own, this deceptively drinkable ale complements gamey meats, fruitcake, and pumpkin pie.
Original Gravity: 24˚
Coming Home 2014 will be available November 1, 2014 in bottle-conditioned 750mL cases and keg-conditioned 1/6 bbl & 1/2 bbl kegs.
Limited quantities, pre-order only
Coming Home 2014 pours a translucent mahogany with cherry and ruby red highlights. It has a thick, creamy, khaki head with slight rocky breakup on top. The head holds moderate retention, and leaves a moderate amount of lacing behind in the glass. Coming Home is a pretty good looking beer. The aroma is interesting, but a little odd. Slightly sour and metallic notes are evident when the beer is cold out of the bottle. Fortunately, the sour and metallic notes fade and the aroma takes on the notes of a good Belgian Quad as the beer warms. Slight roasted barley notes blend well with tart black plums, red grapes, and caramelized sugars, and a note of rum cake. Sweet boozy notes round out the back end.
Smooth, sweet malts come to the forefront in the flavor, with moderately strong notes of dark fruits. Figs, dates, tart black cherries, plums, and red raisins blend with a slight breadiness, adding to the complexity of Coming Home 2014. Sweet alcohols and black plums round out the beer and lingers in the after taste. The moderate maltiness pairs well with Coming Home’s low bitterness, leading to a semi-dry finish. With a medium-light body, and a moderately high level of carbonation, Coming Home 2014 comes in right about where it should for the style.
Coming Home 2014 is another solid release in the 2014 Cellar Reserve series from Grand Teton Brewing. The slight metallic and sour notes in the aroma threw me for a while, although they were short lived. Fortunately as Coming Home 2014 warmed, it took on the dark fruit notes that should be prominent in a Belgian Quad. The warming, sweet alcohols were also welcome, although they did betray the alcohol content in this beverage. I am usually a big fan of the Grand Teton Cellar Reserve beers, but while I did enjoy this year’s Coming Home, it only gained the complexity that I look for in Belgian Quad after it was in my glass for an extended period of time. Perhaps I served it a little too cold, and had I waited I would not have been greeted by slight metallic notes.
As with all previous Coming Home releases, this one is extremely limited and was available for pre-sale only. If I am able to find another bottle somewhere, I will definitely pick it up as I am curious how this beer will age. If you are able to find a bottle near you, remember to serve it around 50-54 degrees for the best experience and by all means serve it in a clean goblet, snifter, or tulip glass for best effect.
That’s all for tonight, check back soon for my next review!