While gathering up the ingredients for a Thai salmon dish, I bumped into a display of Allagash Four, batch 19.
It had been awhile since I sidled up next to one of Rob Tod‘s better works of art. Remembering it as a medium-to-huge rounded beer, I guessed it would be a perfect contrast to the lime/chili/cilantro salmon marinade and dipping sauce. Turns out it was the right call. Ron took an interesting approach to the concept of balance. By using four malts, four sugars, four yeasts’ and four hops, Rob smoothened out all the elements that make each ingredient prominent leaving a very well-rounded beer (a beer version of Phil Spector’s wall of sound?). As a Belgian quad, there’s plenty of alcohol to go around but no strong presence of burn or other alcohol-driven flavor components. With all those Belgian yeasts’, one would expect a huge Belgian funk, yet again it is subtle not dominant, without any overriding spiciness. Oh it is there but not overwhelming. The malt comes forward with a lot of toast and dried fruit notes. The hops hang out bouncing around between herbal and spice. Although expensive, Four could be one of the better value propositions in the market. And, yes, the combination of very sharp/spicy fish with a big, delicately malted quad was perfect. if you haven’t tried this beer, do so.