A complex beer that will resonate with wine lovers: Straffe Hendrik – Heritage (2014) craft beer review

Pours into an oversized Cognac snifter. Deep reddish-brown colour with some ruby hues, and quite murky. Beige frothy head, which lingers ‘til the end with half a finger lacing.

A rather unusual -for a Quad- nose, a tad acidic, that reminds us of sweet vinegar, red grape, raisin, with some woody and alcoholic undertones, courtesy of the aging process. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say it resembles a Lambic, but in a moderate way. Intriguing…

A complex beer that will resonate with wine lovers: Straffe Hendrik – Heritage (2014)

The taste is sweet-sour and we can detect the following: prune, malt, balsamic vinegar, a bit of smoke and peat, and some spices. There is a distinctive tart finish, not too harsh, though. The ale does not scream “maturation”, albeit it has being aging for nearly five years, and the oak is impressively discreet, rendering the beer deceptively drinkable. The alcohol (11%) is fairly masked too, with only a well-rounded, slightly warming presence. The overall sensation is that of a dry red wine, to some degree. Medium carbonation, medium to full body, and almost total absence of hops, which is to be expected, since we’re talking about a deeply matured brew. Either way, this particular type of ale does not have a strong hop character, so imagine how the method of aging may affect the -already low- “grassy” elements of the beer. The aftertaste consists of dried fruits (mostly prunes with hints of raisins), lightly dry and metallic, and pleasantly numbs our tongue.

The verdict…

A complex ale, that took us by surprise with its mildly acetous character, not an attribute of a Quadrupel whatsoever. We could go out on a limb in claiming that it is a borderline blend between a Quad and a Lambic, which -consequently- reminisces of Brett (Brettanomyces Cerevisiae) dominated beers. A rather funky and very balanced, high-caliber barley elixir with no exaggerations of any sort, that would be very appealing to oenophiles, dare we say… It’s really interesting to relish the profound effect the maturation process may have on the original profile of a beer, resulting in further flavour development.

You can’t go wrong with the Belgians…

  • Suggested drinking temperature: 10-12 °C
  • Suggested serving glasses: snifter, tulip, teku




Posted on by Agis Kontos in ale, Art, Craft beer

About Agis Kontos

Three are Agis' greatest passions: music, linguistics, quality ale. He has studied History & Archaeology, faculty of Philosophy, university of Athens. Specialization in Greek linguistics and History. His fascination for language has led him to purchase job as a free-lance proofreader (books, texts), copywriter and translator. He has also worked in several bookstores as a manager. In 2009, a new job offer occurred, and a new love immerged… The ale… Since then, he savors craft beers only, in his attempt to indulge himself and develop his palate. He has written articles and critiques about beer for some well-known and acclaimed beer-blogs, being one of the main columnists/editors for one of them, for a brief period of time. In 2015, he launched “Get your hops up”, a site in which he reviews quality ales of his choice, along with a friend of his. He is a music enthusiast also, having been involved in some underground rock/metal musical acts, as an amateur, self-taught vocalist. He listens to various musical styles and genres, constantly looking out for new releases, which can evoke emotion of some sort. He’s currently working at Beer Factory, a specialized beer liquor store, as a co-manager, and as an unaffiliated proofreader/copywriter/translator as well, continuing his perpetual journey in the cosmos of music, ale and linguistics, driven by his pathoses.

Add a Comment