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False Summit - Elevation Beer Co.

Not Rated.
False SummitFalse Summit

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

11 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 11
Hads: 69
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 31.65%
Wants: 10
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Elevation Beer Co.
Colorado, United States | website

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) | 11.10% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: chugalug06 on 05-29-2013

Many a hiker has been disheartened by the false summits on Mt. Princeton, Yale, Antero and the 11 other 14,000-foot peaks that ring Chaffee County. We named this beer False Summit, as some may too be disheartened that this is not a barrel-aged version of our famous Apis IV. Yet this Bourbon barrel-aged quadrupel, like the final stretch of trail to a mountain’s peak, is often much more enjoyable and rewarding then what came before.

30 IBU
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Reviews: 11 | Hads: 69
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Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark garnet amber with a thin off white head that dissipates to a thin ring around the glass. Aroma of berries, red grapes, light caramel; vinous and slightly tart. Does not really smell like either a quadrupel or of bourbon. Flavor is a berries, caramel malt, dark dried fruit, dark stone fruit, tart cherries, vanilla, a hint of whiskey.. Dry malt and lightly tart fruit finish. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A little tart and vinous for a quadrupel. The profile seems more like a fruit forward barleywine, but a lightly tart one. Wood notes and light vanilla, but no real bourbon flavors to my palate. I would have guessed a fortified wine barrel for aging due to the dark fruit vinous flavors. Not a traditional quad, but pleasant berry, fruit and wood character. Full bodied, odd and interesting. Warming, but the massive ABV is not that evident.

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False Summit is a light bodied quad. It's tart and a bit fruity (cherries?). The bourbon barrel shows up in the nose, but less so in the taste. There's definitely some vanilla. Overall, this is less rich than many quads, and less complex. Elevation is one of my favorite breweries (very worth a visit if you can find your way to Poncha Springs), so I'm predisposed to like their beers. But I'd say this is not one of their best, although it's still quite tasty and worth a try.

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BOTTLE: 750ml brown glass. Branded hood-and-wire cap over a cork. Generally appealing label design.

Seasonal release. Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel aged quadrupel per the label. Served cold into a Westvleteren goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

Expectations are above average; the brewery doesn't stand out in my memory but quadrupel is probably my favourite style. Bottled: 10.24.14. 11.73% ABV. 18 IBUs. Barrel: Breckenridge bourbon.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Plump khaki colour. Creamy, full, and soft-looking, with a smooth even consistency. Supple-looking. It lacks the fragility of the best beers in the style, but it's apt for a quadrupel. Retention is very good for the high ABV - ~6-7 minutes. Leaves no lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Translucent dark brown-black of above average vibrance. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

It's a nice appearance for a quadrupel, but it's far from unique or special.

AROMA: The bourbon barrel character is wonderful: vanilla, rich white oak, and barrel sugars with some evocative toastiness. It just melts into the base, congealing with the decadent dark fruits, caramel, and candi sugar. Not too sweet at all. The dark fruit is lovely, and well-chosen to suit the bourbon: plum, dark cherry, date, prune, and fig. Caramelization is prominent. I also pick up some raisin and grape as it comes to temperature. Subsidiary cream.

White oak is a highlight, and really stands out. The bourbon barrel character seems to accentuate the already present notes in the base rather than overwhelming them. Seems balanced.

Aromatic intensity is moderate. It's a very appealing aroma for a quad overall, and has me craving the first sip.

No hop profile, alcohol, or off-character is present.

TASTE: Breckenridge Distilling's bourbon is showcased nicely here, with a vanilla-forward barrel character inclusive of notes of white oak, barrel sugars, and caramel. More toastiness would be lovely, and the vanilla sweetness is a biteen high, but overall this is a great bourbon to use in a barrel aged quadrupel.

The barrel character nicely accents the dark fruit notes: plum, some cherry, grape/raisin, faint fig, faint prune, and perhaps some dates. Caramel throughout is apt. The grape is a bit strong, and lends it a bit too much sweetness - which is troublesome alongside the already present vanilla sweetness.

Overall, the barrel complements the base nicely. It's difficult to pair American bourbon with the Belgian dark fruit of a quadrupel, but they've largely succeeded. Still, it's not a perfect harmony.

Above average depth of flavour. Relatively brief flavour duration. Above average flavour intensity.

The Belgian candi sugar seems unnecessary; the Belgian amber and dark malts already boast enough sweetness. To style, there's no noticeable hop profile. More of a Belgian yeast character would really help it; did they use Trappist yeast? I'm not picking up on much intricacy there, and the attenuation seems rather low.

While overall it's nicely balanced, there's plenty of room for fine-tuning. It's a well built quadrupel considering it's American-brewed, but it just can't hold a candle to traditional Belgian/Trappist offerings, and lacks the subtlety and complexity of superior beers in the style. The quadrupel is a style that demands careful subtlety to nail, and this is a bit overt.

It's quite reticent until it warms, and takes some time to open up.

TEXTURE: Creamy, smooth, and wet, with a soft comforting feel on the palate. Medium-bodied. Its silkiness is marvelous. No alcohol warmth at all. It's plump and supple. Well-carbonated.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough. Not too sticky.

Overall, this texture is a nice companion to the taste, but needs honing to really elevate the beer.

The best beers in the style are fragile and delicate on the palate; this is a bit more assertive. More of a chewiness would help coax out nuance from the dark fruit. It would be better with a bit more coarseness and dryness, which would enhance the flavour duration.

OVERALL: Surprisingly drinkable for the high ABV. For an American-brewed attempt at the style, it's well executed, and Elevation has done a nice job of matching a bourbon barrel character to the flavour profile of the base. The vanilla on the open is lovely, but I do wish the dark fruit notes had more depth. I do think that unfortunately the bourbon is far more interesting than the base. I'll enjoyable finishing the bottle alone, and wouldn't be opposed to picking this up again - ideally for 2-3 years of aging. It's a nice brew that has me wondering if I shouldn't give Elevation more attention. Worth trying. It'll scratch your quad itch, but won't impress the discerning drinker.

High B-

Serve chilled; it took a long time to open up after serving at fridge temp.

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False Summit from Elevation Beer Co.
86 out of 100 based on 11 ratings.