Venus - Belgian-Style Quadrupel - Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
5/5 rDev +15.2%
A mountainous, mushroom-cloud plume atop dark turbidity, a constant race, an inverted shower, fights its' way upwards and adds to the tan snow which is ever deepening, but deepening from below. It's a warm, comfortable night, the voices of classic England tripping over the boards which lie in stacks against the wall. "Bring him to my study."
An idle few moments drift by, a smile forms on my face as I gaze at this beauty. Still, the bubbles form the snow, and the mushroom-cloud has barely receded. Tenacity, friends, is much of what distinguishes a great man from any other. Tenacity. Throw your heart into it, beat your head against the wall, and eventually you may notice a slight change in the wall, not simply the bloody distortion. Tenacity. I take a whiff and shiver. What incredible beauty lies within that aroma. What grace. What depth. It smells warm and sticky, of raisins and dark syrup, sugar and molasses, dates and figs, and I clench both fists in ecstasy. "Why do you protect me?"
Such a strange feeling, this beauteous rapture in another room, as an ancient love drama plays itself out in my ears with an English accent. Of whom do you think I speak?
"You transfix me quite." Precisely. It is delicate, deep, dangerous, and entrancing. What a beauty.
This deserves the beautful classical strains that now teem to my ears, an exquisite creation. A note of toasted almonds, toasted grain, the dark sherry notes of old age, and the beautiful sheet of virginal lace coats the glass completely.
Cocoa and butter-rum with oak barrel dryness and raging dark sugars... "You are not to be trusted atall." The alcohol must make it what it is, with the otherworldly depth of character and layer upon layer of ecstasy, but I cannot taste it.
Fabulously luxurious. I find no flaw, none at all, save cursing their name for bringing me rapture upon rapture, and once only every time. Why ever must it be so long ago. Why ever must I never again taste this delectable nectar of the goddess. One thing, dear reader, that makes experiences so sweet upon the remembering, so poignant, is knowing in the moment that it will never, ever return. Life is lived in nostalgia.
08-28-2011 01:45:23 | More by khiasmus
4.93/5 rDev +13.6%
From notes. Bomber into Midnight Sun goblet. So grateful for the opportunity to try this one, as the brewery is distributing some of its special ales outside of Anchorage now. Thanks to Specialty Imports and the manager of our one local liquor store, Robert, for helping get a case of this precious nectar to our remote little town.
Pours deep brown with a lightness at the edges. Deep mahogany when held to light, with reddish/brown highlights. Thick head lasts and lasts. Lacing fades quickly. SMELL is initially pleasant but not strong. It smells of raisins and other dark fruit, rich malty aroma including sweetness, boozy, rich and complex. Later getting some faint woody notes, Belgian yeast character, spicy anise and some long legs. Later it gains some more prominence and boldness. By the end the nose is strong and dominated by dark fruit, spices, caramel maltiness and boozy aromas. Still very balanced and complex. TASTE is Super rich and complex flavors hit quickly and forcefully: sweet caramel malty, bitter hop backup, cherry and raisin fruity, woody and boozy. These flavors change composition as they generally increase throughout the middle and into the finish. Some bitter dryness in the finish. Wicked bold and complex! FEEL Perfectly moderate carbonation. Thick, full, rich and viscous texture and body. Bit of a drying sensation, with a mild bitterness, in the finish. Luxurious.
OVERALL, as sensuous sipper if ever there was one. Bold size and price (both 14+) buttress the sipping sentiment. But drop for drop, the flavor explosion rivals the all time greats. As well it should, considering the price! And I say that as a huge Midnight Sun fan. The cost of this one is roughly equal that of Pannepot, and is more than Chimay and Koninghoeven. Quad is a bit of an enigmatic style, but I tend to like ales that call themselves quads (Kongings, Samaranth, Pannepot, Boulevard, Four, Westy 12 (only twice), and even the Rev). Now I'm not saying Venus isn't a quad, but I am suggesting here that perhaps it leans a bit toward the similarly amorphous styles Dark Strong Ale or even American Strong Ale? What do you say Frank (AKBelgianBeast)? It clearly has Belgian character, but it also has one huge, strong, bold extroverted personality (assuming a beer can have a personality).
03-27-2009 04:45:59 | More by sprucetip
4.85/5 rDev +11.8%
Huge thanks to Alex for busting this one out. I had driven non-stop from Tampa to Madison and then back to Chicago (27-ish straight hours of driving, 48+ hours awake!!) I knew I really needed an out-of-this-world brew, and Venus was exactly that. By the time I finished my half, I might as well have been on Venus!
A - It is a slow-motion gusher; Alex and I caught it without a drop of spillage, though. It pours a slightly-better-than-typical Quad, deep brown with a nice off-white cap and some sticky lace.
S - What a delectable brew; I am getting sublime impressions of dark fruit (raisin, fig, date), some dark bread and roasted nutty aromatics, along with maple-brown sugar, anise and spicy-estery yeast. Booze is well-hidden at this point.
T - This beer is fantastic; I get some impressions of roast-toast, dark fruit, maple-brown sugar-vanilla, anise and earthy oak-like notes. There is certainly a ton of flavor imparted by the yeast, some fruit and lots of spice, but overall this brew strikes me as slightly more Dubbel-y than the average Quad; it has more of a dark nutty-bready flavor than an emphasis on fruitiness. There is no real impression of alcohol in the brew; certainly no perception of a 14% beast.
M - As easy-drinking as 14% gets. Velvety, rich and smooth.
D - This is one of the best beers I've ever had.
07-18-2010 18:47:37 | More by ktrillionaire
4.75/5 rDev +9.4%
Poured from a bomber at 48 degrees into a 1L snifter... thats right 1L!!
A: Pours from bottle almost black with very little light showing through, has deep ruby/ garnet hues where light does pass through. Massive fluffy beige colored head that was a little over 3 fingers. then very slowly drops to a 1/4" cap then a 1/8" film. Oddly, for such a head, it left not a hint of lacing.
S: Sweet, first thing to hit the nose. sort of a candied fruit mingled with the sweetness, maybe a little rum or bourbon smell. towards end, a strong oak and red wine bite prominent. As beer warms up, the alcohol becomes less hidden and mingles with the oaky smell.
T: EXQUISITE! Very much like the smell. Darkly sweet fruits (I guess that would be bittersweet then), some hints of a licorice/ star anise flavor. Mild... very mild notes of maybe dark chocolate, something like 80% dark. Kind of a carmel like smoothness. All of that is promptly followed by a very strong oak bite that also tastes of a very high quality hearty red wine. The effects of the barrel aging are very pronounced in the aftertaste... which lingers for a couple of minutes. While at cellar temp. this flavor is almost too overpowering but mellows as it warms. Alcohol is well hidden at cellar temp. but it sneaks out there as the beer warms and creates a very complex, intriguing, and pallet befuddling taste; as the alcohol warmth only adds to the oak.
M: Thick, rich, and very smooth. maybe a little too thinly carbonated. only slightly coats the inside of the mouth, just enough to allow the taste to linger.
O: A very well done quad. I think that with a year or two in the cellar the oak bite would mellow and the beer would be more balanced. without the bottle telling you that there is star anise in it, it would be easy to miss. This is one beer to be feared... only AFTER drinking 3/4 of the bomber did I examine the bottle closely.( to find out why it felt like I got thoroughly thumped by someone) In tiny print it says 14.3%ABV. This beer hit the spot on a very cold day, the alcohol left a very nice warmth w/o burning.
03-09-2009 19:08:35 | More by theAlaskan
4.6/5 rDev +6%
Reviewed from notes.
Poured into a tulip. Huge, huge thanks to bmanning for cracking open this bottle. The appearance is a dark brown with some garnet hues and a load of lacing after the head finally settles down.
The aroma brings strong notes of dark fruits as well as some nice oak, booze, and black licorice. I'm getting plum, dark berries, figs, dates, and a whole mess of great fruit. The taste follows up on this and is incredibly complex. Quite a strong fruit presence as well as a nice dosing of malty goodness.
Really nice and rich feel that makes my mouth feel alive. A truly wonderful American version of the style. Absolutely exceptional. Thanks again, Ben.
11-14-2010 05:11:54 | More by Thorpe429
4.58/5 rDev +5.5%
Nothing like beginning to wind down DLD than popping open a retired quad. Thanks to Alex for sharing this one.
A - Pours a brownish caramel color with an off-white head that left some pretty nice lacing on the sides.
S - Dark fruit, oak, toffee, raisins, dates, vinous notes. Really a nice smelling beer.
T - Dark fruit, brown sugar malts, raisins, dark fruits, with a bit of wine influence. Nice malts and a bit of pleasant alcohol burn that cuts into the sweetness. Really a lot going on here, and it's very good.
M - Full bodied, smooth, appropriate carbonation. No complaints here.
O - Excellent beer that I wish I could drink all the time. So glad I got to give this one a try.
05-16-2011 00:11:12 | More by AgentZero
4.53/5 rDev +4.4%
22oz bottle at 55 degrees.
Pours with a full three inch-plus head of dense tan froth, and a dark, clear ruby body when held to the light. The whipped foam settled slowly to a solid quarter inch on the surface, with ripped rings of thick lacework.
A hump in the middle of the surface is evident from the etching in the bottom of the Duvel tulip.
Aromatics lead off with lush malts, ripe fruit, spicey phenols, and rich Cabernet tannins.
Grape jam, raisins, nougat, black licorice, and red wine. Some mild, boozy fusels follow through.
The mouthfeel is rich and creamy with the body being on the thick side of medium. Slightly chewy and quite velvety.
Sweet, fresh malt, rum-soaked raisins, red grapes, and anise lead off the palate. Caramel, peppered figs, earthy tannins, and a building boozy component step forward. Hints of Schezuan peppercorns, vanilla, toffee, and cocoa follow through.
Finishes with a lingering warmth, shades of brown sugar, and a bit of tart, oaky red wine.
Wowza. This one should be called Bonanza. Think of an Imperialized Pannepot aged in Cabernet barrels. The Anise is a bit heavy now, and the brew could a bit of drying up in the cellar. Give this one a few years and I'm thinking straight fives.
Redonkulous gratitude going out to Tim in Alaska for such a tasty one.
12-16-2008 00:36:11 | More by brewandbbq
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
A big THANK YOU to John Michaelsen for this generous trade!
11-14-2008 Bottling Date; Served at 53 degrees.
A- Poured with a proteinaceous khaki colored head, which was reasonably retained, and left some nice lacing behind. The body was a dark sedimented semi-opaque garnet-tinged dark amber, with little traces of carbonation of the sides of the glass.
S- A very complex nose consisting of stewed malts, Belgian yeast aromatics, mild vinous notes, non-descript savory aromas, and perceived candied nuts.
T- Stewed malts are right up front, along with some mild Belgian yeast phenolics. Impressions of burnt candi sugar, allspice, and soft dark fruit flavors throughout. The finish is dry and slightly bitter, presumably from hops and/or oak tannins. The finish lingers on the tongue tremendously. As the beer warmed, the flavors of candi sugar and allspice became more dominant, pushing the rating to the 'near-exceptional' level
M- Thick, syrupy, and velvety in texture. Coats the mouth wonderfully. A touch of astringency, and a little heat from the alcohol. A very delicate carbonation here. Nearly perfect!
D- The alcohol is certainly noticable, but I never would have guessed this to be a 14+% ABV brew! So smooth, complex and quaffable... I wish I had more!
05-27-2010 00:27:14 | More by jgasparine
4.48/5 rDev +3.2%
22 oz. bottle. This brew pours a dark reddish-brown with a tan head. The flavors of this beer change as it warms up towards room temperature. One of the most complex tasting beers I’ve tried in quite some time. Fruits, caramel, licorice, candy sugar hints come through with the addition of the oak from the aging in the cabernet barrels. Lovely beer.
06-30-2011 16:00:22 | More by lakersfan16
4.43/5 rDev +2.1%
Another dmeadows treat.
A: Burnt orange color with a touch of a cola color to it. Really nice looking beer.
S: Oak. Sweetness. I did pick up some anise but I always pick that out. Kind of a tight nose.
T: Super sweet. The oak comes through nicely. Little bit of dark fruit in there as well. The ABV is noticable but not too hot.
M: Very syrupy body. Very low carbonation.
D: Again no hint of the 14.3%. They make some of the best big beers you have no idea are big. Just a really great drinker.
06-04-2010 21:03:59 | More by aerozeppl
4.43/5 rDev +2.1%
Murky chestnut brown with blurry scarlet and orange edges (brighter sunshine might have turned opacity into lucency). The sandstone colored head is surprisingly large, which most likely means generous carbonation. It's whipped creamy, is in no rush to depart, and is doing a decent job with respect to lace.
The aroma is tremendous, despite three fingers of foam. The beer smells like a no-holds-barred BSDA with a generous helping of black licorice, which is courtesy of star anise. This Midnight Sun ale has the potential to be something truly special.
Venus is a wonderful quadrupel that is more true to the style than most. First: the release was 16 months ago and the beer has aged beautifully. While alcohol still packs a punch, it isn't a hot or harsh punch. Second: this big bruiser tastes like a combination of The Beast Grand Cru and Mephistopheles' Stout from Avery. That's good company to be in.
Specifics include dark chocolate-covered caramels, raisin paste, overripe figs, blackstrap molasses, anise and loads of black pepper and clove. It's amazing how bold the various flavors are. They're well-defined, yet work together in seamless fashion to produce a crashing symphony of a Belgian quadrupel that is music to the taste buds.
Truthfully, the whole 'aged in French oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels' thing is difficult to appreciate given what else is going on. A port wine flavor might be in there somewhere, but I would never have gotten there on my own. It obviously worked, so it looks like that part of the process was as vital as all the rest.
Despite the massive head, which was just recreated on the second pour, the beer is not overcarbonated. It's a little smaller than is optimal, but still has a light chewiness that is impressing more and more with each passing ounce.
Do Alaskans know how lucky they are to have Midnight Sun in their midst? This brewery thinks big, brews big and usually succeeds big. Thanks to sprucetip for one of the most enjoyable quads that I've had in many a moon.
03-28-2010 14:39:59 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.4/5 rDev +1.4%
Thanks to imperialking for cracking this one at the Chicago Burbs Random Mega Tasting. Poured into Narke tulip.
A - Pours a mirky caramel brown-color, off-white head, thin collar.
S - Dark fruit, burnt sugars, oak, light cabernet, and light oxidization. The sweetness & booze work wonders together and the oxidization is there but compliments the beer. All very mellow, yet very complex.
T - Lots of sweetness in the form of caramel, burnt sugars, plums, figs, raisins, molasses mixed with a very smooth booze and perfect barrel notes. The cabernet doesn't come through quite as much as the nose, and it's more oak then anything. Booze is ultra-smooth for 14.3%...aging really nice. Finish is caramel & booze.
M - Full body, rich and smooth, light carbonation, creamy finish.
O - An excellent BA Quad from MS. Once again, they make yet another amazing beer that appears to be aging gracefully. I'd say there's still another year left in this beer, which is crazy. Overall, give me more!
06-27-2012 15:06:50 | More by Sean9689
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
Venus. Belgian Style Quadrupel brewed with star anise and aged in french cabernet sauvignon barrels. 14.3%. Here goes...
Pours a very dark brown with deep deep ruby color and brown tints. Head hangs around good at first, but all in all dissipates fairly quickly leaving behind fairly minimal lacing.
The nose is not as strong as i would have expected. The anise is apparent, dark malts, some alcohol. A bit of dark fruit and some slight cherry.
Taste is quite interesting. Starts off with a nice rich malt character, some caramelized dark fruit, the star anise then rears its head, not as strong as it is in The Viking, I like that the anise is a bit less in your face in this one. The normal caramel, butteriness of a Quad is slightly lacking here, but it is defenitely there. The alcohol makes its presence known at this point, especially on the finish as it really coats the stomach and warms. Anise and dark fruit linger in the aftertaste. The cab sauv comes through just a bit at this point, right before the finish. This reminds me alot of a Gouden Carolus Noel. Sort of that licoricey anise flavor. A very complex beer. I will certainly be altering this review again, probably during my next lesson with a bottle of this one (likely tomorrow)
Mouthfeel is right where it should be for a belgian quad, nice and viscous, carbonation is where it should be. A tiny bit dry on the finish (cab sauv?) but really very nice.
For the style and the abv, the drinkability in this brew gets high marks, although this one is certainly not a summertime slammer. But as i have said in the past, if you bought a 14.3% bottle of beer thinking you were gonna shotgun some at the company picnic, well then your just a goddamn idiot.
Overall a very complex and interesting beer. This one pushes the limits of a quad, both in abv and in innovation. Very unique barrel aging and the addition of anise give this one some added character, and added complexity. I was expecting a solid quad base, ala St Bernie's, Westy, Urthel, Koeningshoeven, etc. but this one is more of something you would see from any of those breweries, but with "Noel" slapped on the label. This really reminds me of many big belgian christmas offerings (probably the anise). A very complex and contemplateable beer. I suspect this one will do extaordinarily well with some age. A very fun, complex, and tasty beer that you will learn from. This beer is not for sessioning, but it is a class session in its own right. Great brew.
11-15-2008 03:31:48 | More by AKBelgianBeast
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
22oz bomber courtesy of a very generous Alaska trader poured into a snifter.
This one pours a deep mahogany out of the bottle and settles in almost black in the glass with a rocky tan head that lingers as a small cap for the duration.
The aroma is huge on this one with tons of sweet dark malts, oak tannins, and candied dark fruit, like raisins soaked in booze and covered in brown sugar. There is a dry red wine character that balances the huge sweetness and leaves a bit of alcohol burn in the nose.
The taste is very sweet as well up front with lots of candi sugar and caramel malts. The dark fruits are present as well, but the alcohol really makes its presence felt in the finish with a massive burn in the throat going down. The red wine dryness is barely detectable in the finish with a bit of the barrel presence trying to peak out behind the alcohol burn.
The mouthfeel is crazy smooth and velvety with lots of carbonation which, for me, helps ease the boozy presence a little bit.
This is one helluva big beer from MSBC and despite being fantastic, it's a little on the hot side. I have a feeling that after a year or two, this one will be world class. That said, it's already a seriously great beer and another original brew from the boys in Anchorage.
03-25-2009 01:41:10 | More by gford217
United Kingdom (Wales)
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours ¼ finger of beige head. Color is a caramel with copper brown hue to it.
Aroma: Rye, oak, gardettos, plums, caramel, toffee, grapes, wine flavors, dark fruits, and raisins. Good.
Taste: Dry oak, caramel, malts, toasted malts, raisins, molasses, dried fruits, plums, very barleywine like and also wine-like. The barrels were a great choice.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and warming. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends very clean.
Overall, a great quad and top notch for the style. Great barrels. Very drinkable. I am a big fan.
01-04-2011 22:43:50 | More by mothman
4.36/5 rDev +0.5%
Shared with JLindros at his Birthday whale tasting last month. Reviewed from notes.
A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a clearish mahogany hue with a nice quarter inch tan head that faded to leave light wisps.
S - Nose pops quite nicely. Good licorice, chocolate, fennel, sambuca, faint faint barrels and raisins. Hardly any ABV on the nose.
T - Wow, okay. For a very an old quad the taste does not quite match the nose but its still pretty tasty. Good darker malts, light caramel, light barrel notes, sugars, dark fruits like raisins, very faint vinous notes and light sambuca.
M - Mouthfeel is relatively surprising. Very nice carbonation here yet still creamy on the finish with some warm booze feel to it.
O - Overall I was very impressed by this beer. Been waiting quite some time to crack this and thought it quite nice to start the whale tasting off with this.
04-03-2013 17:41:33 | More by rudzud
4.35/5 rDev +0.2%
Lots of carbonation apparent with the big white pillow like head. Good retention left behind lots of side glass lace.
highly spiced with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of yeast. Some pears or apples sneaking in there as well.Lots of apple and pear flavors mixed in with a good amount of spice. A slightly dry finish and something bitter that wanted to come through but never actually made it.
Very smooth, medium bodied and well carbonated. Never slick and had a very nice finish.Not bad, a little bit more then a sippe
10-02-2011 04:39:42 | More by mikesgroove
4.35/5 rDev +0.2%
my personal white whale for quite some! what better time to open it than a casual monday night. For every door that closes a window opens
huge thanks to ben for this amazing chance.
this bad boy (girl?) has 3 years on it
22oz bomber split into tulips
a- much darker than i expected, looks beautiful. super dark brown, almost completely blacked out. one nice thick off white head. this one looks fantastic.
s- noticed this immediately upon opening. this nose is huge. dark fruits right up front. big sweetness, barrel comes out in the back, zero alc in the smell. as it warms the cab barrels really come through.
t- this one is huge! dark fruit and barrel right up front, slight oxidation, vanilla, and more dark fruit, raisen and grape, hint of prune, a bit of anise. no taste of alc on the palate but a huge warming in the chest. at nearly 15% this one restrains the alc very well. lingering sweetness remains on the tongue.
m- big body, one of the biggest iv had. thick and chewy and coats the mouth, brings out all of the flavors. surprisingly has good carbonation.
o- great beer, i think i opened it at the right time. this one is big, rich and very complex, every sip brings out more and more flavors and nuances.
perfect beer for the occasion, i feel good about lies ahead. (well accept for the hangover that will visit me tomorrow lol cab barrel aged beers due me in)
05-08-2012 06:01:04 | More by KevSal
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
Dark brown with a good tan head. Aroma is sweet fruit, wood, wine, booze, raisin and roast malt. Flavor is raisin and dark fruit. Big body and smooth beer. Alcohol isn't really apparent. This has all the things a good beer should have and will age nicely.
08-19-2009 12:53:36 | More by miketd
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
22 pulled out of the basement over the weekend for a cellar clearing tasting. I got this a while back from the one and only AkBelgianBeast. Reviewed from good notes.
Big/huge head ... 3 finger lite tan foam over a clear deep brown brew... the head lasts forever and leaves great lace behind.
Nose is fantastic, but not exactly what I think of as a proper "Quad" ... waves of chocolate... with rich dark fruits and hints of the barrel... decadent.
Wow! not sure my palate is ready.. again very chocolaty... brownie batter ... with Belgian phenols and esters... spicy dark cherries and even some prune... the Cab barrels show as tannins with hints of dry leather.. a bit boozy, but overall it adds to the amazing complexities.. really big body and big carbonation.
No real complaints... but I will say, I never would have picked this as a Quad blindly.. but I respect and see the brewers' intentions and absolutely loved this beer, especially on later pours.
Franks is the true "Trader's Trader"... a great guy and somebody that I someday hope can share a beer with in person. Thanks.
02-17-2010 08:57:51 | More by JohnGalt1
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
Big thanks to Jeff for sending this one down for the Planets tasting! The best beer of the set.
Pours amber in color with a big off-white head. There’s a little bit of wine and booze on the aroma. A really nice dak fruit and sweet caramel malt aroma. Might even be some chocolate. The flavor is quite nice. Lots of chocolate and dark fruit notes. A really nice Cabernet flavor. Solid stuff. Medium and medium.
01-13-2012 20:07:19 | More by womencantsail
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
Big thanks to akbeerfiend for this one. Served in my Westvleteren goblet.
A - This one was a slight gusher. Pours with a finger of slow-dissipating ecru foam that settles to a thick cap and leaves solid glass-coating lacing. Body is a very dark brown that is consistent throughout the glass - no light peaking through.
S - Plenty of oak, dark bread, yeast, anise, maple, roasted malts and grain, slight lactic notes. Not much in the way of alcohol at all.
T - Taste is sweet dark fruits, with notes of brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Finish is light roasty bitterness and anise and maybe a touch of spicy phenols.
M - There's a tiny bit of warmth in the finish, but this is probably the smoothest 14.3% beer I've ever had. Smooth, creamy, lower carbonation, medium-full body. Light stickiness in the residual feel.
D - If this is 14.3% then this is the most masterful Houdini job I've ever seen. I can tell from my buzz that this is pretty potent, and that if I didn't share this with ktrillionaire I'd probably be under a table somewhere. Highly recommended!
07-07-2010 06:12:46 | More by MasterSki
Venus - Belgian-Style Quadrupel from Midnight Sun Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.