Off Color Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Belgian Quadrupel (Quad)
Ranked #159
Ranked #15,135
3.92 | pDev: 9.18%
Off Color Brewing
Illinois, United States
Very Good
Notes: Quadrupel ale brewed with Nugget hops as well as dark candi syrup.
Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 67
Photo of darktronica
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Maybe I've had too many good Belgian quads and been spoiled by them. Growl is enjoyable and refreshing, but it's a shallow imitation that lacks the complexity and depth of flavors that I expect. Very faint Belgian esters, even as it warms--primarily a vehicle for brown sugar and vanilla.

 288 characters

Photo of GuyFawkes
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 9/12/16; drank 10/21/16 @ the Yarchives.

Opaque purple/brown appearance.

A rough pour yielded a small khaki head; decent lace.

Candle wax, plum, nutmeg & banana notes in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Candle wax, plum, banana & nutmeg flavors up front; faint booze heat & cinnamon bite on the finish.

A complex, drinkable quad. I'd love to have another!

 376 characters

Photo of chuprynka
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sharp and crisp quad with strong metallic notes. Bitter in the best way possible and overly enjoyable with a bit of meat in the winter months. Intriguingly complex.

 164 characters

Photo of hman43
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Look: It pours a deep cooper brown color. The head is light tan and head retention is low.

Smell: The aromas feature bread and strong dark cherry. There are some raisin notes. The fruity esters are strong.

Taste: The flavors are much like the aroma featuring bread and dark cherry with some raisin. The alcohol is noticeable.

Feel: It has a moderately full body with a dry finish and smooth alcohol warming.

Overall, this is a flavorful beer with the elements being pronounce, but not plentiful.

 503 characters

Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Tasted in a Rastal Teku from a 12 fl oz bottle on July 9, 2018. A big ole' dark beer filled with ethanol and stone fruit esters. A decent interpretation of the style.

 166 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice, the appearance was a semi-dark mahogany color with some light transparent hues along the sides. The head seemed to dissipate extremely quick, no lace.
The aroma had some sweet red delicious apples up front with a moderate Belgian spice and sweet bready malts. Light caramel, Belgian sugars and fusel alcohol tones meld together. Light red cherries.
The flavor moderately yields to the sweetness of the rounded-ness of the Belgian sugars, malts and bready tones. Light red delicious apples. Slight aftertaste of Belgian sugars, bready malts and spice.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sipping quality about it. Carbonation felt fine. ABV exposed some heat but I didn't mind too much. Slight sticky finish.
Overall, pretty nice quad I'd have again.

 790 characters

Photo of stortore
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a goblet. Had 3/15/18.

Pours a beautiful ruby color, mostly clear, with a quarter inch head and some soapy lacing. Aromas of malt, raisins, purple grapes, candi syrup, plums, oak, some toffee, light brown sugar. The taste is light malt, purple grapes, plums, candi syrup, some caramel, light oak and brown sugar. Some hop bitterness. Mostly smooth, a good medium body that is lighter for the style, well carbonated.

Liked this, and liked the twist of less of the typical dark fruits. The solid oak presence was good, too. At times a little thin feeling, maybe could use more malt. Worth grabbing a couple of bottles.

 650 characters

Photo of ksimons
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark ruby color with a thin layer of cream colored head that leaves a very thin layer of lacing

S-caramel, dark fruits, raisins

T-caramel malt, dark fruits, light banana, and light spices

M-medium body and crisp carbonation

Overall nice to see an American brewery make a good Quad!

 288 characters

Photo of SD-Alefan
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a reddish-brown with a tan head that fades and leaves plenty of lace.
Aroma is toffee, dark fruit, banana and spice.
Taste is led by toffee and caramel with dark fruit and spice. Raisin, plum, and a hint of banana.
Mouth is medium and slightly sticky.

 257 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

i really cant believe this is rated as poorly as it is on here, i thought this was amazing, and while it might not be insanely complex like the best belgian examples of the style, its really high quality and unique beer, well ahead of the curve, and really pretty striking. dark in color, past copper to brown, with a little bit of deep mahogany in there too, and a tall just off white head. aroma is awesome, fresh caramelized malts, that european special b abbey malt complexion, and the candy sugar, which is more intense here than normal, almost like molasses. the flavor is like that too, but it really hits me all at once, right on the first sip, right up front, i cant believe how different this it, its a quad sure, but its not so heavy on the usual flavors, especially the yeast. there is a clean belgian strain in this, not super fruity or anything, it really lets the grain do a lot of the flavoring. i get heavy dried black cherry and toffee, with some baked bread, prune, and brown sugar. its delicious, and its very flavorful. nice creamy feel with good carbonation and not much residual sugar. i like this being a little on the low abv side for the style, it doesnt need to be any stronger than it is. really neat grain flavors in this one, great beer, super underrated in my opinion. one of the better american made quads out there right now, especially for the money. great work!

 1,396 characters

Photo of BB1313
2.88/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a murky dark auburn with sediment/floaties; small light khaki head that falls leaving nice retention and solid lacing. The aromas are malt forward with some dark fruit. Subtle hints of raisins and plum along with some banana. The yeasts are there, but subtle. The flavors have dark fruits leading the way. More raisins and plum. Banana is there. Hints of caramel, toffee and vanilla. The yeast notes are mild, but do their thing. Strong malt backbone. It's bittersweet. Finishes with some mild alcohol notes, but it's not hot or boozy at all. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied, possibly medium-bodied with moderate to active carbonation. It's fluffy and smooth.

This is an okay quadrupel, but it's a little rough around the edges for the style, in my opinion. I'm personally not a big fan of this, but it's alright for what it is.

 884 characters

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: dark reddish brown pour with slowly rising bubbles creating a thin, tan cap. The beer has floaties. They look like blobs of protein rather than yeast chunks.

S: The beer smells reasonably fresh - no wet cardboard. Instead I smell dark dried fruit, spice, dark sugars, plum and a hint of cola. There is also a trace of smoke. The plum and cola aromas become more prominent as the beer warms.

T: Big malt flavors lead the attack with plum, prune, dried fruit, cola, sweet dark bread, and traces of dark caramel. The beer is mildly sweet and hop flavors and bitterness are low.

F: medium body and medium to medium high carbonation. The alcohol is soft, mildly warming and not hot or harsh.

O: I like the beer but I don't like the floaties.

 746 characters

Photo of Czequershuus
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

This beer pours a cloudy, reddish brown with a small head. The aroma features date, fig, cocoa powder, lots of banana, clove, nutmeg, apricot puree, prune, nougat, and marzipan. The flavor is strong with date and fig, with chocolate and a big banana finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with fairly light carbonation. Overall this is a decent quad, not too sweet, with a lot of yeasty notes, and alot of yeast in the bottle.

 424 characters

Photo of Cfred371
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look: Pours a dark amber, almost brown color, with little to no head. Growl is murky and not translucent, but not completely opaque.

Smell: Sugared candies, almost a dried fruit smell, with some banana thrown in.

Taste: This tastes a lot like if you had plain banana bread, with some clove in the finish. The candied sweets seem to melt away in the taste, giving way to the banana.

Feel: Decently carbonated, medium bodied, and little to no bitterness on the finish.

Overall: I don't especially like Belgian styled beers, but this is tolerable. Can't say id grab this often, but the flavors are there, if you like Belgian beers.

 636 characters

Photo of Jmatz
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pous the color of dark cherry or mahogany wood. Very pretty creme colored head which dissapates rapidly but never leaves.

Smells like...not much. Booze and raisins, I suppose. Mostly booze.

Tastes great, all the nice expected quad flavors, a bit of bread, brown sugar/molasses, dark fruit--dates, prunes, raisins. And plenty of warming alcohol.

But it's not heavy or syrupy...actually, pretty good carbonation make this a rather crisp quad.

Traditional? Heck no. But tasty and very drinkable? You bet. Will drink again, for sure.

 533 characters

Photo of bubseymour
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A decent quad but for the most part its fairly pedestrian for the style and forgettable. Recommend if you stumble upon it while out, but certainly don't go hunting for it. Most all the Trappist offering quads are superior.

 224 characters

Photo of Lingenbrau
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a clean but not very pretty brownish mohagany with a fairly thin off white head that recedes into just a little ring around the circumference.

A: Smells of fig, dates, sweet malts, Belgian candi, banana, clove, slightly peppery. You know...Belgian!

T: Taste follows, but emphasizes the spices mostly. Clove, white pepper, a bit of alcohol, and banana shows well in the aftertaste.

F: Feels a little thin, good amount of carbonation considering the lack of head, dry finish, favors the sweet side of balanced, and a decent amount of alcohol warmth.

O: This was a pretty good Quadrupel overall. Definitely not a classic Belgian, but a fun and spicy take on one.

 672 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very milky-cloudy dark mahogany body, slight streaks of sediment floating around, light tan head fades to a ring. Nose is pungent with grape skin, bread crust, caramel. The flavor rests on these rich warm malts, adding raisin and muscat and charred brown sugar, but includes some zesty notes, possibly from hops or the yeast sediment. Body is too light and lively for my quad preferences, but does have some richness to it.
A good quad offering from the states. Aroma and flavor were solid, but the look (I'll allow some cloudiness, but outright sediment is off-putting) could be tightened up, and it needs to be richer in feeling. I'm happy with this purchase.

 661 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.31/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Brief initial impression:

Too sweet, having almost an artificial peanut butter bend that isn't at all to style. The imbalance is slight and tolerable, but the inaptitude of the build is kind of egregious. This lacks the dark fruit flavours and delicate mouthfeel the style has become known for, and there isn't much subtlety or nuance to its simplistic execution. Nevertheless, it's balanced enough to keep it enjoyable, and its moderately high (but low for the style) ABV is well concealed.

Soft medium body with a silky smooth texture and wet yet unrefreshing vibe. Well-carbonated. Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or dragging.

A drinkable enjoyable beer outside of style conventions, but a lackluster attempt at a quadrupel. Tastes like a well-executed peanut butter brown ale, with no obvious Belgian character in play. It's worth trying for what it is, but strays so far away from the intended style that I'd be reticent to recommend it to those after a good quadrupel.

B- (3.36) / WORTHY

12.14.16: 2nd impression from another bottle:

Has a nice frothy cap over a deep dark amber body. Nice coating of lacing as the head recedes. ~8 minute head retention.

Aroma is bready and suggestive of muted dark fruits, as well as cherry which is nice. Candi sugar is evident. On the sweeter side, lacking the delicate attenuation of a great Belgian quadrupel. Aromatic intensity is above average. Suggests a reticent/closed-off brew with too shallow a depth of flavour and too simplistic a build.

Again with that peanut butter/caramel bend. Maybe the malt bill is wrong? Dark fruits take a backseat to candi sugar/candi syrup, with sweetness drowning out any subtleties or nuances. Not the delicate impeccably balanced flavour profile you'd find in, say, Westvleteren 12.

Hides its ABV well. Carbonation is almost dialed in perfectly. Filling, with moderate weight on the palate. It doesn't lack for body, but its flavour profile isn't packing the punch in terms of depth of flavour that this needs to in order to justify its thickness and heft on the palate.

American breweries keep making stabs at quadrupel style beers and they keep failing. This is closer than most get to the real thing, but it's not even in the same ballpark as a beer like Rochefort 10 or St. Bernardus 12, which are well worth the little extra they cost (as imports in the same markets as this is offered in) and are ubiquitous across the U.S.


 2,470 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
3.82/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Murky burgundy, short almond head. Candi sugar, dates, prunes, earth, and alcohol in the scent. Sweet; the earth and spice from the alcohol prevent it from cloying. Earth, prunes, candi sugar, alcohol, grass, and more sweet dark fruit. Light body. A great Quad with a strangely light body.

 289 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.31/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Always an honor (and a responsibility) to write the first review. (This is my 2nd first, if I recall correctly.)
While very talented, a fun-loving brewer such as Off Color can venture easily into styles that might not be right for them. But, this is what Off Color does (as I've come to recognize, having rated a dozen of their beers in a six months.)
Nonetheless, a quad is a challenge.
Not enough American brewers succeed in quads as fully -- and certainly not as consistently -- as their Belgian counterparts. But that is OK, because we are learning in one decade what the Belgian brothers took almost a century to perfect.

All that said, Off Color has produced a very nice quad... a surprisingly nice quad... a quad of abbey quality.
It looks normal and it smells like a quad lover like me expects. But its taste delivers something special. Unlike too many quads brewed with dark sugar, Growl never gets cloying nor alcoholic. How Off Color does this is much to admire.

I bought a 4 pack at their bottle store today. So I will revisit this review and this rating. But for now, Bravo !

1/17/17 I finished the 4 pack and have to buy another. If there is a better quad made in America, someone please tell me who brews it. I stand by my rating.

3/21/17 Immediately bought another 4 pack before Growl went away and finished it just now. Two things to be said: Growl put me in a better mood to weather this nation's first two months of severe discontent. And second, Off Color really brews beer to be drunk fresh... even a style like this that improves with age. Off Color knows what they are doing. No change in rating.... Just drink theirs fresh.

 1,652 characters

Growl from Off Color Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 67 ratings