Beer Review 0271: Boulevard The Sixth Glass Quadrupel
The final review of Boulevard (Kansas City, Missouri) beers inspired by Belgian Trappists, The Sixth Glass is the Quadrupel of the line, coming in at 10.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) and 22 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Like the Dubbel (89 points) and Tripel (96 points), this beer is part of the company’s Smokestack Series, and it is available year-round in 750 ml bottles.
The name of the beer comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s The Watchman of the Tower, a cautionary and mysterious tale that departs what Andersen is mostly known for (The Little Mermaid). In the story:
In the sixth glass sits the Devil himself; he is a little well-dressed man, most charming and pleasant. He understands you and agrees with everything you say. He even brings a lamp to light your way–not to your home, but to his. There is an old legend about a saint who was ordered to experience one of the seven deadly sins. He decided that drunkenness was the least of them. But as soon as he got drunk, then he committed the other six sins. In the sixth glass the Devil and man mix blood; in that thrives everything evil within us, and it grows like the grain of mustard in the Bible until it becomes a tree so large that it shades our whole world. Then we are fit for nothing but to be melted down again.
As with nearly all of their beers, Boulevard openly disclose the ingredient list. Malts and adjuncts: brown sugar, Cara 300, dark candi syrup, dark sugar, dextrose, malted wheat, Munich, and Pale Malt. There are only two hops used; Perle, and Tradition.
Even pouring gently, this beer produces a huge, massive head that would easily foam over the glass. The head was, as expected, lasting in nature and frothy in texture, and was eggshell white in color. The beer itself was a murky amber-brown, fairly cloudy, and had a light sediment present. The lacing was awesome, leaving very thick and cloud-like sheets all over the glass.
On the nose, there’s plenty of malt on display; tons of sweet bread and caramel, along with dark fruit (mostly raisin) and orange peel. The yeast provided a touch of bubblegum and there was a subtle floral hop aroma. The yeast itself was musty, and oddly enough, there was a traditional fizzy yellow lager smell going on in here, too. Think of a shrimp boil using beer…yeah, there’s hints of that. As the beer warmed, I noticed just a smidgen of cinnamon, too.
Tasting gave up a short hit of banana and clove, which quickly turned excessively sweet, almost cloying. Plenty of sweet bread, caramel, and dark fruit with a dash of cinnamon and heavy alcohol on the sinus. In the middle of the taste, the dark fruit component became straight rum-soaked raisins. The finish was, again, continued sweetness and fruity, and the very tail end of the long fade had a timid bitterness to it that was nice to combat the almost overwhelming sweetness. The Sixth Glass was full-bodied, for sure, with a medium mouthfeel that was foamy and gritty thanks to the carbonation, and drying on the ultimate concluding finish.
This is a very good, well made beer, but honestly, I doubt I would venture back here. With so many Belgian Quadrupels actually from…Belgium…that I would love to try…you know how they say “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?” That’s a little how I feel about this Boulevard offering. It’s nice, and an outstanding beer, but I would only buy another if I wanted a nice celebration beer to share with a group of people, and I just wanted to showcase Boulevard or an American take on Belgian brew.
That being said, it is awesome to have this available year-round, considering the ABV and price point.
Boulevard The Sixth Glass, 91 points. Price: $8.99 US for one 750 ml corked and caged bottle.