Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan - Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2016
- Alcohol by Volume: 11%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 50–57° F
- Suggested Glassware: Chalice, Tulip, or Snifter
Huisbrouwerij De Halve Maan in Belgium is well known for their delicious Straffe Hendrik line of beers. The brewery of the half moon has been in operation since 1856, and it makes some decadent special releases. Their annual limited release Straffe Hendrik Heritage is a blended quadrupel that starts with Straffe Hendrik Quadrupel as the base. It's aged for at least a year in oak barrels, and then different barrels are added into the aging program each year. The 2016 version highlights quadrupel aged in rum barrels, but blended with portions of quad aged in red Bordeaux, Cognac, Armagnac, etc. barrels from previous vintages. Each year of Straffe Hendrik Heritage is its own unique expression, highlighting that year’s barrels and building on their evolving library of barrel-aged quads. We would like to hang out in such a library. Only about 200 bottles of the Heritage 2016 release were sold in the U.S. in the past year.
Heritage 2016 pours deep cola-brown, capped by a creamy light-tan foam that basically lasts forever. Generous quad character comes through immediately from the aromatics: stacked layers of caramelization and dark malts, dried fruits, and a coconut-like roundness courtesy of the rum barrel influence. The aroma’s rich, nutty, packed with quad and barrel impacts.
As proves true for all four of these beers, finely integrated carbonation provides some nice lightness to an otherwise massive presentation. Heritage 2016 leads with decadent dark caramel, dried fruits, and undertones of ripe cherries. The rum barrel comes through as plush and nicely rounded, presenting firm tannins but otherwise smooth and tropical. Some spices from the barrel influence and Belgian yeast. An incredibly developed quad, with seemingly endless layers to dig into.
In its prime, but this should continue to age gracefully. The brewery suggests pairing with similarly flavorful fare: strong cheese, meat and game, foie gras, or dark chocolate.
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