Snowman Brewing was kind enough to provide me with a bottle of their gluten-free Rambam Quadrupel. As far as I know, this is the only gluten-free quadrupel in the world so I’m guessing this beer has likely been tasted by less people in Toronto than Westvleteren 12.
I got to speak briefly to Hirsch about this startup. He explained to me that he had been experimenting with home-brewing but wanted to make something that his celiac mother could enjoy as well. To replace barley, the primary gluten-containing ingredient in beer, they are using millet and buckwheat. What else is amazing is that they are doing the malting in-house!
On the hops front they are using Styrian Golding Hops, which from my brief research on the internet, is used widely in Belgian ales which makes sense in a quad.
The Rambam pours a cloudy dark apple cider color with a small 5mm head from a fast pour that dissipates quickly to a thin ring. The appearance is that of an unfiltered apple cider.
On the nose there are very mild hops and roasted malt. As it comes to temp the aroma of cloves and ripe apricot starts to reveal itself. In the background there are notes of coffee and esters. The nose is very balanced.
On the palate there is sweetness up front but it is definetely not cloying. It gives way to a nice bit of a mild bitter hoppy finish that lingers. The palette is not that complex but it is balanced and very enjoyable.
The mouthfeel is full bodied and the carbonation, although low, seems perfect here somehow. I think the unfiltered nature of the beer is adding to the mouthfeel, but in a good way.
The Rambam definitely does not drink like a 10%. The alcohol is well hidden. I would almost venture to say it’s session-able. The 10% ABV would probably stop me from having any more than two though!
I’m don’t think this is approaching the complexity of a Rochefort but it is an extremely good quad. To think this is gluten-free is astounding. It’s miles ahead of anything else I’ve ever tasted that is gluten-free. This beer needs to be on the market now. Not just as a class-leading gluten-free beer but as a very very good rendition of a traditional quad.