Classical Beer Review: The Stoic 2015

Last Friday, Kyle and I popped a bottle of Deschutes’ The Stoic 2015. The Stoic is a Belgian-styled Quad that consists of “four nuanced fermentations. Aged, sequestered in select wine casks. Ergo a stoically brewed quad, with the spellbinding complexity of its medieval ancestors.” Further aging occurred on rye whiskey barrels, and a variety of sugars were added to assist fermentation (see ‘Facts’ below). Among these sugars are pomegranate molasses. This is particularly  noticeable with pomegranate dominating in the nose. Upon drinking, the fruit lingers slightly but gets overtaken quickly by the sweet quad flavor. We got some of the barrel notes, but little of the alcohols that were previously in the barrels (i.e. wine; bourbon). The mouth feel is a bit thick towards the end and the beer is boozy yet smooth. Kyle noted that the brew is not particularly complex in the beginning, but its flavor changes considerably as it warms up. Perhaps this is what the labels refers to as The Stoic’s “spellbinding complexity.”

Background
In modern usage, ‘stoic’ refers to someone who bears no emotions or who endures with patience. The latter meaning seems to be what the brewers were getting at with their observation that the beer is “stoically brewed.” The modern term, however, is derived from the philosophical school of ‘Stoicism,’ which was first established in the early 3rd century BC in Athens by Zeno and remained popular during Roman times until the 3rd century AD. The basic philosophy of Stoicism is that humans can only be happy when they accept their situation and do not allow their emotions to control their actions. This has been misunderstood to mean that stoics strive for indifference, while their attitude was more one of self-control and inner calm. These days, inspirational quotes by famous Stoics such as Seneca, Epictetus and the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius seem to be all the rage on Instagram, due to the similarities between their teachings and the modern practice of mindfulness. As Chiara Sulprizio notes in this Eidolon article,”[f]or both Stoic philosophers and modern mindfulness advocates, it’s not enough to endure life’s ups and downs; we should appreciate and enjoy all that it brings.”

Facts
22 oz
10.9% ABV
Ingredients: Pilsner malt, German Northern Brewer hops, Hallertauer Mittelfrüh hops, Czech Saaz hops, beet sugar, Belgian candi sugar, date sugar, pomegranate molasses
Brewed by: Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR.

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