Unibroue A Tout le Monde Megadeth Saison

Brewer: Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec
Style: Saison
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description:  This saison ale was brewed at the request of Dave Mustaine, lead singer of heavy metal band Megadeth. It uses a cold (aka. dry) hopping technique and, to date, has the lowest alcohol content of any Unibroue beer.

Tasting Notes: This is not the first Saison I’ve had by Unibroue (the other being their Blonde de Chambly), but it is one of just a few new beers that I’ve sampled from this brewery in recent years. And it was a bit light in terms of alcohol and flavor – which is surprising, given the brewery’s reputation. But certainly came through in terms of it being crisp and refreshing. It also has the characteristic yeasty effervescence of a Saison, with hints of spice, lemon and a bitter soapy finish.

Addendum: This beer recently won a gold medal by the Beverage Testing Institute. With a score of 93 points, the beer qualifies as “Exceptional”.

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Unibroue Grande Reserve 17 2016

unibroue_17_2016Brewer: Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec
Style: Extra Strong Ale
ABV: 10%
IBUs: 35

Description: This Trappist-style ale is a limited release which is put out every year to mark the brewery’s anniversary. In 2014 (the last time I tried it), it garnered a number of accolades, which include two Gold medals from the 2014 World Beer Championship (for vintage 2013 and 2014), a Gold Medal from the World Beer Awards (2013).

Tasting Notes: The 2016 Reserve was an definite improvement over the last I tried, which was in 2014. Consistent with the previous vintages, it packed some strong malt, alcoholic warmth, notes of raisins, brown sugar, and some yeasty effervescence. But this time around, it was also less coarse tasting and has a subtler malt base. This made for an all-around more pleasant drinking experience.

Appearance: Dark brown, cloudy, thick lacy head and strong carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, dark fruits, strong yeasts
Taste: Smooth, sweet malts, brown sugar, raisins, dates, yeasty effervescence
Aftertaste: Lingering sweet malt flavor, alcohol, yeasts
Overall: 8.8/10

Dieu du Ciel Solstice d’hiver

Dieuduciel_solsticehiver_verreBrewer: Brasserie Dieu du Ciel, Montreal, QC
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 10.2%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of the brewery’s Momentum Series, which is an annual cycle of twelve seasonal releases. As their winter release, this traditional English-style barley-wine style ale celebrates the winter solstice with a winter warmer.

Tasting Notes: I’m a fan of barley wine, and I considered trying the Solstice d’hiver necessary having sampled the Solstice d’ete not that long ago. But I have to say this particular barley wine was too on the coarse and strong side for me. It’s got the usual notes of dark fruit and sugars and is a shade of brown so deep and opaque that it could easily pass for a stout. But the alcohol in this beer is so potent that it overpowers just about everything else.

Appearance: Dark brown, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, raisins, dates, sugars, strong alcoholic bite
Taste: Strong, coarse malt, hints of dates and raisins, brown sugar, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and alcoholic bite
Overall: 7.5/10

Dieu du Ciel Moralite American IPA

dieuduciel_moraliteBrewer: Dieu du Ciel, St. Jerome, Quebec
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: Unlisted (high)

Description: This IPA is one of the breweries year-round offerings, and is the result of a collaborative effort with John Kimmich – the brewmaster of The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. In the American IPA fashion, it is fashioned using a rich malt base and then bittered using an “immoral” amount of Simcoe, Citra and Centennial hops. 

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a classic IPA. Strong in the alcohol department (though not too much), rich in the malt department, and strong and diverse in the hop flavor department. I’ve been a fan of just about everything Dieu du Ciel creates, and I am glad I found this one too.

Appearance: Golden-orange., cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of grass, pine, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Strong malt base, hint of sweetness, citrus, herbs, lemon, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, herbal and piney hops
Overall: 8.5/10

Les Trois Mousquetaires Grand Cuvee Porter Baltique

TM_PORTERBALTIQUEBrewer: Les Trois Mousquetaires, Brossard, QC
Style: Dark Lager
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 27

Description: This offering is a dark lager that was inspired by Porters of the Baltic Sea Region. It is fashioned using Pilsner, Munich, Cara 60/160, Wheat, Oat, Carafa, and Briess smoked malt (85% of which are sourced from Quebec), and bittered with a combination Perle, Centennial, and Summit hops. As part of their Edition Speciale 2015 (special edition), the beer is also aged for 3-5 years in bourbon and brandy barrels before being bottled.

Tasting Notes: This is the second Trois Mousquetairs product I have ever sampled, the first one being their Weizenbock, which I tried at the 2012 Winterlude Winter Beers and Ice Wines. Like that offering, this beer was mighty potent and very rich and malty. Beyond that, it was quite distinct. A dark lager base, which provides for a smooth start, quickly gives way to dark fruits, brown sugar, and notes of whiskey, all punctuated by a strong alcoholic punch to the gullet! These flavors linger for some time, and create to a general feeling of warmth and well-being. Just be careful, because nothing about this beer is for the faint of heart!

Appearance: Black as tar, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, dates, raisins, bourbon and alcoholic bite
Taste: Smooth malt start, alcohol, sugars, dates and raisins, bourbon whiskey finish
Aftertaste: Lingering sweetness, whiskey bite, and strong alcoholic bite
Overall: 8/10

Le Trou du Diable Dubaï Pillée

TDD_Dubaipillee-334x1024Brewer: Le Trou du Diable, Shawinigan, QC
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9%
IBUs:

Description: This Double IPA – which has a curious alien-invasion theme going – is one of Le Trou’s seasonal releases, making the rounds for the Winter-Spring season. A double dose of malts and a significant hopping make it a potent and flavorful beer. And its accolades include being declared Canada’s Best Imperial IPA at the 2015 World Beer Awards in the UK.

Tasting Notes: I am still scratching my head as to what inspired this beer – which takes its theme from a fictitious invasion of Dubai (ca. 1954) where aliens stole our beer… and are coming back! Even so, one does need excuses in order to brew a good double IPA. This beer delivers, offering a rich, syrupy malt base, and a varied hop finish that has notes of citrus, passion fruit, mango and peaches.

Appearance: Amber/orange, cloudy, thick lacy foam, good carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, sugars, citrus, tropical fruit, piney hops
Taste: Rich, slightly coarse malts, notes of citrus and pine, mango, passion fruit, peach
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, tropical fruits, coarse malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

St. Ambroise 2014 Millésimée Vintage Ale

st.ambroise_millesime1Brewer: McAuslan Brewing, Montreal, QC
Style: Extra Strong Ale
ABV: 10%
IBUs: 58

Description: The 2014 St. Ambroise Vintage Ale carries in the tradition of McAuslan’s Millésimée series, a once a year, seasonal vintage ale that is a little different every time. The 2014 is brewed using a combination of Munich and wheat malts, bittered with Cascade and Golding hops, and then served unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: In what is fast becoming a tradition, I picked up a bottle of the 2014 Vintage Ale. And in honor of my recent trip to Ottawa, I thought I would make time for a review in between my usual rundown of Ottawa microbreweries and Ontario beers. I was definitely impressed with this year’s offering, which reminded me of last year’s. A strong malt base, which manages to still be drinkable and smooth, is packed with the flavor of brown sugar, dates and dark fruits, and has some accompanying notes of tropical fruit, made possible by a good hopping. Looking forward to next year’s!

Appearance: Deep ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, floral hops and citrus, alcohol
Taste: Strong, coarse malt, good tang, alcoholic bite, brown sugar, dates, passion fruit
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, coarse malt flavor and alcohol
Overall: 9/10