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

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Coal Harbour Blackwing Baltic Porter

CoalHarbor_blackwingBrewer: Coal Harbour Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 30

Description: Brewed in the style of an Easter European Porter, this beer was inspired by the thousands of Still Creek Crows that fly over the brewery to their nightly roost. True to its style, it is fashioned using a deeply roasted malt base that is fermented longer to give it greater potency and alcoholic strength.

Tasting Notes: I have a bit of a block when it comes to strong porters and stouts, mainly because I’ve had a few too many licorice-heavy ones (not my thing). However, this Porter was surprisingly smooth, and managed to have all the right notes, but in a slightly subdued form. As such, it was really quite drinkable.

Appearance: Black, translucent, mild foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Gentle malt base, hints of coffee beans, roasted nuts. mild herbs
Taste: Smooth roasted malt, notes of espresso, hint of licorice, mild hop bitterness
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, roasted nuts and coffee
Overall: 8/10

Central City The Hobbit Smaug Stout

smaug_stoutBrewer: Central City Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Stout
ABV: 8.5%

Description: As one of three beers released in time for the premier of the final movie in the Hobbit Trilogy, Smaug Stout pays tribute to the namesake of the second installment in the trilogy – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The beer combines chili peppers with a strong stout base, resulting in a brew that is both potent and spicy.

Tasting Notes: I’m often not a fan of the Baltic Porters or Imperial Stouts, so this beer already had a strike against it. And while I’m not a fan of the Hobbit Trilogy, I still respect what they’ve done with this particular beer. The combination of a strong stout and a kick of chilis is interesting, as are the earthy tones and mild burn that come through in the end. Well paired thematically with a Tolkienesque dragon.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich, dark malty nose, notes of licorice, coffee
Taste: Strong malt, mild sweetness, hint of licorice, coffee, strong hop, earthy finish
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, mild chili spice burn
Overall: 7.5/10

Hoyne/Driftwood Rock Bay Mashup Baltic Porter

driftwood_hoyne_rockbayBrewer: Hoyne Brewing/Driftwood Brewing, Victoria BC
Style: Baltic Porter
Alc/Vol: 8%

Description: This beer is a collaborative effort between Victoria’s own Hoyne Brewing and Driftwood Brewing, which are situated next door to each other in the industrial district of Rock Bay (hence the name). As a Baltic Porter, it is a high alcohol, malt-forward beer that originated in the Baltic states that is quite similar to a Russian Imperial Stout.

Tasting Notes: Ordinarily, I’m not that big a fan of Baltic Porters or Imperial Stouts, due to the fact that the rather robust and sweet tasting malts are a little out of my comfort zone. But this collaborative brew, which brought together two of my favorite breweries, managed to create something truly appealing and appetizing. While it manages to capture all the renowned characteristics of a Baltic Porter – high alcohol content, dark malts, toasted malt, sweetness – it was also very smooth, balanced, and varied in flavor. I’ve yet to try anything these guys made that didn’t please me!

Appearance: Deep black/brown, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Toasted malt, baked bread, hint of smoke and coffee
Taste: Deep, rich malts, tang, hint of sweetness, smoke, banana and licorice
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, banana and licorice flavors

Overall: 9/10