Country of Origin: Canada
City & State: Chambly, Quebec
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Alcohol Content (ABV): 10.5%
First Brewed: 2002
Most striking in the aroma of this jet-black ale is the appearance of something resembling Asian spice, alongside black licorice and molasses. The complex body continues spicy, adding dark chocolate, espresso beans, and blackstrap molasses to the enticing mix.
I have been wanting to try this beer for a long time. The beer manager at Total Wine & More in Scottsdale loves this beer. This might actually be his favorite beer of all time. The bottles fly off the shelf, and I am glad they had one the last time I was there. Reading the tasting notes on this one… well, it sounds amazing. I have always been impressed with this brewery, and am a big fan of their La Fin Du Monde. Before we decided to drink this one, I had no idea the brewery had so much history. I also find it funny they are in Canada. The beer just tastes like it comes from Belgium. Excited to drink this, and based on our experience yesterday with Westvleteren 12, this better be great! Bottoms up, people.
In the Glass: First off, that was the hardest cork I have EVER popped. Not sure why, but it took me 5 minutes to get the bottle open. I was worried the thing would explode or something. But I finally got the cork out, and poured a little in the glass. It had a HUGE head. I poured one ounce, and the entire glass was full of head. I waited for that to go down, and when it did, the beer poured like soda pop. The head was thin, light, and even looked like I was pouring a can of pop. When I finally got the beer in the glass, I was impressed with the color. It’s black. Pitch black in the glass.
Nose: That is what a strong dark ale should smell like. I find it funny that a brewery in Canada is making Belgian beers… but if they pull it off, by all means. This smells like a Belgian beer, so they are on the right track. On a second sniff I am getting some dark chocolate aromas and maybe some light coffee notes toward the finish. I have been wanting to drink this for a LONG time… let’s go!
Flavor: Holy. Crap. That beer is amazing!!! There are three things going on here. First you are hit with sweetness. I am talking barleywine sweet. Not thick, but really sweet. Then you get some malty flavors leading to a ton of carbonation. More carbonation than I expected and more than I wanted, to be honest. But then you get the aftertaste. I will get to that, but man… this beer is incredible.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It starts smooth, and itching to be thick. We are drinking this cold, so I will let the second half of the glass sit here for a few minutes, but the main mouthfeel happens toward the back of the tongue. That is when the carbonation comes out. It explodes across the back of your tongue as you swallow leading to that impressive lasting aftertaste.
Aftertaste: I love beers that have an aftertaste like this. Beers like this could sit for days because I don’t want to lose that flavor by taking another drink! Maybe that is why some of the best beers are only available in bombers. Those can take an hour or more to drink. Good thing, because a lot of them have a HUGE ABV. Like this guy. 10.5% is nothing to mess around with. This aftertaste really sticks around for a few minutes, and is as sweet now as when it started.
I can see why the beer manager at Total Wine likes this one. It’s great. This beer is only going to get better as it heats up, too. This is a rare beer, and only available at a few bottle shops in the United States. Glad I have one right down the road. I will be buying this one again, that’s for sure. I would LOVE to have this one with some nice cheeses or some smoked salmon. Great, now I am hungry! If you like beer, heck… even if you don’t, get a bottle of this. You’re welcome!!!
Terrible – The bottle says: “NA”
Let’s just launch right in. Tonight’s beer looks very dark in the glass, almost black. It looks very thick and you definitely can’t see through it. One of the glasses that Ricky poured out had a lot of head, but the other one really didn’t. It does look kind of carbonated, though, with some tiny bubbles floating up at the top. It looks almost like a Coke in a glass. It doesn’t smell much like it, though, unless you smell just the Coke syrup. It smells syrupy to me, very sweet and malty, with just a small hint of nuttiness in there as well. Time to take a sip!
It does taste a little carbonated, and the carbonation sticks around a bit on your tongue, but it doesn’t take over the flavor. This is a good beer to swirl around in your mouth, as there’s a lot there to take in. It does have a malty, syrupy kind of flavor to it, and definitely some sweetness. It doesn’t taste like a super thick beer, but I think that is mostly because the carbonation takes it down a notch. There is a lot to this beer. The flavor is one that I really like, sweet and malty without having a burnt taste or being too thick. This one is just a lot of malt, but I like that. Definitely one I would try again if given the chance.