Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Quebec Brew #3 - A Roasty Brunette!

Hello all, hope the holidays were good to everyone!   Here's a quick little review to finish off my Les Trois Mousquetaires brews for a little while.  I've still got the Doppelbock sitting in the cellar, but I think I'll leave it there a while longer, see if it'll sit pretty for a few months.   Might not, we'll see.  It's really hard for me to cellar stuff that I don't have a double of - which I don't - so the temptation might get to me pretty soon.  Good rule to live by: if you're going to buy a beer with the purposes of cellaring, get two.  One for now, one for later.   Since I've only got one of the Doppelbock, I might just have to have it soon.  Ah, screw it, I'll crack it open this week. 

Wow.  Did you see what I just did there?  I just managed to convince myself to deliberately change my drinking stratagem solely through the powers of my blog ramblings.   Absolutely no self-discipline.  None.  Oy...  

Fortunately, this is a review of a brew I actually meant to review, so at least there's that.    Onwards and upwards!

Beer: Les Trois Mousquetaires Rauchbier
Brewery: Les Trois Mousquetaires (Brossard, PQ)
Type: Rauchbier (smoked beer)
ABV: 5%
Trois Mousquetaires "Sword Rating" - Four Swords

I savoured this one for a long period of time, longer than usual.  Not necessarily because it was something sublime that demanded slow contemplation - I just happened to be incredibly full from Boxing Day turkey dinner, and I couldn't manage more than a sip or two every five minutes.  I got a good feel for the brew at different temperature gradients, but I must admit I probably should have went for a brew in a smaller-volume bottle, because this one almost bested me.  I think it will take me about a week until my stomach fully recovers from the holidays...so much food...

Poured into a nonic glass.  A dark chestnut brew, with bright ruby patches gracing the edges.  Great billowing tan head, survived quite well as a thick ring with islands of foam.  Sticky icicles of lacing.   The quality of the head/lacing improved tremendously upon subsequent pours, so clearly temperature was a factor here.   Definitely a fine-looking brew.

Nose is malts and smoke, with the latter reminding me of a smoked Gouda or German sausage, but it was by no means overpowering.  If you want a real example of a beer that smells (and tastes) like smoked cheese, give Aecht Schlenkerla a try.  It will knock your socks off.   In addition to the delightful mild smoke profile, there's a bit of caramel, bread and dark fruit as well.   Not bad at all.

LTM's Rauchbier is a flavorful lager, rich and malty, with the smoked component arriving near the finish.  Smoke, peat and barbecued sausage (again, only whiffs of this, nothing oppressive), with a bit of chocolate and dark fruit to boot.  Finish is dry, smoky, and towards the end of the bottle surprisingly sour and puckery.  Several moments after each sip, I get a nice hit of dark chocolate and cocoa.

Medium bodied, smooth, mild carbonation, slightly creamy.

The "rauch" character is certainly present, though nowhere near as powerful as the aforementioned Aecht Schlenkerla or the other German examples.  After an initial hit, I became acclimatized to the smoked flavors, and thus I felt the brew could have handled a bit more umph.  Still, this was a tasty brown lager with a nice little smoked character. 

Another fine brew from Les Trois Mousquetaires.  Probably not worthy of the so-called "four sword" rating, as I didn't feel that the smoked character was too much for less-seasoned palates to handle.  It's actually a great introduction to the style, and a fun little beer to drink.  The smoke flavor isn't overbearing, but the other dark lager flavors are more than enough to keep things interesting.   (Grade: B+)

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