Saturday, August 18, 2012

Unibroue Maudite

Type: Belgian Strong Red/Dark Ale
Origin: Chambly, Quebec, Canada
Price: $8.49/4-pack (sampler)
ABV: 8.0%
NSP: 15.07 (unscaled)

Now that I've finished off the craft beer club reviews, I can get back to a less alcoholic beer schedule.  I think I'll celebrate by having a beer.  And what the hell, Unibroue?  You put three 9-percenters in the sampler pack, and then this weak-ass 8-percenter?  That's some short-changing bullshit.  

Just kidding, of course.  The Unibroue website calls this a strong amber-red ale.  That sounds like a made-up category, so I'll go with the strong dark ale that BA uses.  However, it's obvious this isn't the same kind of dark strong ale as Trois Pistoles- it's not as dark and not as strong.  I don't think I'll be able to tell if it's not as ale too, but I'll try.  

By the nose, it's clearly a red ale and not a straight strong dark ale.  And right off the bat, it demonstrates a good way to make a red ale more interesting- Belgium it up.  The weighty malt is still there, but it's balanced nicely by a whole bunch of Belgian spice and fruitiness.  While the fruit aromas are mostly dark, there's a delicate touch of some citrusy sourness that ups the complexity level even further.  The Belgianity helps the base red ale flavor too.  The maltiness, which I wouldn't enjoy by itself, is initially boxed out by the hefty yeastiness.  It makes a comeback later on, though, and the combination makes for a relatively heavy body.  The Belgian fruit and spice is just as strong in the flavor as in the nose, but behind it lurks a touch of mustiness that brings it down a notch.

I think of the four Unibroue samples I've had, this is probably my least favorite.  But that's not because the beer's poorly crafted, not even a little bit.  It's just because the base style is not my favorite.  These guys really know what they're doing; they're experts at wrapping this impeccably-tailored yeast-profile suit around a range of body types.  In this case, they've wrapped it around a sweaty fat guy, and in doing so made him look almost debonair.  Unfortunately, at heart he's still a sweaty fat guy.  But the suit is pimpin'.

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