Monday, 3 October 2011

Unibroue-Trois Pistoles

Chambly, Quebec's Unibroue has built its reputation brewing big, robust, yeasty brews.  Of their entire roster (at least of the brews I've tried), I'm inclined to say that their Trois Pistoles dark ale is my favorite.  Trois Pistoles' mystique begins with its badass packaging.  Like all Unibrue products, it features a foil cap.  The label is adorned with a spooky gothic font and the image of a winged horse flying above a church.  Cool stuff.
I opted for a six-pack of 341mL bottles, though this ale is also available in gargantuan 750ml vats.  Trois Pistoles is a strong beer, clocking in at a virile 9% alcohol.  It pours an incredibly dark brown colour with ruby highlights.  It is almost entirely opaque, which makes it hard to detect the carbonation, but trust me, it is there.  When poured, la biere yields a persistent off white head that will be with you until your pint is done.  However, for all of the persistence of the head, there isn't a lot of lace.  I suspect the beer is too heavy to waste its time clinging to a glass.

The aroma suggests a very malty and sweet beer.  There are notes of cherry.  Similarly, the taste is sweet and malty.  The cherry flavour is present, as are notes of red grape.   The mouthfeel is not as thick and creamy as I expected; more of a medium body.  The aftertaste is rich, but doesn't linger.  There is a slight bitterness, but I can't call this beer well-balanced: it is definitely a malty beast.I read some reviews that suggest the alcohol taste is cleverly masked.  I call bullshit.  This beer tastes strong, particularly at the finish.  If you sip it, you know how much alcohol you're consuming.

This is a BIG beer.  I wouldn't recommend trying to take on more than one or two in a sitting.  However, I definitely recommend picking up a six-pack.  If you're anything like me, it'll languish in your fridge.  You'll haul one out every week or so, enjoy it, and then leave the rest.  It is reminiscent of an abbey beer: strong, yeasty, meaty ales from Belgium.  When I think about Trois Pistoles, the adjective that immediately springs to mind is warm.  This beer will thaw you out on a cold night.  It has huge character and big flavour.  My only complaint is that it lacks drinkability.  If you bring six to a party, you're coming home with four...

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

1 comment:

  1. Agree with you. I did not find the alcohol masked at all. That doesn't take away from the flavour though. Trois Pistoles is on my list of favourite beers.