Just passed (around 4:30p) by Délires du terroir. They have three Ddc beers: Fumisterie, Route des épices, Corne du diable. Knew Dieu du ciel was going to release bottled beer soon. Apparently, these beers have been there for about two weeks. My Net connection is down so I'm typing this in OneNote to blog it. Still, I mean to send it to the MontreAlers mailing-list.
As you can guess, I'm not thinking of styles and some of my taste associations may seem off. Perception, by definition, is subjective.
Surprisingly big bubbles in bottle.
Clear, pumpkin ale orange, in the 11-13 SRM range (comparing to Beer Tools Pro), good head.
Overall profile: regular Qc micro, rather clean.
Normal carbonation in glass, decent to good head retention.
Aromas not overpowering, blended hops/malt/hemp.
Medium-level but somewhat harsh bitterness, probably from hemp combination, lingering
Quite earthy, a bit piney in hops.
Malt backbone, graininess, some chewiness. Not that dissimilar from l'Amère à boire's typical malt profiles. Can even understand the comparison with German ales, though that's pushing it.
Even Scotch ale-ish kind of thing, somewhat caramelly
Some oxidation? If so, less than many other beers. Probably just impression from hops.
Goes well with food. Tried with bagel but would clearly go well with many other things. Good reason to have it in bottles (or growlers). Ddc isn't the best place for food and beer pairings.
Warming improves maltiness, getting closer to Scotch ale.
Route des épices
Copper with red highlights (15-16 SRM?), decent to good head.
Low aroma, vague graininess, subdued spiciness, more hop-like than peppercorn, something of a vague metallic aroma
Explosion of flavours, floral part of pepper, almost vegetable-like, light plum-like fruit, then pepper all of a sudden.
Prickly carbonation intensified by pepper.
Malt settles in. Crystal malt, not much rye. Some residual sweetness.
Almost hot pepper with some smoke and roastiness. Chipotle!
Some fruitiness coming back. Not exactly apricot-like but… What's that fruit? Nectarine? Passion fruit??
Every sip, the pepper comes late in the taste but lingers.
As it warms up, more of a syrupy malt aroma. Similar to the Fumisterie profile earlier. Caramelly as in long wort boil (more than decoction or specialty malts). It probably does come from specialty malts but it tastes more like what wort smells like when you caramelise it.
Corne du diable
A bit lighter in colour than Fumisterie, maybe closer to 10-11 SRM. Thick pillowy head, some big bubbles, average head retention.
Prominent hop aroma, earthy, minty, something reminiscent of old or high alpha hops?
Balanced flavours, some maltiness, not that much bitterness, some residual sweetness.
Hop profile more prominent in aroma than flavour, still present. A bit less earthy, a bit more piney.
Vague notion of candied pineapple.
Surprisingly low body, something almost watery/aqueous.
Sharply dropping flavours, not really lingering. Maybe some candied lemon zest.
As it warms up, some flavours are separating, blending less. Maltiness similar to others but hop earthiness more prominent. Maybe a bit of alcohol taste. Rounder aroma. Bit more malt in the aroma, hop profile closer to floral. Increasing caramel. Something sweet but balanced by the earthy hops. Malts fused in a way similar to several Benelux British ales.
Lost mint aroma and older hops, gaining slight spicy.
The earthiness is about as strong as Aaron's Plywood the Adler overhopped beer but the bitterness level is surprisingly low.
Got a fruit in there again that is difficult to pinpoint. Something sweet but subtle. Dried out grapefruit?
That's not grapefruit: it's grapefruit skin! Pithy!
There might be some Cascade-like grapefruit hops but the hop profile is really focused on the earthiness. Almost mossy.
Medium mineral content. Think slick granite (not really dissolving in the beer, just an impression of mineralness).
Eventually something vaguely soapy.
I've tried them all at the pub in the past but I can't really compare the bottled versions with what I remember from the pub. They all feel similar to yet quite different from the pub originals. As enjoyable if not more. Of course, the pepper in Route and the Corne's hops are unmistakable and directly reminiscent of the tap versions. But there are things in these beers that I don't remember from the pub's batches. Maybe I was never careful enough to think about differences as the beers warm up but the effect is quite striking, in all three cases. They seem to merge on a kind of flavour which reminds me of a scotch ale, a smoked porter, or an oak-aged barleywine. Something in the malty-caramelly range.
All of these would compare favourably to a lot of bottled beers available in Qc. In fact, they would fit in U.S. flavour ranges, especially in the Northeast. Of course, these three are pretty much in the British palette (especially in Corne's earthiness but also in the other two's overall profiles). Not really estery or heavy in diacetyl, but kind of like clean yet tasty versions of British Ales. AFAICT, the next bottled beers will tap Ddc's Belgian expertise.
Though elaborate and wordy, my descriptions are probably way off if compared with standards. But that's the beauty of a complex creation: it can have different effects on different people!
In this case, I'm guessing I'm hungry for a thick grilled steak because I keep thinking steak would go well with any of these. Very obvious with Route.
I'd encourage anyone to try these beers. I'd say my favourite is Route with Corne a close second and Fumiste a not too distant third.