View Full Version : Unibroue... fine beers from Quebec
With all the recent posts on beers, and wheat beers lately, I thought I'd give a plug for one of my favourite brewers, Unibroue. Most of their beers are bottle conditioned, belgian style, often triple fermented. Their wheat beer Blanche de Chambly is a great summer thirst quencher. My current favourite is the La Fin du Monde (the end of the world), a triple fermented, bottle conditioned ale that packs a 9% whollop. Hopefully SB.com members can try one of these exceptional brews at a fine retailer near you.
I'd be interested to hear of anyone who also enjoys this brand.
Unibroue website (http://www.unibroue.com/english.cfm)
I'll have to give a look for them around here Dave. I wish I could find that 12 pack sampler http://www.unibroue.com/images/accueil-caisse.jpg listed on their website; As I've said before, I love sampler packs, especially ones that contain only one or two bottles of each variety. What a great way to sample many beers from one brewer. I'm going to the distributor tomorrow, so here's to hoping I can find at least the Blanche de Chambly. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Mark, we get the sampler packs here only at Christmas. It's too bad, 'cause it's a great idea.
I notice that new sampler pack contains their "Raftman". This beer is made with whiskey malt. It has yet to be confirmed, but I believe I'd like to start a rumor that it is malt that has been peat smoked. Their commercial description alludes to this idea. It's an interesting concept for whiskey lovers.
That's a shame Dave... Too many brewers only come out with sampler packs during the holidays. Saranac I can say does do 'right' and has a decent sampler throughout the year. I'll still be looking for Unibroue nonetheless Dave!
That is a pretty interesting concept... Have you tried their Raftman yet?
Have you tried their Raftman yet?
Mark, yes on several occasions but I prefer others in their lineup:
La Fin du Monde
Don du Dieu (triple fermented)
Maudite (red ale)
Blanche de Chambly (wheat)
Quelque Chose (cherry beer)
Incidently, most of the Unibroue beers are intended to be aged, and indeed improve with several years in a good cellar. Good luck with your attempts at finding some!
Maudite, Maudite, Maudite
La Fin du Mond
Is Trois Pistoles part of their lineup?
I hate to enter a dissenting vote, being a Canuck and all (and Montreal native to boot) but I never warmed to the Unibroue beers. I can hack the Blanche once in a while but the others are just too strong. They range from 8-10% or so abv. and I get slayed with one. That defeats the purpose of the old honorable game of drinking beer, in my view. You need a certain quantity of it, and you can't (I can't) drink 5, or even 3, in a row of these heavyweights.
Uh-Oh, I don't think you'd like the ones I just purchased at my local distributor then Gary! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I just got home from the distributor and they had 2 unibroue bottlings; Unibroue 11 (http://www.unibroue.com/products/11.cfm) and Unibroue Terrible (http://www.unibroue.com/products/terrible.cfm). What a name for a beer that last one is! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
As soon as I pop these babies I'll let ya know what I think right here Dave. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Actually, Mark, I am going to backtrack a bit; Terrible is very good. The name in French does not mean "bad", it means, "awesome".
This beer is like a strong porter, it is said to be flavoured with licorice, as porters were in the 1800's. Anyway, you bought the right one. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Interesting to know that Gary, I had no idea it meant the opposite in French!
I have had porters in the past and liked them, but I am not fond of licorice... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif But then again, I can almost picture the taste of licorice in a beer and it actually sounds like it may be good. This will be an interesting one to try. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
The licorice is very subtle, it comes off as a light, spicy note. The beer has a rich, porter flavour with a vinous effect from top-fermentation and (no doubt) barrel aging prior to bottling. A fine beer. By the way terrible in English used to have the meaning it retains in French, the idea of something inspiring awe, or (one might say) a shocked kind of respect but that meaning has disappeared, practically, in English.
Gary, please don't tell me you're a labatt's blue man! Acchh! Or worse yet, and Keith's fan!. (Just joking) True, the Unibroue's are not an everyday beer. I don't like to think of them as beer at all, they're really in a class of their own. The 750ml is meant to be shared, certainly not consumed by one person at one time!!!
Mark, tread lightly with those! Certainly not intended to quench the thirst like a coors.
Last year was the 10th anniversary of Unibroue and they came out with "10". It was like a fine cogac!!!! The 11 was released this year on their 11th anniversary. That one bottle (if you indeed have a 750ml) should be shared with 4, yes FOUR people!
Let the ferment settle for a few days so it is clear. Chill the beer only slightly. Serve it at cellar temp. at the most (say high 50's).... OPen the cork, let it breathe for 15min. Should be served in and open belgian style glass. And enjoy...
Thanks for the serving info Dave, I'll be sure to take it into account when it is popped... Literally! The bottle has a cork! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I plan on opening it during the 4th of July weekend so there will be 4 people around. No, I won't be getting http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drinking.gif off the bottle myself Dave http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
I was looking at their site just last night and thinking how I probably would never see this particular bottling (the 11) and then today it was right there in front of me. Sounds like it may be very enjoyable. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
If you like it, or even think it has hope, buy more. It is one of a kind. It will easily improve over 4-5 years. (the 10 was IMHO a perfect 10). http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Yes but I like a few pints and you can't drink most Unibroue beers that way. I certainly like many micro beers, e.g. Griffon Blonde, Wellington County Ale, Stout and Porter, and many others. I like Keith's India Pale Ale too, on draft drunk cold, I find it very good for commercial beer. Not a fan of Labatt's, generally. I have soft spot for Molson Export Ale - I did say I was from Montreal. The call in the old "tavernes" was, "donne moe une grosse Mol-son". http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Ok Dave, after another trip to the distributor yesterday here's what I could come up with in they way of Unibroue brews... The 11 and Terrible were $8.99 US and the others were $6.99 US, all 750ml sizes. I'll let ya' know what I think as I open them up! I can't wait to try the Apple one to be honest! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Nice range, Mark, I think you have every one! I heard there is an unflavored Ephemere sold in Quebec but I have not seen it in Ontario. But I think you got every other one currently sold.
I bought the Ephemere apple ale too recently. That one has 5.5% abv. so I felt I'd go with it due to its lower gravity in comparison to the others. I heard too that Unibroue's brewer used to work at Chimay in Belgium and what better credentials to make fine ale? I'll post some notes on the apple ale tonight and will be interested in yours when you get to it.
I should add, Quebec Province specialises in the McIntosh apple variety and I would think that was the type used for this beer although I haven't looked closely at the label yet.
I have seen these at the LB, but have not tried a one of them. What would you guys consider to be their best beer?
I would say the Maudite which, roughly translated, means, "a deucedly good beer".:)
It is as good or better than any Trappist ale I have had and, no surprise, since Unibroue's brewer used to work at Chimay (I heard). But it is 8%, "prend garde"..
Just cracked a bottle of Ephemere. The name means, ephemeral, implying that the recipe for this beer is fleeting and will be replaced by a variation. In fact, according to the label, the apple ale is the third in the Ephemere series. The beer is extremely good. I doubt I have had a better beer for summer quaffing. A rich bouquet of fresh apples lifts off the fluffy head after the pour. This combines perfectly with the spicy, lemony elements of the wheat beer base. Clearly, the house's Biere Blanche (white wheat beer) is used as the base for fanciful variations such as this one spiked with "apple must" (probably minced apples added to the mash or the first ferment to provoke a second). On the elegant label is (apart from the lithesome blonde) a green apple which is a dead ringer for a Granny Smith. Whether that variety is used or not I can't say, only that this is a fine beer of the summer. Since Unibroue is widely available in the States I think beer fans would like this if they have the taste for wheat-based beers. I should add, adding apples to beer isn't a gimmick. It is an age-old practice in brewing, so is adding honey, so is adding herbs, and even chile. There is nothing new under the sun, saith the Bible.
I can't wait to 'uncork' this brew considering I like "spirits" with cheese and apples. I like to have peanut butter on my apples as a snack with or without some wine. A co-worker introduced me to a little salt and hot sauce on Macintosh & Red Delicious apples which I think is rather good as well. I guess I will have to wait for Mark to open the bottle to try this beer but it sounds like it will be worth the wait http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
Ooooo you've got a nice range there Mark! Good prices too. Be careful with the alcoholic content! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Well, yesterday while driving to PA to see my aunt I stopped in a distributor in NJ and was lucky enough to find one more Unibroue bottle that I couldnt get here... A bottle of Trois Pistoles.
On Saturday while Bob and Nancy were over yet another bottle we got to try was Unibroue's Terrible. I loved this beer at first sip. Bob had told me in advance, like others have said, that he finds Unibroues brews to be a bit 'sweet' and not hopped much. Well, I immediately said that these beers msut be for me! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Really though, if the Terrible is a sign of things to come, I may really love their brews. Terrible poured a very dark brown color. It had a very malty and roasted flavor that finsihed sweet and smooth even considering this beer was 10.5% alcohol.
Thanks Dave for mentioning Unibroue as w/o having heard about it from someone on here I don't think I would have bought these bottles... Seeing big bottles like that at the distributor with corks I them would have kept me away while I was simply looking for beer!
With all this talk about Unibroue, I decided to head down to Pazzo's in Lexington. They had Trois Pistoles on tap. Rich creamy head, balanced sweet/bitter taste, malty finish and lightly hopped. Perfect complement to a pizza. Really hit the spot. Now I have to find that Terrible that everyone is trying.
Isn't Pazzo's great! Leslie and I hang out there at least once every couple of weeks. They have the best selection of beers on tap and in bottle anywhere in Lexington AFAICT. I have also heard that Mellow Mushroom has a nice selection, but we haven't tried them out yet.
Well Gary, I just cracked open my bottle as well. You hit the nail right on the head when you said "I doubt I have had a better beer for summer quaffing." After I was drinking it for a little bit I said to Stacy how this is so perfect for hot day like this was... Then I saw reread your post! There is a definitive aroma of apples in the nose and a tart or like you said lemony taste in the mouth. I actually didn't think this beer was going to be as 'thin' as it was but it works just fine for this kind of brew. Mine didn't have much head to it all, nor did I find that it had much carbonation. Still, a wonderful summer drinking beer to cool off and one I will definitely buy another of. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
Glad you liked it Mark. My sample was very carbonic and this seemed to make the body heavier than you mentioned but otherwise your reaction was similar to mine. Just got back from Rebel House, a "local beer" house in Toronto, and the featured beer of the week was apple Ephemere on draft, so you're right in tune with the happening beers in Toronto. Didn't try it tonight, I had draft Cameron's Lager instead, a fine lager beer in a German helles style (like Warsteiner but better). With that, a shot of Elijah Craig 12 year old tasting rich and wood smoky; a better whiskey and chaser could hardly be imagined..
My son, Steven, worked at Mellow Mushroom for awhile. If you've been to Pazzo's you'll notice the amazing resemblance, right down to the names of the pizza selections. Seems the owner of Pazzo's may have "copied" the style from other Mellow Mushrooms. I heard there may be some litigation against Pazzo's. MM's doesn't have that down and dirty college watering hole atmosphere that upstairs at Pazzo's has. Best day for Pazzo's is Wednesday. Its Pint Night and you get to keep the glasses. They are one of the few places to routinely serve the Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale on tap.(The other is the Bourbon Bar at the Airport) Isn't today Wednesday??? Get there before 6:30PM. The glasses go fast. They only stock about 200.
I finally got to open another one of these fine Unibroue brews Dave, the Eau Benite (Holy Water) and again was impressed. This one, compared to many other Unibroue brews, is a little weak at 'only' 7.7% alcohol. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif I really like their beers because of their almost 'sweet' characteristics but not overpoweringly sweet like sugar added to coffee sweet. This one was different because it had a sweet fruity aroma and taste but it finished with a little 'bite'. The only thing I have to get past with many of these beers after drinking nothing but Bud and the like for so long is all the yeast and sediment that pours into the glass and floats around... Thanks for turning me onto these brews Dave, I probably would not have tried them otherwise. Oh, and I must say though that thus far I still liked the Terrible the best! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
Mark, I admire your persistence with the Unibroue range.
With respect to yeast and sediment, while many people like these beers cloudy, traditionally they are decanted. They would be left to sit for a while after purchase (in my experience, a minimum of one week at least). Then, they are poured in one go but leaving the last inch or more of beer in the bottle; the yeasty sediment is thereby left undisturbed in a layer at the bottom of the bottle. With large bottles, it is necessary to pour them in a pitcher first, because pulling them up to switch glasses underneath tends to uplift the sediment. With a 12 ounce bottle, no problem arises. In practice, this means you don't get a full pour, but better to leave some extra beer in the bottle with the yeast sediment than risk an over-cloudy glass of beer. Some beers are naturally cloudy but generally these are only the wheat beers; the dark ales should pour clear. Done right, one hardly notices any haze in the glass. My objection to a cloudy glass is, first and foremost, that the yeast will cover over the malt and hops taste. Whereas decanted properly, the yeast still has an influence (there is always some in the glass no matter how clear the liquid looks) but the malt and hop flavors can shine through. Everyone has a personal preference, and for those who like their beers "all in", that's fine, but traditionally these bottled-conditioned beers were poured clear (just as cask-conditioned ale in the U.K. is tapped clear into the glass - the heavy sediment rests unseen in the bottom of the metal barrel).
Thanks for the info Gary, makes alot of sense. I wish I had the patience to do all that but hell, when I'm ready to pour these big suckers for me and the wife all I wanna do is grab one out of the fridge and pour! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif Next time though, I will try and not disturb it as much as I am certain I did time as well as prevously!
As for my persistence, its got to last quite a bit longer... I still have something like 8 more bottle to try! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
I am going to be in Montreal at end of August and I'll try to find any "local" Unibroue's that aren't exported, e.g. I think there is an unflavored Ephemere available there. I'll bring a couple to the Gazebos upcoming. Can't bring many since I'll be flying but I'll try to bring a six pack if I can!
That would be gret Gary, thanks! Ones I have been looking at on their site that I wish I could find here that maybe you will see are the peach or black currant ephemere and the Edition 2004 which I know I'll never see here... Oh, and maybe a Raftman or La Fringante? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif I know, you're flying so its hard, but even one would be something special to try. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
No prob I'll put a 6 pack together. There is also Bolduc, an ale said to be in the style of Quebec ales from the 1950's, and also, the U pilsener series. In many ways, breweries like Unibroue and McAuslan are what Molson was in the 1800's and early 1900's, a local brewery making characterful beers. Molson and Coors are talking merger at present, and as a former Montrealer I will be sad to see Molson lose its Canadian identity. Molson is the oldest brewery in North America. At one time, it made porters, India Pale Ales, Brown Ales and other classic styes: today the porter is gone, the India Ales gone, the range down to golden-coloured beers with some character but likely far removed from what the brewery started making 6 generations ago. My favorite is Molson Export Ale, still a good beer when drunk in fresh condition. I like it on draft especially in the summer. Incidentally, local news stories reported that some Coors employees in Golden like to blend 50/50 Coors Original and Molson Canadian (the lager beer of Molson, the Export is an ale). Coors handles Molson distribution in the U.S. hence the availability of Molson beers in Golden. Sounds like they knew the merger was coming. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I'm still continuing to enjoy these brews with Unibroue's Maudite (Damned) this evening. For me, this one was better than last nights Eau Benite. For starters it poured a bit darker than the 2 previous beers I have had from them. Taste wise it wasn't as light either, this one was a little bolder with not as much sweetness and a bit more body. Really nice white billowy head in the pour. I liked the little extra assertiveness in this one from them. For those who find Unibroue brews a tad too sweet give this one a shot, maybe its a little more on par for what you're looking for.
As I recall, I still thought this beer was too sweet for my taste. That was my feeling with the 3 versions of Unibroue that I've had. I certainly like sweet things, including sweet tea which is widely enjoyed here in Georgia where I am for the week. But, with beer, it doesn't suit my tastebuds as well! Just give me hops and I'll be hoppy. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Well how about that, I found a four pack of Blanche De Chambly in my local store. It was pricy but I figured I'd give it a shot. I am not disappointed and thank everyone who has contributed to this link for their recommendations. I give it both thumbs up with an added pair of pinky fingers. Who'da thunk, Canadian Microbrew in Missouri? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
Well done! the four packs never even make it here!
Well I thunked right and tried an Ephemere four pack this morning (yes morning as I got off work at 7am and still haven't gone to bed yet) and I REALLY like this one. Even a dead-budded taster like me can taste a hint of green apple in this one. It goes down way too smooth though and is about to make me fall asleep with its smoothness and lack of bite. I found a place where this was 2 bucks a four pack cheaper but I have to spend 5 bucks for gas to get there so it ain't worth the drive. Unless I want what I can only describe as the best apple-barley pop I've had yet. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/drink.gif
While at a distributor a few weeks back I came across 2 more Unibroue bottlings I have never seen. One was Raftman which I knew of and wanted to try so I am glad to have found it. Another I have not heard of before is Quelque Chose. It says it is a limited edition from 2002 and is an Ale brewed with Cherries. Any of our Canadian neighbors ever have this one and if so how did you like it? I'll post my reviews once I pop it open! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
I have never had nor have I even seen it, but I bet it's really "something" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
It is a cherry beer based on the Belgian kriek style, where brown ale or wild-fermented beer is given a boost by addition of macerated cherries to the mash, or to a new brew to stimulate a secondary fermentation. Unibroue advises to heat their cherry beer, mull it that is, and indeed it drinks well that way (like gluhwein in Switzerland), but also it can be drunk cool in the traditional way. Belgian cherry beers are available stateside. Look e.g. for the tissue-wrapped Liefman's. This cherry beer is based on Liefman's famous tart brown ale. The Belgian fruit beers are an interesting comparison to Quelque Chose; so are U.S. domestic interpretations such as New Glarus' cherry beer made in the Mid-West, I think, Minnesota. Originally in Europe, the fruit was added to the mash or young brew for flavor but also (mainly?) to boost alcohol content by adding additional fermentables. The traditional "kriekenbier" ("kriek" denotes a variety of cherry) has great complexity, in part because kriek is a sour variety. It adds some sugar, but also, acid and tannins to barley and (sometimes) barley-and-wheat brews, interweaving in the malt and hops and adding further layers of flavor. I am not sure what kind of cherries are used by Unibroue. Even if they are sweet cherries, the house will get a good flavor. This results from the way the base ale is made and, possibly, from the use of the kernels (giving an "almond" note). In the last few years, Unibroue's head brewer has been a Belgian who used to work at Chimay, the great Trappist brewery. This is one reason Unibroue's beers are so good and faithful even to eccentric Belgian beer styles.
Mark, if you like it, be sure to try and fill your cellar as that product is now a very limited distribution. I've had it on several occasions and prefer it to most of it's belgian predecessors as it's not a sweet as some. Very nice in the winter, I haven't served it warm as suggested, but at cellar temperature after dinner as dessert. Enjoy!
Well tonight I finally opened a bottle of their Blanche de Chambly and I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Don't get me wrong, I personally really have liked most Unibroues I have had till now, but this one just didn't do a whole lot for me. Very light, hardly an 'thickness' or malt and not much flavor.
During last weeks Labor Day party where the entire NYC sb crew was over we opened a bottle of Don de Dieu and everyone was extremely pleased with it as was I. Thick and creamy with a nice blend of spice and bitterness along with some sweetness... We then opened a bottle of Eau Benite which people liked but were not wow'd with. I think it was good but honestly having it right after the Don de Dieu made it harder to be liked! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif I didn't take pics of bottles that night, we were having too much fun! But trust me, ALOT of beer and bourbon was enjoyed that night... Along with nearly 8 racks of baby back ribs and steak.
So thus far I must say my favorite 3 Unibroues have been Don de Dieu, Maudite and Terrible. But keep in mind, I still have many more to try! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/falling.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/falling.gif
I'm glad somebody got that http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
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