What ill things can one say about Unibroue? Well, the patriotic Canadian may complain that it is owned by Sapporo. Other than that, this brewery located in Quebec Canada, puts out some fantastic Belgian style ales with quirky apocalyptic sounding names (La Fin Du Monde = The End of The World; Maudite = Damned). Perhaps since the language of the province is French (one of the three national languages of Belgium) it mystically elevates their Belgian style ability, or perhaps founder André Dion’s was just that talented.
Regardless, I am rarely let down by Unibroue product. In fact, I may go so far as to say that the Belgian reformation here in the US craft beer scene was pushed along by Unibroue.
I picked up a bottle of Unibroue’s Terrible, without knowing much about it. I have tasted everything by the brewery that could be found locally up to this point, and Terrible was a new addition to the shelves. (Does any one else pester the staff incessantly for new arrivals?) The dark black bottle with silver writing was ominous enough to entice the dark side in me to purchase.
Terrible (man I love saying that) pours dark and black into the glass. It looks like a thin stout, except for the fantastic carbonation. The head wasted no time in disappearing, leaving a sticky resin and great design work on the inside of the glass.
Like Pavlov’s famous drooling canine, I half expected roasted coffee aromas, like a Stout, to emerge from the glass, as this beer reminded me of a stout in appearance. Instead a burst of fresh white grape, like smelling a pinot grigio, hit the nostrils. Odd indeed. But, in the words of the late Micheal Jackson, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.” Following this berry burst were classic Belgian spices: Coriander, Clove, even Nutmeg, I thought. A hint of alcohol hits the nose, but is less than expected for a 10.5% ABV.
How sweet it is! Yes, I know this is a dark beer, but it tasted so white grape-ish! I mean, give this to a wine snob, and they will fall for it! There is not much balancing the sweetness, as hops are nearly imperceptible. The dark color of the beer shows itself in a great nutty flavor that pairs so well with the up front sweet burst. Certainly candy sugar was used in this thin brew, and when mixed with the mild alcohol bite, yields a slight rum flavor.
I will buy this again, though I do think it was just a tad off balance and could use a bit more hop bitterness. I always applaud a beer with a big ABV bite that hides the flavor of alcohol like this one did, as it allows the tongue to pick up on other nuances.
Among other Dar Strong Belgian Ales:
Among other Unibroe Specialty Brews: