Pros: Great for a cold night. It's Unibroue, come on
I was up in New York for Thanksgiving and of course that meant I had to pick up another Unibroue, Canadian Brewer of the Year product.
Like the other Unibroue products reviewed, La Fin du Monde and Trois Pistoles, La Maudite is a Belgian-styled ale. The Belgian-style triple fermentation is simply this (the same explanation from the Trois Pistoles review):
First there is a primary fermentation like most beverages that have alcohol content during the brewing process, then there is a second fermentation or aging when the beer is stored temporarily, and finally, the brewery drops some fermentable sugars and yeast into the bottle right before corking. This is known as bottle-conditioning.
Unibroue actually runs its products through five phases: brewing, fermentation, clarification, bottling, and then refermenation. The end product is a complex and high alcohol content by volume. Clarification is done in the brewery centrifuge to remove the solid particles in the young liquid. The brewery then adds more fermentable sugars before bottling into the now alcoholic liquid for further conditioning.
Unibroue prides itself in NOT adding any CO2 like most domestic corporations (I wont call them breweries).
I cannot describe the whole process that the brewery goes through, however, you will be amazed at the attention to every detail the brewery goes through to produce its top-Canadian products. The Unibroue.com page provides an excellent online tour with JPEGs and movies of the processes described above.
La Maudite: The Damned
The color is a dark and hazy honey color. It pours very well into an wide mouthed glass with a gigantic head that remains throughout the whole bottle. The off-white head fizzles as it releases some of the mild carbonation that you will soon taste.
The earthy citric aroma is very powerful. This is a dark ale is very spicy and would led me to believe that this is would be great winter ale with a variety of spices and fruits that will warm you on the cold nights.
The nose prediction was correct as the Maudite was VERY spicy and had hints of toasted nuts. The combination of fruits and smoke were very pleasant. The bottle was initially chilled, but after the initial taste I let the glass and bottle sit. After it warmed to around 55 degrees F I commenced to kill the bottle. This beer is complex with different tastes with each drink from spicy fruit to smoky bitter when the mild hops comes in. Each taste is mild and never overpowering in one form or another. The carbonation is very mild, much like the overall assessment of the ale. The 8% ABV is not present at all as you have enough tasting sensations to deal with.
Though not my favorite Unibroue Belgian-style ale, I will never turn down this ale or not purchase it if this if other Unibroue or Allagash products are not available.
Like I said before, this ale is strong and will go very well on a dark, cold night when you are looking for a little artificial warming. A fireplace will go well with this ale as it is as the fire place is probably as aromatic as this ale in your hand. Stock up before the snow starts to fall or get out that sled and head to the border for some Unibroue.
~ Sorry, Kieli, this bottle is also out of my Christmas present $ range. It runs over $5.50 for a champagne-style bottle ~