Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Coffee, Not Darkness, is the Common Thread: Péché Mortel and LB Mocha Porter

Yesterday turned into a stout/porter evening but the commonalities were more from the coffee infusions than the styles (a porter and an imperial stout), though both were drank from an imperial pint glass.

The Mocha Porter, a seasonal offering from Lake of Bays Brewing, was the lighter of the two in many ways beginning with a 5.2% ABV.  It pours a dark brown with a very attractive creamy brown-ish (not to say mocha!) head that has a medium-light lacing.  On the nose, cereal and fruity maltiness is more prevalent than the lesser notes of coffee, chocolate, and cherries.  Flavor-wise, it is again closer to an original porter with a nice fruity graininess alongside biscuits and only a moderate and well-balanced mocha addition.  This nuanced flavor is in contrast to the bolder coffee porters of trend that often overdo the coffee, at times to the detriment of the beer itself.  On the tongue, it is smooth yet chewy while fairly full bodied.  A very nice porter, all-in-all, that is reflective of the style more broadly while still with those chocolately-coffee notes to appeal to a wider (and at times more specific) audience.  I would gladly drink this beer again!  Grade: A-

Dieu du Ciel's (Translation: God in Heaven!) famed imperial coffee stout, Péché Mortel (Mortal Sin) finally arrived at the LCBO and allowed me a simple chance to try it.  To begin, let me just say that this beer is bold in every way, but also deserving of the very high praise it has received!

Into the glass, this mortal sin pours a jet black that seems almost thick and creamy, resembling motor oil in more than color but, fear not, not in consumptive appreciation!  An excellent foamy, yet creamy brown/mocha head with superb retention and a good lace arises.  Indeed, this beer offers an excellent head that allows deep expression of the aromas, which are dominated by bold, deeply roasted coffee notes with hints of stout malts exemplified by oats, though these are very negligible in contrast to the overwhelming coffee aroma that would be near indistinguishable from a freshly brewed espresso.  On the tongue, this delicious, but bold, strong (9.5% ABV), and bitter beer begins with light oak and oat notes, though these are quickly eradicated by the bitter drying of extremely strong coffee flavours that entirely mask the alcohol.  Some chocolate alongside hoppy dryness is discernible if considered explicitly, but everything is muted by the force of the bittering coffee.  Everything one would expect from the style.  Quintessential.  Not for everyone, but near perfect for those who'd like it! Grade: A

That's all for now folks, though my delivery of Cameron's Oak Aged seasonal offering arrives today and I promise to share my thoughts soon, though lengthy holiday travel-times tomorrow may postpone the next review slightly!

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