I was out at a work lunch today in Northeast and afterwards we headed over to Surdyk’s to wander around some. I picked up some Farmhouse Manchego cheese for the holidays from the deli and wandered into the liquor store for fun. It was there that I came across one of the “must have” beers I had on my list for quite some time…Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles.
Considered an abbey style strong dark ale, this beer has received extremely high marks from the BeerAdvocate users and is considered a “World Class” beer by the highest of users on the site. Always interested in dark ales and especially strong ones (this beer carries a 9% ABV), I was quite excited to pickup a 750ml bottle for $7.99.
The bottle artwork is interesting and quite impressive for beer and the bottle itself was dark and heavy. A nice cork top with instructions on the back warning that the contents are under pressure. After carefully extracting the cork and not damaging anything I poured it into a Surly pint glass (courtesy of a reader, thanks!) even though it’s recommended you use a chalice or balloon instead.
The beer pours a bit thinner than I would expect from such a heavy beer. However the lacing is nice but quickly dissipates and leaves you with a chance to smell roasted malts, alcohol and spice. The first sip is the best part. While I expected a very heavy and thick beer similar to the Imperial Extra Double Stout I reviewed at Christmas time back in 2008, this was light and fruity but not in an obnoxious Leinenkugel’s Berry Weiss way.
Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles jumps right out at you with dark fruit tones such as red grapes and Bing cherries. After it washes over your tongue you’re left with a long lasting deep red wine flavor which remains much longer than just about any other beer. While the IBUs are lower than I’ve been enjoying lately (15.5), the smokiness and spiciness of the beer makes up for this lack of hop.
My sole complaint about the beer is that at 9% ABV, it’s entirely too strong to drink more than one glass but because you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, so to speak, you have to finish what you started. With that going on, it’s too strong to enjoy by yourself and on an evening when you want to be even the least bit productive. Thankfully on the evening I tried it I was looking for a medicinal effect and wasn’t terribly concerned about moving very far afterward.
Overall, I was incredibly impressed with Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles. So much so I’d really like to stock up on it and keep a couple bottles on hand for special occasions. If you’re into dark beers which have strong flavors I definitely recommend you head out and find one for yourself. BA’s ratings are spot on with this one. Yum.
Have you ever had Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles? If so what did you think? Have you had any other abbey style strong dark ales? Do you recommend any of them? What about beers with such high ABV? What do you do when they’re corked? Do you share or do you just deal with the fallout from drinking an entire 750ml bottle? What beers are you drinking this holiday season? What did you give away for gifts? Since the wing tasting never worked out what do you think about a beer tasting? Whatever you have to say about Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.