Style: Imperial Coffee Stout
From: Montréal, QC, Canada
Brewery’s Note: “Péché Mortel (French for “Mortal Sin”) is an intensely black and dense beer with very pronounced roasted flavours. Fair trade coffee is infused during the brewing process, intensifying the bitterness of the beer and giving it a powerful coffee taste. Péché mortel is brewed to be savored; we invite you to drink it in moderation./ This stout style, high in alcohol and bitterness in order to favour preservation, was historically brewed to support the long and arduous voyage necessary to export the beer from England to Russia. The word Imperial comes from the fact that the beer was specially brewed for the Russian tsar’s court.”
The beer pours out as midnight, and sits in the glass as an oily black with dark brown edges. A thin head of dark, khaki bubbles forms above the beer and then quickly fades, leaving a thin ring. When splashed against the sides of the glass, the beer leaves thicker legs of alcohol than strands of lacing. The lacing is thin, petite, and spotty, with a definite slickness. In body, the beer is an impenetrable eldritch horror of opacity. On the nose, the beer displays its beautiful coffee bouquet. Rich French roast coffee blends with chocolaty malts, a touch of bread, and the sweet bite of alcohol. As a whole, the beer takes a slightly earthy twinge, akin to when you open a container full of coffee grounds or fresh tobacco. Below the other scents is syrupy caramel, and lovely dark plum notes. The beer’s nose is complex and delicious. On the tongue, the beer tastes slightly boozy, then chocolate sweet with bitter roast that slowly works its way across the palate, crescendoing in the finish and aftertaste. The earthy character from the nose is present in the middle of the sip, and a slight coffee acidity twinges at the cheeks in the middle and finish. In flavor, the beer tastes of smooth chocolate fudge, which is slowly dowsed with dark roast coffee. The coffee brings heavy char, and coffee chocolate flavors, along with an earthy bean character. The finish finds herbal bitters, bitter coffee roast, a touch of booze, tobacco, and sweet chocolate. The aftertaste is of bitter hops and coffee, with a slight hint of pine and chocolate. In the mouth, the beer feels heavy bodied, but with a thinner, smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation is mellow and light, though the bitterness of the beer puts a bite to the tongue, and the coffee gives the cheeks a bit of a pucker. When the beer leaves, the mouth has a slight bite on the tongue, sort-of like after a nice cup of coffee, and the mouth feels a bit resiny and dry, with just a touch of saliva in the cheek pouches. Overall, Péché Mortel is a classic imperial coffee stout for a reason. It pairs beautifully with chocolates, and is a nice slow sipper. In terms of stouts at-large, I think the bitterness is a bit dominant in this beer, which drowns out the earthy characters of the coffee that I really want to taste. But it still has a nice coffee roasted finish, and is delicious to sip upon. Dieu du Ciel has a lauded place in American (the continent) craft beer for a reason. Them Quebecois do it right. Try this beer, especially with chocolaty desserts.