Unibroue Maudite

For Harry’s selection for the Beer of the Week we head to a country that is better known for its hockey, maple syrup, and poutine than its beer.  This week we head to Quebec to sample Unibroue Brewery’s Maudite Ale.

This ale pours a coppery red with a finely carbonated head that dissipates quickly and leaves a thin white ring.  Like last week, I served this beer two ways: in a pint glass (to better judge the head retention) and then in a brandy snifter, which is the method recommended by Unibroue.

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I am beginning to believe that the brandy snifter may be my go to vessel for all of my craft beer and not only those styles that generally call for it.  The snifter certainly retains the aroma of the beer better than the wide mouthed pint glass.  This is a certain boon to beers that have their head dissipate quickly.  However, I wonder if this is a disservice to those brewmasters who take the time to craft a beer that retains its head – and thus, nose – longer.  I need to reflect a bit more on this.

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The nose is a yeast filled fruit blend of apple and plum that rounds out with an aroma full of clove.  There is no mistaking the Abby heritage of the brewmaster who first developed Maudite.  It fills the mouth with a sweet heaviness from the generous malt, but it isn’t as heavy as I would have expected from the initial taste.  There are hints of coriander and cinnamon that give a warmth and a touch of spice to cut through the sweetness.  The finish is full of banana that I am certain is from the yeast strain used for this ale.  The most surprising characteristic is the total lack of heat from the high alcohol content.  I was completely taken aback at the 8% ABV.

The Maudite is best served at cask temperature.  As it warms it opens a bit more and the floral components of the ale are much more pronounced in the nose and the finish takes on more of a spicy finish.  Additionally, this is an excellent beer to cellar.  There is a touch of cloudiness to the beer.  This is due in part to the yeast that has been added to the beer.  This yeast will consume excess oxygen in the beer and should help retard the carbon dioxide from oxidizing.  Moreover, the high amounts of alcohol will also protect this beer while it is aging.  Unibroue states that Maudite can be cellared for 5-8 years.

While this is touted as a red ale, there is little doubt that this is more closely related to its Abby style cousins than traditional red ales.  If one is an Abby aficionado or is looking to delve into the Belgium style of beers, you will not go wrong with Unibroue’s Maudite.

Saúde!

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~ by its12oclocksomewhere on August 30, 2010.

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