If you’ve been reading my blog somewhat regularly, it should be awesome that I think beers from Quebec are world-class and leaders in the brewing industry. Maybe you’ve even gone on a trip to La Belle Province lately and sought out some of this unbelievable beer, only to encounter a store with lots of selection… of beers you hadn’t heard of before. Sure, there were the ones that have become well known outside of the province (certainly Unibroue and Dieu du Ciel!, maybe Charlevoix or Les Trois Mousquetaires), but they just scratched the surface of what was available. If you ever find yourself with this dilemma, remember the Simple Malt Impériale Stout. The Simple Malt line is made by Brasseurs Illimités and their beers have recently had me wondering if they are the next big Quebec brewer.
The Impériale Stout pours pitch black, topped by a small but creamy head the colour of light brown leather. The nose brings a lot of action – strong dark fruits, coffee, wood, some whiskey notes and more wood, all backed by a base of roasted malts. The initial flavours are burnt malts, coffee and a smoked characteristic, leading to a wooden cask middle and following up with a slight bitterness. The dark fruits and chocolate start to show again once the beer warms and I can cut through the stronger tastes. All the flavours come together nicely in the centre of the tongue, lingering softly after each sip. Slightly oily mouthfeel, medium bodied. Minimal carbonation, but leaves some nice lacings on the glass. At 8.1% ABV and 61 IBUs it is not the biggest and baddest imperial stout, but it doesn’t need to be with all the great flavours that swirl in the glass. Definitely worth seeking out the next time you’re in Quebec.