Not so helpful … humph. God I hate such definitions. Let’s try that again ….
Torrefying: “to subject (ores) to scorching heat so as to drive off volatile ingredients; to roast.”
Ah … there’s the ticket.
“Huh?” you ask. “I read it on the back of a label,” I answer.
If ever there was an example of what reading can do to someone, I’m probably it. I read a word, didn’t know it, looked it up, and went down a rabbit hole of discovery.
… Beautiful symbiosis between Stout and India Pale Ale. A tasty hint of torrefaction enhanced by a bubbly burst of hops.
One sip and it all makes sense …
So the winter storm passes but winter remains and after my last review, it made sense to continue with the black IPA tradition and try another one of my prizes.
“La Maree Noire” was never a more apt name for a beer, I must say. Filled with the sediment of its sur lies fermentation, the waters of this ale are as impenetrable to light as that of the churned up sea on a moonless night … and like a black tide itself, it grabs you and won’t let you go.
Still not convinced this is going to be a giant beer? At 8.5% and 87 IBUs, this is a monster of an IPA that if drink too fast will surely make you feel like you’ve been sent out to sea in a one-man dingy.
Back to that first taste – “scorched” was never a better word.
If you like the deep scorched, dark French roast of a coffee, this is going to appeal … but I suspect that isn’t going to be many. My guess is that it will be the same people that like their toast black too.
The dark roasted, almost burnt malts in this beer out-duel the west coast hops for primacy on the nostril right out of the bottle.
I admit, I don’t really like burnt toast – but this beer very quickly started to grow on me. The flavours are hugely of smoke, coffee, molasses with the extra earthiness (as if you needed more) of the bitter hops. The finish, however, is actually quite smooth and the bitterness that lingers is not nearly as astringent as Palabre du Cloporte. I can’t quite say whether there is much more going on in terms of flavour because those flavours that are present are huge and intense. But, in my opinion, they work ….
The mouth feel is excellent; the carbonation is smooth and has good balance for the flavours.
The brewers undoubtedly took a chance with this and built a beer for a very specific taste that they surely knew that — while some may like — most would spit it out. I know that sounds harsh, but I believe, globally, more people will spit out caviar than will like it … and this is far fewer than that number which will claim it to be black gold. My point is that just because the majority of people don’t like something doesn’t make it bad. I applaud Saint Arnould for the courage it takes to stand alone and be proud of something they like – and while this isn’t a beer you’re ever going to drink in large quantities (thank goodness for the right sized bottle again), the beer has vision and it excels at it.
I haven’t pulled punches about this beer because I don’t think the brewers did either – most of you are going to hate this and that isn’t a knock against anyone who doesn’t like it. Personal tastes are … well … personal. But if you like what you’ve read, then I think you’ll quite like this unusual and courageous beer too. Make sure if you do, however, that you let it “breathe” a bit and come to temp: 8-10˚C as listed on the bottle – it will calm and balance out the flavours even more.
Stats: Black IPA. 8.5% ABV, 87 IBUs, Microbrasserie Saint-Arnould, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec.
Colour: Turbid, dark brown/black – sur lies.
Mouth Feel: Low-medium carbonation with a rich brown head. Creamy and refreshing finish.
Purchased: Quebec (e.g. BroueHaHa)