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Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et Brandy | Les Trois Mousquetaires

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outstanding
19 Reviews
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Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et BrandyGrande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et Brandy
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Les Trois Mousquetaires
Quebec, Canada
lestroismousquetaires.ca

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by FrostBlast on 10-04-2013

BEER STATS
Reviews:
19
Ratings:
53
Avg:
4.3
pDev:
13.26%
 
 
Wants:
14
Gots:
22
For Trade:
2
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Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 53
Photo of kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Les Trois Mousquetaires "Porter Baltique Édition Spéciale Aged in Old Bourbon & Brandy Barrels." 2016 vintage. Grand cuvee.

BOTTLE: 1 pint 9.4 fl oz. Brown glass. Black unbranded hood-and-wire cap over a cork. Classy gold and black label art. (No blue appears on the label like the current BeerAdvocate photo depicts).

"Porter Baltique Dark Lager Beer." 10.5% ABV. Their website says this is aged for 5 months. Fall seasonal. Brewed with 85% Quebec malts: Pilsner-type, munich-type [sic], care 60 / 160, wheat, oat, carafa, cherrywood smoked malt. Brewed with hops: Perle, Mandarina Bavaria, Cascade from Quebec. 24.7 Plato O.G. 6.7 Plato F.G. 27 IBU. Imported by the Shelton Bastards.

Served chilled into stemware.

HEAD: ~2cm in height. Khaki colour. Fair creaminess and softness. Not the most robust consistency. Retention is above average (~3 minutes). Leaves no lacing as it recedes. Complexion is fine.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. (Some may mistake it for merely black, but close inspection reveals it to be otherwise). No yeast or sediment is visible within.

Appears aptly carbonated (which is to say mildly so). Not a stellar look for a Baltic porter, but to style and generally appealing. I can't say there's anything unique or special about this appearance.

AROMA: Brandy is evident, with rich wine-like notes and rich oak jumping out of the glass. Praline, nougat, caramel, dark malts, chewy dark fruits (prune, date, grape, raisin, faint plum). Bourbon barrel vanillin is evident. The white oak is replete with ample barrel sugar sweetness, but it's missing the toastiness and coconut of the best bourbon barrel beers I've encountered. Some warm sherry emerges on the back end.

Suggests a chewy brew on the sweeter side. It lacks the clean ester-free character of a lager yeast, but I'll take the brewery at their word; I guess it was just warm-fermented?

To style, there's no hop presence. Style traditionalists may be disappointed by the lack of chocolate/chocolate malt aromatics. I find myself wanting a bit of roasted barley, but that's probably just personal preference.

The caramelized dark fruit notes coupled with the obvious barrel tones makes for a somewhat luxurious aroma, though it does seem a bit rich for a 750ml format bottle brew, and I have concerns about drinkability. Will it be too rich?

I didn't find the cherrywood/smoke at all, but when I look for it I can find it hiding in the oaky wood tones (on the back end). I won't pretend I'd pick up on the cherrywood in a blind tasting (unlike perhaps Deschutes' The Abyss), and there's no harshness to the alleged smoke at all.

Aromatic intensity is moderately high.

TASTE & TEXTURE: Chewy and medium-bodied, yet somehow too thin on the backend. The flavour cuts out quickly, lending this beer's flavour duration a jarringly cut-off finish with no taper or linger to the aftertaste.

Still, the barrel tones are lovely, with brandy/sherry wine soaked oak and bourbon-derived vanillin playing well with the chewy caramelized dark fruits. Sugarcane, praline, caramel, leather, raisin, prune, plum, grape, dates. Dark malts glue it together, but it lacks the gooey mouthfeel that would really accentuate the dark fruits, and its thinness in the late stages of its structure flattens out its otherwise decent depth of flavour.

No chocolate, cherrywood, smoke, hoppiness, roasted barley, or overt wheat.

The brandy is more pungent than the bourbon, and the latter lacks the coconut, toasted, and richness of oak the best bourbon barrel aged beers are known for. I imagine the bourbon selected wasn't great; 5 months would be enough for a good bourbon to bleed into the base under the right conditions (and hat tip to the brewery for actually stating the aging duration - if only on their website).

For me, the chewiness of it and the way that plays with the dark fruits is the highlight of the build. But I have to wonder if this is better for being a Baltic porter (instead of some other more common "dark" style of a high ABV like a barleywine or imperial stout). It doesn't feel committed to its style, and it emphasizes fruity notes without complementing them with fruity ale yeast esters. Why lager yeast? Why a Baltic porter? One can imagine this better with ale yeast.

Balance is decent, but as noted above depth of flavour isn't great. While it's adequately complex, one would hope for still more intricacy in a beer aged in both bourbon and brandy barrels.

OVERALL: While the concerns I had based on the aroma about richness and sweetness didn't prove valid, that's only really the case because of how thin the mouthfeel becomes and how brief the flavour duration is. This should sit on the palate, a rich sipper of a luxurious beer, but instead it weakens by the finish and lacks boldness. While unquestionably an enjoyable brew, it's no rival to Sinebrychoff in spite of its fancy barrel aging. I'm glad I tried it once...

B- (3.33) / WORTHY

Pair with the sharpest cheddar you can find.

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Photo of biegaman
4.81/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This 2015 Vintage of Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique was aged in both bourbon and brandy barrels but didn't adopt any of their colourful, sherried highlights... it's still black as coal. It doesn't matter how bright the light behind it, there's no seeing through this one. Astonishingly, its head not just survives but, what's more, actually thrives; brownish foam persists to the last drops.

It's impossible to smell this beer and not think to yourself: damn, life is good. The nose is candy - crunchy, crusty burnt caramel bits encase in dark chocolate and nutty nougat. A steaming cup of espresso sits just off to the side. Honey-drizzled dried fruits aren't far behind. If you don't have one handy, better start imagining that comfy armchair by the fireplace.

Talk about a soulful experience! This thing is sure to seduce you. Don't ask me to explain how but this big, roasty, high-gravity beer is just plain warm and cuddly. The six months spent in 12 year old bourbon and 25 year brandy barrels have added creamy coconut and vanilla notes but, at its core, it's still plummy fruit and nutty milk chocolate flavours.

Each sip lasts a lifetime. This is a great feature for those of us who review - I was ready and able to complete the review after just a few sips. Fortunately I didn't have to. Un-caging and uncorking the 750ml bottle I thought to myself that Trois Mousquetaires were insane to put a 10.5% barrel aged porter in such a large package. Now, I couldn't be happier they did!

The beer never wears thin nor does it wear out the palate. Blending the honeyed, fruity sweetness of brandy with the charred, more intense bourbon characteristics is genius. I hate to resort to hackneyed phrases, but the sum really is greater than its parts. It has the poise and balance of a Bolshoi-trained ballerina. It drinks nothing like most beers its strength.

Most barrel-aged beers are real showoffs and provide too much of a good thing. Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique, on the other hand, over-delivers by sort of underwhelming - it's not something you'll be tasting the next day, nor will it singe your nose-hairs or have you picking splinters out of your gums but it's nonetheless a beer for the hedonists and is a special treat that will make any night feel like Christmas morning. I can say with no false exaggeration it is one of the finest beers I've ever drank.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Holds true to the Porter moniker with very minimal roast/char character and let's the barrels really take over with so many layers of sweet and dark fruit, molasses, and liquorice. Tasty stuff with zero alcohol that shows up until you're halfway through the bottle.

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Photo of Derek
4.49/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage.

Black with a tan head, shows some leg.

Lovely sweet aroma, brown sugar, vanilla, graham cracker, roasted nut and boozy undertones.

It's dark, but the restrained roast and bitterness really allows the other flavours to come through... Dark caramel, molasses, vanilla, pumpernickel rye bread, raisin and roasted nut, with a light alcohol warmth.

Nice body for a brew is strong... Light residual sweetness, with a drying alcohol finish.

Thanks Yardsale!

(This currently puts me at 98 of Canada's top 100)

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Photo of papat444
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

***2015 Vintage***

Boozy affair yet balanced. Generous head, aroma of bourbon soaked wood. More brandy in the flavor for feel is a bit less robust than i was expecting. Would have liked the porter characteristics to shine more but it's still a well done ale.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, no dating on it that I noticed. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. I like the aroma a lot, the brew smells like dark chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon and brandy. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some nuttiness, molasses and grainy malt flavors noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's creamy and a bit coating with a good amount of carbonation. I remember liking their regular Porter Baltique a lot, and this one is just as good if not better. It's definitely worth picking up! $19.49 a bottle.

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Photo of AMZB
3.88/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a good beer, but you know, I actually like the non-barrel-aged version better. I never thought I'd say that about a beer, but it's true. I find the bourbon a bit overpowering. It obliterates a lot of what I found really delicious about the non-aged version. Still, a good beer and definitely worth trying.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.48/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 1/5/16

A almost pitch black, two fingers of light brown foam just sits there, every time you look back there it is staring back at you, amazing retention but nothing sticks to the glass other then couple polka dots

S lots of barrel, hard to place either brandy or bourbon over the other, heavy cocoa powder, slightly sour chocolate milk but its better then it sounds, burnt coffee with a whiff of smoke, burnt caramel, roasted nuts, lots going on and I'm loving it

T roasted almonds, heaps of chocolate of all sorts, plenty of brandy and bourbon, maybe a hint of tobacco and sour plum, complex and everything meshes together making for something great

M not as heavy as I'd guess from the color but still has some weight, soft from the bubbles but not quite creamy, little booze but less then expected over 10%, oily inside after the fact and a little sticky on the lips, smoky barrel lingers

O this just hit all the spots tonight, complex, overly drinkable for the strength, great use of barrels, it just has everything going for it

I was in the mood for exactly this, not crazy heavy but so much going on its hard to keep track, easy to drink and the barrels leave a big mark on something that was already brilliant.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.31/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml, caged and corked bottle, 2015 edition, one which subtly makes gravy about the use of Quebec-grown ingredients here and there on the back info label.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with very hard to make out basal red cola edges, and three fat-ass fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and creamy brown head, which leaves a few instances of eroding limestone formation lace around the glass as it slowly and surely abates.

It smells of gritty and grainy caramel malt, musty dark chocolate, acrid Bourbon barrel wood (vanilla and boozy rye, mostly), some ethereal red wine fruitiness, a twinge of dry roasted coffee, spoiled milk, a touch of estery yeast, and plain earthy, leafy, and woodsy noble hops. The taste is big bittersweet chocolate up front, a sharp brandy-sourced soused dark fruitiness (plums and red cherries), more grainy caramel/toffee malt, sugary black licorice, stale cafe-au-lait, a more laid-back Bourbon barrel astringency - boozy vanilla, generally - and some still put-upon leafy, weedy, and floral hops that didn't get the message from their experience in the nose.

The carbonation is quite active in its stoically supportive, and more often frivolous frothiness, the body a solid medium-heavy weight, and actually pretty smooth, with a burgeoning fruity creaminess as things warm up a bit. It finishes sweet, yes siree, Robert, but modulated just enough by the lingering woody characters, and a charmingly threatening alcohol edginess.

Overall, this is once again a stellar big beer rendition from this Québécois craft brewery - they nail the Baltic Porter, um, 'lager' experience (ha!), and then amp it up a notch or ten after the fact, all without comprising drinkability. What foul yet beguiling magic be this? Oh, right, something that I need to get back into, after a lengthy heretical spell away from.

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Photo of Dope
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just released but no bottling date.

A: Very dark brown pour but not quite black. Mid-sized frothy brown head. Decent retention and no lacing at all.

S: Very sweet aroma. Lots of dark fruits like raisins and cherries. Grapes too I'd say. Caramel and chocolate. Even got some vanilla with a hint of char.

T: Huh, a lot going on here. Up front there is a nice caramel-and-vanilla sweetened fruitiness. Lots of grapes, raisins, cherries and figs I'd say. Sweetness runs out a bit and leaves bitter cocoa and hints of char. Dry oakiness, vanilla and more fruits in the aftertaste.

M: Fairly heavy but super smooth and easy drinking. Very lightly chalky and dry in the finish.

O: Serious baltic porter. Very fruity, very smooth and with almost no alcohol burn. Drinkability is fantastic as a result. Great barrel flavors and a great base beer makes for a great combination.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.69/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a dark inky black, with a very small head, and basically no lacing.

Smells like dark fruits- raisins and plums, with brandy, taro root, sweet chocolate syrup, and oak.

This is super decadent and really tasty. There's definitely more brandy than bourbon here, with lots of dark fruit, plums, raisins, and maybe a little of dried cherry, with some herbal taro root flavor, oak, sweet chocolate, and just a hint of roast. The herbal flavors and the roast flavors keep it from being too sweet.

This is medium bodied, it could be a bit chewier, but it's certainly substantial. There's a lower level of carbonation.

This is absolutely wonderful. A double barrel aged beer that flies under the radar. Awesome.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 mL bottle. Black body. Smell is strong barrel. Lots of brandy. Smells sweet. Coconut. Milk chocolate. Taste also has a lot of coconut. Brandy behind it. Chocolate and some roasted malt. I don't get much bourbon, though. Oaky finish. Much better than the regular version. At least my bottle.

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Photo of VbolieuV
4.85/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 edition.

Looks absolutely delicious, pitch black with a nice creamy head with big bubbles, you can even see some carbonation in the black color. Intense dark chocolate smell from the beginning, fallowed by aromas of dark fruits and alcohol, some bourbon and whiskey smell is noticeable. I mostly taste the dark fruits with a nice bourbon taste and a sweet chocolate flavor too. As it goes down you get a small alcohol burn, and feel a little smoke too. You can feel a lot of carbonation in the mouth also.

Really an outstandingly barrel-aged porter. I really like the original Porter Baltique but the barrel-aged one is amazing.

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Photo of CanadianBacon
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My rating is based on the 2015 edition of this beer, Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip,

Appearance - this beer pours a very dark brown almost black with 2 fingers of mocha head, carbontation seems lively.

Aroma - On the nose I get borubon and brandy, oak a light alchohol smell, vanilla, chocolate coffee, plum grapes.

Taste -hints of whiksey and brandy,oak that lasts, roasted malts, milk chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, vanilla, nut. wow this is complex.

Feel - Full bodied and chewy lively carbonation and a strong boozyness as it goes down.

Overall - This is one delicious sipper, At 16$ for a 750 ml you wont want to down it fast anyways your gonna want to savor it, and its worth doing, the flavors come together so well and you'll really enjoy this one if you like porters and stouts. If you have a bottle enjoy!

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Photo of mtomlins
4.59/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass and shared with friends during a holiday bottle share.

A: A deep dark brown color that gives rise to a 1-2 fingers of mocha head with decent retention and some nice lacing.

S: The nose is really complex, not just a massive bourbon blast, but rather a nice boozy fragrance allowing some roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate to come through and some vanilla and a bit of wood.

T: Again, just really nice balance of rich flavors. Big dark chocolate flavor, lots of sweet boozy brandy but not overpowering; brown sugar, molasses, vanilla. A bit of hot alcohol. Absolutely delicious!

M: Low carbonation and a big body; smooth and round.

O: What impressed me most about this beer is the balanced complexity; it is both big and bold while still exhibiting restraint. This bottle was served with the 2010 version and was unanimously agreed to be the superior version. Very well done LTM!

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Photo of jmvogel512
4.24/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black and very smooth. Little head present on pour which quickly dissipates. Very similar to their Porter Baltique, which almost tastes like a milk stout crossed with a baltic porter to me. Slight scent and taste from the bourbon barrels. Not overpowering like some bourbon aged beers, but I feel like I expected more bourbon to it. The 10.5% abv definitely warms the inside on the way down. Perfect for cold winter evenings at this time of year.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to Papat444 for this bottle.

The beer is jet black with a small tan head. Head fades quickly, leaves just a touch of lace.

Nose is very rich, with bourbon, brandy and chocolate all jumping out strongly. Vanilla and oak. Some roasted scents. The bourbon and brandy scent mix well together.

Taste is very good indeed. Like the nose, the bourbon and brandy are both quite present. They mix well together, the bourbon imparting some sweetness and the brandy a more aggressive heat that cuts the sweetness a bit. Chocolate and some roast malt flavours are right behind, as well as vanilla from the bourbon. The barrels are strong but they do not obscure the beer, which is great in itself. I don't pick up on the tart cherry flavours that I usually get in the base beer- perhaps the barrels drown it out.

Full bodied, low carbonation level. A bit syrupy, but generally very smooth.

Overall, a terrific beer. Nice twist on a great beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a rather generous light brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of warming brandy/bourbon notes with light vanilla with some residual sugar notes is very enticing. Taste is a great mix between some syrupy brandy and bourbon notes with notes of vanilla that are also discernible and some well-balanced residual sugar notes. Body is quite full with great carbonation and light warming alcohol notes are slightly noticeable. I thought this was a great improvement over last year barrel-aged treatment and well-balanced for such an extreme beer.

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Photo of FrostBlast
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle

I never mention bitterness in my reviews, my bitterness taste buds are ridiculously under-
sensitive.

APPEARANCE : Dark brown with a mocha head that doesn't rise very much and backs down pretty quickly - just as should be expected. Not nearly as opaque as I had expected it to be though.

SMELL : First nose is heavy roasted malts with coffee and chocolate notes and a certain boozy warmth. Some fruity and nutty notes are also present. Second nose opens up the hop profile with a vegetal side emerging. Deep chocolate notes. Third nose follows along, but with more booze.

TASTE : There's smoke that wasn't there on the nose and ooh man, what a rich palette. Multilayered, complex, precise. You can taste both types of barrel, bourbon and brandy. The booze gives an amazingly pleasing warmth that stays with you long after you've downed your sip. Hops are very present, but blend themselves superbly with the coffee side of the roasted malts.

MOUTHFEEL : Coats the mouth. Pleasantly low carbonation leaves all the room to the aromas and the amplitude of the beer itself.

OVERALL : Among the very best stouts I've had the pleasure of tasting, and definitely the best stout I've had that come from my homeland.

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Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et Brandy from Les Trois Mousquetaires
4.3 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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