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

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Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et BrandyGrande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et Brandy
BA SCORE
4.25/5
Outstanding
106 Ratings
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): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Baltic Porter aged in Bourbon & Brandy Barrels.

Added by FrostBlast on 10-04-2013

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#2,017
Reviews:
34
Ratings:
106
pDev:
8.47%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
37
Trade:
4
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 106 |  Reviews: 34
Photo of Sammy
4.24/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

holy goodness, this is insanely good, a brand new standard in the style, and while its sweetness is robust and in some ways limits the obviousness of the traditional lager yeast elements in the style, its pretty special without that. the barrel treatment here is wild, with some brandy and some bourbon, both the rich almost fortified wine taste, and the regal vanilla char sweetness of the bourbon are both on display. heaps of dark chocolate in the base beer, specialty dark malts, and cola notes, with vanilla and plum and raisin all at the same time, even tobacco and chocolate sauce, its sweet and its super thick, better the warmer it is i reckon, and just so fancy and rich and nuanced as to almost not even be beer. i get chills recalling it, syrupy body in the best possible sense, fig and prune, liquid chocolate, brandy tannins and woodiness, bourbon heft, lots of barrel char and an almost ancient vibe about it. really special beer, some of the very best i have had in the style, and somehow still a brewery that isnt getting the love it deserves. i had a million great beers yesterday, and this is the one that stands out in my mind. so thick and fulfilling. as good as it gets!

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Photo of metter98
4.15/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a collar of off white bubbles around the edge fo the glass and a patch of bubbles on the surface. It later left a very narrow ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of chocolate malts and vanilla are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has some additional hints of wood from the barrel aging. The vanilla really stands out in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has nearly a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a very nice balance between the porter and vanilla flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of biboergosum
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
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 kojevergas
3.33/5  rDev -21.6%
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 superspak
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, no vintage dating. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coffee, smoke, nuts, molasses, raisin, cherry, plum, fig, herbal, tobacco, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malts and bourbon/brandy barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of huge milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coffee, smoke, nuts, molasses, raisin, cherry, plum, fig, herbal, tobacco, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Very mild herbal/roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, cream, coconut, toasted oak, bourbon, dark/brown bread, nuts, light coffee/dark fruit, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Amazing complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts and bourbon/brandy barrel flavors; with a nice roasted bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with zero cloying/acrid flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy, silky, and velvety mouthfeel that is amazing. Minimal chalky roast, oak tannins, or dryness. Insanely clean lager finish, never yeasty. Minimal warming alcohol for 10.5%, with zero barrel booze lingering after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged Baltic porter! All around incredible complexity. robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malts and bourbon/brandy barrel flavors; very smooth, clean, and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV. The brandy barrel doesn't seem as strong as the bourbon on this blend; but the overall barrel integration is absolutely perfect. Never boozy, tannic, or drying. Very rich English malt complexity; not overly roasty, zero char. The smoothness from added barrel silkiness is just insane. This is definitely the best Baltic Porter I have ever had. The style accuracy is completely unmatched with anything else I can recall. A highly amazing offering, and perfect style example.

 2,503 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.35/5  rDev +2.4%
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 jlindros
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spilt with rudzud, 2014 vintage
Huge pillowy fluffy head fades at a med pace big pot marks, thick lacing, pitch black

Nose big dark malts, cocoa, chocolate, biscuity cookie dough, baking spices, fudge, some vanilla barrel, mild bourbon flashes and even a touch of sweet brandy, fluffy nougat

Taste sweet chocolate sauce, cocoa, caramel, little baking spice and biscuity cookie dough, little vanilla barrel ice cream, just a touch of bourbon barrel but maybe no brandy, little caramel notes, vanilla cream

Mouth is med to heavier bod, little syrupy, decent carb

Overall better than most from this brewery but still leaves a lot to be desired.

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Photo of paulish
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of smithj4
4.27/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of oberon
4.31/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a stemmed glass a deep dark chocolate fudge color with a creamy deep beige head atop.The bourbon barrel really comes thru in the nose giving off some vanilla and toast,alcohol dipped fruit fruit and chocolate round out a fantastic nose.The bourbon barrel shined thru in the aromas the brandy barrel came thru more on the palate,deeply fruity with raisin and prune coming thru over top of chocolate and vanilla.Syrupy and thick in the mouth,this is the most decadent Baltic porter I have had to date.Awesome!

 518 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.75/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

 305 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.69/5  rDev +10.4%
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 rab53
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hayley_86
4.25/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rolltide8425
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of imbibehour
4.42/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Soft pop on the cork while opening, but had to give a bit of a tug.

Faint tan head, with barrel a finger of creation out of the bottle. Pours nice slightly transparent but not sludgy. Leaves a light cream ring and little whispy top, sitting on a dark walnut body. Slight bit of chestnut hues.

Aroma has an excellent intense fruit angle. Brandy with an even larger almost fruit molasses quality bursting off the nose. Hints of cream, rich sour and tangy like molasses with a puckering fruit angle (not infection). Hints of splintered wood, excellent barrel angle going with fantastic woody character.

Palate really is the bees knees. Light bodied but solid, even a light cream quality almost gets into velvet and silky tones but not quite. Wonderful fruity and milk chocolate mid palate. Rich dark berried, and almost plum like flavors, with large amounts of sweet grape flavors. Rich chocolate finish, but sticks to sweeter qualities and leaving dark bitterness elsewhere in favor of more fruity sweetness instead. Creamy sensing vanilla, maybe even some strawberry kicking in as well.

Fantastic angle that seems to have picked up more brandy character real nicely more than anything, and made for a real special treat of a beer.

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Photo of a77cj7
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of liamt07
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of spinrsx
3.42/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2016 Batch.. infected and sour

30 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.25/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Montreal three years ago. 2014 vintage.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark black hue with a big billowy mocha head that that fades to leave light lacing and thin wisps.

S - Aromas of nice roast malts, little dark chocolate, nice barrel notes. Solid lightly sweet brandy notes, light light barrel vanilla. No real vanilla.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, nice dark malts, solid chocolate. The barrel is light, nice faint smoke. Good light brandy but no bourbon.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, little creamy.

O - Overall this was a very solid Baltic porter I just wish there was more barrels.

Serving Type: bottle

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Photo of Derek
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
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 wordemupg
4.48/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

 1,281 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.81/5  rDev +13.2%
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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Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique - Fûts De Bourbon Et Brandy from Les Trois Mousquetaires
Beer rating: 4.25 out of 5 with 106 ratings