Trois Pistoles | Unibroue

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5,059 Ratings

Brewed by:
Quebec, Canada

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Drawing on Quebec folklore, Unibroue chose the name Trois Pistoles to honour the city’s historic importance and pay homage to the legend of the Black Horse. Conjured up by a priest to help build a new church, this incarnation of the devil ran off when its bridle was removed. Because construction was still underway when the horse vanished, a stone remains missing from the church to this day.

Added by Todd on 10-31-2000

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,059 |  Reviews: 2,053
Photo of nomad
4.32/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a dark ruby that was brown toned. Had a soft tan-colored foamy head, and not much lace or stain. Not too enticing compared to many other strong dark brews.

Smelled of a dark almost chocolatey malt, plums, and, most wonderfully, a port-like alcohol-oak-fruit scent. The taste was malty, creamy, and with a slight woody and yeasty finish. Developed a warming fruity body with a small sour tinge - quite vinous.

Easy mouthfeel: none too creamy, oily, or watery. This beer doesn’t come off as a heavy dark brew, as it was not heavy in scent, body, or taste. Thus it is very easy to drink, as the short finish helps and hurts it. Overall, I expected a little bit of punch or complexity of flavors.

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Photo of Jarod
4.57/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great label – dark gray Pegasus flying over a cathedral

This beer poured a cloudy mahogany that when held to the light the edges glowed with an orange hue, not overly cloudy though, I could see the carbonation bubbles escaping from the bottom of the glass. The head that was produced wad thick, rich, dense and lasting, and was tan in color. As far as lace, it started from the top of the glass and lasted until the last sip. The aromas that came from my glass (sniffing outside in the fresh air) were as follows – dark malts, caramel, dark fruits (black cherries), alcohol (slight), baked apples, spices (black and red peppercorns), grass and a hint of yeast. Very complex. The tastes that I experienced were of dark malts, cherry wood oak barrel that might have been used to age, alcohol (slight), citrus, dark fruits (dark cherries), melted brown sugar, baked apples, ground black pepper, and a deep port wine to finish. This beer was far more complex then I would have believed. It was thick, creamy and chewy all at once. Amazing how Unibroue hides all that alcohol behind all those complex flavors. This is a great beer that can be sipped for some time by itself or drank with almost any full flavored meal that is served with. Amazing!

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Photo of Garin
4.44/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served cool but not cold (~10 C) in a tulip glass. I'll call this one a BJCP Belgian Strong Dark Ale, so that's where I'm coming from in this review.

This beer poured a deep, dark orange brown with clean bubbling -- perhaps a shade murkier than what I'd call "fair clarity". A creamy beige, fine-bubbled head formed easily and lingered. The aroma was sweet, malty, and alcoholic, with some hops, phenolic spiciness, and mayhbe orange underneath.

The flavour was intense and lush. Malty, rich, alcoholic, with many of the flavours mirroring the aromas. Also some soft overripe apple undertones (in a good way). The finish was clean and bitter, without any cloying sweetness.

The body was rich and full, and very luxurious. Overall an excellent beer! I'm starting to understand Unibroue's fame.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.55/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Can you feel the alcohol?...I can. Whoa!
Definetly a class act but beyond my scope of appreciation.
Extremely dark pour and murky. Diffacult to judge the carbonation.
The taste is most pleasant, sweet malty start with a sweet malty finish..with an added hoppy bonus.
The head is limited but the thin island lace with glass ring lingers.
The body is full and the nose is a sweet fruity combination.
ABV limits the drinkability.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm glad I waited to review this, as I just got a proper tulip-shaped goblet, and have been drinking this 'til now in a pint glass. Big difference in the aroma and head retention!

It pours a dark, tawny brown with a chunky dark tan head. My 9 year old thought I was having a cola. Not much aroma, just an undefined sweetness, and a dash of plum.

The taste was malt, with plums, brown sugar, charcoal, lemon, cocoa. Nothing too prominent, light carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. More plum and charcoal as it warmed. The head lasted most of the way down, not much laciness. The finish was malt and dark chocolate, with just a wee bit of citrusy hops.

Too many of these, and you'll be speaking French from the 9%ABV, eh? It doesn't show, it sneaks up on you very smoothly, no alcohol bite at all.

Vive le Trois Pistoles! Merci, Unibroue! C'est une bonne biere!

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Photo of dwarbi
4.51/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Amazing color: a deep, dark purple. It has a thick, creamy head that's in no hurry to go anywhere. Smells fruity. There is not a tremendous amount of aroma there, but what you do get is pleasant. Tastes smoky. Feels foamy, but ends refreshing and not very sweet. Leaves hardly any aftertaste. Very mellow. Amazing drinkable.

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Photo of clvand0
3.43/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a really dark amber color with a medium dingy head that fades quickly. The aroma is very sweet and promising of a good taste. Upon first taste, this reminds me of a very sweet wheat beer. It has hints of fruit in the taste and the carbonation is very apparent when drinking, but overall it reminds me of a really smooth wheat beer. It is not excessively smooth to drink and it is pretty flavorfull. I could not see myself drinking more than one of these at a sitting because of the fullness of the flavor and the fact that I am not too fond of it. Nothing special about it in my opinion.

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Photo of Naerhu
3.3/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – initial big foamy head that disappeared. Dark brown color. There was a
Aroma – Brown sugar and malt aroma, kinda earthy and small amount chocolate.
Taste – Brown sugar and surprisingly the alcohol is not perceptible. .
Mouthfeel – nice rich creamy Mouthfeel.
Drinkability – This went down very well. It was gone before I knew it.

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Photo of dmarch
4.66/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours with a thick white head, but quickly dissipates into nothing. Cloudy dark copper in color. I was not impressed with the appearence. I'm glad I didn't judge a book by it's cover though. Wonderful spicy aroma. The label even has a little warning not to use a pisner glass. You'll want to use something that shows off this aroma. Very fruity and spicy with littly to no hoppiness. I'm thinking belgian dubbel, but the high alcohol content suggests something different. The alcohol content is very well hidden in the intense fruitiness of the malt.

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brown with amber hints and a long lived tan head that is lively and sinks down the sides faster than the middle.. The nose is spicy and malty with a tinge of alcohol. The flavor is rather good with sweet malt and spice as well with a distinct and noticeable alcohol finish as well. The hops are well blended but mild. Overall very decent - Drink at a cool but not cold temperature.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought locally (Grapevine refrigerated shelves), a few weeks in my fridge, reviewed 45F-60F.

A big, coarse, noisy tan head dies fairly quickly. Lacing can be induced, but rolls quickly down the glass. The beer is a slightly cloudy, deep ruby.

The smell is sweet, with fruits and berries, slightly malty. The front shows sweet caramel and spice giving way to apples in the middle, with a notice of alcohol. The finish is crisp but dark. Again, I notice some alcohol at the cooler temps, but overall this is a great beer. It used to be my favorite U, maybe still.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.19/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Seeing this for the first time, and with the way Unibroue beers have treated me, I had to try it. It poured a very nice dark color, that seemed more red than brown. As aggressively as I poured it, I still couldn't achieve a head atop. The aroma is quite pleasant. A touch of hops and alcohol, but mostly dark fruits and a lot of ripe cherries.

The flavor is just as smooth. It had a bit of yeasty spiciness to it, and a slight sweetness that followed a mild hop bitterness. Very fruity, delicious, and highly drinkable at 9%. Another great one from Unibroue.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany in color with a tan head. The aroma is sweet almost like brown sugar. There is also a faint fig smith with a bit of fruitiness. The flavors that jump out are an herbal/medicinal flavor, sweet candi sugar, and alcohol. It is a medium-full bodied beer that finished semi-sweet, and alcoholic. A very tasty brew.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4.15/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My list of favorite beers is dominated by Unibroue. I recently did a head to head comparison between this and Chimay Blue. It was very close, and the differences are subtle. The Unibroue is perhaps a bit spicier, the Chimay slightly smoother. Trois pistoles pours the usual magnificent head, with good retention. Very dark, looks almost identical to the Chimay. Has a quenching, yet substantial taste. As is the case with the other Unibroue offerings, almost a wheat-beer like refreshing quality, but is complex and packs a quite a punch. No alcohol noted in the taste, but certainly in the effect. With all of the varieties, I could drink Unibroue almost every night (if not for the fear of overwhelming my liver, I probably would!). This can't compare to Rochefort or Westy, but for the price and availability, you can't really go wrong. Make sure to let this warm up. Cold, it tastes like a rum and coke!

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Photo of Bighuge
4.59/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky brown appearance. Decent sized light tan head fizzes away until all that remains is a thin film and nice looking collar. Aroma is sweet like candy and musty like the ocean breeze. A little grape as well. And some cherry syrup drizzled on top. The feel in the mouth is slightly airy and a bit carbonated. Not like a champange though. Body is roughly medium. Flavor profile is subtle yet complex. Sweet malts, biscuit and a bit of bitter hops are detected. There's a unique mustiness present that throws me into a big Deja Vu. Flavor's also a little medicinal and phenolic, a little yeasty and quite fruity. All in all, an agreeable Belgian style beverage.

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Photo of hyuga
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brew with hints of a red hue here and there. Very nice head on top, off-white. It doesn't stay as well as I'd like it to, though. Nevertheless, this beer is quite beautiful when presented in its signature glass. The aroma doesn't fall short of this either. Sharp and spicy with dark fruits such as plums and currants. Very reminiscent of a great dubbel. A strong caramel sweetness is present in the background, holding everything up. On the palate, it's again in the range of a dubbel. Initially it's very smooth and caramelly sweet, then in the middle the huge spice and fruit characters really kick in. The fruitiness is currant and plum again, with some grape in there as well. A sharp hop twang backs all of it up, pairing perfectly with the spice and currant. In the back, the fruitiness gets kind of rind-like, like plum skin. Finishes with a smack of spice and hops and a bit more sweetness. Malty smoothness throughout. Just a touch of pepper here and there. Some leafy hop character in the aftertaste, along with some other things that are hard to pull out of the flavor when it's actually in your mouth, making for a very pleasant aftertaste. A wonderful dubbel overall. That's what I'd call it, it fits that description more than dark strong ale, in my opinion. Very much a warming brew. I think some aging would smooth this out in a good way. I wish I had a cellar or a nice cool closet that stayed that way year-round. Another strong offering from Unibroue, always one of the best when it comes to Belgian-style ales.

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Photo of Delirium
4.9/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark crimson amber with immediate smell of sweet black currents and uncured olives in a frothy, foamy, carpeting head that dwindles down but never disappears leaving a sticky imaginative lace. Tastes of rich anise, black pepper, mushrooms, and earth. Deep finish is lightly bitter and exceptionally dry.

Smooth like a sharkskin, just don't rub it the wrong way.

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Photo of Stubbie1
4.4/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow! I liked the la Fin Du Monde but this is much better! A dark brown color out of the bottle. Nice tight white head that hangs around forever and doesn’t leave much of a lace. (Could be my glass) A fruity aroma hits your nose. I think it has a high carbonation content. Nice. A fruit flavor comes across your tongue. Not too sweet, hints of caramel and a slight finish of hops.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.3/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Talk about a a good brew Ay! This is my first venture into Canadian brews, other than the regular macro stuff. I must say, that this is quite impressive. Just like the bottle suggests, it has a similar taste to a port wine. There is definately a taste of grapes in it too. Has a very dry finish, but it still coats the mouth well and leaves a little bit of an alcohol taste about it. I will definately get this one again.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, cloudy brown in color with a very nice head that lasts. I have been waiting to try this beer for a long time. The smell is fruity and sweet with a hint of malt. The taste is very complex. Very effervesent with flavors that change over and over. The beginning is more of the fruit and citrus. The middle and ending are more sweet, dry and warming. An amazing beer that I can't wait to have again. I have a bottle ageing nicely!

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Photo of GreenCard
3.94/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Original review 2-20-2003...

Aroma: slight maltiness with some wisps of alcohol, raisins and plums.

Appearance: a tawny, reddish-brown, creamy off-white head, some haze (not from chilling). The alcohol content killed the head pretty quickly, even in a clean Chimay glass.

Taste/mouthfeel: a lot of alcohol warmth, slight sweetness, a touch of raisins round out the flavor. The high carbonation gives it a nice flavor break, in lieu of hop bitterness or flavor (of which there is little). A fair amount of caramel aftertaste, but also a slight note of sharp bitterness unrelated to hops.

Overall: A well-crafted beer. Unibroue has not disappointed me yet. This is a great example of a dubbel/strong dark ale, though I generally like a little more presence of the dark, dried fruit characteristic. I have another bottle of this that I'm going to lay down for a couple of years.

UPDATE 7-21-2009: [Review of a bottle aged 4 years beyond its best-by date]

Appearance: ruddy dark brown, slight haze, very little head formation

Aroma: dark brown sugar, port-soaked raisins, prunes, alcohol, and wet dog

Flavor: malty sweet with hints of cork, licorice, multivitamin, chocolate, molasses, and stewed prunes; finishes semisweet with a musty/spicey aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, zesty carbonation, alcohol warmth

Other comments: The bottle didn't make much of a pop when I uncorked it, so it must have lost some carbonation over the years. However, extended aging did not harm this one as much as it harmed the bottle of Maudite I cellared next to it. This one is still a drinkable, fairly interesting beer.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.67/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

“Oh, Yearhhh - Babbiieeee”, as Mike Myers would say, in his pathetic English Accent.

The cork did not want to give up its grip, and it took quite an effort to extract it, after the wire cage was removed. The color of this dark beer is gorgeous, a highly polished deep brown chestnut with some mahogany ruby-red hints when backlit. The large head that develops whilst being poured soon rescinds to a thin tan collar halo that grasps the glass sides. Very little lacing at all. Carbonation is still quite high though nevertheless.

Aromas are definitely of Belgium, and not Canada. Deep fruity, powerful, testicle grabbing smells that are not ashamed to reveal themselves. The beginning has a fantastic spritzy presence – the relatively high carbonation of the beer aids the wholesome character, as well as lending to the overall satisfying mouthfeel of this beer.

Tastes are just a ‘non-stop’ Circus of complex acts. They commence with the Master of Ceremonies, MC Dark Fruity Flavours, his eloquent introduction brings on the Amazing Trapeze artistes the “Malt-Teasers”, followed by the famous Vanishing Alcohol tricks of the 9 family members of the Great Escapini’s. After this, the blind-folded Knife Throwing antics of the Port Bananini’s are quickly followed by the warming Fire-Eating Ethanolics. Hold on, where are the Clowns? Well there are none in this Circus – for this is very a serious beer, there is simply no place for face painted jokers here. A high class, highly complex beer, which will certainly benefit from aging for sure I believe. Tomorrow, I am going to get some more to lay down.

Yet again, Unibroue do not fail to impress me, they are the Samuel Smiths of Canada for me. Just where do they keep pulling these magnificent brews from???

In the past whenever, I thought of Canada, I thought of, …………well, erm… yeah, alright, not very much at all. I now think of Unibroue when I hear the word Canada.

Trois Pistoles is the probably the closest attempt at a Canadian Trappist Beer that you will ever experience.

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Photo of purplehops
4.23/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Three sprays pours a chustnut red-brown with a light tan head that has plenty of staying power and leaves ample lacing on the glass. The aroma is apples, plums, raisins, pears, and alcohol. There are also aromas of grass and cardamom. The taste starts flavors of caramel and biscuit malt followed by some carbonation tingle with hints of grains of paradise and citrus notes. The finish is a balance of sweet malts and dry floral and citrus hops along with some earthy/grassy hop flavors. The aftertaste is fading malt and spice flavors being replaced by warming alcohol and and date and fig like flavors.. The mouthfeel medium heavy with plenty of mild effervescence.
Overall a very nice Belgian style dark ale. Plenty of malt, and alcohol along with a wonderful yeast. It looks good, It smells good. It feels good. It taste wonderful. And it will make you forget all your worries and cares.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.87/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark violet color, with a short tan head that recedes too soon.

Rich, heady aromas come wafting out the bottleneck, plump with associations: Raisins, plums, spices, brandy, dark rum, smoke, and so much more.

Bracing onslaught of hops on the palate, but excellent buttress of malt backs it up.
Fantastic spark on the tongue, and a wonderful sweetness that follows after the drizzling of hops. Transendant complexity, utterly other-worldly, and overjoyous.

A real treat of a beer, and a rare delight. Only the finest of human beings should put this to their lips, as a benedicton and reflection of the worthiness of their souls. So, all you slobs, go better yourselves before daring to crack the cage and cork. So go do community service, adopt a stray kitten, give a street urchin a quarter, let someone on the freeway before you, be kind to our fine feathered friends, turn a Bud man on to oatmeal stouts, just do something to realign your karma to make you worthy enough to pour this fine beer down your gullet.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.17/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade, although it took me so long to get around to drinking it that it became available in Ohio in the meantime. D'oh! Anyway, this beer pours a deep ruby color with a medium beige head. Aroma of cherry, vanilla, figs, and raisin. Fruity flavor of plum and raspberry, with a lightly chocolate malt finish. Very easy on the tongue, unlike a lot of Belgian Ales. Absolutely smooth and easy to drink. Very good.

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Trois Pistoles from Unibroue
Beer rating: 4.23 out of 5 with 5,059 ratings