Friday, September 2, 2011

Mont des Cats Biere Trappiste

An 8th Trappist brewery?! In France?! That's what this beer is - a product of the Mont des Cats monastery who is applying to become the newest member of the exclusive Trappist club. This beer wasn't actually brewed by them, though, it was made by the monks of Abbey de Scourmont in Belgium - better known as the brewers of Chimay. So a Trappist brewery essentially contract-brewed a Trappist ale for a different monastery - does that make this an authentic Trappist product? Well, it's a huge gray area so I'll leave that up to you to figure out. As for the beer itself, it's hard to tell what style it belongs to - again, you decide. I'll decide how good the beer is.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Chad9976 (643) - Albany, New York, USA - SEP 1, 2011
I received a 33cl bottle from a friend in Belgium (thanks Bart!). I poured it into a Trappist chalice.

Appearance: Even without the yeast the body is extremely hazy, opaque shade of brick red and pumpkin orange. Forms a normal-sized, yellowish sudsy head which retains well but doesn’t lace.

Smell: Surprisingly weak nose with mostly floral/perfume-like fragrance and hints of dark fruit.

Taste: It’s difficult to pin down a definitive story about this beer as different sources on the Internet have different stories as to whether Mont des Cats Biere Trappiste is indeed a Trappist beer and if so, what style it falls under. The label seems to indicate it’s an amber ale, which I would agree with. It lacks the robustness and complexity of an Abbey Dubbel.

The palate here is rather simple: light flavors of dark fruit up front with a sharp, almost sour sensation of tobacco and smoke on the second half and an aftertaste to match. Only light bitterness through the middle, with plenty of maltiness otherwise. That being said, this is still a mild beer overall. The flavors seem diluted. Not that there’s anything off-putting about it, but it just doesn’t seem like something you’d expect from a Trappist monastery .

Mouthfeel: The liquid is thin, but heavily carbonated. It foams up in the mouth and leaves a slightly sour, astringent aftertaste.

Drinkability: If there’s one thing the monks are good at - it’s hiding the alcohol and that’s true of this brew, too. At 7.6% ABV there is zero alcohol presence in the nose, taste, or weight of the beer. The carbonation dances across the tongue and gets stuck in the throat. Not what I would consider a smooth beer until the end when it seems to become borderline watery.

Overall, Mont des Cats Biere Trappiste is a decent beer to be sure, but not nearly as good as you’d expect considering who it’s made by.
Grade: 6/10

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