Monday, January 28, 2013

Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt

I love discovering hidden gems in the beer world. I got a bottle of Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt in a "Yankee Raffle" at my homebrew club’s Christmas party. I wasn’t very excited about it, so I let it sit in the fridge for nearly two months before I opened it. Now that I’ve tried it I’m sorry I waited so long since it’s a flavorful, complex and overall impressive beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (800) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 28, 2013
I poured a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Beautiful chestnut/mahogany/ruby red hue. Though dark, plenty of fine carbonation can be seen streaming up the side. Forms a large, beige, frothy head which laces and retains wonderfully.

Smell: A sweet, nutty aroma plus significant dark fruit and classic Belgian yeast esters. Interesting and inviting.

Taste: The altbier style is definitely underutilized and underappreciated, and a well-brewed version like Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt, makes me wonder why it isn’t more popular. In the case of this beer, it could be the fact it’s not a familiar palate. In fact you could almost describe it as a cross between a robust English brown ale and a Belgian dubbel. You wouldn’t normally compare those two, but in this case it works well.

It begins with a medium caramel note, followed by distinct nutty flavor. Some bitterness through the middle quickly gives way to an even richer flavor of stone fruits and dried fruits. I notice a resurgence of the caramel flavor as the beer finishes, which is nice. The only problem with this beer is the constant, noticeable yeast taste throughout the palate. It’s close to table black pepper, or just a general dry flavor that distracts from the otherwise sweet, malty palate.

Drinkability: With a thick, full body and energetic carbonation, this is actually a sipping beer despite the relatively light weight of only 6% ABV. The texture is creamy and soft, but the beer has a heavy presence in the mouth. It’s pretty easy going down, though the dryness does linger and is a bit cloying. Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke Alt drinks like a heavier beer than it is, since there’s so much flavor to it. Though I had no trouble killing an entire bottle by myself.
 Grade: 8/10

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