Les Trois Mousquetaires - Porter Baltique – Édition Spéciale (Bourbon & Brandy Barrel Aged) 2021
- ABV: 10.5%
- Bottle Size: 750-ml
- Serving Temperature: 50–58° F
- Suggested Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Goblet or Pinot Glass
We’ve been enjoying everything we’ve managed to get our hands on from the folks up at Les Trois Mousquetaires, and this particularly limited release of their Porter Baltique ended up as one of our immediate standouts of 2018: built from an exceptional strong-porter base, along with generous barrel characteristics and subtle flourishes from its cherrywood-smoked malt.
While still delicious at fridge temperature, this opens up significantly after some time in the glass. Porter Baltique Édition Spéciale pours a deep chocolate-brown approaching licorice, topped by light-tan foam. The aromatics offer rich milk chocolate and roast as two central notes, well supported by dates, dried cherries and some plush, vinous heat. While this does include that aforementioned smoked malt, this doesn’t at all land like conventional smoked beer, its charred notes instead meshing as secondary elements with the spirit barrels’ toast.
One other key reason we gravitated towards this beer is that it does such an excellent job of promoting local ingredients, with 85% percent of its malts originating from Québec, as do its Cascade, Mandarina Bavaria and Perle hops. While this leads with an impressive impact from its dark specialty malts and barrel contributions, we found so much generous territory to dig into even beyond that—complex maltiness ranging from caramelized sugars to dates to dark coffee. Some welcome spiciness and bittering elements come through from the hops and the barrel time, contributing a firm edge beside the darkest of those added malts. For folks who dig Baltic-style porters, this one’s an exceptional opportunity to try a twist on the style that’s built from a masterful base. The amount of emergent chocolates, subtle barrel and smoke, as well as emergent dried dark fruits, makes this lager an unforgettable release out of Québec.
We are very much on board with the brewery’s pairing suggestions of smokehouse meats, chocolates, pralines and strong cheeses—which should work great alongside the many layers of dark chocolates and nuttiness and roasted qualities throughout this experience. The aging potential on this is approximately three to five years, and we anticipate it working quite well with some additional caramelization and sherry notes in those middle layers. While delicious right now, this limited dark lager will likely only improve with a bit of cellaring patience.
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