Unibroue is one of my favorite Breweries because of their beer’s unique characteristics and amazing drinkability. In another post on the Unibroue Chambly Noire we discussed in detail the distinct Quebecois beers that they produce, and also their Belgian inspired heritage. But really, I should have began with the Maudite, the very first beer that turned me on to Unibroue, and also one of the best that they brew, and one of the top beers in the world.
Maudite means “the dammed one”, and was named after the Quebec legend of the Flying Canoe. As the legend portrays, a group of lumberjacks struct a deal with the devil to fly them home in their canoes. Guided by Satan himself, they made it home in time for Christmas.
The Maudite of one of the beers which opened Unibroue in 1992, and is a Belgian Style Strong Dark Ale, very reminiscent of a wheat beer with very rich a fruity malt characteristics. It is 8.0% abv, is available in 750ml corked bottles at most all LBCO locations, and also in six packs of 341ml bottles throughout Quebec and much of the US. The Maudite is a beautiful mix of Belgium spicy flavors, sweet malted wheat, rich fruity malts, light effervescence, and smooth cognac like complexity. I constantly try to buy bottles to cellar for years, but always end up drinking them long before their intended maturity. But I can almost guarantee that three or four years down the road, a corked bottle of Mautide will have build an immense depth of flavor and maturity.
But don’t get me wrong, this beer is ready to enjoy right now! It should be served cold, but not quite fridge temperature. Anywhere around 5 degrees Celsius (40F) will do; the beer will show you layers of flavor and aroma at that temperature, and will begin to erupt with great robust and aromatic life as it continues to warm. Pour it into a wide bottomed tupliped chalice or snifter if available.
The pour is very lively in the wheat beer sense lifting a huge pillowy and fluffy head immediately; so pour gently, and perhaps even allow the first half of the beer to relax in the glass before completely finishing the bottle. Soon enough though you will end up with a gorgeous ruby red beer with a large two inch mountain of head. The beer is hazy and opaque glowing deep mahogany with golden brown, ruby red, and orange ambers shimmering throughout it. The head is filled with air, is very dense, and has huge staying power. It took about ten minutes for it to subside down to a short film, but was even then about a quarter inch tall.
The nose is rich and pours at you with spices of clove, white pepper and light cinnamon. Sweet malted wheat becomes very dominant and soft malty fruit begin to show their flavors. It definitely is ripe with Belgian (or more appropriately, Quebecois) yeast characteristics, and displays light banana, peaches and apples. There is a wine like tart finish to the nose which I suspect will come out slightly in a bitter hop finish.
Although it seems menacing at a rich and deep 8.0%, you should get right into this beer in a big way. Simply sipping it over your tongue will not do it justice. Try a full mouthful and you will enjoy a pouring of malt flavors, massive floral aromas, and a delicate and lively mouthfeel which is unmistakably Unibroue.
The first thing you will notice is a light wheat sweetness that bounces off your tongue and is accentuated by the beers lively effervescence. Quickly though, spices move in brining cloves, allspice, light pepper, and coriander to your palate. The malted wheat sweetness is still there but opens to bananas, apples, light peaches, and pears. More malts come in, but now they are full and rich with plums, oak, vanilla, and a cognac like alcohol complexity.
Overall the Maudite is very layered showing you huge complexity and a perfect mouthfeel which helps you absorb everything that this beer has to offer. It is very lightly hopped, but enough to create a refreshing and pleasant balance. But really, the wheat and the mouthfeel produce a supremely quenching beer perfect in the heat of the summer, and against the warmth of a fire place.
I love it with and in beef stews, grilled rep meals, roast potatoes and yams, pasta, and anything spicy.