An article by Noah Forrest
In the past I’ve talked a bit about the IPA scene in Quebec, and how three or four years ago you’d be hard pressed to find a hoppy beer in this province that was particularly exceptional. There were a few one-offs here and there that were solid, but even then there wasn’t much in the way of American hopped-up deliciousness. Most other provinces and countries were ahead of us. That’s not to say there weren’t fantastic beers in general; there were (and still are) many stellar Trappistes-styled Belgian ales, stouts, witbiers, etc. However, it wasn’t until Le Castor‘s Yakima and Dieu du Ciel!s Moralité hit shelves that things started to change.
These two beers were groundbreaking in this province simply because of their brilliance, however they were also trailblazers in that they actually became shelf beers. To this day, both are pretty much the only consistently amazing IPAs that you can find when walking into a beer store in Quebec. In particular, of the two, my personal tastes lean towards Moralité — one of my all time favourite beers. Furthermore, in a sea of expensive 500ml and 650ml bottles, Dieu du Ciel!’s 341ml bottle format sold in 6-packs or 4-packs makes for an ideal beer to have in the fridge all the time.
That being said, this article isn’t about IPA, it’s about Imperial IPA! The problem that’s occurring now in Quebec with regard to Double IPA and Imperial IPA is pretty much the same issue I outlined above when describing our situation a few years back. This, however, is changing. Every year Les Trois Mousquetaires releases their brilliant DIPA, but it’s a one-day-only ordeal that sells out in a few hours. Brasserie Auval also recently released an unbelievable DIPA called Super A; it completely blew my mind. But, like Les Trois Mousquetaires’ DIPA, quantities are extremely limited and production is low. MaBrasserie also has a solid, somewhat more regular DIPA that does the job to fill your big hoppy desires, and there have been some other good examples as well, but they are few and far between.
This leads me to the beer that I know you all want to hear about, Dieu du Ciel!’s Immoralité! Immoralité has existed for some time, but until now it has only been available on tap at their brewpubs. On April 1st, for the first time, it will be distributed throughout Quebec in 4-pack cases as part of their Momentum Series. Immoralité is an imperial IPA that is essentially Moralité on steroids, weighing in at big 9.2% abv. It carries a similar hop profile to Moralité, including citra and simcoe; instead of centennial, though, they used Amarillo. The only downside is that for the moment it will only be a once-a-year release.
Last year, as many of you are aware, Metallica and Anheuser-Busch collaborated to create a Metallica “themed” beer — the equivalent of a head cold collaborating with a stomach flu. Needless to say, I didn’t seek out a can. Part of this cash-grab gimmick was to “infuse” the beer with the sounds of Metallica. They actually parked a tanker full of beer at a live concert so they could baptize it with the band’s Napster-hating music stylings. Insert giant eye-roll.
As a satirical homage, Dieu du Ciel! worked with local musician and poet Mononc’ Serge. They placed a speaker inside the Immoralité fermentation tank while he played his set during their anniversary party. Mononc’ Serge is known for his often vulgar lyrics, so the joke was that he would transform Moralité into Immoralité. I think this is a brilliant jab at the silly Metallica publicity stunt. However, because it had to occur at the anniversary party, it means that this batch of Immoralité will be about five weeks old when it is released to the public. IPA is a perishable beer, loosing a lot of its bright, hoppy edge after a few weeks. That being said, I’ve never really been let down by Dieu du Ciel!’s products before, so hopefully it holds up just fine (I’ve also heard that a fresher batch will go out around the same time). Now, onto tasting the beer that I’ve been dreaming about for months!
Immoralité pours out a glowing orange colour with a sexy and puffy white head. The nose is a citrus hop bomb that penetrates my senses with aggressive amounts of lemon and grapefruit, coupled with zesty and potent tropical fruits. There are also some piney aromatics, and a solid sweet malt base, complementing the hop essences with strawberries and cherries. It’s quite dank and grassy as well, with a freshly mowed lawn thing happening. This screams east-coast IPA.
Up front the flavours match the nose, with loads of citrus and general fruit explosions. The 9.2% is certainly there, but integrates with the hop profile rather well. There is a ton of sweet strawberry and melon to match the grapefruit rinds. The citrus keeps evolving, turning into a huge tangerine and clementine bomb, mixed with overripe apricots and hints of pear. The fruitiness is pretty endless here. The finish is nicely dry while not being excessively bitter — a hard thing to balance well with imperial IPAs. The finish lingers, with a big bitter grapefruit flavour alongside echoes of honey sweetness, grass and general resinous hoppiness.
There is a sharp booze burn going on that nevertheless matches the intensity of the rest of the flavours quite well. The sweetness, coupled with the bitterness and the alcohol, exist as a balanced trinity. It turns this beer — which is normally rather sweet — into a dry and effective hop bomb.
While Immoralité won’t be around all year long, just having it some of the time is pretty huge. The beer scene in this province progresses ever day, with innovation, quality and quantity on the rise. It’s exciting times if you’re a hophead in Quebec. Beers like Immoralité will continue to put us on the map, solidifying Quebec as one of the best beer producing provinces in the country. We are no longer only known for our Belgian styles, wild beers and stouts, but for IPAs as well.
An article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest