An Article by Noah Forrest
If you are unfamiliar with Péché Mortel, I suggest you change that – you’ve been missing out. Let’s bring you up to speed. Péché Mortel is a coffee infused Imperial Stout brewed by Dieu du Ciel! It’s been around for close to two decades, is generally rated as the best beer in Canada, and is basically beer-crack. Oh, and it gets it very own day!
Journée Péché – March 11th 2017 – 2pm – Montreal & St. Jerome locations – Event details right here.
I would argue that Péché is the most iconic and important craft beer in Québec, maybe even Canada; at the very least among beer-geek fanboys. It’s one of the only Québec craft beers that is celebrated worldwide. Whether it’s the standard, readily available edition, or the infamously rare “double barrel” Péché, I get excited whenever I see that iconic and mesmerizing label.
This year, to celebrate Journée Péché, there will be eleven (wait, Eleven?!) different versions of Péché Mortel available on tap at both DDC’s Montreal and St. Jerome locations. On top of that, 39 bars from Québec and all around the world will be celebrating Péché day as well, with many carrying several versions of the iconic beer.
On top of all this amazingness, they are doing something new this year and releasing a special mix pack with four different versions of Péché Mortel! Three of these have never been bottled before. Given that I’m a bit of a parental hermit at the moment and won’t be able to attend the event, this fares very well for me.
I was extremely fortunate to get my hands on a case ahead of time so that I could tell you all about it! It contains the following:
- Péché Véniel
- Péché Mortel Édition Spéciale
- Péché Mortel Bourbon (2016)
- Peach Mortel
This box set will be available for purchase at many local Montreal beer stores starting on Péché Day (Saturday, March 11th). All retailers have strict orders not to sell it beforehand. If I were you though, I’d get there quickly as availability is low and it will sell out fast! With that said, let’s get onto the tasting!
*Please not that I will not be reviewing Péché Mortel Bourbon 2016 as I’ve already done so in an earlier article this year. Click here to read it if you are interested.
Péché Mortel – Véniel
Ever thought, “I really want a Péché, but it’s 8am on a Tuesday and 9.5% ABV is a bit too much for me right now?” No, me neither, it’s never too early for Péché Mortel. However, if this highly unlikely situation ever occurred, Péché Mortel Véniel now exists in bottles! A baby sister of sorts, Véniel is 6.5%, and brewed with Colombian coffee. Joking aside, I’m pretty damn excited to have this “session” Péché available in bottles for the first time.
It pours out a bit thinner than your standard Péché, but it’s still jet black, carrying a frothy tanned head. The nose is, well, coffee forward, but with some smokey and ashy undertones. Light caramel malts come though, alongside nutty components and subtle cocoa.
Because of the lighter body, sweetness, and alcohol content, the bitter coffee notes comes through that much more, lending a long dry finish that echoes earthy coffee beans and bitter espresso. It’s less fruity than regular Péché, and instead has an amped-up caramel and toffee presence. It’s lighter and coarser as well, but still carries a round flavour profile that brings everything together.
Overall Véniel is quite drinkable, light and holds a sharp and resinous bitter finish from the coffee. It’s very much its own thing while still very much being Péché Mortel. I’d love this to be available year round. Although, I’m going to say this about every one of these.
Péché Mortel – Édition Spéciale
Édition Spéciale is Péché Mortel made with a different type of coffee. This year, they chose a lighter roasted bean from Kenya called M’Beguka. Being that I’m obsessed with light roasted coffees right now, I’m particularly excited to see the effect it will have on Péché.
The nose wafts even more coffee than usual, carrying a rich fruity backdrop. Chocolate comes through as well, lending a huge mocha presence. I’m getting Black cherries, chocolate candies, tiramisu, and lots of berries. The nose is basically amplified Péché, in the best possible way.
On the palate, the coffee lends a huge fruity character when compared to the original. Lots of cherry and strawberry comes though, even rhubarb. The acidity seems more pronounced, sharpening things, but also works perfectly with the rich dark roasted malts.
It feels a bit lighter on the mouthfeel than usual, with some sharp edges, but everything is still in balance, hitting all the usual amazing notes, but with augmented coffee presence that carries a fruity punch.
Peach Mortel, really? Yes, really! We can thank all the silly anglos for this bizarre peach infused concoction. You see, English speaking patrons would often get péché mixed up with pêche, and order a “Peach Mortel.” So, the good folks at DDC up and decided to brew it!
The nose wafts big jammy peach notes, alongside loads of coffee and chocolate aromatics. It’s reminiscent of fruit infused dark chocolate, likes those chocolate oranges you buy around Christmas. The peach fruitiness is bright and apparent, but this still smells like Péché Mortel.
Peach Mortel is fruity up front, as you might presume, lending bright stone fruit flavours to the beer. The coffee still plays a huge role though, and is the dominating component to the overall flavour profile. Although the sweet peach essence is there, the beer still drinks quite dry, with a lingering hop and coffee bitterness in the finish. This is the most acidic Péché variant that I’ve tried; it lightens the beer and the mouthfeel, brightening the flavours while still retaining its rich “Péché” base.
When I thought about the combination of peaches and coffee, I can’t say it made too much sense to me. However, this really works well. The malt roastiness didn’t feel as dark in this one, which allowed the peach and coffee to really shine bright, creating a whole new drinking experience, while at its base still very much remaining Péché Mortel. I want more!
Well, there you have it, three brand new Péché Mortel bottles for you to fall in love with, as if it was your first time all over again. Sometimes variants can be a bit gimmicky – and Peach Mortel certainly felt like it could fall into that trap – however, each and every one of these beers was interesting, delicious, and simply worked well. Being a big coffee fan, I really appreciated examining the different nuances you get with each type of bean used. Thank you Dieu du Ciel! for putting this together, especially for those who can’t make the event!
An Article by Noah Forrest
Photography by Noah Forrest