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La Fin Du Monde

July 28, 2009

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The End Of/Best In The World

Anthony Says:


La Fin 1Quebec pretty much puts the rest of Anglo-Canada to shame when it comes to joie de vivre. Breathtaking landscapes, incredible food, stunning women (and men?), chic and disarmingly European cities; it is little wonder that Quebec is called “la belle province”. Perhaps not surprisingly, Canada’s bastion of Gallic charms is also North America’s answer to Belgium when it comes to beer. And with little doubt, the undisputed champion of Quebec brewing is Chambly based Unibroue. Helmed by Belgian-born brewmaster Gino Vantieghem, Unibroue produces some of the best continental-style ales outside of Europe. I learned this much a few summers back, when I was introduced to a beer called “La Fin Du Monde” while attending a French program in Montreal.


To be honest, I remember initially purchasing this beer in part because of its intriguing name, meaning “end of the world” for our non-francophone readers, but primarily because of its incredible packaging. While ultimately it is quality that counts, I’m of the mindset that an interesting bottle design can make a good beer that much better. In this regard, you can’t really ask for more than this. The corked champagne-style bomber, the ominous image of a topographic Quebec shrouded in darkness, and incredible typography all make for one of the most aesthetically pleasing beer-bottles I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I’ve started a collection of these at home.


Moving onto the actual review. Like most Belgian tripels, La Fin Du Monde initially pours pale golden with a thick billowing head. As this is a beer brewed “on lees”, meaning only partially filtered, there is a higher concentration of proteins and yeast. This becomes apparent in the almost impenetrable cloudiness of the beer, and the noticeably darker color where the yeast settles in the bottom quarter of the glass.


Freshly poured, the nose of La Fin Du Monde is near overwhelming. There is an almost bock-like aroma of candied fruit and bananas, but this is offset by spicy hints of cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. A distinct yeastiness adds a bread-like vanilla scent that ties everything together nicely. Quite honestly, you could spend a good ten minutes just smelling this beer without getting bored.


As for taste, an initially sweet, candied malt flavor is perfectly balanced by lightly tart citrus and hops. Adding robustness to the flavor profile is a touch of spicy nutmeg that leaves a lingering peppery sensation on the palette. This nicely complements the alcohol warmth imparted by a 9% alcohol content. And once again, the palpable presence of powdered yeast seems to flatten out and tie together all these disparate flavors perfectly. A bubbly champagne mouthfeel is offset by a pleasantly smooth yeastiness, and the aftertaste is surprisingly dry.


Wow. While a cynic might say a fancy bottle is meant to mask a poor-quality beer, La Fin Du Monde is every bit as good as it looks. This is extremely high quality stuff and it is almost hard to believe that it boasts a mighty 9% alcohol content. According to Unibroue, this beer is named after the belief of the European explorers that they had reached the end of the world upon discovering America. In seems fitting, then, that La Fin Du Monde is a truly world-class beer.

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Gatlin Says:


La Fin 2Much as with Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA, I have very little to say editorially and will likely find this review difficult. La Fin Du Monde is one of the craft brews I first fell in love with and a brew that all Canadians should be proud of: it is the world leader for its style.


Technical Rundown:

  • Container: 750 ml brown glass bomber, with cork and cage
  • Alcohol: 9% by volume, 7.20% by weight
  • Color: 10 SRM
  • Bitterness: 35 IBU

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Off the pour emerged a classic Unibroue monster head: foamy with big and small pearly bubbles. A considerable amount of lacing was left on the glass as the head settled to a very thin film. The body was a semi-cloudy, dark, straw yellow with an excellent champagne like carbonation.


The nose was extremely complex. A number of spicy yeast notes, including coriander and nutmeg, are discernible. Amongst very mild fruit scents, like pear and apple, a slight citrus aroma can also be detected. Overlaying all the smells was a complex herbal smell combined with a touch of winter green.


With a spicy yeastiness upfront, the taste was very similar to the nose. The mouth feel was nicely crisp and displayed champagne like tartness and dryness. An herbal taste with wintergreen also came through.


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La Fin 3
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Some Final Thoughts


Anthony Thinks:

Pros
  • Exceptional quality
  • Superb tastes and aromas
  • Great bottle design!

Cons

  • Bomber bottle unwieldy- not always available in standard sized beer bottles
  • A little on the strong side
  • Almost too drinkable?

f

5 stars. Between the incredible flavors, terrific scents and awesome bottle design, La Fin Du Monde is the complete sensory and aesthetic experience. I’d say this brew could be a little much for a less expirenced beer drinker, if only it weren’t so damn drinkable. Well done, Unibroue


Gatlin Thinks:

Pros:

  • Complex aromas and flavors
  • Outstandingly crisp- no hint of the 9% alcohol content
  • Amazing quality

Cons:

  • Can be overwhelming for unseasoned beer drinkers
  • 9% alcohol content can sneak-up on you

f

La Fin du Monde is a 5 star triple and as far as I know the best in the world- even better than the trappist triples. Belgian ale lovers absolutely must buy this beer. Anyone looking for a complement to a robust pork dinner may also enjoy goblet or two


So, What’s On Your Mind?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2009 3:15 am

    It really is an amazing Tripel. One of the best I’ve had, including many Trappist Tripels. Unibroue and Allagash are by far two of the best Belgian style beer makers in North America. They really have brought old world craft to the new world.

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