Peche Mortel

Dieu Du Ciel: Péché Mortel (Canada: Imperial Stout: 9.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Large creamy brown froth head.

Nose: Bitter coffee granules. Bitter chocolate. Dry roasted peanuts.

Body: Rich coffee. Sweet chocolate front; bitter chocolate back. Fudge. Apricot. Frothy. A custard touch.

Finish: Oatmeal. Bitter coffee beans. Slight condensed cream. Rich and rounded. Kiwi touch. Very roasted character with lots of bitterness.

Conclusion: How to get across the character of this beer? From the notes above it looks pretty much like a standard new age Imperial Stout doesn’t it? That is because it very hard in those notes to get across how immense the level of coffee is. Like Beer Geek Brunch Weasel the coffee has numerous layers to its character which I had to resort to pitifully summing up above as “Rich coffee” and “Bitter coffee beans”. I need to learn to be a better wordsmith.

The coffee is very bitter, however the beer uses smooth chocolate and fudge at the sides to keep the intensity in a manageable range. It also uses the texture to similar effect, the frothy nature a good contrast to allow the coffee to have its moments of power without making the overall beer too one note to drink happily.

The intensity has reinforcing elements as well, with a rough roasted character backing it up. That and the coffee are the two elements that last, and you find them still present long after each sip. These enduring elements allow an unbroken continuity of beer consciousness throughout the whole experience. From the first moment you start drinking you will not find a second that you are not aware of the beers complexities until long after you have finished the last drop.

Outside of the coffee it has few divergent notes from your expectations, it is more stripped down and focused on coffee than most beers at this level of quality, however it makes up for that by really pushing the coffee quality through the roof. It does better than Speedway Stout in the bitter coffee stout stakes, but the crown still goes to Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. However to lose to that beer is no great flaw, this, much more intense beer, is the harsh edge of the complex coffee Imperial Stout range and a lovely beer.

Background: This is a big one, Dieu Du Ciel have been impressing me since I first got my hands on some of their beer earlier this year, and this is probably their highest reputation beer, being their entry into Rate Beers top 50 beers in the world. Even more than that, just as I was about to drink it I had a quick twitter conversation with Independent Spirit, who also raved about it. Expectations were high. This beer, the name of which means “Mortal Sin” was made with fair trade coffee and drunk while listening to a bit of Dethklok.