Today I’m reviewing a beer that seems to be having an identity crisis. The brewery’s name and beer names are in French, with a beer style from Scotland, using some ingredients from Canada. It would probably make more sense if I told you that the brewery was based in Quebec though, so let’s start over.
Today I’ll be reviewing the Équinoxe du Printemps from the microbrewery based in Montréal, Quebec called Dieu du Ciel!1Yes, the exclamation mark is an official part of the name.[/re]> The Équinoxe du Printemps, which translates Spring Equinox, is a Scottish ale brewed with maple syrup. It is a seasonal release that is brewed in January and then aged two months.
Dieu du Ciel! was founded in 1998 by Jean-François Gravel, Patricia Lirette and Stéphane Ostiguy. Starting out with a biology background, Gravel and Ostiguy became friends at their university and realized they had more of a passion for brewing beer than they did staring at a microscope, so they opened a brewpub in Montréal. In 2007 they expanded their operations to a larger brewery located in St-Jérôme, just to the northwest of Montréal.
Looking forward to seeing what these science-minded brewers had to offer, I go ahead and open up the bottle, pouring a very dark, opaque reddish brown colored liquid into my glass. Burying my nose in the glass I get a sweet, malty alcohol note up front and really not much else, especially not what I’ve come to expect from scotch ales.
With my excitement somewhat subdued, I take my first sip and continue down the road to disappointment. The taste is a little bitter, with a little alcohol and a lot of malty sweetness. There’s a touch of roasted caramel and a random, light artificial strawberry note. The finish is long, starting out with more of the malty, caramel sweetness and shifting over to the bitterness which lingers longer than I’d prefer. The last bastion of redemption could be the mouthfeel, which is decent and has some weight to it, but unfortunately the carbonation is just a touch too much for what I would prefer. As it warms up, the taste gets a little weird. It’s not nearly as smooth or boozy as I’m used to for scotch ales and there’s an odd fruity note – it’s fairly sweet, along with just the lightest touch of malts.