When Oskar Blue Brewery released their Ten Fidy imperial stout in Ontario for the first time, I was pretty excited and wrote a pretty glowing review, calling it the Chewbacca of beers -- high praise, indeed.
I had squirreled some away and was planning on having one for St. Patrick’s Day, since I have long espoused the enjoyment of Russian imperial stouts rather than merely dry Irish stouts on St. Patrick’s Day. Just before the big day, I noticed that the LCBO had another treat in store: Dieu du Ciel’s Grande Noirceur.
Both beers rate a perfect 100 overall on Ratebeer, with Grande Noirceur taking a 95 for the style and Ten Fidy besting it with a 98. Both beers clearly kick ass and at 9.0% abv for Grande Noirceur and a whopping 10.5% for Ten Fidy, both would no doubt kick my ass too. Clearly, no cars or heavy machinery were operated during this showdown.
Dieu du Ciel in Montreal makes some truly incredible stouts, including Peche Mortel and Aphrodisiaque, which has earned them some pretty awesome bragging rights. As for Grand Noirceur, it is more of a pure imperial stout and isn’t brewed with cocoa beans or vanilla or coffee like Dieu du Ciel’s more famous stouts. That said, it still has strong notes of chocolate on the nose, followed by almost bracingly bitter dark coffee once you take your first sip. It hides its alcohol level well but lacks the oily and sticky mouth feel I tend to associate with my favourite imperial stouts.
When they say let the wookie win, it is because they are known to rip your arms off if they lose. In this case, it wasn’t such a clear cut victory, but Ten Fidy still pulled it off. Ten Fidy actually smelled a bit more bitter and couldn’t mask its higher alcohol content, but once you tasted it, it was sweeter, sticky and while there was still a dark coffee bitterness, it was balanced by dark fruit and notes of sweeter chocolate.
Regardless of which beer won, I was obviously the real winner, as I got to enjoy two wonderful imperial stouts for St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you were just as lucky this St. Patrick’s Day. Cheers!