Review: Dieu du Ciel Charbonnière Smoked Malt Beer (2013)


Wow, I've had this in my hoard for quite a while.. and I don't even remember who even sent this beer! I'm checking out Charbonnière Rauchbier (Smoked Malt Beer) from Dieu du Ciel. This Charbonnière was bottled in August of 2013 so I shouldn't be reviewing this, but I'm reviewing it to see how the beer held up after 4 years and 3 months.

Appearance: Charbonnière pours a heavy nutty brown ale with a bit of a caramel/cherrywood hue to it. I didn't notice much for carbonation in the body, but there was a decent beige 1/3 finger's worth of head on top, which is pretty decent of a beer that's over 4 years old now. Good amount of glass lacing as the beer is gradually sampled.

Aroma: When I first opened up the bottle, I was disappointed by how it wasn't that smokey, almost as if the aging ruined it. As I let the beer sit for a few minutes as I'm trying to get that one decent photograph, I take another sniff and there it is.. that rich, burnt wood smell that reminds me of my grandpère's toboggan hill. I get notes of bonfire smoke, a bit of oak, whatever amazing hot dogs that were being grilled over the wood fire grill at the hill that day, and a hint of caramel sweetness. This reminds me of my childhood a lot. My grandpa made this cast iron wood fire grill top that you could rest dogs on and you were guaranteed a perfectly cooked burger every time. The memories are popping up to that. This is smokey as heck, and I'm now wanting a bonfire thanks to this aroma alone. I think it has to do with the wood used, it just brings back too many memories...

Taste: This is a sweet, caramel-forward ale with a rich rauchbier style.. meaning that it's full on smokey. This is probably one of the lightest smoked beers I've ever had as I've generally drank stouts/porters that were smoked, not so much lighter brown ales with a hefty smoke presence. Smokey, smokey, smokey. Once I get past the smoke, I notice earthy hops (dead leaves) popping up. The smokiness isn't as heavy as many stouts/porters I've had, but this beer definitely fits in the theme of Manitoba winter right now. It has a sweet caramel flavour with a moderate prairie wood flavour, with traces of smokies, hot dogs and a burnt marshmallow.

Overall Thoughts: This brings me back memories even though I've never tried this beer before. It reminds me of when I was a fat kid who loved to go to my grandparents' toboggan hill and eat all the hot dogs I could desire! My parents took us there often and we loved it, well.. my mom didn't love it because my dad would always take us, but she would always come if she absolutely had to! I love smokey beers, they're perfect for cold, bitter, Canadian winters. This is the beer represents the rural Canadian toboggan hill. 5.4% ABV

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