Any time I cross the border into La Belle Province, I always make sure to pick up a stash of amazing Quebec beers! I was especially pumped about this one, as @bieresavantgarde is one of my favourite upcoming breweries. The few I've had from them have all been stellar, outside the box beers.
You’re looking at “Nocturne Coco,” a coconut imperial porter that boasts an impressive 8.2% ABV. First released in December 2016 with subsequent batches in the months to follow, imagine my surprise when I found a couple of bottles with a production date of January 11, 2017 just sitting on a random depanneur shelf - almost 2 years old!
Pouring a dark cola black with a short, light tan head, it emits a subtle mix of aromas. I’m not sure if it’s the aging or just the natural profile, but I’m getting some lighter bitter chocolate notes, even lighter coffee, some roasted nuttiness (a bit difficult to discern if it’s coconut), and some mineral content that I’m having a hard time trying to identify. A bit mysterious, which I guess is par for the course, given the awesome label art.
The flavour, however, is anything but subtle! Roasted coffee & chocolate are obviously noticeable from the first sip. What is perhaps a bit more surprising is a decent booziness which came without warning from the aroma. Then, there’s a strong level of acidity - and this is where I think things go a little bit downhill.
The acidity gives this a fairly sour astringency near the finish, and while I expect that acidity to a degree in some porters, it’s just a bit past my level of enjoyment for this style. Plenty of porters have some acidity to them, and depending on who you ask, it’s a good or bad thing (there are many historians that claim porter was originally a sour style). For me, it takes aways from some of the flavours I really enjoy in a porter (not to mention any coconut in this one), and I think if it was toned down just a bit, it would be significantly better.
Maybe it was the aging, but as it is, it’s still worth a try for the curious beer drinker. They can’t all be home runs for everybody! Since the others I've had from them were, I'm still looking forward to trying more soon. 🍻