Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! is a brewpub/microbrewery located in French speaking Quebec, Canada. They have been getting much attention for their imperial stout, Péché Mortel. Beer Geek Nation has done a video review of this beer and it is recommend that you watch that video to see how it compares with Aphrodite, their regular stout brewed with cocoa and vanilla beans. At 6.5% ABV, Aphrodite is on par with the style, maybe slightly higher than most non-Imperial stouts. Being on the west coast, distribution of the beer must be increasing and you’ll be able to find Aphrodite where ever Dieu du Ciel bottles, with their distinct artwork, can be found.
Aphrodite pours very dark brown – nearly black in color. The beer is unfiltered, helping keep this beer from allowing any light to pass through. I poured about two fingers worth of a light brown/khaki colored head that fades quickly leaving some beautiful lacing, possibly due to them not using head retaining grains and the slightly higher ABV. Putting my nose up the opening of my tulip glass, I immediately get a soft vanilla bean aroma that quickly falls to the background because of the huge, chocolately malt notes. You get a huge dark chocolate aroma from the cocoa and chocolate malt they used. If you have ever brewed a stout, it smells like the steeping grains, similar to the chocolate malt notes Fuller’s London Porter but more intense. As is tradition with stouts, there is no hop aroma from the nose.
When brewers use adjuncts like cocoa, vanilla bean, bourbon soaked wood, etc. in their beers, I always worry about how they will fit them into the flavor profile without being too strong or almost completely absent. With Aphrodite, you immediately get the presence of vanilla bean on the front of the tongue. But instead of turning into the dominant flavor, it fades into the rest of the flavors elegantly. As the beer gets to mid tongue, you get bitterness from the free trade cocoa and hops – like drinking very high percent cocoa dark chocolate. Towards the back of the tongue the malt base rises to prominence while the cocoa and vanilla notes linger around in harmony. The mouth feel is lighter than expected, making it more drinkable than one would expect. The carbonation is spot on for the style – just enough to deliver the flavor to your tongue. As it warms up, the flavors intensify and the hops make their presence known creating an even tastier blend of flavors that is not too bitter and not too sweet.
I enjoy stouts year round, any time of the day, but Aphrodite would make an excellent desert beer. I have not tasted anything like it that is produced on a regular basis (as most breweries tend make such a beer as a seasonal or limited release) but it reminds of the smoothness of Stone’s Smoked Porter with vanilla bean (different style, I know) but with a better balance of the vanilla but better intensity in the malt and hops profile. With two adjuncts, the beer is surprisingly balanced and much more drinkable than you would expect (but it’s not a sessionable beer by any means). If only more breweries would brew such a beer year round.
Beer Geek Nation rating: A
Beer Advocate: A+ / 4.65
Rate Beer: 4.7