BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S QUELQUE CHOSE

As I was going to be publishing the various BrewViews for the SANTÉ MES AMIS! – A TRIBUTE TO UNIBROUE section of our website, I always hoped for the chance to revisit their QUELQUE CHOSE specialty ale.

To my delight, my request from Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz was answered. The last time I enjoyed Quelque Chose was back on New Year’s Eve, 1999 heading into the new millenium. So when I received the package of all the Unibroue specialty ales back in October 2018, imagine my surprise in discovering that Jerry sent not only one, but two different vintages – 2002 and 2009 respectively!

This BrewView is nearly 2 decades in the making. We enjoyed both on  December 25, 2018, and again on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2018. Here we go!


BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION

Style category: Unibroue Style Strong Cherry Beer – (Similar to Rouge des Flandres)
First time brewed: 1996
Origin: Chambly (Québec) Canada
*Not currently brewed
** It was the only Unibroue ale that was not carbonated or refermented, so it is intentionally flat. So for those of you who have a bottle and believe the ale is defective because it is “flat”, it is not!

Nose: INTENSE AROMA OF RIPE CHERRIES WITH ACCENTS OF CINNAMON, CLOVES, HONEY AND VANILLA.

Flavor: PERFECT BALANCE OF SUGAR AND ACIDITY THAT HIGHLIGHTS RIPE CHERRY AND SPICY NOTES.


FACT SHEET

Fermentation – TOP

Color – RUBY RED

SRM – NA

Clarity –  LOW

Head – NONE

Bubbles – SMALL

Effervescence – VERY LOW

IBU – 20.5

Body – MEDIUM

Aftertaste – SHORT


OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S quelque chose – vintage 2009

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:
We poured the cold serving at 40° F in the signature Unibroue tulip shaped glass as recommended at  Unibroue’s website..

In the initial pour,  there was a 1/16″ height head that rapidly dissipated within 5 seconds. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean”.

WARM SERVING
When we mulled the beer to a temperature of 120°F, a unique thing happened- the beer actually held a bit of a head, and offered some lacing on the side of the mini sampler cup we served it in. This is expected when a beer is brought to such a temperature. However, most beers would be frothing at the head if they are mulled, and flavors would spoil. Quelque Chose is one of the very few rare beers that you can actually heat up and it’s flavor character is improved!

AROMA / BOUQUET:
Intense aromas of cherries, cinnamon, allspice, honey. The spices intensify when mulled.

TASTE:
COLD: The sweetness of the cherries is dominant, with the spices in the background. WARM: The tartness is more prevalent, and is well balanced. Similar to German Glühwein.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The tartness really does wake up the olfactory senses. The finish is short, but pleasant.


OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S QUELQUE CHOSE – VINTAGE 2002

APPEARANCE / THE POUR:

We also poured the cold serving at 40° F in the signature Unibroue tulip shaped glass as recommended at Unibroue’s website..

In the initial pour, there was a 1/32″ height head that rapidly dissipated within 5 seconds. We did ensure the glass was “beer clean”.

WARM SERVING
When we mulled the beer to a temperature of 120°F, the same unique thing happened as with the 2009 vintage- the beer also actually held a bit of a head, and offered some lacing on the side of the mini sampler cup we served it in. The lacework was a bit thicker, however than the 2009. As said before, this is expected when a beer is brought to such a temperature. However, most beers would be frothing at the head if they are mulled, and flavors would spoil. Quelque Chose is one of the very few rare beers that you can actually heat up and it’s flavor character is improved!

AROMA / BOUQUET:
As with the 2009, there are intense aromas of cherries, cinnamon, allspice, honey. The spices intensify when mulled. The honey aroma was more intense than the 2009 when mulled.

TASTE:
COLD: As with the 2009, the sweetness of the cherries is dominant, with the spices in the background. WARM: The tartness is more prevalent, and is well balanced. The honey flavors are more present than the 2009. Similar to German Glühwein.

MOUTHFEEL / PALATE:
The tartness really does wake up the olfactory senses. The finish is short, but pleasant. The honey flavors linger a bit longer than the 2009.


ENJOYING QUELQUE CHOSE AT MINUS 36°f

This is enjoying beer at extremes! The following picture set was sent to us from Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz. In his words:

“Nobody wants to stay outside to enjoy beer
all day at minus 36°F… even here in Québec.
Some will be willing at 36°F, but not at minus 36°F.”

I would say if there was a Winter Warmer like Quelque Chose available, I would!


FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS

We’ll keep the food pairing suggestions pretty much the same as for the Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire. 

CHEESES:
Maytag Blue, Goat cheese encrusted with figs, Comté, Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort.

APPETIZERS: 
Tart Cherry Glazed Spicy Meatballs, Butternut Squash Goat Cheese Dip with Tart Cherry Compote, Cherry Goat Cheese Bites, Baked Tart Cherry Cream Cheese Wontons.

ENTRÉES:
Meat loaf, Cocoa-based Mexican dishes (mole), Kale Quinoa Montmorency Tart Cherry Salad with Salmon, Grilled Lamb Chops with Tart Cherry Sauce, Open Faced Tart Cherry Prosciutto Sandwich, Tart Cherry Glazed Salmon, Crockpot Cherry Balsamic Glazed Pork.

DESSERTS:
It goes without saying, the first dessert to pair this ale with is the highest quality Black Forest Cake you can find! Other suggestions would be: Montmorency Tart Cherry Funnel Cake Sundaes, Cherry and Chocolate Cheesecake, Tart Cherry Amaretto Pie, Tart Cherry Chocolate Galette, and last but not least, high quality Cherry Cordials!


OVERALL IMPRESSION

This BrewView took me back nearly two decades. I remember that cold rainy New Year’s Eve in 1999 as I drove up to Perry’s Liquors in Livermore, California, looking for a good Winter Warmer.

Already familiar with Unibroue’s high quality ales, I did not hesitate when I saw Quelque Chose in the refrigerated section! The only other beer I ever had that was mullable was from a brewery in Yakima, Washington. Quelque Chose was easily much better.

In a very recent conversation with Jerry Vietz, he advised me that 2009 was the VERY LAST year that Quelque Chose was ever to be brewed. It is permanently retired. But, what a way to end 2018! Jerry has always blessed me with some great vintage and rare ales in the past, but this one was extremely special. To find a bottle of Quelque Chose is exceedingly rare. But if you do, the youngest bottle will now be a decade old. If any of you have the Vintage 2009, it can be aged for another 5 years. If you can wait until 2024, you will be in for a rare and delicious treat.

Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible:
Andrew Murphy of Unibroue in Portland Oregon, Al Spina, and always, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for sending us these two rare vintages!


LA BRASSERIE UNIBROUE
80 Des Carrières Street

Chambly (Québec)
J3L 2H6 Canada

Tel. : 450 658-7658
Fax : 450 658-9195
Web: http://Unibroue.com
Email : Info@Unibroue.com


BrewView author GORDON A. PONCE is the main driving force behind Belgian Beer Journal.com. Since 1983, Gordon recognized that beers from Belgium were special, set apart from the typical craft beer.

He views beers from Belgium (plus Belgian-style and Belgian Inspired beers from other countries) great examples of the brewer’s art. Gordon and his wife live in beautiful Northern California- a great place to enjoy beer!     Ecclesiastes 8:15