21 years ago, I held a 750 ML bottle of Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles Quadrupel for the first time. By this time, I had 14 years of experiencing a wide variety of beers from Belgium. I’ve always said that Quads are my favorite style of beer. But when Unibroue released Trois Pistoles to the beer world, I believe they placed Belgian brewers on notice.
Never before had a Quadrupel ale offered the flavors and complexity that Trois Pistoles did. Because of its uniqueness, it quickly gained a global following. When Master Brewer Jerry Vietz joined Unibroue back in 2003, he had the opportunity to begin influencing the established, classic ales and their future flavor profiles. When he was officially made Brewmaster in 2007, we did see a change for the better in the entire product portfolio.
We always wanted to have Trois Pistoles as one of our first BrewViews, but for some reason, it didn’t work out that way. It is one of our regular go-to ales from Unibroue, along with La Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, and Maudite. Huge apologies for finally producing a BrewView that is several years overdue. So here we go…
BEER STYLE AND COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Style category: Unibroue-Style Dark Ale / Quadrupel
Brewed since 1997 Origin: Chambly, Quebec
Due to its complex character, this beer immediately attracted a lot of fans. Its fruity notes and high alcohol level often draw comparisons to port. Drawing on Quebec folklore, Unibroue chose the name Trois Pistoles to honour the city’s historic importance and pay homage to the legend of the Black Horse. Conjured up by a priest to help build a new church, this incarnation of the devil ran off when its bridle was removed. Because construction was still underway when the horse vanished, a stone remains missing from the church to this day.
FACT SHEET Fermentation: TOP Color: BROWN WITH BURGUNDY HUES SRM: 32.2 Clarity: OPAQUE Head: RICH LACY BEIGE FOAM Bubbles: FINE Effervescence: SLOW AND SUSTAINED IBU: 15.5Body: MEDIUM Aftertaste: MEDIUM
OUR BREWVIEW ON UNIBROUE’S TROIS PISTOLES
APPEARANCE / THE POUR: 9% ABV, we served it at 55° F in the signature Unibroue Trois Pistoles chalice.
With all of Jerry Vietz’s beers, they produce voluminous heads, and all pour a 3 to 4-finger height head. The head was super dense, off white, that is rocky, with an whipped, creamy consistency.
The beer color is dark brown, with burgundy hues. The rim color variation is slightly lighter.
The Brussels lacework the head left behind once it collapsed (it took around 7 minutes, which is amazing for a high ABV beer) provided even sheeting. Plus, it was still holding a 1-finger height. During consumption, it held a 1/4″ height until the bottom of the glass.
NOTE: Unibroue has a very specific way they want you to pour their beers into a glass. They fully advocate incorporating the yeast at the bottom of the bottle into the glass. For more info (with a link to a video) of the Unibroue pouring ritual, click here.
TASTE: In the first sip, you’ll get a unique mix of flavors that carry over from the aromas As usual, there is the classic Unibroue bready yeast flavors that perfectly counterbalance the spices and chocolate, and Cruzan Black Strap Rumminess.
MOUTHFEEL / PALATE: As I mentioned earlier, no Quad has the signature effervescence that Trois Pistoles does. The bottle referm is done so expertly, and in a way that does not override the style it was inspired from, but enhances the drinking experience. It fills the mouth with tickle and excitement. As the beer warms, the effervescence calms, and the liquid becomes creamier.
FOOD PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
As you have most likely discovered from our previous BrewViews on Unibroue beers, the brewery is very culinary oriented – (with it’s own cookbook with recipes featuring their beers) and Trois Pistoles was no exception. Here are some links to recipes from Unibroue’s website:
PULLED BEEF WITH TROIS PISTOLES SHEPPARD’S PIE REINVENTED WITH TROIS PISTOLES BREAD WITH BEER AND GARLIC FLOWERS WITH TROIS PISTOLES OVERALL IMPRESSION: This is (in our humble opinion) one of the top 5 Quads in the world. We fully disagree with the ratings that Rate Beer has given it in their “Best Abt / Quadrupel” ratings!
There’s a picture we have of a bottle of Trois Pistoles next to what is considered the best beer in the world, hailing from Belgium. We did a side-by-side taste comparison and Unibroue’s mega-platinum and gold medal winner was the better of the two, hands down!
Thanks to Unibroue’s excellent global distribution network, Trois Pistoles is widely available at thousands of retail stores, pubs, and restaurants all over the USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, and more. No need to phone in a month in advance or spending hours in your car waiting in line to have the “privilege” to purchase this world classic. Nor do you have to pay an outrageous price for it as well. That’s the best thing about Unibroue and its world class ales: their value far outweighs the low to moderate price tag.
If you have not had this masterpiece, go to your nearest location that carries it, and try it today. And if your favorite shop does not carry it, ask them to get it. Your tastebuds will thank you… immensely.
Huge thanks go out to the following individuals for making this BrewView possible: Liquor Barn in Redding, California for carrying the line of Unibroue ales, and of course, Unibroue’s Master Brewer Jerry Vietz, for keeping up the classic Unibroue tradition, and yet making it new.
LA BRASSERIE UNIBROUE
80 Des Carrières Street
J3L 2H6 Canada
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 Belgian beer! Ecclesiastes 8:15