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"Terrible" Dark Ale by Unibroue - Beer Review

Updated on September 3, 2012
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“Terrible” Dark Ale by Unibroue Brewery, Quebec, Canada

Generally I shy from beer that comes in a bottle with a cork and one of those twisty wire jobbies. To me, that’s just too much work. But between the name of the beer and the name of the brewery, I was intrigued enough to try this brew despite its cork.

The name, “Terrible”, applied in gold to the dark brown glass of the 750mL bottle, is the kind of reverse psychology I’ve seen used by the renowned Stone Brewing Company of California, case in point my favorite beer of all time, Arrogant Bastard Ale. Hence my interest in an ale named, “Terrible.” Add to that a brewery named “Unibroue” and okay, I said to myself, I’ll have to give that stuff a try. Also I had it in mind to share an ale with my daughter home from college, so it seemed a nice size to fill two glasses. And it was almost just the right size, filling up two pint glasses about seven-eighths full. (My apologies to those who are still thinking in milliliters.)

Uncorked, the ale has an unusually pleasant bouquet: unusual because I find that most ales have barely any whiff at all to them when first opened. But “Terrible” has a fine scent to it - a lively, hoppy fragrance with maybe a hint of cinnamon. Along with the olfactory sensation there is quite a bit of sound that comes from the top of the bottle, a sound that concerned me because although many fine ales are quite fizzy, this is not what I prefer. My concerns, however, were unfounded. “Terrible” is not too fizzy, but has a fine, rolling effervescence (reminiscent of bottled Guinness) that remains vital and lively even if one spends a half an hour consuming each of the almost two pint glasses this bottle will fill.

When first poured it quickly develops a fine, thick, tan-colored head, more like a porter or a stout than an ale. The taste is not “Terrible” as advertised, but unfolds in an interesting and pleasant way, starting off with a firm, but gentle bite, then teasing with a hint of dark beer with overtones of caramel, maybe a little something burnt in there along with some fruity overtones, ending with a slightly metallic but not unpleasantly bitter finish. A complex beer for a complex palate, I think. But it is certainly not “Terrible.”

But instead of suing for false advertising, I’d suggest that you give “Terrible” a try. Two bottles will accommodate a double date for beverage with dinner and another two will round off the evening nicely as long as no one has to drive. If you like the other couple well enough, invite them to stay over. After you finish the fifth or sixth bottle it will probably seem like a great idea at the time, if you know what I mean.

Reading the fine print, notice the 10.5 percent alcohol content by volume. Yes, this ale packs a respectable punch - but not a "terrible" punch. Nevertheless, campers, drink responsibly. Live to drink some other night again. L’Chaim.

4 stars for Terrible Dark Ale

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