Corne de Glace | À l'abri de la Tempête
Score: 80/100 - Very good
From a 341ml bottle served warm at 14 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. Best before date of 20.04.2024 with 211118 listed afterwards. Does that mean this was packaged about a year ago? I don't know.
I picked up this beer about a week back from a local specialty shop. You know I can't walk away from a 14% sledgehammer even if I wanted to.
I believe this is my first review from À l'abri de la Tempête. In the past, I've had a few heavier beers by them that I remember really enjoying. Nothing as heavy as this mammoth. Let's pop that cap!
The beer pours a brilliant deep copper with 5cm of dense, creamy, beige head which dissipates into a solid cap within 4+ minutes. Poor lacing with great head retention - exceptional if you consider the hefty ABV. A beauty.
Medium-strong intensity with good balance. The aroma is unique, peculiar, and punchy.
Pronounced banana esters and perfumy alcohol compete with milder tarry character and peat smoke. Significant leather seems to tie everything together along with mild caramel sweetness. Low jammy dark fruit and gentle herbal tones at the back.
The dry nose is characterful with notes of leather, herbs, alcohol, bread crust, and marmite. Really, really interesting... but also slightly jarring.
Strong intensity with sharp balance and assertive perceived bitterness.
The intense palate opens up with sweet and umami vibes featuring notes of jammy dried fruit, significant leather + marmite, loads of alcohol, and bread crust.
The center is sharp and bitter where the bread crust malt along with leather (oxidation) act as an anchor while peat smoke, herbs, and alcohol shave off most sweetness. A hint of dark fruit and burnt sugar persist.
The long finish is sharp and strong with notes of banana, alcohol, leather, marmite, herbs, bread crust, peat smoke, and tar. How atypical!
Medium body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is slick and somewhat sharp with hot alcohol warming and a medium-sweet finish. No apparent astringency but the mouthfeel leans towards harsh.
À l'abri de la Tempête's Corne de Glace is an interesting beer, landing outside of the bell curve.
Impressive appearance - absolutely beautiful with wonderful clarity and great foam attributes. The aroma has an air of mystery while packing some serious punch - especially as the beer approaches room temperature. The flavour just slams your senses; sharp and heavy yet lacking depth of character. Some of the intricacies of the nose are lost on the palate. I believe this is mostly due to the mouthfeel which remains short of acrid but the alcohol heat washes over any nuance in flavour.
Overall, Corne de Glace is a unique beer worth trying. Even if the score reflects an averege brew, this is far from it. It's almost as if a barleywine, off-kilter scotch ale, and a dunkelweizen had a baby. The weight and malt of a barleywine paired with smoke and herbs topped with banana and dark fruit esters.
This strikes as a great digestif; a few ounces in a small glass after a meal. I truly believe this has a place in the world of beer as something outside of the box, delivering a unique drinking experience.
If you're ready for an atypical sipper, then grab yourself a bottle. This should easily take more than an hour of contemplation which is money well-invested for me. After 90 minutes of deliberation, I've bumped the score up to 80 points (from 76).