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For whatever reason, Dieu du Ciel (God of the Sky) is one of those breweries that has slowly elevated itself into mythical status in my mind.

Based in Quebec with two small brewpubs in Montreal and St. Jerome, I think their somewhat exotic locale (in a Canadian sense) is what drives most of it for me, since the odds of me ever physically visiting these guys are about as good as Brett Favre finishing out this coming season injury-free. Expectedly, they brew in small quantities, and I don’t believe they bottle everything they make. In short, their stuff can be very difficult to come by. So when I heard the fabled Peche Mortel* (Mortal Sin), currently ranked in the top 20 on Beer Advocate’s “Best Of” list, had found its way to the shelves of The Four Firkins, I made a bee-line to pick up a bottle.

Poured with a nice craggy, cratered head that fell apart slowly. This really does make most other coffee beers smell and taste like Sanka. Probably the most pronounced coffee richness I’ve ever experienced except for, well, a double shot of espresso coffee (hold the sugar). Also a bit of oak, smoke and leather in the aroma. Taste is equally impressive, a combination of the darkest chocolate, roasted malt and a very dry, bittering coffee flavor that quickly coats your mouth. A bit hot in the finish, with a fairly hefty 9.5% ABV. While there is some nice complexity going on, probably a bit too aggressive on the coffee front overall for me to give it an absolutely world-class ranking in the imperial stout category. But man, is this a beer. 

Rating: A

* On a side note, what is it with brewers in Quebec going with these quasi-spiritual, Gothic themed beers? Unibroue’s La Fin du Monde and Don de Dieu? Dieu du Ciel’s Rigor Mortis and Resurrection?

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