Aug 11, 2010

Le Saint-Bock Brasserie Enigma

I’m not entirely sure what enticed me to buy this stubby little bottle with the plain label artwork. It was just sort of sitting there on the shelf with nothing more than a price tag, yet I picked up one of the remaining bottles nonetheless.

I had never heard of it or the small Montreal outfit that makes it. Searching online for a good bit of time (probably too much) reveals nothing more than a couple of reviews on BeerAdvocate and a handful on Ratebeer.

What I was able to find out about this beer, however, made me want to open it much sooner than I had planned.

Enigma is an English Barleywine style ale that has apparently been aged in port barrels for a period of 6-8 months that then undergoes a second fermentation using maple syrup. If that doesn’t sound incredible I don’t know what does.


Enigma pours a dark, reddish brown in color with next to know head. Swirling in the glass did little to create foam but showed that the thick beer has some impressive legs, clinging to the walls of the glass briefly before descending.


Whoa. At 13% ABV the booze is certainly on the nose, as is a slight vinous grape (the port barrel perhaps), dark fruits (figs) and a light spice. I don’t get any woodiness from the barrel aging it’s gone through, but that could be due to the big sweetness and maple syrup presence within the aroma.


Much like the nose, this one is big on alcohol and sweetness. It’s got a unique flavor that contains a myriad of components — chocolate, fig, raisin, maple syrup, port among other items I couldn’t quite pick out. Enigma is quite warming with a full, viscous mouthfeel. It’s got an interesting life cycle as far as the taste goes. Everything sort of hits all at once up front, but then slowly fades to a sweet, lingering finish that stays with you for a good bit.


This is without a doubt one of the more, if not the most, unique barleywine style ales I’ve ever had. It’s got an excellent blend of flavors that fit the thicker mouthfeel wonderfully. The higher ABV and sweetness make this a great beer for sipping after dinner. There was one other bottle of this on the shelf when I picked mine up a month or so ago. I only hope it’s there when I visit next.

Rating: 4/5

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