Showing posts with label 10. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Swan's Legacy Ale (Barley Wine)

Andrew at Swan's was a little late this year with his barley wine release. It was with good reason; the Legacy Ale was aging in a tank for eight months. Patience pays off.

Legacy Ale (Swan's) = 10/10

Barley wines in Victoria range from painful to bland; this one falls perfectly in the middle. There is enough sherry, sweet raisins, dark fruits and earthy hops to make your nose happy. The body is assertive, yet sippable and creamy without being overly warming. Each sip is complex enough to appeal to everyone. The first time barley wine drinker will enjoy the warming alcohol attack with dark fruits, raisins and hints of chocolate. The beer geek will love oxidation gone right with sherry notes and challenging earthy and herbal hops. Everyone's palate will be pleased by the long finish of syrupy raisins and warm sherry. There is enough complexity that cellaring will improve flavours. Do not delay, this is a very limited release.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Just bonus points to get up to 10 points)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Belgian Black 2013


A yearly repeat beer rarely gets a second mention unless something is different. Dean mentioned that the recipe for Belgian Black was slightly different this year. The taste reflects this.

Belgian Black = 10/10

Last year I mentioned that this tasted like a ramped up Keepers stout. This year a lot of that roast is gone which allows more berries and yeast spiciness to waft out of the glass. Each sip warms and coated the tongue with a glycerin like thickness. Then the flavours come: dark fruits, all spice, and highly conched bittersweet chocolate. Maybe there is a bit of rum and raisin pudding in there too. Each sip and change in temperature reveals something new. Lost is the astringency but gained is a smooth sweet finish. I don't think this is cellar worthy because there are no harsh flavours that need to be mellowed out. After a while that spicy yeast might be lost, which would be tragic.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%ABV
Value +1
Appearance +1 still great label art

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nothing to Say and Ola Dubh 18

I have nothing to say. This is troublesome, as Victoria's eminent beer blogger, I should have lots to say. Perhaps I should substitute "eminent" with "only". Even Leapbeer is blogging about Victoria beers more than I am. Perhaps my articles are too short. Joe Wiebe's review of Central City's Imperial IPA was three times as long as mine. Making note to self: pull socks up, get off ass, do something.

In my defense, things have been quiet in the Victoria beer scene. Releases have been slight. Swan's does have the Tessier's Witbeir on tap, one of my favourites. Moon Under Water's summer hefe is not due out for a week or so. Lighthouse will have a new ale coming next week, whenever the caps arrive. Hoyne has a summer wheat beer (not hefe) with honey sourced withing walking distance.

There has not been any good news about beer/alcohol and health. Unless you count the Tim Stockwell media machine that says private BC liquor stores are killing us off. Mice got a bit of good press, demonstrating that they didn't get fat when given a rare nutrient found in beer.

Might as well fall back on an old formula; import beer review.

Ola Dubh 18 = 10/10


Ratebeer 3.84 99th percentile
Beer Advocate 93%

To smell this beer, is to understand the life of a Cooper. Roasted cocoa nibs, peat and ash aromas start the Pavlovian response. You don't sip this beer; it is more like chew. I don't mind a thick and full mouthfeel with abundant tastes of dark chocolate, pecans, whiskey, black berries and #2 HB pencils. Scotch vapours can sometimes fade, but Ola Dubh never leaves. The only downside to this beer is the bottle is too small. I would like to obtain a growler fill of this stuff! Look closely at the label. I want George's job: Master of Wood. 

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (simple and elegant labeling with great description of beer)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Singularity 2012 (Driftwood)

I have only one issue with this beer; explanations will come in a moment.

Yes, yes it all smells so very good. Bourbon, bitter sweet chocolate, burnt toast, port and a little bit of vanilla; kinda like a David Bowie cocktail. Certainly the mouthfeel is thick, warming and oddly effervescent for a low carbonated beer. It tingles the mouth like 7-up. Oddly faint at the start and perhaps a bit thin with tickles of real vanilla extract and Kirsch. But only for a millisecond. Now here come the raw cocoa nibs, bourbon, burnt sourdough bread and weak espresso. This mildly astringent foursome leaves a long lasting and dusty coating that never leaves. Even after brushing your teeth, the flavours are still there.

Singularity 2012 (Driftwood) = 10/10 UNDER PROTEST

Here is my complaint -this is what a beer prick does, right? I paid $10.95 for this beer. This is a fricken embarrassment. Brooklyn Black Ops sold for how much, $25+? We had some Deschutes roll by at $20+. Heaven knows how many people opened their wallets and handed over red bills for two Dogfish Head bottles? This beer is as good - or better - than any of these other ones. And we only paid $10.95! If this beer priced this way near the front till at Bottleworks in Seattle, there would be black friday like riots. I have had a Dark Lord 2009, thanks Dave, and Driftwood's was nearly as good. Perhaps I am bitter that this beer did not crack the $14 mark as I predicted. Might be the 11.8% ABV talking: 11.8% heheh.. snort. Price valued products accordingly. My wife spent $25 on a bottle of wine today and we never blinked. I bet my Singularity will make my palate happier than her French Merlot. So there! Honestly, if the high end beer scene wants to grow, Victoria's brewers must act like it deserves it. That being said; I plan to buy 4-5 more and cellar them. I would have done so at $15!


Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 (11.8% wink)
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Uber-elegant wax dipped bottle)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mikkeller Black Hole

Ratebeer 3.94 100th percentile
Beer Advocate B

It's a stout and it's big. Please insert the word 'big' in front of every word used to describe this beer. Aromas of vanilla, sweet chocolate, alcohol and wood are everywhere. To taste this beer is similar to licking a spoonful of honey. It's thickness coated the mouth with roast, earthy hops and burnt coffee. None of these big flavours would go away. Truly excellent.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 13.1%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Mikkeller Beer Geek Weasel
Ten Fidy
Russian Gun Imperial Stout

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sink the Bismark

Another beer from the EPIC Beer dinner #2. Actually it was the main attraction. Thanks to Dave for picking this up; I don't want to know how much he paid for it.

Sink the Bismark = 10/10

Ratebeer 3.38 87th percentile
Beer Advocate B

This thing smells corrosive, yet inviting. To say massive is an understatement; so much pine/pitch, alcohol, fruits and corn syrup. Even before the liquid touches your lips, the alcohol vapours burn your mouth. The flavours of licorice, roasted hops, caramel wrap your tongue in a warm blanket. It reminds me of a good Scotch. More like a mix of Scotch, IPA and Drambuie. It is quite sweet and surprisingly drinkable. My glass still smelled of pine-sol two weeks later.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 41% not a typo
Value +1
Appearance +1 (brown bag FTW)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Uncharted Belgian IPA (Lighthouse)

So what gives a beer blogger the right to fire off his opinions about other peoples' creations? Beer bloggers are either fanboys who will say anything to hopefully become part of the 'in' crowd, or opinionated pricks who shoot their mouths off because they feel like it. Sadly I will never be part of the 'in' crowd and people have already designated me as the beer prick.
So here we go. It is always awkward to review beers that Dean has made. I say this because one day I might have to look my friend in the eye and say, "Buddy this beer tastes like ass, but the artwork is very nice." Today will not be one of those days. Despite the fact the Belgian IPA is not actually a real beer style, I still like it - no love it. Even Stephen Beaumont says that it is not a real beer style. Categorizations aside, it does adequately describe the beer. This is an unique IPA sensation because it uses hop varieties that are from the southern hemisphere. If you want to read more about this blended beer, check out beerontherock.


The nose is massive and hard to pin down because the aromas are so foreign. There is a solventy and earthy mixture of obscure tropic fruits. Guavas and passion fruits come to mind. At the start of the sip, the fruity/estery vapours mix with the alcohol to burn everything away. Once the tingling fades, there is a spicy wash of lightly astringent tropical fruits. Try to imagine a mix of guavas, cardamon, and unripe apricots. The bitterness is hoppy but not in a manner PNW hop addicts are used to. Malts? I'm sure they are there somewhere. Does it linger? It leaves a puzzling aftertaste that makes you head for the spice cabinet to try and determine what you are tasting. Well done! This beer was similar to Sierra Nevada's Southern Hemisphere Harvest.

Taste+5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7.5%
Value +1
Appearance +1 great art by Michelle Landry

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Double Mocha Porter (Rogue)

Everyone knows how I feel about flavoured porters. One cannot simply resist a fancy bottle with the word 'double' by Rogue. I'm not sure what to believe about the labour relations accusations circulating about Rogue. Hopefully there will be more news about this topic. Regardless, they make great beer.

Double Mocha Porter (Rogue) = 10/10

An understated nose escapes the glass; not what you would expect from a 'double'. The taste speaks of double. Big flavours of roasted coffee beans up front yield to bittersweet chocolate, slight vanilla and hidden dark fruits. As the Rogue warms up, more vanilla aromas appear. Through it all there is a massive nose and taste of citrus hops; not surprising for a 78 IBU beverage. A good dose of astringency carried the long linger of roasted bitter goodness.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Russian Gun Imperial Stout

I was happy to find this beer in Toronto. It won the gold medal at the 2009 Canadian Brewing Awards. All the beer mag 'experts' rave about this beer; what do they know. Pfff.

Russian Gun Imperial Stout = 10/10
Ratebeer 3.53 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B

Apparently they know about good beers. For a high ABV stout the nose is awfully faint. Only the barest of roast and sweet licorice could be detected. A mild alcohol warmth started things off, but the big star was the roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate and licorice. No amount of dental hygiene could remove the oily coating this beer felt behind. Long after the tongue scraper was put away, the alcohol still exerted its warming effects.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 8.4%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Singularity (Driftwood)
Pothole Filler (Howe Sound)
Longwood Imperial Stout

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raasted Imperial Stout

Imperial Stouts: you either love them or you don't. These beers age gracefully if you have the patience.

Raasted Imperial Stout = 10/10
Ratebeer 3.91 99th percentile
Beer Advocate B+

An outstanding nose with vanilla, bitter chocolate and citrus (orange). The mouthfeel is unique: velvety, yet prominent alcohol burn/tingle. All this is bundled with roasted milk chocolate, espresso, citrus/pine hops and vanilla. It coats every dental filling with cooling alcohol and roasted chocolate for a linger to remember. Think of this as Guinness on steroids.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Singularity (Driftwood)
Pothole Filler (Howe Sound)
Longwood Imperial Stout

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Labyrinth Black Ale

I hate attending BYOB dinner parties; they can be anxiety inducing. It is not what you are thinking. I have no worries about meeting, greeting and making small talk. Also, rarely do I make awkward comments and come across as a sociopath. It worries me because I have to bring beer. For a beer geek, choosing the right beer to bring to a party can be a Herculean task. In this case I was more like Theseus and headed for the Labyrinth.

Labyrinth Black Ale = 10/10
Ratebeer 3.76 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

The label may say 'black ale', but the vanilla, wood and bitter chocolate reveals its true nature: imperial stout. Is that a hint of licorice I smell? Oh man! The dark chocolates, licorice, dark cherry were perfect; a good hop snap at the end made this brew heavenly. There was a very full mouthfeel that was silky and slippery. It was complemented by an all encompassing alcohol warmth. The best beer I have had in some time.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 13.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (Stunning label art and corked bottle)

Pothole Filler (Howe Sound)
Longwood Imperial Stout
Pike Wood Aged Stout 2009

Friday, December 31, 2010

Vicardin (Tripel-Gueuze)

A big thanks goes out to Dave from beerinBC.com for calling my attention to this brew. I love ordering random beers; it's like a Forest Gump kinda thing. You all can quietly recite that famous line to yourselves.

Vicardin = 10/10
Ratebeer 3.52 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B

This is a new one to me. It is a mix of gueuze lambic and Belgian triple - I like it! I feel like singing a Hannah Montana song. The nose was unmistakably lambic, but the yeast, apricots sweetness added by the triple gave it a new twist. At the start you were graced with a very creamy, medium-full and highly carbonated mouthfeel. Anyone who have tried a gueuze and a lambic can probably guess the flavours. They were almost overwhelming: tart lemons, apricots, peaches, leather glove, barnyard and a spicy/sweet hop finish. The wet blanket and herbal hops never really went away. One of the most unique beers so far.

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 7%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Mort Subite Gueuze
St. Bernardus Tripel
Augustijn

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Taking the Seven Sips of the Hopocalypse


I miss my creative writing. In honour of the 9 Donkeys of the Hopocalypse, I present the taking of the seven sips. BTW I did not know the Book of Revelations off by heart.

Taste +5

The Flavius opened the first seal and heard with a voice of thunder, "Hops". I saw, and behold, a white head and it went out to conquer the aroma with pine, citrus and floral. When I took the second sip, up came another creature. It was not red but golden in colour. It was permitted to take the hops to the tongue and slay the palate. When opened to the third sip, and behold, a rider with a balance in hand. A voice in the mist said, "three quarts of bready and earthy barley is not enough to balance the hops." On the fourth sip, and behold, a pale beverage and its name was death by hops. It was followed by
a medium body, lower than expected astringency and creamy mouthfeel. They were given power over the palate with hop flavours of pine, citrus (grapefruit), floral and light cotton candy.

Aftertaste +2

On the fifth sip a lingering of sweet pine/citrus was told to rest a little longer.

Alcohol Content +1 9%

At the sixth sip there was a great earthquake. The alcohol warmed the throat and seated on the throne of the chest.

Value +1

After this I saw four empties standing at the four corners of the table. There was a loud voice saying, "Do not harm the other IPA's, for this is the best one yet."

Ingame Enhancement +1

Then one of the Pliny the Elders addressed me, saying, "These are they that came out of the great fermentation tank."

Overall 10/10

..and serve him day and night within his pint glass. They shall thirst no more but I shall wipe away the tears when all bottles have been sold out.

Pliny the Elder and adrenaline shots

Racer 5 IPA and the Bailout
Hop Stoopid Ale

Friday, July 2, 2010

Ten Fidy Imperial Stout


Ten Fidy Imperial Stout

Ratebeer 4.09 100th percentile
Beer Advocate A

Taste +5

I never excepted this massive flavour from such a little can. The big, fluffy mocha head topped an inky black fluid. Oddly the nose was absent but it did emit an aroma of balsamic vinegar reduction. To say the mouthfeel was very full is limiting its influence. It was thick and creamy with massive burnt, bitter coffee, dry chocolate, cocoa and even milk chocolate sweetness. Just when you thought it was all over a slight citrus hop blast tingled the tongue.
Aftertaste +2

The long lingering of bittersweet chocolate and alcohol warmth was creamy and slippery.

Alcohol Content +1 9.5%

Hard to believe someone could fit all that alcohol in a small can.

Value +1

This is a big beautiful imperial stout, well worth the $4 price tag for a 355ml can.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This was another Seattle hotel room beer. No gaming to be had, just good beers and bad TV.
Overall 10/10

This is an epic impy stout with big flavours and big booze. The massive bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, coffee were lovingly delivered on a silky grapefruit peel.

Drake's Imperial Stout and Executive Class Guilt
Stone Imp Russian Stout 2007
Moylan's Ryan O'Sullivan Imp Stout

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hop Stoopid Ale by Lagunitas

This will be a speed review. I just realized that I have a backlog of over 40 beers to review.
Hop Stoopid Ale by Lagunitas

Ratebeer 3.96 100th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste 5

Huge nose of sweetness, mostly pine but with light citrus and floral. With this massive nose the creamy and medium body was unexpected. The low carbonation carried an oddly sweet hop forward taste; it was not as intense as expected. All the usual suspects were there; pine, grapefruit citrus, some resin and even cotton candy. Malts, what malts? The 102 IBU's kicked the malts off the taste charts.

Aftertaste 2

There was a long lingering of subtle sweet tangerines and a lot of biscuit malt sweetness. Not a significant amount of astringency was noted.

Alcohol Content 8% +1

No complaints here.

Value +1

For sure a hophead must.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still in Gord's basement watching The Spectacle with Elvis Costello. I am not sure why but I do not like Elvis Costello. I do not like him with a goat, I do not like him in a boat. Try it with a beer; try I say. Try it, try it and you might like I say. I still no not like Elvis Costello.

Overall 10/10

This is one of the biggest IPA's so far. A hophead essential.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale


Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale

Ratebeer 3.73 98th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

I have never met a Green Flash that I didn't like; no, make that love. The dry hopping of Amarillo gives a big citrus, sweet and slightly fruity nose. This brew wastes no time and instantly delivers the hop punch: astringent, floral, resins, citrus and tangy. Normally all these hops flavour mix together and get lost. Not with this brew; they all line up and present themselves in an orderly fashion. The malts are a true caramel but barely peek through the hop smack. For those keeping score there were 45IBU's.

Aftertaste +2

The alcohol warmth nicely supported the long lingering floral hops. It was not an astringent lingering but it was a tongue coater.

Alcohol Content +1 6.4%

Value +1

Definitely hop head approved. It was very much like the Three Beavers, but slightly better.

Ingame Enhancement +1

This is going for a perfect 10, so why stand in its way. Lets see... I drank this glorious beer after saving a kitten from a burning building while it was snowing.

Overall 10/10

This is a hophead delight. The big hop nose and tastes are off the charts, yet not intimidating. If you care about the malts, the caramel goodness will surely please. I look forward to getting this one again.

Three Beavers
Phillips Double Dragon

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Driftwood Belle Royal


Driftwood Belle Royal
Strong Belgian Ale

Taste +5

It pours cloudy with red and no head; this either means glory or my bad homebrew. Luckily I grabbed the right bottle and glory hits the tastebuds. The nose was all pale malts, yeast, alcohol and sour cherries. The persistent alcohol warmth blends wells well with the medium effervescent mouthfeel. There is light fruit esters (apricots), but the big winner is the sour cherries. Their dominance is subtle and lasts from start to finish.

Aftertaste +2

The alcohol warmth and sour cherries had a kirsch-like quality.

Alcohol Content +1 9%

You could not taste it, only feel it.

Value +1

I think this one will do well with aging. The first stock wave vanished from Victoria within hours.

Ingame Enhancement +1

The new map for L4D is short but sweet. The Passing was great; I missed Francis. I hate pessimistic guys with tattoos.

Overall 10/10

Everything Driftwood touches turn to gold. Their output may not be voluminous, but the quality is sure there. Take a good, strong Belgian Ale and add sour cherries; not the syrupy kind. This is the Driftwood Belle Royal: well done.

Dicks Grand Cru and Loss
Delirium Tremens
Augustijn

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baltika 6 Porter


Baltika 6 Porter

Ratebeer 3.47 94th percentile
Beer Advocate B

It is sad that all we can get in BC is the Baltika #3 Pale Lager.

Taste +5

As the beverage warms up, you can pick out aromas of light roast, chocolate and alcohol. It was oddly faint for a big alcohol beer. The taste was a big bigger and sweeter than expected. Baltika was heavy on the chocolate malts, roast with a unique menthol cooling. The mouthfeel was medium-full and slightly acid like a coke. The alcohol warmth/burn came across as a cooling sensation. There was a slight metallic and earthiness to it also. I'm sure there were hops, but the sweetness hid everything.

Aftertaste +2

It was long with an alcohol burn and roasted chocolate.

Alcohol Content +1 7%

You would never know it. The sweetness hides all.

Value +1

I liked this porter; it was a little on the sweet side.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Now things are getting a little silly with the L4D maps. Last night we battled a spiked ball of mud with a laser-beam eyeball. At least the beer was good.

Overall 10/10

I admit that I like a good porter. This one was a little on the sweet side, but the abundance of chocolate, roast and alcohol cooling made it a winner for me.

Black Butte Porter
Granville Island Porter and Real Life
Black Boss Porter

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Howe Sound - Pothole Filler Imperial Stout


Howe Sound - Pothole Filler Imperial Stout

Ratebeer 3.64 77nd percentile
Beer Advocate A- (1 review)

Taste +5

It pours with a large, long pillowy tan head. The colour is as black as a coal mine at night. Oddly the nose is faint but carried some roast, chocolate and fruit scents. The mouthfeel was thick, molasses with a right amount of alcohol burn. The burn wastes no time and hits the lips at the start. Bitterness is delivered 1/2 from earthy hops and other 1/2 from roasted malts and bitter chocolate flavours. The bitterness barely contains this sweet and dry stout. Did I mention about the coffee, big roasted and chocolate bits? For those keeping stats it was 21 Plato and 65 IBU.

Aftertaste +2

It was not as long as I would have liked. The finish was just like the first sip with no new surprises. Eventually the dry, roasted finish just vanished clean. It did take a while.

Alcohol Content +1 9%

It is a session beer as long as the session lasts about 3 hours per one liter bottle.

Value +1

A wonderful, wonderful imperial stout. Buy one if you can find it.

Ingame Enhancement +1

It really did a number on my reflexes. I was about as sharp as a wet paper bag. At least I had a good time whacking zombies, even if they were a bit blurry.

Overall 10/10

Yay, the second perfect 10 of the year. This is a must for those who like big, roasty, chocolaty stouts. Make sure you share it with a friend.

Longwood Imperial Stout
Rogue Shakespeare Stout
Cannery Maple Stout

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale


Hoppe Imperial Extra Pale Ale
Southern Tier Brewing

Ratebeer 3.66 94th percentile
Beer Advocate A-

Taste +5

Yum! The nose is all floral, earthy hops. With a taste that is creamy sweet, floral and slightly medicinal, I think I am in love! I should also mention the herbal, lemon grass from the malts. The whole package had a creamy, chewy bubblegum like texture.

Aftertaste +2

Usually a pale ale is gone in under 10 seconds. This one makes friends and stays for a long spell.

Alcohol Content +1 8%

Value +1

This is a wonderful, bold and hoppy pale ale.

Ingame Enhancement +1

Still in the basement. It is always nice to find a new beer you really love.

Overall 10/10

The is a great, imperial pale ale. Super sweet hops over a sweet lemon grass bed is a beautiful thing.

Unearthly Imperial IPA
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a love of dogs
Saltspring Island Pale Ale