McAuslan Brewing St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout – Stout at 5.0% ABV

McAuslan Brewing St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout Stout at 5.0% ABV

Pours nearly jet black with only the slightest hints of deep cola brown around the edges, a fat finger of tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, and moderate lacing. Nose is coffee, chocolate, caramel, slightly smokey. Taste follows suit with a mild molasses sweetness tempering roasted malt and bitter coffee. Full body and low carbonation, with a creamy mouth feel and dry finish.

Now that’s a stout – this is what Guinness wishes it was. (Yes, I once gave Guinness the same rating I’m giving this one. That was then, this is now. Deal with it. I’ll re-review a Guinness sometime and put it where it belongs.) I’d love to have this on a nitro tap to really amp up the creaminess, but it’s pretty decent just as it is. The oatmeal definitely tempers the flavour, giving it a fuller, rounder aspect. This can rightly take its place as one of the best Canadian beers around.

My 102nd from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 96th by the 2013 Edition, and 105th overall.

9/10 #1001beers  #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

Fuller Smith & Turner PLC Fuller’s ESB – Extra Special Bitter at 5.9% ABV

Fuller Smith & Turner PLC Fuller’s ESB Extra Special Bitter at 5.9% ABV

Pours a clear copper amber with one finger of light tan head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate chunky lacing. Nose is toffee/caramel malt, slight nuttiness, faint yeast and fruity hops. Taste follows suit with sweet caramel and biscuity malts leading the way for mild pepper and an almost delicate bitter finish. Medium to full body and moderate sustained carbonation, with a creamy mouth feel and dry finish.

I generally find English Bitters to be a touch boring, and this is no exception. That being said, it’s pleasant, well-behaved, and highly sessionable. This is very much a beer for a few pints in a dim and smoky pub.

My 101st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 95th by the 2013 Edition, and 104th overall.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

BrewDog Hardcore IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.2% ABV

BrewDog Hardcore IPA american Double / Imperial IPA at 9.2% ABV

Pours a cloudy orange with a short tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. Nose is pine resin and citrusy hops, caramel malt, some dark fruit. Taste leads out malty and sweet, giving way to a lingering piney bitterness. Medium oily/creamy body, low carbonation, and a lingering finish.

I’ve had worse… I’ve had better… It’s certainly not bad, but it’s got that malt-forward character that I don’t prefer in an IPA, let alone a DIPA. It’s not overly sweet, but I’d like it better if it were less so, and led out with hops instead of malt. Bottom line: not my preference, but I can see the attraction.

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Big Rock Cherazz – Fruit beer at 4.1% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Big Rock Cherazz Fruit beer at 4.1% ABV

Pours a deep brownish ruby with a fat frothy pinkish-purple head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. Nose is dominated by cherry and raspberry, with a little wheat, pale malt, and vinegar. Taste is cough drops, artificial cherry and lots of sugar. Light to moderate body, low carbonation, and an off-dry finish.

Yeah, that’s about what I expected. I’ll keep buying Big Rock varietals till the cows come home – have to support home-grown breweries, after all – but I no longer expect to be impressed by them. This is a bit of a muddled mess, and is a far cry from the Belgian style it aspires to.

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Éphémère Pomme (Apple) – Fruit beer at 5.5% ABV

Unibroue Éphémère Pomme (Apple) Fruit beer at 5.5% ABV

Pours clear straw yellow with a fat finger of frothy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and no lacing. Nose is green apple with a faint yeasty base, perhaps a hint of wheat and coriander. Taste is green apple and bready malt with a little citrus. Light body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a short, sweet, crisp finish.

Light and refreshing, mildly tart and not too sweet. Cider comparisons are obvious but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. A good summer patio beer.

My 100th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 94th by the 2013 Edition, and 103rd overall.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

McAuslan Brewing St-Ambroise Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.0% ABV

McAuslan Brewing St-Ambroise Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.0% ABV

Pours clear medium amber with two fingers of frothy off white head, decent retention and heavy lacing. Nose is herbal hops, roasted malt. Taste is caramel malt leading light grassy hops. Light to medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a sustained balanced bitter finish.

A decently sessionable malt-forward APA with not much to distinguish it one way or another. Pleasant and easy-drinking, but without too much character.

My 99th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 93rd by the 2013 Edition, and 102nd overall.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet – Abbey Tripel at 8.4% ABV

Brouwerij Bosteels Tripel Karmeliet Abbey Tripel at 8.4% ABV

Pours a hazy straw yellow with two fingers of fluffy white head gradually diminishing to a thin skim, with sticky lacing. Nose is Belgian yeast, wheat, banana, bubblegum, and vanilla. Taste is light, sweet and mildly bitter, with wheat and fruit notes, and slightly spicy. Medium to light body and a sticky, off-dry warming finish.

Very nice Belgian Abbey Tripel. Balanced sweetness and a nice bright character with a pleasant lingering finish.

9/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV Maredsous 10 – Tripel at 10.0% ABV

Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV Maredsous 10 Tripel at 10.0% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy copper amber with a fat finger of frothy white head, great retention and heavy lacing. Nose is mild, dark fruit and Belgian yeast, some citrus, and faint bubblegum. Taste is similar, with some toffee malt and spice. Medium to thick body, with a somewhat fluffy texture and a sticky, warming alcohol finish.

Sweet and tending towards the heavy, this is a big beer. Although I prefer dry and floral tripels over malty ones, this is pretty decent.

My 98th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 92nd by the 2013 Edition, and 101st overall.

8.0/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mill Street Brew Pub Mill Street Coffee Porter – American Porter at 5.5% ABV

Mill Street Brew Pub Mill Street Coffee Porter American Porter at 5.5% ABV

Pours a deep cola brown with no head or lacing. Nose is muted, coffee and roasted grain. Taste follows suit, mild bitter coffee and nutty malt. Body tends to the thin side, with low carbonation and a medium dry bitter finish.

Not bad, but nothing thrilling – a moderate porter with a mild coffee edge. I was a little disappointed the airport brew pub didn’t have this on tap, but I have to assume they at least have decently new bottles of their own beer… Don’t I?

My 97th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 91st by the 2013 Edition, and 100th overall.

6.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Bruery Sour In The Rye – American Wild Ale at 7.8% ABV

The Bruery Sour In The Rye American Wild Ale at 7.8% ABV

(2013 vintage re-reviewed after a year’s cellaring) Pours a clear copper amber with one finger of loose light beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim and no lacing. Nose is sour and funky, with lemony citrus coming to the forefront and dominating over the rye bread tones that were previously more noticeable, vanilla and spices coming through as it warms. Taste has become almost lemonade-like citrus and sour cherries, with low but sufficient sweetness. Medium-bodied and moderate residual carbonation despite the lack of a head.

At least as good as it was at the time of the previous review, perhaps slightly better. The sourness has developed more, with slightly less sweetness apparent. The flavours are more of a cohesive whole, but still leave a complex finish, with vanilla and cloves gradually becoming apparent as the citrus and cherries fade. Really, really good, with only some very minor aesthetic issues preventing a perfect score.

9.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com