Juli Goldenberg / Stone Brewing Company / Monkey Paw Brewing 24 Carrot Golden Ale – Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8.5% ABV

Juli Goldenberg / Stone Brewing Company / Monkey Paw Brewing 24 Carrot Golden Ale Belgian Strong Pale Ale at 8.5% ABV (C$11.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, bottle date 23-Sep-2015, reviewed 30-Nov-2015)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with a short, short-lived white head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: carrot, ginger, candi sugar, vanilla, raisins, assorted dark and boozy fruits. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, growing bitter and slightly warming finish. (3/5)

I guess it’s pretty much what it says on the label – a Belgian-style golden ale that tastes like carrot cake. (I kind of waffled on whether it actually does “taste” like carrot cake, or is simply evocative of it – but yeah, I think it actually does taste like carrot cake. With cream cheese icing.) It’s definitely on the sweet side, but not to the point where it’s cloying or undrinkable. It’s also kind of interesting how that sweetness drops off fairly rapidly, leaving a fairly bitter (and growing) finish, along with a little warming from the high-ish ABV. Not a home run by any means, and I’m getting a little tired of Stone’s goofy one-offs, but it’s not a complete flop, either. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale (2015) – Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 5.5% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale (2015) Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 5.5% ABV (C$3.23 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, best before 1-Jan-2017, reviewed 29-Nov-2015)

Appearance: nearly solid black with only faint ruby highlights, one finger of rocky tan head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, molasses, coffee, dark chocolate and fruits, spices, woody spruce. (7/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Definitely an interesting winter warmer style of brew. Lots of traditional midwinter spices and dark, molasses-y malt give it a lot of the “fruitcake in a glass” character I like to see in these ales. There’s more than a hint of spruce, which makes me think they might actually incorporate spruce tips into the brew, but it’s not overwhelming or medicinal. (14/20)

My 205th from the 2010 Edition (194th from the 2013 edition), and 216th combining both editions.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) – Barley Wine at 28% ABV

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) Barley Wine at 28% ABV (C$198.99 at NLC Howley Estates, 710 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 29-Nov-2015)

Appearance: clear medium amber with no head or lacing. (4/5) Aroma: boozy dark fruit, raisins, maple, earthy. (9/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full syrupy body, flat carbonation, boozy finish. (4/5)

Looks, smells, and tastes like a liqueur – a sherry or a port, for example – and not at all like any other beer. The aromas promise a boozy sweet blast, but the flavour is actually surprisingly smooth, with much less sweetness than expected. Sure, it’s hot – with a nearly 30% ABV, that’s fairly unavoidable – but not aggressively so. A unique brew that’s definitely worth sampling. (17/20)

My 206th from the 2010 Edition (195th from the 2013 edition), and 217th combining both editions.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) Barley Wine at 28% ABV (C$198.99 at NLC…

Patrick Ryan originally shared this post:

Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) Samuel Adams Utopias (2013) Barley Wine at 28% ABV (C$198.99 at NLC Howley Estates, 710 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 29-Nov-2015)

Appearance: clear medium amber with no head or lacing. (4/5) Aroma: boozy dark fruit, raisins, maple, earthy. (9/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium-full syrupy body, flat carbonation, boozy finish. (4/5)

Looks, smells, and tastes like a liqueur – a sherry or a port, for example – and not at all like any other beer. The aromas promise a boozy sweet blast, but the flavour is actually surprisingly smooth, with much less sweetness than expected. Sure, it's hot – with a nearly 30% ABV, that's fairly unavoidable – but not aggressively so. A unique brew that's definitely worth sampling. (17/20)

My 206th from the 2010 Edition (195th from the 2013 edition), and 217th combining both editions.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale (2015) Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 5.5% ABV (…

Anchor Brewing Company Our Special Ale (2015) Christmas / Winter Specialty Spiced Beer at 5.5% ABV (C$3.23 at NLC Stavanger, 355 ml, best before 1-Jan-2017, reviewed 29-Nov-2015)

Appearance: nearly solid black with only faint ruby highlights, one finger of rocky tan head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, molasses, coffee, dark chocolate and fruits, spices, woody spruce. (7/10) Taste: moderately strong sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering slightly sticky finish. (4/5)

Definitely an interesting winter warmer style of brew. Lots of traditional midwinter spices and dark, molasses-y malt give it a lot of the “fruitcake in a glass” character I like to see in these ales. There’s more than a hint of spruce, which makes me think they might actually incorporate spruce tips into the brew, but it’s not overwhelming or medicinal. (14/20)

My 205th from the 2010 Edition (194th from the 2013 edition), and 216th combining both editions.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing Burnabarian – Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing Burnabarian Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$7.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 27-Nov-2015)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, coriander, apples and pears, white pepper, stone fruit, pale malt, mild funk. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, drying and slightly astringent finish. (4/5)

Light, pleasant and uncomplicated, exactly what one would expect for a Belgian table beer. Not without its faults – I’m getting a little brown apple, for example – but still a decent and authentic-tasting light beer. Dageraad continues to impress. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wells & Young’s Brewery Young’s Double Chocolate Stout – Milk / Sweet Stout at 5.2% ABV

Wells & Young’s Brewery Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Milk / Sweet Stout at 5.2% ABV (C$3.52 at NLC Stavanger, 500 ml, best before 16-Apr-2016, reviewed 26-Nov-2015)

Appearance: clear deep brown with two fingers of fluffy tan head, heavy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark chocolate, coffee, roasty malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-low carbonation, off-dry bitter finish. (4/5)

Easily the best thing that Wells & Young’s makes: rich chocolate flavour balanced with sweetness that, though emphatic, never comes across as cloying. It’s not complicated, by any means, but it’s fun. (And the free chocolate balls were good, too!) (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

8 Wired Brewing Company Hippy Berliner Sour Hoppy Ale – Berliner Weisse at 4.5% ABV

8 Wired Brewing Company Hippy Berliner Sour Hoppy Ale Berliner Weisse at 4.5% ABV (C$10.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 500 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 26-Nov-2015)

Appearance: very slightly hazy straw with a short, short-lived thin white head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemon zest, sour white grape, vinous, floral and vaguely fruity. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart. (7/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Very much like a tart white wine – a sauvignon blanc, perhaps? I was going to say one might be able to convict someone it was wine in a blind taste test – but the fact is, I’m not even sure it would have to be blind! Ultimately, though, I’m a bit disappointed by that character, since it’s equating to essentially no hop character – yet that’s exactly what the label promised. Good, and interesting, but not great. Maybe worth trying again with a known fresh bottle, to get the hop character. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Winter Weiss – Dunkelweizen at 5% ABV

Muskoka Brewery Winter Weiss Dunkelweizen at 5% ABV (C$3.46 at NLC Stavanger, 473 ml, best before 14-Feb-2016, reviewed 25-Nov-2015)

Appearance: hazy medium to deep amber with a short, short-lived thin light tan head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: muted, cloves, banana, woody and smokey, corn and wheat malt. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart. (5/10) Palate: medium-light body tending to the watery, moderate-low carbonation, clean mildly bitter finish. (3/5)

A deeply unremarkable example of the style. Not unpleasant, but thin and boring – certainly it doesn’t have the “deep brown” or “malty richness” promised by the commercial description. Not much more to say about this – buy it if you’re in the mood for a dunkel and there are no other options, I guess? (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Postmark Brewing Dry Irish Stout – Irish Dry Stout at 4.5% ABV

Postmark Brewing Dry Irish Stout Irish Dry Stout at 4.5% ABV (C$6.95 at Sundance Wine Market, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, reviewed 23-Nov-2015)

Appearance: nearly opaque deep amber-brown to black, two fat fingers of loose tan head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: dark roasty malt, coffee, some faint dark fruit. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry bitter finish. (3/5)

Purists will definitely complain about the carbonation in this one – it’s obvious during pouring, as a large and difficult-to-control head kicks up, and it remains apparent in the light, almost fizzy tongue feel. On the up side, this isn’t a mouth-coating stout, but one that finishes clean and bitter, inviting the next sip. It might not be all that accurate to style, but it’s certainly not unpleasant to drink. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com