Brouwerij Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait (2011) – Gueuze at 8% ABV

Brouwerij Boon Geuze Mariage Parfait (2011) Gueuze at 8% ABV (€6.10 at Belgian Beer Tradition Rue au Buerre Bruxelles, 375 ml, best before 24-Apr-2034, reviewed 6-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear pale amber with a fluffy two fingers of ivory head, good retention and patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, barnyard funk, vinous, woody. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderate-strong tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, crisp tart finish. (4/5)

Whew… glad I got to drink that one before it went off… Though now I wish I had another one to cellar for another couple of decades! An excellent example of the Flemish Gueuze style, with lots of horseblankety funk and vinous champagne character. (17/20)

My 209th from the 2010 Edition (198th from the 2013 edition), and 220th combining both editions.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue La Résolution (2015) – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV

Unibroue La Résolution (2015) Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 10% ABV (C$12.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 750 ml, bottle date 25-Aug-2015, reviewed 5-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one fat finger of dense light tan head, good retention and spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: winter spices, caramel/toffee malt, boozy dark fruit. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter, moderate spiciness. (8/10) Palate: medium-full, lively to moderate carbonation, lingering boozy finish. (5/5)

Very similar to last year’s vintage, and my impressions remain pretty much the same: very nearly up there with some of the big Belgian quads, with an ABV that is definitely present, but not overwhelming, while the enthusiastic spices and carbonation balance it out nicely. Big, bombastic, and enthusiastic. I remain convinced this will cellar very well indeed, and I now have a 2014 and a 2015 in storage – I’m thinking a three-year vertical might have to happen next year. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale (2015) – American Strong Ale at 7.2% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale (2015) American Strong Ale at 7.2% ABV (C$10.78 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, bottle date 22-Oct-2015, best before 20-Jan-2016, reviewed 3-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear medium to deep amber with one fat finger of dense light tan head, good retention and lacing. (5/5) Aroma: caramel/toffee, pine, citrus, tobacco, mild vanilla, hint of spicy rye. (10/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, strong bitter. (10/10) Palate: medium-full body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (5/5)

Well, on the one hand, this is probably a fresher version than my prior experience with this beer, making the hops much more emphatic. On the other, I’ve had a lot more experience since first giving this a perfect score. I’ll be honest: it’s tough being unbiased here now. It’s definitely not “perfect” – for example, the lacing could be better-defined. But, is that a flaw that justifies dropping a whole point, from 5/5 to 4/5? I don’t (quite) think so. Same goes for some of the minor character flaws in the aroma and flavour. And for obvious reasons, some (most?) people will find it too aggressive, while I, as a major hop-head, don’t. At the end of the day, It’s close enough to perfect that my subjective single point penalty here in the overall doesn’t affect the final score. (19/20)

10/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie de Silly Scotch Silly – Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 8% ABV

Brasserie de Silly Scotch Silly Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at 8% ABV (€2.50 at de Biertempel Brussels, 330 ml, best before 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 3-Jan-2016)

Appearance: clear medium to deep amber with a short, short-lived light tan head, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: caramel/toffee, dark fruit, leather, woody. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, mild bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-full slightly oily body, moderate to low carbonation, short duration sweetish finish. (3/5)

Better than a lot of scotch ales I’ve had – at least it isn’t peaty, and the malt flavour comes through as toffee/caramel but without too much accompanying sweetness. No hop profile to speak of, of course, but there’s generalized mild bitter and just a hint of malt vinegar tartness. (13/20)

My 208th from the 2010 Edition (197th from the 2013 edition), and 219th combining both editions.

6.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com