Microbrasserie Le Castor Citra Weisse – Wheat Ale at 5% ABV | 21 IBU

Microbrasserie Le Castor Citra Weisse Wheat Ale at 5% ABV | 21 IBU (C$10.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 1-Sep-2016, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 19-Feb-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with a large fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, berry, melon, wheat, hint of catty. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, light tart, light spice, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry lightly tart and spicy finish. (4/5)

Oh yeah, that is nice. Citra hop notes lead the way over a Witbier-like base, finishing bone dry with just a hint of the catty note sometimes exhibited by Citra. Not your same old Witbier, that’s for sure. Clean finish and low ABV make this extremely sessionable. The dry hopping comes through loud and clear despite this thing being five months old, making me wonder how good it might be fresh. And dammit, I could’ve driven through Rigaud this past summer, when I drove from Montreal to Ottawa and back! Missed opportunities… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Epic Brewing Exponential Series Wit Beer (Release #38) – Witbier at 5.7% ABV

Epic Brewing Exponential Series Wit Beer (Release #38) Witbier at 5.7% ABV (C$11.25 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 20-Mar-2016, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 19-Feb-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with a large fluffy white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: wheat, orange peel, coriander, white pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light spice. (6/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweet lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Smells pretty decent, but the flavours get a little muddled. In particular, the sweetness grows, becoming not cloying, but less dry than I’d prefer. Decent, but not as good as I was hoping for. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly – Witbier at 5% ABV | 10 IBU

Unibroue Blanche de Chambly Witbier at 5% ABV | 10 IBU (C$2.58 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341 ml, bottle date 17-Aug-2016, acquired 15-Feb-2017, reviewed 19-Feb-2017)

Appearance: cloudy pale gold with one finger of fluffy white head, good retention and minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: wheat, banana, orange peel, coriander, light floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, low bitter, light spice. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, sweetish lightly spicy finish. (3/5)

Been about three years since I last had this, and I saw a mixed dozen that included Terrible, so figured, what the heck. My opinion of it remains pretty much the same as last time – I still consider this a solid beer, if slightly sweet for my preference. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Farking Wheaton W00tstout (2015) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 13% ABV | 45 IBU

Stone Brewing Company Farking Wheaton W00tstout (2015) American Double / Imperial Stout at 13% ABV | 45 IBU (C$17.99 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 20-Jun-2015, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 18-Feb-2017)

Appearance: solid, unrelieved black with no hint of relief, one finger of dense light brown head diminishing fairly rapidly to a persistent thick cap, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: complex, roasty malts, pecans, bourbon, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, moderately hot alcohol. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, prickly to moderate carbonation, warm verging on hot lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Damn you, Wil Wheaton! (Ok, not really – I’m actually a bit of a fan.) This is a very decent RIS, in which the bourbon barrel ageing notes are emphatically present, but not quite dominant. At a year and a half old, this thing is still quite hot (unsurprisingly – it’s 13%, come on!), but not to the point of being solventy or harsh. This is actually the third one of this vintage that I bought, and the final one will remain in my cellar for at least another year or two, when we’ll see how it’s doing – maybe I’ll find some newer vintages to vertical. I drank the first one fresh, and can’t say I’ve seen huge changes in the intervening year and a half. And yes, I might pick up another one for even longer cellaring, because this could pretty much sit forever and just keep getting better. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout – Sweet Stout at 5.8% ABV | 69 IBU

Rogue Ales Chocolate Stout Sweet Stout at 5.8% ABV | 69 IBU (C$9.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Feb-2017, reviewed 18-Feb-2017)

Appearance: near opaque black with the merest hints of brown around the margins, one fat finger of dense light brown head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: chocolate, roasty malt, mild coffee. (7/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: full body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

I recently tried their Hazelutely Choctabulous, but hadn’t tried its 40% component, so decided I’d give it a shot. And, having closed the circle on this, it all makes sense now. This is dominated by bitter chocolate, with no hint of milk chocolate sweetness, making it not as one-dimensional as the 60% component Hazelnut Nectar, but definitely simple. Combining this one’s bitterness and chocolate flavours with the nutty sweetness of the Hazelnut Nectar basically provide all the components for a candy bar, and makes Hazelutely Choctabulous greater than the sum of its parts. (And yes, I retained some of both components and mixed them myself. Calling it “magic” might be gilding the lily a tad, but it’s definitely worth doing, if you can lay hands on both components but not the blended bottle.) (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar – American Brown Ale at 5.6% ABV | 33 IBU

Rogue Ales Hazelnut Brown Nectar American Brown Ale at 5.6% ABV | 33 IBU (C$9.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 17-Feb-2017, reviewed 18-Feb-2017)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one fat finger of dense beige head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: hazelnut, peanut, caramel. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body tending lightly watery, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky medium duration finish. (3/5)

Having just recently tried their Hazelutely Choctabulous, I thought I’d go back and re-review its 60% component, since the last time I tried it was more than three years ago, when frankly I didn’t have the first clue what I was doing. And, not surprisingly, my score from back then was excessively high. Upon sober re-review, I conclude that this is slightly one-dimensional (all nut, all the time), slightly too sweet, and prone to a slight tendency to thinness in the finish. I can see how the addition of the Chocolate Stout (which I will be trying next) remediates those issues to make the Hazelutely Choctabulous as enjoyable as it is. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Get Wit or Die Tryin’ – Witbier at 4.3% ABV | 11 IBU

Mikkeller Get Wit or Die Tryin Witbier at 4.3% ABV | 11 IBU (C$5.90 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330 ml, best before 18-Jun-2017, acquired 17-Dec-2016, reviewed 18-Feb-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with one finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and sticky moderate lacing. (5/5) Aroma: mild, wheat, orange peel, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, mild bitter, light tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body tending watery, moderate carbonation, drying lightly tart and spicy finish. (3/5)

Well enough done, I guess, but not very interesting. The aromas are mild almost to the point of muted, and the body feels a bit light for the bittering. Especially in the dry finish, the bitterness comes across as slightly sharp as the body drops off slightly watery. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Pale Death – Belgian IPA at 8.5% ABV | 88 IBU

Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom Pale Death Belgian IPA at 8.5% ABV | 88 IBU (C$9.25 at Zyn, 500 ml, bottle date 13-Apr-2016, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 17-Feb-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy off-white head, good retention and sticky moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready yeast, caramel malt, tropical fruit, soft orange peel. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-full oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering warming and bitter finish. (3/5)

I was a bit worried about the initial pour on this, given the huge particulate flakes I could see in the bottle, but it came out fairly clear. That said, I dunno about this – maybe it’s a shelf turd, but despite the heavy oily hops, it’s a malty, yeasty beast. Not well-balanced at all. I had high hopes for this, and deliberately left it as the crowning glory of the evening, but, well, it’s not.(13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Scuttlebutt Brewing Company Ming the Merciless – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 74 IBU

Scuttlebutt Brewing Company Ming the Merciless American Double / Imperial IPA at 8.7% ABV | 74 IBU (C$11.00 at Zyn, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 17-Feb-2017)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium amber with a huge fluffy ivory head that retains moderately poorly, moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: resiny pine, caramel malt, pithy grapefruit, herbal. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium-full oily body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter warming and spicy finish. (3/5)

Bit of a hot mess. It doesn’t feel malt-dominant as such, but it’s certainly malt-forward, or at least malt-heavy, and it feels more like the malt is battling the hops, than supporting them. The hops, on the other hand, are so heavy that they cause a little retronasal burn in the finish, but they still don’t shine through the sticky caramel malt. The ABV also comes across bigger than it is – I’ve had double-digit brews that don’t feel this harsh. Just a big, ham-fisted mess. (11/20)

5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Category 12 Brewing Elemental Series Wild IPA – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 68 IBU

Category 12 Brewing Elemental Series Wild IPA American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 68 IBU (C$9.75 at Zyn, 650 ml, bottle date 28-Dec-2016, acquired 16-Feb-2017, reviewed 17-Feb-2017)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fat fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: resiny pine, tropical fruit, dry hay funk, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter, mild tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry lightly funky finish. (3/5)

Not my first go-round with Saccharomyces trois, the Brett-that-wasn’t, and it continues to be a decent performer. (There’s a long, convoluted backstory about how White Labs marketed it as a Brett, discovered it wasn’t, and didn’t correct their marketing for quite some time – but the bottom line is this critter acts an awful lot like Brett even though it isn’t, actually.) The Brett-like character here is present, but mild: it feels just a little light and lacking in complexity at this point, making me think I might’ve drunk it too fresh. Although the brewer notes claim El Dorado and Azacca hops here as well, my impression is that they’re not as dominant as the S. trois (notwithstanding that the funk is still mild at this point). I’m wondering how this would act if cellared for a year or two to let the funk out to play (not unlike Stone’s Enjoy After series), and might pick up another one for that purpose. Definitely an interesting one, if not a slam-dunk at this point. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com