Bellwoods Brewery Bring Out Your Dead (2014) – Imperial Stout at 12.2% ABV

Bellwoods Brewery Bring Out Your Dead (2014) Imperial Stout at 12.2% ABV (C$13.00 via trade – thanks, Chucksahoy!, 500 ml, packaged on 5-Nov-2014, acquired 17-Jul-2015, reviewed 30-Oct-2017)

Appearance: mercilessly black with no hint of relief at the margins, a short, short-lived loose beige head, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: brandy, dark chocolate, coffee, dates and figs, nuts. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (9/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

Something a little special from the cellar tonight (numbered bottle 1885 of 2100, ooo, fancy!), because fuck it, why not? Like my sticker says, life is short, so you might as well drink the good stuff first, right? And three years is long enough to leave it in the cellar, even if it does leave double digit ABVs well in the rear view mirror. (And, by the way, if the name doesn’t evoke Monty Python for you, you might as well just uncircle me now, because you’re not my kind of people.) This is, by any metric you care to use, a monster: a big, boozy bastard that doesn’t give two shits what you think. That being said, I’ll list my (very short list of) perceived defects, because it’s easier than listing its merits: I’d like to see better head retention/lacing; the carbonation tends slightly high, making the body (in my opinion) feel slightly lighter than it really is; and even three years in, it’s still hot. That’s it. I won’t elucidate any deficiencies in the aroma or flavour, because I think it’s totally personal preference, and someone else might well go higher or lower. I’ve gone on record as saying McAuslan’s St-Ambroise Oatmeal Stout is one of the best Canadian beers around – and this is better. This might actually be the very best Canadian Stout that can be had for love or money, despite its extremely reasonable price point. (Well, originally, anyway – I have no idea what it’s doing in the secondary market.) Do what you have to do to get one. (19/20)

9.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Aurora Heart Chocolate Raspberry Stout – Milk / Sweet Stout at 7.1% ABV

Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery Aurora Heart Chocolate Raspberry Stout Milk / Sweet Stout at 7.1% ABV (C$12.36 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 25-Apr-2017, reviewed 30-Oct-2017)

Appearance: near opaque brown with moderate relief at the margins, three fingers of rocky beige head, good retention and moderately heavy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: raspberry, dark chocolate, cherries, light floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body tending slightly thin, moderate-high carbonation, sweetish mildly tart and lightly warming finish. (3/5)

I’m a little on the fence on this one: yes, it’s raspberry, and yes, the raspberry tastes authentic. Full marks there. And it’s backed up by dark chocolate and more than a hint of dark cherries (maybe Bing, instead of maraschino or Rainier) so no complaints there. But, overall, it just comes across as a little thin, and a little less rich than e.g. The Chocolate Manifesto. Or maybe that’s the nearly 3% lower ABV? In any case, decent but not my favourite by them. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Doppelbock – Doppelbock at 8.6% ABV | 30 IBU

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Doppelbock Doppelbock at 8.6% ABV | 30 IBU (C$10.36 at NLC Stavanger, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 6-Oct-2017, reviewed 28-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear amber-brown with one finger of creamy beige head diminishing gradually to a thick persistent cap, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: sweet malt, chocolate, dried dark fruit, hint of oranges. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, medium sweetish lightly warming finish. (4/5)

I’m usually all about the hops, and this… well.. isn’t. At all. But, as an ode to malt, this is extremely well done. I quite enjoyed it. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Aged Red – Sour Brown Ale (Flanders Oud Bruin) at 8.5% ABV

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Aged Red Sour Brown Ale (Flanders Oud Bruin) at 8.5% ABV (C$3.92 at NLC Stavanger, 330 ml, best before 6-Jun-2019, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 27-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear deep red with a short light pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: cherries, hint of oak, caramel. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter, moderate tart. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium sweetish lightly warming finish. (3/5)

So, if I’m reading the label correctly, this is 85% their Dubbel that I just tried (and gave a 6/10) and 15% their Aged Pale that I tried a couple of years ago (and gave an 8/10). Not quite sure what volume the cherries comprise, but they utterly dominate the aroma and flavour (and appearance, I guess, since it’s a deep ruby red). Unfortunately, although they don’t necessarily come across as artificial, the combination of cherries, sweetness, and alcohol warming tends to suggest “cough syrup” to me. That being said, it’s better than the Dubbel, though not as good as the Aged Pale. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Dubbel – Dubbel at 7% ABV

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Dubbel Dubbel at 7% ABV (C$3.47 at NLC Stavanger, 330 ml, best before 3-Apr-2019, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 27-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear amber brown with a short light beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: molasses, dried dark fruit, nuts, mild chocolate, hint of solvent. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body tending slightly watery, moderate-high carbonation, medium duration sweetish mildly bitter lightly tart finish. (3/5)

I’m not feeling this one. A thinnish, sweetish Dubbel, with a hint of solvent on the nose initially. Even as it warms, the aromas and flavours don’t really open up. The tartness in the finish doesn’t really feel intentional, and actually ends up slightly astringent. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij De Brabandere Wittekerke Rose – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 4.3% ABV

Brouwerij De Brabandere Wittekerke Rosé Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 4.3% ABV _(C$2.98 at NLC Stavanger, 250 ml, best before 8-Apr-2018, acquired 30-Sep-2017, reviewed 27-Oct-2017)_

Appearance: hazy pinkish pale amber with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: raspberry, candi sugar, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-low tart, low bitter. (6/10) Palate: light body, moderate carbonation, short duration sweet mildly tart finish. (4/5)

Fairly unidimensional, if we’re honest, and the sweetness does get to be a bit much after a while, especially as it warms. But for all that, I must admit a certain weakness for raspberry beers, and despite the excessive sweetness, the raspberry really does smell and taste like real berries. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Drink’in Berliner Yuzu – Berliner Weisse at 2.7% ABV

Mikkeller Drink’in Berliner Yuzu Berliner Weisse at 2.7% ABV (C$3.90 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 9-Mar-2018, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 27-Oct-2017)

Appearance: hazy pale straw with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lime, citrus zest, floral, lacto sour. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, low bitter. (8/10) Palate: light body, moderate-high carbonation, clean crisp moderately tart finish. (4/5)

Works for me! In fact, I think I like it better than the other “Drink’In Berliner” I tried, the Hop On, not just because it’s not sweet like that one was, but also because the citrus (yuzu, I guess) in this one works really well. (I don’t think the similarly named Drink’in the Sun is really a comparison here, because that one was a wheat.) It’s similar to lime or lemon, but with a floral character. Nice. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Zero Issue Brewing Nemesis IPA (Issue 4) – American IPA at 7.3% ABV | 74 IBU

Zero Issue Brewing Nemesis IPA (Issue 4) American IPA at 7.3% ABV | 74 IBU (C$9.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 946 ml, packaged on 22-Oct-2017, acquired 22-Oct-2017, reviewed 23-Oct-2017)

Appearance: hazy medium gold with three fingers of loose pale ivory head diminishing gradually to a moderate cap, thin stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus flesh, grainy malt, light floral and herbal. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate-soft carbonation, lingering building bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

An NE-style juice bomb. I’m detecting somewhat low carbonation, likely due to this being a tap filled crowler. Other than that, a very respectable offering from an extremely new local brewery who is impressing me: I rated their first two offerings (Multiverse and Dystopia) at 7.5/10, but this is slightly better, even given the too-low carbonation. So, just for the record: they started off on the high end of “good” with their first two brews, and by the time they got to their fourth brew, they had crossed my personal bar for “world-class”. I don’t mind saying, I’m pretty jacked to see what they’re going to do next. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Four Winds Brewing Co. IPA – American IPA at 7.0% ABV | 70 IBU

Four Winds Brewing Co. IPA American IPA at 7.0% ABV | 70 IBU (C$11.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 946 ml, packaged on 22-Oct-2017, acquired 22-Oct-2017, reviewed 23-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear deep gold with two fingers of loose white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: citrus, floral, pale and caramel malt, resiny pine, light herbal. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet tending slightly high, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate-soft carbonation, lingering building bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

I’m finding this just very slightly too sweet on the front end, and wonder whether that’s at least partly due to the slightly low carbonation, which might in turn be due to this being a crowler that was tap filled 24 hours ago.  Other than that, though, this is quite good, with a pleasantly citrus and pine hoppiness on the front end, and a big citrus oil bitter on the back end. Seems a shame to dock it for the effects of what was in my opinion a too-fast crowler fill, so I’m not marking it down for too-low carbonation, but that flavour hit is unavoidable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

 

 

Last Best Brewing and Distilling #500 Brett Saison – Saison at 6.2% ABV | 30 BU

Last Best Brewing and Distilling #500 Brett Saison Saison at 6.2% ABV | 30 BU (C$9.50 at The Brewer’s Apprentice, 946 ml, packaged on 22-Oct-2017, acquired 22-Oct-2017, reviewed 22-Oct-2017)

Appearance: dirty opaque pale amber with one finger of white fluffy head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Aroma: coriander, peppercorn, wheat, white grapes. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild funk. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-high carbonation, funky finish. (3/5)

Butt ugly, but not bad overall. Not much more to say than that: I love Brett, and given the chance, I’d’ve let this age for a while to let the Brett really dig in and establish, but crowlers can’t age, so: ugly, lightly Brett-y, lightly funky. The supposed “truckload” of ANZAC hops don’t really dominate, although I do get a little white grape towards the end. (And I’m a serious fan of ANZAC hops, so you can colour me more than a little disappointed there.) (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com