Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout – Russian Imperial Stout at 9% ABV | 75 IBU

Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout Russian Imperial Stout at 9% ABV | 75 IBU (C$10.99 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, packaged on 12-Jan-2016, best before 12-Jan-2020, acquired 31-Jul-2017, reviewed 3-Nov-2017)

Appearance: opaque black with no relief, a fat fluffy medium beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: mild, roasted malt, chocolate, dark dried fruit, molasses, coffee, liquorice. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

I was quite surprised by how very mild the aroma was, despite my starting with a cellar cool bottle and allowing it to warm before opening. I was further surprised by the first sip, which revealed a relatively high carbonation for the style. That’s  not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, since it prevents this quite heavy brew from becoming cloying.  Overall, quite good, but just not as good as I was expecting/hoping. (15/20)

My 249th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 239th from the 2013 edition, and 263rd combining both editions.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Avery Brewing Co. / Russian River Brewing Company Collaboration Not Litigation (Batch #9) – Belgian Strong Ale at 8.9% ABV | 55 IBU

Avery Brewing Co. / Russian River Brewing Company Collaboration Not Litigation (Batch #9) Belgian Strong Ale at 8.9% ABV | 55 IBU (US$9.99 at Specs Main Houston, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Jan-2016, acquired 8-Mar-2017, reviewed 2-Nov-2017)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: honey, orchard fruit, citrus, bready yeast, coffee/cocoa, cloves. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

This is of course very nearly the poster child for feel-good craft beer stories, where two breweries with beers of the same name decide to collaborate instead of litigate. Except, if you ask me, this is kind of averaging elephants and avocados: Avery’s offering is a BSPA, while Russian River’s is a BSDA. “What’s the difference?” you may ask? Well, the difference between Pale and Dark, of course. And obviously, when you blend light and dark, you get something in-between – and that’s precariously close to “middle-of-the-road” for my taste. I’ve had RR’s version by itself, though not Avery’s, but based on a review of my notes and t’internet, it looks to me like Avery is dominating this: RR’s is a full-on Belgian Dark, and though there are elements of that here, they’re definitely far in the background. What I get in the foreground is honey, apples, and pears, none of which are present in the RR contribution.  (Kind of reminds me of Arrogant Bastard, actually, in that there’s a whole bunch going on, that isn’t necessarily all that thematically unified.) Still good fun, but I’m not sure a shared name is a good enough reason to try and make this work. (15/20)

My 248th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, 238th from the 2013 edition, and 262nd combining both editions.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dogfish Head Brewery Oak Aged Noble Rot – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 9% ABV | 18 IBU

Dogfish Head Brewery Oak Aged Noble Rot Fruit / Vegetable Beer at 9% ABV | 18 IBU (US$15.99 at Specs Main Houston, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 8-Mar-2017, reviewed 2-Nov-2017)

Appearance: clear pale gold with a short, short-lived white head, minimal lacing. (3/5) Aroma: complex, grape must, oak, stone fruit, gooseberry, field berries. (9/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter, moderate tart. (9/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry mildly warming and funky finish. (4/5)

I called the original version of this the first hybrid I’ve had that’s worth a damn. Like that one, this is a well-balanced integration of beer character with botrytis-infected Viognier grape must, but with more emphasis on the oak. Really good stuff. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Bruery So Happens It’s Tuesday (2016) – American Double / Imperial Stout at 14.7% ABV | 22 IBU

The Bruery So Happens It’s Tuesday (2016) American Double / Imperial Stout at 14.7% ABV | 22 IBU (C$25.50 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, packaged on 30-Sep-2016, acquired 13-Dec-2016, reviewed 31-Oct-2017)

Appearance: near opaque black with moderate relief at the margins, a fizzy short-lived loose beige head, no lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bourbon, cocoa, raisins, molasses, coffee, vanilla, liquorice. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate-high carbonation, off-dry lingering and building bitter warming (verging on harsh) finish. (3/5)

Another slightly special one from the cellar – and on a Tuesday, no less. Very big, very hot. The label makes the fairly risible claim that this is “affable” – yeah, about as affable as a kick in the teeth. It would probably be excessively mouth coating and sticky were it not for the surprisingly high carbonation, which is a bit outside spec for the style, but actually not unwelcome. The alcohol is emphatically present, both as the bourbon barrel notes dominating the front end, but also in a finish that would charitably called “warming” (or, less charitably, “harsh”). (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com