BrewDog Indie Pale Ale – English Pale Ale at 4.2% ABV | 30 IBU

BrewDog Indie Pale Ale English Pale Ale at 4.2% ABV | 30 IBU (C$2.99 at Oak & Vine, 500 ml, best before 5-Mar-2019, acquired 29-Sep-2018, reviewed 10-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear pale gold with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel & biscuity malt, stewed pear & apple, faint citrus & pine. (5/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (5/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration finish. (3/5)

A bland, lager-ish take on the English Pale Ale style – which, let’s face it, is pretty bland to start with. There’s nothing wrong with this, as such, but there’s not a lot right, making it the least impressive BrewDog offering I’ve tried, by a pretty big margin. If you ask me, it’s a bit of a waste of perfectly good Mosaic hops – though, to be fair, they couldn’t have used all that much of them. What’s worse, though, is their marketing language, portraying this as a clarion call for craft beer. You know what’s a better clarion call for craft beer? Literally every single other beer BD makes.

TL;DR: It’s shite. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Barrel Collection Blonde Barleywine (2017) – Barley Wine at 10.1% ABV

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Barrel Collection Blonde Barleywine (2017) Barley Wine at 10.1% ABV (C$12.96 at NLC Howley Estates, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 8-Nov-2017, reviewed 3-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear deep gold with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee, bourbon, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly warming finish. (4/5)

Fairly simple, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. Rich (but not cloying) caramel/toffee is completely dominant, with mild bourbon and vanilla in the background. The body is relatively light for the style, as is the carbonation, and there’s very little alcohol presence, except as a gentle warming. Solid, if not precisely exciting. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Boulevard Brewing Co. Smokestack Series Bourbon Barrel Quad – Abt / Quadrupel at 11.8% ABV | 26 IBU

Boulevard Brewing Co. Smokestack Series Bourbon Barrel Quad Abt / Quadrupel at 11.8% ABV | 26 IBU (C$18.99 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 750 ml, packaged on 27-Aug-2014, best before 1-Aug-2016, acquired 20-Apr-2015, reviewed 2-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear brown with one fat finger of fluffy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin skim and ring, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel and toffee, cherries, nuts, bourbon, vanilla. (9/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, medium duration mildly warming finish. (4/5)

This thing’s over four years old, so I figured it was either time to drink it, or enrol it in school. I understand it’s loosely based on _The Sixth Glass_, a slightly younger version of which I had a few months ago, and the similarities are definitely apparent. Like its progenitor, this has a tempered sweetness and low presence for its high ABV. There’s definitely some bourbon barrel notes added into the mix, but I’m also clearly getting the cherries they use to replace the angel’s share. All in all, a pleasantly complex sipper. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Parabola (2017 Vintage, No. 008) – Russian Imperial Stout at 14.5% ABV | 69 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Parabola (2017 Vintage, No. 008) Russian Imperial Stout at 14.5% ABV | 69 IBU (C$18.75 Trade – thanks, Norm!, 355 ml, packaged on 16-Jan-2017, acquired 16-Jun-2018, reviewed 1-Oct-2018)

Appearance: clear deep brown with one finger of beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: boozy bourbon, chocolate, coffee, vanilla. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: full slick body, moderate carbonation, sticky lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Still big and hot almost two years after bottling, and I’m not sure any amount of cellaring will change that. Definite slow sipper, verging on harsh but not quite brutal. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com