All posts by dpatrickryan

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2017 Vintage #4 – Abt / Quadrupel at 12.5% ABV | 26 IBU

Firestone Walker Brewing Company Stickee Monkee 2017 Vintage #4 Abt / Quadrupel at 12.5% ABV | 26 IBU (US$11.75 at Beer Thirty Bottle Shop & Pour House, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 21-Jun-2017, reviewed 9-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one finger of fluffy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal lacing. (4/5) Aroma: coconut, oak, vanilla, molasses, tobacco, hints of stone and dark dried fruits. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, low bitter. (9/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-soft carbonation, slightly sticky warming lingering mild bitter finish. (5/5)

I know that beer styles in general tend to be a bit fuzzy, and “Quads” have a particularly wide range of possible characteristics, but one could just as easily have called this an American Strong, or a BSDA, or who knows what else. What matters here is that it’s got a lovely rich aroma that turns into an even better dessert-like flavour that is nonetheless not excessively sweet. Not quite as stickee as one might expect given the name, in fact, but still a bit so. There’s a distinct warming in the finish, but nowhere near as emphatic as the firmly-into-double-digit-territory ABV might suggest, and it stays smooth from the first sip to the final finish. Considering how good this is, I’m super excited that the next one on my rotation is the vintage from the previous year, with another full year of cellaring under its belt! (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Apex Predator Brewing (Bench Creek Brewing) Whiskey Gap – English Strong Ale at 10.5% ABV

Apex Predator Brewing (Bench Creek Brewing) Whiskey Gap English Strong Ale at 10.5% ABV (C$6.93 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 22-Apr-2019, acquired 8-May-2019, reviewed 4-Jul-2019)

Appearance: clear ruby brown with one fat finger of fluffy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, moderate stringy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: sweet caramel, bourbon, red grape must, molasses, vanilla, slight metallic upon warming. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate-lively carbonation, sticky lingering bitter warm (tending hot) finish. (3/5)

A bit underwhelming, if I’m honest. The aroma doesn’t strike me as particularly harmonious, with the red wine notes playing less than nicely with the bourbon. Maybe the intent here was for the sharpness of one to temper the heat of the other, but it just seems like they’ve ended up with both. Not only that, but the vinous notes start to become somewhat metallic upon warming. As well, the body, already surprisingly light for the style, exhibits a thinning slickness from the high alcohol content that’s only emphasized by the unexpectedly high carbonation. Nothing here is really objectionable, but it somehow ends up being less than the sum of its parts, and is OK at best. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Fjord NEIPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Fjord NEIPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$4.41 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 5-Jun-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 3-Jul-2019)

Appearance: opaque medium gold with two fingers of rocky off-white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: tropical and stone fruit, citrus, pine. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body falling off slightly watery, moderate-soft carbonation, off-dry medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

Not surprisingly, the “Fjord” name refers to the Norwegian farmhouse yeast used to brew this, which I guess makes this a Kviek (though they don’t use that term anywhere). I like the hop selection as well, especially the Mosaic and Vic Secret, though I’m not opposed to Bru-1. The carbonation seems a bit low, resulting in it falling off a bit watery towards the end, and the appearance is slightly more “muddy” than “hazy”, but otherwise a pretty decent pint. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Just Tapped Series: Botanic Ale – Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV | 15 IBU

Deschutes Brewery Just Tapped Series: Botanic Ale Spice / Herb / Vegetable at 7% ABV | 15 IBU (C$3.64 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 26-Mar-2019, acquired 28-May-2019, reviewed 30-Jun-2019)

Appearance: heavy particulate in clear straw under a short, short-lived pearlescent head and minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: lemongrass, juniper, ginger, floral, spices. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, light tart, low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky and tart finish. (4/5)

Well, it said “botanic”, and it’s botanic all right. Not bad, actually, and definitely lighter and more refreshing than you might expect for a 7% beer. The sweetness is surprisingly restrained but the floral notes end up being slightly perfumy and mouth-coating despite the mild lingering tart – one is definitely enough. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Two Sergeants Brewing Inc. 17 Pounder Left Coast IPA – American IPA at 5.6% ABV

Two Sergeants Brewing Inc. 17 Pounder Left Coast IPA American IPA at 5.6% ABV (C$4.01 at Collective, 473 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 28-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with four fingers of fluffy ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: grainy caramel, pine, leafy weeds, citrus, earth. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Foamy as hell and almost impossible to pour, making me think it’s an infected can, but there were no off flavours or other clear indications of infection. (On the front end, anyway – as the pint progressed, the lingering bitter started to become slightly astringent, again making me think there might be an infection here.) The colour is slightly dark for an AIPA, making me think it was going to be more of an EIPA, but the hops are definitely American, and sorta left coast-ish, if somewhat old-fashioned. OK, but certainly nothing exciting. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Folding Mountain Brewing / Apex Predator Brewing Hour 12 IPL – India Pale Lager at 5.5% ABV

Folding Mountain Brewing / Apex Predator Brewing Hour 12 IPL India Pale Lager at 5.5% ABV (C$3.92 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 21-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 26-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of rocky pale ivory head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: pine, caramel, citrus, floral, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice – that’s a Lager with some balls. Yes, I know Lagers don’t have to be pale, flavourless, and watery – so why do so many brewers choose to make them that way?  Some might find this too bitter, especially in the finish, but I like it. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Blackberry Farm Brewery Barrel Series Brett Saison (2017) – Saison at 7.5% ABV

Blackberry Farm Brewery Brett Saison Saison at 7.5% ABV (C$14.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 27-May-2019, reviewed 24-Jun-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with one fat finger of loose fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: vinous white grape, stone fruit, field berries, dry hay. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate tart, mild funk, light bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, lively carbonation, off-dry crisp mildly tart and funky warming finish. (4/5)

Despite the extended time in the bottle, I found the Brett to be quite restrained here, both in terms of the body (the head doesn’t blow up like Brett often does) and the funk, which is present but quite mild. I’ll voice my perennial complaint about the ABV being too high for a truly traditional Saison: yes, I could easily drink five litres of this in the run of a farm day, but my ploughed furrows might not be very straight! All in all, though, pleasant and lively, and quite refreshing. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company Pale Ale – English Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Russell Brewing Company Pale Ale English Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 2-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 24-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with a short rocky ivory head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: caramel, pomes, citrus, earth. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky medium duration bitter finish. (3/5)

When the brewer can only work up the enthusiasm for a single line in their web site, and can’t be arsed to come up with an actual name for the thing, you can probably assume the beer’s going to be less than exciting. And that pretty much sums this up: there’s nothing really wrong here, but it’s a plain-Jane boring EPA. In a world with so many other interesting alternatives, I don’t see much need for this. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Eighty-Eight Brewing Double Dare – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.7% ABV | 88 IBU

Eighty-Eight Brewing Double Dare American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.7% ABV | 88 IBU (C$5.90 at Collective, 500 ml, packaged on 1-May-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 23-Jun-2019)

Appearance: clear pale amber with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: dank pine, citrus, caramel, green leafy weeds, earth. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, off-dry building lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Huge West Coast DIPA, with massive pine and citrus supported by an emphatic caramel that stops short of overwhelming. Well-balanced despite being big, beefy, and slightly old-fashioned. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ecliptic Brewing Starburst IPA – American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 75 IBU

Ecliptic Brewing Starburst IPA American IPA at 7.8% ABV | 75 IBU (C$3.02 at Collective, 355 ml, packaged on 23-Apr-2019, acquired 14-Jun-2019, reviewed 22-Jun-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with one finger of rocky off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, some soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: oily citrus peel, dank pine, pale malt, mixed fruit, hint of green onion and floral. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

The brewer says this is brewed with Amarillo, Azacca, Centennial, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe – to which I say, shit yeah! Oily citrus peel and dank resiny pine on a clean pale malt base – what’s not to like? (Yes, there’s a little vegetal note there, but that’s not an off flavour, especially when you’re working with Simcoe.) It could stand to be prettier, sure, but couldn’t we all? (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com