Brasserie des Rocs Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (Price unknown, via trade)
Pours muddy particulate-laden brown with one finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, no lacing (3/5). Nose is brown sugar, plums and other dark fruit, spice, alcohol (7/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate tart (7/10). Medium to heavy body, smooth, soft carbonation, with a gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
Bit disappointed by this one. I wasn’t too perturbed by the muddy appearance or the particulate, but I was expecting more sour/tart presence. Instead, I’m getting a lot of malt sweetness, molasses / brown sugar, and raisins, but also an almost medicinal overtone. It’s certainly not working perfectly together for me. (15/20)
7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV ($15.41 via Beer Club Offering #12)
Pours clear amber-brown with two fingers of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, minimal lacing (4/5). Nose is… complex. Pureed peaches, sugary malt, dark fruit, spice (8/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate bitter, distinct sour/metallic edge (7/10). Medium body, smooth, soft carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish and gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
That’s a big, complicated, not entirely approachable beer. The nose is utterly unlike anything else I can remember trying, and my wife disagrees, but once I came up with “baby food peaches”, that’s where I stayed. There’s an edge on the flavour that is definitely unexpected and not entirely welcome – I’m going with “sour” but it could less charitably be called “metallic”. Not entirely sure on this one – have several to cellar, and maybe that’s the right approach. As it stands right now, and for the price, not a clear home run. (15/20)
7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout American Double/Imperial Stout at 9% ABV ($6.25 via Beer Club Offering #12)
Pours nearly complete black with just a hint of ruby around the margins, two fingers of fine beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, excellent lacing (5/5). Nose is dark roasty malt, coffee, dark fruit (8/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate bitter, vinous tang (8/10). Medium body, slightly oily yet sticky texture, soft carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish and gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
Not quite what I was expecting and certainly slightly different from other milk stouts I’ve had. That being said, it grows on you after the initial shock. I think it’s the bitterness – despite the lactose sweetness and smoothness, there’s still very strong bitterness present here, manifesting as a coffee astringency, but also a vinous tartness. Tastes much more bitter than the 30IBU rate beer claims, making me wonder if it might benefit from some cellaring time – I’m putting one away for a year or two to see whether that’s the case. Not my favourite example of the style, but certainly not without its charms. (15/20)
8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Dark English Porter at 4.8% ABV ($3.75 at NLC Kelsey Drive)
Pours clear deep amber with one finger of fine beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal lacing (3/5). Nose is caramel malt, chocolate and mild coffee, light grassy hops (5/10). Taste is moderate sweet malt, mild to moderate bitter (6/10). Light body, moderate to high sustained carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish (4/5).
Y’know, I wasn’t expecting much. And I didn’t get much. But what I got was perhaps a slightly better grade of not much, than I was expecting. Some might consider the carbonation a bit too high, and it certainly generates a burp or two, but it also lifts and cuts the sweetness. The sweetness still gets a little cloying on the tongue, and I sure wouldn’t want more than one, but overall, as “beers that you’re likely to find on tap at some soulless chain restaurant” go, it’s drinkable. I’d go so far to say as it might well be the best thing in the MolsonCoors lineup these days – not that that’s saying much. (10/20)
5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Latest revision of the one-handed bottle opener. Revision 6 or so failed after a few weeks’ use, but you can see that the problem wasn’t completely solved with my current daily use one (revision 8 or so) because the stress crack is starting in the same spot. In-progress photo of the latest revision (10 – I don’t print all of them) shows how I hold the flat neodymium magnet in the slot with another magnet so the magnetic auto-level probe doesn’t suck it right back out again. This revision is a couple millimetres thicker through the region that habitually cracks, so we’ll see how it stands up.
Clown Shoes Beer Brown Angel Double Brown Ale at 6.9% ABV ($7.34 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits)
Pours clear slightly red-tinged deep amber with two fingers of loose beige head, great retention, moderate lacing (5/5). Nose is caramel malt, mild coffee, chocolate nibs, piney and citrus hops. (8/10). Taste is mild sweet malt, moderate bitter (8/10). Medium to full body, soft sustained carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish (4/5).
Yeah, that’s a sexy brown ale, all right. Far more hop character than a traditional brown ale. The malty character is present, but tempered by both the coffee and chocolate, as well as the piney and citrusy hops. Definitely more interesting than the traditional English brown. (15/20)
8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Brouwerij St. Bernardus Prior 8 Abbey Dubbel at 8% ABV
Pours clear (first glass) to muddy and particulate-laden (second glass) ruby-tinged deep amber with two fingers of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, light lacing (3/5). Nose is dark caramel malt, dark fruit, Belgian yeast, some vanilla. (8/10). Taste is moderate brown sugar sweet, mild bitter, alcohol (8/10). Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, with a smooth, lightly boozy finish (4/5).
A decent abbey dubbel that doesn’t get me all that excited. Decent dark flavour and boozy finish, but ultimately falls just a little short. I’m not sure exactly what’s not doing it for me, but I just can’t rank this above the 8/10 “world class” line. (15/20)
7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Blanche Witbier at 5% ABV ($5.74, via Beer Club Offering #12.)
Pours slightly hazy pale straw with two finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is Belgian yeast, lemony citrus, wheat bread, apples and grapes. (8/10). Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, tart and spice (8/10). Light to medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, with a spicy, tart finish (5/5).
That is nice! Glad I drank it fresh, before it had a chance to dim. Really excellent example of a true Belgian-style witbier, comparable in performance to their Lupulus as an example of Belgian Strong Ale. Tart, crisp, and almost cider-like flavour, with just a hint of cellar mustiness. Great beer for a warm day on the patio. (18/20)
8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
North Coast Brewing Company Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Russian Imperial Stout at 9% ABV (Price unknown, via trade.)
Pours solid opaque black with a fat finger of dense beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, light patchy lacing (4/5). Nose is roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, liquorice, woody smoke, faint hops (8/10). Taste is mild sweet, intensely bitter with both roasted malt and grassy hops (8/10). Full creamy body, moderate carbonation, with a semi-sweet lactose-like finish (5/5).
Some distinct harshness at times, with the hops giving a suggestion of cattiness in the nose and on the tongue – but just a suggestion. Overall, it’s complex and robust, quite able to pull off the moderately high ABV. An excellent example of the style – right on par with Ten Fidy, perhaps, but not quite as decent a performer as Stone’s IRS. And yet again, Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch Weasel has spoiled me for all lesser beers. (17/20)
My 116th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 109th by the 2013 Edition, and 119th overall.
8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com