Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Fuller, Smith & Turner PBC Imperial IPA – Imperial / Double IPA at 10.5% ABV

Fuller, Smith & Turner PBC Imperial IPA Imperial / Double IPA at 10.5% ABV (C$8.59 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, best before 31-Dec-2027, acquired 28-Aug-2019, reviewed 6-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy brown with one finger of fine beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Aroma: toffee, toasted bread, dark fruit, pine, dry cocoa, black pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter, light peppery spice. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-soft carbonation, lingering bitter slightly spicy finish. (5/5)

I was a little surprised both by how dark this was, and by how much I liked it. There’s certainly some hop character here, particularly a lingering sharp pine that develops toward the back end, but it’s still very much dominated by a rich toffee malt. It’s actually a lot like an Old Ale, both in terms of the sweet maltiness and the big booziness. The added black pepper registers only slightly on the nose, but makes for a mildly spiciness in the finish that adds a pleasant somewhat non-traditional twist. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Blow Out Dry Hop IPA – American IPA at 6% ABV

Mikkeller Blow Out Dry Hop IPA American IPA at 6% ABV (C$6.30 at Collective, 330 ml, best before 3-Apr-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 6-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy pale gold with two fingers of rocky white head, good retention and well-defined soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, grass, pale malt, pine. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

It’s pretty straightforward, and nothing really stands out as being particularly memorable, but it’s solid. You know it’s a pretty heavily populated style when even a Mikkeller brew doesn’t stand out – but then again, given how much he produces, he could saturate a style all by himself… (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Brewmaster’s Selection Wild Tripel – Tripel at 8% ABV

Brouwerij De Brabandere Petrus Brewmaster’s Selection Wild Tripel Tripel at 8% ABV (C$19.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 28-Aug-2019, reviewed 5-Sep-2019)

Appearance: hazy straw with two fingers of pillowy white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: floral, citrus, yeasty funk, oak, white pepper. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart & funk. (8/10) Palate: medium body, moderate-lively carbonation, dry funky mild bitter finish. (4/5)

I like this. When I picked it up, I just assumed the “Wild” in the name referred to traditional Belgian fermentation, and was a little disappointed to see that wasn’t actually (entirely) the case. But, in fact, the “wild” (as in, non-traditional) approach here is quite interesting: there’s a pleasant combination of traditional Belgian yeast and foeder notes, with American hop citrus. Most importantly, it’s more along the lines of a dry Tripel, with a clean finish. I actually haven’t had the base Petrus Tripel, but this is definitely better than any other of the Petrus line that I have had. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Heated Seats Hazy APA – American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV

Mikkeller Heated Seats Hazy APA American Pale Ale at 4.9% ABV (C$8.95 at Collective, 500 ml, best before 21-Mar-2020, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 4-Sep-2019)

Appearance: opaque pale gold with two fingers of loose white head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, tropical & stone fruit, pale malt. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, juicy mild bitter finish. (4/5)

No surprises here: I quite like this, even if Mikkel is slumming it with a bandwagon beer. The aroma is dominated by a juicy citrus that translates through to a decently robust flavour with restrained sweetness. Despite the light malt bill the body retains decent weight and doesn’t thin out or finish astringent. I even like the half-litre size, so that a single one provides enough thirst-quenching goodness to accompany lunch. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Tool Shed Brewing Company Protest Pale – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV

Tool Shed Brewing Company Protest Pale American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV (C$3.60 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 6-Aug-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 3-Sep-2019)

Appearance: swirling opaque pale gold with one fat finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and ring, moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: juicy citrus, tropical & stone fruit, pale malt, light vanilla. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-low bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, juicy mild bitter finish. (4/5)

One of Tool Shed’s better offerings, regardless of how you feel about LGBTQ+ issues or violent protests. Mild and juicy, it’s pleasant and easy-drinking. In fact, I’d prefer if it were a little more emphatic in both the aroma and taste, which is why I’ve marked it down slightly in both those scores. Overall, though, it’s a nice example of the Hazy/NE Pale style. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Troubled Monk Brewery Pick Your Poison Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5% ABV

Troubled Monk Brewery Pick Your Poison Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5% ABV (C$2.52 at Collective, 355 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 3-Sep-2019)

Appearance: clear straw with a short loose white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Aroma: citrus, tropical and stone fruits, pale crackery malt, floral. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry medium duration finish. (4/5)

Released for “Beer and a Band III” in conjunction with Black Pistol Fire. No, I’ve never heard of them either, but their “Pick Your Poison” single is on iTunes so I’m queueing it up now. … And it’s done. I’m gonna say I have the same reaction to the beer, as to the single: it’s OK, but not particularly memorable. (The single is Lenny Kravitz meets White Stripes. The beer is a bit like Pesky Pig.) But, as I’ve said before, I really like the idea of pairing beer and music, so definite bonus points there. You could definitely do worse. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Category 12 Brewing Transmutation Belgian Specialty Ale – Tripel at 9.6% ABV

Category 12 Brewing Transmutation Belgian Specialty Ale Tripel at 9.6% ABV (C$9.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 1-Sep-2019, reviewed 2-Sep-2019)

Appearance: clear medium amber with one fat finger of rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: bready caramel, dark fruit, candi sugar, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: high sweet, moderate-high bitter. (6/10) Palate: medium-full slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, sticky building and lingering bitter warming finish. (4/5)

Brewer’s notes say this is a transmuted Tripel, so that’s what I’m going with as a style guideline. Some of the usual suspects call this a BSDA, but there are some slight problems with that classification; to wit: it’s not dark, and it’s not what the brewer is calling it. And, call me crazy, but, I like to evaluate things the way the brewer says they should be. So, we’re calling this a hoppy Tripel: let’s go.

Right off the hop, this is more a Belgian Dubbel than Tripel: lots of dark fruits eventually lead the way here over a bready caramel, completely unlike the dry Belgian Tripel style I prefer. You want to say you’re doing a hoppy Tripel, fine, I’m all in – but on the front end, this isn’t that. It’s really not even the sweet Tripel style that takes a back seat to the dry one I prefer, come right down to it. Sorry, guys – I generally like what you’re doing, but this is all over the map, and I suspect the only reason I’m ranking this as highly as I am is that I’m half cut and it’s got a beefy ABV. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Right Brain Brewery Dead Kettle IPA – American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 70 IBU

Right Brain Brewery Dead Kettle IPA American IPA at 5.8% ABV | 70 IBU (C$10.84 at Collective, 650 ml, packaged on 27-May-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 1-Sep-2019)

Appearance: slightly hazy medium gold with a massive uncontrollable rocky ivory head, good retention and moderate soapy lacing. (3/5) Aroma: bready caramel, grapefruit zest, resiny pine. (6/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly sticky body, moderate carbonation, building and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Might be a dead kettle, but it’s a live head, massive and growing, leaving behind a slightly unclean soapy lacing, on a slightly unclean hazy body. The less-than-stellar appearance sets the stage for a similarly less-than-stellar aroma, heavy on the caramel, but supported by an acceptable oily grapefruit zest and resiny pine. As far as flavour goes, it punches way above its weight, and in a blind test I would have guessed at least 2% more ABV than it actually possesses. Overall, it’s not bad, as such – I particularly enjoy the old-school sticky resiny finish – but not exactly great, either. It’s one of these beers that I might have found earth-shaking if it were still the 1990’s – but it’s not, and it’s not. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Accidental Beach – American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

S.Y.C. Brewing Co Accidental Beach American Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (C$4.59 at Collective, 473 ml, packaged on 6-Aug-2019, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 31-Aug-2019)

Appearance: hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy white head, good retention and moderate stringy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: lime zest, tropical fruit, pale malt, brine, light funk. (8/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter, light tart, light salt. (8/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter lightly tart finish. (4/5)

Lime dominates over tropical and stone fruits courtesy of the Galaxy hops, finishing with a light brine and funk that’s almost Gose-like, almost Grisette-like, but either way tart and refreshing. Easy breezy crushable, perfect for the patio. Too bad the thundershowers started just as I opened it! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company Dry Skies Brut IPA – American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 35 IBU

Ninkasi Brewing Company Dry Skies Brut IPA American IPA at 6.8% ABV | 35 IBU (C$7.65 at Collective, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 29-Aug-2019, reviewed 31-Aug-2019)

Appearance: brightly clear straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and moderate soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: citrus, white grape, melon, pale malt, pine, tropical fruit. (8/10) Taste: moderate-low sweet, moderate-high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-light body, moderate carbonation, dry  bitter finish falling off slightly watery. (3/5)

This started off very promising, with a pleasant hop aroma combining citrus, grape, melon, and pine. The bitterness was somewhat more pronounced than one might expect for 35 IBU, but generally balanced and style-appropriate. Dry and crisp, particularly at the start of the pint, and I was almost tempted to call it champagne-like were it not for the fact that the carbonation wasn’t lively enough to fit such a description. However, as the pint progressed, the carbonation fell off fairly rapidly, causing the body to tend slightly watery. I’m not unhappy with it, especially with regards to the hop character, which clearly reflects the Citra and Huell Melon dry-hopping. However, it certainly would have been a lot better with more sustained carbonation keeping the body aloft and crisp. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com