Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

To Øl Southern Frontier – American Pale Ale at at 6% ABV

To Øl Southern Frontier American Pale Ale at 6% ABV (C$5.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 8-Jan-2016)

Pours clear pale amber with one finger of dense off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is toffee malt, pine resin, overripe tropical fruit, some floral. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad, but the malt-forward aspect isn’t great. There’s a note in the flavour that I suspect can be attributed to the malted corn. I guess I see what they were going for – a southern US style pale ale – but the fact is, it’s hard for me to smell corn and not think “crappy adjunct lager”. Bottom line, this one isn’t hitting on all cylinders for me. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Prairie Artisan Ales Birra – Saison at at 4.5% ABV

Prairie Artisan Ales Birra Saison at 4.5% ABV (C$4.12 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 355 ml, bottle date 1-Oct-2014)

Pours cloudy straw with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is lemon zest, bready yeast, white pepper, earthy funk. (8/10) Taste is low sweet, mild bitter, moderate funk. (7/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, intensely dry finish. (4/5)

Quite a decent saison – quite low sweetness, restrained bitterness. and a pleasant dusty horseblankety funk. Fairly middle of the pack in terms of price and quality for the fifteen or so saisons I’ve reviewed, and that’s reflected in the fact that nothing really stands out all that much, for good or for ill. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl / Siren Craft Brew 10 Finger Discount – American IPA at at 7.2% ABV

To Øl / Siren Craft Brew 10 Finger Discount American IPA at at 7.2% ABV (C$7.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 330 ml, best before 31-Dec-2014)

Pours cloudy pale to medium amber with one finger of dense off-white head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pineapple and citrus, pine resin, woody and earthy. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, oily and bitter finish. (4/5)

Now, that I like. I’ve had Citra single-hop ales in the past that come across a bit sharp and uni-dimensional, but this one pulls it off, possibly because of the cedar notes from the ageing. Maybe not quite as good as To Øl Raid Beer, but they are definitely getting my attention. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Olde Deuteronomy (2015) – American Barleywine at 10.3% ABV

Alley Kat Olde Deuteronomy (2015) American Barleywine at 10.3% ABV (C$4.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours medium amber with a thin tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is brown sugar, dark boozy fruit, caramel and toffee, some bitter chocolate, earthy vinous notes. (6/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body tending to the watery, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Meh. I dunno, barleywines just continue not to do it for me. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is about this one, but there’s something in the flavour that puts me off. (12/20)

My 143rd from the 2010 Edition (137th from the 2013 edition), and 153rd combining both editions.

6/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wells & Young’s Brewery Courage Russian Imperial Stout – Russian Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Wells & Young’s Brewery Courage Russian Imperial Stout Russian Imperial Stout at at 10% ABV (C$5.29 at Okotoks Co-Op, 275 ml, best before 16-Aug-2025)

Pours solid black with one finger of dense tan head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is roasty malts, chocolate and coffee, molasses, pear, vinous notes, slight smoke. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

A big yet not overwhelming brew. The double-digit ABV is fairly well-integrated, and is apparent only a a mild warming. The slight smokiness plays well with the dark toasted malt flavours, tempering the intensity of the molasses. Feels like it would cellar very well, even though the ABV is not overly hot. (16/20)

My 136th from the 2013 Edition (new to that edition), and 152nd combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Spontanpeach (2013) – Lambic / Fruit at 7.7% ABV

Mikkeller Spontanpeach (2013) Lambic – Fruit at 7.7% ABV (C$15.10 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 375 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is vinegar, sour citrus, peach and apricot, light oak, mild horseblanket funk. (8/10) Taste is very low sweet, moderately strong tart. (8/10) Light body, prickly to moderate carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

Fruit flavours, such as they are, are very muted in this: it tastes more like a straight lambic. Not a complaint, as such – just an observation. I wonder whether a fresher vintage has more fruit? Regardless, it’s pretty decent even as it is right now. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Framboise – Lambic Style / Fruit at at 5% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Framboise Lambic Style – Fruit at at 5% ABV (C$18.60 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 375 ml, best before 13-Aug-2017)

Pours cloudy red with one finger of loose light pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is strong raspberries, sour cherries, mild funk. (8/10) Taste is very low sweet, mild bitter, moderate sour. (9/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, dry tart finish. (4/5)

That’s a heckuva nice fruit lambic. It initially smells like raspberry jam and the expectation is that it’ll be sweet – but it’s not, at all. Excellent fruit flavour and very mild sweetness gradually gives way to a traditional tart lambic character. Better than the framboises by Lindemans or Mort Subite, and comparable to the Boon – though definitely a bit short of the high water mark set by Cantillon. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stift Engelszell Trappistenbier-Brauerei Gregorius Trappistenbier – Abt / Quadrupel at at 9.7% ABV

Stift Engelszell Trappistenbier-Brauerei Gregorius Trappistenbier Abt / Quadrupel at at 9.7% ABV (C$5.99 at South Trail Co-Op, 330 ml, best before 13-Feb-2016)

Pours cloudy brown with one finger of creamy dense light beige head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark malt, dark fruit, vinous and oaky. (7/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, mild bitter, very slight sour. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, warming mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Pleasant quad – lots of dark fruit and vinous notes, subtle warming from a near-double-digits ABV. Nothing spectacular (it is Austrian, after all, and not Belgian) but a decent enough trappist. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Russell Brewing Company A Wee Angry Scotch Ale – Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at at 6.5% ABV

Russell Brewing Company A Wee Angry Scotch Ale Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy at at 6.5% ABV (C$3.50 at South Trail Co-Op, 341 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear brown with one finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted, burnt dark malt, coffee, treacle, oak. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Fairly unremarkable wee heavy. It’s an OK interpretation, but not good enough to overcome my ambivalence towards the style. Maybe that’s a touch unfair, but I actually have had ones that did succeed in doing so, so… (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

East African Breweries – Diageo Tusker Lager – Pale Lager at 4.2% ABV

East African Breweries – Diageo Tusker Lager Pale Lager at 4.2% ABV ($4.29 at Quarry Park Co-Op, 500 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear pale straw with one finger of loose white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted, grainy malt, light grassy and citrus hops. (3/10) Taste is moderate sweet, faint bitter. (3/10) Light watery body, moderate carbonation, off-dry crisp finish. (3/5)

Not much to say about this – typical adjunct lager. Fizzy, yellow, and watery. (8/20)

My 142nd from the 2010 Edition (retired from the 2013 edition), and 151st combining both editions.

4/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com