Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Old Yale Brewing Co. Sergeant’s IPA – English IPA at 5.5% ABV

Old Yale Brewing Co. Sergeant’s IPA English IPA at 5.5% ABV ($5.76 at South Trail Co-Op, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy pale amber with three fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy, chunky lacing. (4/5) Nose is brett and not much else. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate funk, mild bitter. (4/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter and funky finish. (3/5)

Utterly dominated by a brett infection. Almost no hops left at all – none in the nose and limited amounts on the tongue. Not a bad drink even in the condition it’s in – almost has a saison character – but there’s no way it’s supposed to taste like this. And NO DAMN BOTTLE DATE, so no way to know whether this is just a function of it being on a shelf too long. Deeply disappointing, but I’m gonna have to do what I said I’d do: if you don’t date your bottle, I assume you meant it to taste this way. Rating this as an E/IPA, it’s a massive fail. (6/20)

4/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet – Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #16, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium gold with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pale malt, honey, leafy and herbal hops, mild yeast. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, prickly carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Unlike some of the previous beers, this one really did excite an unironic “Oh, goody!” out of me. And it’s not bad, not bad at all. It’s nothing like other Oud Beersel products I’ve had, and for that matter, fairly unlike most BPA’s I’ve had. If I were served this as a pilsner, I’d call it a great pilsner, but as a BPA, it’s a bit lacking in character. I won’t go so far as to call it bland, but I’ve certainly had better examples of the style. However  that being said, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a low gravity BPA before, so that might not be a fair comparison. Ultimately a pleasant, easy-drinking fairly light beer with decent body and character given the gravity. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.4% ABV

Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.4% ABV ($14.88 at Zyn, 650ml, bottle date 7-Aug-2014)

Pours pale amber with one finger of light tan head head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark caramel malt, piney and floral hops, tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

The malt forward nose was a bit of a disappointment, and despite the huge hop bomb bitterness, there’s still strong maltiness in the flavour. This isn’t a bad DIPA, but it’s not my preferred type of DIPA. For the price, there are better examples of the style. I don’t think Lemmy would approve. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies – American IPA at 7.4% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies American IPA at 7.4% ABV ($11.07 at Zyn, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours pale straw with two fingers of white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is bright fresh-squeezed citrus, pine, tropical fruit, crackery pale malt. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Light to medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Really good. Bright and citrusy hops, with just enough pale malt to support it. Glad I cracked it right away, rather than let the edge go off it. Those Mosaic hops are really nice – I find them better-behaved than Citra, which can have a bit of a harsh edge. (16/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Porcupine Quill Brewing Company Quills Karoo Red – American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV

Porcupine Quill Brewing Company Quills Karoo Red American Amber / Red Ale at 5.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #15, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours muddy amber with a short, short-lived loose light tan head, no lacing, some particulate. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, brown sugar, sugared fruit, leafy hops. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Well, this one was never going to get me excited. “Oh, goody, an amber ale – I never get to have those!” And the appearance was less than encouraging. But, y’know, really not bad. The flavours, while not thrilling, are passable, and the carbonation remained fairly lively throughout, keeping it from devolving into utter boredom. There’s actually a bit of warming towards the end, too, so not a total washout. Probably doesn’t justify a trip to South Africa, though. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer IPA – Sour Ale at 7% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer IPA Sour Ale at 7% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of off-white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose starts with pine, citrus, and caramel malt, giving away to moderate vinegar. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, moderate tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, moderate bitter and tart finish. (4/5)

That’s interesting: it starts off smelling like a normal A/IPA, with just a hint of sour underneath, but as it warms, the sour comes more to the forefront, dominating the smell and taste. By halfway through the glass, this is predominantly a sour ale, with very little IPA character. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Barley Wine – Sour Ale at 9.25% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Barley Wine Sour Ale at 9.25% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours muddy brown with a short beige head settling down quickly to a dense cap, thin patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark caramel, faint dark fruit, mild malt vinegar. (5/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderate tart. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter and lightly tart finish. (3/5)

Not as nice as their Sour Brown – the nose has an initial slightly off-putting character that I can’t put my finger on, but it grew on me. The ABV is also seriously hidden, to the point where it’s barely noticeable at all. The flavours are muddled, though, and it’s not something I’d go looking for again. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Big Head Nut Brown – Sour Brown at 4.2% ABV

The Grizzly Paw Brewing Company Sour Beer Big Head Nut Brown Sour Brown at 4.2% ABV ($4.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 341ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy amber brown with a short tan head settling down quickly to a dense cap, thin patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is sour grapes, slightly musty oak, faint balsamic vinegar. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderately strong tart. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp tangy finish. (4/5)

Well, I wasn’t expecting that! This drinks like a flemish brown – lots of sourness and a hint of umame. I can’t say I’ve found their other stuff to be all that memorable – I know I’ve tried, but not properly reviewed, some of it – but this is really interesting. I’d like to know what their process is here – I assume they’re adding pure culture in addition to the barrel aging, and that there’s no spontaneous or wild fermentation happening here. And there’s not a word about it anywhere on the internet. Bizarre. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Highway 128 Session Series: Blood Orange Gose – Gose at 4.2% ABV

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Highway 128 Session Series: Blood Orange Gose Gose at 4.2% ABV ($3.70 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, can date 5-Nov-2014)

Pours hazy deep gold with a short-lived white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is bright orange soda, slight bready yeast and salt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong tart, moderate salt. (8/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp tangy finish. (4/5)

Wow – that’s really nice. Looks and smells like cheap orange soda, tastes tart, tangy and mildly salty. This would be an awesome summertime thirst quencher, very sessionable with its low ABV. This could well be something that I need to keep a case of in the fridge!(16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Privatbrauerei Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams – Doppelbock at 7.0% ABV

Privatbrauerei Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams Doppelbock at 7.0% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #14, 330ml, best before 25-Jun-2015)

Pours clear brown with a short loose light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is mild smoke, herbal, liquorice, coffee. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, mild bitter and smoke. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, smokey bitter finish. (3/5)

Interesting and not unpleasant. Definitely an appropriate choice for an Advent theme and probably best appreciated by a crackling fire on a cold winter’s night. The body may be just a little on the thin side for a high gravity dopple, but still quite drinkable. The ABV is very well behaved and only becomes apparent as a gentle warming towards the end of the glass. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com