Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Brouwerij Van Eecke Kapittel Watou Dubbel – Abbey Dubbel at 7.5% ABV

Brouwerij Van Eecke Kapittel Watou Dubbel Abbey Dubbel at 7.5% ABV ($4.27 from Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours clear amber-brown with a short light beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. Nose is brown sugar, dark fruit, spicy herbs. Taste is moderate candi sugar sweetness and mild spice. Medium body, slightly oily texture, and moderate sustained carbonation, with an off-dry mild bitter finish.

Not a lot to say about this one – decent enough abbey dubbel, but nothing really leaps out. Nose is a little on the muted side, and the appearance is a little disappointing with the short-lived short head and absence of lacing. Pleasant enough, but not all that memorable.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Van Eecke Kapittel Watou Prior Ale – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV

Brouwerij Van Eecke Kapittel Watou Prior Ale Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV ($4.55 from Willow Park Wine & Spirits)

Pours clear amber-brown with a fat finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, no lacing. Nose is brown sugar, dark fruit and cloves. Taste is moderate caramel malt sweetness and mild spice, slight sourness and hop bitter. Medium to full body and soft mouth feel with alcohol warming on a slightly tart finish.

Well, that’s all right. Sure, I’ve had better priors, but I don’t think I’ve had better for the price. Really the major problem with this one is the near-complete absence of any hop character to balance out the sweetness. Not that the sweetness is overwhelming, and there is some tartness offsetting it, as well as the alcohol drying, but a little more bittering would help the overall balance. That said, being a monk might not be so bad if this were the daily drink.

My 113th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers (retired from the 2013 Edition) and 116th overall.

7/10 #1001beers   #ryansbooze  ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles Mannekin Pis – Witbier at 4.5% ABV

Brasserie Lefebvre Blanche de Bruxelles Mannekin Pis Witbier at 4.5% ABV ($5.24 from Crowfoot Liquor Okotoks)

Pours slightly hazy, pale straw with a short finger of loose white head quickly diminishing to a thin skim and minimal lacing. Nose is banana, bubblegum, coriander, citrus, floral hops. Taste is similar, with a little peppercorn. Light body, low sustained carbonation, and an off-dry, slightly spicy bitter finish.

Pretty middle-of-the-road wit. Definite Belgian character, but fairly muted and bland. Bought it in a Brasserie Lefebvre variety 8-pack (1/2 Mètre de Bière) that was probably not worth the price at almost $42 plus tax and deposit. Seven more to go…

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Hop Burn High – American Double/Imperial IPA at 10% ABV

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Hop Burn High  American Double/Imperial IPA  at 10% ABV ($5.95 from Highlander Wine & Spirits)

Pours slightly hazy, particle-laden pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head quickly diminishing to a thin skim and patchy lacing. Nose is aggressive citrus and tropical fruit, mild caramel malt. Taste is moderate caramel sweet, intensely bitter pine resin ahead of citrus and tropical fruit, building spice. Medium body and slightly oily texture, low sustained carbonation, and a dry, spicy, lingering bitter finish, with an immediate warming in the gut from the high ABV, the high IBUs, or both.

Three hundred IBU. I dunno whether it’s called “Hop Burn” because of the heartburn I expect it’ll cause, or because I think it singed my nose hairs at the first sniff. I’m fairly convinced the particulate is pure alpha acids settling out of solution. For all that, it’s very drinkable. I don’t know if it’s my years of abusing my taste buds with spicy food or what, but on the tongue, this isn’t unmanageable at all. It smells scarier than it tastes… but it also burns in the gut like high proof whiskey or spicy peppers. I like it. A lot. As the glass progresses, the subtler flavours become more pronounced, presumably because the biter receptors have given up and shut down. That being said, it lacks a certain subtlety and polish… but then again, so do I. So I like it more.

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Mosaic – American Double/Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Mosaic American Double/Imperial IPA at 8.9% ABV ($5.50 from Highlander Wine & Spirits)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with a fat fingers of loose off-white head gradually diminishing to a thin cap and well-defined lacing. Nose is citrus, tropical fruit and caramel malt. Taste is moderate caramel sweet, resin and tropical bitter hops. Medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a dry, lingering bitter finish and only a very mild, late alcohol warming.

OK, I’m confused. This is a DIPA, with nearly double the ABV of the Mikkeller Peter, Pale and Mary that I just had – and yet it tastes almost exactly the same. If anything, it’s a touch smoother on the palate, without the hint of funk that I seemed to get with the PP&M. It’s basically the same colour, too, except without the same kind of head explosion and retention. About the only difference I can really pin down is that the PP&M seemed to have a slight thinness to the flavour that isn’t the case with this one. As well, this doesn’t have the one-dimensional flavour I normally associate with single-hop ales – it seems that Mosaic really is the “wonder hop”. Very well-behaved and potentially very dangerous DIPA. And double the booze for the same price? Yeah, I don’t think I’d ever choose the PP&M over this one, given the choice.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Peter, Pale and Mary – American Pale Ale at 4.6% ABV

De Proef Brouwerij / Mikkeller Peter, Pale and Mary American Pale Ale at 4.6% ABV ($5.50 from Highlander Wine & Spirits)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with an unmanageable two fingers of loose off-white head that continues to grow long after pouring, overflowing the glass before finally gradually settling down to a thin cap and heavy chunky lacing. Nose is lemony citrus, tropical fruit and pale malt, with a little funk in the background. Taste is moderate caramel sweet, resin and tropical bitter hops. Medium body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a dry, lingering bitter finish.

What the hell, Mikkeller? I deliberately overchilled this thing, and poured it gently, and it still assaulted me and my light box. And APA? I’ve had ales that claimed to be DIPA’s that weren’t this hoppy. I’m halfway convinced there’s just a tiny bit of brett in there, or maybe it’s just the edge of the citrusy starts-with-C hops – I’m guessing Citra and Centennial. Smells maybe a bit better than it tastes. Really good, especially for the somewhat reasonable price.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale – Fruit Beer at 5% ABV

Brasserie McAuslan St-Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale Fruit Beer at 5% ABV ($3.49 from Quarry Park Co-Op)

Pours clear medium gold with a short finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. Nose is overwhelmingly apricot, with faint hints of wheat, yeast, and pale malt. Taste starts low to moderately sweet, giving way to mild bitter and a lingering apricot flavour. Light body, initially prickly champagne-like carbonation settles to moderate sustained levels, and an off-dry finish.

Not bad but I’m less than convinced. On the up side, it doesn’t actually taste fake. The sweetness is actually pretty restrained, preventing it from becoming syrupy or sickly. All things considered, I wouldn’t turn one down on a hot day – but it’s not their best, not by a long margin.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alameda Brewing Co. Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA – Imperial/Double IPA at 8.2% ABV

Alameda Brewing Co. Yellow Wolf Imperial IPA Imperial/Double IPA at 8.2% ABV

Pours hazy pale gold with a fat finger of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thick cap, moderate lacing. Nose is moderately intense citrus, piney, and herbal hops balanced with pale malt. Taste starts moderately sweet, giving way to moderately intense bitter. Medium body with low sustained carbonation and a long dry bitter finish.

I’m not sure if I entirely like Columbus hops in a DIPA. For me, the herbal aspect reduces the overall impact of the hops and makes this feel like it’s not quite the 103 IBU hop bomb it might otherwise be. It sort of leaves the door open for the malt to have a greater presence on the nose and the tongue, edging into the malty DIPA territory I don’t prefer. I don’t dislike this beer, and it’s quite drinkable, but a better hop blend might make it more memorable.

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Half Pints Brewing Co. Humulus Ludicrous – Imperial/Double IPA at 8.0% ABV

Half Pints Brewing Co. Humulus Ludicrous Imperial/Double IPA at 8.0% ABV

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers dense beige head (that doubles in size after the pour becoming a marshmallow) and great retention, heavy lacing. Nose is moderately intense citrus and piney hops with light pale malt in the background. Taste starts moderately sweet, giving way rapidly to intense bitter. Medium body with moderate sustained carbonation and a lingering spicy bitter finish.

“Ludicrous” is a good name for this beer. The head, the nose, and the finish might all be described as such. This is not a beer that believes in hiding its light under a bushel. I like it! The flavour of the Centennial and Cascade hops comes through loud and clear, and despite the colour and the initial nose, the pale malt plays very much a supporting role, rather than coming to the forefront. I like precisely this balance in a DIPA. An excellent choice to hold its own against spicy foods.

My 112th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 106th by the 2013 Edition, and 115th overall.

8.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

8 Wired Brewing Company iStout – Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

8 Wired Brewing Company iStout Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Pours nearly solid black with only a hint of ruby around the margins, a short finger of dense chocolate brown head with great retention, moderate lacing. Nose is somewhat muted, coffee and dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, faint vanilla. Taste is dark roasted malt, coffee, light vanilla, ending mildly bitter. Full bodied and viscous, with mild sustained carbonation and a mild bitter finish.

A very nice example of the Imperial Stout / RIS style. Suffers only very slightly by comparison to the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel I had immediately before it – a little less smooth and rich, but only barely, and possessing a little more typical coffee astringency. All that said, still a helluva fine beer, and a helluva lot cheaper than the Mikkeller! (Yes, I’m marking it down for the stupid name.)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com