Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Brew Dog / Mikkeller I Hardcore You – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV

Brew Dog / Mikkeller I Hardcore You American Double / Imperial IPA at 9.5% ABV ($6.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330ml, best before 25-Jul-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of loose off-white head diminishing rapidly to a thin ring, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, tropical fruit, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, low carbonation, moderately strong bitter finish. (4/5)

Aww… Mikkel… I hardcore you too, buddy, but I’m not nearly drunk enough for that. Nice beer. Definitely better than Brew Dog’s Hardcore, but I can’t comment on how it compares to Mikkeller’s I Beat You since I haven’t tried that one. Lots of fun – plenty of dry hopping, backed up by a well-behaved caramel malt backbone. The lost-count-of-how-many-times dry hopping gives it a nice presence on the nose, but overall it’s not an aggressive palate wrecking hop bomb. I could go for another of these. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Heelch O’Hops – Imperial/Double IPA at 8.7% ABV

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Heelch O’Hops Imperial/Double IPA at 8.7% ABV ($4.20 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, no bottle date or bets before)

Pours clear medium to deep gold with two fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, caramel malt, tropical fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter, some peppery spice. (7/10) Medium to full body, soft carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

Well, that’s a Heelch of a lotta hops, all right. Not bad at all, if a little malty despite the starts-with-C-hop heavy handedness. Somewhat lacking in subtlety, shall we say? A fairly standard DIPA without a whole lot to distinguish it. Not as good as their Hop Ottin’, but still pretty drinkable. Pretty, too. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Hop Flood – American Amber / Red Ale at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Hop Flood American Amber / Red Ale at 7% ABV ($4.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 355ml, bottle date 19-Jul-2014)

Pours hazy medium to deep amber with one finger of dense tan head diminishing gradually to a medium cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pine resin, pithy citrus, caramel malt, earthy fruit. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium to full body, soft carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

So in the past couple of days I’ve seen Mikkel redefine pale lager, two students of his redefine pilsner, and now Jeppe is redefining amber ale. I might as well just throw out the damn dictionary. Basically, this is an amber that smells and tastes like a DIPA. I can live with that. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Inveralmond Brewery Ltd. Blackfriar – Scotch Ale at 7.0% ABV

The Inveralmond Brewery Ltd. Blackfriar Scotch Ale at 7.0% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #13, 330ml, best before April 2016)

Pours clear deep amber with one finger of loose light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark boozy fruit, brown sugar, possible diacetyl, slight smoke. (7/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium to full body, moderate to low carbonation, boozy and dry sharply bitter astringent finish. (3/5)

I found it difficult to rate this one, since I’m not a fan of the style in general, but I tried to keep the rating fair to the style. However, there are some characteristics of this one that I’m fairly sure are not indicated, like the faint buttery diacetyl. The BJCP guidelines say hops and bitterness should be low to medium-low, but I’m tasting a strong astringency that, while it may not be a hop bitterness, is certainly bitter. I’m finding this to be unbalanced and generally not my cup of tea. (10/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Granville Island Brewery Cocoa Loco – American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.7% ABV

Granville Island Brewery Cocoa Loco American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.7% ABV ($7.59 at South Trail Co-Op, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear brown with amber-brown highlights, one finger of dense tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark chocolate, dark roasty malt, slight booziness, faint vanilla. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (5/10) Medium to full body, soft carbonation, moderately strong, slightly harsh bitter finish. (3/5)

To be clear: this is neither black, nor opaque, unless you’re not paying attention. It’s no more black than Coca-Cola, which is a clear deep red. (Lazy reviewers annoy me.) As far as the beer itself goes, this isn’t a great Imperial Stout. It’s OK, but the finish in particular has an edge tending to the harsh. Passable, without being particularly memorable. Too many other solid candidates out there at this price point to give this an unqualified recommendation. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Clown Shoes Beer Space Cake Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV

Clown Shoes Beer Space Cake Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 9% ABV ($10.99 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, bottle date 20-Oct-2014)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of loose off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate chunky lacing. (4/5) Nose is pithy citrus, pine, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderately strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, soft carbonation, moderately strong bitter finish. (4/5)

Lots of hops, without being a palate wrecker – presumably more in the way of dry hopping, than wet. Can’t find the IBU rating anywhere, but I’d guess it’s somewhere around 50. A decent balance of malt and hops that I find nicely palatable even though I usually prefer a more hop-forward character. A solid, pleasant DIPA. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

To Øl Raid Beer – Czech Pilsener at 5.2% ABV

To Øl Raid Beer Czech Pilsener at 5.2% ABV ($6.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 330ml, best before 19-Mar-2016)

Pours hazy pale amber with one finger of pillowy dense off-white head, excellent retention and heavy, chunky lacing. (4/5) Nose is citrus, piney dank resin, musk, caramel malt. (9/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, soft carbonation, mild bitter finish. (4/5)

So, what did you do tonight? Oh, just had the BEST PILSNER EVER. Lovely hoppy lager – in this case, a pilsner – that has about as much relationship to fizzy yellow adjunct garbage as chalk to cheese. Getting more of the Centennial and Citra citrus, and Simcoe west coast dank, than the Nelson Sauvin (my new favourite hop!) vinous character, but very nice regardless. Decently complex and layered, with lots of character. (Gee, hard to tell that these guys are old brewing buddies and students of Mikkeller’s, huh?) But, unlike his Øllen Om Bogen, this isn’t a hop bomb at all. I keep expecting the hops to blow up and storm my taste buds in an all-out assault, but they’re actually extremely polite as they completely redefine what a lager can be. The label says “Sometimes when you’re drunk you can see better” – I could drink enough of these to see better, for sure. (18/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Sky Brewing Company Biere De Noël – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.1% ABV

Big Sky Brewing Company Biere De Noël Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10.1% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #12, 355ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear deep amber with one finger of loose light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark boozy fruit, brown sugar, slight chocolate and roasty grain. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild alcohol. (7/10) Medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, sticky boozy mild bitter finish. (3/5)

Overall an enjoyable BSDA, tending towards abt/quad in the flavouring, but a little light in the body. I found the carbonation to be not-unpleasant prickly to moderate, but it tended to lift the body even further. Given the big flavours and big (though very polite) ABV, this beer might’ve been better implemented with a heavier body. Definitely a solid performer, though, and stylistically quite in keeping with the Advent calendar theme. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan – Saison at 7% ABV

Evil Twin Brewing Ron and the Beast Ryan Saison at 7% ABV ($13.00 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy pale gold with two fingers of fluffy loose white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is moderate to strong Brett funk, citrus, mild honey. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate to strong bitter, mild peppery spice. (9/10) Medium body, soft carbonation, dry peppery bitter finish. (4/5)

Oh my goodness, this is my kind of beast – it’s even named after me! Lovely funky barnyard notes that are pure Belgian all the way. Reminds me of a De Ranke XX or a Goose Island Matilda. Heckuva nice beer. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

8 Wired Brewing Company Saison Sauvin – Saison at 7% ABV

8 Wired Brewing Company Saison Sauvin Saison at 7% ABV ($9.29 at Willow Park Wines & Spirits, 500ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy gold with two fingers of fluffy loose white head, excellent retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is strong vinous Sauvin hops, citrus, slight funk. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild peppery spice. (8/10) Medium body, soft carbonation, off-dry slightly peppery bitter finish. (4/5)

Wow – this has got to be the clearest, most emphatic implementation of the Nelson Sauvin hops I’ve seen so far. This thing really does smell an awful lot like a sauvignon – hard to believe there’s no grapes in there! To some extent, that’s unfortunate, because it tends to overwhelm the other saison flavours which actually are there, but lurking in the shadows of the big Sauvin hop punch. That being said, I really do like those Sauvin hops, so that’s not entirely a bad thing. Really interesting, and another solid performer from a brewery I’m really starting to appreciate. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com