Category Archives: Reviews

Beer reviews

Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique – Baltic Porter at 10.0% ABV

Les Trois Mousquetaires Grande Cuvée Porter Baltique Baltic Porter at 10.0% ABV
(Re-reviewed after a year’s cellaring)

Pours a deep cola brown with a short-lived tan head and no lacing. Nose is dark fruits, cherry, roast malt, chocolate, very slight smoke. Taste is sweet and only slightly bitter, with caramel, coffee, roasted malt, and maybe just a hint of liquorice. Body is sticky and heavy, but not overly so, and is buoyed somewhat by the persistent carbonation that remains despite the low head.

A year in the cellar has not hurt this at all – just the opposite, in fact. The flavours that I felt were muddled before have now blended beautifully. This is deep, dark and rich, sweet without being too much so, with just the right edge and warming on the finish. I think I’ll keep my last one in the cellar for another couple years, maybe pick up another couple to do a vertical. I was far too harsh on it with my last rating – or, alternatively, it’s improved loads – but either way, I’m re-rating it significantly higher.

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Double Trouble Brewing Co. Hops & Robbers – IPA at 5.7% ABV

Double Trouble Brewing Co. Hops & Robbers IPA at 5.7% ABV

Pours a clear golden amber with a fat finger of fluffy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim and spotty lacing. Nose is bready malt, slight citrus, mango, and pine. Taste starts moderately sweet, giving way to a slightly dry pineapple finish. Medium to light body, slightly slick, with low sustained carbonation and a decently bitter finish.

I wanted to like this more, I really did. I was starting to get excited about the possibility of a decent craft brewery with an interesting range of products being locally available. This, however, feels like a little bit of a letdown. The finish is not bad at all, but the aroma and flavour just don’t quite have the punch one would expect from an IPA – at least, not from an A/IPA, but to be honest this doesn’t even feel like an English IPA. That being said, it does get a bit better as the pint progresses, so maybe my palate is still a bit blown out by the rye beer I had before this one. Might have to try this one again to give it a fair review.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Double Trouble Brewing Co. Fire In The Rye – Rye Beer at 6.1% ABV

Double Trouble Brewing Co. Fire In The Rye Rye Beer at 6.1% ABV

Pours a clear deep copper with a fat finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and moderate lacing. Nose is dominated by rye and caramel malt, with little hop profile to speak of. Taste follows the nose, with spicy rye dominating the flavour, though there does seem to be a faint hop bitter in the finish. Moderate body and decent sustained carbonation, with no significant warming.

Probably one of the better offerings currently available from NLLC. Well, except for Duvel, obviously. And Leffe. And Mad Tom. And La Fin du Monde. OK, maybe it’s being generous to say it’s in the top ten, but it’s not bad. I like rye beers, generally, and there’s no overwhelming reason not to like this one. There’s not a lot of hop character, but the rye almost stands in for the hops, doing double duty as both the grain and the bittering agent.

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel Abbey – Tripel at 8.1% ABV

The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel Abbey Tripel at 8.1% ABV

Pours a clear hold with a fat two fingers of frothy white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim and no head. Nose is spice, pepper, candy sugar. Taste is sweet and slightly spicy, coriander and grass. Full bodied and sticky, with a spicy finish.

Not really what I was expecting and not really what I would characterise as a tripel – not dry and light the way I’d expect, but instead sweet and tending to heavy. A nice beer, no doubt, but a bit more of a Belgian strong ale, than a tripel.

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale – American Amber Ale at 6% ABV

Parallel 49 Brewing Company Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale American Amber Ale at 6% ABV

(On tap) Pours a deep ruby with a fat finger of cream-coloured head diminishing rapidly to a thin cap and moderate lacing. Nose is pine resin and grassy hops, toasted malt and caramel. Taste is malt forward, sweet caramel, backed up by moderate hop bitterness. Medium body and low persistent carbonation.

A little too much malt and too little hops for my preference, but that’s par for the course for an amber ale. Not bad, but not all that interesting or challenging.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie d’Achouffe McChouffe – Belgian Strong Ale at 8.0% ABV

Brasserie d’Achouffe McChouffe Belgian Strong Ale at 8.0% ABV

Pours cola brown with a fat finger of medium dense tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap and moderate lacing. Nose is dark stone fruit, raisins, dark malt, brown sugar. Taste leads out with dark malt, giving way to medium bitterness, with peppery spiciness. Mouth feel is surprisingly light, with sustained lively carbonation and mild warming.

Very similar to the La Chouffe in hop character, body, and carbonation, with the major difference being the dark malt, as opposed to the light malt of the La Chouffe. These two beers are pretty much identical otherwise, with the fundamental difference being the choice between light and dark malt.

My 79th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 75th by the 2013 Edition, or 81st overall.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie d’Achouffe La Chouffe – Belgian Strong Ale at 8.0% ABV

Brasserie d’Achouffe La Chouffe Belgian Strong Ale at 8.0% ABV

Pours a clear golden blonde with a fat two fingers of fluffy white head, great retention and heavy lacing. Nose is yeasty banana, stone fruit, sweet malt. Taste is hoppy bitter and balanced sweet biscuity malt. Mouth feel is lively with sustained carbonation, medium body but crisp, with an off-dry finish and a well-integrated mild warming.

Quite pleasant, if not quite as nice as the Houblon Chouffe (tripel). Nose and flavour are both a little coarser and heavier than the tripel even though the ABV is lower. However, that’s not to denigrate the beer overall: it suffers slightly by comparison, true, but overall is a very solid performer.

My 78th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 74th by the 2013 Edition, or 80th overall.

7.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Clown Shoes Muffin Top – Belgian IPA at 10.5% ABV

Clown Shoes Muffin Top Belgian IPA at 10.5% ABV

Pours a clear copper with two fingers of fluffy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim with moderate spotty lacing. Nose is pine resiny hops, pineapple, orange, apricot, caramel malt. Taste starts moderately sweet, then fruity, finishing citrusy and bitter. Mouth feel is medium- to heavy-bodied and chewy, with moderate carbonation and warming.

Not a tripel style at all, more of an double/imperial IPA: when I think Belgian tripel, I think lighter hop varieties, floral, banana or bubblegum, clove phenols, peppery spice. This has pretty much none of those, and instead is pine resin, tropical fruit, and sweet malt. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine DIPA, but I don’t see how it’s in any way a tripel. Malt is definitely present, but not overly emphatic, playing a nicely supporting role. A big beer, albeit not as heavy as might be expected from the ABV. But it’s not a tripel.

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse – Berliner Weisse at 3.1% ABV

The Bruery Hottenroth Berliner Weisse Berliner Weisse at 3.1% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy lemony yellow with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing moderately quickly to a thin skim and light lacing. Nose is muted citrus and honey, faint fruit. Taste is tart apple and citrus, slight bready yeast and malt. Light-bodied and crisp, with sustained carbonation and a dry, tart, and bitter finish.

One heck of a hot day on the patio kind of beer. Not sweet at all, tart and crisp, almost cider-like in character. The low ABV makes this something you could drink all day long. Now I want to try it with raspberry syrup!

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba – Belgian Ale at 4.5% ABV

Brasserie de la Senne Taras Boulba Belgian Ale at 4.5% ABV

Pours a cloudy straw yellow with one finger of dense white head, excellent retention and no lacing. Nose is muted, citrus and grassy hops, slight malt. Taste is bitter grapefruit, slightly sour, faint malt. Light body, thin and slick, dry bitter finish.

Interesting. The grapefruit similarities in both the appearance and the flavour make this almost like a radler. Minimal to non-existent sweetness and a dry finish make this pretty drinkable. I’m not sure I’d call it “extra hoppy ale”, though, since the hops are fairly muted in the nose, albeit somewhat more present in the flavour.

My 78th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 73rd by the 2013 Edition, or 79th overall.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com