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Last Best Brewing and Distilling A.E. Cross Barley Wine Barrel-Aged (2016) – American Barleywine at 11.8% ABV | 45 IBU

Last Best Brewing and Distilling A.E. Cross Barley Wine Barrel-Aged (2016) American Barleywine at 11.8% ABV | 45 IBU (C$19.95 at J. Webb Wine Merchant, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 30-Apr-2017, reviewed 20-Oct-2017)

Appearance: clear deep amber with a short fluffy light beige head, good retention and sticky lacing. (3/5) Aroma: toffee, dried fruit, rye whisky, wood. (8/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate-high bitter, light tart. (8/10) Palate: medium slightly slick body, moderate carbonation, medium bitter and warming finish. (4/5)

So, this vintage was split into two, a barrel-aged version, and an unoaked version. I previously reviewed the unoaked version, which I described as fairly well-implemented, and observed the big ABV to be well-integrated. But, I found the aromas and flavours to be muted, to the point of verging on boring. I expressed the hope that the barrel-aged one addressed that, as well as my intent to find it. Well: tah-dah, I guess? And, yeah, I dunno if it’s the barrel-ageing, or just the nine months more cellaring, but this one is actually better, by a pretty emphatic margin. The woody notes meld well with a boozy whisky character, both of which arguably make the alcohol more noticeable, but doing so in an integrated and appropriate fashion. Some much-needed complexity is thereby attained, making this much more enjoyable than its Plain Jane sister. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Dageraad Brewing Antwerpen – Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV

Dageraad Brewing Antwerpen Abbey Tripel at 8.5% ABV (C$10.25 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 23-Sep-2017, reviewed 25-Sep-2017)

Appearance: cloudy straw with three towering fingers of fluffy white head, excellent retention, moderate lacing. (4/5) Aroma: boozy stone fruit, floral, grainy pale malt, coriander, white pepper. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium-light body, moderate-high carbonation, dry bitter slightly spicy finish. (4/5)

So, buying this, the conversation went something along the lines of “Oh, I’ve got this new Dageraad…” “Yes” “But I didn’t say what it was.” “I don’t care.” So, I guess you could say I’m a little biased. Bias aside, this is my kind of Tripel: low sweetness, boozy noble hops, and a bone dry finish. But, holy hell, is that last inch yeasty! (I suspect there might be a little gastrointestinal response to that later tonight, but that’s to be expected when you drink a few billion living things, right?) Pretty solid, if a touch heavy-handed. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Shank’d It – Berliner Weisse at 3.5% ABV

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Shank’d It Berliner Weisse at 3.5% ABV (C$6.81 at Oak & Vine, 650 ml, no packaging date or best before, acquired 5-Jun-2017, reviewed 10-Jun-2017)

Appearance: clear light pink with one finger of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a persistent thick cap, no lacing. (3/5) Aroma: floral, sulphur, tart lacto, crackery malt, grass. (6/10) Taste: moderate sweet, moderate-high tart, low bitter. (7/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, crisp tart finish. (3/5)

Not bad, but a bit sulphurous on the front end. Finishes decently crisp without being overly tart. (13/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com