Ballast Point Brewing Company Victory at Sea – Imperial / Strong Porter at 10.0% ABV

Ballast Point Brewing Company Victory at Sea Imperial / Strong Porter at 10.0% ABV ($10.52 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours semi-opaque amber-brown with two fingers of loose tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, heavy lacing. (4/5) Nose is strong milky coffee, vanilla, mild cocoa. (9/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (9/10) Full creamy body, moderate carbonation, slightly sticky astringent coffee finish. (4/5)

Very nicely balanced sweet strong milky coffee with mild vanilla. Were it not for the carbonation, you might be able to convince somebody in a blind taste test they were drinking iced café au lait. Yes, it really is dominated by the coffee to that extent – and that’s not even close to being a criticism. The huge alcohol is nearly non-existent, except for a distinct tendency for the room to get a little wobbly towards the end of the bomber. (18/20)

My 135th from the 2013 Edition (new to that edition), and 150th combining both editions.

9/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller / Three Floyds Blå Spøg Else Blueberry Bluebic – Lambic at 7.7% ABV

Mikkeller / Three Floyds Blå Spøg Else Blueberry Bluebic Lambic at 7.7% ABV $34.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear reddish purple with a short pinkish head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is vinegar, sour cherry and blueberry, woody, funky. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderately strong sour. (8/10) Medium body, prickly carbonation, very dry tart finish. (5/5)

That’s a heckuva sour. Loads of fruit (yes, blueberries) and vinous notes, mild funky, with a super dry mouth puckering finish following a mouthwatering aroma. Really good, but stupidly expensive. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Barrel Aged Edition: Bourbon – American Strong Ale at 11.0% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Barrel Aged Edition: Bourbon American Strong Ale at 11.0% ABV ($6.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of dense off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is boozy bourbon, caramel and toffee malt, oak, coconut. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, boozy edge. (5/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, boozy finish. (3/5)

Coconut. Seriously? Gotta be the first time I’ve ever gotten that in a beer. Very similar to the cognac, with only a slightly different – yet every bit as aggressive – boozy edge. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Big Rock Brewery Barrel Aged Edition: Cognac – American Strong Ale at 10.6% ABV

Big Rock Brewery Barrel Aged Edition: Cognac American Strong Ale at 10.6% ABV ($6.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of dense off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is boozy cognac, caramel malt, mild bready yeast. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, boozy edge. (5/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, boozy finish. (3/5)

Well, once again, I gotta give credit to Big Rock for trying something outside their norm – but this is really a bit of a beast. The barrel notes completely overwhelm everything else, giving it a boozy edge that’s every bit of the ABV and then some. This isn’t so much a cognac-aged beer, as a depth charge made with Traditional and Courvoisier. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Phillips Brewing Company Polaris – Milk Stout at 5.5% ABV

Phillips Brewing Company Polaris Milk Stout at 5.5% ABV ($6.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear brown with one fat finger of dense tan head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is roasty malts, mild coffee and cocoa, lactose, very slight smoke. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, mild ashy smoke, faint sour. (6/10) Medium body tending to watery, moderate to low carbonation, off dry bitter finish. (3/5)

Not really working for me. The body is definitely too thin and watery for the style, and there’s an ashy smokey tinge that I’m not hot on. There’s a hint of sour that initially got my hopes up, but ultimately it feels more accidental than interesting – maybe a little lacto, in addition to the lactose. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Garrison Brewing Company Martello Stout – English Stout at 4.2% ABV

Garrison Brewing Company Martello Stout English Stout at 4.2% ABV ($2.50 at NLC Howley Estates, 341 ml, bottle date 5-Nov-2014)

Pours clear brown with one fat finger of loose tan head, good retention and spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is muted, roasty malts, cocoa, oats, slight smoke. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body tending to watery, moderate to low carbonation, off dry bitter finish. (3/5)

Not terrible, but not great, either. The body could be a little fuller, and the smokiness comes across a little less “smoked malt” and a little more “cigarette butt in your beer”, and the finish tends a little to the astringent. Not their best. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Madrugada Obscura Dark Dawn Stout – American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.1% ABV

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Madrugada Obscura Dark Dawn Stout American Double / Imperial Stout at 8.1% ABV ($12.82 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, bottle date 15-Jan-2014)

Pours clear dark brown (nearly black) with one fat finger of medium tan head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is complex, vinous dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, earthy funk. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate tart, faint bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, drying tart finish. (4/5)

Well, first and foremost: calling this a “stout” is pretty misleading. It’s most definitely a sour, albeit a dark one with coffee and chocolate tones. That’s not to say it’s aggressively sour, because it isn’t (although it does open up and get a little more emphatic as it warms). And it is goo-ood. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Royal Unibrew Faxe 10% – Strong Pale Lager at 10% ABV

Royal Unibrew Faxe 10% Strong Pale Lager at 10% ABV ($4.06 at Dominion Stavanger, 500 ml, packaged on 24-Sep-2014 best before 25-Dec-2015)

Pours clear straw with one finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is rotten apples, faint floral, solvent-like alcohol. (2/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (2/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, lingering (not in a good way) finish. (3/5)

Really quite amazingly vile. But it’s 10% ABV vile, and I’ve just done a 15 hour day on the job, so there’s that… And it really seriously is a very good-looking beer. That tastes like liquid hate. And fermented sweat socks. (3/20)

3/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Muskoka Brewery Mad Tom – India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.4% ABV

Muskoka Brewery Mad Tom India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.4% ABV ($2.72 at Dominion Stavanger, 355 ml, best before 25-Apr-2015)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with one finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is tropical fruit, pithy citrus, pine resin, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering slightly sticky bitter finish. (4/5)

Solid IPA – lots of hop bitter, citrus, and tropical fruit (mango and pineapple), balanced and supported with just enough malt. Can’t say I’m noticing any difference with its “Now Unfiltered” designation, other than the colour now being slightly hazy – I’d be lying if I said I could smell or taste the difference. Then again, it has been almost exactly a year since I had a filtered one, so… And yes, I once rated this a 9/10 – consider this updated rating more accurate. I was young(er) and foolish then – now I’m old(er) and, well, still foolish. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Plzeňský Prazdroj Pilsner Urquell – Pilsener at 4.4% ABV

Plzeňský Prazdroj Pilsner Urquell Pilsener at 4.4% ABV ($4.06 at Dominion Stavanger, 500 ml, best before 26-Apr-2015)

Pours clear pale gold with one finger of loose white head diminishing rapidly to nothing, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is pale malt, honey, grassy hops, bready yeast. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium to light body, moderate to low carbonation, off-dry crisp finish. (3/5)

I’m not a huge fan of pilseners in general, finding them to be boring at best. This is actually a pretty good example of the style, but still pretty darned boring. Better than I was expecting it to be, but still not something I’d necessarily go looking for. However, when considering “single cans in your local’s cooler”, you could do a lot worse. (12/20)

My 141st from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 134th from the 2013 Edition, and 149th combining both editions.

6/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews