Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Christmas (Noël) – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV

Brouwerij Huyghe Delirium Christmas (Noël) Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV ($6.00 at South Trail Co-Op, 330ml, best before 09/17)

Pours hazy deep amber with two fat fingers of light tan head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark fruit, bready malt, Belgian yeast, spices. (8/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly boozy bitter finish. (4/5)

Now there’s noël in a bottle. Gushed a little on opening, but I was expecting that and caught it all in my Delirium goblet. (Finally using it for the beer it came with!) Opens up very nicely as it warms. There’s an initial urge to drink it down, but pacing yourself will yield a better result, both because the very well-integrated ABV will sneak up on you in a hurry, and because there’s some nice complexity there that deserves sipping and savouring. There’s a large malty sweetness at the front, along with boozy dark fruits, but it’s not unbalanced, and finishes nicely off-dry and bitter. Makes me wish I was back at Café Delirium in Brussels! (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie Guyanaise Jeune Gueule Weïti – Witbier at 5% ABV

Brasserie Guyanaise Jeune Gueule Weïti Witbier at 5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #18, 330ml, best before 04/2015)

Pours hazy straw with one finger of foamy white head, good retention, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is yeast, citrus, floral, spices. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light body, lively carbonation, off dry slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Looks, tastes, and smell fairly lemony, instead of the reported orange peel. There’s something in the nose that doesn’t exactly thrill me – not sure whether it’s a floral or spice note, but it almost smells like soap or detergent. It’s not overwhelming, though, and the beer as a whole is by no means terrible. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Ninkasi Brewing Company Tricerahops Double IPA – American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV

Ninkasi Brewing Company Tricerahops Double IPA American Double / Imperial IPA at 8% ABV ($8.79 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours slightly hazy pale amber with two fingers of light tan head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is zesty citrus and resiny pine, light caramel malt and some light floral. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter. (8/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Nice double IPA. Bright and citrusy, big hop bomb. Marginally hop forward, with decent caramel malt supporting. Hardly a memorable DIPA, but certainly passable. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Stone Brewing Company Rick And Robbie’s Spröcket Bier – Kölsch at 5.4% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Rick And Robbie’s Spröcket Bier Kölsch at 5.4% ABV ($10.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, bottle date 24-Apr-2014)

Pours clear brown with a short tan head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is mild roasty malts, faint rye and coffee. (4/10) Taste is low sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Light to medium body, moderate to low carbonation, dry finish. (3/5)

Kölsch? How the hell is this a Kölsch? This looks, smells, and drinks like an extremely mild schwarzbier. The only characteristics it shares with a Kölsch are that it’s wet with relatively low ABV. I mean, seriously, rated as a Kölsch, it’s pretty much a zero. I dunno, guess I have to rate it on its own merits, instead of as a Kölsch. Even on its own merits, though, it’s probably the worst Stone beer I’ve ever had. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Wold Top Brewery Marmalade Porter – Porter at 5% ABV

Wold Top Brewery Marmalade Porter Porter at 5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #17, 330ml, best before end 05/15)

Pours clear brown with ruby highlights, one finger of loose tan head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted roasty malts and coffee, hints of orange peel, dark fruit, and chocolate. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, dry slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Decent porter with perhaps just a little too much coffee astringency in the finish. I usually don’t like too much sweetness in a beer, but this one could actually use a little more. Body tends a little to the watery side, as well. Feels like it wants to be a bigger, beefier beer than it is, but the low ABV prevents it from providing much in the way of impact or warming. The net effect is one of it being slightly harsh. It’s pleasant enough, regardless, but not something I’d necessarily seek out, since there are lots of better examples of the style out there – Meantime or Taddy, for example. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Rogue Ales Santa’s Private Reserve – American Amber Ale at 5.3% ABV

Rogue Ales Santa’s Private Reserve American Amber Ale at 5.3% ABV ($8.49 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium to deep amber with one finger of medium tan head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is caramel malt, muddled spices and leafy hops. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (5/10) Medium body, moderate to low carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (3/5)

Another meh-tastic offering from Rogue. Surprising residual bitterness on the tongue, given the almost non-existent hop presence on the nose, but that’s pretty much the best you can say about it. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Old Yale Brewing Co. Sergeant’s IPA – English IPA at 5.5% ABV

Old Yale Brewing Co. Sergeant’s IPA English IPA at 5.5% ABV ($5.76 at South Trail Co-Op, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours hazy pale amber with three fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and heavy, chunky lacing. (4/5) Nose is brett and not much else. (4/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate funk, mild bitter. (4/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, mild bitter and funky finish. (3/5)

Utterly dominated by a brett infection. Almost no hops left at all – none in the nose and limited amounts on the tongue. Not a bad drink even in the condition it’s in – almost has a saison character – but there’s no way it’s supposed to taste like this. And NO DAMN BOTTLE DATE, so no way to know whether this is just a function of it being on a shelf too long. Deeply disappointing, but I’m gonna have to do what I said I’d do: if you don’t date your bottle, I assume you meant it to taste this way. Rating this as an E/IPA, it’s a massive fail. (6/20)

4/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet – Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Bersalis Kadet Belgian Pale Ale at 4.5% ABV (2014 Advent Calendar #16, 330ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium gold with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pale malt, honey, leafy and herbal hops, mild yeast. (6/10) Taste is moderately sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, prickly carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Unlike some of the previous beers, this one really did excite an unironic “Oh, goody!” out of me. And it’s not bad, not bad at all. It’s nothing like other Oud Beersel products I’ve had, and for that matter, fairly unlike most BPA’s I’ve had. If I were served this as a pilsner, I’d call it a great pilsner, but as a BPA, it’s a bit lacking in character. I won’t go so far as to call it bland, but I’ve certainly had better examples of the style. However  that being said, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a low gravity BPA before, so that might not be a fair comparison. Ultimately a pleasant, easy-drinking fairly light beer with decent body and character given the gravity. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.4% ABV

Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.4% ABV ($14.88 at Zyn, 650ml, bottle date 7-Aug-2014)

Pours pale amber with one finger of light tan head head, good retention and moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is dark caramel malt, piney and floral hops, tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, strong bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, strong bitter finish. (4/5)

The malt forward nose was a bit of a disappointment, and despite the huge hop bomb bitterness, there’s still strong maltiness in the flavour. This isn’t a bad DIPA, but it’s not my preferred type of DIPA. For the price, there are better examples of the style. I don’t think Lemmy would approve. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies – American IPA at 7.4% ABV

Deschutes Brewery Chasin’ Freshies American IPA at 7.4% ABV ($11.07 at Zyn, 650ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours pale straw with two fingers of white head, excellent retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is bright fresh-squeezed citrus, pine, tropical fruit, crackery pale malt. (9/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (8/10) Light to medium body, prickly to moderate carbonation, moderate bitter finish. (4/5)

Really good. Bright and citrusy hops, with just enough pale malt to support it. Glad I cracked it right away, rather than let the edge go off it. Those Mosaic hops are really nice – I find them better-behaved than Citra, which can have a bit of a harsh edge. (16/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews