Mill St. Brewery Dammerung Dunkel – Dunkel at at 5% ABV

Mill St. Brewery Dammerung Dunkel Dunkel at at 5% ABV (On tap at Mill St. Brewpub Toronto Airport)

Pours clear brown with one finger of frothy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is muted dark malt, faint chocolate and dark fruit. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

A drinkable dunkel. A little dark character yet a light body finishing fairly clean. There’s even a little hint of smoke. Not exciting, but better than most of the standard airport bar alternatives. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale – American Brown Ale at at 7.5% ABV

Nøgne Ø Imperial Brown Ale American Brown Ale at at 7.5% ABV ($8.99 at Okotoks Co-Op, 500 ml, bottle date 27-Feb-2012, best before 27-Feb-2017)

Pours hazy ruby brown with one finger of frothy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is toasted biscuity malt, toffee, chocolate, dark fruit. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, very mild sour. (7/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering bitter finish. (3/5)

Not a bad brown ale at all. I generally find brown ales to be fairly malty and boring, but this one, even thought it’s still malty, isn’t boring. I guess the wide variety of malts (six) and hops (three) are each bringing enough to the table that the ultimate product is fairly interesting. I’m even getting a little tiny bit of tart and umame in there. Quite a nice brown. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Liefmans Fruitesse – Fruit / Vegetable Beer at at 4.2% ABV

Brouwerij Liefmans Fruitesse Fruit / Vegetable Beer at at 4.2% ABV ($3.65 at Solo Liquor Copperfield, 250 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear red with a fat two fingers of frothy pink head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (3/5) Nose is cherries and raspberries, along with other mixed berry sweetness. (6/10) Taste is moderately strong sweet, mild tart. (7/10) Light body, lively carbonation, off-dry and mildly tart finish. (3/5)

A mildly alcoholic cherry lemonade. On ice. Despite it being quite sweet, it isn’t cloying or overwhelming, and the cherry doesn’t taste artificial. Kinda weird to pour it over ice, but that’s what the bottle said to do, and it’s not completely inappropriate for what’s basically lemonade. (14/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Coronado Brewing Company Blue Bridge Coffee Stout – American Stout at 5.4% ABV

Coronado Brewing Company Blue Bridge Coffee Stout American Stout at 5.4% ABV ($9.79 at Quarry Park Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours nearly opaque brown with amber tinges around the margins, one finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is coffee, roasty malts, mild cocoa, faint hint of citrusy hops. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (7/10) Light to medium body, lively to moderate carbonation, off-dry and slightly astringent finish. (3/5)

Mediocre to solid coffee stout. Pleasant aroma, good flavour, decent body. Nothing stands out as being particularly great, but there are no obvious negatives, either. If that sounds like I’m damning it with faint praise, well, maybe I am – it could certainly stand to be a bit bolder, particularly after the initial coffee hit subsides, and although the body is OK, it could be heavier. Ultimately it’s a little one-dimensional – though, since it’s pretty good coffee flavour, that’s not entirely bad. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Grande Réserve 17 – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV

Unibroue Grande Réserve 17 Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV ($10.69 at Dominion Stavanger, 750 ml, bottle date 13-May-2013)

Pours clear deep amber with one finger of frothy light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel malt, Belgian yeast banana and cloves, dark fruits, oak and leather, tobacco. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (9/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, lingering spicy finish with a moderate alcohol warming. (5/5)

I sound like a broken record when talking about Unibroue, but they really do a very impressive job of the Belgian styles. This thing is complex and has benefited from nearly a year in my cellar (and nearly two in the bottle), mellowing the ABV and tempering the woody and vinous notes. Lots of dark rich fruit, and an almost nutty finish. I could have thrown a lot more aroma comparisons in there: bubblegum, cinnamon, citrus peel, raisins, bread dough – basically, if you can think it, you can find it in there, especially as it warms and opens up. Yet, for all the complexity of flavour, it’s not heavy or syrupy. Extremely well done. (18/20)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Unibroue Maudite – Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 8% ABV

Unibroue Maudite Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 8% ABV (750 ml, bottle date 23-Sep-2013)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with one finger of pillowy off-white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, no lacing. (4/5) Nose is banana and cloves, doughy yeast, stone fruit, caramel malt. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (8/10) Medium body, lively carbonation, off-dry lingering spicy finish with a moderate alcohol warming. (4/5)

Not a lot to say about this – a true classic, and one of the best Belgians outside of Belgium. Smooth and drinkable despite the higher ABV, which manifests as a pleasant warming. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Maracaibo Especial – Belgian Strong Ale at 7.5% ABV

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Maracaibo Especial Belgian Strong Ale at 7.5% ABV ($15.19 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 750 ml, bottle date 15-Nov-2013)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with two fingers of frothy off-white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is complex, dry funk, apple cider vinegar, sour cherries, some spice, citrus, and cocoa. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, mild bitter, moderate tart. (8/10) Medium body, prickly carbonation, off-dry tart finish. (4/5)

Utterly unlike any brown ale I’ve ever had before. I guess that’s the thing with JP, huh? No matter what they call the beer, it’s a sour. Brown ale? Sour. Stout? Sour. Saison? Sour. Witbier? Sour. Not that I’m complaining – far from it! This is an excellent, mild sour, with pleasant astringency and cellar floor funk. I’d go so far as to say it’s the best brown ale I’ve ever had – mostly because brown ales tend to be yawn-inducing at best, while this is actually interesting. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Oude Kriek (Vieille) – Fruit Lambic at 6.5% ABV

Brouwerij Oud Beersel Oude Kriek (Vieille) Fruit Lambic at 6.5% ABV (Via trade, 375 ml, best before 12-Dec-2032)

Pours clear ruby red with one finger of frothy pink head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, minimal lacing. (4/5) Nose is dry funk, light vinegar, sour cherries, some mineral and woody oak. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, moderate tart. (8/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry tart finish. (4/5)

A really nice kriek – lots of pleasant fruit, but not to the extent that it overwhelms the underlying lambic character. Tart but not aggressively so, with a touch of dry brett funk. I like this. (16/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Garrison Brewing Company Black I.P.A. – Black IPA at 6.2% ABV

Garrison Brewing Company Black I.P.A. Black IPA at 6.2% ABV ($5.97 at Dominion Stavanger, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear amber-brown with a three fingers of loose light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is pine and tropical fruit, dark roasty malts, mild chocolate and coffee, some flowery and herbal hops. (6/10) Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad, but a bit muddled. The dark roasty malt flavours overbalance the hoppiness somewhat for my taste – I’d like to see brighter hops and a bit less of the dark roast. A decent enough brew, for all that. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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

Beer Reviews