Bellwoods Brewery Roman Candle American IPA at 6.8% ABV (Price unknown, via trade, 500ml)
Pours pale amber with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is hop heavy, resin, pine, citrus, with a muted caramel malt background (8/10). Taste is low sweetness and moderate to strong bitter, growing pepperiness (8/10). Light body, moderate sustained carbonation, lingering bitter finish (5/5).
I’m liking this a lot. Mind you, it’s been, what, at least a week since I had a nice hoppy IPA? (Correction – my last APA was two weeks ago, and my last true A/IPA, almost a month! No wonder I’m liking this so much!) Lovely resin and piney hops from the instant the cap comes off the bottle, and the taste follows through, hop forward with just enough caramel malt to support the hoppy bitterness, without getting in the way. Kind of reminds me of the Phillips Bottle Rocket in that it’s light, easy drinking and crisp, while delivering a whole lot of hoppy goodness. (Although the Roman Candle has a much higher ABV, it’s completely integrated and doesn’t appear at all in the taste or the finish.) I’m rating this identically to the Bellwoods Boogie Monster, but for slightly different reasons. (17/20)
8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Hop City Brewing Co. 8th Sin Schwarzbier at 5.0% ABV ($3.98 at Dominion Stavanger)
Pours deep ruby brown with one fat finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is muted coffee, roast malts, nuts, ashes (6/10). Taste is low sweetness and moderate bitter, smoke, burnt (5/10). Light body, moderate to low carbonation, bitter smoky finish (3/5).
Considering the only other schwarzbier I can recall having tried is the Krombacher Dark, I’m not entirely sure I know what this style is aiming for. If they were going for “watery stout in which somebody snuffed a cigarette”, well, bullseye, I guess. Dunno – if anything, I’m less thrilled with this than the Krombacher. Not all that interesting a style, though perhaps marginally preferable to a macro lager. Definitely not my favourite beer from this brewery. (10/20)
5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Orkney Brewery Dragonhead English Stout at 4.0% ABV ($6.16 via Beer Club Offering #11)
Pours nearly solid black with just a hint of lightening around the margins, two fingers of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, moderate lacing (4/5). Nose is coffee, faint chocolate, dark roast malts, dark fruit, leather, tobacco, faint smoke (8/10). Taste is low sweetness and moderate bitter with some citrus tart, spice, and a hint of smoke (8/10). Medium body, prickly to moderate sustained carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish (4/5).
Starts out quite well-behaved and pleasant – not too much sweetness, and a nicely bitter bite. The carbonation is too high for it to have a smooth texture, but it certainly prevents any mouth-coating behaviour, and keeps the body relatively light and crisp. It opens up nicely as it warms, with some dark fruit, leather, and tobacco coming out to play. A solid performer, and quite drinkable with its low ABV. (16/20)
8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Revision 12. Radiused the slot, made the whole thing 1mm thicker, and increased the size of the cap holder slot. Cap holder is still a little finicky, but it works now. The transparency of the filament makes it possible to see the trapped cap catcher magnet.
Founders Brewing Company Breakfast Stout American Double/Imperial Stout at 8.3% ABV (Price unknown, via trade)
Pours nearly solid black with just a hint of lightening around the margins, a short finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin ring, minimal to no lacing (4/5). Nose is coffee, oats, some chocolate, milkiness and sweetness (9/10). Taste is balanced moderate sweet and bitter with some citrus tart (9/10). Medium body, prickly to moderate sustained carbonation, off-dry lingering bitter finish with building alcohol warmth (5/5).
Maybe not quite up to the hype, but dammit, it’s close. The most surprising aspect is perhaps the body – I was expecting syrupy and mouth coating, but the carbonation and intense (but balanced) bitterness keeps that from happening. The coffee bitterness is supplemented by a nearly-hidden citrusy hop sharpness, and tempered by a lactose-like chocolate sweetness. The finish is nearly crisp as a result, the long bitter tail notwithstanding. The ABV is also extremely well integrated, coming through only as a gradual and mild warming. As a result, this is a surprisingly light stout that is very drinkable, and very dangerous. (19/20)
My 118th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 111th by the 2013 Edition, and 121st overall.
9/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Saison Saison at 6% ABV ($9.47 via Beer Club Offering #12)
Pours clear deep gold with two fat fingers of pillowy white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate to heavy lacing (4/5). Nose is hay, banana, cloves, slight barnyard, grassy hops (9/10). Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter (9/10). Light to medium body, prickly sustained carbonation, lingering bitter finish (4/5).
Excellent. Very much a farmhouse style saison, yet I find it reminds me of a Belgian Tripel like Duvel. Some might dislike the somewhat aggressive carbonation, but I enjoy the additional crispness and sharpness it provides – no tongue coating here. The slight barnyard funk on the nose also turns into a decently sharp brett-like edge on the tongue, making this feel more bitter than its 35 IBU. Not sure I’d want to cellar this one much longer if that really is brettanomyces, though – it might get a little unbalanced. Best to drink this one on the fresh side, I think, and this one was just over six months old. Really very enjoyable and another example of a world-class Belgian style being brewed in Canada. (18/20)
9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Brasserie des Rocs Abbaye des Rocs Grand Cru Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 9% ABV (Price unknown, via trade)
Pours muddy particulate-laden brown with one finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, no lacing (3/5). Nose is brown sugar, plums and other dark fruit, spice, alcohol (7/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate tart (7/10). Medium to heavy body, smooth, soft carbonation, with a gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
Bit disappointed by this one. I wasn’t too perturbed by the muddy appearance or the particulate, but I was expecting more sour/tart presence. Instead, I’m getting a lot of malt sweetness, molasses / brown sugar, and raisins, but also an almost medicinal overtone. It’s certainly not working perfectly together for me. (15/20)
7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Hibernus Belgian Strong Dark Ale at 10% ABV ($15.41 via Beer Club Offering #12)
Pours clear amber-brown with two fingers of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, minimal lacing (4/5). Nose is… complex. Pureed peaches, sugary malt, dark fruit, spice (8/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate bitter, distinct sour/metallic edge (7/10). Medium body, smooth, soft carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish and gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
That’s a big, complicated, not entirely approachable beer. The nose is utterly unlike anything else I can remember trying, and my wife disagrees, but once I came up with “baby food peaches”, that’s where I stayed. There’s an edge on the flavour that is definitely unexpected and not entirely welcome – I’m going with “sour” but it could less charitably be called “metallic”. Not entirely sure on this one – have several to cellar, and maybe that’s the right approach. As it stands right now, and for the price, not a clear home run. (15/20)
7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Microbrasserie Charlevoix La Vache Folle Imperial Milk Stout American Double/Imperial Stout at 9% ABV ($6.25 via Beer Club Offering #12)
Pours nearly complete black with just a hint of ruby around the margins, two fingers of fine beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, excellent lacing (5/5). Nose is dark roasty malt, coffee, dark fruit (8/10). Taste is moderate to strong sweet malt, moderate bitter, vinous tang (8/10). Medium body, slightly oily yet sticky texture, soft carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish and gentle alcohol warming (4/5).
Not quite what I was expecting and certainly slightly different from other milk stouts I’ve had. That being said, it grows on you after the initial shock. I think it’s the bitterness – despite the lactose sweetness and smoothness, there’s still very strong bitterness present here, manifesting as a coffee astringency, but also a vinous tartness. Tastes much more bitter than the 30IBU rate beer claims, making me wonder if it might benefit from some cellaring time – I’m putting one away for a year or two to see whether that’s the case. Not my favourite example of the style, but certainly not without its charms. (15/20)
8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com
Molson Coors Canada Rickard’s Dark English Porter at 4.8% ABV ($3.75 at NLC Kelsey Drive)
Pours clear deep amber with one finger of fine beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, minimal lacing (3/5). Nose is caramel malt, chocolate and mild coffee, light grassy hops (5/10). Taste is moderate sweet malt, mild to moderate bitter (6/10). Light body, moderate to high sustained carbonation, with a lingering bitter finish (4/5).
Y’know, I wasn’t expecting much. And I didn’t get much. But what I got was perhaps a slightly better grade of not much, than I was expecting. Some might consider the carbonation a bit too high, and it certainly generates a burp or two, but it also lifts and cuts the sweetness. The sweetness still gets a little cloying on the tongue, and I sure wouldn’t want more than one, but overall, as “beers that you’re likely to find on tap at some soulless chain restaurant” go, it’s drinkable. I’d go so far to say as it might well be the best thing in the MolsonCoors lineup these days – not that that’s saying much. (10/20)
5.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com