8 Wired Brewing Company iStout – Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

8 Wired Brewing Company iStout Imperial Stout at 10% ABV

Pours nearly solid black with only a hint of ruby around the margins, a short finger of dense chocolate brown head with great retention, moderate lacing. Nose is somewhat muted, coffee and dark chocolate, dark roasted malt, faint vanilla. Taste is dark roasted malt, coffee, light vanilla, ending mildly bitter. Full bodied and viscous, with mild sustained carbonation and a mild bitter finish.

A very nice example of the Imperial Stout / RIS style. Suffers only very slightly by comparison to the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel I had immediately before it – a little less smooth and rich, but only barely, and possessing a little more typical coffee astringency. All that said, still a helluva fine beer, and a helluva lot cheaper than the Mikkeller! (Yes, I’m marking it down for the stupid name.)

9/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel – Imperial Stout at 10.9% ABV

Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel Imperial Stout at 10.9% ABV

Pours a solid inky black (without even a hint of colour round the margins) with two fingers of dense chocolate brown head diminishing gradually to a half finger cap, moderate lacing. Nose is dark roasted coffee and dark chocolate, with a hint of café latte milkiness and maybe some dark fruit. Taste is dark roasted malt, rich coffee, perhaps a hint of liquorice and only a very mild, very late bitterness. Full bodied and viscous, with mild sustained carbonation and a smooth finish.

Wow. I didn’t realize before tasting this, that the titular “weasel” was the civet cat, and that this is basically made with kopi leuwak. And it shows – there’s no bitterness or astringency from the coffee at all. In fact, there’s very little bitterness at all, despite the rich coffee flavour. I keep waiting for the bitterness to hit, and it just doesn’t. The bitterness is not the only thing that’s conspicuously absent here, either: the ABV is utterly and completely missing. This thing is nearly 11%, and it drinks like a cup of coffee. One could get in a great deal of trouble with this exceedingly dangerous beer… were it not roughly as expensive as unicorn blood – or, given the colour, printer cartridge ink…

9.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Vintage Ale Millésimée (2013) – Barleywine at 10% ABV

Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Vintage Ale Millésimée (2013) Barleywine at 10% ABV

Pours a slightly hazy deep amber with a fat finger of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate lacing. Nose is toffee and caramel, candi sugar, dark fruit and spice, with a boozy edge. Taste starts burned sugar sweet and gives way to building bitter as the sweet fades. Heavy body, slick buttery texture, low carbonation, and a sticky bitter boozy finish.

Lots going on here – burned sugar, dark fruit, big booze… This isn’t a beer that does subtle. That’s not entirely a good thing, mind you, since that does apply to the bitter finish, which comes on strong and lingers, with some harshness. Could perhaps use some cellaring time to smooth the rough edges.

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Paulaner Brauerei (Schörghuber) Festbier (Superior) – Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6% ABV

Paulaner Brauerei (Schörghuber) Festbier (Superior) Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6% ABV

Pours a clear straw with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a half finger cap, heavy lacing. Nose is sweet, bready and caramel malts, light fruit, and a little Hallertau hop. Taste is medium sweet and mild bitter. Light body, medium to high sustained carbonation, and a dry finish.

It’s a pleasant-looking and light tasting beer, very German – though very much on the light side for a Märzen. As lagers go, fairly decent and drinkable.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Brouwerij Affligem / De Smedt (Heineken) Affligem Blond – Belgian Pale ale at 6.8% ABV

Brouwerij Affligem / De Smedt (Heineken) Affligem Blond Belgian Pale ale at 6.8% ABV

Pours a clear pale gold with an aggressively foamy three fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a one finger cap, moderately heavy lacing. Nose is grassy and herbal hops, bubblegum, spicy coriander. Taste is mild sweet, moderate bitter, moderate spice. Light body, medium to high sustained carbonation, and a dry finish.

Decent Belgian style abbey blond – good without being great. Not quite as good an example of the style as e.g. Leffe. It could definitely do with more aromatics, and there’s a little harshness in the finish.

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale – Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 5.2% ABV

Grand River Brewing Highballer Pumpkin Ale Spice/Herb/Vegetable at 5.2% ABV

Pours a clear (first glass) to slightly hazy (second glass) deep gold with a short white head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. Nose is somewhat earthy pumpkin, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove. Taste follows suit, with pale malt sweetness and a little more spice on the finish (allspice? vanilla?). Light to medium body, somewhat watery, initial prickly carbonation drops back quickly, and a mildly bitter finish.

Well, I’ve had worse pumpkin ale. At least this one actually smells and tastes like pumpkin – especially the second glass, when the lees came into play. Almost pumpkin pie flavoured. It’ll do.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Orkney Brewery Skull Splitter – Scotch Ale at 8.5% ABV

Orkney Brewery Skull Splitter Scotch Ale at 8.5% ABV

Pours a clear medium to deep amber with a short beige head diminishing to a thin cap, spotty lacing. Nose is toffee malt, dark dried fruit, and molasses – almost rum-like, with a slight hint of alcohol. Taste is medium sweet and mild bitter. Medium to full bodied, medium to low carbonation, and a sweet finish with mild alcohol warming.

Not a big fan of wee heavy/scotch ales, so it’s hard for me to be even-handed rating this one. There’s a near-complete absence of hop character, and I can easily see something similar to this having been bittered with gruit in the past – but at least it’s not peaty. Realistically, it integrates the high ABV pretty well, and the fruit/vinoous notes work fairly well. Pretty drinkable for a high ABV scotch ale.

My 111th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 105th by the 2013 Edition, and 114th overall.

7/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Oktoberfest – Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6% ABV

Microbrasserie Les Trois Mousquetaires Oktoberfest Oktoberfest/Märzen at 6% ABV

Pours a clear medium coppery amber with one fingers of loose beige head diminishing rapidly to a thin skim, no lacing. Nose is caramel malt, honey, herbal and floral hops. Taste is caramel and bready malt, with a little spice and a slight nuttiness. Light to medium body, somewhat slick, sustained prickly carbonation, and a mildly bitter (20 IBU) finish.

Decently drinkable but for it being quite sweet and malty – it’s almost a honey brown. (I don’t think I could handle more than one of these.) Not bad, certainly, and very appropriate for cooler weather – but I have to admit I’m continuing to consistently rank lagers toward the lower end of my personal preference. In this case, I think I’d be happier with a little more robustness and spice, and a little less caramel malt.

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Crabbie’s Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer – Ginger Beer at 4% ABV

Crabbie's Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer Ginger Beer at 4% ABV

Pours a clear straw with two fingers of dense white head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, spotty lacing. Nose is dominated by spicy ginger, with just a hint of orange. Taste is similar, with slightly more orange noticeable and a lingering spicy finish. Light body, moderate sustained carbonation, and a dry-ish finish.

I want to say this is a touch less sweet than the original Crabbie’s, but perhaps the orange is helping that perception. I also poured this one over ice as recommended on the bottle, so the watering down might also be tempering the sweetness. Doesn’t seem any less spicy, though, and the orange works nicely. As far as score goes, note that I’m not suggesting this is less desirable than the original, but rather I’m applying my new scoring criteria – the original should probably be scored similarly or slightly lower.

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

Beer Reviews