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Reviews

Yellow Belly Brewery Root Cellar (Parsnip Ale) – Pale Ale at 6% ABV

Yellow Belly Brewery Root Cellar (Parsnip Ale) Pale Ale at 6% ABV ($8.00 at Yellow Belly Brewery, pint on tap)

Pours cloudy pale gold with one finger of white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, no lacing. (3/5) Nose is pale malt, citrus and floral hops with slight spicy ginger. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet then moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, tart bitter finish. (4/5)

Interesting. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m getting any root vegetable tones from the beer, because they just tapped it today and I’m smelling a lot of yeast and associated aromas from the brew room. If there is any parsnip flavour, it’s mild and well-behaved, and mostly present in the aftertaste. There’s quite a bit of citrus from the Topaz, and a little bite from the ginger at the end. All things considered, it’s a thumbs-up. (16/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Oland Brewery (AB-InBev) Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV

Oland Brewery (AB-InBev) Alexander Keith’s Saphir Hop Ale American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV ($3.89 at NLC Sobey’s Mount Pearl, 473ml, no date)

Pours clear pale amber with one finger of off-white head diminishing quickly to a thick cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is corny malt, floral hops with faint citrus and grassiness. (6/10) Taste is medium sweet, mild bitter. (5/10) Thin watery body, moderate sustained carbonation, grainy corn finish. (2/5)

Well, it’s almost an IPA. And it only took them how long? The Hallertau hops give this a slightly European feel and taste, while the tea-like floral bitter is almost English enough to lend credibility to the IPA feel. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty in the way of adjunct flavours, but at least it’s not the first thing that hits you. A marginally better product from a soulless macro brewer trying to pretend it has some character. (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Greene King IPA – English Bitter at 3.6% ABV

Greene King IPA English Bitter at 3.6% ABV ($4.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 500ml, best before 1-Jun-2015)

Pours clear pale amber with two fingers of off-white head diminishing quickly to a thick cap, minimal lacing. (3/5) Nose is bready malt, grassy weedy hops. (5/10) Taste is medium bitter, mild sweet. (5/10) Thin watery body, moderate to low carbonation, semi-dry finish. (3/5)

This makes me feel better about Canada. For the longest time, I’ve been deeply annoyed by the naming of Alexander Keith’s “IPA” – which is categorically not an IPA in any sense – and felt it to be our unique national shame. No more! No, if the ancestral home of IPA can call this malty mild bitter an IPA, then our guilt is expiated. Even allowing for the less aggressive, maltier characteristic of the traditional English IPA as compared to the A/IPA, this is pretty weak sauce. And if this really is the way IPA was traditionally brewed, I guess you have to count me among the rebellious colonials. “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. Sinners are much more fun.” (10/20)

5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Clown Shoes Beer Crunkle Sam – American Barley Wine at 11% ABV

Clown Shoes Beer Crunkle Sam American Barley Wine at 11% ABV ($11.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, 4-Jun-2014)

Pours slightly hazy amber-brown with one fat finger of light beige head diminishing gradually to a thin skim, moderate patchy lacing. (4/5) Nose is brown sugar, dark boozy fruit, slight citrus. (8/10) Taste is moderate to strong sweet, strong bitter, some alcohol bite. (7/10) Medium to full body, smooth, slightly slick and oily, low carbonation, lingering bitter boozy finish. (4/5)

A decent enough winter warmer, but one that could perhaps use a little more time in the cellar to mellow. I don’t seem to have had the greatest luck with barley wines in general, but all things considered, this one is a solid performer. (Though, I am hoping the Old Guardian I have in my cellar might be the breakout for this style.) Certainly the 11% ABV makes me favourably inclined to it, and although it might contribute a little to the sweetness and the somewhat harsh edge, it also gives it a pleasant warming effect on the finish. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Clown Shoes Beer Chocolate Sombrero – American Double/Imperial Stout at 9% ABV

Clown Shoes Beer Chocolate Sombrero American Double/Imperial Stout at 9% ABV ($11.39 at Willow Park Wine & Spirits, 650ml, 28-Apr-2014)

Pours near-solid black with faint ruby brown around the margins, two fingers of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate to heavy lacing (4/5). Nose is dark roasty malts, chile, dark chocolate, faint vanilla and spices (8/10). Taste is moderate sweetness and moderate bitter, building chile spice (7/10). Medium to full body, slightly syrupy and oily, low carbonation, lingering bitter spicy finish (4/5).

Not bad. I’ve had other chile spice beers in the past that were sufficiently bad that I concluded I must have had a bad bottle, sink poured and didn’t rate. This one is actually quite palatable, with only a very mild hint of chile heat playing nicely with the chocolate malt – almost reminiscent of chile chocolate bars. The high ABV is integrated well and doesn’t contribute any harshness. Not sure I’d rush out and buy another, but I’m not unhappy I tried it. (16/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Great Lakes Brewery Canuck Pale Ale – American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV

Great Lakes Brewery Canuck Pale Ale American Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV (Price unknown, via trade, 473ml)

Pours clear medium gold with two fingers of fluffy white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, patchy lacing (4/5). Nose is bright citrus and mango, light resin and pine, with a light caramel and bready malt background (8/10). Taste is low sweetness and moderate to strong citrusy bitter, building pepperiness (8/10). Light to medium body, moderate to low sustained carbonation, lingering bitter finish (5/5).

Another light(er), easy-drinking APA/IPA. Lighter and without the slight harshness of, for example, My Bitter Wife – but also not a DIPA, and with the associated significantly lower ABV. Loads of juicy, citrusy hops make this a very enjoyable and well-behaved thirst quencher. Well worth the cognitive dissonance detailed on the back of the can – a “fiercely irresponsible stereotypical image” on the can, but a “distinctly American style” of beer inside it. I’ll deal with my national identity crisis while I enjoy the beer. Sorry. (17/20)

8.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Bellwoods Brewery Roman Candle – American IPA at 6.8% ABV

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

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Hop City Brewing Co. 8th Sin – Schwarzbier at 5.0% ABV

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

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Orkney Brewery Dragonhead – English Stout at 4.0% ABV

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

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Miscellaneous

Revision 12 of the One-Handed Bottle Opener

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.

#ryansbooze   #3dprinting