Fernie Brewing Company Black Mammoth Winter Ale – Winter Warmer at 8% ABV | 25 IBU

Fernie Brewing Company Black Mammoth Winter Ale Winter Warmer at 8% ABV | 25 IBU (C$8.29 at Quarry Park Calgary Co-Op, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before, acquired 13-Dec-2016, reviewed 20-Dec-2016)

Appearance: hazy deep brown with amber margins, one finger of fluffy beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, patchy lacing. (4/5) Aroma: chocolate malt, cocoa, orange peel, oak. (7/10) Taste: moderate-high sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium-full body, soft carbonation, off-dry finish. (3/5)

OK, let’s do this one by the numbers: Black? Well… sorta. Mammoth? Well… maybe. Winter? Yes! Yes! Nailed it! This is, in fact, the first day of winter! Ale? Another solid one! Batting at least .500! Ok, fine, sarcasm aside, this might not be quite the beast it promises – truth be told, it’s pretty much a standard Porter in terms of flavour profile, except for the ABV – but it’s fairly respectable. Or at least, it would be, with some more bitterness backing up the malt bill. In my humble opinion, something this dark (-ish) and heavy (-ish) can pull off a decent IBU value – particularly if it wants to brag about being “mammoth”. And another damn thing, while I’m at it: pick a style. If y’all had called this a Porter (like I think it is), or even made the argument it’s an Imperial Porter, I’d probably have been a bit more enthusiastic. I hate classifying things as Winter Warmers, because it’s a bullshit style encompassing a wide range of ABV’s, malt bills, and spice profiles. Might as well call it an American Strong Ale, for all the help that provides. Do I like it? Yeah, sorta. Am I happy about that? No, not particularly. A bit more direction would help this immensely. I’ll grudgingly call this a seven, but I’m not happy about it. (14/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze