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New Belgium Brewing Company Lips of Faith – Wild² Dubbel – Abbey Dubbel at 8% ABV

New Belgium Brewing Company Lips of Faith – Wild² Dubbel Abbey Dubbel at 8% ABV ($8.41 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of beige head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is funky hay and brett, caramel malt, dark fruit, cinnamon. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild tart. (7/10) Medium slightly thin body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Smells great and tastes OK – but the taste is actually a bit of a disappointment, after the smell. It smells a bit like an oude bruin, with some vinegar tartness and wild yeast aroma, but then the taste falls a bit short and the body comes across a little thin. The black pepper spiciness on the finish is nice, though, so that’s good. All things considered, it’s pretty darned good – but it feels like it could’ve been so much more. (15/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Valar Morghulis – Abbey Dubbel at 8% ABV

Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Valar Morghulis Abbey Dubbel at 8% ABV ($13.90 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 750 ml, bottle date 09/08/14 best before 09/2017)

Pours clear deep amber with one finger of beige head, great retention, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is boozy dark fruits, burned sugar and caramel, apples and pears. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild bitter finish. (4/5)

Probably the best of the GoT branded beers so far – probably because an abbey dubbel is more in keeping with Ommegang’s normal fare than some of the other ones have been. Full flavour supported by a full body and a decently weighty ABV that doesn’t intrude, but warms while providing the appropriate gravitas. There was a very faint metallic tang at the outset, but that seems to have disappeared as the beer warmed up from its initial cellar temperature of about 5-6ºC (40ºF) to a more appropriate serving temperature of above 10ºC (50ºF). Can’t say I’d go seeking one out or anything, but it’s a solid Belgian-style dubbel. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste Bellegems Bruin – Sour Red/Brown at 5.5% ABV

Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste Bellegems Bruin Sour Red/Brown at 5.5% ABV ($10.52 at Specs Main Branch, 750 ml, no bottle date or best before)

Pours clear brown with one finger of beige head diminishing gradually to a thin cap, spotty lacing. (3/5) Nose is muted, dark fruits, vinegar, cherry, oak. (7/10) Taste is mild to moderate sweet, mild to moderate tart. (6/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild astringent finish. (4/5)

Pleasant mildly fruity and lightly sour oude bruin. Some vinous and woody notes add some depth and complexity, but not a whole lot. A little more intensity would be nice, but it’s pleasant as it is. (15/20)

7/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Stone Brewing Company Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity – Belgian Ale at 7.4% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Stone Stochasticity Project Hibiscusicity Belgian Ale at 7.4% ABV ($9.46 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, bottle date 5-Sep-2014)

Pours clear red-tinged medium amber with one finger of off-white head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, moderate lacing. (4/5) Nose is muted, floral, metallic, citrus, biscuity malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter, mild tart. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mild astringent finish. (3/5)

Not all that interesting. Starts off smelling sort of like a kriek, except with a distinctly metallic tang that isn’t entirely appropriate. The taste suddenly falls flat, though, and never really delivers on the fruit flavours. Another Stochasticity that doesn’t really succeed in my book. (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Estivale – Belgian Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV

Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles La Rulles Estivale Belgian Pale Ale at 5.2% ABV ($10.50 at Sherbrooke Liquor, 750ml, best before 21-Sep-2015)

Pours slightly hazy pale gold with three fingers of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is floral and herbal, dusty funk, mild citrus and stone fruit. (8/10) Taste is mild sweet, mild bitter, very mild tart. (8/10) Light body, moderate carbonation, dry crisp finish. (4/5)

I like this a lot – a very restrained BPA with elements of farmhouse saison, just enough sweetness to balance the mild floral and herbal hops, and a hint of dusty funk to make things interesting. A nice summery beer on a cold and windy winter’s day. I could drink a lot of this – too bad I’ve only got the one bottle. (But good thing it’s a big one!) (16/20)

My 139th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 132nd from the 2013 Edition, and 147th combining both editions.

8/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Jester King Brewery Das Wunderkind! – Blended Saison at 4.5% ABV

Jester King Brewery Das Wunderkind! Blended Saison at 4.5% ABV ($15.78 at Specs Main Branch, 750 ml, batch date August 5, 2014)

Pours hazy straw with one finger of rocky white head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is complex – wet hay and barnyard funk, woody oak, apples and pears, grapes, stone fruit, vinegar. (7/10) Taste is mild sweet, mild bitter, mild tart. (6/10) Light to medium body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. (3/5)

Well, that’s different! Dunno how “saison” it is, but there’s loads of wild funk flavour there, along with some mild tartness and even a slight saltiness. Not to mention, oaky white wine and whiskey flavours. Bit of a kitchen sink, really, and takes some getting used to, but ultimately interesting and not at all unpleasant. A tad pricey for an interesting experiment, mind you… (12/20)

6.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Smuttynose Brewing Company Cluster’s Last Stand – American IPA at 8.8% ABV

Smuttynose Brewing Company Cluster’s Last Stand American IPA at 8.8% ABV ($9.46 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 5-Mar-2015)

Pours hazy pale amber with one finger of loose off-white head, good retention and lacing. (4/5) Nose is sweet citrus, mild pine, biscuity caramel malt, faint tropical fruit. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, building bitter finish. (3/5)

A little muddled. Not bad, but the malt seems a bit more pronounced than it should be, and the hops could be sharper. Nothing particularly thrilling, but certainly serviceable. (12/20)

6/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Anchor Brewing Company Anchor IPA – India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.5% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor IPA India Pale Ale (IPA) at 6.5% ABV ($3.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 355 ml, best before 20-Nov-2016)

Pours clear pale to medium amber with a fat finger of loose ivory head, excellent retention and lacing. (5/5) Nose is pithy citrus, mild pine, light caramel malt. (7/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate bitter, mild peppery spice. (7/10) Medium body and slightly slick texture, moderate carbonation, building bitter and lingering finish. (4/5)

Y’know, I went into this not expecting to like it. I mean, really – an IPA with a two-year shelf life? Pull the other one, right? Well, I dunno what it’ll be like after two years, but after a couple of months (assuming the best before to be “only” two years after bottling) it’s pretty decent. It’s initially somewhat malty if you’re expecting an American IPA, but if you give your head a shake and recall that this is brewed with two-row barley malt, the traditional English character becomes apparent. And on the finish, there’s a nice lingering and building bitterness with just a hint of peppery spice. This might well be the best IPA ever put on NLC shelves. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam – California Common at 4.8% ABV

Anchor Brewing Company Anchor Steam California Common at 4.8% ABV ($3.00 at Dominion Stavanger, 355ml, best before 20-Oct-2016)

Pours hazy pale amber with one finger of creamy ivory head diminishing gradually to a thick cap, spotty lacing. (4/5) Nose is caramel malt, grassy and herbal. (6/10) Taste is moderate sweet, mild bitter. (6/10) Medium body, moderate carbonation, off-dry mildly bitter finish. (4/5)

Not bad for a malty beer. Decently well-balanced malt sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm and finishes reasonably dry and bitter. Pretty sessionable, I’d say. (12/20)

My 138th from the 2010 Edition of 1001 Beers, 131st from the 2013 Edition, and 146th combining both editions.

6.5/10 #1001beers #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com

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Stone Brewing Company Lukcy Basartd – American Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV

Stone Brewing Company Lukcy Basartd American Strong Ale at 8.5% ABV ($9.46 at Specs Main Branch, 650 ml, best before 1-Jan-2015)

Pours clear medium amber with one finger of loose ivory head, excellent retention and  lacing. (5/5) Nose is caramel malt, pine (spruce?) resin, woody oak, citrus. (8/10) Taste is moderate sweet, moderate to strong bitter. (7/10) Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, lingering and building bitter boozy finish. (4/5)

There’s a lot going on in this complicated beast, and it’s probably feeling the effects of being a little past its best before, but still quite drinkable. Big presence, emphasized by an ABV that acts at least as big – and maybe a bit bigger – than it actually is. (17/20)

8/10 #ryansbooze ryansbooze.com