Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tripel Exultation (Eel River)

Tripel Exultation = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.59 96th percentile
Beer Advocate 85%

Order up! Today's special is vinous, figs and caramel in a glass. It comes with a side order of slick and warming sherry notes but not too burning. You can upgrade to a thin sherry with prunes, herbal and floral hops. For Dessert: extra alcohol vapours are on the house. A little thin for a big ABV.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9.7%
Value  +1 barely
Appearance +1 full label and organic!

Old Boardhead Barley Wine (Full Sail)

Old Boardhead = 8/10
Ratebeer 3.8 99th  percentile
Beer Advocate 87%

This glass emitted a fear inducing odour of alcohol soaked cherries, earth and wood. These scents can either be from a fresh grave or a barley wine; luckily it was the latter. Thin alcoholic malts gave more warmth than expected. The real shock came from copious amounts of caramel, brandy, minerals and earthly, resinous hops. Flavours still resonated long after the glass was empty.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1
Appearance 0

Other barley wine reviews
GreenFlash Barley Wine
Old Bad Cat (Fat Cat)
Battle of the Victoria Barley Wines 2010

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken Ale

There are some beers that are soooo hyped up that you wonder if they are any good. Fat Tire and Dead Guy come to mind.Yes, this beer is all that....

Sierra Nevada Fritz and Ken = 10/10

Ratebeer 3.95 100th  percentile
Beer Advocate 93%

This beer pours as black as my first wife's lawyers heart! Even smells like him too: bittersweet chocolate, pungent vanilla, some char but not a lot of wood. At first, the full mouthfeel gives a little burn but soon it all turns velvety, thick and creamy. The chocolate malts hide a hint of vanilla and espresso. I shouldn't forget to mention the nail polish and juicy bits. Long was the memories of bitter chocolate and vanilla milkshakes. WOW

Taste +5
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1

There is no comparison

Devil's Dream IPA (Hoyne)

I have said it before and I will say it again: brewing an IPA in the PNW is like walking down the street naked. It had better be good and big, because everyone in judging your junk. How does Hoyne measure up?

Devil's Dream IPA (Hoyne) = 6/10

This is a good IPA - not stellar - but pretty good. It has all the things the hopheads want. A bountiful waft of floral, tangerine and grassy hops backed up with just enough bread and sweet grains to be fair. You can't go wrong with a medium mouthful of peaches, mild key limes and thinly sliced whole wheat bread. The slick and slightly astringent ending just seems a tad empty. I have tried many an IPA; this one falls right in the middle. Worth a repeat buy.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content 0 6%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice artwork with fir description of beer)

Other IPA Reviews
Paddywack IPA
Propeller IPA
90min IPA (Dogfish Head)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Stone Smoked Porter

No preamble here; gotta get through these notebooks.

Stone Smoked Porter = 8/10

Ratebeer 3.8/5 99th percentile
Beer Advocate 91%

Even the Boy Scouts could not make a campfire that smells this good. Voluminous amounts of ash, campfire, bittersweet chocolate, coffee and Girl Guide aromas are released by the bottle opener. Every sip is like a burnt s'more: bacon, rich chocolate, coffee, vanilla and cocoa powder. The more you drink, the more you taste. This stuff never ends; the slick, powdery finish talks of a hot chocolate chaser. STELLAR BEER.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content 0 5.9%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (it is always fun to read the silkscreened story on the back)

Other Porter Reviews
Black Boss Porter
Black Death Porter (Russell)
Double Mocha Porter (Rogue)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hoyner Pilsner (Hoyne)

I hate doing reviews like this. They equate me to some basement dwelling beer hater. Well.. I am in a basement but I do not hate this beer. However, I have had a few brews and a full dose of Battlefield Field 3 video game adrenaline rush: here it goes.
This beer lacks focus. It has too much flavour to be an American Pilsner. It was too sweet and unattenuated to be a German Pils. It is more in the Bohemian range. Perhaps it is just my West Coast palate crying out for more hops. There is a Victory Prima Pils in my fridge calling my name; perhaps the greatest beer I have ever tasted. My soul was crying for a local Prima Pils that could be obtained by the growler full. Forevermore contentment would fill my heart- and stomach. However I am being unfair; this is a tasty beer.

Hoyner Pilsner (Hoyne) = 4/10

This beer was sampled twice; in growler and bottle. Did I mention that I got growler #8? The aroma came across as faint with straw with some honey and a little lettuce (not DMS). Chewiness is not something I look for in a Pils, but the Hoyner had some. Each sip was a little on the honey/sweet side. There was enough honey, lettuce, spices and herbal goodness to keep the palate active. Normally Pils end like a door slam; this one lingered with a honey and straw slickness. Not unpleasant - just unexpected. People will like this beer, perhaps one of the best Pilsner styles produced in BC. Beer geeks might say: dry it out, add more late edition spicy hops and then call me.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0
Value +1 (it is OK)
Appearance 0

Other Pilsner style reviews
Stanly Park Pilsner (chuck this beer at the wind mill)
Czech Mate (Paddock Wood)
Pilsner Urquell

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mass Extinction (Phillips)

This is an ice barley wine. I have never heard of this style of beer. There are ice bocks (ie. eisbocks) and yours truly once brewed an eisdunkle. Everyone's favourite Hermannator is an eisbock. To brew an eis-anything you take the finished beer, freeze it and use the unfrozen liquid. The fancy term is called freeze distillation. When you freeze the beer, only the water forms into ice. The remaining liquid is higher in alcohol - and usually - higher in flavour.
I have a few reservations about this beer. The first is that it is only 12%ABV. A barley wine runs about 10-12 ABV% already. Old Cellar Dweller is 12% ABV and Phillips Trainwreck is 10% ABV. If it was freeze distilled three times - as the label claims - where is the big jump in ABV? Everyone's favourite gimmicky brewers - BrewDog -have done frozen beers before. The Tactical Nuclear Penguin was frozen twice? and it hit 32% ABV. Sink the Bismark was frozen four times and it hit 41%ABV. So why did a thrice frozen beer increase so little in ABV?
The second reservation is a minor one. It comes in a twist off bottle? Not very suitable for aging.

Mass Extinction (Phillips) = 3/10

Admittedly I started drinking this beer a little too cold. It smelled faint of jet fuel, dark fruit and rum. The sip started off with an alcohol and bitter hop burn. This then morphed into an overtly sweet mix of caramel, fruit rum pot and Nin Jiom cough syrup. It reminded me of a watered down Swedish bitters. Yes, I used a wee dram of Swedish bitter for comparison. At the end of the sip you were left with a long burning of alcohol, rum sweetness and herbal hop bitterness. It was very hard to discern any distinguishable flavours. The flavours changed once the beer warmed up and vented off some of the alcohol vapours. More tastes of caramel, citrus, herbs and molasses could be noticed. Would I recommend this beer to a casual-beer drinking friend - no. I might suggest it to the beer geek who has tried everything

Taste +0
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 12%
Value 0
Appearance +1 (fun label and good description of the beer)

Other frozen beer reviews

Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock (Dang this beer is good)
Yankee Jim Ice Bock (I hope Yankee Jim gets hit by a bus)
Hermannator (A local and Canadian favourite)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Down Easy Pale Ale (Hoyne)

This is a style of beer that polarizes people. You either drink it all the time or never touch the stuff. I fall into the later group, which is a fault I'll admit to. To me most pale ales are ..well... pale. Perhaps this is a fault of many beer geeks. When I stand in front of a beer cooler deciding how to spend my limited imbibing funds, the pale ale never enters my mind. Go for the imperial stout, or grab a saison; these are the thoughts I get. However there is a time and a place for a beer that is not a palate challenge. Sometime you need a casual refreshing brew; this is where the Down Easy comes into the picture. This beer does not shock and awe, but it is enjoyable.

Down Easy Pale Ale (Hoyne) = 5/10

The nose is pretty standard: faint floral, toast and mild citrus. It's light, creamy mouthfeel carries ample light caramel and bready/biscuity malts. These are accompanied by a balanced accompaniment of  citrus, herbal and mild flowery hops. The balance was nice; maybe a little hop unfocused. Down Easy's ending was a tad sticky with a quick ending floral bitterness. It would have been nice to have a good hop snap at the end. It is what it is; an easily enjoyable beer.

Taste +2
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice label art with some description of taste of beer)

Other pale ale reviews
Drifter Pale Ale (Widmer)
Mirror Pond Pale Ale
Northumberland Pale Ale

Monday, January 16, 2012

Belgian Black (Lighthouse)

This will be a tough week for me; so many new beers to try. The line up this week is the Belgian Black by Lighthouse, the first two beers from Hoyne, and a frozen barley wine from Phillips. I choose the Lighthouse first.

Belgian Black (Lighthouse) = 9/10

Most beer geeks in Victoria will be familiar with the nose; it smells like a ramped up Keepers. There is nothing wrong with this. I love Keepers stout. The air just oozes aromas of berries and roasted bitter chocolate. Each sip is just as your would expect: low carbonation, full mouthfeel, thick, chewy and warming. Heaps and heaps of flavours emerge. Some are expected; namely the bittersweet dark chocolate, coffee, berries and dark fruit. Not expected was the faint spiciness (allspice) and rum cake. The spiciness is most likely due to the Belgian Ardennes yeast strain used. The astringency from the bittersweet carried a long linger of warming alcohol and spice. Very tasty and well worth trying, maybe more than once.

Taste +4
Aftertaste +2
Alcohol Content +1 9%
Value +1
Appearance +1 Get bottle and art by Michelle Landry

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Gose (Upright)

This is one of those old, resurrected style of beers. Similar to the alt and the witbier. There is a very good write up about this style in Imbibe magazine. It is an unfiltered, slightly sour wheat beer that has added spices, one of them is salt.

Gose (Upright) =7/10
Ratebeer  3.5 93rd percentile
Beer Advocate 90/100

There is a lot going on in this little glass. The yeasty nose is apparent along with complimentary tart lemon and vague spiciness. Big carbonation is the name of the game here. As you might expect, there is ample tartness with lemons, other citrus, wheat, spices and a mouthpuckering sourness. I think the salt comes across in the cider-like dry finish that leaves hints of sour grapefruit. Well done!

Taste +_4
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content 0 5.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1

There is no beer to compare to this one!

Das Razz (Spinnakers)

Sticking with the theme of the three fruits, here is the local raspberry addition to their strong abbey style ale.

Das Razz (Spinnakers) = 5/10
Ratebeer 3.29 64th percentile
Beer Advocate

A sweet, syrupy raspberry odour jumps from the glass. The cider-like, raspberry sweetness packs a fair bit of astringency and tartness. This will certainly appeal to cider drinkers. The cooling at the end carries the berry flavours away quickly. I thought it was a little sweet, but the Mrs. quite liked it.

Taste +2
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1 8.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Other 'fruity' reviews
Currant Noir
Fruli Strawberry
Cherish Kriek Lambic

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sticke Alt (Les Trois Mousquetaires)

"Sticke" means secret in some circles. I guess every beer could be called "sticke', since most brewers do not post their recipes. Except for Stone Brewing; every year they post the complete recipes for their EPIC ales. It could also refer to a slightly stronger alt that is brewed in limited release.

Sticke Alt (Les Trois Mousquetaires) = 7/10

Ratebeer 3.53 95th percentile
Beer Advocate 87 (Hey no letter grades anymore)

The secret is out, this beer is pretty good. The roasted, fruity nose is not unexpected from this dark brown pour. Each sticky sip provided ample toffee, roasted coffee beans and resinous hops. Even the herbal hops and slight green apple - not tart-  flavours did not seem out of place.

Taste +3
Aftertaste 2
Alcohol Content 0 6%
Value +1
Appearance +1

Uerige Doppel-Sticke

Lowering the risk of rectal cancer among habitual beer drinkers

If this isn't a pain the ass, I don't know what is. Apparently regular beer consumption is a risk factor for colorectal cancer. Luckily there is a solution; thanks to researchers at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Melbourne. Information was extracted from the population-based Melbourne Colorectal Cancer Study. The data suggests that there is a slightly increased risk of developing colorectal cancer in people who regularly drink beer. Crap! Luckily people that consumed a diet higher in certain vitamins (vitamin E, B6, B12, C, folate, selenium and lycopene) did not share this same increased risk. So this lead the researchers to conclude that increased intake of these vitamins is a simple way to counteract this risk. Another good reason to take a multivitamin in the morning. Also, don't forget to eat those cheap peanuts on the table; they are a rich source of selenium and folate. Ironically Eri Murakami, a gravure model for Sapporo, died of colon cancer in 2003.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Currant Noir (Spinnakers)

Can beer bloggers make resolutions? Sure we can; this year I will make three resolutions.

First: Try each new release from Victoria breweries. This will be a tough one because Hoyne will have all new brews. VIB, Moon Under Water and Lighthouse have done many releases last year.

Second: Get the Extraordinary Badge on Untappd. That means you have sampled 1000 unique beers. I'm at 584 already.

Third: I know I have said this before; try and get all my 33Beer notebooks reviewed. This one is a pipe dream.

Currant Noir (Spinnakers) = 7/10
Ratebeer 3.21/5 59th percentile
Beer Advocate (5 reviews)

The nose is mostly tart black currants with a little yeast thrown in. At the start a pronounced black currant flavour coats every dental filling with a pleasant tart/sourness. The slight carbonation carried an afterthought of tastes: apricots, light pit fruits and raisins. Sour currants lingered for a while with it's good friend alcohol warmth. This is not the most unique beer in the world, but the added fruit flavours will appear to a much larger crowd. People who are not usually beer people will enjoy this beverage. The other flavours in the limited release fruit ménage à trois are raspberry and cherries.

Taste +3
Aftertaste +1
Alcohol Content +1 8.2%
Value +1
Appearance +1 (nice label art with a good description of beer and local ingredients)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baltic Porter (Phillips/Garrison)

I approach this beer with a little trepidation. The point of the hesitation is the label; it says "Strong Ale". Generally Baltic porters use lager yeasts. However ale yeasts can be used if cold fermented. The side description mentions a long journey across the North Sea with a higher alcohol content. Baltic porters did not travel across the sea. It was actually Russian imperial stouts and English robust porters that made the journey across the North and subsequent Baltic sea to reach the Baltic states (particularly Estonia and Latvia). These ale were destined for the powerful Russian Empire. It was these transient brews that influenced the local brewers to create the aforementioned strong, darker lagers. The excitement came from my tasting of Garrisons Baltic Porter, it was very true to the style.

Baltic Porter (Phillips/Garrison) = 2/10

Ratebeer 3.2/5 (2 ratings)
Beer Advocate nope

Not getting any sweetness in the nose, lots of roast though and perhaps a little ash. The roasted, astringent harshness at the start remined me of burnt sourdough toast. I kept waiting for the thick sweetness - traditionally found in Baltic porters - to arrive. It never did. There was enough roasted, licorice and faint berry flavours to keep things interesting. Hey berry flavours..don't they come from ale yeasts? There could also be a hint of coffee if you stretched it. The aftertaste is a little pasty, burnt with a noticeable alcohol warmth. If you renamed this a robust porter, cut back the thin alcohol bit, it would be a winner.

Taste +2
Aftertaste 0
Alcohol Content +1 8%
Value 0
Appearance -1 (several misleading descriptions of label)

Baltic Porter Reviews
Black Boss Porter
Baltika Porter
Gonzo Imperial Porter