Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mill Street Barley Wine (2013) (Canada - Ontario - Toronto)

Mill Street Barley Wine 2013 (Canada - Ontario - Toronto) 11.5%

A golden amber colour, very similar to a rich honey. Alcohol, herbal hops, caramelized malty sweetness with some clover, nectar and red fruit tones in the aroma, that I find a little reminiscent of some meads I have had, along with biscuit and honey.

A surprising chocolate flavour greeted me at first followed closely by the honeyed, sweet, caramelized roasted malt flavours. There are some red fruit (black cherry and red pear) esters and there is something about the mix of herbal hops touches, alcohol, clover and nectar that makes this barley wine taste 'meadow infused'. It is a very natural and somewhat medieval tasting ale. Chocolate never really came back as strongly as on the first sip but I taste it in there as part of the malty backing of this formidable barley wine. Mill Street's is a very nice American barley wine with a bit of a hops slant with the herbal flavour colouring things.

A few words about the ceramic bottle, the wax seal is a nice touch and more than just decoration if you want to age this beer for a few years. Also the little metal handle that is attached to the swing-top cap is a nice touch. This would make good gift for the beer geek on your Christmas list (is it too early to be giving out Christmas gift suggestions?).

Sunday, November 24, 2013

India Pale Ale - Sleeman Breweries [Sapporo Brewery] (Canada)

India Pale Ale - Sleeman Breweries [Sapporo Brewery] (Canada) 5.3%

Aroma of honey and bread, the faintest bit of dry european hops somewhat toasty.

Malty with some rye bread flavour actually, subtle fruit flavours with a hint of roast like very light chocolate. Sleeman IPA has a bitter finish but not any overly strong hop characteristics though there is some resin and slightly herbal flavours.

This is definitely much more of an English IPA than an American IPA. Don't expect a hopbomb, that's the wrong side of the Pond, but this is a quite good English IPA.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hennepin - Brewery Ommegang (USA - New York - Cooperstown)

Hennepin - Brewery Ommegang (USA - New York - Cooperstown) 7.7%

A big foamy white head with a gold and cloudy body. A lovely and intriguing aroma mix. It taste firstly of citrus, light herbal and honey tones with some nectar. Most of these (though not really the citrus) would fit in a Belgian Golden Ale but there is also an earthy character with spiced aspect (I gather that is the ginger) and a hint of hops. This second grouping of aromas makes it quite clear that this is a Saison not a Belgian Golden Ale.

Hennepin has a strong yeast character as well: herbal and there is a flavour that is close but not quite banana along with some drying hops touches. It is quite bitter actually, nearly tart at times too, and very refreshing as a result. It's also quite carbonated and that would be, I suppose, the "champagne-like effervescence" from the label and it is an apt comparison. The malty body comes out in the finish, lightly roasty, toasty and with biscuit touches. It has a somewhat bitter aftertaste with traces of the nectar, herbal, hops mix that makes me like Hennepin so much.

This would definitely be a good aperitif beer and I think Hennepin would also go well with pasta dishes, barbecue and stir-fry.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Obsidian Imperial Porter Rum Barrel - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville)

Obsidian Imperial Porter Rum Barrel - Cameron's Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 9.2%

This barrel aged brewed pours as dark as its namesake with a head of fine, tan (nearly brown) bubbles. The aroma is molasses, caramel, rum barrel tones, alcohol and burnt sugar. It tastes of chocolate flavours (both dark and milk chocolate) oak, dark dried fruit (like prunes and raisins) leather, black coffee, smoke, a bit of nearly maple as well as molasses tones and a somewhat spicy booziness that reveal the rum influence. Overall, Obsidian tastes like a sweet rum and chocolate fruit cake.

It may be too late to buy this beer but if my description sounds appealing keep an eye out for the next addition to Cameron's Oak Aged Series.

Edit (November 21st, 2013): I have been informed by Cameron's Brewing that Obsidian is still available at the brewery and at the LCBO.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Union Mills Porter - Waterloo Brewing - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener)

Union Mills Porter - Waterloo Brewing - Brick Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Kitchener) 7.0%

A very dark but not quite opaque chestnut colour in a glass with a head of off-white foam. Coffee, milk chocolate, leather aroma, a little earthy.

Chocolate and some dark fruit (prunes and the like) with an intermingling of a bit of booze and some hops. There is a certain hearty character to this formidable porter. Union Mills Porter is a really nice strong porter, a nicely chosen winter seasonal.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel (Germany) 5.3%

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel (Germany) 5.3%

This wheat ale pours a cloudy brown colour in a glass with an impressive head of resilient off-white foam.

It has a stronger yeast aroma than I was expecting, probably because I gave it a gentle roll to agitate the yeast before I opened the bottle: you don't want all that flavour just staying on the bottom of the bottle. Floral, nectar and blossom aromas as well as banana and cloves, just like a typical hefeweissen except there is dark malt background of lightly earthy, roasted malt with touches of chocolate.

Banana and cloves lead the slightly tart flavour when drinking through about three quarters of an inch of head. These flavours are followed by roasty and caramelized malt flavours that remind me of barley candy with some milk chocolate tones. It is this second group of flavours, along with mild red fruit tones, that come more to the forefront once the foam mostly subsides. Of course the yeast tones remain and feature strongly in the finish.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale (USA - Oregon - Newport) 6.0%

Chatoe Rogue Pumpkin Patch Ale (USA - Oregon - Newport) 6.0%

A slightly cloudy, deep copper colour like a lucky (though not shiny) penny. Cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, the classic aroma of pumpkin pie, along with touches of the earthy aroma of the gourd itself.

The flavour is more or less identical to my description of the aroma though there is a bit of a roasty and sweet malt flavour which complements the spices nicely. There is some sediment at the bottom and, if it finds its way into your glass, it adds not just some yeast flavours (banana and an intensification of the cloves) but also suggestions of the orange peel Rogue used so it's worth adding.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Doppelbock - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard)

Doppelbock - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 8.6%

A reddish chestnut colour in a glass with a big head of frothy, resilient, off-white foam.

A malty, sticky, caramelized aroma with red fruit, a sugary molasses, and some alcohol tones tones a bit like fruitcake. A really delicious fruitcake.

Sweet with some flavour tones that remind me a bit of sherry but with much more depth and breadth than I have ever taste in a sherry. Some red fruit tones, as in the aroma, tastes of a light molasses, a hint of wood (likely from the hops) and plenty of dried fruit like raisin, dates or prunes but with a lighter taste to them.

Les Trois Mousquetaires' Doppelbock has a surprisingly light mouthfeel which keeps this beer very enjoyable and without allowing the sweetness to become cloying even at warmer temperatures (the suggested serving temperature is between 10 and 14 Celsius). There is a little sediment at the bottom of the bottle and it tends to make the beer a bit more yeasty and just the slightest bit sour so I would leave the last centimeter of beer in the bottom of the bottle to avoid that.