Friday, May 30, 2014

Duvel (Belgium)

Duvel (Belgium) 8.5%

Gold and slightly cloudy (don't store these bottles on their side, the only downside of the lovely gift pack I received for Christmas). A resilient and marenge-like head of white foam that forms little foamy peaks and lovely Belgian lace as it recedes.

Banana, herbal and sweet, nectary aroma. Herbal and sweet nectary (maybe even honeyed) taste, banana as well, with a slightly bitter and quite herbal aftertaste. Nothing in the taste that wasn't in the aroma. The alcohol is well concealed and the flavour is extremely well balanced in all aspects.

I was a bit worried I would get a larger than optimal amount of sediment but it was better than fine, despite my concern with the Duvel being stored on its side.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sargon - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 6.0%

Sargon - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 6.0%

Cloudy gold in a glass with a huge head of highly resilient off-white foam. Strongly ginger aroma with orange with some sugar cookie touches and, celery?

Very tangy, almost sour flavour at first that fades to very bitter. A very peppery ginger flavour with lots of citrus. Some of the peppery flavour in the finish and aftertaste is very reminiscent of spiced rum. Obviously this should be attributed to the aging in rum barrels.

This is a very summery beer, what with all the ginger and citrus. At first I found the flavour was so strong at times that it is almost harsh, however, it was much improved after I put it back in the fridge. Chilling it and letting the sediment settle a bit (it was resealed but inevitably some carbonation was released too) really improved the beer: the flavours were more mellow and Sargon became an ideal strong summer beer. Also more of the malt flavours come out. Actually Sargon ends up tasting quite a bit like crusty toast with orange and ginger marmalade but with a bit of a bitter hops bite, some floral yeast flavours and a spiced rum finish.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Tusker (Kenya - Nairobi) 4.2%

Tusker (Kenya - Nairobi) 4.2%

Dry hops, lightly malty, just the barest hint of creamed corn (DMS) and a touch of skunkiness. In other words, the classic international lager aroma.

Light malty flavour, very crisp. I find some North American lagers (Budweiser and Canadian) sometimes leave a scummy feeling on my tongue but Tusker is very refreshing and really makes me want to reach for a second. Also the malt body is quite light but is also really quite satisfying for a light lager. This is a plus-lager.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Siduri - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill)

Siduri - Beau's All-Natural Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Vankleek Hill) 10.2%

A nectary and yeasty aroma with red berry hints just out of the neck of bottle before pouring it. It pours a cloudy (quite cloudy) gold in a glass with large, resilient, fluffy head of foam. The aroma is, obviously, much stronger now herbal, flower blossoms, touches of mint, and clover with a tartness in the background that reminds me of raspberries.

Wow. There is a lot going on in the flavour profile of this beer. It is peppery and tart yet sweet with a herbal yeast flavour. The pepper combines with the alcohol to serve as a mouth-tingling reminder that this is a strong beer at 10.2%. This same peppery flavour makes up the spicy aftertaste and it's very nice with food.

The overall flavour is in a way supported with wood tones that are mixed with a flavour that is very much red ice wine and complement the flavour nicely without being all you can taste and without fading into the background behind all the other delightful flavours. I'm not sure that I would have characterized the as red ice wine right away but knowing that this fabulous saison aged in red ice wine barrels makes it obvious where this delectable undercurrent originates.

This beer is quite expensive at nearly ten dollars a bottle but this price seems very reasonable when you consider the barrel aging, the presentation, the ingredients used and how delicious it is. I strongly suggest giving it a try.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rye Bock - Cameron's Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Oakville)

Rye Bock - Cameron's Brewing Company (Canada - Ontario - Oakville) 6.3%

It pours a slightly deep (slightly orange) gold in a glass with a finger of off-white foam. The aroma contains a touch of dry euro hops (fuggles?) that give it a fresh greenness and just a hint of the fruitiness rye malt brings as well as some biscuit tones.

The flavour is strongly characterised by rye malt: grain but with a red fruity berry touch, crusty bread, toast, and just a bit more smoky than barley. Cameron's Rye Bock has a tangy bitter finish and a very appetizing aftertaste of rye flavours, some lingering bitterness and umami. This Maibock variant has a bit more hops than you'd expect from a sweeter or darker winter Bock but the hop bitterness is really quite perfect for the style. Specifically the hops character stops short of being resiny: the flavour remains dry and earthy, as well as a mix of herbal and grassy. I think the flavour is perfect for a Maibock, or springtime Bock, and I like this beer quite a bit.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Porter Baltique - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 10.0%

Porter Baltique - Les Trois Mousquetaires (Canada - Quebec - Brossard) 10.0%

This Baltic Porter pours an opaque, and bordering on black, brown in a glass with tan head that faded fairly quickly and features an aroma of prunes, figs, leather, raisins, black currants, espresso and dark chocolate.

The flavour is, well, exquisite. The dried dark fruit flavours continue from the aroma along with quite a lot of sweetness. There is an earthy, leather tone to the flavour as well as just a hint of the high alcohol content. It is definitely on the sweeter side of what I would expect from a Baltic Porter, less bitterness and the malt flavours aren't as pronounced or nuanced as I have had because they sort of get glossed over by the sweetness. Also Garrison and Rock Bottom Baltic Porters have the slightest salt flavour. It is still a very good beer but I think it would be a lot more interesting if it had just a little less sugar.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Holy Smoke - Church-Key Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Campbellford)

Holy Smoke - Church-Key Brewing (Canada - Ontario - Campbellford) 6.2%

Dark brown in a glass, like a chestnut. Very smoky, peaty and slightly salty aroma. Based solely on the aroma I am sure this beer would appeal to Scotch drinkers that like a smoky, peaty Scotch. There are also some dark malt tones, like dark dried fruits such as fig or prunes, in the aroma.

The flavour is quite sweet and dark malt flavours now take the lead ahead of the smoke and peat flavour though the latter does continue to feature. A watery mouthfeel and some alcohol does come through but it would be highly suitable for a drink in a pub.

Regular readers of the blog will know that I tend to prefer my beers on the warm side. Particularly very malty and high alcohol beers. This beer also benefits from being served a bit warmer as the smoke and the malt flavours come out. Overall, Holy Smoke is very drinkable, the smoke and peat flavours are well done and tasty but its malty body is a wee bit thin, still a fine beer when it is all said and done.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Saison - Saint Feuillien (Belgium) 6.5%

Saison - Saint Feuillien (Belgium) 6.5%

Yeah, so this beer gave forth a eruption of foam that ... it made a mess so be warned. This may be because I bought it and let it sit in my "cellar" for a few weeks but I wouldn't think it'd make too much of a difference in the carbonation. It pours an increasingly cloudy gold (as you get to the sediment on the bottom of the bottle) with a frothy soda-lika head of white foam. A really nice clover, nectar, honey, herbal and apricot aroma; quite sweet.

Sweet flavour and its flavour is on the sweet side but it has a balancing bitterness. Herbal for sure, touches of mint as well as clover, honey and apple blossoms. The yeast is responsible for the most pronounced of these flavours but it is working really nicely with the toasty flavours of malt and the subtly crisp hops finish. This is a very solid Belgian Farmhouse Ale or Saison.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vulcan Ale - Pluto's Moon Beer Company

Vulcan Ale - Pluto's Moon Beer Company 5.4%

A dark amber in a glass, nearly brown when not held up to the light. Slightly hoppy (resin, cedar), toasty, sweet with a touch of something sticky - all said it reminds me a little bit a thin molasses.

Strongly sweet flavour but it is nicely toasty (just on the verge of turning into something roasty) and there is just enough hoppy bitterness. Some subtle wooden tones and faint red, fruity flavours round out this Irish Red Ale. I would say that Vulcan Ale is hoppier and just a little sweeter than an Irish Red ought to be but I enjoyed drinking it. Most importantly the name and can/label are awesome.

Live long and prosper.