Efes Dark , 6.1% ABV, (Anadolu Efes Brewery, Turkey)

  • My Rating: C
  • Why I might like it: interesting sake-like flavour
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: <$15 for 6pack, Spring 2011

Tasting Notes: made with malted barley and RICE! Kewl. pours coffee black, minimal head, small carbonation, minimal lacing. Smells of liquid malt on the nose, and slightly oyster/wet dog (very strange). That tropical sweet sake-like flavour comes through, mixed with a medium malt and an off-dry finish. Quite an unexpected flavour profile for such a dark beer. Not much in terms an addictive flavour or complexity, but has an interesting taste.

Glenfiddich 21YO (Scotland)

Glenfiddich 21 years old (NV), 40% ABV, (since 1887 – Dufftown, Banffshire, Scotland)

On the back label:

“This Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been finished in Caribbean rum casks to take on a rich toffee sweetness with notes of vanilla and hints of new leather. Casks are sampled routinely by the Malt Master and hand selected only once he is convinced the whisky has acquired a luxurious vibrancy, whilst retaining the unmistakeable character of Glenfiddich Single Malt. Genfiddich 21 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky has been awarded a gold medal by the prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition.”

Essentially the same process as the Macallan 18 year old but:

  • Natural spring water from their Robbie Dhu springs
  • Use of casks (sherry, bourbon) that have only been used once (mellowed)
  • ~2% of alcohol is lost due to evaporation into the air through the porous barrels (aka “the Angels’ share”)
  • the only distillery to use wooden oak marrying tuns (2000L=30 casks) for up to 9 months of marrying
  • “Glenfiddich is the only Highland single malt distilled, matured and even bottled at its own distillery, using a single source of spring water throughout the process.” -from their website

Other notes:

  • Where I got it: Sobey’s @ Anthony Henday near 111
  • How much: ~$120 (after 10%), $7 per shot
  • Drinkability: Medium

Tasting Notes (Nov 14/2011)

Another bottle that I barely have any left, might as well finish it off and write up some notes. Definitely more alcohol forward on the nose which I’m thinking is due to the influence of the rum cask. Hints of toffee and vanilla quaffed as well. Tingling anise hits the tip your tongue first, and then the vanillla and molasses from the Caribbean rum casks. Notes of banana, chocolate, and only a med-mild warmth mainly in the nasal cavity for a finish. Lots of tingling and numbness in the mouth and throat. A rather muted oaky exhale. I prefer the fruitier sherry finished Macallan 18 year, but this is an interesting novel experience as well to highlight the difference between a rum cask and sherry cask finish.

Rating as something I would often drink: C+

Rating as a scotch: B

The Macallan 18 years old (1989), 43% ABV, (Est. 1824 Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, Scotland)

This is Macallan’s mid-tier sherry oaked scotch, and the process:

  1. 100% barley, a proportion of which is the estate grown Minstrel barley or obtained from the 27 contractors.
  2. Water from underneath the estate close to confluence of the river Spey and Ringorm Burn
  3. Malting (Steeping 48h, Germination 5d, Kilning)
  4. Milling of the grist into: 70% grits, 20% husk, 10% flour)
  5. Mashing in 3 stages adding hot water of varying temperatures to activate enzymes to convert the starch into fermentable sugars.
  6. Fermentation by adding cultured cream yeast (MSI), 48-56h. Rate of adding yeast, rate of fermentation, and temperature of the wort all affect the final flavour.
  7. 2x Distillation in copper stills to 72% ABV (copper = wear-resistant, malleable, excellent conductor of heat, catalyst for sweet ester formation and minimizing impurities (ie. sulfur compounds))
  8. Matured in sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain + warehousing to impart flavour and colour (Colour = species of oak (Spanish Oak – open grain = dark, American Oak – tighter grain = light), the seasoning, level of toasting)
  9. Vatting – sampling of 200 different casks, selecting some 50 casks, and finally mixing them together and resting to allow for a Marriage of flavours.
  10. Bottling and dilution with estate spring water

Other notes:

  • Where I got it: Sobey’s @ Anthony Henday near 111
  • How much: ~$170 (after 10%), $10 per shot
  • Drinkability: Easy-Medium

Tasting Notes (Nov 12/2011)

Down to the last remaining 1.5oz and the bits of cork and lustrous golden hue has my attention. On the nose are bold notes of toasted caramel, fig, and sweet honey all mixed with the scary alcohol nasal-burn. Tastes of chocolate orange (as advertised), oaky dried fruit caramel, anise (tingling from the alcohol). Alcohol warmth first goes softly to the nose, and then back down to cover the back of the mouth and finally down the throat. Lots of BBQ smoke on the exhale.

Rating as something I would often drink: B-

Rating as a scotch: A-

George Hornsby’s Hard Ciders (USA)

George Hornsby’s Hard Ciders, (Modesto, California)

1) Amber Draft (Traditional & Dry) 6% ABV

  • My Rating: C+
  • Why I might like it: smooth
  • Who I recommend it to: those who don’t like the taste of alcohol
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $19 for 6pack, Oct 2011

Tasting Notes: pours darker amber than the crisp apple (see photo), small quickly dissipating head, runny lacing. Smells of 100% filtered Sun-Rype apple juice on the nose. Taste is very clean apple juice with a minor alcohol bitterness in the backdrop. Finishes smooth, off-dry, tart and induces salivation. Carbonation is soft, controlled and crisp. Low-medium in complexity but makes up for it in drinkability and balance. It becomes more bitter as it looses its chill.

Re-tasted (1/2013): Lightly carbonated. Tastes like bitter apple juice, not much else. Downgraded to C+ rating.

2) Crisp Apple (Golden & Smooth), 5.5% ABV

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I might like it: tastes just like apple juice
  • Who I recommend it to: those who don’t like the taste of alcohol
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $19 for 6pack, Oct 2011

Tasting Notes (Nov 14/2011): pours a lighter shade of yellow, minimal head, minimal lacing. Same as above, lots of red apple on the nose and is very inviting. Taste is more of like biting into an unprocessed spartan/ambrosia red apple. Sweet, crisp, minor woodiness, and a slight sour tart and tangy bitter finish. More complex than the amber draft and more enjoyable.

Burton Baton – Dogfish Head (Milton, USA)

Burton Baton – Dogfish Head, 10% ABV, (Milton, Delaware)

On the side:

“This special ale is a two-thread blend of young & wood-aged imperial i.p.a. Please share it with loved ones and hoard it from the non-believers.”

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I might like it: smooth creaminess that I find rare in IPAs
  • Who I recommend it to: Bold bitter beer drinkers
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: <$20 for 4pack, Summer 2011

Tasting Notes: pours light nut brown, small lasting head, micro CO2, very sticky lacing. Toasted toffee malts on the nose, very inviting. Burst of of orange citrus fruity malts, 4/10 sweet creamy spiced cinnamon/nutmeg notes, a hint of smokiness mixed in the sharp long dry biting bitter finish typical of IPAs. Great balance, med-high complexity, long length, high depth. Excellent mix of sweet, bitter, fruity, spices, hops, and malts – and an incognito 10% ABV to boot.

Red Racer Pumpkin Ale – Central City Brewing (Canada)

Red Racer Pumpkin Ale – Central City Brewing, 5% ABV, (Surrey, BC)

On the side:

“Central City Brewing Co. Red Racer Pumpkin Ale is a once a year creation crafted with the addition of pumpkin and select spices producing a premium ale of intense flavor and rich, creamy warmth. A great pairing with any holiday feast. ‘Cheers!’”

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I might like it: I don’t
  • Who I recommend it to: N/A
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12.95 for 6pack, October 2011

Tasting Notes: pours orangish-brown, medium head that quickly dissipates, small CO2 bubbles, sticky lacing. Some spice on the nose, very welcoming, however… 1st sip: some cinnamon, and nutmeg but quickly gets overpowered by this awful funk of a burnt bitter pumpkin. The nasty bitterness persists until finish and wipes out all the traces of initial spice. Not helping the cause is a thin-bodied watery mouthfeel. Low-medium depth, Low-medium complexity, medium length (but it’s an astringent lingering bitter finish). Cannot recommend, this will be the last time I try this, evar.

Fung Shui

-1st prize of the Giffard Challenge 2007 (from the Giffard website)

Ingredients:

  • 3cl Banane du Bresil (Giffard)
  • 2cl Coconut liqueur (subbed Whaler’s Coconut Rum for Cocogif)
  • 2cl Mangue Tropic (Giffard)
  • 2cl 18% fat Cream

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients to a shaker, shake until hands are chilled.
  2. Double strain
  3. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg (my twist)

Rating: C (I needs tweaking)

Tasting Notes: Too freakin’ sweet – as expected since 3/4 ingredients are liqueurs. An interesting combo of a creamy coconut banana followed by a sweetened mango finish. Need to mellow out the sugar rush/alcohol aggressiveness 1 second into the sip. Very potent, buzzed 1/2way thru.

Ideas:

  • egg white
  • housemade roasted coconut rum
  • sub housemade mango cachaca for mango liqueur

the culprits