Tullibardine 1488 (Scotland)

Tullibardine 1488, (Perthshire, Scotland)

Best to worst:

  1. Strong Ale, B-
  2. Blonde Ale, B-
  3. Traditional Ale, D+

On the back labels:

“The Tullibardine distillery sits on the site of Scotland’s first ever brewery, a purveyor of the BEER enjoying the royal patronage of King James IV after his coronation in 1488. This remarkable Tullibardine 1488 Whisky Beer is brewed with the crystal spring water and malted barley used in the distillation process. It is conditioned in individually numbered oak casks which have been used in the maturation of the majestic Tullibardine single malt Scotch Whisky, it’s distinctive character beautifully balanced by the lightness of touch so familiar to Tullibardine connoisseurs the world over. This truly majestic BEER is best served chilled and enjoyed slowly.

1) Blonde Ale, 4% ABV

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: good complexity for a 4% beer
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek, 2010
  • How much: ~$6, 500ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours slightly cloudy cherry wood red, smallish head, micro CO2, ringed retention, a bit of sticky lacing, varied slow-moving CO2 streams, lees at bottom of the glass. Some citrus fruity malts and caramel on the nose. 1st sip is sickly 9/10 sweet. Next few sips drinks tangy 4/10 sour up front, transitions into lightly malted 7/10 sweet carbonated caramel and sour cherries, finishing off-dry oaky bitter. Carbonation is not exactly creamy but more like tingly and is active throughout. One thing that I don’t particularly like is the hint of barnyard/puke-flavour right at the start mixed with sourness. Medium complexity, medium depth, medium-long length, good transitions, good carry, very drinkable. Well-done on a surprisingly low ABV beer.

2) Traditional Ale, 4.5% ABV

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D+
  • Why I don’t like it: watery and tasteless
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek, 2010
  • How much: ~$6, 500ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No way

Tasting Notes: pours beer bottle brown, almost no head, micro CO2, minimal lacing, slow-moving CO2 streams, thin ringed retention. A bit of malt on the nose. Starts off very much like a light beer (ie. Coors light), caramel malts in the mids, finishes barely bitter. A very underwhelming flavour profile – almost nothing there except a bit of malt, barley and minor red fruit. Tingly CO2 throughout. Low complexity, low depth, low carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. Pass on this one.

3) Strong Ale, 5% ABV

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: smooth drinking
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek, 2010
  • How much: ~$6, 500ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours coffee brown, mild head, micro CO2, ringed retention, more lacing than the blonde, no lees. Coffee’d malts, slight nuttiness and caramel on the nose. Drinks slightly creamier than the blonde, 5/10 sweetness up front, mild 2/10 sourness, light caramel and red fieldberry-fruit (strawberry/raspberry) in the mids, very mild barley bitter and oaked finish. Finishes watery however. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, average length, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. A very clean and deceptively red-fruity yet dark ale. Not as complex as the blonde but cleaner throughout.

Belle Royale – Driftwood Brewery (Canada)

Belle Royale – Driftwood Brewery, 9% ABV, (Victoria, BC)

On the side label:

“Each bottle of this Belgian-inspired ale is laden with 1/2 pound of Morello sour cherries, which pack an orchard’s share of flavor! This beer’s high alcohol content will ensure successful ageing [sic] for those interested, but don’t deny yourself the pleasure of this beer fresh!”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: deep sour cherry flavor
  • Where I got it: St. John’s Liquor, Oct-2011
  • How much: $8, 650ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours reddish-copper, minimal quickly dissipating head, medium CO2 size, barely any retention, zero lacing, average speed CO2 streams. Very fragrant Morello cherry nose, almost cotton candy like. Deep 2/10-sour 5/10-tart cherry start, puckering mouthfeel at 14C, slight bitterness near the mids, zero traces of alcohol. Low-medium complexity, medium-depth, great balance, good carry, excellent drinkability. This beer goes especially well with salty foods. Quite refreshing when drunk at 3-5C. Creeper alcholic effect.

Pangaea – Dogfish Head (USA)

Pangaea – Dogfish Head, 7% ABV, (Milton, Delaware)

On the side label:

“Pangaea is the name of the super continent. Before the land masses separated we were all just one happy family. Our Pangaea has a hint of ginger and great complexity, celebrating our communal history. Best drunk cool not cold from a snifter or wine glass. Think globally. Drink globally. Ages with the best of ‘em.”

Urbock 23 – Schloss Eggenberg, 9.6% ABV, (Austria) (listed in the “1001 Beers you must try before you die”)

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like it: ginger, fruity, and balanced
  • Where I got it: W. 16th, in 2010
  • How much: $24, 1 pint 9.6 fl. oz.
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours semi-dark orange, small quickly dissipating head, minor ringed retention, micro CO2, slow-moving runny lacing, slow-moving CO2 streams. Lightly malted ginger, a bit of orange. Half-sharp CO2 tingly & creamy start, candied ginger in the mid, minimal ginger burn, deep 3/10 bitterness near the end, off-dry clean finish. Notes of bitter orange peel, pink grapefruit, and honey. Medium-high complexity, medium-depth, long finish, excellent balance, great transitions, good carry. An exceptionally balanced and nuanced ginger beer.

Urbock 23 – Schloss Eggenberg, 9.6% ABV, (Austria) (listed in the “1001 Beers you must try before you die”)

On the back label:

“Urbock 23 is one of the strongest beers in the world, with 23 plato attaining 9.6% alc./vol. It matures in our ancient cellars for 9 months, till it is fully fermented and turns amber in colour. Urbock 23 is full-bodied, with a creamy flavour, well balanced with noble hop bitterness. Urbock 23 is known in many countries as the ‘Cognac of beers’”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: full-bodied and honey-esque
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek, Jan-2012
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10% disc.)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours golden orange, minimal dissipating head, ultra-micro CO2, thin ringed retention, sporadic slow-moving CO2 streams. Heavy malted barley and thick honey on the nose. Creamy 8/10 sweet up front mixed with honey, chamomile, alcohol burn, and a very tingly CO2 sensation on the top of the tongue. Finishes very alcohol heavy and a gentle deep 6/10 lingering bitterness. Medium-high depth, medium complexity, good transitions, long length. The sweetness and high ABV are off-putting halfway through the session.

Pabst Blue Ribbon, 4.9% ABV, (Guelph, ON) (NPO owned, brewed under contract by various breweries)

-listed in the “1001 Beers you must try before you die”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D+
  • Why it’s not the best: watery body and mouthfeel
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $1.25 can, 15pack,
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours minimal head, large CO2. Tastes mainly of bread, corn, bitter grapefruit, and minor hoppy bitter finish. Med-low complexity, low depth, not much carry, okay transitions, thin body. A mass-produced beer for sure, but fruity-drinkable.

Rauchbier-Festbier-Weizenbock – Les Trois Mousquetaires

Les Trois Mousquetaires (Quebec, Canada)

1) Lager Fumée Rauchbier, 5% ABV

On the label:

“Voila! A beer inspired by the Rauchbier you find in Bamberg, Germany. A dark beer made partly from smoked malt unique to this region, aged slowly at low temperatures, and put in the bottle unfiltered, with a fine yeast sediment.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like: dark and drinkable
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: ~$10, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours dark brown, small dissipating head, micro-foamy CO2, ringed and some center retention, visible CO2 streams near the surface. Smoky wood and malt on the nose. Gentle start, smoky mildly 2/10 bitter malts up front, good body holds in the mid, tingly CO2 in the mids until finish. Chocolate, smoked wood, caramel malts, creamy mouthfeel. Medium-high depth, medium complexity, good carry, medium length. Excellent body for a 5% ABV beer, and good sweetness (4/10) level.

2) Festbier – Lager Brune epicee, 6% ABV

On the label:

“This brown lager offers sweet citrus flavors that arise from a selection of thirteen Queb3ec malts from barley, wheat, oats, and rye. It’s bouquet is caused by a blend of Saaz Czech hops, coriander seed and bitter orange peel. The result is a wonderful festive beer!”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B+
  • Why I like: fruity and firm
  • Where I got it: W. 16th (?), Feb-2012
  • How much: $8.20 (after 10%), 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours red-orange-brown, small dissipating head, large and small CO2, very active CO2 streams, slippery lacing. Orange hops on the nose, much like an IPA. Lots of fruity orange up front, balanced dryness in the mid, a bit of orange blossom, coriander near the end, 4/10 sweetness, 4/10 bitterness in the form of orange peels, silky mouthfeel. Medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, good carry, excellent balance of sweet, fruity, bitter, hoppy, and refreshing. Finishes creamy.

3) Weizenbock Grand Cuvée Hiver 2010, 11% ABV

On the label:

“A winter brew inspired by the best of Germany’s strong beers, this Weizenbock is a rich libation which will seduce you with its lush aromas. Its succulent body and flavors reminiscent of candied fruit will be a fine companion to your cozy evenings.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like: dark rich yet fruity
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: ~$10, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours dark walnut brown, almost no head, minor CO2 ringed retention, runny lacing, some CO2 streams near the perimeter. Strong prunes on the nose. Starts off with medium CO2 bubbled carbonation, transitions into 8/10 sweet fruity prune, dried red fig, molasses flavours, followed by a bittersweet chocolate finish. Medium-high complexity, medium-high depth, medium length, good transitions, good carry. An interesting fruity dark beer, but too sweet for me to enjoy again.

Mass Extinction (Ice Barley Wine) – Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Mass Extinction (Ice Barley Wine) – Phillips Brewing, 12% ABV, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

On the label:

“Just like the dinosaurs this barley wine was ice-aged at glacial temperatures. Throughout the fermentacious period water underwent a chrystaline phase transition which distilled the remaining liquid into a naturally-sweetened nectar of caramel flavour. Being an archaealcohologist never tasted so good.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like: rich and very deep
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $8, 341ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours bottle dark brown, minimal head, very thin ringed retention, minimal thin lacing, barely visible streams. Strong coffee and caramel aromas on the nose. Lethal alcohol base (vodka-like) is apparent immediately and persists throughout, heavy bitter caramel in the mids, thick malts, 5/10 sweetness, slight mintyness, 3/10 coffee bitter finish. High depth, medium complexity, long length, good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. Surprisingly drinks okay for 12% ABV, not something I would drink again though.