Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout – Howe Sound Brewing (Squamish, BC, Canada)

Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout – Howe Sound Brewing, 10% ABV – 1L, (Squamish, BC, Canada)

On the front side label:

“The Megadestroyer Imperial Licorice Stout is a strong, hearty stout brewed in a very limited quantity in recognition of the Alibi Room’s 200th beer list. Vancouver’s Megadestroyer and craftsman Ken Diamond have teamed up to produce this unique label and commemorative leather coaster. This beer, as the name suggests, is not for the faint-hearted. It is brewed with seven different barley malts, blackstrap molasses, hops, water, yeast, licorice root and star anise. It has an intense depth of roast earthy flavour, with a pleasant licorice aroma..”

  • Style: Flavoured Imperial Stout
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Creamy sweetness -> licorice/anise/vanilla/malt/coffee -> bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$8, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours blackish-brown, small foamy head, a few fast moving CO2 streams. Mainly licorice and star anise on the nose. Drinks with a very creamy-buttery mouthfeel up front, medium sweetness (7/10), transitioning into aromas of licorice root, star anise, roasted malts, with hints of vanilla & coffee, leading to a roasted bitter finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, great transitions, good carry, very nice drinkability. I’m not a huge fan of licorice but this one is balanced very well.

BrewDog Paradox Speyside (Scotland)

Paradox Speyside – BrewDog, 10% ABV – 330ml, (Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

On the front side label:

“Scottish Malt Whisky Casks Rock! Their ruggedly robust beauty, character, captivating aromas and unique Scottish heritage had us completely spellbound. We tried maturing various things in them; garden plants, Germans, sandwiches and goldfish before we found the killer application: our imperial stout. This edition sees our Imperial Stout aged for several months in specialty selected Speyside whisky casks (1987 Macallan Sherry Cask). This maturation process results in the whisky flavours and aromas being infused deep into our beer. Paradox combines BrewDog’s premium craft brewed beer with the finest malt whisky casks. All you need to do is combine this bottle’s contents with a glass. To release the true character complexity and depth of flavours in this beer please enjoy at room temperature, unless you live in an igloo.”

  • Style: Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: caramel malts -> chocolate/cherry/coffee/vanilla -> bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: $8, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours coffee black brown with no head and almost no visible carbonation. Thick malts and caramel on the nose. Initial tastes of medium-heavy nicely sweetened (7/10) malts mixed with caramel, counterbalanced with a very light carbonation, milk chocolate, light roast coffee, light peat, vanilla and hint of cherry. Finishes bitter-semisweet with a lingering mild bitterness. Medium-high compexity, high depth, great transitions, excellent carry, great balance, good drinkability.

Hitachino Nest XH Extra High – Kiuchi Brewery (Japan)

Hitachino Nest XH Extra High – Kiuchi Brewery, 8.5% ABV – 330ml, (Ibaraki, Japan)

On the back label:“This XH is brewed using more malt and hops than usual. Please enjoy the rich taste; Matured more than half a year.”

From ratebeer.com:

“Strong Belgian Brown Ale matured in distilled Sake barrels.the final Maturation takes place in Shochu casks {distilled sake} for 3 months.  Malts: Marris Otter, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate  Hops: Chinook, Styrian Golding  Original Gravity: 1.08”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet malts -> caramel/anise/fig/cherry -> bittersweet light-hopped finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$6, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours light brownish orange with a small micro CO2 head, a few active CO2 streams. Mainly malts on the nose. Medium-Sweet (7/10) medium-heavy malts up front, mixed with light caramel, light anise (which is the sake + shochu barrel maturation), fig, a touch of cherry. Creamy mouthfeel and finish light hoppy medium lingering bittersweet. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

Honey Porter – St. Peter’s (UK)

Honey Porter – St. Peter’s, 4.5% ABV – 500ml, (Suffolk, UK)

On the back label:

“A traditional English porter finished with honey for a truly unique aroma. This famous old ale has been handed down through generations. Contains honey flavouring. Brewed with skill and patience in one of Britain’s finest small breweries. St. Peter’s Brewery is located in a medieval hall in a remote and beautiful corner of Suffolk. There our beers begin their lives deep below the brewery with water drawn from a pure source – as it has been for over 700 years, essential for the full flavour and pure character of all St. Peter’s beers. Our beautiful flask-shaped oval bottle is a faithful copy of one produced c.1770 for Thomas Gerrard of Gibbstown, just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. The original is now kept at St. Peter’s Hall and is a rare example of an oval Eighteenth Century beer bottle.”

  • Style: Flavoured Porter
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: honeyed malts/caramel -> watery/thin mouthfeel -> semi-sweet coffee bitterness
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours dark coffee brown, almost no head, not much in CO2 activity. Strong malted caramel and honey on the nose. The honey hits first followed by medium malts, caramel, low-medium sourness, all with a watery backdrop and thin mouthfeel. Finishes semi-sweet with a hint of coffee and medium bitterness. Medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, okay carry, okay drinkability.

Winterlude – Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

Winterlude – Birrificio del Ducato, 8.8% ABV – 330cl, (Verdi di Busseto, Italy)

  • Style:Tripel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: creamy -> orange/malt/yeast/wheat -> very crisp light bitterness
  • Where I got it: Legacy (?)
  • How much: ~$6, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours golden yellow-orange with a nice frothy head, lots of active CO2 streams. Medium malts on the nose. A super creamy mouthfeel upfront, transitions into flavours of malt, orange, honey, bread, wheat, light-bitter hops, light yeast, finishes lightly tingly, sweet (6/10), and a mild bitter finish with a crisp bite. Medium complexity, medium depth, great transitions, good carry, excellent drinkability.

Westmalle Trappist (Malle, Belgium)

Westmalle Trappist (Malle, Belgium)

1) Dubbel, 7% ABV – 33cl

from ratebeer.com:

“A reddish brown trappist ale, malty and fruit, featuring a 3 week secondary fermentation.”

  • Style: Abbey Dubbel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: sweet malts -> caramel/prune/plum/hops -> alcohol/bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: Gift pack w/ glass, ~$20, Feb, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy root beer brown with a nice foamy head and lees, lots of slow-moving CO2 streams. Sweet malts on the nose. Drinks with sweet (7/10) malts up front, half creamy half fizzy mouthfeel, caramel, hoppy background, dark plum/pruny fruit, finishes with light bitter with very detectable alcohol. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. Solid overall.

2) Tripel, 9.5% ABV – 33cl

from ratebeer.com:

“A strong, dry and spicy trappist ale. The product of a secondary fermentation lasting 5 weeks.”

  • Style: Abbey Tripel
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet fizziness -> chamomile/orange/coriander -> bitter hoppy finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: Gift pack w/ glass, ~$20, Feb, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange with a small foamy head, lots of fast and slow-moving CO2 streams. Honeyed chamomile on the nose. Alcoholic fizzy sweetness up front (7/10), notes of orange, coriander, malts, chamomile, light sourness, and bitter hops at the finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. This one has an edge in complexity than the dubbel but is more taxing on the palate.

Nuova Mattina (New Morning) – Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

Nuova Mattina (New Morning) – Birrificio del Ducato (Italy), 5.8% ABV – 330cl, (Verdi di Busseto, Italy)

from ratebeer.com:

“Dedicated to the beauty of a new spring morning with the first sun rays warming the blossoming flowers. Nuova Mattina pours a hazy orange color with a scent reminiscent of field flowers. A complex, intriguing, voluptuous and thirst quenching ale, a hopeful hymn to the day that lies ahead. Brewed with ginger, coriander, green pepper and chamomile”

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: ginger w/ light sweetness -> chamomile/tangerine -> off-dry light bitter hoppy finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: $5, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe, it’s interesting
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours golden orange with a nice foamy head, numerous slow-moving CO2 streams. Chamomile and a bit of orange on the nose. Light sweetness up front (3/10) balanced nicely with a silky creamy mouthfeel, tastes of ginger, chamomile, mint, malts, tangerine, and mild bitter finish with a bit of peppery bite. Medium complexity, medium depth, excellent transitions, great carry, fantastic drinkability.

La Buteuse – Le Trou du Diable (Quebec, Canada)

La Buteuse – Le Trou du Diable (Quebec, Canada), 10% ABV – 750ml, (Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada)

on the front:

“Cette biere exceptionelle, fermente grace a trois levures differentes, a vieillie quatre mois en fut de chene americain ayant heberge le brande de pomme de la cidrerie Michel Jodoin. On y retrouve un cote vanille, epice, torrene et animal. S’y melange aux effluves d’alcool chaud le caramel brule, la peche, l’abricot et le tabac frais. Une serieuse de degustation!”

  • Style: Tripel
  • My Rating: A
  • Taste Profile: fruity apple -> oaky brandy -> vanilla & maple -> lingering woody finish.
  • Where I got it: Firefly (?)
  • How much: $29, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours filtered apple juice reddish brown with a nice frothy head, micro CO2, some fast moving CO2 streams. Fresh pressed apple cider on the nose. A woody unfiltered fresh pressed apple juice up front, light alcohol, calvados, medium malts, cinnamon/nutmeg, oak, brandy,maple, vanilla,and a medium sweetness (7/10) in the mids, followed by a crisp semi-sweet, almost light salty & light bittersweet finish. Medium-high compexity, medium depth, great transitions, great carry, excellent drinkabiltity. My type of beer: fruity, oaky, and packs a punch.

Summer Symphony – St. Hubertus Estate Winery (Canada)

Summer Symphony 2006 (6 yo)- St. Hubertus Estate Winery, 11.0% ABV – 375ml, (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This ‘Ultra late Harvest’ was picked at the end of December 2006 with the ground frozen underfoot. Aromas of honey and ripe pears. To be enjoyed with desserts and cheeses.”

  • Style: Late Harvest Sweet Wine
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Alcoholic sweetness -> apple/pear/honey -> alcoholic finish
  • Where I got it: Private liquor store in Vancouver West
  • How much: ~$25, 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours clear apple juice light yellow. Initially there’s a burst of detectable alcohol and heavy sweetness (8/10) which fades rather fast, transitioning into aromas of red apple, tart green apple, pear, honey, and elderflower. Finishes slightly alcoholic. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, great drinkability. Quite solid though alcohol is very apparent in every sip.

‘Dark Force’ – HaandBryggeriet (Norway)

‘Dark Force’ – HaandBryggeriet, 9.0% ABV – 50cl, (Drammen, Norway)

on the back label:

“This imperial really strikes back. From a strange country far, far away, comes the only Imperial Wheat Stout in the known universe. Made by four guys brewing in their spare time and boldly goes where no brewery has gone before. Made with wheat malt and wheat yeast.”

  • Style: (Double Extreme) Imperial Wheat Stout
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: alcohol and sweetness -> roasted malts/coffee/vanilla/oak -> med coffee bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Libations Liquor
  • How much: $7 (after 10%), December 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours dark brownish-black with a very nice thick foamy creamy head, non-visible CO2 streams somewhere. Medium malts on the nose, surprisingly not as pungent as would appear. A burst of light alcohol (3/10) masked by high sweetness (8/10), super thick roasted malts, oak, coffee, mild soy sauce, B, creamy and light tingly mouthfeel, B, and finishes with a long medium coffee bitter finish. Med-high complexity, high depth, great transitions, excellent carry, great drinkability. This would benefit from some barrel aging.