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.

VIÆMILIA – Birrificio del Ducato (Italy)

VIÆMILIA – Birrificio del Ducato, 5.0% ABV – 330ml, (Roncole Verdi di Busseto (PR), Italy)

from ratebeer.com:

“Viaemilia is a distinctive pils, strong golden color with a tendency to a green shade, dry and strongly characterized by floral aromas coming from the hop variety Hallertau Mittelfrueh. One of the best pilsners in Italy.”

  • Style: Classic German Pilsner
  • World Beer Cup 2010 Kellerbier Silver Award
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: light malts/hops/yeast -> medium sweetness -> lemon/orange citrus -> crisp bitter finish
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: ~$5, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours slightly cloudy amber-yellow with very sizable thick foamy head, lots of slow-moving CO2 streams. Light malts and lemon on the nose. Sharp fizziness up front, light malts and hops and yeast up front, a very soft and gentle bitterness (2/10), ultra-creamy mouthfeel, subtle orange-lemon in the background, medium sweetness (6/10), finishes crisp with a lingering light-medium bitterness (4/10). Medium complexity, med-high depth, great transitions, good carry, great drinkability.

Fat Tug IPA – Driftwood Brewery (Canada)

Fat Tug IPA – Driftwood Brewery, 7% ABV – 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

On the front label:

“With an extreme power to tonnage ratio, this behemoth velivers a barge load of hops. This unassuming 22 ounces bottle packs 80 IBUs of unrelenting diesel power! Let this Fat Tug pull you in slow and low to Hoppy Nirvana.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: light caramel malts -> bright tangerine and hops -> grapefruit bitterness -> clean finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours orangish-brown with a smallish head, micro CO”, not much visible CO2 action. Bright tangerine on the nose. Light caramel malts and a very bright hoppy tangerine start, transitions into a sharp fruity grapefruity bitterness, creamy mouthfeel, clean finish. Medium-high complexity, med-high depth, excellent transitions, good carry, great drinkability. A very balanced and well-crafted IPA.

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale (Australia)

Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2009, 7.5% ABV – 375ml, (South Australia)

On the front label:

“Coopers Vintage has been brewed with choice malts and an extended top fermentation to provide a strong flavoursome ale. Stored under cellar conditions the rich and full flavour of Coopers Vintage will become more complex over an extended period.”

  • Style: English Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: bittersweet caramel -> toffeed malts -> slightly water mid-finish -> soft malty bitter finish
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?)
  • How much: ~$5, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: for aging purposes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours reddish brown, small head, micro CO2. Tastes of bittersweet caramel, toffee, and 5/10 sweet malts. Lingering bitter finish, medium bodied, medium complexity, medium depth. Above average silky mouthfeel, good complexity, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall solid when in a chilled glass.

Flor de Cana Extra Dry White Rum (Nicaragua)

Flor de Cana Extra Dry, 40% ABV – 750ml, (Nicaragua)

  • Style: White Rum (slow-aged 4 years)
  • Best in Class 2009 Int’l Wine & Spirits London
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Caramel/plastic -> vanilla/coconut -> alcohol burn/funk -> spiciness
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer available since 2012)
  • How much: $22, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: only if cocktail specific
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: not quite

Tasting notes: pours clear as water. Cane sugar mixed with a medium heavy ethyl alcohol burning presence. Medium sweetness (5/10) with a caramel yet somewhat unpleasant plasticky taste, traces of vanilla and coconut (as advertised) with a hint of spiciness at the finish. Lots of alcohol burn and funk in the mids and finish. Medium complexity, averaqe smoothness, average sippability. Not exactly smooth but does have interesting flavours.