Penpont Ginger Beer (UK)

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Ginger Beer – Penpont, 4.2% ABV – 500ml, (Altarnun, Cornwall, UK)

On the back label:

“Our alcoholic ginger beer is a traditionally made, fiery refreshing take on this drink.”

  • Style: Ginger Beer
  • My Rating: D
  • Taste Profile: Artificial sweetner/rough mouthfeel -> spicy ginger/lemongrass -> rough mouthwash-like spicy/mint finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6, November 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way

Tasting notes: pours clear light copper brown with no head, no retention, and almost no activity – very uninviting. Authentic and somewhat candied ginger on the nose. Drinks with a kind of disgusting aspartame/sucralose (artificial sweetener) 5/10-sweetness up front, very rough mouthfeel, transitioning into a med-spicy ginger, partial lemongrass, finishing with a mouthwash like minty-burn and artificial sweetnener roughness on the tongue and mouth. Low complexity, low depth, okay transitions, no good carry, awful drinkability. Stay clear of this one – not total crap, but still crappy nonetheless.

Grimbergen (Belgium)

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Grimbergen (draft) (Belgium) Rating : C+ Notes : pours root beer brown on draft, very small head, sticky lacing. Trace malts on the nose. Drinks with 7/10-sweetess, tastes of malts, cane sugar, light caramel, light fruitiness, somewhat thin on the body, finishing malty and light bitter. Low-med complexity, low-med depth, good transitions, okay carry, decent drinkability. Kind of a letdown considering it’s rare where I’m from.

Quady Elysium Black Muscat 2008 (USA)

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Elysium Black Muscat 2008 – Quady Winery, 15% ABV – 375ml, (Madera, California, USA)

from the Quady website:

“Elysium – Black Muscat, another under appreciated muscat variety, is known in Europe as a table grape variety, Muscat Hamburg, one of the very few black skinned muscats. If ripened to about 25 brix, it attains a rose-like aroma and litchi like flavor. This rose-like aroma led us to name the wine Elysium, Greek for heaven. Drinking this, you can almost feel you have fallen into a rose garden and been transported to heaven.

Elysium is used to either accompany or replace dessert. It is wonderful with blue cheeses, with desserts containing red fruits (such as Summer Pudding, an English favorite), with vanilla, with dark chocolate, with ice cream desserts, and candlelight. One favorite is to pour the wine onto vanilla ice cream. Serve Elysium Sundae with a glass of Elysium.

A very cool cocktail is the “Angeli Cooler”. Fill a wine glass with ice cubes. Combine tonic water with Elysium (1/2 and 1/2) and a lemon wedge. The Angeli Cooler is perfect on those warm summer nights.”

  • Style: (fortified) Dessert Wine
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Grape sweetness -> black currant/litchi/rose/concord grape -> alcohol/sweet/tannic finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

2nd Tasting notes: pours clear luscious deep dark magenta. Black currant and alcohol on the nose. Drinks with a med-heavy, gently dissipating sugary 10/10-sweetness (10-sweetness BCLC), aromas of black currant, rose, litchi, concord grape, transitioning into grape-brandy alcohol, finishing mildly sugary cloying, medium tannic and alcoholic. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, decent carry, decent drinkability. Pretty one-noted and basic; would be suitable as a mixer.

1st Tasting (Feb/2012), 2006 bottling:

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I don’t like it: the sweetness overwhelms the palate
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $16, 375ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours dark concord grape purple, some sediment in the bottle, thicker than water viscosity. Concord grape, litchi, and discernible alcohol on the nose. 10/10 on the sweetness scale and starts immediately upon sipping, litchi/purple grape mixed with alcohol, rose, and ends cloying and alcoholic. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, low-medium length. The sweetness kills most of the flavour and experience.

My Notes:

  • My Rating: D
  • Why I don’t like it: the sweetness overwhelms the palate
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor stores
  • How much: $16, 375ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine afficianados: No

Tasting Notes: pours dark concord grape purple, some sediment in the bottle, thicker than water viscosity. Concord grape, litchi, and discernible alcohol on the nose. 10/10 on the sweetness scale and starts immediately upon sipping, litchi/purple grape mixed with alcohol, rose, and ends cloying and alcoholic. Medium complexity, low-medium depth, low-medium length. The sweetness kills most of the flavour and experience.

Steamworks Pale Ale (Canada)

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Pale Ale – Steamworks Brewing, 5.2% ABV – 355ml – 35 IBUs – Zythos/Cascade Hops, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

  • Style: Pale Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Sharp hoppy bitterness -> grapefruit/sour/half-watery -> dry/malty/hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12.75/6pack, December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no, unless you want the cool glass like I did

Tasting notes: pours clear copper brown with a small head, thin layer of retention, sticky lacing, lots of active streams. Faint malts, sourness and hops on the nose. Drinks with a sharp hoppy bitterness up front, 4/10-sweetness, malts, grapefruit hoppiness, light creamy/half-watery mouthfeel, finishing dry, malty, and hoppy bitter. Low-medium complexity, low-med depth, okay transitions, okay carry, okay drinkability. Sub-par excitement. BUY IT FOR THE FREE COLLECTIBLE GLASS!! NOT THE BEER.

Tripel Karmeliet (Belgium)

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Tripel Karmeliet – Brouwerij Bosteels, 8.4% ABV – 33cl, (Buggenhout, Belgium)

On the back label:

“Blond, robust, smooth and fruity 3 grain beer, with final fermentation in the bottle. Brewed with pride and patience after carmelite tradition with wheat, oat and barley. 100% natural beer.”

  • Style: (abbey) Tripel
  • My Rating: A
  • Taste Profile: Sweet/honey/banana/vanilla -> dry wheat/malts/anise/citrus -> creamy/off-dry malty/clean sweet finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3.50, Summer 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: def yes

Tasting notes: pours golden translucent marmalade orange, decent-sized foamy head, nice layer of retention, lots and lots of active streams. Inviting floral/citrus/tropical fruit nose. Drinks with a bold creaminess up front, 8/10-sweetness, a mix of honeysuckle/honey/banana/vanilla, wheat+mild dryness, transitioning into refreshing light malts, anise, finishing ultra-creamy/lighty fizzy, off-dry malty and clean sweet. Med-high complexity, medium depth, great transitions, good carry, excellent drinkability. Alcohol is creeper, highly enjoyable.

Rogue Morimoto Imperial Pilsner (USA)

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Morimoto Imperial Pilsner – Rogue, 8.8% ABV – 0.75L – 74 IBU, (Newport, Oregon, USA)

On the back label:

“Golden in color with a dry hop floral aroma and intense hop bitterness supported by a malty backbone which culminates into a hedonistic mouthful.”

  • Style: Imperial Pilsener
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Creamy/honey/malt -> jasmine/grapefruit/hops -> dry hop/bitter/malty finish.
  • Where I got it: Bottle Jockey
  • How much: $20, December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy golden-orange from a beautiful re-corkable ceramic bottle, smallish head with micro-foamy CO2, stick lacing, a few slow streams. Citrus & honey on the nose. Drinks with a light foamy creaminess up front, 6/10-sweetness, liquid honey, light malts, jasmine, grapefruit/tangerine, transitioning into medium-sharp hops, med-thick-dry hoppy bitterness, finishing lingering hoppy-malty bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, good drinkability (in a chilled glass). Somewhat heavy but balanced – the alcohol is well-hidden.

Sauza Acai & Mango Tequila (Mexico)

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Sauza Flavored Tequila (for the Canadian market), (Mexico)

1) Acai, 40% ABV – 750ml, NOM-1102

On the back label:

“Premium Sauza Tequila with intriguing Acai flavour combines shimmeringly clear Sauza Blanco Tequila with the fresh taste of native Brazilian Acai berries for a delicious, unexpected taste experience. Whether you enjoy it straight, over ice or mixed in your favourite cocktails, it’s perfect for making any tequila drink seem fresh and new!”

  • Style:(Acai) Flavoured Tequila
  • My Rating: D+ (as a sipping drink)
  • Taste profile: artificial acai/cotton candy -> grape/gasoline/numbness -> burn/warmth/alcohol/hollow finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer sold/produced (?))
  • How much: ~$26, Summer 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to tequila aficionados: no

Tasting notes (neat/room temp): pours crystal clear with miniscule sediment. Sweet candy-like acai and alcohol underneath it. Drinks with light-med viscosity, (artificial) acai comes up front mixed with plasticky cotton candy, fading into a purple grape, gasoline, numbing tingliness on the tip and mid-tongue, major throat burn, spicy warmth, alcohol detection, finishing hollow with minor tingling pain on the tongue/throat and lingering artificial acai on the exhale. Low complexity, low depth, no good carry, no good transitions. The only thing appealing is the initial “resemblance” to acai fruit up front, but quickly fades into alcohol funk. Not recommended as a sipper, will test in a Margarita.

update (Jan 12/2013): tasted okay in a Margarita (7-4-3 ratio), adding additional flavour. But still the smoothness isn’t there. Rating: C (as a mixer)

2) Mango, 40% ABV – 750ml, NOM-1102

On the back label:

“Premium Sauza Tequila with exotic Mango flavour combines shimmeringly clear Sauza Blanco Tequila with the fresh taste of tropical mango for a delicious, unexpected taste experience. Whether you enjoy it straight, over ice or mixed in your favourite cocktails, it’s perfect for making any tequila drink seem fresh and new!”

  • Style:(Mango) Flavoured Tequila
  • My Rating:  D- (as a sipping drink)
  • Taste Profile: artificial candy mango -> alcohol/burn/spicy numbness -> medicinal/warm/rough finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer sold/produced (?))
  • How much: ~$26, Summer 2009
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to tequila aficionados: no

Tasting notes (neat/room temp): pours crystal clear with miniscule sediment, same as above. Strong candy-like mango on the nose shared with an invasive burning ethyl alcohol, worse burn that the acai. Drinks with medium-light watery viscosity, 5/10-agave sweetness, subdued artificial mango, then comes the onslaught of nasty alcohol burn, spiciness numbness on the tongue, finishing medicinal, warm, light tingly and medium rough. Low complexity, low depth, terrible sippability. Substantially worse in than the acai in terms of aroma, drinkability, and appeal.