Pink Moscato NV – Emeri de Bortoli (Australia)

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  • My Rating: C+

Pink Moscato NV – Emeri de Bortoli, 8.0% ABV – 750ml, (Australia)

  • Style: (Sweet) Sparkling Wine
  • Taste Profile: sweet fizziness -> strawberry/peach/iced  tea -> cloying sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $17, Summer 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to sparkling wine aficionados: only if you’re curious

Tasting notes: Foil-sealed and corked. Pours a brilliant pink blush hue with lots of activity, large bubbles, quick dissipating head, lots of activity. Sugary sweet strawberries on the nose.

Attack: sticky 6/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: fizzy mouthfeel, strawberries, peach, hints of iced tea

Finish: dense cloying mouthfeel, finishes cloying sweet with thick saliva.

Decents flavours and above average drinkability on this one, though not something I would want to try again.

Coffee Liqueurs Round 1 – Kahlua VS. Tia Maria

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Greetings! Tonight we have one well-known coffee liqueur going up against one that you don’t normally see served in bars, clubs, etc.. ABVs are identical in addition to price, at least here at the BCL stores. Note also that the they also have common ingredients. (At the end of this tasting I ended up with a pulsing headache…strange?)

1) Kahlua –20% ABV – 750ml, Mexico, ~$27 CAD

  • Ingredients: sugar, kahlua concentrate (coffee extract, rum, caramel, vanillin); water

VS

2) Tia Maria – 20% ABV – 750ml, Scotland, ~$27 CAD

  • Ingredients: sugar; water, alcohol (Jamaican rum), coffee extract, coffee flavour, vanillin, citric acid, caramel

Criteria:

Nose: Taking a whiff of the Kahlua, I get sugary medium-roast coffee mixed with very detectable tingly medium-burn invasive alcohol.  I have to say that alcohol eventually overpowers the pleasant coffee aroma and becomes offensive after several more nosings. With Tia Maria I get much cleaner coffee, caramel, and slight nutty vanilla nose with only minor alcohol detection, about a 1/5th burning level of the Kahlua. No doubt the winner is Tia Maria.

Taste & Texture: The Kahlua in my mouth has a syrupy mouthfeel. It goes down with 9/10-sweetness, cascading waves of roastcoffee flavour, caramel mixed with nasal numbing from the alcohol, light-medium burn (which is a surprise since the nose was so aggressive in alcohol) and finishes sugary cloying. Tia Maria is noticeably thinner in viscosity. Going down Tia Maria starts off with more intense and bolder flavours of coffee, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, nuttiness, 7/10-sweetness, with the mid-palate and finish consisting of medium alcohol warmth and and long bittersweet roast coffee finish. In my mind it’s crystal clear: the winner by far is Tia Maria.

Final Notes:

  • Kahlua is more syrupy, aggressively sweeter, less smooth/more nasal burn, less depth and length of flavour, and a sugary cloying finish. I WILL NEVER BUY KAHLUA AGAIN
  • Tia Maria has a better nose, better flavours, and goes down smoother.

WINNER = TIA MARIA

Cyser Apple Honey Wine – Middle Mountain Meadery (Hornby Island, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Cyser Apple Honey Wine – Middle Mountain Meadery, 13.2% ABV – 750ml, (Hornby Island, BC, Canada)

from the Middle Mountain Mead website:

“Cyser is traditional mead made with apples. Ours is intensely complex with the rich flavour of organic, heritage apples and intriguing sage overtones. Dark amber in colour, this wonderfully smooth mead will enchant you.

  • Style: (Apple) Mead
  • Taste Profile: non-spicy jalapeno -> sweet apple/honey -> tart/tangy/sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $23 (after 10% off in-store)/($20 online), March 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to the curious: no

Tasting notes: pours light white wine yellow. Light apple juice and “that” jalapeno/bell pepper vegetation on the nose.

Attack: jalapeno pepper (without the spiciness)

Mid-palate: 5/10-dense sweetness, mild apple, honey

Finish: medium tartness, clean tangy light-med sweet finish.

That jalapeno I taste is the same flavour I get when I infuse vodka with jalapenos for a few months. It’s not exactly pleasant but works okay in this case due to the existence of honey in the mix. Overall this is a slightly above average mead because I enjoy it’s drinkability and clean finish.

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, USA)

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  • My Rating: C+

Chainbreaker White IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 5.6% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, OR, USA)

On the front side label:

“You pair wheat, hops and Belgian yeast and suddenly ‘bingo, a wheat like nobody else’s.’ With real depth, coriander and sweet orange peel, it’s citrus-packed and silky smooth going down.”

  • Style: (wheat & spiced) IPA
  • Taste Profile: banana malt -> sour citrus/grapefruit/barnyard -> coriander/pepper/dense malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15/6pack, June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy light yellow with a smallish dissipating head, a soft layer of retention, lacing, and some barely visible activity. Wheaty banana and guava with a bit of barnyard on the nose.

Attack: tangy malted banana

Mid-palate: 6/10-citrus sourness, white grapefruit, hints of barnyard, 6/10-sweetness

Finish: cuts to off-dry, bitter coriander, mild pepperiness, lingering dense sugars with a wheat-malt background.

Lots of interesting flavours here balanced with fine drinkability. I’m not a huge fan of IPAs but this one is acceptable.

Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale – Elysian Brewing (Seattle, USA)

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  • My Rating: B-

Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale – Elysian Brewing, 5.4% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Seattle, WA, USA)

  • Style: (Blood Orange) Pale Ale
  • Taste Profile: crisp silky/creamy -> fruity orange/grapefruit peel/malt -> harsh grapefruity bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : W.16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $15/6pack (after 10% off), June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: not exactly
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours translucent marmalade orange with a very small head, barely any retention, and not much activity. Fragrant orange and grapefruit on the nose – very fruity and inviting.

Attack: crisp, half silky/half creamy, oncoming sharp bitterness

Mid-palate: fruity 5/10-sweet orange, grapefruit peel, malts, hints of pine

Finish: long lingering grapefruity-hopped intense bitter finish

Overall very balanced, drinkable, and a good-textured beer, but also quite aggressive with the hopped bitter finish.

Val de Rance Pomme à Cidre (France)

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Val de Rance Apple Ciders (Brittany, France)

  1. Cidre Bouché Brut: B
  2. Cidre Bouché Biologique: C
  3. Cidre Bouché Doux Cru Breton: B-

1) Cidre Bouché Brut, 5% ABV – 75cl

  • My Rating: B
  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: dense sweet apple -> tangy/fermented red apple/yeast -> bitter alcohol/woody/tannic/tart finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines (GI)
  • How much: $14, Nov 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours light golden orange with quickly dissipating small head and lots of activity. Very faint apple juice on the nose.

Attack: rich 8/10-sweetness, fizzy

Mid-palate: pleasant tanginess, light sour fermented red apple, light yeast

Finish: mild bitter alcohol, off-dry, woody exhale, medium tannic/tart finish

This one is by far has the most complex textures of the three and is the one I like the most.

2) Cidre Bouché Biologique, 4% ABV – 75cl

  • My Rating: C
  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: sweet -> dry/fizzy/red apple -> mild rough off-dry finish
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines (GI)
  • How much: $14, Nov 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not quite

Tasting notes: pours almost clear amber yellow with a small head, small sized CO2, some steady streams. Filtered apple juice on the nose.

Attack: dense 7/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: cuts dry, light fizzy bubbles, red apple, hints of pear

Finish: mild tartness, mild roughish persistent off-dry finish.

This one is not quite a juicy as the Doux but packs a bit more alcohol.

3) Cidre Bouché Doux Cru Breton, 2% ABV – 75cl

  • My Rating: B-

on the back label:

“Ce cidre bouché est un pur jus élaboré à partir de variétés de pommes à cidre offrant, par leur diversité, un cru équilbré. Le cidre bouché VAL DE RANCE puise ça richesse dans son goût à la fois fleuri, puissant et pétillant, qui en fait son caractère unique. Fabriqué dans le respect de la tradition, ce cidre est apprécié pour qualités authentiques.”

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: juicy sweetness -> woody apples/pear -> off-dry/tart rough finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines (GI)
  • How much: $12, Nov 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours deep rich golden yellow with lots and lots of activity, fine CO2, large head. Clean filtered apple juice on the nose.

Attack: balanced juicy 6/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: woody apples, light tang, hints of pear

Finish: delicate off-dry finish, half tart roughish mouthfeel finish.

An extremely easy-going and flavourful apple cider from Val de Rance. Flavours are clean but a little tart on the finish.

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale – Heather Ales (Alloa, Scotland)

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  • My Rating: C+

Ebulum Elderberry Black Ale – Heather Ales (Williams Bros Brewing) *1 of 4pack Historic Ales of Scotland*, 6.5% ABV – 330ml, (Alloa, Scotland)

on the back label:

“Ebulum – Elderberry Black Ale. Introduced to Scotland by Welsh Druids in the 9th Century, elderberry style ale was part of the Celtic Autumn festivals where the ale was passed round the people of the village. This recipe was taken from a 16th Century record of domestic drinking in the Scottish Highlands. In medeaval [sic] times elderberries were used for many purposes and are known to be high in fruit oils. It is a rich black ale with fruit aroma, soft texture, roasted grain and red wine flavour, with a gentle finish.”

Ingredients: water, barley malt, elderberries, oats, hops, yeast

  • Style: (elderberry) Fruit Stout
  • Taste Profile: sweet acidic malts -> creamy/elderberry/roast/red wine/soy sauce -> roast/licorice/bitter malty finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $14/4pack, Nov 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours almost inkjet black/super dark brown with almost no head and not much retention. Roasted malts and soy sauce on the nose.

Attack: 7/10-sweetness mixed with citrus/light acidity,

Mid-palate: creamy mouthfeel, yeasty elderberries, sweet roasted malts, red wine, soy sauce

Finish: persistent 5/10-sweetness, bitter roast, woodiness, hints of licorice, medium malty bitter finish.

A good decent body on this black-fruity-bitter beer. The texture kind of thins out near the finish but otherwise a decent brew.