Stag Apple Scotch Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing (Penticton, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Stag Apple Scotch Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing, 8% ABV – 650ml, (Penticton, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“Stag Apple Scotch Ale combines juice from freshly pressed Okanagan apples with rich Caramel malt to create a massive and Majestic Scotch Ale.”

  • Style: (apple) flavoured Scotch Ale
  • Taste Profile: alcoholic caramel sweetness -> red apple/malts/brown sugar -> off-dry bitter hoppy malty finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50, July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: caramel + apple sounds great already! Is it so? Pours clear beer bottle brown with a smallish micro CO2 head, a bit of retention, clusters of fast activity.

Nose: red apple juice and brown sugar caramel malts

Attack: alcoholic 8/10-caramel sweetness

Mid-palate: red apple, thick malts, brown sugar,

Finish: off-dry, soft bitter hops, red apple exhale, malty finish

Summary: Quite a basic flavour profile but enjoyable nonetheless.

Red on Red Imperial Red Ale – Collaboration (Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Red on Red Imperial Red Ale – Central City / Flying Monkeys Collaboration, 9.5% ABV – 650ml, (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“The Canadian flag – red in the east; red in the west. Double Red. A perfect style for the ‘East meets West’ collaboration born at the 2012 Session Toronto Craft Beer Festival between BC’s Central City Brewers & Distillers and Ontario’s Flying Monkeys Craft Brewery.

This Limited Edition Double Red Ale has been single-hopped using the first release of the  brand new ‘Mosaic’ hops bringing out floral notes of Papaya and Guava, creating a unique flavour and aroma when married with the Pale, Munich, and Three Crystal malts.”

  • Style: Imperial Red Ale
  • Taste Profile: sweet brown sugar -> papaya malts/caramel/brown sugar -> sour/tangy/grapefruity bitter hop/malty finish
  • Where I got it : W.16th
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off), June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Cool label. Pours beer bottle reddish-brown with no head, very thin ringed retention, a bit of lacing, some steady streams.

Nose: Papaya and hints of guava

Attack: 8/10 quickly fading brown sugar sweetness,

Mid-palate: papaya fruity malts, caramel, brown sugar

Finish: medium sourness, tangy, lingering grapefruit sharp bitter hop/med-heavy malted finish

Summary: Medium to full-bodied, quite balanced but weighs on the palate because it doesn’t have any refreshing characteristics. The 9.5% abv is decently hidden.

Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale – Whistler Brewing (Whistler, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Cheakamus Chai-Maple Ale – Whistler Brewing, 5% ABV – 650ml, (Whistler, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A mild ale with all the freshness of maple syrup – and a little bit of springtime spice for good measure. This dark bronze ale is made with real maple syrup added right to the mash. Then, a trace of chai tea is added during the filtration process. The result is a highly complex, mildly spiced palate structure. One taste, and a simple truth is clear: complexity can be a very beautiful thing.”

  • Style: (Chai-Maple) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: cream maple sweetness -> cola/root beer/caramel malts -> burnt bitter roast finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6, July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: maybe in a cocktail, but not by itself
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, novelty factor

Visual: beautiful artwork on the label, lovely colour scheme. Pours dark cola brown with a sizable somewhat lasting creamy head, lots of barely visible fast activity.

Nose: sweet maple syrup and chai (clove, cinnamon, coriander, ginger) on the nose – very inviting

Attack: cream-fizzy, 5/10-maple sweetness

Mid-palate: watery mouthfeel, cola/root beer, caramel malts

Finish: bitter black tea, maple exhale, burnt roast bitter off-dry finish.

Summary: A gimmicky try-one-time-only beer. It lacks finesse, real depth, body and balance to be a winner. Exciting on paper but falls short on delivery.

3 Weeds (Witbier) – Lighthouse Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

3 Weeds – Lighthouse Brewing, 7.5% ABV – 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Ingredients: A Belgian style Wit brewed with pilsener and wheat malts, rolled oats, coriander, ginger and hops.

  • Style: Witbier
  • Taste Profile: creamy crispness -> pineapple/banana/yeast/malt -> coriander/ginger/soft bitter hop finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6, July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not quite

Visual: low-rez sticker label, seasonal, and no other info other than the ingredients. Pours cloudy light marmalade orange with a small lasting foamy head, thin layer of retention, some lacing, lots of activity.

Nose: Sweet fruity banana and pineapple malts on the nose.

Attack: creamy-fizzy mouthfeel, crispness

Mid-palate: 5/10-sweetness, pineapple, banana, light yeasty in the malts,

Finish: dry coriander, hints of ginger bitterness, banana exhale, mild soft bitter hoppy finish.

Summary: Good balance and complexity in this one. Flavours are soft and subdued but blend together well.

Lindemans Framboise Lambic (Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B+

Lindemans Framboise Lambic, 2.5% ABV – 355ml, (Belgium)

on the back label:

“Lindemans Framboise is a lambic made from local barley, unmalted wheat, and wild yeast. After spontaneous fermentation raspberries are added, creating a secondary fermentation and yielding a beer of exceptional flavor and complexity.”

  • Style: (raspberry) Fruit Lambic
  • Taste Profile: sour-sweet/fizzy -> raspberry/tangy/tart/cassis -> mild barnyard/fruity finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $14 for a gift box (2*355ml+glass) (after 10% off), December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: in a cocktail
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: for casual drinkers/girls

Visual: foil cover, bottle capped, and finally corked – superbly sealed. Pours very dark blood red with almost no head, ringed retention, micro bubbles, lots of slow activity.

Nose: Super fruity natural raspberry juice on the nose

Attack: incoming 8/10-sourness, 6/10-sweetness, fizz-tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: ultra rich raspberry flavour, tangy, med tartness, hints of cassis

Finish: hints barnyard sourness, smooth med sweet fruity finish

Summary: Excellent rich raspberry flavour with good mouthfeel and drinkability.

Sir Perry Berry – William’s Orchards (England)

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  • My Rating: C+

Sir Perry Berry (flavoured Pear Cider) – William’s Orchards, 6% ABV – 500ml, (Bristol, UK)\

Ingredients: Fermented Pear Juice, Strawberry flavour, colour, yeast, ascorbic acid, carbon dioxide.

  • Style: (strawberry) Flavoured Pear Cider (perry)
  • Taste Profile: fading sharp sweetness -> fizzy/fake strawberry/yeast/pear -> crisp/light cloying/tangy fake strawberry finish.
  • Where I got it : W.16th
  • How much: ~$12 for a 4pack, Sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: had this laying around, finished 3 of the 4pack without reviewing, might as well since I’ve had this can for awhile. Pours pale red/orange with no head, very thin ringed retention, some activity.

Nose: half-candy/half decent strawberry aroma (but we know it’s artificial because of the ingredients list), pleasant and inviting.

Attack: 8/10-gentle fading sweetness

Mid-palate: fizzy, candy strawberry, yeast, fleeting pear flavour,

Finish: crisp, mild residual cloying sugars (chilled glass), light tangy fake strawberry finish.

Summary: It’s half-decent and okay. Nothing to rave about but decent compared to say Growers (BC cider) ciders.

Hainle Vineyards Riesling 2003 (BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C (average)

Hainle Vineyards (Organic) Riesling 2003, 12.5% ABV – 750ml, (Peachland, BC, Canada)

(Note: Hainle is North America’s first ever ice wine producer)

on the back of the bottle:

Gold medal Grand Cru-Long Beach, CA, Gold medal, Grand Rapids International Wine Competition, MI,

Our Riesling was made with grapes grown in some of the best -suited vineyard sites, in Lakeview Heights, Penticton, and our own, organically managed Peachland location. Citrus, apricot and mineral aromas are followed by crisp, spicy flavours. This wine is a versatile match with all kinds of seafood, chicken, Midterranean, and Asian cuisine.”

  • Style: (white wine) Riesling
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it : Liquor Depot Hastings
  • How much: $36 (after 5% off), January 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to white wine aficionados: can’t say; I don’t like it but you might

Visual: Wow this wine is over a decade old and it is STILL available for sale via their website. If wines are good, don’t they sell out…? Anyhow, cracking open a bottle of anything over a decade old is quite exciting. Pours clear light lemon yellow as you might expect.

Nose: Red apple juice on the nose, not much else

Attack: incoming acidity, 8/10-sourness

Mid-palate: predominantly sour/tangy green apple, hints of stone fruit

Finish: sour/mild-tart, off-dry puckery acidic finish.

Summary:  Big bold fruity green apple up front but I don’t appreciate the sour/puckeriness of the mid to finish. Just average for me, not something I would drink again, recommend, or give a gold medal to.

Tempt Ciders – Royal Unibrew (Denmark)

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Tempt Ciders – Royal Unibrew (Faxe, Denmark)

  1. Tempt No.2 Apple Cider: Rating : B-
  2. Tempt No.7 Elderflower and Blueberry Taste Cider: Rating : B-
  3. Tempt No.9 Strawberry & Lime Taste Cider: Rating : C-

1.) Tempt No.2, 4.5% ABV, 330ml

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: good sweetness -> red apple/fizzy -> mild roughness/crisp clean finish.
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke, Edm (?)
  • How much: ~$3, Sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: just to casual drinkers

Visual: yes it’s a canned but I gotta say I like the artwork and design. Pours clear golden apple juice yellow with a quickly dissipating tiny head, a few slow streams.

Nose: filtered apple juice

Attack: 6/10-controlled gentle fading sweetness

Mid-palate: rich red apple, tingly fizzy mouthfeel

Finish: mild palate roughness, light tang, clean crisp fruity apple sweet finish.

Summary: Basic apple flaovur without any surprises. Balanced sweetness, flavour, and texture = very drinkable. I’ve definitely had worse and some that are better.

2.) Tempt No.7, 4.5% ABV, 330ml

  • Style: (flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: aspartame roughness -> artificial elderflower/blueberry/pear -> cloying/fizzy/lychee finish.
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke, Edm (?)
  • How much: ~$3, Sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, as a mixer
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: elderflower & blueberry – sounds great but no such ingredients listed on the can… Pours clear light yellow with no head, large bubbles on the walls, a sporadic bubbles.

Nose: elderflower from concentrate on the nose

Attack: immediate artificial sweetener palate roughness, 7/10-sharper sweetness

Mid-palate: candy-like elderflower, hints of blueberry flavour (artificial), pear

Finish: slight cloying, fizzy, bright lychee finish.

Summary: Quite artificial but deliciously so. Sweetness is pushed to the edge of being overbearing but recedes while the flavours kick in. This would be interesting to mix with.

3.) Tempt No.9, 4.5% ABV, 330ml

  • Style: (flavoured) Apple Cider
  • Taste Profile: cloying sweetness -> artificial strawberry & lime/apple juice -> residual sugars/cloying apple finish.
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke, Edm (?)
  • How much: ~$3, Sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: pours golden med-light yellow with no head, a bit of ringed retention, virtually no activity.

Nose: mainly strawberry aroma

Attack: dense 8/10-light-cloying sweetness that fades

Mid-palate: sugary-candy strawberry, candy lime, filtered apple juice

Finish: residual sugars in the throat, medium cloying sweet apple finish.

Summary: This one has the artificial flavours of a cooler with apple wine as a base. Not awesome, just sugary and average.

Hop Harvest 2012 – De Ranke (Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B-

Hop Harvest 2012 – De Ranke, 6% ABV – 750ml, (Dottignie, Belgium)

on the front side label:

“Unfiltered and unpasteurized top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle and taste evolution.”

  • Style: (vintage) Belgium Ale
  • Taste Profile: creamy sweet hops -> caramel malts/citrus/yeast -> sharp bitter hops/lingering bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $13 (after 10% off), February 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes; it’s well crafted

Visual: Vintage beer is usually good; you can expect them to pay attention to details for that particular year. Shame it isn’t corked but capped instead. Pours cloudy translucent orange with a very large creamy foamy head with long retention, lots of lacing, and lots of activity.

Nose: orange citrus fruity hops with sweet honeyed malts

Attack: ultra-creamy texture, 6/10-sweetness, fresh hops

Mid-palate: caramel malts, orange citrus, grassy, yeasty

Finish: sharp bitter hops, cuts off-dry, lingering bitter finish.

Summary: Well crafted and drinkable straight out of the fridge into a chilled glass. Bitterness and crispness fade and becomes heavy as it warms up.

Rekorderlig flavoured Pear Ciders (Sweden)

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Rekorderlig flavoured Pear Ciders (Vimmerby, Sweden)

  1. Elderflower flavoured Pear Cider: Rating = C+
  2. Wild Berries flavoured Pear Cider: Rating = C

1.) Elderflower flavoured Pear Cider, 7.0% ABV, 500ml

  • Style: (elderflower) Flavoured Pear Cider
  • Taste Profile: sweet floral fizzy -> elderflower/pear/green apple -> tangy/floral/cloying finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$4, Sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not fully

Visual: aluminum cans of anything usual suck imo, but hey elderflower + sweden could be a win. Also noted in the ingredients, “elderflower” is nowhere to be found. Pours almost colourless but just a hint of yellow, soda-like CO2, lots of activity.

Nose: light elderflower, gentle hints of apple and pear. Pleasant.

Attack: 7/10-controlled sweetness, fizzy

Mid-palate: cloying, elderflower, sugary pear, hints of green apple, sourness

Finish: tangy, decent lingering elderflower, but still cloying apple/lime-citrus finish.

Summary: While the elderflower aroma and apple/pear flavours are decent, the sugars are just too heavy and gradually overwhelm the palate.

2.) Wild Berries flavoured Pear Cider, 7.0% ABV, 500ml

  • Style: (wild berries) Flavoured Pear Cider
  • Taste Profile: aggressive sweetness -> artificial strawberry/raspberry -> cloying/tangy crisp finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$4, Sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: again with this one, no wild berries are found in the ingredients. Pours crystal clear pink with no head and a few countable streams.

Nose: faint strawberry-raspberry on the nose

Attack: aggressive 9/10-sweetness

Mid-palate: faint apple/pear, predominantly sweet candy-like (artificial) strawberry and raspberry

Finish: medium cloying sugars, light-medium tangy crisp finish.

Summary: Not much here in terms of pear flavour; it’s mainly fake red berry flavour that is decent and barely counterbalances out the aggressive sugars. Still nothing here that I particularly like.