Corsendonk Christmas Ale – Brasserie du Bocq (Turnhout, Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B-

Corsendonk Christmas Ale – Brasserie du Bocq, 8.1% ABV – 25cl., (Turnhout, Belgium)

from ratebeer.com:

“On the palate this silky smooth ale is predominantly malty, with smoky, spicy and citrusy notes, and a long, lingering finish that is lightly tart and malty.”

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: creamy -> alcohol/malt/brown sugar -> licorice/bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it : Hastings Liquor Store
  • How much: $20/6 x 250cl. + branded glass, December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, just once.

Visual: I bought mine as a 6-pack which included a free glass. As a collector of fine beerware, this was pretty much a no-brainer. Pours hazy medium-dark brown with a small lasting ultra-foamy micro CO2 head, lots of thick lacing, several moderate-speed streams.

Nose: initial reaction – burnt toast?!/charcoal, malts, molasses. (6/10)-aromatic strength.

Attack: super-creamy mouthfeel,

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, (7/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) malt, turbinado sugar, dark rum (HINT) cola

Finish: mild licorice, malty bittersweet fizzy finish.

Summary: It has a strange “burntness” up front but is alright once you get used to it. Good character, body, and balance.

Sahti Claws – Parallel 49 Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B

Sahti Claws – Parallel 49 Brewery, 7.7% ABV – 650ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

-It’s my first time trying a Sahti-style beer so here’s a bit of info from wiki:

  • a traditional ale from FINLAND, brewed with a combination of rye, barley, wheat, and oats.
  • flavoured with JUNIPER BERRIES
  • high ABV (~8%)

On the front side label:

“Between raiding and conquering, the Vikings worked up quite a thirst. This traditional Finnish beer is strong, unfiltered and made with rye, barley and juniper berries. We decided to compliment ours with Chinook and Simcoe hops for an added piney flavour.”

  • Style: Sahti
  • Taste: fizzy-silky/berry -> juniper/caramel malts/banana -> bittersweet hoppy/malt finish.
  • Where I got it : Parallel 49 Brewery
  • How much: $9 – 650ml., December 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours hazy caramel brown with a smallish creamy head, thin layer of micro bubbly retention, a bit of lacing, several very slow streams.

Nose: caramel malts, sweet & tangy juniper berries, pine. (8/10)-aromatic strength.

Attack: fizzy-silky mouthfeel, incoming berry sweetness

Mid-palate: (7/10)-fruity sweetness, (MAIN) fruity juniper berries, caramel malts

Finish: soft hoppy bitterness, malty bittersweet finish.

Summary: A nice beer with in a distinctive style. Decent depth a balance for a seasonal beer.

Friendship Brew Black Saison – Green Flash Brewery (San Diego, CA, USA)

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  • My Rating: B

Friendship Brew Black Saison – Green Flash Brewery & St Feuillien, 5.7% ABV –1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (San Diego, CA, USA)

On the front label:

“Our second collaboration with Brasserie St-Feuillien, Friendship Brew, is a Black Saison that blends European and American hops, Belgian yeast and a cache of secret spices. The aroma and flavors are enticing, with delicate fruitiness, subtle spice and rounded roast malt characteristics. Bottle conditioning provides lively carbonation and rich beer foam for a luscious body and a lean, dry finish.”

  • Style: (spiced) Saison
  • Taste: fizzy/acidic -> sour/burnt roasted malts/peppermint/toffee -> off-dry malts/grapefruit hops/burnt bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours ultra-dark brown with a superb foamy-fluffy head, great retention, sticky lacing, lots of bubbly activity.

Nose: black cardamom, burnt cedar, peppermint, caramel malts. (4/10)-aromatic strength.

Attack: creamy fizzy with an acidic backbone

Mid-palate: medium sourness, (MAIN) toffee (7/10)-sweetness, peppermint, burnt-bitter roasted malts

Finish: off-dry malts, grapefruit bitter & burnt bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Not your typical Saison. This beer is COMPLEX and quite taxing on the palate.  Definitely a “different” beer.

Birra del Buttero Marsilia – Birra Amiata (Arcidosso, Italy)

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  • My Rating: C-

Birra del Buttero Marsilia – Birra Amiata, 4.2% ABV – 750ml., (Arcidosso, Italy)

“Styled upon Leipziger Gose, with an Italian twist”

  • Style: (Grodziskie/Gose/Lichtenhainer) Sour Wheat Beer
  • Taste: acidic/sour/creamy -> sour meyer lemon/wheat/banana -> salty/bitter citrus hoppy finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 750ml., July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Shrink-foil sealed in a heavy duty quality beer bottle. Pours almost clear-light cloudy golden faint yellow with a massive inviting foamy head, a decent layer of creamy retention, sticky lacing, lots of super-fast activity.

Nose: meyer lemon flesh and peel, minor tang. (6)-aromatic strength.

Attack: intense acidity, medium sourness, cream-fizzy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (MAIN) sour meyer lemon (MILD) wheat, banana

Finish: almost salty, bitter citrus peel hops, lingering bitter-lasting finish.

Summary:  I can discern that this an above average beer, but the style of sour wheat beer just doesn’t suit my taste. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Stowford Press Medium Dry Cider – Westons Cider (Ledbury, England)

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  • My Rating: C

Stowford Press Medium Dry Cider – Westons Cider, 4.5% ABV – 500ml., (Ledbury, England)

  • Style: (apple) Cider
  • Taste: dense sweetness/fizzy -> red/green apple/woody -> off-dry/tart/apple fruity finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines Park Royal
  • How much: $10 (overpaid ~$2) – 500ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: no

Visual: It doesn’t indicate medium dry anywhere on the front label but is noted as such on the back. Pours light golden apple juice yellow, clear as water with no head and a super thin ringed retention, lots of slow steady streams.

Nose: oaked woody, tangy apple cider. (9)-pungent nose.

Attack: dense sugars, fizzy

Mid-palate: (MAIN) fruity green & red apple, woodiness (HINT) lemon

Finish: cuts off-dry, medium-high tartness, apple fruit juice exhale.

Summary:  Not much complexity of flavour, but does hit deep enough with its woody apple aroma and tart/zingy mouthfeel. Average at best. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, Oregon, USA)

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  • My Rating: B

Fresh Squeezed IPA – Deschutes Brewery, 6.0% ABV –1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

“This mouthwateringly delicious IPA gets its flavor from a heavy helping of citra and mosaic hops. Don’t worry, no fruit was harmed in the making of this beer.”

  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: hoppy/creamy -> toffee malt/pine/tangerine -> grapefruit hoppy bitter/caramel malt bittersweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours translucent bright copper brown, small foamy head, thin layer of retention, sticky lacing, several slow streams, suspended sediment.

Nose: grapefruit hops, toffee malt. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: incoming bittersweet hops, creamy texture

Mid-palate: (5)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, pine, tangerine

Finish: deep semi-sweet grapefruit bitter hops, clean caramel malt finish.

Summary:  The freshness of the hops reminds me of a less boozier version of Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA. Great drinkability and body. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Weihenstephaner Vitus Weizenbock (Friesing, Germany)

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  • My Rating: B+

Weihenstephaner Vitus Weizenbock – Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan, 7.7% ABV –500ml., (Friesing, Germany)

from the ratebeer.com:

“A light-coloured, spicy single-bock wheat beer, for both beer lovers and the beer connoisseur. Extra long and cold storage in our monastery cellars makes this single-bock a really special beer with full body and a distinctively great mouthfeel. Prost!”

  • Style: Weizenbock
  • Taste: crisp fizzy -> wheat/barley/apple/banana -> off-dry/wheat/very light hopped finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $18/3pack + Glass (after 10% off) – 3x500ml., July 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: The last of a 3pack gift box. Pours cloudy pale marmalade orange with  a decent-sized dissipating foamy head, not much lacing, lots of fast activity.

Nose: banana-apricot-peachy with a bit of citrus tang, very appetizing. (7)-aromatic strength.

Attack: crisp fizziness, apple-fruity sweetness

Mid-palate: (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) wheat malt, light barley malt, apple juice, (HINT) banana

Finish: off-dry transition, light wheat-malt very light hopped bitter finish.

Summary: An excellently balanced brew; the high ABV is well managed with a full body and sweet backbone. Very crisp drinkable texture. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)