Dominus Vobiscum Saison – Microbrasserie Charlevoix (Quebec, Canada)


  • My Rating: A-

Dominus Vobiscum Saison – Microbrasserie Charlevoix, 6% ABV – 750ml., 35 IBUs, (Baie-St-Paul, Quebec, Canada)

printed on the back of the bottle:

“This refreshing copper-colored Saison is a bottled summer breeze waiting to be unleashed upon any season. Its invigorating hop aromas waft within a dry mouthfeel, itself imbued with elegant fruitiness.”

  • Style: Saison
  • Taste: Smooth and refreshing sour-tangy spiced wheat malts
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke Liquor Store
  • How much: $11 (after 10% off) – 750ml., June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: probably yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes!

Visual: Bottled in a noticeabley heftier and higher quality bottle than other North American microbrews. Pours opulent amber copper with a fantastically large and lasting foamy head, and a torrent of CO2 activity, runny lacing.

Nose: Grassy with bright citrus wheat malts. (6/10-pungency)

Attack: incoming crisp bite, creamy-foamy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: continued creaminess, mild sour/light tangy, (MAIN) sweet wheat malts, yeast/grass (HINT) pink grapefruit, pepper, bitter peel

Finish: softly bitter hopped fruit-malt finish. (supremely clean)

Summary: This beer has a great balance of texture, palate sensation, taste, and body. Another good brew in addition to the Brut I’ve tried of theirs.

Taras Boulba – Brasserie de la Senne (Brussels, Belgium)


  • My Rating: C+

Taras Boulba – Brasserie de la Senne, 4.5% ABV – 33cl., (Brussels, Belgium)

some info about the Brasserie de la Senne via wiki; (Smeirlap means ‘fool’ in a bizarre local dialect, which combines Flemish and French, somehow [via the web])

  • Style: (extra hoppy) Belgian Ale
  • Taste: Bitter grapefruity hopped hell (or heaven)
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor
  • How much: $5 (after 10% off) – 33cl., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth a try, if you can handle hops

Visual: Lovely art deco style label. Unfiltered, pours cloudy golden orange with a large lasting foamy head, sticky lacing, lots of activity.

Nose: Sour pineapple-tangerine with some puke. (5/10-pungency)

Attack: citrus fruity, impending hops

Mid-palate: fizzy-bubbly mouthfeel, citrusy (3/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) malt, grapefruit peel, bitter citrus oils

Finish: burpy, razor-sharp off-dry grapefruit bitter hoppiness,

Summary: Although a relatively low ABV beer, this has structure and a lot of bitter hoppy bite. Mix in some citrus and malt flavours, this is a decent a brew for hopheads. Not my fav style, but I can appreciate the brewmaster’s prowess.

Merlot Icewine – Lang Vineyards (Naramata, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C+

Merlot Icewine 2000 (!)– Lang Vineyards, 10.0% ABV – 200ml., (Naramata, BC, Canada)

  • Silver – 2003 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Bronze – 2002 Canadian Wine Awards
  • Gold – 2001 All Canadian Wine Championships
  • Gold – 2001 Indiana State Fair Wine Competition
  • Silver – 2001 International Eastern Wine Competition

My Notes:

  • Style: (Merlot) Icewine
  • Taste: Raspberry-plum liqueur with natural sweetness
  • Where I got it: Liquor Depot @Cambie
  • How much: $61 (5% off) – 200ml. ($229/750ml btl), January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, clearly overpriced

Visual: 2000!! also the winner of numerous accolades. This has got to blow my mind, right?? Unique red corked bottle with a red wax seal on top. Pours XO Brandy-coloured orange, ultra-clear.

Nose: Raspberry, light raisin, plum, hints of strawberry, very clean aromas (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruity sweetness, fruity sugars

Mid-palate: (9/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) raspberry jam, plum wine, red raisin, red apple

Finish: crisp acidity, clean mild alcohol warmth, tangy sweet fruity finish.

Summary: This drinks like a refined liqueur, but not much more. The sweetness is controlled, body is decent, but lacks complexity and wow factor. Mind blow it didn’t. Also, 14 years cellaring didn’t do anything for this bottle, but I hardly expected it to. I paid $61 for my 200ml bottle. Here’s one asking for $250,000. Rule of Icewines: expensive ≠ more delicious.

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C

Merlot Pinot Noir Icewine 2010– Isabella Winery, 13% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A beautiful blend of Pinot Noir and Merlot. The palate is just as pleasing with plush plum notes, a whiff of spice and the characteristic hint of violet. Good body, lower tannin and a warm finish all make this Merlot and Pinot Noir melt in your mouth sensation. Pairs nicely with: prime rib, new york striploin, stuffed portabello mushroom and cheese.” (personally, I wouldn’t drink icewine with a main course…)


  • Style: (Merlot + Pinot Noir blend) Icewine
  • Taste: Sugary straw-cranberry alcoholic juice
  • Where I got it: @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $89 (overpaid, the quality is only worth $40 tops) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no, better red icewines out there

Visual: Why did I pay $89 for an icewine whilst most go for $35-$60, and on top of that, a blend?!? Plus I already knew this winery was catering to the “give icewine as gifts” clientele, aka: it’s expensive so it must be good… Anyways, why not, you only live once. It pours auburn (red-orange), ultra-clear, somewhat watery.

Nose: strawberry, minor plum, light-med alcohol detection (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense fruit sugars, watery-ish mouthfeel

Mid-palate: dense (10/10)-sweetness + bitter-warm alcohol, (MAIN) plum, strawberry, cranberry

Finish: alcoholic warmth + bitterness, tart-roughish mouthfeel, somewhat flat finish (no carry).

Summary: Definitely not worth $89, considering that I could have gotten a bottle of almost anything more complex in flavour than this for that price. Just a standard, or sub-standard if you factor in the price, icewine that consists of fruity flavour and a ton of sweetness. This one lacks depth and fullness to be anything special. Try it if you have absolutely NOTHING left to try…

Bohae Bokbunjajoo (복분자주) – Black Raspberry Fortified Wine (Seoul, Korea)


  • My Rating: C+

Bokbunjajoo (복분자주) – Black Raspberry Fortified Wine – Bohae Brewery, 15% ABV – 375ml., (Seoul, Korea)

on the back label:

“History of Bokbunjajoo: Bokbunja, or wild black raspberry native to Korea is often described in a oriental legend as a mysterious fruits containing the spirits of the wild. This is a legendary fruit wine down the Earth allowing the secret scent of ancient time in oriental society. Full-bodied and semi-sweet, ideal served with grilled red or white meats and marinated BBQ.”

Ingredients: water, Korean raspberry wine, grain spirits, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid.

  • Style: (Fortified) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Sweet alcoholic raspberry-black currant wine
  • How much: $11.50 – 375ml., October 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: perhaps as a mixer
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: yes, it’s inexpensive

Visual: Pours deep dark magenta, oily luminescence, slow sticky legs.

Nose: Blue gatorade (artificial blue raspberry, not a bad aroma) + hints of alcohol detection (7/10-pungency)

Attack: dense dark raspberry fruit

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, intense tangy, (9/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) raspberry + black currant hybrid, grain alcohol sweetness

Finish: alcoholic warmth, med-high tartness, fruity alcoholic finish.

Summary: I enjoyed the depth and bite of the raspberry flavour. The grain alcohol and sugar + HFCS seem to cheapen the spirit but perhaps they were necessary to balance out the drinkability. Decent nonetheless.

Scotch Silly – Brasserie de Silly (Silly, Belgium)


  • My Rating: C+

Scotch Silly Scotch Ale – Brasserie de Silly, 8% ABV – 330ml., (Silly, Belgium)


“It offers a finely wooded nose hinting at hazelnut, and is therefore distinct from traditional British scotches. It has a more rounded taste letting a discreetly full-bodied bitterness come to the fore, and will naturally seduce you.
Ingredients: Water, pale ale malt, caramel malt, aromatic malt, sugar, yeast, Kent hop, hallertau hop”

  • Style: Scotch Ale (wiki)
  • Taste: Aggressively sweet caramel malts + alcohol
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor
  • How much: $4 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours translucent cola brown, smallish dissipating head, thin ringed retention, lots of steady streams, the last few drops from the bottle are cloudy.

Nose: caramel malts, molasses (5/10-pungency)

Attack: intense caramel, creamy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: sustained creaminess, caramel-(9/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, brown sugar, mild roast

Finish: sustained sweetness, alcoholic hit + astringency, malty bittersweet heavy finish.

Summary: The first half is full-bodied and decent. The latter half becomes overly sweet and leaves astringent bitterness similar to if you licked the peel of a pomelo fruit (Chinese grapefruit). It’s above average, but not breaking the 3/5 barrier.

The Little Beaver Late Harvest Optima 2008 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: D

Late Harvest Optima 2008 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 12.7% ABV – 375ml., (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A whiff of minerally sulfur on the nose, which leads to a soft, off-dry palate with honeyed tropical fruit character bolstered by some minerally acidity.

…A story of Our Little Beaver… Long time ago we were in our patio enjoying the beautiful view, when suddenly we saw one beaver just running and working beside our winery. The crazy beaver was building his house and he never stops. After few years his family grew up and they became a symbol for Isabella Winery. We protect the environment and our ‘petits’ friends. A ‘chante’ (they must mean enchanté)”


  • Style: (Optima) Late Harvest
  • Taste: Apple-flavoured alcoholic water
  • How much: $14 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no!
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no!

Visual: Standard skinny frosted dessert wine bottle, genuine cork but tacky “generic” coat of arms with a lion and unicorn (lol). Also a generic VQA matte black shrink capsule. Pours clear golden yellow, clear as water.

Nose: Fruity red apple juice + white grape (6/10-pungency)

Attack: thin + watery = cheap -mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6/10)-sweetness, pineapple sourness, (MAIN) red apple, alcoholic bitterness, almost salty

Finish: alcoholic warmth, residual tang, flat bitter alcoholic finish.

Summary: This has the mouthfeel and depth of the do-it-yourself (they brew it, you bottle it) type wines at winemaker shops. Watery up front, sugars, apple, but then a quick transition to alcohol and bitterness. Almost like apple-flavoured alcoholic water. The View Optima was miles better.

Ursus Spelæus Belgian Style Imperial Stout – Sound Brewery (Poulsbo, WA, USA)


  • My Rating: C

Ursus Spelæus Belgian Style Imperial Stout – Sound Brewery, 8.5% ABV – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Poulsbo, WA, USA)

on the back label:

“Ursus Spelæus (wiki) – Named for a long extinct Russian Cave Bear. Ursus Spelæus is as deep and dark as the caves it once inhabited. Blends of rich maltiness, notes of chocolate, coffee, toffee & subtle licorice with a perfect balance of hops. The Belgian yeast strain adds touches of fruit, herbs and spices.”

  • Style: (Belgian-style) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: sours malts -> caramel malts/coffee -> alcohol/malty bittersweet coffee finish.
  • Where I got it : 16th St. Liquor
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 1 pt 6 fl.oz., June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours almost inkjet black with a hint of purple-redness in it, pretty much headless, almost no retention, some slow activity near the surface, and the last few drops from the bottle are cloudy.

Nose: Huge coffee-toffee-malts, a very clean nose (7/10-pungency)

Attack: sour/tangy thick caramel malts, drinks almost flat (not much CO2)

Mid-palate: (6/10)-sourness, malty (7/10)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, coffee

Finish: alcohol detection, continual sourness, licorice malt exhale, malty soft coffee-bitter finish.

Summary: Every sip is different with this sour-bitter brew; Depending on the bite of the food you’re eating, it heavily leans toward either the oversour or smooth malty sweet. Too much sourness and not enough texture for me to thoroughly enjoy this.

Henry Westons Medium Sweet Oak Aged Cider – Westons (Herefordshire, UK)


  • My Rating: B+

Henry Westons Medium Sweet Oak Aged Cider – Westons, 4.5% ABV – 500ml., (Herefordshire, UK)

  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: sugary apple -> red/green apple/oak -> clean cloying/oaked-sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : Liberty Wines, Park Royal
  • How much: $10 (overpriced) – 500ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: possibly
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours apple juice yellow with lots of steady streams, virtually headless.

Nose: sour apples, with some funk/oak mix (4/10-pungency)

Attack: dense sugars, apple-fruit overtones

Mid-palate: fruity (7/10)-sweetness, fizzy mouthfeel, bright tangy, (MAIN) red + green apple, oak, *minor* sweet Riesling wine

Finish: mildly cloying sugars, light burpy, oaky smooth med-high sweet appley finish.

Summary: Supremely drinkable. About the right amount of sweetness + fizziness with a good oaked backdrop. Straightforward with hints of excitement.

The Chief Chipotle Harvest Ale – Whistler Brewing (Whistler, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: C-

The Chief Chipotle Harvest Ale – Whistler Brewing, 5% ABV – 650ml., (Whistler, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“On you way up to Whistler, the world’s second largest granite monolith gradually creeps up on you. Impressive and imposing; it’s The Stawamus Chief. Just like our Chipotle Harvest Ale, this garnet red ale will gradually sneak up on you too. With initial mellow & malty mouthfeel, then giving way to warm and spicy chipotle notes. Impressive and imposing? We think so!” (Incidentally, I have hiked up the three peaks of Stawamus Chief and after two-hour hike up you are rewarded with an amazing view. See pic of 1st peak below.”)


  • Style: (chipotle, red ale) Spiced Ale
  • Taste: sweet malts/fizzy -> bitter malts -> astringency/sweet malt finish.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.75 – 650ml., November 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with a lasting smallish creamy head, good lacing, lots of fast activity.

Nose: toffee malts (5/10-pungency)

Attack: half sweet malt/half burnt pepper, fizzy

Mid-palate: malty (6/10)-sweetness (MAIN) malts, burnt chipotle pepper

Finish: astringent bitter burnt smokiness and sweet malts, not smooth nor agreeable.

Summary: A drinkable brew but mostly tastes of bitter burnt pepper accompanied by a thin body.