Cuvée de Noël – St Feuillien (La Roeulx, Belgium)

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  • My Rating: C-

Cuvée de Noël 2012 – St Feuillien, 9% ABV – 75cl., (La Roeulx, Belgium)

  • Style: (Christmas) Belgian Strong Ale
  • Taste: Alcoholic metallic fizzy bloated brown sugar malt
  • Where I got it : W.16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 75cl., June 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Yes I know it’s the middle of the summer, but does it really matter? A good beer is a good beer for all seasons. Pours pale copper brown with a large lasting creamy head, sticky lacing, a good layer of retention, and surprisingly almost no activity.

Nose: Brown sugar malts with a hint of spices. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: bubbly-tingly/fizzy crisp mouthfeel, incoming malts + alcohol

Mid-palate: (metallic copper taste-bottle contamination?), continued fizzy, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, brown sugar, alcohol, molasses, cola, dark fruit

Finish: bloated, alcohol, metallic malty bitter finish.

Summary: Perhaps I got a bad bottle but this had an off-putting metallic taste to it. Coupled with it’s over booziness and excessive fizzy texture, I can’t recommend it.

The Little Beaver Zweigelt Icewine 2008 – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Zweigelt Icewine 2008 – The Little Beaver (Isabella Winery), 13% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“An exceptional Icewine with elegant plum aromatics and cinnamon notes. The flavours of dried fruits and the acidity of strawberry create a perfect balance and long, finish. Try it with brie or dark chocolate.”

  • Style: (Zweigelt) Icewine
  • Taste: Grape-berry fruity alcoholic dense sweet cloying
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $82 (WAY overpriced) – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: not worth the price

Visual: It has the dated label of ‘The Little Beaver’ winery, now known as Isabella Winery. Cork half disintegrated upon opening. Pours golden peach-orange with micro sediment, likely from the cork.

Nose: sweet red grape, green muscat, raspberry-apple, mild alcohol nasal tingly. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thinnish viscosity, incoming tangy

Mid-palate: dense (lvl-8)-sweetness mixed with alcohol, (MAIN) red grape, alcohol bitterness.

Finish: sour cherry-raspberry fruity, raisin, residual cloying sugars, alcohol hit

Summary: For the price, my palate was expecting something more extravagant and exclusive. A decent and very drinkable icewine but way overpriced considering Volcanic Hills has one out there for half the price.

Black Swan Imperial Stout – Buckerfield’s Brewery (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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My Rating: C-

Black Swan (Oak Aged) Imperial Stout – Buckerfield’s Brewery, 8.5% ABV – 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

  • Style: (Oak) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Sweet caramel malt plastic licorice
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours ultra dark brown with almost no head and many streams near the surface.

Nose: thick sweet caramel malts, roasted, molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: thick viscosity, very tingly, half-crisp

Mid-palate: (lvl-6) sweetness, (MAIN) thick caramel malts, molasses, licorice, strange plastic/rubber, mild oak, soy sauce

Finish: malty sweet, soft hopped, light bitter malty finish.

Summary: An okay imp stout with decent body but rather disappointing considering it is barrel-aged. It has distasteful persistent rubber/plastic in there that ruins the experience.

Saison Cazeau – Brasserie de Cazeau (Templeuve, Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B

Saison Cazeau – Brasserie de Cazeau, 5% ABV – 75cl., (Templeuve, Belgium)

from ratebeer.com:

“Saison Cazeau is a light white beer, refermented in the bottle, with 5% alcohol content. As well as the Pilsen malt and two hops which give it a really nice bitter flavour, Saison is laced with elderflowers (Sambucus Nigra L.) which make it really refreshing. The elderflower only blooms for three weeks between mid-May and mid-June, which means that production of our Saison is very time-limited.”

  • Style: (Elderflower) Flavoured Saison
  • Taste: Crisp wheat malty citrus elderflower hopped bitter lager-like
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 75cl., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours a lovely clear bright golden yellow with a largish super foamy lasting head, thick sticky lacing, a nice thick layer of retention, abundant clusters of fast activity. A beautiful sight.

Nose: Sour citrus wheat malts, barnyard. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp malty, almost salty

Mid-palate: creamy smooth, some fizziness, (lvl-4)-sweetness, light-medium sourness, (MAIN) wheat malts, elderflower, lemon citrus, lager sweetness

Finish: excellent bitter hopped transition, grainy sweet wheat finish.

Summary: Drinks like a very nice creamy textured sweet lager with a bit more hop character. Not at all the like your typical sour saison. Very drinkable.

Lil’ Red Sour Cherry Berlinerweisse – Parallel 49 Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: Fail

Lil’ Red Sour Cherry Berlinerweisse – Parallel 49 Brewery, 4.4% ABV – 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

On the front-side label:

“A favourite drink of Berliners in the summer, with our own addition of Okanagan sour cherries, this unique ale is bubbly like champagne (minus the sweet aftertaste) and best served in a chilled chalice. Prost to that.”

  • Style: Berliner Weisse
  • Taste: Plastic wheat malt strange “cherry” sour/tart
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 650ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not even to my enemies

Visual: Pours a beautiful orange-ruby red, barely any head, just a few tight streams.

Nose: Almost plasticky, kind of like persimmon but not, quite odd and non-typical. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: incoming sour/tartness

Mid-palate: very sour, medium tart, (lvl-3)-fruity sweetness, (MAIN) wheat malts, off-putting plastic (which are the cherries)

Finish: mild palate roughness, light fizzy tart fruity finish.

Summary: Almost undrinkable, with an okay attack but awful strange plastic flavour in the mid to finish. Actually halfway through it’s a waste of calories to burn later.

Shamrocker Potato Stout – Granville Island Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: C+

Shamrocker Potato Stout – Granville Island Brewery, 4.8% ABV – 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

On the front-side label:

“Get ready to rock out to this dry Irish stout. With amped up tones of roasted coffee, it’s a medley of Celtic proportions.”

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  • Style: Dry Stout
  • Taste: Roasted malt burnt coffee cocoa
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 650ml., March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Part of the ‘Black Notebook Series‘. Pours ultra dark brown/black with a smallish quickly dissipating head, barely any lacing, lots of micro streams.

Nose: roasted burnt malts (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, incoming roasted malts

Mid-palate: airy, fizzy, (lvl-3)-sweetness, (MAIN) roasted caramel malts, burnt coffee, cocoa

Finish: tingly-fizzy mouthfeel, potato, roasted malted light bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Decent flavours, a little thin bodied in the mid to finish. Just a little too tingly-fizzy for me.

Methode Pilsener – Moa Brewing (Marlborough, New Zealand)

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  • My Rating: B

Methode Pilsener – Moa Brewing, 5% ABV – 750ml, (Marlborough, New Zealand)

On the front-side label:

“Moa Methode is bottle fermented and conditioned to give a natural, more consistent carbonation and flavour. Due to the natural brewing process of Methode Moa, a light, beneficial sediment will remain. This sediment protects the beer from premature aging and leaves full, slightly spicy characters on the palate.”

  • Style: Pilsener
  • Taste: Barley malt fizzy yeasty bread
  • Where I got it : Legacy
  • How much: $10 (after 10% off) – 750ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Elegantly foil wrapped and corked, very classy. Pours clear golden pale yellow with a nice-sized foamy head, a good layer of retention, sticky lacing, a plethora of activity.

Nose: some sweet barley malt, but otherwise not much (lvl-1)-pungency

Attack: super crisp, incoming barley + bitter hops

Mid-palate: fizzy-airy mouthfeel, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) barley malts, yeasty, bready, grassy

Finish: subtle soft bitter hops, gentle pronounced bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Good body for a pilsener, nice mouthfeel and balanced flavours.

Russian Imperial Stout – Parallel 49 Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B

Russian Imperial Stout – Parallel 49 Brewery, 10.9% ABV – 750ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the front left-side label:

“In the 18th century, this bold, strong stout was brewed in London for the long and treacherous trip to the Imperial courts of Russia. In keeping with this stoic tradition, this whiskey-barrel aged imperial stout is warm, full bodied and fit for a Czar. Ingredients: Roasted Barley, Pale, Chocolate, Munich & Crystal Malts, Magnum & Fuggles Hops, Yeast.”

  • Style: (Whiskey-Oak) Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Alcoholic caramel-chocolate sweet malts w/ oaked whiskey backdrop
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Yay! Finally a review of a local beer. Sealed with wax and a cap. Pours inkjet black with a smallish creamy head, a thin layer of retention, some lacing, active streams visible near the surface.

Nose: rich caramel malts (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: light fizzy-creamy, incoming heavy malts

Mid-palate: alcohol heaviness, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, subtle roast, chocolate, soy sauce, cola, sweet oaked whiskey

Finish: tingly, medium boozy, sweet chocolate malt finish with light hopped bitterness.

Summary: Solid flavours, body, and drinkability. It could be a bit creamier but overall the texture is pleasant.

Brùton St.Renna (Christmas Special Beer) – Birrificio Brùton (Lucca, Italy)

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  • My Rating: B-

Brùton St.Renna (Christmas Special Beer) – Birrificio Brùton, 9% ABV – 750ml., (Lucca, Italy)

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  • Style: (Christmas) Spiced Strong Ale
  • Taste: Brown sugar caramel malt nutmeg whiskey
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $15 (after 10% off) – 750ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50 after some thought

Visual: Underneath the bottle cap is a fitted plastic bottle seal, a first that I’ve ever seen. Pours translucent medium dark cola brown with a minimal dissipating head, thin ringed retention, lots of micro bubbly streams.

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Nose: very brown sugary malty, candi sugar (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: incoming sweet malts, alcoholic

Mid-palate: tingly-silky mouthfeel/little CO2, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) heavy caramel malts, brown sugar, nutmeg, fig/date dark fruit, whiskey

Finish: mild coriander dryness, boozy, malty light bitter-med sweet finish.

Summary: A quality brew with great body, good flavours and good drinkability.

Stouterik – Brasserie de la Senne (Brussels, Belgium)

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  • My Rating: B-

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

  • Style: Stout
  • Taste: Crisp mocha roasted malt hopped
  • 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: yes

Visual: Pours jet brown/black with a massive lasting ultra-creamy head, sticky lacing, suspended sediment, lots of slow steady streams.

Nose: light roasted sweet malts. mild cola (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: super crisp, very creamy mouthfeel, incoming malts

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) chocolate-coffee/mocha, caramel, roasted bitter malts, mild burnt wood, hints of vanilla

Finish: light sourness, malty bittersweet + bitter hopped coffee finish.

Summary: Quite straightforward with flavour and texture. It didn’t amaze me but made me glad that I tried it.