Paradox Isle of Arran (Batch 16) – Brewdog (Ellon, Scotland)

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Paradox Isle of Arran (Batch 16) (retired) – Brewdog, 10% ABV – 500ml., (Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

Another one from my absolute favourite top 10 breweries, Brewdog never fails to delight my palate. Check out my review of their Speyside edition.

on the back label:

“A rock ‘n’ roll partnership between Scotland’s best new distillery (Distiller of the Year 2007) and Scotland’s hardcore new microbrewery (Gold Medal Winner, World Beer Cup 2008). Paradox, Isle of Arran Edition, see’s BrewDog’s killer 10% Imperial Stout matured in stunning whisky casks from the Arran distillery.

The rich vanilla sweetness, hints of cinnamon, balanced aromatic fruit and ginger flavours of the Arran malt are all completely infused deep into the texture of our smooth robust Imperial Stout, with profound new depths emerging with each pass and sip.

To release the true character, complexity and depth of flavours in this beer, please enjoy it at room temperature, unless you live in an igloo.”

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  • Style: (Isle of Arran Scotch) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Whisky alcoholic thick sweet roasted coffee caramel-cacao malt bitter
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store (Van, BC)
  • How much: $7 (after 10% off) – 330ml., February, 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, especially if you like stouts

Visual: Pours coffee black-brown with barely any head, a thin layer of ultra-micro retention, no visible activity.

Nose: BIG roasted coffee caramel malt, very thick (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity, light-fizzy, slick

Mid-palate: thick-bodied, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) persistent whisky alcohol detection, malt, cacao, chocolate, caramel, fig/date, coffee, soy sauce

Finish: deep-roasted coffee bitter, residual malty sweetness + lingering roasted bitter finish.

Summary: Solid depth of flavours and complexity, but more alcohol (as well as other subtle spices) come through as it cools down. Great overall brew but no distinct attention-grabbing traits particularly stood out, other than the whisky alcohol influence.

Timothy Taylor’s Landlord – Knowle Spring Brewery (Keighley, England)

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Timothy Taylor’s Landlord – Knowle Spring Brewery, 4.1% ABV – 500ml., (Keighley, England)

on the back label:

“Landlord is the classic pale ale, brewed in the traditional way from Knowle Spring water, using on the finest Golden Promise malted barley and best possible leaf hops. This full-flavoured brew has won many awards, both at Brewers Exhibitions and Great British Beer Festivals.”

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  • Style: Bitters
  • Taste: crisp malty citrus hopped bitter
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $4 – 500ml., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: Pours clear medium orange with a decent creamy head, a small layer of retention, sticky lacing, several clustered fast streams.

Nose: hops, sweet toffee malts (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: smooth, light fizzy, soft crispness

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee, light roast, clean grainy barley malt, grassy, orange, light metallic

Finish: mild citrus-soft bitter hops, lingering bitter hopped finish.

Summary: A clean, easy-going, sippable yet well-bodied brew. Not outstanding but decent.

Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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Cinder Cone Red Ale – Deschutes Brewery, 5.3% ABV – 22oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

  • Style: Amber Ale
  • Taste: caramel barley malt soft bitter hopped
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5 – 22oz., November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Pours copper reddish brown with a small creamy head, well sticky lacing, a very thin layer of micro retention, several slow singular streams.

Nose: sweet honey/barley malts, mild hoppy backdrop. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp-sweet-hopped balance

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, fizzy-tingly, (MAIN) barley malt, soft-prominent hopped bitterness, caramel, subtle roast.

Finish: lingering bitter hops, light caramel-bitter hopped finish.

Summary: A crisp, semi-malty, semi-sweet but hop-dominant beer. Very drinkable with a meal or alone, although a bit tiring on the palate.

Cherry Fruit Wine – Rustic Roots Winery (Cawston, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: [C+]

Cherry Fruit Wine 2008 – Rustic Roots Winery., 13.7% ABV – 750ml., (Cawston, BC, Canada)

on the Rustic Roots website:

“Made with 100% certified organic Lambert and Lapin cherries. This is a very unique fruit wine with beautiful aromas of Leather, Earthiness and a Soft Smokiness.  The midpalate is rich with flavors of Dark Red Fruit, while the finish is very soft and creamy with very subtle tannin.  The Wine is made with a blend of 3 Varieties of Certified Organic Similkameen Cherries!  Lapin Cherry for the Sweetness, Lambert Cherry for it’s Dark Color and Sour Cherry for Acidity.”

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  • Style: (Cherry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Alcoholic bitter dry cherry leathery smoke
  • Where I got it : Rustic Roots website (online order)
  • How much: $19 – 750ml., sometime in 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to fruit wine aficionados: the latest (but sold out) vintage is supposed to be more balanced

Visual: Pours dark magenta, clear, no bubbles or sediment.

Nose: cherry liqueur, sherry, mild peat (?!),  (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: alcoholic mouthfeel, incoming acidic sourness

Mid-palate: alcohol, (lvl-2)-sweetness, tangy-acidic, (MAIN) deep cherry, bitterness, leather

Finish: light warmth, smokiness, dryness, alcoholic bitter finish.

Summary: The flavour doesn’t scream out cherry, but it’s okay for a table wine. It might be nice mulled with spices.

Ginger Apple Cider – Lonetree Cider Co. (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Ginger Apple Cider – Lonetree Cider Co., 5.5% ABV, 355ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the back of the can:

“We believe the old ways are still the best. That’s why we always use genuine cider apples to craft our authentic cider selections. Now, we’ve added a zesty twist of real ginger, for an exotic and lightly spicy cider experience. We know you’ll taste the difference.”

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  • Style: (ginger) Flavoured Apple Cider
  • Taste: Spicy ginger apple
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $11/6pack – 6x355ml., October 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes, if you like ginger

Visual: Pours clear light yellow with no head and a few slow and steady streams.

Nose: tangy ginger + cane sugar, almost like a ginger beer. Very bright and inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sharp carbonation, dense sugars

Mid-palate: tangy acidity, fizzy-tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) ginger, apple juice,

Finish: light-med ginger burn, burpy, light-cloying, lingering ginger burn finish.

Summary: Authentic ginger as advertised with a substantial burn, quite good all things considered. Not too pretty visually or texture-wise, but very sippable with a meal.

Late Harvest Merlot – Isabella Winery (Richmond, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: D-

Late Harvest Merlot 2009 – Isabella Winery, 13.5% ABV – 375ml, (Richmond, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“This luscious Late Harvest Merlot has ripe, spicy aromas and fine plum flavors. It is an excellent choice with chocolate desserts. When properly stored it has a shelf-life of up to ten years. Enjoy it!!”

  • Style: (Late Harvest Merlot) Dessert Wine
  • Taste: Alcoholic sweet grape = vodka + grape soda
  • Where I got it : @Winery in Richmond
  • How much: $18 – 375ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: refund immediately

Visual: Pours clear orange-red with a small bubbles, surprisingly.

Nose: fruity sweet red grape/strawberry/raspberry. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: acidic, hints of effervescence, incoming alcoholic sweetness

Mid-palate: (lvl-8)-sweetness, bitter alcohol, medium sour-light tart, (MAIN) sour red grape, light raspberry,

Finish: rough lingering acidity, light heat, tangy alcohol bittersweet finish.

Summary: This drinks very jagged in terms of textures and taste. It’s like a mix of vodka and grape soda, or vodka and cider, not clean at all.

Cariboo Honey Lager – Pacific Western Brewing (Prince George, BC, Canada)

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Cariboo Honey Lager – Pacific Western Brewing, 5.5% ABV, 355ml., (Prince George, BC, Canada)

from the Cariboo.com website:

“Hey you like beer? Our Cariboo Honey Lager is A beer. The beer itself is made with the same hops and malt as our classic recipe, but we add real BC honey from the Cariboo region. Brewed for everyone who likes a drinkable beer in any form – from craft maniacs to the everyday Joe drinking on the job – we got the Honey Boo to make Winnie The Pooh say Woopty Woo.

Tasting Notes

Just a hint of honey gives this beer nice body and it will leave you tracing your glass with your finger craving more. We crafted a lager with just a hint of sweetness not an overbearing honey flavor. Paired it with all foods especially when you have the munchies because this honey doesn’t interrupt Game Time when it’s Go Time.”

  • Style: (Honey) Flavoured Lager
  • Taste: Crisp honey sweet malt barley
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $8/6pack – 6x355ml., October 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no, too boring

Visual: Pours clear copper brown with barely any head, a super thin layer of retention, not that many sluggish streams.

Nose: light molasses malt, a touch of fishiness. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: crisp, honey

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, fizzy mouthfeel, (MAIN) honey, malt, barley,

Finish: light yeasty, no-length, almost non-existent hops, crisp honey-sweet malt finish.

Summary: Pretty basic and drinkable, with a definite honeyed profile. Not that exciting in terms of texture, flavour or depth.