Toasted Oak IPA – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)

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Toasted Oak IPA – Innis & Gunn, 5.6% ABV, 330ml, (Edinburgh, Scotland)

on the back label:

“This IPA’s intense hop character comes from a brewing technique unique to Innis & Gunn. We add hops 3 times during brewing, each one creating additional layers of zesty flavour and aroma. We then finish the beer over specially toasted oak to give it the rich, rounded character of authentic IPAs from the 1800s.”

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  • Style: (oak) Barrel-Aged English IPA
  • Taste: Malt liquor sweet soft nondescript hopped bitter
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3 – 330ml., October 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: pass

Visual: Pours clear golden amber without much head, a thin layer of micro-fine retention, steady scattered streams all around.

Nose: gummy sweet liquid malt, lightly rank. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: ultra-biting crisp, thick malts

Mid-palate: (MAIN) bitter malt, subtle oak

Finish: (lvl-5)-sweetness, dry malt liquor, lager-like sweetness, soft-subtle hopped bitter finish.

Summary: Malty smooth but a very understated hop character; mostly the typical I&G sweetness takes over the palate – still, it’s smooth and drinkable but hardly memorable. Most importantly it doesn’t have the toasted oak flavour as advertised.

Valencia Moscato – The Tapas Wine Collection (Spain)

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  • My Rating: [C+]

Valencia Moscato 2013 – The Tapas Wine Collection, 5% ABV, 650ml, (Cheste, Spain)

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  • Taste: Medium cloying fruity apple-pear-muscat
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $14 – 750ml., July 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: more for casual drinkers

Visual: Pours very light beige with tight clusters in the center, small bubbles.

Nose: sweet apple pear peach muscat grape. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: medium acidic, dense sugars, light fizzy

Mid-palate: medium cloying stickiness, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) red apple, pear, muscat grape

Finish: light-bodied, sour-tangy, residual sweet finish.

Summary: Inviting and playful flavours accompanied by a bubbly crisp mouthfeel, decent. Somewhat cloying and repetitive by itself, best with some appies. Beware of the heartburn on an empty stomach.

Corn Hops Imperial Corn IPA – Parallel 49 Brewing (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

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Corn Hops Imperial Corn IPA – Parallel 49 Brewing, 8.2% ABV, 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada) (*local craft beer*)

printed on front-left:

“We’ve been known to throw some puns around, and sometimes we’ve been downright corny. This beer is brewed using a healthy dose of corn and even healthier dose of hops, making for a light-bodied imperial IPA. Gotta have my hops.”

Ingredients: pilsner malt, flaked corn, chinook, ahtanum, and citra hops, yeast and water.

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  • Style: (flaked corn) Flavoured Imperial IPA
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 – 650ml., June 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not quite

Visual: Limited Release 2015. Pours virtually clear pale golden orange with almost no head, quickly dissipating, a very thin layer of hazy retention, slow steady streams here and there.

Nose: aromatic sweet lemon-orange citrus hopped nose. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: cream-very crisp bite, incoming bitter hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) bold citrus hop oils, liquid malt sweetness

Finish: biting grapefruit peel bitterness, resin, hopped bitter finish.

Summary: Something like your citrus IPA but with added sweetness minus a bit of body. Not much corn flavour but big on citrus. Pretty straightforward.

Imperial Stout – Samuel Smith’s (Tadcaster, England)

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Imperial Stout – Samuel Smith, 7.0% ABV, 550ml., (Tadcaster, England)

on the back label:

“Brewed at Samuel Smith’s small, traditional British brewery with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, roasted barley, yeast and hops to create a rich flavourful ale; deep chocolate in colour with a roasted barley nose and flavour that is a complexity of malt, hops and yeast. Fermented in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’. This distinctive type of ale was originally shipped to Imperial Russia; it was a favourite of Russian nobility.”

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  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Cacao roasted liquid barley malt
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn @ Hastings/Burnaby
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 550ml., February 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not memorable

Visual: Foil sealed cap. Pours coffee black with very minimal head, a thin layer of fine retention, lots of micro streams near the surface.

Nose: light burnt bread, sweet baked molasses. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: watery-slick, immediate burnt light-sour liquid malt

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) cacao, roasted barley, caramel, coffee sourness, soy sauce, hints of vanilla

Finish: lingering roasted malted barley, partially thin finish.

Summary: A bit dry on its own but goes nicely with a meal. Not what I’d expect from an Imperial Stout, it’s rather light but where it lacks in body it makes up for it in composure and balance. This one makes you notice subtlety.

Ruby Rose – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

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Ruby Rose – Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, 9.9% ABV, 750ml., (Saanichton, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“A captivating semi-sweet cider infused with rhubarb, Ruby Rose is a beguiling vixen and part of our Canadian Invasion Series. She may be as aromatic as rhubarb pie, but her namesake is the merciless Rosa Rugosa, an invasive plant that threatens many coastal regions. Proceeds from our Canadian Invasion Series support efforts to combat invasive species in sensitive ecological areas.”

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  • Style: (rhubarb) flavoured apple cider
  • Taste: Flat fruity berry alcoholic apple dense sugar
  • Where I got it : Crosstown Liquor (Vancouver)
  • How much: $20 – 750ml., August 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: not for those averse to sweet ciders

Visual: Pours pale pinkish-orange with virtually no head, barely any activity, a few bubbles on the surface. Not much visual appeal.

Nose: woody tangy apple wine, some prickly acidity. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: crisp-flat CO2,

Mid-palate: cloying sugars -> (lvl-7)-sweetness, mild alcohol bitterness, medium tangy-sour, (MAIN) apple wine, dense apple sugars, strawberry & nondescript fieldberry.

Finish: apple peel/rhubarb exhale, sugary flat mouthfeel finish.

Summary: Okay flavour but nothing punchy or memorable; That coupled with the lack of textural mouthfeel makes this one just average. It’s okay with a meal.

The Muse Apple Cider – Angry Orchard (Cincinnati, OH, USA)

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The Muse Apple Cider – Angry Orchard, 7.7% ABV, 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)

printed on the back of the bottle:

“The Muse is the newest addition to our Cider House Collection. Inspired by the festive nature of slightly sweet Demi-Sec champagnes and sparkling wines, the Muse is bubbly and effervescent. It is made from traditional culinary and bittersweet apples and aged on French oak. The Muse is sweet up front with a juicy apple aroma and bright acidity, and slightly drying on the finish with a lingering sweet apple note. The French oak adds a subtle wood impression, imparting notes of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and hints of vanilla.”

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  • Style: Apple Cider
  • Taste: Clean balanced baked red-green apple woody sour-sweet-acidic-tart bubbly.
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $15 (now $13 before tax) – 750ml., October 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, to be shared
  • Would I recommend this to cider aficionados: yes very good sir

Visual: Pours clear deep golden yellow with a small head, continually re-emerging fizzy head, the most activity I’ve ever seen in a cider. A wondrous sight.

Nose: lightly acidic, sweet & sour red apple juice. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: concentrated sugars and flavours

Mid-palate: juicy-tingly light fizzy mouthfeel, clean (lvl-5)-sweetness sugars, medium dissipating sour-tangy, (MAIN) apple wine, baked red & green apple, yeasty, light woody

Finish: cinnamon, alcohol hit, lingering sour acidity, thickened saliva, fruity finish.

Summary: It packs the density and body of an icewine yet offers a refreshing effervescent texture and mouthfeel. Extremely sippable and approachable. One of the best quality ciders I’ve had to date. The last good one I had was Temptation Frizzante – The View back in Oct, 2012.

Passionfruit Sour Ale – Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR, USA)

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Passionfruit Sour Ale – Breakside Brewery, 4.6% ABV, 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“One of the two beers brewed specifically for our second anniversary is a collaboration between Breakside’s Sam Barber, Lompoc’s Irina Bierzynski, and 10 Barrel Brewing’s Mayme Berman, all alums of Lewis & Clark College. It is a sharply sour German wheat ale made from a 100% sour mash, infused with the tart and tropical flavors of passionfruit.”

  • Style: (passionfruit) Fruit Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Overwhelmingly sour acidic clean passionfruit wheat malt
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn @ Hastings/Burnaby
  • How much: $8 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., December 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: if you like your sours VERY sour

Visual: Warning – gusher! Very difficult pour; It is golden light orange with abnormally almost all head, very long lasting, not very sticky lacing, clustered activity everywhere.

Nose: real passionfruit and orange syrup, authentic. Light metallic. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: invasive sour-puckery, light funk, high acidity, fizzy-tingly backdrop.

Mid-palate: persistent acidity, (MAIN) tangy passionfruit, orange citrus,
light wheat malt.

Finish: mild breadiness, light tart, fruity exhale.

Summary: Even eating passionfruit the fruit isn’t this sour, why is this so sour? I found out that optimal drinking temp is around 16°C; Straight out of the fridge into a chilled glass makes this it way too numbingly sour that inhibits any fruit flavours from emerging.

Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point Brewing (San Diego, CA, USA)

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Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point Brewing, 7.0% ABV, 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (San Diego, California, USA)

on the front-right label:

“A trophy beer that’s a testament to our homebrew roots. Our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. After years of experimenting, we know hopping an ale at five different stages would produce something special. The result ended up being this gold medal-winning IPA, whose inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavours, but still packs a bit of sting. Just like a Sculpin. ”

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  • Style: India Pale Ale
  • Taste: Whipped creamy smooth fruity mango-apricot toffee malts soft hopped bitter zen
  • Where I got it : gift from a relative in San Diego
  • How much: ~$8 USD – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., Summer 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 100%

Visual: Pours cloudy apricot orange with a large long-lasting very-foamy head with sticky lacing and good retention, scattered steady singular streams.

Nose: faint orange-mango, mild fishiness (coincidentally?!) (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: whipped cream smooth silky mouthfeel, fluffy bite, lemon oils

Mid-palate: fruit-forward, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) mango-apricot, toffee malts

Finish: clean transition, soft & gentle bitter hopped finish.

Summary: Complete balance and supreme clean flavours, even the finish where IPAs generally leave a sharp lingering bitterness, this does not. Absolutely fantastic and I’m not that much of a hophead. Pretty outworldly, much like the 90-minute IIPA I had from Dogfish Head at VCBW (Vancouver Craft Beer Week)

La Saison du Tracteur – Le Trou Du Diable (Shawinigan, QUE, Canada)

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La Saison du Tracteur – Le Trou Du Diable, 6% ABV, 600ml., (Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada)

  • WBA (World Beer Awards) 2012 World’s Best Pale Biere de Garde/Saison Gold

on the back label:

“Opalescent beer topped by a generous head. The complex aromas of citrus and passion fruit immediately draw you in to take that first sip. The taste offers the same aromas as the scent with an additional flavour of spices that stem from the authentic Saison yeast. The result is a thirst-quenching beer that combines the ingenuity of the New World and the rustic character of the Old Continent.

Ingredients: water, malted barley, malted rye, malted wheat, hops, yeast.”

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  • Style: Saison
  • Taste: bubbly fullness yeasty banana wheat malt dry hopped coriander
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn @ Hastings/Burnaby
  • How much: $8 (after 10% off) – 600ml., December 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure, worth a taste

Visual: (Their own bottle for their brewery, raised lettering and devil on the bottom, odd size 600ml). Heftier than average bottle cap. Pours marmalade orange with a huge lasting super-duper foamy head, thick sticky lacing, clusters upon more clusters of fast activity.

Nose: fruity passionfruit-mango with some yeasty funk in the background. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: sharp-crisp-fizzy

Mid-palate: bubbly-fullness, (lvl-3)-sweetness, (MAIN) malty, yeasty funk, banana wheat malts, lemon, coriander.

Finish: passion fruit exhale, coriander dryness, subtle soft hopped.

Summary: Fantastic body and mouthfeel. A good sipping refreshing summer beer, although somewhat bloating due to the huge carbonation.

Red Dragon Imperial Red Ale – Dead Frog Brewing (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

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Red Dragon Imperial Red Ale – Dead Frog Brewing, 8% ABV, 50 IBU, 650ml., (Aldergrove, BC, Canada) (*local BC Craft beer*)

on the front-left & right label:

“Don’t be fooled by the inviting tropical citrus aroma… This is a monstrous dark red ale with massive helpings of hops and malts. A robust and rich malt base is perfectly balanced with tropical citrus flavour and aroma provided by hearty helpings of citra dry hopping. The way of the dragon is one of perfect balance between malt and hop. Hops: Citra Malts: Pale Ale, Cara Amber, Munich, Cara 20, Special B IBU: 50 Recommended Glass: Hollowed out skull of your enemies”

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  • Style: Imperial Red Ale
  • Taste:
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6.30 – 650ml., May 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure, worth a taste

Visual: Pours auburn with a small 3mm head, a thin layer of retention, bubbles and bubbles everywhere.

Nose: malts with bright tropical mango-pineapple-orange. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-slick, subdued hops, resin, biting

Mid-palate: cream-fizzy mouthfeel, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) toffee malts, mango, pineapple, grapefruit, light toasted

Finish: malt heaviness, 90° turn sharp bitter hoppy finish.

Summary: Good body and crisp flavours. Overall satisfaction is there but wishing for a bit more punch in the tropical flavours. Stealth ABV.