The Craft BeerAdvent 2014 Calendar Day #14 – Imperial Schwarze Gams (Austria)


The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #14

Imperial Schwarze Gams – Privatbrauerei Loncium, 7% ABV – 330ml., (Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria)

here’s some info I found on the interwebs about this particular style, from

A Different Bock for Each Cold Season
There are several traditional types of Bockbier, each with its typical color and strength, which seems to vary almost in rhythm with the season. With the arrival of frost and the shortening of days in early December, the soul needs something more nourishing then a blond lager, especially after a frigid day of shopping for Christmas presents. Weihnachtsstarkbier (Christmas Bockbier), which is popular in the south of Germany, is often a darker version of the regular Bock. Sometimes it is also called a Dunkles or Dunkler Bock. In addition to the rich malty finish, these rewarding Yuletide brews have a slightly chocolatey taste from the addition of some roasted malts.

  • Style: (Dunkles) Dunkler Bock
  • Taste: Sweet roasty toasty barley malt cola crisp & clean
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: solid, drinkable, non-mesmerizing

Visual: Pours clear cola brown, lots of micro bubbles near the surface, thin ringed retention.

Nose: liquid thick barley malt. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: biting crisp-light fizz, incoming malty cola sweet

Mid-palate: (MAIN) toasted barley malt, -> (lvl-8)-sweetness + heavy

Finish: hints of vanilla, cola, caramel light roasted malty sweet + super subtle bitterness in the finish.

Summary: Clean and crisp malty brew, ABV well-hidden, went down smooth and enjoyable. Nice showcase of style, though not thoroughly enticing.

Elephant Island Cherry Wine (Naramata, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: [C-]

Cherry (Table) Wine 2011 – Elephant Island Orchard Wines Ltd., 11% ABV – 750ml., (Naramata, BC, Canada) (*local BC Wine*)

I visited the winery on a road trip waaaaay back in 2010. Unfortunately they sold out of this wine when I went so I thought “it must be good”; I ended up buying next year’s vintage at a local liquor store. This is only my 2nd EE review, I still have bottles of their 2008s in my cellar…

  • Style: (cherry, table wine) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Dry fruity cherry supertart oak hints
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek, Vancouver.
  • How much: $20 (after 10% off) – 750ml., April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to wine aficionados: not amazing enough

Visual: Pours deep blood red.

Nose: acidic, cherry, light woody, alcohol detection. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: partially thin, incoming dry fruity,

Mid-palate: (lvl-1)-sweetness, (MAIN) black cherry juice without the sweetness, hints of oak -> tangy acidity

Finish: mild alcoholic heat, tart palate roughness, dull dry “cherry stem” finish.

Summary: Drinks best warmer, at >20°C/68°F, drinks very flat when chilled. 1st glass was decent, after that every other sip is straightforward and predictable. I’m prefer my fruit wines sweeter and fleshier, this one’s not for me.

Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #14 – Red Racer ISA


Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #14

Red Racer India Session Ale (ISA) – Central City Brewing, 4% ABV – 341ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the back label:

“A clean and crisp ale with good bitterness and malt balance, coupled with refreshing hop aromatics. This India-style Ale is big in flavour yet highly Sessionable.”


  • Style: India Session Ale
  • Taste: Thin-bodied off-dry grapefruity/tangerine overtone barley malt
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: pass

Visual: Pours clear pale light orange with a small head, mostly sticky lacing, very thin micro retention, lots of fast streams, suspended micro sediment.

Nose: fruity clean grapefruit-mandarin orange-peach, background malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp-half creamy/tingly-very thin mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (lvl-3)-sweetness, (MAIN) grapefruit, barley malt

Finish: flavour cuts short, soft hopped finish.

Summary: Definitely not your full-bodied ale; crisp and drinkable, but not much length for the flavour.

The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #13 – Invernalmind Blackfriar Scottish Ale


The Craft BeerAdvent Calendar 2014 Day #13

Blackfriar Scotch Ale – Invernalmond Brewery, 7.0% ABV – 330ml., (Perth, Scotland)

on the back label:

“Perth, the ancient capital of Scotland, was known in the Middle Ages for its great monasteries. One of these, the Blackfriars cloister, had a famously bloody past; it was there that King James I was assassinated in 1437. Our homage to the Blackfriar monastery is this hearty Scotch ale. This beer is as dark and complex as its legendary namesake, starting with a rustic earthy character then unfolding in smouldering, chocolatey notes and fruity, spicy flourishes.”

  • Style: Scotch Ale
  • Taste: Caramel toffee malt mild apple boozy sweet
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent

Visual: Pours murky root beer brown with virtually no head, barley any retention, way too much suspended floaties.

Nose: light boozy, toasted caramel malts, (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: slick-flat/micro fizzy

Mid-palate: bitter alcohol, (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) red apple, toasted caramel malts, brown sugar/molasses

Finish: soft tangy, malty sweet-light cola finish.

Summary: Thick and heavy light typical scotch ales, this one is decent although the relatively low ABV is easily detected.

Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #14 – Elsinore (Lager)


Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #14

Elsinore – Phillips Brewing, 5.0% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front-right label:

“Elsinore is authentically brewed & cold fermented using superior yeast, first-rate two-row barley and the finest hops.”

  • Style: (pale) Lager
  • Taste: sweet almost salty bready liquid barley malt
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: uncharacteristically boring

Visual: Pours cloudy golden marmalade orange without much head, very thin ringed retention, large bits of suspended sediment.

Nose: sweet liquid lager malt, sour citrus in the background. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, bready

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) liquid barley malt

Finish: malty sweet aftertaste, dull bitter hops

Summary: Very plain and very boring. No complexity whatsoever, but drinkable at least.

Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #13 – Black Christmas CDA


Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #13

  • My Rating: [C] (downgraded from C+ from 2012 rating),  I gave it a (2.8 of 5) on

Black Christmas CDA (Christmas Dark Ale) – Parallel 49 Brewing, 6.5% ABV – 341ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

This one is a repeat, I had it back in December 2012, which I gave it a C+. Check out the review here.

  • Style: (Black IPA) Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Taste: boring basic sweet liquid barley malt no body
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: don’t bother

-Initial tasting [12/2012]: Tasting notes: pours super dark coffee black/brown with a very small creamy head, some sticky lacing, thin ringed retention, a few active clustered streams. Toasted caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a bright sharp-hoppiness up front, 7/10-sweetness, roasted-toasted caramel medium malts, clinging hoppy bitterness, coffee, dark fig/dates, grapefruit sourness in the mids and finish, ending with a mildly grapefruit sour hoppy light-med bitter finish. Overall medium bodied with a partially watery mouthfeel. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability.

[November 23, 2015 – re-tasting]

Visual: Pours dark cola brown, tiny head, murky half thin retention.

Nose: sweet brown sugar roasted caramel barley malts (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: fizzy-micro CO2, incoming dark malts

Mid-palate: (MAIN) nutty, thick caramel malts, coffee -> (lvl-7)-sweetness

Finish: burnt citrus sourness = astringent malty finish.

Summary: I’m not digging the finish; the mouth is left with an incoherent hoppy burnt maltiness, not good. Attack, mids and structure are fine.

Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #13 – Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout


Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #13

Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout – Phillips Brewing, 8% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

I had to replace the 341ml with a 650ml-bomber; it got drank sometime.

on the front-right label:

“Anubis is your guide through the dark depths of this Java laden journey, featuring a deep black coffee crema and an intensely rich & roasted character. Methodically crafted with only the best espresso, this one-eyed jackal is no wild card.”

  • Style: (coffee) Flavoured Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Slick sweet thick roasted coffee malt
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth one go, though not the bestest

Visual: Pours jet black with a very small disappearing head, thin hazy micro retention.

Nose: sweet malty burnt roasted coffee. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: slick-fizzy-tingly

Mid-palate: more bubbly mouthfeel, (MAIN) roasted coffee, caramel malts, cola, hints of vanilla -> (lvl-6)-sweetness

Finish: subdued sour, light roast, chocolate malt burnt bittersweet.

Summary: Decent flavours, enjoyable. It feels a bit lacking in boldness; the mids end too quickly.