Hardcore IPA – Brewdog (Scotland)

 


TL:DR – “cellared mine for 3 years, too flat and too alcoholic to love”


Hardcore IPA – Brewdog, 9.2% ABV, 330 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)


  • Style: Imperial IPA / Double IPA
  • Taste: heavy alcoholic brandy toffee barleywine
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / Burnaby
  • How much: $4 CAD (after 10% off) – 330 ml., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: maybe if fresh
  • What made an impression: heavy alcohol

Visual: (cellared for 3 years). Textured label on the bottle. Pours almost clear copper brown with suspended micro sediment, micro ring, a few micro bubbles here and there not much.

Nose: caramelized barley toffee malt, slight alcohol, heavy sweetness. (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: boozy heaviness

Mid-palate: (lvl-8-sweetness), alcohol hit heavy, brandy, toffee-barleywine

Finish: orange citrus hoppy medium bitter, zingy alcohol

Summary: Lots of alcoholic heaviness in this one, I’m not that convinced that it’s all for the better. Perhaps I’ve cellared this one for too long (3 years), the mouthfeel is rather flat and I’m not getting a balanced sippability characteristic of Brewdog brews. Just a bit above average.

Vidal Icewine 2007 – Peller Estates (Ontario, Canada)

  • My Rating: [B+]

TL:DR – “Intense grape-raisin with some pineapple-mango nuances. Great stuff.”


Vidal Icewine Private Reserve 2007 – Peller Estates, 11.5% ABV – 200 ml., (Niagaro-on-the-lake, Ontario, Canada)


on the back label:

“This rare wine is made from frozen Vidal grapes hand picked at night below -10C in the middle of Canada’s cold winter. One drop of nectar is pressed from each grape to produce this luscious highly aromatic wine. Intense flavours of tropical fruit, peaches and honey are followed by a refreshing lingering finish…”


  • Style: (Vidal) Icewine
  • Taste: Fruit grape-raisin soft tropical liquid sweet
  • Where I got it : Superstore / Edmonton
  • How much: $18.29 – 200 ml., sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: clean complex enjoyable flavour

Visual: (cellared for 11 years). Pours copper brownish orange, clear as water.

Nose: raisin, honey, fig/date (lvl-9)-pungency

Attack: thicker viscosity

Mid-palate: sugar and alcohol bite, jammy raisin, dissipating (lvl-8-sweetness), mango

Finish: concord grape, sticky raisin, pineapple

Summary: Absolutely delightful. Complex grape flavour accompanied by a the advertised tropical backend. The sugars are intense but scatter quickly enough for the fruitiness to kick in.

The Other Red Raspberry Wine – Barr Estate Winery (Sherwood Park, AB, Canada)

  • My Rating: [C+]

TL:DR – “dull raspberry flavour but has composed tangy-sour-acidic qualities. I’ve had better”


The Other Red Raspberry Wine 201012% ABV – 750 ml., (Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada)


printed on the back:

“Tasting notes: Immerse yourself in the complex aromas and full-bodied flavours of ripe summer fruits and berries. Enjoy The Other Red by itself, with duck breast, or roast pork. Serve cool. Made with loving care from 100% Strathcona County raspberries


  • Style: (Raspberry) Fruit Wine
  • Taste: Dull raspberry soft tangy soft sour firm acidic
  • Where I got it : Sherbrooke (?) / Edmonton
  • How much: ~$30 CAD (?) – 750 ml., sometime in 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: not fully
  • What made an impression: decent body, sippable

Visual: (cellared for 8 years). Pours clear dark maroon with a few tiny bubbles along the perimeter. Low legs.

Nose: juicy pressed raspberries with tang and fruity acidity. Smells great. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: controlled tart, tangy bite, mild prickly 

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), fruity but tangy dry acidity, medium-body dull raspberry, soft sour

Finish: cuts off-dry, hint blackberry woody

Summary: A decent tangy light-medium bodied fruit wine, goes well with a meal. Don’t expect robust or dazzling raspberry flavours in this one, it’s 2-note at with good composure. I’ve definitely had better raspberry wine, check the raspberry wine tag.

Grape Vodka Round 1.5 – Three-O VS Van Gogh VS Skyy

TL:DR (Three Olives = medium harsh, Van Gogh = Sweet, smoother, Skyy = harshest)


So I’m bringing back the Grape Vodka tastings from way back then, but this time around there’s a new contender in the mix. We have the previously reviewed Sky and Three-O now joined by Van Gogh. Let’s find out the characteristics of each one.


1) Three Olives – 35% ABV – 750ml, (Lawrenceburg, IN, USA), ~$26 CAD

  • Made with imported Vodka from England but bottled and produced in USA.
  • 3-O also has a product called “Purple” which is supposed to taste like frozen crushed grapes. I’ll put it head-to-head with the winner in the future.
  • The bottle in the photo is an older bottling and the updated label is much cooler imo.

2) Van Gogh – 35% ABV – 750ml, (Schiedam, Holland), ~$35 CAD

  • no longer listed on the vangoghvodka.com website (checked 10/2018)

3) Skyy Infusions Grape – 35% ABV – 750ml, (San Fran, CA, USA) ~$24 CAD

  • 4x column distilled, 3x filtered, American grain
  • no longer listed on the Skyy.com website (checked 10/2018)

Criteria:

Nose: 3O is mostly clean and gentle with a mostly candy-like artificial but welcoming grape nose, with some mild alcohol detection creeping in late the finish. VG, eww, mostly tingly alcohol detection with just a hint of grape – not very enticing. SKYY has the same candy-like qualities of 3O but has 2x the pungency and is overall much cleaner. SKYY wins for the nose.

Taste & Texture: 3O is thicker in the mouth, exhibiting gentle fruity grape sweetness, some alcohol tongue numbing action from the mids until finish, softly warming the throat. 3O leaves a impression of composure and cleanliness. VG is slightly thinner than 3O, sweeter up front, making it brighter and more palatable as a sipper. Subtle darker and somewhat authentic grape notes show themselves in mainly late mids and exhale. There’s also a touch of tanginess, a bit of tongue minty-like numbness, and touch of throat burn. VG leaves an impression of subtle complexity. SKYY, yikes, the alcohol burns aggressive right from the start, accompanied by the huge candyesque artificial tasting grape flavor. The only redeeming quality is that it displays grape from start to finish, it is flavoured as advertised whereas 3O and VG are more subtle with their grape flavouring. Skyy leaves and impression of a cheap vodka base with artificial flavouring – not good. I choose VG as the winner because of its low alcohol detection and sweet yet subtle grape flavour.


Final Notes:

  • Both Van Gogh and Skyy no longer list their grape vodkas on their respective websites. Thus, Three olives will do
  • Three Olives = harsher alcohol
  • Van Gogh = sweet, subtle grape, discontinued
  • Skyy = harsh alcohol, big candy grape flavour might work well in a cocktail or shots, discontinued

WINNER = Van Gogh Grape, (but it is likely discontinued so go get a bottle of Three Olives Grape)

Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA – Innis & Gunn (Edinburgh, Scotland)


TL:DR – “Hoppyish mango fruit, not super juicy. Bitterness takes over. Just okay.”


Mangoes on the Run Mango IPA – Innis & Gunn, 5.6% ABV, 500 ml., (Edinburgh, Scotland)


  • Style: (flavoured – Mango) – IPA
  • Taste: fruityish mango malty bitter hops
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $3 CAD – 500 ml., July 2018
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: nah
  • What made an impression: detectable ipa and mangoness

Visual: Oversized aluminum can. Pours clear copper orange with a half island and ringed retention, steady micro streams.

Nose: bright fruity mango-citrus hop oils, very clean. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp, background bitter

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), mango fruity malt, stealth prominent bitter hops

Finish: persistent bitter hop

Summary: Decent integration of tropical hops and real mango flavour. Nothing particularly special, just overall solid.

He Said Baltic-Style Porter – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “Just ok, the spices+pumpkin give me a gag reflex in the mids. Not my thing.”


He Said (Baltic-Style Porter, lager brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Baltic Porter
  • Taste: caramel pumpkin barley malt astringent caraway-gag reflex
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: nah
  • What made an impression: astringently spiced, causes gag reflex

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours dark coffee brown with a dissipating 1cm head, fine ringed retention with a half island, singular micro streams along the perimeter.

Nose: caramel barley malt, caramelized pumpkin nuances. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sharp crisp bite, caraway (kind of minty)

Mid-palate: caramel barley malt, (lvl-6-sweetness), cinnamon, caramelized pumpkin, brown sugar

Finish: residual malt sweetness, root beer, very subtle bitter

Summary: On its own, drinkable, above average. But with a meal, it brings out this astringent spice gag reflex (probably the caraway&pumpkin combo) that just doesn’t do it for me. I enjoyed the He Said Belgian-style tripel more.

He Said Belgian-Style Tripel – 21st Amendment Brewery (San Francisco, CA, USA)


TL:DR – “heavily spiced, mostly clean, alcoholic.”


He Said (Belgian-Style Tripel Ale brewed with pumpkin and spices), 8.2% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Francisco, California, USA)


  • Style: (flavoured – pumpkin, spices) Belgian Tripel
  • Taste: honey toffee barley malt nutmeg clove alcoholic
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $13 USD / $17 CAD – 4 mixed pack x 12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Recommended: Yes
  • What made an impression: prominent spices

Visual: (cellared for 2.5 years). 4-pack aluminum canned, 2 flavours. Pours golden orange without much of a head, just a slight ring, suspended sediment, slow micro streams.

Nose: nutmeg/cinnamon, toffee honey malt. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, richly spiced base

Mid-palate: (lvl-5-sweetness), honey’d barley malt, roasted pumpkin, slight alcoholic heaviness

Finish: nutmeg, mild cinnamon, clove, subtle bitter

Summary: A brick-ton of spices, but also packed with a solid malt base and a stealth alcohol. Very sippable, but perhaps a bit a palate heavy about 2/3rd through a serving. Could be a bit thicker and smoother, cause the finish is a rather dull.