Central City / Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #18 – Gary’s Gourd Imperial & Barrel Aged Squash Ale


Central City/Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #18

Gary’s Gourd Imperial & Barrel Aged Squash Ale – Central City Brewing, 9.0% ABV – 330ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“We set our brewmaster Gary Lohin loose to create this crazy imperial strength, barrel-aged squash ale. Could it get crazier? Well, when you’re the boss brewer, you get to experiment! Let us know what you think.”


  • Style: (barrel-aged, imperial) Spice/Herb/Vegetable Ale
  • Taste: Sweet squash cream-fizzy caramel malt root beer oak
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, delicious

Visual: Pours muddy nutty brown with an okay sized head, 1 mm micro layer of fine retention, many clusters of very fast streams.

Nose: caramel malt, molasses, root beer. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: cream-fizzy-full mouthfeel

Mid-palate: immediate squash, micro-fizzy, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) big caramel malts, root beer, roasted malts, sweet oak

Finish: soft subtle hops, residual cola malt sweetness.

Summary: Definitely my #1 favourite beer in the 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar. For some reason the big caramel flavour reminds me of my early tasting days when I had Japanese Sankt Gallen Stouts back in January of 2012.  Impressive, though a tad sweet by the last sip

Barrel Aged Cerveza Reposado – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)


Barrel Aged Cerveza Reposado – Spinnakers Brewpub, 5.0% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

on the front-ride side label:

“Cerveza Reposada. Barrel Aged in freshly emptied Mexican tequila barrels, this is a light effervescent cerveza style ale, lightly hopped with Amarillo, Cascade and Sorachi Ace hops for that Mexican citrusy note, augmented with grated citrus zest and Vancouver Island Sea Salt. Party, Party!!!”

Ingredients: aquifer water, malted barley, malted wheat, hops, citrus zest, sea salt, yeast.


  • Style: (Tequila barrel aged) Lager
  • Taste: Corona with lime already added plus agave
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey, N.Bby
  • How much: $6.30 (after 10% off) – 650ml., September 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: better than Corona if you like Lagers, otherwise pass

Visual: Pours pale straw golden yellow, lots of sediment in the bottom. Can’t comment about the head since mine was nearly flat likely due to a bad seal, some of the beer leaked out as I tilted the bottle. Good thing I have a CO2 tank at home; 50psi later and ready to go.

Nose: fruity lemon and lime zest, mellow agave in the background. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp-frothy

Mid-palate: (MAIN) lemon-lime, big initial agave flavour, -> sour-tangy, dry wheat malt,

Finish: hint spicy pepper, subtle light hopped bitterness, dry half-rough finish.

Summary: Tastes like an upgraded Corona with a tequila twist. Good citrus and agave notes but very light malt body. Drinks somewhat rough as it warms.

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


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.”


  • 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.

White Oak – The Bruery (Placentia, CA, USA)


White Oak – The Bruery, 11.5% ABV – 1 pt 9.4 fl.oz., (Placentia, CA, USA)

on the front label:

“Vivid caramel-esque, coconut-like and vanilla-ish flavors blanked in a crisp yet robust wheat ale.”


  • Style: (bourbon) Barrel-aged Wheat Ale
  • Taste: Apple juice toffee malt vanilla oak alcoholic
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off), @Brewery Creek, Sept 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, QUALITY that you can appreciate

Visual: Hefty bottle, screams quality. Pours pale dirty brown with a massive super long lasting ultra creamy head, very sticky lacing, clusters upon clusters of fast streams. Feelin’ good about this one.

Nose: woody pressed apple juice, hints of white grape juice, a touch of citrus. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: pressed apple juice

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) red apple juice, toffee malt, oak

Finish: tingly fizzy-tang, vanilla, soft but compounding alcohol hit, light-med warmth, malty bittersweet finish.

Summary: Straight away reminds me of a Belgian blonde; fruity, effervescent, crisp, and alcoholic. Quite skilled to get a wheat ale to behave like this. Fantastic body and character, great drinkability and approachable flavour make this one an interesting brew. Their claim of coconut is more like apple to me. 11.5% ABV, you have been warned.

The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)


The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.1% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front label:

“The Abyss: malt beverage brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels.

It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.”


  • Style: (bourbon, oak, wine) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Evolving with temperature roast malt chocolate raspberry alcoholic soy sauce vanilla woody
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn (Bby, Hastings)
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., February 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, annually
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way, it’s a trip

Visual: 2014 edition, black wax sealed. Pours coffee black with a very small head, petri dish lacing, SUPER-fine bubbles.

Nose: roasted dark malts, cherry wood, wet red wine barrels. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: very slick-oily mouthfeel, subdued alcohol

Mid-palate: light sourness, (MAIN) brown sugar, thick malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, woody, raspberry ->transition-> (lvl-7)-sweetness+malt

Finish: soy sauce, licorice, roasted-burnt bitter exhale, light burpy, cascading alcohol buzz, sweet-light bitter chocolate malt finish.

Summary: A beer with impact, both in taste and alcoholic bite. Layers upon layers of flavour, every year is exceptional. Notice the changes in flavours as the temperature decreases; less malt and more fruity characteristics emerge.

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


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.”


  • 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.

Barrel Aged 1000 IBU – Mikkeller (Copenhagen, Denmark)


  • My Rating: [C-],  I gave it a (2.5 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Barrel Aged 1000 IBU, 9.6% ABV – 375ml., (Copenhagen, Denmark)

underneath the wrapped paper label:


  • Style: (whiskey) Barrel-aged Imperial IPA
  • Taste: Flat alcoholic sweet oaked whiskey brown sugar cacao malt coffee bittersweet
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store (?)
  • How much: ??? – 375ml., sometime in 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, it’s retired anyways

Visual: Pours molasses brown with lots of suspended sediment, zero head, just a few countable larges bubbles around the perimeter; Not all that appetizing for a beer.

Nose: smoked woody malty sweet brown sugar. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: FLAT, incoming super sweetness

Mid-palate: alcohol, (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) roasted coffee, malt, brown sugar, cacao nibs, oak, whiskey

Finish: orange peel, lingering coffee bitterness + hops, malty sweet finish.

Summary: Lots of flavour once you get past the fact that it is non-carbonated. The first few sips are discouragingly uneventful since one would expect a crisp bite when drinking a beers. About a third way through the buzz and (therefore) the character start to emerge. Many others are reporting a head so perhaps this was an expired bottle..? (BB 8/3/2013). Still it was corked. Tasting THIS bottle, it’s overly sweet and my least favourite so far of all Mikkeller’s plentiful offerings.

La Bretteuse (Syrah barrel-aged) – Le Trou Du Diable (Quebec, Canada)


  • My Rating: A-, 3.9 of 5 on Ratebeer.com

La Bretteuse (Syrah barrel-aged) – Le Trou Du Diable, 7.3% ABV – 750ml., (Quebec, Canada)

part of the back label in French:

“Le Bretteuse est une IPA vieillie 18 mois en barriques de Syrah californien envahies de brettanomyces. Il en résulte une bière trouble aux accents orangés dont le nez évoque l’eau de rose, le pamplemousse, la vanille et le cuir. En bouche, l’acidité et l’amertume s’engagent dans une longue valse nuptiale, véritable mariage des saveurs qui ne demande qu’à être consommé.”


(google translate, being West coast Canadian, my French isn’t up to scratch..)

The IPA is Bretteuse aged 18 months in barrels of Syrah California overrun with Brettanomyces. The result is a cloudy beer with orange accents whose nose evokes rose water, grapefruit, vanilla and leather. On the palate, acidity and bitterness engage in a long bridal waltz, true marriage of flavors just waiting to be consumed.

  • Style: (Syrah) Barrel Aged Sour/Wild Ale
  • Taste: Woody med sour apple sour barnyard grapefruit hopped caramel malts
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $26 (after 5% off) – 750ml, March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: doubtful
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours deep copper brown with a magnificent ultra-creamy lasting head, superb sticky lacing, a thick layer of retention plus lots and lots of clustered streams. Awesome.

Nose: light barnyard with very woody pressed apple cider. Very clean nose. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp, tingly fizzy

Mid-palate: full-bodied, (lvl-5)-sweetness, light-sour + med tangy, (MAIN) super woody, orange peel, caramel malts, pressed apple juice, vanilla, mild alcohol detection

Finish: yeasty, grapefruit bitter hops and pulp, lingering woody malt hopped finish.

Summary: Excellent complexity, moderately palate-heavy. Great flavours going on; good with a meal. One-and-done solo beer. Le Trou Du Diable is a solid brewery.

Oude Tart Oak-Aged Flemish Red Ale – The Bruery (Placentia, CA, USA)


  • My Rating: C

Oude Tart Flemish-style Red Ale aged in Oak Barrels, 2013 Edition – The Bruery, 7.5% ABV – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., (Placentia, CA, USA)

on the front label:

“Pleasantly sour with hints of leather, dark fruit, and toasty oak from extended aging in oak barrels.”

on the back label:

“Oude Tart is suitable for aging up to five years when cellared properly. Best stored and cellared around 55°F (13°C). Ideal serving temperature is 50°F (10°C). Please pour carefully, leaving the yeast sediment behind in the bottle. Best served in a tulip or wine glass.”


  • Style: (Oak) Flanders Red Ale/Flemish Red Ale
  • Taste: Super sour & tart barnyard cherry pukey oak
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor Store
  • How much: $20 (after 5% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., March 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: at your own risk, especially this style

Visual: Pours dark cherry red with a smallish dissipating creamy head, thin ringed retention, micro bubbles, several steady streams.

Nose: sour cherry, barnyard, cinnamon, red wine. Complex. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: extremely tart, off-dry

Mid-palate: (lvl-2)-sweetness, high tart, highly sour, (MAIN) sour cherries, red wine, red vinegar

Finish: oak, puckery, pukey berry w/ mild oak exhale

Summary: The intense sour tartness is very taxing on the palate. The first glass is tough to sip, moreso as it warms up. The fruit flavour is okay, but I’m not too fond of the pukey flavour that creeps up near the finish. I prefer the Duchess de Bourgogne; it’s much more palatable. Not bad with a salad, but not great solo.


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


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.