Central City / Parallel 49 2014 Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown Calendar Day #20 – Imperial Porter Bourbon Barrel Aged


Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Mystery Gift Holiday Countdown Calendar Day #20

Imperial Porter Bourbon Barrel Aged – Central City Brewing, 9.0% ABV – 330ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

-…and that’s all folks! I’ll wrap up with an overview of the 2015 calendar shortly.

on the back label:

“This rich bourbon barrel-aged small batch ale exudes deep aromas of roasted malts and bakers chocolate. Combined with a silky full body, it leaves you wanting more.”


  • Style: (bourbon barrel aged) Imperial Porter
  • Taste: Creamy balanced bourbon roasted toffee malt chocolate malt
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, loved it
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: 100%

Visual: Pours jet black with a large lasting creamy head, foamy 3mm layer of retention, sticky lacing, lots of micro singular streams.

Nose: oaked bourbon, roasted barley malt, fig/date. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: slick-smooth-creamy, foamy-micro-tingly mouthfeel,

Mid-palate: (lvl-6)-sweetness, stealth background tangy-sour, (MAIN) vanilla & bourbon, roasted toffee malt, background oakiness

Finish: burpy, chocolate malty, dark chocolate bitterness

Summary: Wow. One of the best local (British Columbia) craft beers I’ve had, period. Full of balanced flavour, creamy mouthfeel, and clean finish. Supremely well-hidden ABV.

Central City / Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #22 – Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine Bourbon Barrel Aged


Central City/Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #22

Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine Bourbon Barrel Aged – Central City Brewing, 11.5% ABV – 330ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“Our limited edition Bourbon Barrel aged Thor’s Hammer is matured for 1 full year. Mahogany in colour, this award-winning barley wine is crafted from the finest barley malt exuding deep, rich notes of dried fruit, plum and figs with a walnut ester. Decant to remove the sediment of lees. Enjoy lightly chilled now or cellar for 5 years or more.”


  • Style: (bourbon barrel-aged)Barley Wine
  • Taste: Sweet dark plum-prune fruity caramel-toffee malt soft alcohol warmth
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, delicious

Visual: Pours cloudy reddish brown with no head and a few bubbles surfacing, super thin micro bubble ringed retention, suspended micro sediment.

Nose: caramel oaked sweet barley malt, raisin. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thick viscosity, crisp-oily

Mid-palate: alcohol heaviness, (lvl-8)-sweetness, (MAIN) bourbon, biscuity caramel-toffee malt, plum-prune dark fruity

Finish: sweet bourbon oaked maltiness, subtle bitter, soft alcohol warmth, walnut exhale.

Summary: Incredibly smooth for a 11.5%’er, lots of bold flavour with a decent slick-crisp mouthfeel. A tad cloying halfway through, especially at the finish. An all-around solid brew; I have yet to try the non-barrel aged version, looking forward to it.

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.

Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout – Anderson Valley Brewing (Boonville, CA, USA)


  • My Rating: B+

Wild Turkey Bourbon Barrel Stout – Anderson Valley Brewing, 6.9 ABV –1 pint 6 fl.oz., (Boonville, California, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“Complexity. Aged for three months in Wild Turkey Bourbon barrels, this luxurious stout has a deep ebony hue and a beautiful mahogany head. The woody, vanilla-like notes imparted by the barrels mingle with aromas of fresh baked bread, toffee, and espresso and envelop the rich chocolate and roasted barley flavors with a fine bourbon character. Our exclusive partnership with Wild Turkey gives Anderson Valley a world class, consistent source of barrelage, allowing our brewers to explore new frontiers in barrel-aged craft beer.”

  • Style: (Bourbon) Barrel Aged Stout
  • Taste: Smooth malted light-roast coffee toffee
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 1 pint 6 fl.oz., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours ultra-dark brown/black with a decent sized dissipating head, a thin layer of retention, thin lacing, lots of steady streams when held up to the light.

Nose: mildly aromatic roasted malts with hints of fishiness/nuttiness. (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: oily light-thick silky-fizzy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: light tingly, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) dense lightly roasted malts, toffee, chocolate, vanilla, coffee

Finish: airy, clean malty bittersweet coffee finish

Summary: A very clean and sippable stout without much sourness or jaggedness. High quality, but a little soft with the body and depth.

From East Van With Love – Parallel 49-Gigantic Collaboration (CAN/USA)


  • My Rating: B+

From East Van With Love – Parallel 49-Gigantic Collaboration, 11.5% ABV – 650ml, (Brewed in Vancouver, BC, Canada)

On the side label:

“From East Van With Love is a collaboration between Portland’s Gigantic Brewing & Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing Company. The result: a rich and dark Bourbon Aged Imperial Maple Stout, best enjoyed after foiling villains and henchmen. Best served after Jan 31st 2015. Ingredients: Black, Pale, Chocolate, Cara-Munich & Cara-Aroma Malts, Roasted Barley, Columbus & Fuggles hops, Canadian Maple Syrup, Yeast.”

  • Style: (barrel-aged flavoured) Imperial Stout
  • Taste Profile: bourbon alcoholic malts -> sweet caramel malts/cola/maple -> oaked coffee bitter finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off), April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, maybe a bottle or two to store away
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Wax-sealed beer bottle, quite fancy for a very affordable beer. Also a bit more of a hassle to open and pour without getting crud in your glass but an added level of security if do you decide to stash a bottle away for later (who are you kidding of course it’ll be drunk by 2015). Pours jet black thicker viscosity with almost no head, micro-cream CO2, looking like a usual imperial stout.

Nose: light bourbon, maple-caramel malts, vanilla (8/10-strength aromatics)

Attack: incoming bourbon alcoholic thick malts, syrupy viscosity

Mid-palate: subdued alcohol, (MAIN) bright 7/10-sweet caramel malts, cola, maple, light-med sourness, prune/date (HINTS) vanilla, saltiness

Finish: oaked malty phlegm, light-med coffee bitter clean finish.

Summary: I certainly like label, wax-seal and attractive naming of the contents. Finely balanced and flavourful, but lacks the creamy texture and more complexity to make it legendary.

Special Reserve St-Ambroise (Bourbon Wood-Aged) 2011 (Quebec, Canada)

Special Reserve St-Ambroise (Bourbon Wood-Aged) 2011, 9.2% ABV, (Montreal, Quebec)

On the tin:

“St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout is Quebec’s tribute to the late 1700’s English Imperial Stouts, brewed for the Russian courts of Catherine the Great.

Made from a blend of barley malts, St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout is infused with Cascade, Goldings and Willamette hops, resulting in an outstanding hop-character with a smooth finish. Bourbon wood aged, this full-bodied ale has a rich, smoky aroma with hints of of vanilla, espresso and chocolate.

Ratings: A

Notes: pours ink black, nice creamy head. Roasted coffee on the nose. Extremely creamy silky mouth feel, a burst of bittersweet coffee up front, milky chocolate, vanilla, burnt oak, smokiness, light alcohol. Medium-high complexity, high depth, great transitions, great carry, excellent drinkability.

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes (Bend, Oregon, USA)

Black Butte 23rd Birthday Reserve – Deschutes, 10.8.% ABV, (Bend, Oregon)

On the front and back label:

“Black Butte XXIII: Porter brewed with cocoa nibs, orange and natural flavors added, with 25% aged in Bourbon Barrel. XXIII. So where to next? What’s 2011’s rich imperial take on Black Butte Porter? Just for kicks, you dream. Orange zest perhaps? From Spanish Oranges, Seville, to be exact. And Chocolate nibs. Pampered nibs from the artisanal alchemists at Theo’s. Maybe some chilies? Pasilla Negra only, please. That would be crazy wouldn’t it? Welcome to crazy. Get it while you can.”

My notes:

  • My Rating: A+
  • Why I like: wow amazing unique flavour
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek
  • How much: $30 , 1pt 6 fl.oz., 10/2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours jet black, minimal head, micro CO2, thin ringed retention. A lot of coffee, caramel and malts on the nose. This beer is an OMG beer. Bold flavours of malted caramel up front, smooth 6/10-sweetness level milk chocolate, orange oil in the background, orange peel near the finish along with a spicy peppery finish. Toffee from the bourbon barrel aging, and a bit of roast coffee as well. High complexity, high depth, excellent transitions, excellent carry, long length, excellent drinkability. The ABV is well hidden and this is a delight to drink. Try it before I buy all of the rest available.

Brooklyn Black Ops – Brooklyn Brewery (Brooklyn, NY, USA)

Brooklyn Black Ops – Brooklyn Brewery, 10.7% ABV, (Brooklyn, NY)

On the back label:

“Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly ‘Black Ops’ was aged for for months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oak notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about”

  • My Rating: A
  • Why I like it: extremely nice balance of alcohol and flavour
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $27 (after 10%), 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., Winter 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: YES
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: YES

Tasting notes: pours coffee black, minimal head, layered retention, barely visible slow-moving CO2 streams. Big roasted coffee and alcohol on the nose. Huge chocolate and roasted coffee up front, high depth in the mids, fades into caramel and oaked vanilla. Controlled 5/10 level-sweetness, subdued alcohol presence, creamy mouthfeel and crisp and mildly bitter finish. Med-High complexity, high depth, great carry, great transitions, fabulous drinkability. Super smooth for 10.7% ABV and great flavour to boot; so glad I picked up 2 bottles.

Old Rasputin XII (12th Anniv.) – North Coast Brewing (USA)

Old Rasputin XII (12th Anniversary) – North Coast Brewing, 11.2% ABV, (Fort Bragg, CA, USA)

From ratebeer.com:

Seems hard to believe that we’ve been making Old Rasputin for 10 years now, but that’s what’s happened. And, to celebrate the occasion, we’ve brewed a special small batch that’s been aged for 9 months in some 12 year-old bourbon barrels. It’s bottled in 500 ml bottles with a cork and wired finish and a special commemorative label —— and it’s amazing. The depth, intensity and complexity of the flavor profile make it a worthy tribute to this fine beer.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A
  • Why I like it: Rich, deep, smooth, creamy
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?), 2011
  • How much: $24, 16.9 fl.oz.
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours plasma TV black, small head, nano CO2 foam, ringed retention, sticky lacing. Light coffee malts on the nose. Delightfully creamy at the start, medium thick viscosity, mild & gentle roasted coffee throughout, 5/10 sweetness, transitions beautifully into a soft bitter chocolaty finish. Notes of vanilla, almond, and cherries. High complexity, med-high length, fabulous transitions, high depth, long length. Almost perfect but a bit of ethyl alcohol detection at the 2/3 mark; probably can’t be helped but still detracts from the tasting experience. Be careful with this one, 1/2 bottle through and it is on.