Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub (Victoria, BC, Canada)

Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale – Spinnakers Brewpub, 6.5% ABV, 650ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

on the front label:

Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale, first brewed for the re-opening of Robson’s Lion’s Head Smoke & Brew Pub, as the first craft beer centered pub in the Kootenays and first served June 21, 2009. This CDA is brewed with English pale and roasted malts, hoped with cascades and northern brewer’s with a touch of guarrana to help get you throuh the night.

  • Style: Black IPA / CDA
  • Taste: Sour roasted brown sugar barley malt guarana berry coffee light chocolate
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $5.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 650ml., March 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Visual: (cellared for 4 years). Pours dark cola brown without much of a head, almost no retention, barely visible spread out micro streams.

Nose: whiskey, brown sugar barley malt (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: immediate big sour acidity

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, light coffee, sour caramel roasted barley, burnt brown sugar, guarana berriness

Finish: chocolate, roasty burnt soft bitter hopped finish.

Summary: I’ve never had a sour CDA before and I suspect I might never come across another one, but once you do get past the sourness this is actually decently drinkable. It has a nice likeable balance of sour-barley guarana sweet-burnt coffee elements in it – Not what you’d imagine from CDA. Surprisingly agreeable despite my negative bias toward Spinnakers.

Black IPA – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Black IPA – Brouwerij Emelisse, 8% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)

  • Style: Black IPA / CDA
  • Taste: Toasted immediate bitter hopped light coffee barley malt slight burnt long hops
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $6.20 CAD (after 10% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: fabulous

Visual: Pours iced tea brown with a small creamy head, superfine sticky lancing as well as a layer of retention, sporadic bubbled streams.

Nose: sweet caramel barley malts. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: smooth-slick, fine CO2 mouthfeel, slightly watery

Mid-palate: immediate grassy bitter hops, (lvl-6-sweetness), coffee, roasty-toasty toffee barley malt,

Finish: lingering bitter hops, light burnt, dark chocolate, barley malt exhale

Summary: The attack is somewhat thin for an 8%’er but otherwise I very much liked the high quality smooth CO2 and prominent hop-roasted barley combo. I get a dark & green vibe from this one – rich yet still lush with vibrant hops. Great stuff.

India Brown Ale – Brasserie Trois Dames (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

India Brown Ale – Brasserie Trois Dames, 6.0% ABV, 33 cl., (Saint-Croix, Switzerland)

  • Style: (Black IPA / CDA) India Brown Ale
  • Taste: Sweet toffee roasted barley mocha chocolate milk burnt coffee bitter hops SMOOTH
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek / Vancouver
  • How much: $6 CAD (10% off) – 375ml., April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way

Visual: (cellared for 3 years). Pours dark root beer brown with a ridiculously large lasting foamy head, clusters of very active streams, barely visible sediment.

Nose: sweet toffee brown sugar barley malts (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: crisp-barely slick, fizzy-tingly lively CO2

Mid-palate: toffee-caramel barley malt, (lvl-5-sweetness), chocolate milk

Finish: distinctly aromatic roasted barley, mocha, very subtly smooth bitter hops, lingering roasted finish – clean.

Summary: Not quite as dark as a black IPA and has more the characteristic nutty brown ale notes, this one is masterly balanced. The roasted barley and coffee notes are integrated seamlessly, transitioning super smoothly in bitter hops which accentuate the bitter mocha experience. Numerous layers of flavour plus an engaging mouthfeel make this one of the standout beers I’ve had to date.

The Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire – Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove, BC, Canada)

The Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire – Dead Frog Brewery, 6.5% ABV – 50 IBU, 650 ml., (Aldergrove, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)

-I appreciate that they list they specific hops used in the brew

on the front-left label:

Sparks fly when bold and beautiful tropical hops meet a brazen and daring roasted malt base. The hop flavours and aromas of a powerhouse IPA are balanced perfectly with the depth and intricacy of a complex dark ale in an unforgettable experience.

Hops: centennial, columbus, galaxy

Malts: pale ale, cara 60, biscuit, chocolate, carafa II, special B, roast barley


  • Style: Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale
  • Taste: Grapefruit hopped bitter deep roast bitter sweet barley malt dark chocolate
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $5.50 CAD – 650 ml., May 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: go get it

Visual: Pours obsidian black with a decent-sized 2cm lasting super foamy head, thick fine lacing, barely visible bubbles here and there.

Nose: a bit toasted malts (lvl-2)-pungency

Attack: almost slick-crisp, immediate hop presence

Mid-palate: background bittersweet roast, micro-tingly, sharp grapefruit bitter, (lvl-4-sweentess)

Finish: peppery, hop oil citrusy tang, dark chocolate, lingering off-dry deep roast bitterly hopped

Summary: Lots going on here with citrus bitter hops, deep bittersweet roasted malts, creamy tingly smooth mouthfeel, and lots of length and good depth. Overall well constructed.

Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)


Disruption Black IPA – Category 12 Brewing, 6.7% ABV, 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft beer)

  • 2015 Gold Medal @ Canadian Brewing Awards

this is the 3rd CDA ever that I’m trying, the first being P49-Black Christmas CDA [C], the second Tree Brewing Hop Head Black IPA [B]. It’s a relatively new style with ongoing debate about what to name the style – Black IPA? Cascadian Dark Ale? American-style India Dark Ale? Time will tell. Me, I prefer Black IPA.

on the back label:

Compulsion will drive you to distraction. While most of us are happy languishing in the comfort of predictability, there are a select few who are restless. They spend their days trying desperately to hide an urgent need to disrupt this culture of mindless repetition, but their desire to maintain appearances is ultimately overshadowed by their fascinations.

Get ready to challenge what you think about dark beer. This black IPA is a calculated anomaly. It looks big and scary like a stout, but it drinks like an IPA. Close your eyes, you’ll never guess how far into the dark you’re sinking. With its fresh hop aroma and roasted malt flavour, Disruption is a whole new beast.


  • Style: Black IPA / CDA
  • Taste: Bold resiny-pine dry sweet roast grapefruit peel burnt bitter
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / N.Burnaby
  • How much: $6.30 CAD (10% off) – 650ml., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: decent

Visual: Pours very dark brown (SRM=21.5) with small foamy head, 1mm spotty layer of retention, fast tight streams all around.

Nose: roasted brown sugar barley malt, background citrus hop oils. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: creamy crisp, incoming big hoppiness

Mid-palate: dry big nutty roasty barley malt, bitter dark chocolate, (lvl-4-sweetness), resiny-grassy pine hops

Finish: subtle burnt bitter, sharp lingering grapefruit peel hopped bitter, long finish

Summary: Lots of big hopped flavour with a balanced roasted malt mouthfeel, though somewhat on the drier side. Very good transitions.

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.