Red Racer Habanero Stout – Central City Brewers (Surrey, BC, Canada)

Red Racer Habanero Stout – Central City Brewers & Distillers, 8.5% ABV, 650 ml., (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) (*local BC craft beer*)


printed on the front-left label:

“Red Racer habanero stout is a classical Russian imperial stout with subtle addition of habanero chilis to create a warming and spicy mouth feel. Pronounced notes of coffee and chocolate balanced with Northwest hops and a touch of heat produce an exceptional imperial stout.”

(left)


  • Style: (flavoured – habanero) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: balanced sweet soft roasted barley malt chocolate light coffee negligible heat
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn / Burnaby
  • How much: $6.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 650 ml., December 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah, not memorable

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours clear and a very dark brown without much of a head, a thin ring with a medium island, micro bubbles surfacing here and there.

Nose: chocolatey roasted barley malt, molasses, hints of nutty coffee. No notes of habanero. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: light tingly-soft crisp, sweet roasted malt impression

Mid-palate: slight thicker mouthfeel, 50/50-bitter/milk chocolate, (lvl-6-sweetness), soft roasted barley malt, licorice

Finish: nutty coffee, very  subtle non-invasive heat, light bitter cocoa, residual bittersweet roasted barley malt

Summary: There’s no real standout flavours or textures but the overall tranquil balance of soft roast, sweetness, and alcohol means that this brew still goes down easy after the halfway mark. Good quality craftsmanship permeates the palate from start to finish.

Espresso Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Espresso Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse, 9.5% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)


info from ratebeer.com:

“The Emelisse Stout is enhance by a blend of fine Italian espresso beans used in the brewing process. It boasts a blend of 90% Arabica and 10% Robusta, which combine to give the Emelisse Espresso Stout an extra-spicy, full-bodied palate.”


  • Style: (flavoured – espresso) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Dynamic bittersweet deep roasted coffee light acidic barley malt dark fruit vanilla cocoa lengthy finish
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Burnaby
  • How much: $5.70 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: yep, especially if you like bittersweet stouts

Visual: Best at 12°C stated on the label. Pours super dark brown without a head, ultra thin ringed retention with a very thin spotty island of retention, hard-to-see steady micro singular streams.

Nose: med-dark roasted barley malt, molasses, caramel (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, liquid-thick viscosity

Mid-palate: micro light tingly, coffee acidity, (lvl-4)-sweetness, deep roasted nutty bitter coffee mixed with sweet roasted barley malt = bittersweet, date-fig

Finish: woody vanilla undertones, dry cocoa, dark chocolate, lengthy residual coffee-barley malt.

Summary: I prefer it at 16°C as opposed to the recommended 12°C, I notice deeper bittersweet coffee notes at right at the start of the mid-palate. At 18°C the dark fruit notes of the coffee appear, think date/fig. In conclusion, a really interesting imp stout that changes in flavour profile as the savour each sip – recommended. Exception lingering of residual flavours at the finish.

Cappuccino Stout – Lagunitas Brewing Co. (Petaluma, CA, USA)

Cappuccino Stout – Lagunitas Brewing Co., 9.0% ABV, 22 fl.oz., (Petaluma, California, USA)


printed on the front-right label:

Up until the summer of 2010, we’d always had a little ditty on the side here that was a peon to a good old hot Cup O’ Joe. It was built on the bones of the 23rd Psalm and went sumpin’ like ‘Coffee is my sheperh, I shall not…’ but that was where the trouble started. Turns out talking about Coffee’s happy side on a ale label is verboten now in Amerika. So, the things that I am allowed to say about it are that the coffee is delicious; that the ale is delicious; and that together they are no worse than the sum of their individual deliciousness’, most all of which are delicious. The label is glued on real well too, we make darn sure there are no holes in the glass, and that the cap stays put. We are proud of this and wish to brag about it all on this label, which is allowed by law. Thanks!”

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  • Style: (flavoured – coffee) Stout
  • Taste: Thick sweet roasted coffee dark barley malt chocolate light alcohol lingering bittersweet
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $8.40 – 22 fl.oz., March 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes!
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: awesome in a bottle

Visual: Pours jet black without a significant head, ringed nano-micro ringed retention, steady micro streams accompanied by sporadic scatted bubbles.

Nose: roasted nutty sweet coffee, liquid barley malt in the background. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: super THICK, creamy-smooth/almost NO2

Mid-palate: roasted coffee, (lvl-6-sweetness) -> roasted barley malt, light burnt bitter chocolate, soy sauce, alcohol tang, vanilla

Finish: deep roasted coffee exhale w/ lingering bittersweet roasted malt.

Summary: This one kept me sipping and sipping… and sipping. Wonderfully smooth and approachable thick-creamy mouthfeel with a very agreeable integrated roasted coffee & barley deep body. Balanced, rich, delicious. It could use a touch of milkiness, but otherwise excellent.

Central City / Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #24 – Jitter Buzz Imperial Coffee Stout

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Central City/Parallel 49 2015 Craft Crossing Calendar Day #24

Jitter Buzz Imperial Coffee Stout – 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 front-left label:

“A full bodied, rich, and complex imperial stout with pronounced coffee notes and hints of molasses, cold-pressed organic espresso, supplied by Vancouver’s very own Bean Around the World, add to this beer’s complexity and makes for a luscious drink anytime this winter.”

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  • Style: (flavoured; coffee) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Big roast coffee throughout molasses brown sugar malt chocolate mocha
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, for future coffee stout reference
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: magnificent-o

Visual: Pours jet black with minimal head, very thin layer of retention, some tiny bubbles here and there.

Nose: deep roast coffee. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp/half-slick/micro-fizzy, immediate deep roast

Mid-palate: continual deep roast, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) molasses, brown sugar malt, bittersweet roast coffee, chocolate/dark chocolate, milky mocha

Finish: malty bittersweet chocolate roast coffee exhale, mildly cloying.

Summary: Did I say deep roast? Huge coffee roastiness with the cold-press technique shining through beautifully, exhibiting clean coffee flavour minus the acidity. Expertly balanced with very nice drinkability.

Phillips Snowcase 2015 Day #4 – Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout (re-tasting)

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Phillips Snowcase 2015 Calendar Day #4

  • My Rating: [B-, downgraded from B],  I gave it a (3.3 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Black Jackal Imperial Coffee Stout – Phillips Brewing, 8.0% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

-I had this one just 2 weeks ago as part of the 2014 Snowcase Calendar. IRC I liked it.


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: Burnt coffee cola soy malt dark chocolate bitter
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: nah

(2015-11-19 tasting): 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.


[December 6, 2015 re-tasting]:

Nose: aromatic freshly roasted coffee beans, light coffee acidity. (lvl-8)-pungency

Attack: slick-half oily, crisp, incoming malts

Mid-palate: watery mouthfeel, (lvl-5)-sweetness, medium sourness, (MAIN) burnt roasted coffee, cola, brown sugar malts

Finish: soy sauce, dark chocolate bitterness.

Summary: The second time around it feels like it needs more body and creaminess in the mids. Also not particularly liking the coffee sourness. Downgraded from 3.5 rating.

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

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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.

Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #1 – Schwarzwald Chocolate Cherry Ale

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Central City/Parallel 49 2014 Calendar Day #1

Schwarzwald Chocolate Cherry Ale – Central City Brewing & Parallel 49 Brewing Collaboration, 9.0% ABV – 341ml., (Surrey & Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the front-left label:

“The Black Forest region of Germany is known for its clocks, cakes and tales of Hansel and Gretel, giving a witch her just desserts. Here in East Van, Graham and Gary have teamed up to bring you this cake inspired brew filled with cocoa nibs and cherries. While you may not end up living happily ever after, it’s still a pretty sweet ending.”

Ingredients: pale, munich, crystal, caramunich, pale chocolate, chocolate and black malts, German magnum hops, cocoa nibs, dark sweet cherries, water & yeast.

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  • Style: (cocoa nibs, cherry) flavoured imperial stout
  • Taste: Sour chocolate malt light cherry alcoholic
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: it’s decent

Visual: Pours super dark brown with minimal dissipating head, very thin ringed retention, several very slow yet steady streams at the perimeter.

Nose: dark fruity roasted malt chocolate coffee, excellent. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: crisp, thick-slick viscosity

Mid-palate: (MAIN) thick syrupy malts, sour cherries, chocolate -> (lvl-7)-thick sweetness

Finish: residual sour-tangy, hidden hops, bittersweet roasted malt finish.

Summary: Quite sour for an imperial stout, but with enough body and sweetness to back it up. The flavour of cherries and chocolate are muddled in the malts though, but it’s still decent. It doesn’t quite have that black forest taste, but rather a sour malt profile.

Mout & Mocca – Brouwerij de Molen (Bodegraven, Netherlands)

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  • My Rating: [A],  I gave it a (4.3 of 5) on Ratebeer.com

Mout & Mocca – Brouwerij De Molen, 11.6% ABV – 330ml., (Bodegraven, Netherlands)

Ingredients: water, pale, brown, cara, roasted barley malts, premiant (bitter hop), coffee, wild mocca, yeast (top fermenting). Unpasteurized.

  • Style: (coffee) Flavoured Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Deep roasted bittersweet coffee choco malt super smooth high ABV
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 330ml., April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes!!! Finally a beer I’m willing to have seconds
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: absolutely 100%

Visual: A whopping 11.6% ABV!!! Should be good… Pours dark beer bottle brown, a smallish head, a thin ultra-micro bubbly layer of retention, some lacing, a few hard-to-see tiny CO2 streams.

Nose: Fragrant deep-roasted coffee, some caramel malts, lots of chocolate, trace amounts of sourness. (lvl-10)-pungency

Attack: slick-crisp mouthfeel

Mid-palate: immediate bold flavours of -> (MAIN) deep roasted coffee, chocolate, demerara sugar, mild alcohol detection, late -> (lvl-5) malty sweetness

Finish: light counterbalancing sourness, gentle long-soft bitter hops, background non-invasive alcohol heat, smooth bittersweet roasted coffee finish.

Summary: Initial sip = knew this was a great brew, absolutely stunningly smooth. ABV is supremely well-hidden by the full-bodied mocha-malt mix. It’s like drinking a nicely bittersweetened roasted coffee beverage. Kudos to the De Molen team for such a fab brew. Lots of roasted coffee on the inhale-exhale. Alcohol detection increases as it warms.

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

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  • My Rating: A-

Black Butte XXV 25th Birthday Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.3% ABV – 650ml.,(Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front-side label:

Dates, figs and chocolate. Black currants, barrel-aged in bourbon casks. The result is an Imperial Porter with a tart berry and chocolate aroma with luscious layers of dried fruit, oak and vanilla. A fitting tribute to the 25th Anniversary of our flagship beer.”

  • Style: (flavoured) Barrel-aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Sour malt date/fig cocoa coffee currant
  • Where I got it : W. 16th Liquor Store
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off) – 650ml., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Now in their 25th edition with every year a little different and a bit more special. Pours ultra dark brown with virtually no head, a super thin layer of retention, lots of micro streams scattered throughout.

Nose: super malty with some cocoa. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: sour-sweet deep maltiness

Mid-palate: fizzy-tingly, (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) fig/date fruitiness, malts, cocoa, black currant depth, coffee, bourbon booziness

Finish: coffee bitterness, alcohol detection, malty bittersweet finish.

Summary: Extremely well-bodied and drinkable, albiet very heavy malty. Having tried the 23rd version, I like that one better. This one is a bit more deep and sour whereas that one was citrus-chocolate spicy. Check out that review here.

Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout – Muskoka Brewery (Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada)

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  • My Rating: A-

Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout Vintage 2013 – Muskoka Brewery, 8% ABV – 750ml., (Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada)

on the back label:

“What could be more reminiscent of a frigid Northern winter than an insulating beard and a warming Muskoka seasonal brew? Our Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is rich and sturdy with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. Pair that with a slightly higher alcohol content and you’ll find yourself sharing this bottle of joy all winter long. Beard not included.”

  • Style: (chocolate cranberry) Flavoured Imperial Stout
  • Taste: malty sweetness -> roasted malts/chocolate/general fruitiness -> bittersweet coffee malty finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek Liquor Store
  • How much: $14 – 750ml., December 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, annually
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Metal twisty-tie top with their logo’d cork-sealed. Quality packaging and cool label. Pours jet black-brown with minimal lasting ultra-micro CO2 retention, lots and lots of active streams.

Nose: heavy roasted malts and sweet chocolate, with hints of fruit. (6/10)-aromatic strength.

Attack: silky-fizzy-tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (6/10)-bright fruit-malty sweetnes, (MAIN) deep roasted malts, dark chocolate, chocolate-covered cranberry fruitiness

Finish: chocolate bittersweetness, coffee-malty finish.

Summary: This is a tasty brew that goes down quite smoothly. Pick up one annually if you can.