Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale – Russell Brewing Co. (Surrey, BC, Canada)


Happy Jack Pumpkin Ale – Russell Brewing Company, 5.5% ABV – 25 IBUs, 650ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) (*local BC craft brew*, seasonal)

-It’s been little over a year since I’ve had a Russell brew. I’m looking forward to this one, it being oaked and spiced, both of which are my favourite styles.

printed on the front-left label:

“A wonderfully balanced Pumpkin Ale, with a hint of oak an spices, make this refreshing beer ideal to share with friends. Single-batch brewed with real pumpkin, whole spices and aged with oak….”


  • Style: (pumpkin, spices, oak-aged) Spiced Ale
  • Taste: Predominantly malty mild cinnamon nutmeg thin finish
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $6 – 650ml., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no move along

Visual: Pours clear copper reddish-brown without much head, micro-fine retention, huge amounts of activity including a large cluster near the handle.

Nose: brown sugar malts, grapefruit hop backend. (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp-sweet-creamy mouthfeel, hint of hoppy bitterness

Mid-palate: creaminess continued, (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) brown sugar malts

Finish: sweet carry, subtle soft grapefruit bitter hops, light toasted caramel malt off-dry clean finish.

Summary: All around smooth with very good transitions. I’m surprised at the excellent drinkability in that there’s a great balance of sweet, creamy, bitter and alcohol.

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.

Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale – Howe Sound Brewing (Squamish, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B-

Wee Beastie Oak Aged Scotch Ale – Howe Sound Brewing – Howe Sound Brewing, 7% ABV – 1L., (Squamish, BC, Canada)

on the front left-side label:

“A rich, malty Wee Heavy style Scotch ale, brewed with 100% barley malt, hops, water and yeast. Peated malt provides a subtle smokiness to this beer, while medium toasted American oak imparts a silky smoothness and additional complexity. Named in honour of Scottish poet Robbie Burns’ famous poem, To A Mouse, written in 1785.”

  • Style: (American oak) Oak-Aged Scotch Ale
  • Taste: Caramel/toffee cola malt minor roast/oak
  • Where I got it : Firefly Liquor Store
  • How much: $9 – 1L., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours cola brown with a massive lasting foamy head, a bit of lacing, lots of tiny bubble streams.

Nose: sweet caramel/toffee malts with some barley (lvl-7)-pungency.

Attack: crisp fizzy, alcohol detection w/ caramel

Mid-palate: (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) deep caramel malts, cola, barley, mild smokiness

Finish: roasted malt exhale, residual caramel malts, oaked malty sweet finish.

Summary: It drinks quite heavy for a 7% ABV beer, but it does at least have good flavour and body in the mid to finish.

Sour in the Rye – The Bruery (Placentia, CA, USA)


  • My Rating: B-

Sour in the Rye (Sour Rye Ale aged in Oak Barrels) 2013 – The Bruery, 7.8% ABV – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., (Placentia, CA, USA)

from thebruery.com website

We brewed this ale with around 40% rye as a base malt and let our sour yeast and bacteria eat away at it in oak barrels for over a year creating a sour ale with a complex character of rye spice, oak and a subtle funk.

  • Style: Sour Ale
  • Taste: puke/funked-out sour oaked apple cider
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $23 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 9.4 fl.oz., September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: if you can handle funky beer

Visual: Pours extremely cloudy orange/brown with no head, soda-like fizzy activity, big bubbles, lots of fast streams. (Unfiltered, bottle-conditioned).

Nose: Sour apple cider-peach, noticeable funk/puke. (6/10-pungency)

Attack: intense puckery sourness

Mid-palate: (10/10)-acidic sourness, (6/10)-fruity sweetness, (MAIN) oaked apple cider, pukey aftertaste + sourness, sour malt

Finish: lingering astringent sourness, tangy sour finish.

Summary: Not for those who have bad memories of late night drinking games and mornings spent waking up hugging the toilet. Lots of sourness and puke when sipping by itself, but quite effective in refreshing the palate when paired with heavy BBQ’d food. Hard to finish when it warms up.

Abstrakt AB:10 – BrewDog (Scotland)


  • My Rating: A

Abstrakt AB:10 (Imperial Brown Ale aged in Spanish Red Wine Barrels), bottled 20/06/12 – BrewDog, 11.5% ABV, 375ml, (Scotland)

more information about abstrakt beer at http://www.abstrakt.com/

from ratebeer.com:

The beer is an 11.5% Imperial Brown Ale which we have aged in amazing Spanish sweet red barrels from Malaga. Stewart Bowman, our Head Brewer, devised an Imperial Brown Ale designed to perfectly complement the wine flavours and extract maximum depth and character from the giant barrels. We also felt the Imperial Brown Ale was ideally suited to be barrel aged and as well as the infusion of the Malaga wine character will also benefit added complexity and maturity from the time in oak.”

  • Style: (red wine barrel) Oak-aged Imperial Brown Ale
  • Taste Profile: brown sugar syrup -> caramel/alcohol/molasses/soy/chocolate -> sweet-sour/coffee/red-fruity sweet malt finish.
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $18 (after 10% off), April 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Beautiful simplistic Brew Dog label, corked and twisty-cap top secured green bottle. Pours dark cola brown with a reddish hue, small foamy dissipating head, ringed retention, sedimentation, some slow-moving activity.

Nose: Thick, sweet caramel malts, brown sugar and barley malt.

Attack: thick syrupy mouthfeel

Mid-palate: caramel sweetness(8/10) mixed with minor alcohol detection, (MAIN) molasses, soy sauce, chocolate

Finish: medium sweet & sour, coffee tanginess, red-fruity sweet malty finish.

Summary: Expensive at $18/half bottle but very worth it considering the superb flavour profile, drinkability, potency, and overall high quality craftsmanship.

Luciernaga (The Firefly) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Dexter, MI, USA)

Luciernaga (The Firefly) – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, 6.5% ABV – 1pt 9.4fl.oz., (Dexter, MI, USA)

On the front label:

“The Firefly, an artisan pale ale brewed in the Grand Cru tradition. Enjoy its golden effervescence and gentle hop aroma. Coriander and Grains of Paradise round out the spicy palate, melting o so softly into a silken finish of hoppiness and bliss! Make any season a celebration!”

  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: reminds me of a beer & fresh pressed apple juice
  • Where I got it: Firefly
  • How much: $16 (after 10%), Dec 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy orange-brown, decent creamy head, lots of active CO2 streams. Sweet malts and apple on the nose. A burst of fresh pressed unfiltered fresh pressed apple juice, creamy mouth feel, light bitter hops and sweet (7/10) malts, hints of orange, coriander, and grapefruit. Finishes medium sour tangy and mild barnyard. Medium-high complexity, Med depth, great transitions, good carry, great drinkability.