Crookeder Tooth Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Ale – Phillips Brewing (Victoria, BC, Canada)

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  • My Rating: B-

Crookeder Tooth Barrel Aged Pumpkin Ale – Phillips Brewing, 7.3% ABV, 650ml, (Victoria, BC, Canada)

on the front side label:

“The big barrel-aged brother to Crooked Tooth, this pumpkin ale is king of the patch. ‘Crookeder’ brings a delicious VANILLA BOURBON punch to help light up that smile! Pairs well with tricks & treats of all kinds.”

  • Style: (seasonal, pumpkin, barrel-aged) Spiced Ale
  • Taste Profile: bourbon depth -> alcohol/toffee/malt/vanilla -> caramel-malty sweet finish.
  • Where I got it : 16th (W.Van)
  • How much: $6 – 650ml (after 10% off), September 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Cool label, although it looks as if it were printed from an HP inkjet and hastily glued on for the Fall season. Nevertheless, I’m up for barrel-aged anything and for a pumpkin ale, this would be my first. Pours clear-as-water light copper brownish-orange with a decent quickly dissipating head, thin ringed retention, lots and lots of CO2 activity.

Nose: roast pumpkin, caramel malts, brown sugar, mild pumpkin spices. (5)-aromatic strength.

Attack: bourbon-alcoholic depth, (6)-sweetness, fizzy-tingly mouthfeel

Mid-palate: (8)alcohol detection, (MAIN) toffee malts, pumpkin saltiness, bourbon (HINT) vanilla

Finish: brown sugar exhale, lingering caramel-malty sweet finish.

Summary: Barrel-aging has added MUCH MORE DEPTH but also taking away the subtle spices that were present in the regular Crooked Tooth. Still, I prefer this incarnation over the plain one. Check my out my 2012 Crooked Tooth review here. (Note: all numbers above are on a 10-point scale, with 1 being weak and 10 being the strongest)

Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale – Mill St. Brewery (Toronto, Canada)

Nightmare on Mill Street Pumpkin Ale – Mill St. Brewery, 5% ABV – 355ml, (Toronto, ON, Canada)

On the back label:

“Our Pumpkin Ale is brewed with traditional spices to create a simply delicious beer with subtle flavours and the creaminess of pure vanilla. Based on our Brewmaster’s wife’s pumpkin pie recipe. (we can’t make this stuff up!) Beware…it will soon be gone without a trace.”

Ingredients: water, malted barley, malted wheat, flaked wheat, pumpkin puree, spices, hops, vanilla extract.

  • Style: (seasonal) Pumpkin Wheat Ale
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Ginger/malts -> cinnamon/nutmeg/vanilla -> rough/dry finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12/6pack, Fall 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear bottle brown, almost no head nor retention, just a thin ring, a few countable slow streams. Malted pumpkin and cinnamon/nutmeg on the nose. Drinks with a light roasted almost salty ginger up front, medium malts, 6/10-tame sweetness, body thins out in the mids, spices kick in – cinnamon, nutmeg, finishing crisp, partially hopped dry and roughish mildly bitter. Low-medium complexity, low-med depth, okay transitions, flat carry, okay drinkability.

2nd Tasting (Nov.30/2012): interesting aromatic nutmeg on the nose. Body, length and flavour still fall short. C+.

St-Ambroise Citrouille – McAuslan (Montreal, Canada)

St-Ambroise Citrouille – McAuslan, 5% ABV – 341ml, (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)

On the back label:

“Brewed just once a year, the Great St-Ambroise Pumpkin Ale returns this fall to bewitch beer lovers with a savory blend of pale and caramel malts, hops, pumpkin and spices. If you enjoy the out-of-the-ordinary, this seasonal offering will be sure to please you.

Ingredients: water, malt, wheat, hops, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin.”

  • Style: (season-Pumpkin) Spiced Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Brown sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg -> caramel malts/cola -> ginger/pumpkin/clean light-watery finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: 4/$10, Fall 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way

Tasting notes: pours clear med-dark nut brown, small head, thin ringed retention, some slow CO2 streams. Brown sugar and malts on the nose. Drinks with a delicious 6/10-sweetness brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel malts, cola, traces of ginger and pumpkin, finishing clean, crisp, and just the right viscosity, however, finishing slightly watery. Medium complexity, medium depth, excellent transitions, good carry, great drinkability.

Retasted 11/17/2012: Can’t get past the wateriness, downgraded to B.

Cardigan (Autumn Spiced Lager) – Rickard’s (Canada)

Cardigan (Autumn Spiced Lager) – Rickard’s, 5,5% ABV – 341ml, (Canada)

from the press release:

“An autumn spiced lager infused with seasonal spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and a hint of brown sugar, Rickard’s Cardigan features fall flavours that are as familiar as putting on your go-to knit.”

  • Style: (Autumn Seasonal) Spiced Beer
  • My Rating: C-
  • Taste Profile: Yeasty malts -> nutmeg/cinnamon/clove -> thin malty finish
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12/6pack, Sept 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no way

Tasting notes: pours clear golden orange with minimal head, thin ringed retention, small CO2, some visible slow-moving CO2 streams. Minor malts and cinnamon on the nose. Aggressive yeasty/breadiness w/ light-medium malts up front, 5/10-medium sweetness, strong nutmeg, cinnamon, minor cloves and a touch of brown sugar, finishes thin-watery and malty. Medium complexity, low-med depth, good transitions, weak carry, decent drinkability. Not spectacular or worthy of drinking all 6 in the pack.

Scaldis Noel Premium (Belgium)

Scaldis Noel Premium (Anno 1768) – Brasserie Dubuisson Freres, 13% ABV, Belgium

On the back label:

“The strongest Christmas Belgian beer. Brewed exceptionally fro the Christmas period, Scaldis de Noel, a brilliant, red-amber ale will delight the most demanding connoisseurs. The Scalcis [SIC] de Noel Premium is not filtered and refermented in the bottle”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I like it: Very smooth for 13% ABV
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?), 2011
  • How much: ~$20, 750ml
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: No
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours amber reddish-brown, good sized head, .75cm micro CO2 retention, slow-moving lacing, LOTS and LOTS of CO2 streams – very active, slighty cloudy (unfiltered). Prunes and faint ethyl alcohol on the nose. Upon sipping, the high ABV is there immediately (the heat & burn) and persists until the finish. This is mixed with 7/10 smooth sweetness, very creamy texture especially in the mid, prune/fig/almost cherries at the start and the transitions into dark malty 3/10 semi-sweet bitterness. Medium-high complexity, Medium-high depth, good carry, good mouthfeel, excellent smoothness, good transitions, decent length. To me Christmas beer should have some spices; sadly this one doesn’t really deliver in that aspect but still solid and potent nonetheless.

Snow Cap seasonal ale (2009) – Pyramid breweries, 7% ABV, (Seattle, Berkeley, Portland)

  • My Rating: B-
  • Why I might like it: good body, solid flavours
  • Who I recommend it to: Belgian lovers
  • Where I got it: ??? (W.16?)
  • How much: <$10 , Q4,2010

Tasting notes: pours beer bottle brown, small head, some lacing. Tastes quite nutty, malts, caramel, 5/10 sweetness with a low-med bitter finish. Medium depth, medium complexity, medium length, great balance. Definitely warming, crisp and satisfying.