Trappistes Rochefort (Belgium)

Trappistes Rochefort, (Rochefort, Belgium)

My favourite: Trappistes Rochefort 8 (Green) – “most balanced”

1) 6 (Red), 7.5% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Cola/fizziness -> sweet malts/yeast/cereal -> thinnish light bitter malt finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque light cola brown, massive creamy/foamy head, good retention, lots of active streams. Malts and cereal on the nose, reminiscent of Westvleteran 8. Drinks with that same initial cola like Westv but less intense, more fizzy/less creamy, sweet malts, yeasty, finishing 3/10-malty bitter and on the thin side. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall, solid.

2) 8 (Green), 9.2% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: Sweet creamy malts -> cola/cocoa/sarsaparilla -> long malt med-bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $6 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: 50/50
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy amaretto brown with a large lasting creamy/foamy head, sticky lacing and a plethora of active streams. Malts and light cola on the nose. A burst of 8/10-sweetness up front, creamy, tastes of cocoa, cola, malts, and slight sarsaparilla. Better carry and longer length than the 6. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, great drinkability.

3) 10 (Blue), 11.3% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Heavy malty sweetness -> molasses/soy sauce/sarsaparilla/coffee -> malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $7 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque dark Dr.Pepper Brown with a noticeably smaller head, light ringed retention and just a few slow streams. Thick heavy malts on the nose with some molasses. Drinks with a heavy maltiness with 8/10-sweetness up front-creamish mouthfeel, tastes of molasses, light roast coffee, soy sauce, alcohol detection, sarsaparilla, cocoa, finishing light tingly/fizzy with a med-deep malty medium bitter smooth finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, excellent carry, good drinkability. Substantially heavier/alcohol-forward than the 6 and 8, but just a smooth.

Molson Canadian Lager

Molson Canadian Lager (in a can), 5% ABV – 355ml, (Montreal, Canada)

  • Style: Pale Lager
  • My Rating: D+
  • Taste Profile: Semi-sweet malted barley/cereal -> fizzy/dry roughness -> light bitter jagged finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12/6pack, Winter 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not in the least

Tasting notes: pours clear pale golden yellow with a very small head, ringed retention, watery pour, lots of active streams. Faint notes of barley malt on the nose. Drinks with a mellow malted cereal 5/10-sweetness up front, quickly transitioning into a fizzy mouthfeel, dry roughness on the tongue near the finish, ending with minimal bitterness. Low complexity, low depth, no carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. I can see why beginners may like it as it goes down crisp and easy. Would be okay with hotpot.

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes (Oregon, USA)

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) – Deschutes, 6.7% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“Jubelale is classified as a “Strong Ale” or an “English Olde Ale,” and has ties to the traditional Celebration Ales of England. Characterized by a very large malt body and pronounced bitterness, Jubelale contains five different varieties of hops and a healthy amount of caramel. The perfect ale for surviving the long, cold nights of winter. Our tradition is having a different local artist design our Jubelale label & packaging each year. October – December – draft and bottles ”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Creamy malted bittersweet caramel -> hoppy/burnt roast/cola -> long lingering heavy dry bitterness.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16/6pack, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours dark amaretto brown, decent foamy head, ringed retention, sticky lacing, some slow streams. Caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a thick creaminess up front, quickly turning caramel hoppy bitter balanced by 4/10-sweetness, burnt roast, cocoa, finishing long lingering dry hopped bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. The heavy bitterness is taxing on the palate.

Great White Beer – Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe (California, USA)

Great White Beer – Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe, 4.8% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Eureka, California, USA)

On the front label:

“This light, unfiltered beer is made with two-row malted barley, unmalted wheat, crystal clear mountain water and ale yeast. It is spiced with Coriander and a secret blend of Humboldt herbs that give it a delicate citrusy flavor. Because Great White is unfiltered, natural yeast settling may appear at the bottom of the bottle.”

  • Style: Witbier
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Tangerine creaminess -> yeast/wheat/coriander -> off-dry roughish finish.
  • Where I got it: Darbys
  • How much: $3, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours almost clear golden yellow with a hint of orange, suspended sediment, almost no head, ringed retention, and lots of active streams. Aromatic tangerine citrus on the nose. Drinks with a bright tangerine fruitiness up front, half creamy/fizzy mouthfeel, 6/10-sweetness, transitioning into off-dry yeast, coriander, light malts, wheat, the body petering out thin/watery, finishing off-dry with a roughish finish. Low-medium complexity, low-med depth, okay transitions, not awesome carry, okay drinkability. Good flavour up front but finish isn’t great.

Saison & Noir de Dottignies – Brouwerij de Ranke (Belgium)

Brouwerij de Ranke – * de Dottignies (Dottignies, Belgium)

1) Saison de Dottignies, 5.5% ABV – 33cl

On the front label:

“Unfiltered and unpasteurized top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle and taste evolution.”

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Medium sweet/hops -> grapefruit bitter/orange peel -> lingering hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), Feb 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy copper orange with a small head, ringed retention, abundant lively effervescence. Sweet malts and honeyed citrus on the nose. Crisp creamy 5/10-sweetness up front, quickly transitioning into hoppy grapefruit bitterness, light malts, orange, bitter peel, finishing lingering dry hopped. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. Great full-bodiedness for a 5.5% ABV beer.

2) Noir de Dottignies, 9% ABV – 33cl

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Heavy sweet malts -> cola/root beer/bittersweet roast -> lingering bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), Feb 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy dark root beer brown, huge foamy creamy head, good retention, sticky lacing. Thick heavy malts on the nose. Intense malty caramel 9/10-sweetness up front laced with alcohol, tastes of cola, root beer, bittersweet roast, finishing lingering bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, decent drinkability. Drinks somewhat heavy, but full-bodied.

Hunny Late Harvest Riesling 2011 – See Ya Later Ranch (Canada)

Hunny Late Harvest Riesling 2011 – See Ya Later Ranch, 11% ABV – 375ml, (Okanagan Falls, Canada)

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $25, Nov 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear golden yellow. Tastes of honey, apple, pear, lime, med-sour, somewhat tart, 10/10 sweetness. Nothing terribly exciting but decent when chille

Glenfarclas 40 YO (Scotland)

Glenfarclas 40 Year Old, 46% ABV – 700ml, (Ballindollach, Scotland)

Background: Glenfarclas (valley of the green grass) was established in 1836 has been owned by the Grant family for over 5 generations. The 40 year old won the “Scotch Whisky Single Malt of the Year” award in the 2011 17th Annual Malt Whisky Awards competition.

  • Style: Scotch
  • My Rating: A-
  • Taste Profile: Sherry/Caramel/Maple -> Alcohol/Warmth/Licorice -> Peppery/Dry finish
  • Where I got it: Chateau Louis (Edm)
  • How much: ~$500, Summer 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to scotch aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours incredibly rich dark caramel brown. Massive maple syrup sweetness and vanilla on the nose. Drinks with sharp 8/10-sweetness of sherry, caramel, maple syrup, vanilla, transitioning into alcohol, intense warmth, oak, rum, licorice/mint, with a peppery, lingering dry finish.

Flor de Cana Extra Dry White Rum (Nicaragua)

Flor de Cana Extra Dry, 40% ABV – 750ml, (Nicaragua)

  • Style: White Rum (slow-aged 4 years)
  • Best in Class 2009 Int’l Wine & Spirits London
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Caramel/plastic -> vanilla/coconut -> alcohol burn/funk -> spiciness
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores (no longer available since 2012)
  • How much: $22, 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: only if cocktail specific
  • Would I recommend this to rum aficionados: not quite

Tasting notes: pours clear as water. Cane sugar mixed with a medium heavy ethyl alcohol burning presence. Medium sweetness (5/10) with a caramel yet somewhat unpleasant plasticky taste, traces of vanilla and coconut (as advertised) with a hint of spiciness at the finish. Lots of alcohol burn and funk in the mids and finish. Medium complexity, averaqe smoothness, average sippability. Not exactly smooth but does have interesting flavours.

N’ice Chouffe, 10% ABV, (Belgium) (listed in “1001 beers you have to taste before you die”)

Ingredients: water, barley malt, sugars, yeast, hops, thyme, curacao

My notes:
  • My Rating: B
  • Why I like it: bold caramel creaminess yet also spiced
  • Where I got it: Chateau Louis (EDM)
  • How much: $13 (after 5%) , June 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours semi-dark cloudy brown with a fabulous thick creamy head, lots of slow moving CO2 streams. A very malty nose. Predominantlly caramel malts, mixed in is brown sugar, orange peel, thyme, and alcohol, with a heavy sweetness (9/10). Finishes alcoholic and med-light bitter. Medium complexity, high depth, good transitions, good carry, decent drinkability. I find this one the booziest of all the Chouffes, can’t say I would go for another.

Raspberry Porter – Tree Brewing, 5% ABV, (Kelowna, BC, Canada)

My notes:
  • My Rating: C
  • Why I don’t love it: barely identifiable raspberry & too thin-bodied
  • Where I got it: Legacy (?)
  • How much: ~$6 , 650ml., May/2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours almost pitch brown with a small head, foamy CO2. Very malty tart raspberries on the nose. Drinks very creamy up front, and then the subdued tartness kicks in, tastes of medium malts, light coffee, faint raspberry aroma, 5/10-level sour backdrop and finishes partially watery, soft bitter, and without carry. Medium complexity, medium depth, okay transitions, below-average carry, decent drinkability. An okay experimental beer, but not really worth the time and calories.

2nd Tasting: (Oct 29, 2012): Pours with a nice massive creamy foamy head, okay retention. Roasted malts and dark raspberry compote on the nose. Drinks with a nice crispness, round flavour, coffee-ish raspberry. Not a whole lot of depth. Upgrade to C+.