Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR, USA)

Obsidian Stout – Deschutes Brewery, 6.4% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)


  • Style: (dryish) Stout
  • Taste: Dryish bitter roasted coffee fruity barley malt lingering roast bitter
  • Where I got it : Bottle Jockey / Burnaby
  • How much: $3.50 CAD (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: sure

Visual: (cellared for 1 year). Pours ultra dark brown without a head but temporary surfacing bubbles, thin ringed retention, barely visible singular micro streams.

Nose: toffee malt, sweet cocoa, chocolate truffle. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: off-dry crisp, roasty malt impression

Mid-palate: background controlled acidity, (lvl-3-sweetness), coffee fruity overtones, medium dry roasted barley malt

Finish: long-lingering medium bitter dry woody roast, roasted exhale

Summary: Lots of lengthy roasted malts with a just enough sweetness and acidity to balance it out. Medium bodied, low creaminess. Smooth drinkability.

Kentucky Bourbon Round 3 – Jefferson’s Reserve VS Maker’s 46 (Champ)

It’s been a few years since I’ve done a Kentucky Bourbon battle so let’s get to it! The winner of the previous round was Maker’s 46 and now it’s up against Jefferson’s Reserve.


1) Jefferson’s Reserve (Challenger) (Hand numbered 1800/2400 bottles, batch #90) – 45.1% ABV – 750ml, (Louisville, KY, USA), $73 CAD (5/2011) @ BCLiquor Stores

  • a blend of 4 bourbons of differing ages
  • the real wood bottle stopper and rubber cork came apart after the 1st opening, 5 years after I purchased the bottle…

2) Maker’s 46 – 47% ABV – 750ml, (Loretto, KY, USA), $60 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores

  • made with corn, red winter wheat, barley malt.
  • patented hand-dipped wax sealed top
  • 10 toasted French oak staves are added to the barrel and aged for 2-3 months to impart a spicier, more intense caramel and vanilla flavour profile while maintaining their signature “tip the of tongue” finish.
  • Back_To_The_Barrel_2_266

Criteria:

Nose: Jefferson’s Reserve (JR) has a subdued nasal tingliness with gentle toffee-caramel and rubbing alcohol. Only mildly offensive. Maker’s 46 (M46) is about 2 levels more aggressive in both nasal attack and aromatics. JR is definitely more approachable whilst you could argue that M46 has more character. Verdict = JR edges it out, the caramelness is more appealing.

Taste & Texture: One sip of JR, and then a sip of M46 – wow the difference is like night and day. JR comes off as a thin-but-smooth with toasted light caramel-oak, sweet honey, cinnamon, mild vanilla, lacking length and punch. M46 is thicker on the palate, has a bigger caramel profile whilst being more numbing and carrying more heat. JR clearly has more sippable subtle complexity while M46 comes across as bold and harsh, more suitable in a cocktail. Verdict = JR comes across as more refined and palatable


Final Notes:

  • Jefferson’s Reserve has a sweet & SMOOTH, toasted light oak, caramel, honey, sippable quality
  • Maker’s 46 has a straightforward throat-burning, tongue numbing, oak, vanilla, spicy, off-dry, and harsh alcohol.
  • Jefferson’s Reserve to sip, Maker’s 46 in a cocktail

WINNER = Jefferson’s Reserve

India Golden Ale – Breakside Brewery (Portland, OR, USA)

India Golden Ale (Double India Pale Ale) – Breakside Brewery, 8.1% ABV, 1 pt 6 fl.oz., (Portland, Oregon, USA)


from ratebeer.com:

“Formerly a collaboration with Ninkasi Brewing. IGA highlights the route that lots of new hop bombs are headed: light in body, lighter in color, and HUGE in citrus flavor and aroma. India Golden Ale or “I.G.A.” is a showcase for two relatively new hops, Mosaic and Eldorado. Mosaic gives the beer a bright mix of stonefruit and tropical flavors along with a big piney backbone. Eldorados are fruity and soften the finish. Breakside keeps the malt bill incredibly simple to allow the hops to take center stage in this elegant and beguiling beer. 8.1% ABV 60 IBU malts: 2 Row, British Munich hops: Mosaic, Eldorado, Chinook”


  • Style: Imperial IPA / Double IPA
  • Taste: Tropical fruity to grainy barley malt stealth alcohol subtle bitter
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $9.42 CAD – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., July 2017
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: for sure

Visual: Pours virtually clear golden orange with a small 1mm head, half lacing, loose clusters of active streams.

Nose: passionfruit-tangerine brightness with a touch of grassy hop, very clean and inviting. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: thicker-crisp, slightly creamy, citrus malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-4-sweetness), alcohol hit-low detection, passionfruit, mild pineapple, big tangerine citrusy, fruity-toffee barley malt

Finish: mild grapefruit bitter, tangerine exhale, off-dry bready grain, subtle bitter

Summary: Super stealth 8.1% ABV happening here, meaning that the complexity and balance matches its moderately high alcohol content. I wished for the tropical fruitness in the mids to last longer but instead the sweet barley kicks in a bit early.

Raspberry Provincial – Funkwerks Inc (Fort Collins, CO, USA)

Raspberry Provincial Belgian-style Sour Ale – Funkwerks, Inc., 4.2% ABV, 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., (Fort Collins, Colorado, USA)


-2014 Gold Winner Belgian-style fruit beer category @ Great American Beer Festival

on the front-right label:

“This delicious creation was truly a product of creativity, ingenuity and luck. In the summer of 2013 we took a test batch of our Belgian-style sour summer ale, Provincial, that didn’t quite hit gravity, and decided to have some fun with it! We added a heavy dose of raspberries to this sessionable, refreshingly tart beer. The end result was so delicious, we decided to recreate it! This delightfully tart fruit beer is stimulating and refreshing, with a citrusy raspberry aroma which transitions to a subtlety sweet and tart finish.”


  • ]
  • Style: (flavoured – raspberry) Sour/Wild Ale
  • Taste: Puckery sour tart subtle raspberry malt pukey light body
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $15.70 CAD (after 20% off) – 1 pint 9.4 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Hefty bottle, bottled on 2016.01.20. Pours blush pink with a massive foamy head, super clustered hyper active champagne streams. Visually stunning.

Nose: funky sour acidity, pukey red wine fruity. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: fizzy, immediate sour-big tartness crisp

Mid-palate: puckery hit, tart gums, raspberry malt, (lvl-3-sweetness), pukey overtone acidity

Finish: residual tanginess, slight lemony exhale

Summary: Its extremely appetite inducing sour-tartness means that a sip this begs to be paired with some food. Full textured, light medium-bodied, decent flavour but not terribly aromatic in the raspberry department. Huge puckery pukey sourness if you’re into it, one try is good enough for me.

Grapefruit Sculpin – Ballast Point Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA, USA)

Grapefruit Sculpin – Ballast Point Brewing Company, 7.0% ABV, 12 fl.oz., (San Diego, California, USA)


printed on the side of the can:

“Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.”


  • Style: (flavoured – grapefruit) IPA
  • Taste: Supremely smooth bitter grapefruit toffee biscuit malt lengthy bitter hops
  • Where I got it : Trader Joe’s / Seattle
  • How much: $14.79 USD / $19.10 CAD – 6×12 fl.oz., October 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). 12 oz. can. Pours translucent bright orange with a slowly dissipating foamy head, sticky lacing, 5mm fine foamy retention, very tight clustered micro streams.

Nose: sweet toffee’d biscuity malts, citrus undertones (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: creamy-smooth, sharp crisp bite, tangy bitter malt impression

Mid-palate: background tangy, very smooth transition, (lvl-3-sweetness), grapefruity toasted biscuity malt

Finish: grainy bitter grapefruit hops, lingering long soft bitterness

Summary: Incredible smoothness from start to finish. Lots of flavour, body, balance, and drinkability for a 7% bitter bomb.

Aftermath Pale Ale – Black Market Brewing Co. (Temecula, CA, USA)

Aftermath Pale Ale – Black Market Brewing Company, 5.8% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Temecula, California, USA)


on the front-right label:

We created ‘Aftermath’ as an extremely drinkable Pale Ale that wasn’t just a reproduction of everyone else’s Pale Ale. Our unique blend of multiple hop varieties adds HUGE hop aroma and flavor, with none of the overwhelming bitterness of an IPA

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  • Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
  • Taste: Smooth balanced bitter hop-metallic barley malt
  • Where I got it : High Point / Vancouver
  • How much: $9.10 CAD (after 20% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., October 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not memorable

Visual: Pours clear dark mahogany brown without a significant head, ringed retention with a large island, very steady micro streams

Nose: fragrant 50/50 citrus hops-sweet barley malt (lvl-5)-pungency

Attack: crisp, soft-creamy, bitter hopped malt impression

Mid-palate: (lvl-3-sweetness), citrusy stealth sharp bitter hops, metallic barley malt,

Finish: dry grass hoppy bitter

Summary: A very smooth sippable brew of sharp bitter hops that linger until the finish that is accompanied by a healthy dose of barley malt forming a robust body of drinkable pleasure. Can’t say I’ll remember this, but it was a good go.

Bock Bock – Shmaltz Brewing Co. (Clifton Park, MY, USA)

Bock Bock (Imperial American bock lager aged in bourbon barrels) (Batch #001/1269, 4/24/2015 bottling) – Shmaltz Brewing Company, 9.2% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Clifton Park, NY, USA)


info from ratebeer.com:

Imperial American Bock
Shmaltz Bock Bock has spent months in a blend of bourbon barrels, including Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and Buffalo Trace.

Barrel-aged Bock Bock gains its toasty, rich malt body and nutty caramel flavor from distinctive European malts, such as Vienna, Munich and Crystal, to make a traditional bock base.”

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  • Style: (barrel aged – Bourbon) Doppelbock
  • Taste: Tangy sour alcoholic heavy raisin barley malt mild bourbon edge
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $15.35 CAD (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., November 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: pretty good

Visual: (cellared for 1.5 years). Pours clear dark mahogany brown without a significant head, ringed retention with a large island, very steady micro streams

Nose: super toffee barley malt forward, notes of bourbon barrel (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: crisp, micro-tingly, thicker viscosity, heavy malt impression

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, tangy heavy (lvl-8-sweetness), raisin toffee barley malt, bourbon edge, wet woody zingy-sour

Finish: residual heavy sugars, bourbon-laced malty exhale

Summary: Great body and depth, solid execution. The dark fruitiness balances the bourbon malt nicely. Hits decently hard yet still sippable, although somewhat heavy halfway through the bottle.