This quote on the top of Dead Frog Brewing'sCommander Imperial Stout (2016) bottle is perfect, and a reason why I'm finally going out and reviewing beers I've been meaning to review years ago.. rather than have them sit in my fridge. That being said, I've never been a fan of Dead Frog, and I've been reluctant to review their beers here ever since I first reviewed their Nut Brown Ale back in 2012. Well, times have changed and they use standard brown bottles (including 650mL bomber seen here) now days rather than their custom embossed clear glass bottles. So now it's time to try the beer instead of leaving it in my hoard for much longer!
This bottle of Commander Imperial Stout from 2016 is described as: "a rich & complex Imperial Stout aged on maple whisky soaked white oak. This dark roastd stout features a deep, layered malt profile enhanced by slightly sweet flavours of white oak, maple, and whisky. All these flavours combine to create an elaborate Imperial Stout. Suitable for enjoying today and made for cellaring to be enjoyed down the road." Appearance: Like many of the other stouts I've been reviewing lately, this pours just like all the others - this pours a thick, black stout with a moderate amount of burnt caramel head on top that quickly changes to a yellowish-beige head over time. As I let the beer warm up, it leaves behind just a smidge of foam around the side of the glassware.
Aroma: My first impression of the aroma is a woody, mild white oak aroma with a hint of vanilla, an ever so faint sweet presence of maple syrup.. and even more woodiness. Not really noticing any Whisk(e)y notes at all - not much of a booziness at all. There's a faint aroma of coffee and a light amount of milk chocolate popping up. So far, this is lighter than expected.. I was really looking forward to the maple aspect of the beer. However, that sweetness you see here is maple.. but it's not noticeable if you're coming off a bad cold/flu.
Taste: The booziness of the whisky is muuuuuuch more prevalent here than in the aroma - it has notes of white oak to give it a very hefty woody presence, the whisky gives off a hefty booziness with notes of toffee, vanilla and a hint of a maple. There's an earthy hop presence, alongside a light roasted coffee taste that combines to leave behind an earthy and bitter aftertaste on the tongue for a while. There's a bit of a craft cola/root beer sweetness in there, but I just can't describe where that's coming from. Lighter than expected
Overall Thoughts: I think I only paid $7~ for this back in 2012 so it definitely cheaper than most Imperial Stouts, but I'm surprised this is 10.5% ABV as it's lacking in some of the rich coffee notes and the barrel aging that I was expecting in this beer. It's very smooth, decently sweet, and I feel like this will get me tipsy before I know it because it doesn't taste anywhere as boozey as most Imperial Stouts I've had in the past while. I think it's time for me to review more Dead Frog products in the future. http://www.deadfrog.ca/beer/commander-imperial-stout/
In 2016, Deschutes' Black Butte Porter was available in 650mL bombers.. unfortunately it didn't sell well so they eventually discontinued it. Several months later, the beer returned to Manitoba in 12oz bottles, only to be discontinued here again only a few weeks ago. Reading the bottle of this Black Butte Porter, I thought the Best Enjoy By date was February 9, 2016.. but I remembered that date codes work differently in US.. so this wasn't as old as expected - the BEB date was actually September 2, 2016.. so only a year and a half ago rather than two years ago.
Stouts and porters seem to age well, so I'm not too scared about drinking Black Butte.
Appearance: Black Butte pours a thick, dark black body, and a light beige head on top - the head diminishes to a bit of foam that's mostly near the side of the glassware.
Aroma: This seems to be your typical porter, it's rich and roasty with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, a hint of dark fruits (plum), and a light earthy hop presence. So far, for the Best Enjoyed By date being a year and a half ago, still smells pretty fresh to me.
Taste: There's notes of caramel sweetness up front, mixed with a moderate amount of coffee, a light sourness, dark chocolate, a bit of dark fruitiness popping up here and there. Fairly light and smooth on the palate, but leaves a bit of a roasted coffee aftertaste for a while.
Overall Thoughts: I had a fairly recent bottle of Black Butte Porter right before it was discontinued again, this is near identical to what I remember. Solid porter, so I'm surprised to see it gone from Manitoba, again. If you can find some, get it before it's gone. 5.2% ABV / 30 IBU
Another old one from the hoard! I purchased this beer in Minot, ND back in summer 2015 while I was in town for the State Fair. Fulton Beer has become one of my favourite American breweries after sampling some of their beers at JL Beers and The Pour House.
Every time I tried one of their beers, I was shocked by how much taste buds loved each and every beer I tried, so of course I had to take some home! While at the Pour House, one of the customers was telling me "If you are a big fan of hops and IPAs, you absolutely NEED to try their IPA, you will not be disappointed!" Sure enough, I wish I could've gotten a growler full of it, but I thought I could pick up a six-pack of this beer at one of the liquor stores the next day... but unfortunately Fulton's bottle selection was pretty limited in Minot at the time so I ended up with Worthy Adversary Russian Imperial Stout. I'm glad I picked it up, it was another home run from the folks over at Minnesota's Fulton Beer Co!
Appearance: Worthy Adversary pours a thick black stout, darker than Manitoba winter nights.. so it's not a surprised that they compared it to having the consistency of 5W-30 motor oil on their website. The head starts off with a burnt caramel head that you see often in RIS and oatmeal stouts, it quickly changes to more of a bright yellow head.
Aroma: Right from the start, it smells hefty and boozey but surprisingly not in a barrel aged fashion, just in a "this is 9.5% ABV" fashion. There's notes of caramel, a bit of an earthy hop, rich dark chocolate, and even a bit of a lactose aroma popping up here and there.
Taste: The stout has notes of milk and dark chocolate in the initial tastings, but eventually the alcohol steals my tastebuds, giving it a hefty warm presence with a bit of caramel and dark fruit sweetness.. and a bit of peat for earthiness. This stout is somewhat creamy and leaves behind a bit of a bitter earthy hop aftertaste at the end.
Overall Thoughts: I've been meaning to review this beer since Summer 2015, I somehow managed to save two bottles of this because I really loved how great this Russian Imperial Stout tastes.. it didn't even need any aging to make it better. It's going to be a while until I'm back in the US, but I'm excited to see what Fulton has up their sleeves when I do go!
This beer just went on clearance at the LC last week, so unlike some of the beers I'm reviewing in the next bit, this one isn't a couple years old.. ha! This is Mandarina Wheat Ale by Postmark Brewing out of Vancouver. Mandarina was released as a Christmas-themed beer brewed with Mandarina Hops and orange to give it that Christmas orange vibe to it. 5.0% ABV / 15 IBU.
Appearance: Mandarina pours a very light, crisp yet carbonated honey-orange ale. So far there's a good amount of white-beige head on top that's not wanting to go anywhere.. pretty frothy!
Aroma: Smells like Christmas oranges to me! It's a sweet mandarin/tangerine orange aroma with a rich sweet bread dough aroma, a great presence of coriander to give it an herbal and spicy scent to it, and a light tropical hop presence at the end. Somewhat grainy yet I feel that this is going to be more sweet and orangey and coriandery than anything else.
Taste: So? The coriander notes pop out as the predominant flavour here, giving off that herbal and spicy flavour that I know and love. It's not quite as sweet as I was expecting, there is a decent orange presence with an addition of lemon and grassy hops in this beer as well. Seeing that this is listed as an American Pale Ale, if I was blind tasting this beer - I'd assume that this would be a Belgian-style witbier more than anything else. It's sweet, incredibly carbonated on the palate, dry and doesn't really leave much of an aftertaste on the palate, except for maybe a hint of coriander.
Overall Thoughts: As someone who fell in love with witbiers before any other crafty style of beer, I'm enjoying this one a lot. The taste doesn't really give off that Christmas orange flavour as I was hoping, but it gives off a rich orange and coriander presence that I absolutely love. Nowhere near as sweet and in your face as Rickard's White or Belgian Moon (which are almost identical beers), but it's definitely more prolific than Blanche de Chambly. Seeing that this is an American Pale Ale, I was hoping the hops would give off different various fruity flavours, but hey.. I'm still enjoying it. http://postmarkbrewing.com/
I have a lot of beers in my hoard that I've been meaning to review, but just haven't had the time or desire to review them.. and a lot of them I probably shouldn't review.. but I've always wanted to review a lot of these beers, so over the course of who knows how many days, I'm going to try to review as many beers from my hoard as possible, so that I can finally go back to reviewing fresh beers eventually.
Tonight's review is of Yukon Brewing'sBelgian Gothic Saison. One thing I love about Yukon Brewing's labels is how a lot of their seasonal and one-off beers tend to refer back to films and artwork back in the early to mid 20th century. This one is no exception with it paying tribute to the 1930s American Gothic painting.
Appearance: Belgian Gothic Saison pours a cloudy, lemon yellow body with a light amount of sediment floating near the bottom of the glass, and a nice amount of frothy white head on top.
Aroma: A sweet, citrusy, yet soapy saison. There's notes of lemon, a mild breadiness, a good deal of soapiness that I can only describe as fruity shampoo, Belgian yeastiness that gives it a bit of a bubble gum aroma with just a hint of barnyard funk to it, and a hint of coriander.
Taste: A sweet-forward saison with notes of bubble gum, lemon, a hint of funkiness (and a light sourness to it), mild breadiness with a good amount of wheatiness in there. Definitely quite a bit sweeter than your typical saison, but definitely not as sweet as many witbiers on the market. Dry, smooth and easy to drink.
Overall Thoughts: With this being nearly two years old, this beer held up well, specially for a saison. It still has a great deal of Belgiany yeasty goodness, as well as some nice citrus flavour, a bit of spice and it wasn't a gusher like a lot of aged Belgian wheat beers. There's a drought of saisons in Manitoba right now, so I'm really glad to finally take this out of my hoard
RateBeer.com released their annual RateBeer's best last week and Vankleek Hill, Ontario's Halcyon Barrel House was rated as 4th best new brewery in the world! Halcyon is part of the Beau's All Natural family so I was excited to see the brewery get some attention. I was lucky enough to try Halcyon's Infinity Mirror while at Beau's and also got to take home a bottle to sample and savour. Many months later, I'm finally opening the Infinity Mirror.. for some reason I forgot that this was a Brett IPA and I guess thought that this would be a stout or something. Well, IPAs don't age well but I've had decent luck with drinking forgotten IPAs lately.. so I'm expecting this to turn out alright.
Appearance: Incredibly foamy beer, not a gusher at all, but it takes a looooong time for the head to go down before I could finally review this. The body is a cloudy orange with a bit of carbonation. The head eventually dies down and leaves behind a beige foam lacing on the sides.
Aroma: The Brett yeast is the most dominant aroma I'm getting here - it's that typical barnyard funk sourness with a bit of Ivory soap aroma. There's notes of lemon, a bit of grass, a bit of fruity citrus (tangerines, pineapples), and the sourness almost burns the nostrils.. but somehow in a good this is going to be tasty way.
Taste: It's a sweet, tropical IPA with notes of pineapple, orange and lemon. The Brett is still pretty hefty in here as it's giving off a funky, sour and soapy presence. A bit of a soapy aftertaste, quite carbonated for mouthfeel, and fairly dry. This is absolutely tasty and while I used to absolutely hate Brett ales and at one point didn't understand why people loved them so much, the flavours compliment each other so well.
Overall Thoughts: Absolutely tasty IPA, the hops retained themselves pretty well in the 7 months since I got this at Beau's. It's still mildly bitter with tropical presence to it.. and the Brett is very much complimenting the tropical notes. Sweet, sour, zesty and I really want more of this. Only 5 more months until I'm back at Beau's (hopefully) for another visit! 6.5% ABV
Well I think the theme of today's reviews will be a Beau's Day as I'm planning on writing up up to three Beau's reviews today. First review of the day is Beau's Strong Patrick aged in Jameson Whiskey barrels. I previously reviewed Strong Patrick back in 2014 thanks to Ryan, but seeing that this year's batch is aged in Jameson barrels, it's time for me to check out this version of the beer.
Appearance: Pours a clear, ruby red body with a light amount of yellow-beige head on top.
Aroma: There's a liberal Irish whiskey presence in there - oaky, vanilla, caramel and whiskey. The beer side of things has a rich caramel aroma with a light earthiness and a light amount of toasted malt presence.
Taste: Smoother than the aroma surprisingly enough - it's a sweet, caramel forward red ale with a light amount of earthiness to it. The whisky pops up here and there giving off a good woody presence of oak, even more caramel, vanilla, and an ever faint whiskey burn at the end. Definitely sweeter than last year's batch of Strong Patrick, in fact - this is kind of desserty sweet but not quite as sweet as say.. Innis & Gunn.
Overall Thoughts: I was expecting more of a booze burn in this beer as this is aged in Jameson barrels, but I'm glad that there isn't because it ends up being very easy to drink and sweet beer. This is definitely going to be a great pairing for St Patrick's Day. Thanks to the folks at Beau's for sending this beer my way, I can't wait to buy more in coming weeks! 6.5% ABV
Brasserie Nonsuch has been selling pretty darn well here in Brandon ever since their saison release last month. Now, they've brought out their Old Ale X. I'm not familiar with Old Ales but it's a style that's typically referred to dark, malty English ales. The popular Winter Warmer style appears to be a subset of the style, but generally only brewed in winter months.
Like all other Nonsuch beers, this one is pretty high in alcohol content, topping out at 10% ABV!
Appearance: Old Ale X pours a dark mahogany brown body with no real noticeable amount of carbonation in the body. The head starts off lifeless and non existent when I initially pour the beer, but once I've let it settle, there's a beige ring of foam on the side of the glass.
Aroma: This brings me back memories of Nonsuch's launch party back in June! This is a sweet, very malty ale with notes of caramel, dark fruits (figs, raisins), a moderate booze presence, a slight hint of coffee, chocolate, and a light woodiness.
Taste: Like the aroma, it's a sweet, malty and boozy beer. Heavy notes of burnt caramel, dark fruit, a bit of a woodiness, a bit of heat from it being damned 10%, a hint of cocoa and coffee. The aftertaste is a light bitterness mixed with raisins. It's fairly smooth for being 10%, fairly dry and completely complimentary to cold early evenings on the harsh prairies.
Overall Thoughts: Another great beer by Nonsuch, everything I've tried by them has been absolutely great! I keep saying that Nonsuch will be considered one of the top breweries in Manitoba in the near future. I'm excited to see what their next launch will be (Bière de Garde? Belgian Strong?)
Yesterday I received a few tweets from people letting me know that Lacombe, Alberta's Blindman Brewery's beer is now available in Manitoba. I've heard about Blindman before but didn't really pay attention, but apparently their beer is considered some of the best in Alberta.
The first beer to make it to Manitoba is their Long Shadows India Pale Ale. This is their first take on North American style IPA. It tops out at 7.1% and 68 IBU.
Appearance: Pours a cloudy golden straw body with a tiny bit of carbonation going through the beer. The head is a light snow white foam that's glistening on top and gradually sticking to the side of the glass.
Aroma: Fairly hoppy, fairly juicy and fairly sweet. The first impression I get is a bit of a piney hop bitterness, followed by a bit of orange peel, and a light breadiness. It's not much so far, but I'm enjoying the subtle aroma.
Taste: A moderate amount of bitter hoppiness with some pine, a bit of woodiness and a light grassiness as well. The beer is decently sweet with a medley of tropical fruits including orange, mango, grapefruit and a bit of an apple aftertaste at the end. Fairly dry for the most part. This isn't as sweet and in your face tropical as your typical New England IPA, but it has a good fruit presence while also having a decent amount of bitter hops to compliment the sweetness.
Overall Thoughts: Not overpowering in any sense compared to most IPAs, but this is a really easy to drink IPA that's definitely a pleasure to my palate. It's mildly hoppy, tropical and even a bit of yeastiness in there. Can't wait to try more of Blindman Brewing's products in the future!
It really doesn't take much to aggravate or stress me out, hell - I get anxious about stuff that's not even important. I'm feeling a bit annoyed with a dosage of anxiety, I posted a Tweet the other day about how one of my favourite local restaurants was selling Bud Light for $15 per 341mL bottle. If you follow the tweet, it blew up a bit. Well, Global News reported the same thing on their website today. I feel a bit frustrated because they only found out about it through my Tweet the other day and no mention of my name? That sucks, but I'm absolutely happy that the restaurant is getting some free publicity out of it - they'll get more publicity out of it than through this small blog.
Anywho, thankfully I have a beer waiting next to me to be reviewed. Tonight I'm reviewing Parallel 49's Vow of Silence Belgian Strong. Vow of Silence is a Belgian-style dark ale that tops out at 9.0% ABV. For hops, it contains Hallertauer Mit, and for malts it contains Sup Pils and Munich Malt. The label portrays a Danny Devito a Frank Reynolds-lookalike as a goblinish Monk with his mouth sewed shut, P49 always has great artwork!
Appearance: Vow of Silence pours a heavy, bright ruby red body with a decent amount of carbonation and a half finger's worth of yellowish-beige head on top.
Aroma: Pretty much your typical Belgian Dark Ale, it has notes of caramel, dark fruits (prunes, raisins), a hint of sourness that seems to be a bit of a sour cherry aroma, and a bit of a dark molasses aroma at the end.
Taste: Wow, this is on point - this is your typical Belgian dark ale right there. The flavour is sharp as it hits the palate, but it quickly diminishes to a smooth, easy drinking beer (if that somehow makes sense). There's notes of dark fruit, caramel, an earthy hop presence, a reasonable boozey burn in there, slightly bready, a tad spiced.
Overall Thoughts: A solid Belgian Strong Dark Ale, comparable to many of the ones I've had over the years like Trois Pistoles. Nicely spiced, sweet, and starts out with a bite, but ends up being pretty smooth on the palate. I'll be buying another bottle soon, especially with the price point of $6.95 for a 650mL bottle.