Thursday, October 27, 2011

Half Pints Smoktoberfest

Again, another Canadian (and local!) brew.  This beer is a bit unusual because it is a smoked beer.  It still fits in with the Oktoberfest mini-theme I had going, because a rauchbier is supposed to be like an Oktoberfest/marzen except with smoked malts.  Today's beer comes in a 650mL brown bottle (that I've come to expect from Half Pints' seasonal beers).  It has 6.2% alcohol/vol, and 22 IBU's.

When opened, I was greeted with two distinct aromas: malt and smoke.  It's tough to tell what kind of smoke it smells like, but I would have to go with wood (or perhaps bacon).  It poured a beautiful amber colour, with a small yet frothy head that disappeared quickly.  There were a few small bubbles.  The aroma after the pour was much more smokey than malty.

The first sip went down fairly well.  A very malty beer; very smooth and the smoke is only slightly distracting.  The mouthfeel was moderate, not thick or thin, and no harshness from the low carbonation.  The aftertaste was smokey rather than bitter.  This beer reminded me of a camping trip, and would do very well on one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Half Pints Humulus Ludicrous

As promised, I'm moving onto some Canadian beers. Today's beer comes from a local craft brewery. It is very aptly named, as it comes in with a whopping 100 IBUs! It is sold in a 650mL brown bottle, with 8% alcohol/vol. This is going to be my first imperial IPA [edit: Actually, it's not my first]. I think they put the wrong bottle caps on. The one on this bottle says "twist" on it (along with an arrow for the direction), yet the bottle is clearly not a twist-off.

When opened, I was immediately smacked in the face with hops. It almost made my eyes water. It poured dark amber/light brown in colour, and formed a small frothy head that lasted a long time. It was hard to see the bubbles due to the colour of the beer, but they were definitely there. The aroma was still mainly hops after the pour (as expected).

This beer was definitely one for hop-heads! In fact, it was hard to tell anything about the beer other than the ridiculous amount of hopping that went into it. The beer felt thick in the mouth, yet very smooth. The carbonation didn't leave a burning sensation in the mouth. There was a noticeable amount of warmth from either the alcohol or the hops. As expected, the beer left a strong bitter aftertaste. I could see drinking this beer on occasion, but probably would not make it a regular beer. It's the kind of beer to drink if you're out with friends (who only drink mass-produced domestic) and you don't want them stealing your drink. All that being said, I rather enjoyed this beer as it felt like a bit of an adventure.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Paulaner Oktoberfest

It's the official beer of Oktoberfest!  Arriving at my beer fridge in a whopping 1L can, it has 6.0% alcohol/vol.  It also came with an accompanying dimpled stein (with enough extra room at the top to contain the inevitable head).  The art on the can is neat, with 11 rotundous women carrying ridiculous quantities of beer steins.

When I opened the can, I was a bit surprised by how little malt there was in the aroma.  Significantly more hops than I expected.  It poured a golden colour, much lighter than the Sam Adams Oktoberfest I recently had.  A huge brothy head formed which filled the extra 1.5 inches in the stein.  The head didn't last for very long though.  There were a good amount of large bubbles.  After the pour, I could much easier detect the malts that Oktoberfest beers are renown for.

The first sip was pretty straight forward.  Nothing overpowering.  The beer had a relatively benign malty flavour, with no noticeable bitterness.  There was a slight caramel aftertaste.  The beer was very smooth in the mouth, with only a slight "bite" when swallowed.  I find it strange that I preferred the Sam Adams over the Paulaner, but there you go.  I think most of the novelty of this beer is the fact that it comes in a 1L can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Samuel Adams Octoberfest

I've been told that I need to try out more Canadian beers. I agree with that sentiment, and I promise I'll get around to them soon. But before that, there's a few beers I need to try out first because... It's October, so that means it's time for Oktoberfest beers!

Today's beer comes in a 355mL brown bottle with 5.5% alcohol/vol. Not very much information on the bottle, other than the fact that it comes from Boston. The bottle has a stylized "Sam Adams" embossing on the glass; it's a real nice touch.

When opened, lots of rich malty aromas escaped the bottle. No detectable hops. It poured a clear deep copper colour with a generous head that disappeared quickly. There were lots of large bubbles. The malty aroma was almost overpowering.

The first sip was amazing. The beer was very rich in flavour. Very strong tones of caramel. This style of beer fits beautifully with the season (even the colour of the beer is right). This being my first Oktoberfest beer, I was very impressed. And wasn't very expensive either, so I would definitely recommend this beer to everybody. It's unfortunate that it's seasonal.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ölvisholt Skjálfti

I'm going a bit off the beer map today with an Icelandic beer. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle with 5% alcohol/vol. It had a best-before date of 22 December 2013, so I think I'm in the clear. It even had an ingredients list: Icelandic water (yes, they actually mentioned that it was "Icelandic"), malted barley, wheat malt, hops, yeast. I was a bit surprised about the wheat malt. That can either be a good thing or a bad thing. Most likely, it will just give it a ludicrous head and make the flavour a bit more mellow (like a wheat beer).

When opened, there wasn't much aroma. I had to snort the bottle hard to smell anything. It smelled like your run-of-the-mill domestic. When poured, it formed the expected huge head but then died off fast. The aroma was corny (which was odd, since corn wasn't on the ingredients list). The beer had a dark yellow/light gold colour. There were a reasonable amount of tiny bubbles.

The first sip was mediocre. The flavour was fairly mellow, ever so slightly sweet. It tasted somewhere between a domestic and a wheat beer. The feel in the mouth was a bit sharp with the carbonation, but was not noticeable until swallowing. There was no significant amount of hops detectable. I very quickly got bored of the beer. If I was in Iceland, I'd drink it to blend in with the locals. But I would not go out of my way to buy this beer again.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

St. Sylvestre Du Moulin Pilsner

Another French beer today.  This one comes in a 500mL white can.  It has 5.3% alcohol/vol.  It even has an ingredients list: water, malt, hops.  Happy to see no adjuncts there.  There was also a best-before date on the bottom of April 7, 2012.  Not much information on the can other than the above, except for a typical mistranslation on its warning: "drink savely" (sic).

The can opened without any fizz; just a loud crack.  There was a strong malty odour coming from the beer.  The beer poured an anemic pale straw colour with lots of floaties.  At least the beer had a decent frothy head.  The strong malty aroma was still there, but smelled "off".

The first sip was horrible.  I'm not sure if the problem was with the can, or the best-before date on the bottom was wrong.  Maybe the beer just sucked?  The beer was weak in "beery" flavour.  Unfortunately, it was strong in "unbeery" flavours.  There was definitely a metallic aftertaste to the beer.  I had to pour it down the drain.

They should serve this beer in prisons for the criminally insane.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Big Rock Brewery McNally's Extra

Another newcomer to the MLC's Liquor Mart.  This beer comes in an industry standard 341mL brown bottle. It has a foil wrapper around the cap, supposedly as an temper-detection device.  It also has 7% alcohol/vol.  Whee!

When opened, there was no hops detectable, but WOW what a malt aroma.  It poured a beautiful amber colour, with just a small head.  As for bubbles, there were not many.  The beer retained its malty aroma long after the pour.

The first sip was bittersweet.  As in bitter, and sweet.  The beer definitely had some bittering hops in it.  There was also a slight caramel flavour.  The beer had a slightly harsh feel on the tongue.  And there was also an ever-so-slight warming in the belly from the alcohol.  I would rate this beer as a small win.  Definitely one of the better mass-produced domestics I've tasted.