Thursday, December 29, 2011

Unibroue Terrible

Even after yesterday's less than enthusiastic sampling, I thought it would be wise to finish off the last of my Unibroue collection.  It comes in the "standard" (for Unibroue and Chimay, anyway) 750mL brown bottle with a corked top.  It has no labelling, instead with just the essential information printed on the bottle: 10.5% alcohol/vol, dark ale on lees.  In a way, it's a coup for minimalistic labelling, in that less is more.  Together with the name, it gives the beer a "this is gonna kick your ass" vibe.

When opened, I was surprised that there was no spicy aroma.  Instead, there was an immediate hit of fruitiness followed by caramel and chocolate.  It poured an opaque dark brown (almost black), with a large tan-coloured head.  I could not see any bubbles in the beer, but they must have been there because the head lasted a long time.  The only aroma I could detect after the pour was a strong fruitiness.

The first sip was sharp.  There was an immediate burning from the alcohol and carbonation.  After the burning subsided, there was a fruity aftertaste.  The beer was only mildly sweet, and not very bitter.  The important thing to note is that there was none of the spiciness that I dislike in the other Unibroue beers I've tried.  This makes me very happy.  I believe Unibroue has redeemed itself with this beer.  I liked it a lot.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

UFC 141 Predictions

I used to give my fight predictions on another site before it went down.  I figured I'd move them here instead.

  • Hettes over Pham
  • Matyushenko over Gustafsson
  • Fitch over Hendricks
  • Cerrone over Diaz
  • Overeem over Lesnar

Unibroue Trois Pistoles

My friend Ange will be happy to know I've finally gotten around to trying this beer.  It comes in the standard (for Unibroue, anyway) 750mL brown bottle with a cork top.  It has 9% alcohol/vol, and has a synopsis of the legend depicted on the front label (some of the best artwork I've seen on a beer label), on the back label.

When opened, I was presented with nearly the same aroma that La Fin Du Monde has: spicy, but slightly fruitier.  The beer poured an opaque dark brown, with lots of small bubbles to support an enormous head.  The spiciness was nearly gone, and the fruitiness shone through.

The first sip was disappointing.  The only things that differentiates this from La Fin Du Monde are the colour and aroma.  The taste was identical.  The beer had a medium feel in the mouth, and there was a slight warmth from the alcohol.  As much as I'd love to love Unibroue's beers, I have been repeatedly disappointed by them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chimay Grande Reserve

The last of the available Chimay beers available to me. It comes in a 750mL corked brown bottle, just like the Cinq Cents. But unlike the Cinq Cents, this beer has a blue label. It has 9% alcohol/vol. From what I've heard, this beer should be more along the lines of the kind of beer I like. It's widely known as a "Christmas beer".

It took a bit of effort, but I eventually managed to get the cork off. When opened, I smelled chocolate. I suppose they used chocolate malt? The beer poured an opaque brown, with lots of small bubbles. The chocolate aroma had completely disappeared, and all I could smell was malt. No hoppy aroma at all.

The first sip stung a bit. There is definitely some warmth from the alcohol, and the feel in the mouth was a bit sharp from the carbonation. There was almost no aftertaste. The beer had a very malty flavour to it, almost like caramel. This beer reminded me a lot of Gulden Draak, except slightly less sweet. I was right that this beer would be more along my tastes, and I will definitely buy this beer again given the opportunity.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Chimay Cinq Cents

Christmas is over for another year. My sister and brother-in-law gave me one of the best presents a beer fanatic (aficionado?) (addict?) could ever want: Two wine boxes stuffed full of beers from around the world. So I'll be trying to drink it as fast as I can and blogging my thoughts. Some of the bottles/cans are ones which I've tried before, some I've never heard of before, and some are beers from breweries that I was desperate to try but could never find.

 I've been drinking too many tripels lately.  And it's a style that I'm starting to not enjoy terribly much.  So, I thought I should try another. :)  This time it's a tripel from the brewery of one of my favourite beers (Chimay Premiere).  I managed to pick up this bottle in Phoenix (thanks BevMo!), so little chance of finding it in Manitoba.  It comes in a 750mL brown bottle with a cork top.  At 8% alcohol/vol, it's no slouch.

When opened, it began to foam up.  I barely had a chance to give the bottle a whiff (it had a spicy aroma) before I had to start pouring.  It formed a ridiculously huge head.  I'm talking 80% head, 20% beer.  I'm not sure if that meant the bottle was bad, or just because the bottle had been shaken in transit from Phoenix to Winnipeg (although it had rested in my basement for over a month since).  The head took a while to go down, leaving behind the typical Belgian lacing on the glass.  There was a lot of sediment in the beer, so much that you couldn't see through it.  Despite the sediment, the beer had a golden colour (darker in the middle due to clouding).  The bubbles were unevenly dispersed in the beer, with some parts bubbling up with ridiculous amounts of tiny bubbles and other parts of the beer flat.  It was a very interesting phenomenon.

The first sip was spicy.  The beer started off very smooth, but then the warmth kicked in.  There was a bit of a sharp feel in the mouth from the carbonation.  There was very little bitter aftertaste.  Overall, I would say this beer was neither sweet nor bitter.  It was certainly one of the easiest to drink tripels I've tried.  As far as tripels go, I think this one is my favourite, but I still haven't changed my mind on the beer style.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Inveralmond Brewery Santa's Swallie

It's starting to look at lot like Christmas!  Okay, it's not really...  Still barely any snow on the ground, and the temperature is hovering around freezing.  But that doesn't mean I can't joyously partake in a Christmas beer.  It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, with 4.3% alcohol/vol.  The type of brew (lager or ale) is unknown, so this beer is a complete mystery.  The only thing I know about it is that it has cinnamon and nutmeg added (Christmas spices!).

When opened, I could smell the spices.  And a lot of malt.  Almost no hops.  Knowing that, I'd guess the beer was some kind of light ale.  When poured, the beer came out a light amber, with a small off-white head.  There were very few bubbles.  I could also see a lot of sediment or floaties in the beer.  The malty aroma had subsided after the pour, and was much less pronounced.

The first sip was decent.  The spices were fairly mellow and barely detectable.  If I hadn't known there were any spices added, I never would have guessed.  The beer was very smooth, and had a very soft feel in the mouth.  There was no sweetness to the beer, and only a mild bitterness.  Overall, I found the flavour relatively weak (but not unpleasant), however there are a lot of people who would enjoy that, so I'd call this beer good.  I don't think I'd buy it again but there's no reason why somebody else shouldn't try it.

In case I don't get another blog posting in before the 25th... Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Half Pints Demeter's Harvest

I picked up today's beer almost by accident.  Well, the picking up part wasn't by accident.  I just had no idea that it was from Half Pints, as the label is very unusual for them.  It comes in Half Pints' standard (for their specialty brews) 650mL brown bottle.  It has a black label which looks very cheap, so cheap that I almost didn't buy this beer.  It has 11% alcohol/vol, and 75 IBUs.  Yowza!  It says it's a wheatwine, which I suppose is like a barleywine.  Having had neither before in my life, I figure I'm in for a new experience.  The label says it's made from a base of malted wheat, barley, and wildflower honey.

When opened, there was a strong hoppy aroma (not surprising, given the high IBU rating).  It smelled a lot like their Little Scrapper IPA or Sweet Nikki Brown.  I'm starting to think Half Pints only has one variety of hops available to them.  It poured a foggy copper-brown colour.  There was a small head that disappeared quickly.  There were an average number of large bubbles.  The strong hoppy aroma was still present after the pour.

The first sip was very different from anything I'd had before.  I was expecting it to taste a lot like their Humulus Ludicrous, but was was radically different.  The flavour came on very slowly, and had a very sweet aftertaste.  The beer had a very soft feel in the mouth.  It was a good thing the beer was as hoppy as it was, or the flavour would have been exceptionally cloying.  The honey flavour was definitely present.  There was absolutely no warmth from the alcohol.  This beer was exceptional.  I'm going to have to buy a few more bottles of this, even at $9 each!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Half Pints Sweet Nikki Brown

Disclaimer: I have a mild cold

It's about time I got my hands on this seasonal local brew.  I've enjoyed most of what Half Pints has had to offer (St. James Pale and Smoktoberfest being the only two exceptions), so I'm excited to try this one.  It appears to be an American brown ale, with 4.9% alcohol/vol and 35 IBUs. It comes in the industry standard 341mL brown bottle.  It's apparently named after somebody's wife (who has brown hair and is a bit nutty).

When opened, you can easily smell the aromatic hops.  But there was also a strong malty scent.  The beer poured a dark brown colour (very little light passed through), with a light brown head.  The hoppy aroma was very much the same as that of their Little Scrapper IPA (Cascade, I think?).    

The first sip was underwhelming.  There was very little flavour in the beer.  It tasted a lot like water, only with a bitter aftertaste.  There was a tiny bit of sweetness to the beer, but none of the much-advertised nuttiness that is supposedly in it.  The beer had a fairly soft feel in the mouth.  I would drink this beer, but I could not see the point in buying it again.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Westmalle Trappist Ale Tripel

Westmalle's dubbel is one of my favourite beers of all time. Today I'm going to see how their tripel sizes up.  It's not available here in Manitoba, as far as I know.  I bought this particular bottle in Arizona the day before I flew home earlier this month.  All hail BevMo!  It comes in an identical 11.2 fl. Oz. brown bottle, the difference being an off-white label (and bottle cap) as opposed to the dubbel's purple.  It has 9.5% alcohol/vol and this particular bottle had a best-before date of 10 March, 2012.

When opened, the smell was immediately stronger in alcohol than the dubbel, with almost no fruity esters.  It poured a dark yellow colour, with a huge white head.  There were lots of tiny bubles, and very low clarity.  After the pour, the fruity esters made a strong appearance.

The first sip was delicious.  There was slightly less fruitiness than the dubbel, and a lot more alcoholic warmth.  The feel in the mouth was very soft.  There was no aftertaste to speak of.  I wish I had a fire going in the fireplace and a good book.  This beer is quite excellent.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Urthel Saisonniere

Time for me to re-visit a beer style I gave up on a while ago: The Belgian blond ale. Today's beer isn't Belgian though, it comes from the Netherlands. It comes in a 11.2 fluid ounce skinny brown bottle. It has a yellow label with a moustachioed cartoon character holding a stein of beer. It's an awesome moustache too.

When opened, the aroma was mostly fruity, with some spiciness thrown in. When poured, it formed a very respectable white head which lasted a long time. There were an enormous amount of small bubbles. The aroma after the pour was rather subdued, with just a hint of spices.

The first sip was positive.  The beer didn't taste spicy at all.  If anything, the taste was rather smooth.  The feel in the mouth was sharp from all the carbonation.  Only a slight warmth from the alcohol, barely even noticeable.  There was also a slight citrusy aftertaste.  As I drank, the beer left a lace in the glass; I usually take that as a good sign.  It tasted a lot like La Fin du Monde, but not as overpowering.  Overall, I'd say this beer was pretty good, striking a good balance.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mill St. Brewery Coffee Porter

The last time I tried a coffee-flavoured beer, it was Half Pints' Stir Stick Stout.  Trying to stick with Canadian beers (as per a request), the beer I'm trying comes from Toronto.  It comes in a 341mL thin brown bottle, with 5.5% alcohol/vol.  The bottle claims to have coffee added, which makes me a bit uneasy.

When opened, I could immediately smell hops and (unsurprisingly enough) coffee.  It poured an exceptionally opaque shade of brown, with a deep tan head.  Its aroma had changed after the pour to something more malty.

The first sip was fairly good.  The beer was only slightly bitter, and had a strong sweetness to it.  The coffee flavour was more of an aftertaste; subdued and quite pleasant (kind of like in a coffee crisp).  The feel in the mouth was exceptionally soft.  I liked this beer much more than Half Pints' coffee stout, if only because it wasn't as strong.