Monday, January 30, 2012

Unibroue Maudite

It is finally time to try the last Unibroue beer I have in my basement. It comes in Unibroue's standard 750mL brown bottle with a cork top. It has 8% alcohol/vol. There's a flying canoe and devil on the label, which I believe refers to a legend about a group of voyageurs who made a pact with the devil to fly them home. Really cool label. 

When opened, I was disappointed. Spices. Not yet another Unibroue spice-fest. :( The spices this time were of a sweeter variety than usual. It poured a hazy dark amber colour, with a thick white head. There were lots of microscopic bubbles to keep the head going. The aroma did not change much after the pour. The usual spiciness, with just a hint of fruit.

The first sip was almost exactly what I suspected. There was a strong spiciness in the flavour, but it finished unexpectedly slightly sweet. The beer had a medium-soft feel in the mouth. Indeed, this beer was quite quaffable. I would place this beer 2nd on my list of Unibroue beers (after La Terrible). Overall, this beer is fairly well-balanced. I would probably buy this beer again, if only to develop my taste for tripels (even though this beer is clearly not a tripel).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Big Sky Brewery Moose Drool

My sister and brother-in-law have a sense of humour.  When they bought me the two boxes of beer for Christmas, they mostly chose beers based on their name.  Moose Drool is definitely a funny name.  It comes in a 355mL brown bottle, with a pry-off cap.  It has 5.1% alcohol/vol.  The label is rather scenic:  A drooling moose standing in a river, in a mountain valley.  There's not much else in terms of information on the label, except that it's a "brown ale".

When opened, I immediately smelled malts.  A big of sweetness, and lots of chocolate/coffee aroma.  Not much in the way of hoppiness.  It poured a deep dark brown with a healthy off-white head that disappeared quickly.  It was hard to see if there were any bubbles because the beer was so dark.  The aroma after the pour was rather "meh", just the faintest hint of coffee and nothing else.

The first sip was "meh".  There was absolutely nothing to write home about with this beer.  It really just tasted like a domestic with just a hint of chocolate malts.  There was almost no carbonation, so there was a ridiculously soft feel in the mouth.  Absolutely no bitterness to the beer.  The beer left a lacing as I drank.  There is no reason for me to ever buy this beer (but I'd happily drink it if somebody gave me a free bottle).

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Flying Monkeys Netherworld

I've heard much about today's beer. It comes from a renown craft brewery in Barrie, Ontario. It comes in a non-standard 355mL brown bottle, with 6% alcohol/vol. It has a rather interesting label, one that I don't particularly like. While I do like innovative labels on my beers, I don't like flashy ones. This is a flashy label.

Opening the bottle, I was bombarded by cascade hops and coffee.  My interest has been piqued.  I noticed a neat motto on the bottom of the cap: "Save water, drink beer".  It poured a very dark colour, almost black.  There was a little bit of light brown head but disappeared quickly.  The beer wasn't very highly carbonated, for I saw very little in terms of bubbles at the top; looking in at the beer from the side was a fruitless effort.  The beer had less of a hoppy aroma after the pour, and had more of a chocolate hint to it.

My first sip was pretty good.  I could easily see myself guzzling this beer.  There was a strong hoppy bitterness to the beer, and a strong coffee flavour.  The beer had an exceptionally soft feel in the mouth, making it much easier to swish around.  There was an extremely light lacing left on the glass as I drank.  This is not a beer for neophytes.  I will definitely buy this beer again.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Empyrean Brewing Company Burning Skye

Happy Robbie Burns day!  In honour of this wonderful poet, I'm going to drink some (not very) Scottish beer.  It comes in a short (but not stubby) 12 fluid oz. brown bottle.  It has 5.3% alcohol/vol, and 13 IBUs.  I believe that places it in the Scottish Export 80/- category.  The best-before date on the beer was undecipherable because it was either January or February in 2012 or 2013.  I could only hope that it wasn't Jan 2012.

When opened, I noticed a thin brown "sludge" on the inside of the cap.  The beer had a mostly malty aroma with a hint of peat.  When poured, it came out a very cloudy light amber colour.  There was a thin off-white head which lasted a while.  It was hard to see the bubbles due to all the cloudiness.  The beer kept the same aroma as when it was opened.  It actually didn't smell very appealing.

The first sip was horrible.  The beer had very little flavour apart from the light smokiness.  It tasted like I was drinking an ash tray.  There was no malty sweetness to it as one would expect from a Scottish ale.  At least the beer was soft and creamy in the mouth.  There is no way I would ever buy this beer again.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Today was one of the first cold days of the year.  To celebrate this (late) coming of winter, I decided to crack open a "winter lager".  It comes in a 355mL brown bottle, with the standard "Sam Adams" embossing above the label.  It has 5.5% alcohol/vol, and a best-before date of October 2012.  I was originally hoping that "winter lager" meant an eisbock, but the alcohol content is far too low.

When opened, I was surprised by the spices.  It reminded me a lot of the Santa Swillie.  It poured a dark red colour, with lots of bubbles and a thin dark head.  Very visually appealing.  I had to look very hard to see the floaties.  The spicy aroma was almost all gone after the pour, replaced with a slight maltiness.

This beer was rich.  The flavour was almost all malt.  The beer was very smooth.  There was almost no hoppiness to it at all.  There was a slight spiciness to it, but not overpowering.  Overall, I wouldn't think of this as a winter beer.  However, this beer was pretty damn good.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Affligem Blond

Woohoo, yet another Belgian ale. It seems can't get enough of these (well, except for the tripels). Today's beer comes in a 330mL slender amber bottle with 6.8% alcohol/vol. It says it's from an abbey, but doesn't have the "authentic trappist" logo. So I'm thinking it's from a different type of abbey. I'm not terribly picky, as long as it tastes good. It has a best-before date of May 18, 2013; way in the future, so I should be in the clear. The label made me chuckle a bit: "Contains barley malt." Duh.

When opened, I smelled mostly malt and yeast. There was also a bit of fruitiness in there somewhere too. The beer poured a clear golden colour. The only thing I didn't like was the amount of sediment in the beer. There was tons of it.  I did not mispour the beer.  All the yeast was still in the bottle.  There was no head, and almost no bubbles.  The aroma after the pour was much milder.  Maybe I got a bad bottle?

The first sip: Didn't like it.  I was instantly reminded to Troubadour and Leffe, and remembered how much I disliked those beers.  I'll lump this type of beer with the tripels as something to avoid in the future.  It's not that this beer was particularly bad, insomuch as I just didn't find anything good with it.  The sediment of the beer was a visual turn-off.  There was almost no carbonation.  And it tasted like a strong domestic.  The only thing going for it was the subtle noble hop aftertaste.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Klosterbrauerei Neuzelle Schwarzer ABT

I can gather very little about this beer, as the label is entirely in German. While I did take a bit of German in university, it is hardly at conversational level. It comes in a 500mL brown bottle and has 3.9% alcohol/vol. Weak. There is also a list of ingredients: Schwarzbier (black beer), and Invertzuckersirup (liquid invert sugar). Not exactly what I was hoping for: a beer with additives.

When opened, I could smell the malt, a little bit of smoke, and some coffee.  The beer poured an opaque black with a miniscule off-white head.  There were very few microsopic bubbles.  The original aroma was retained, but the order was reversed:  Coffee the most, followed by smoke and malt.

The first sip was exceptionally sweet.  The beer had a medium body, not terribly smooth but not sharp either.  The sweet aftertaste lingered on for a while.  There was almost no hops detectable anywhere in this beer.  While the beer wasn't bad, it wasn't exceptional either.  Not knowing what Schwarzbiers are supposed to taste like, I'd have to say it's middle-of-the-road.  I'd drink it again for a change of pace, but really couldn't see a reason to get it otherwise.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Minhas Creek Imperial Jack

I knew I was going to be playing with fire the moment I bought this beer. Minhas Creek doesn't have a stellar reputation for making good beer. Nevertheless, I was intrigued when I saw a craft beer made by them.  It comes in a 650mL brown bottle, with 8.5% alcohol/vol and 75 IBU's.  The label is pretty neat, with a red rabbit made out of Matryoshka dolls.

When opened, I could immediately smell the hops.  The first thing that went through my mind was "That's it?".  Maybe I'm a bit spoiled from all the Humulus Ludicrous I drank this autumn.  The beer poured a cloudy light amber colour.  There was a thin off-white head that disappeared quickly.  There were a modest amount of large bubbles.  The hoppy aroma had completely dissipated, and was replaced with a strong caramel.

The first sip was underwhelming.  At first it tasted like a regular domestic, but then a slight caramel flavour came on. The hops were only noticeable in the aftertaste and not very strongly at that.  The beer was far too cloying; I would not call this an imperial IPA.  But for the price I paid for the bottle, it wasn't too bad.  I don't think I'd buy this again unless I was broke.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

St. Sylvestre 3 Monts

Today's beer has been sitting my basement for some time.  It comes in a 750mL light brown bottle, with a corked top.  The label is probably one of the worst I've ever seen on a beer.  The only information readily available is that it is a French beer and has 8.5% alcohol/vol.

It took some work, but I eventually got the cork off.  It was significantly harder to work out than anything by Unibroue or Chimay.  I had to haul out the corkscrew.  When opened, there were some floral and fruity hops in the aroma.  The beer poured an absolutely clear pale gold colour.  There was a one-finger white head that lasted a long time, supported by a ridiculous amount of large bubbles.  After pouring, the beer's aroma had subsided to that of a domestic: unimpressive.

The first sip was pretty good.  The beer tasted like a very good domestic beer.  There was only a slight malty dry flavour.  The feel in the mouth was very bubbly, but not sharp.  There was a very slight bitter aftertaste.  Overall, the beer was fairly good.  I would consider it a good introduction to craft beers.