Monday, February 27, 2012

Innis & Gunn Original

Today's beer comes in a 330mL clear bottle.  It has 6.6% alcohol/vol.  The bottle has a slightly unique shape to it, with the "Innis & Gunn" embossing.  The beer claims to be oak aged, with hints of toffee, vanilla, and oak.

When opened, I certainly did smell the vanilla and oak.  The toffee was a little harder to find.  It poured a beautiful clear golden colour with a medium-sized white head.  There were an average number of bubbles.  The aroma had not changed much since opening the bottle, only getting weaker.

The first sip was pretty good.  You certainly can taste the oak.  This beer tasted a lot like scotch.   There was very minimal sweetness to the beer, and I couldn't find any of the claimed toffee flavour.  The beer had a fairly soft feel in the mouth.  I found this beer to be pretty good.  The scotch angle has me hooked.  I would certainly look for this beer again.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wychwood Brewery Hobgoblin

This looks like an interesting beer from an interesting line of beers. It comes in a uniquely shaped 500mL brown bottle with 5.2% alcohol/vol. The label is in a few different languages, and you would have to be a multilinguist to get all of the information on it. For example, there is an ingredients list but it's in Italian. Yet the beer's description is in English and French. There was a best-before date on this bottle of August 1, 2012, so I was well in the clear in terms of getting a possibly expired beer.

When opened, I was puzzled by the initial aroma.  If my nose wasn't lying, I could smell...  vinegar?  The beer poured a dark amber colour, a far cry from the "ruby" promised on the label.  There was a thin off-white head which disappeared almost instantly.  There were a few streams of small bubbles in the beer, but they were hard to see due to the darkness of the beer.  The aroma after the pour was remarkably different from when I opened the bottle.  It had a sweet caramel scent to it.

The first sip was fairly average.  The beer had a mild sweetness to it, and had a fairly soft feel in the mouth.  There was only a modest bitter aftertaste to it.  Overall, I found the beer quite approachable.  On the other hand, there was nothing spectacular about it either.  I'd probably skip buying it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Orkney Brewery Dark Island

Today is my second Scottish beer. My first one was less than spectacular, probably due to an expiry date SNAFU. This beer has an amazing label. I really dig the artwork and info on it. It even gives the UK government's guideline amount of drinks for the average adult! It comes in a 500mL brown bottle, and has 4.6% alcohol/vol.  The label even tells you what to expect in terms of colour, aroma, and taste.  I purposefully didn't read it in detail, because I didn't want to be prejudiced.

Upon opening, I was greeted with dark malts.  The aroma was very much like that of a Guinness:  roasted dark malts with chocolate and coffee.  When poured, it formed a thin light brown head that disappeared quickly.  The beer itself was a nearly-opaque black.  The aroma gained a slightly sweet fruity hint to it.

The first sip was fairly smooth.  The beer was fairly bitter, and had a very dry finish.  The flavour was mostly dark malt.  A tiny hint of coffee and chocolate, but barely noticeable.  The feel in the mouth was exceptionally soft.  Considering that I had just come back from a run, this beer really hit the spot.  As such, my judgement may be a bit skewed.  I enjoyed this beer, and would definitely buy it again.  Doubly so if I found it in a pub.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen

Ever since I tried Sam Adams' Oktoberfest, I've been wanting to try a different brewer's to see what they have in common and how they differ.  I'm excited to try today's beer, since Ayinger is brewery well-known for its lagers (especially its doppelbock).  It comes in a 500mL brown bottle with an unknown alcohol content.  Some days, I hate US beer labelling laws. :(

When opened, I was greeted with a nose full of sweet malt.  It reminded me more of Fort Garry's eisbock than Sam Adams' Oktoberfest.  It poured a dark amber colour, with just a slight cloudiness.  There was a thin white head that disappeared quickly.  Lots of microscopic bubbles.  The aroma was fairly unchanged from when I opened the bottle.

The first sip was delicous.  The beer was incredibly malty, and slightly sweet.  It tasted almost like toffee, and a hint of honey.  There was almost no hops to it.  The feel in the mouth was incredibly soft despite the carbonation.  If I ever manage to find this beer again, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Flying Dog Old Scratch Amber lager

I'm slightly intrigued by today's beer.  It comes in a 355mL brown bottle with 5.5% alcohol/vol and 19.5 IBUs.  Normally I don't like lagers, especially non-hoppy lagers, but this beer is special:  It has a quote from Hunter S. Thompson on it.  "Good people drink good beer."  If it's good enough for Dr. Thompson, it's good enough for me.  The picture on the label is kind of neat too, with what appears to be one flea, and one hybrid flea-dog.

When opened, I was impressed by the maltiness flowing out of the bottle.  It reminded me of Sam Adams' Oktoberfest by the strength of the aroma.  It poured a clear amber colour, with lots of large bubbles clinging to the glass.  No significant head to speak of.  The malty aroma remained, coupled with some pumpkin.

The first sip was pretty damn good.  This beer went down very easily.  The flavour came and went pretty fast, and was mostly sweet malt.  It felt kind of "chewy" in the mouth, but otherwise soft.  There was a slight bitter aftertaste; just enough to offset the strong malts.  I sure as hell would buy this beer again.  One damn fine lager!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum Lupulus

I know almost nothing about today's beer. It comes in a 750mL green bottle (shaped like a wine bottle, including the "bubble" on the bottom), and has 10% alcohol/vol.  The back label states that the beer has 70 IBUs.  Given that the latin name for hops is humulus lupulus, that makes sense.

When opened, I could barely smell any hops.  The detectable hops were grassy in smell.  There was a slight fruitiness, and an even fainter aroma of spices.  I was surprised to see the beer was filled almost to the cap, and glad it didn't make the bottle explode.  It poured a light hazy golden colour with a thick frothy white head.  The subtle aroma had all but dissipated, and now smelled like a domestic.

The first sip was very interesting.  There was a strong banana flavour.  The beer was very malty.  The beer had a medium feel in the mouth with very little carbonation.  There was almost no bitter aftertaste.  The beer left a sticky sweetness on my lips (similar to Demeter's Harvest).  I'm really not sure what to make of this beer.  The beer didn't seem to be anywhere close to 70 IBUs.  I could see it being a favourite of a lot of people, but it's just not quite what I go for in beers, albeit I found it much better than all of the Belgian tripels I've had.  I think I would buy it again if only to keep a bottle or two in my collection.