Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dominus Vobiscum Double

From the Microbrasserie Charlevoix, I have had a few of their Vache Folle products now, as well as their Triple and Blanche. Time for the Double!

Very little light makes it through this deep, reddish-brown beer. The head is quite tall and impressive initially, and starts breaking down with gaps and bubbles within it, looking creamy and sturdy. However, it falls much quicker than you'd think, leaving nothing on the glass.

In the aroma are mostly figs & raisins. The advertised spice / star anise comes out as a hint of licorice. A bit of alcohol surfaces, too.

In the flavour is a bit more of the fig and raisin, perhaps a bit of brown sugar and taffy. A bit of the 8% alcohol also sneaks in here.

The bottle advertises the mouthfeel as "rich, nearly full". I would say this is on the light side of medium - almost watery at moments. There's almost nothing full and chewy about this one. The finish does have a bit of stickiness, but a bit of heat from the alcohol comes out in the finish as well, distracting and detracting from it.

I thought the Triple and Blanche in the Dominus Vobiscum series were pretty great. While this Double isn't a bad beer, it doesn't stack up to the quality of the other two I have tried - I'd try them again, whereas I would only try this again if it were really fresh or on tap.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Gahan's Iron Horse Brown Ale

This newly-bottled Gahan offering pours a fairly dark, clear brown. It has about a finger of fairly dense tan head. There is solid lacing at the start, switching to rings / splotches that look somewhat grainy - a bit like powdered milk.

In the nose are some oats, and almost a smell of corn. Slightly sweet, faint chocolate. I wondered if I picked out a bit of DMS? Maybe not. There is something slightly butterscotchy & refried-black-beany about it though - sweet and earthy - which briefly reminded me of "off"erings from some other regional brewers in the last year.

There are light, roasted flavours of coffee, oats, and maybe some dark, grainy chocolate. There is something slightly and lightly Nutella-like about it (probably the chocolate mixing with the roasted / nutty notes combo, I guess).

Carbonation is light, but there. The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium. The finish is rather dry, and slightly bitter.

Overall... you know what? It's alright. The finish is rather flavourful, and there is nothing really off about it... not too shabby. My one main criticism has nothing to do with the beer: Why the boring label? Why not use what they have as a tap label at the pub - it's a much better logo.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pump House Scotch Ale

When I visited the Pump House Brewery back in April, one of the most memorable brews on tap that I sampled was their Scotch Ale. Now, it's time to sample the bottled version.

The ale pours a medium reddish brown, and is quite clear. A creamy and light brown head lowers to a still-creamy film of its former self within a couple of minutes, and leaves some stretched-out webby lacing on the glass.

In the aroma are roasted malt notes, molasses, & that "eau de bog" - peat. It's earthy and sweet.

The flavour is more of the same, albeit a little lighter in the malt categories and a little heavier in the peat area (especially in the initial exhales). There are also some fruity, acidic notes at the end of each sip and in the aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is smooth, but rather watery. Carbonation only surfaces as a light "microtingle" on the tongue. The overall impression is that it's a bit too light and flat.

Overall, the beer has some decent aspects (the exhale and aroma, mostly), but it's not particularly memorable or good. I remember the on-tap version being better. Unfortunately, it drinks like an ale that is 4.8% alcohol - I'd rather an ale like this to be a bit stronger and meatier.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Firestone Walker's Proprietors Reserve Series Porter

This is my second brew from Firestone Walker, another one from their Proprietors Reserve Series (thanks, ajcormier!).

This is a nice-looking dark brew with a two fingers' worth of dense, creamy-looking tan head (capable of three-four, though, in later pours!). The lacing is fairly solid, but slowly lowers & follows the beer.

It has a rather sweet aroma that is mostly of chocolate, with some fruity esters thrown in... somewhat like dark, melted chocolate & raspberries, without the tartness. There is a slight woody odour as well... like wet oak. Some roasted notes come out as it warms.

The flavour is more of the same, but some more prominent roasted flavours come through, replacing pretty much any hints of fruit. The hops did not come through in the aroma much, but in the flavour and feel, they add some near-American pale ale / IPA qualities (most likely the Cascade hops at play) - some citrus-y pith was a possibly-out-of-place yet pleasant surprise.

The carbonation is more tingly than expected, and its impression lasts / remains for a good little while, along with some bitterness. The hoppy bitterness comes through more than expected (which I liked). The body is medium and very smooth.

I've been working through some porters and darker brews lately, and this one stands out among recent beers. I quite enjoyed its hoppy slants - they brightened it up and gave all of its aspects a boost that made it memorable.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gahan 1772 IPA... in Bottles

I've been keeping this cat in the e-bag for a little while... even had an unfinished sample of it just over a week ago & kept mum...

The Gahan Brewery is releasing their IPA in bottled form, starting this weekend. So says their Twitter feed, anyway. If you're looking to sample it, free samples will be available at the pub as well as local liquor stores this weekend. I'm curious to see how the finished / carbonated version comes out... their IPA used to be mediocre, was, in August, pretty great, then, soon after, just OK (due to a malt and hop change), and now, on tap, is still OK / good. Hopefully the inconsistency will get sorted out. Ideally, what was getting done in August should be replicated and saved as their staple IPA. We'll see.

When I get a bottle, I'll review it and let you know.

Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil

With a name like this, I expected this "lubricious" porter to be jet black right out of the bottle. It's not, but it's pretty darn black in the glass. There's some nice cascading-up action from the carbonation. The head is a finger or so tall, dark, and creamy. It falls fairly fast, though. The lacing is, oddly enough, very lace-like.

In the smell is mostly roasted barley, some faint coffee, and just a hint of some dark, bittersweet chocolate.

The flavour has a bit of a smokiness that was a bit unexpected. There is also something a bit sweet as well as metallic about it that throws the balance of it off. I think it's coming from an odd combination of a slight citrus / fruit tang with the bitter feel and roasted flavour & exhale. It's like "simulated metallic", coming from the other notes not playing the way they should (what did I expect, I suppose... I'm drinking oil).

It is smooth, viscous, and lubricious, as advertised. The carbonation is just a faint tickle. The finish is slick & sticky. A bit of that metallic flavour & feel sticks around, too, unfortunately.

I was quite looking forward to this and must say I was a little disappointed. It's a good beer - don't get me wrong. I just didn't think it quite measured up to what I (and common opinion) had thought it would be. That being said, I'd gladly try again in the future.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout

Not the darkest beer coming out of the bottle, but it's good & dark in the glass. The head is very respectable - tall enough, creamy, brown, and dense. It leaves a mix of solid patches and spots of lacing.

At first, it smells like a milk stout - sweet, chocolatey, with roasted notes acting as wallflowers. As it warms up a bit, aromas of oats/oatmeal (go figure) and dark, roasty smells start to waft around in the glass. The chocolate's still there, but the sweetness starts to lower.

There is a great family of roasted notes in here - coffee, oats, chocolate. Sweetness is light. Only slightly estery / fruity.

The carbonation is a bit surprising at first - more tingly than I thought it would be (maybe a tad sharp, actually). The feel is nice - a very smooth and creamy medium. I expected the finish to be more sticky, but I find it more dry than sticky.

Overall, a really nice stout - it's full and robust enough to be a meaty little stout, but its carb, relatively light feel, smoothness, and non-overpowering flavours keep it very drinkable. This review has been brought to you by the hyphen - also known as the dash.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quilmes Lager

Yet another beer from a new place - Argentina.

Like the Tusker I drank right before it, a very clear and pale lager. The head on this one was minimal, with just a courtesy skim of bubbles left on top. A few bubbles continue to be active in the glass.

Lots of grass and a bit of sharp fruitiness on the nose of this one. Almost like a cider. It doesn't put me off, but it doesn't really entice me, either.

The first taste was actually a bit better than I thought it would be. There is just a hint of a malty roundness to it, but the flavour on this is all grass, corn / rice, and some fruitiness.

The fruitiness comes with an acidity that's too strong in the feel and finish. Overall, the feel is watery and light.

Not the worst lager or beer I have ever had by a long shot, but this one isn't worth seeking out.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pranqster Belgian Style Golden Ale

Pranqster is another one of the beers I picked up at Premier W&S which comes from the North Coast Brewing Company. It's a Belgian-style golden ale, or Belgian strong pale ale.

The beer itself was a bit clearer than I thought it would be. I expected some cloudiness from the yeast, but I guess any sediment really settled out, and I only gave it a gentle pour. The colour was a deep gold, with a copperish hue. A bit of head, but none of it stayed save for a ring and wafer-thin central cake of it. Just a few spots of lace.

The smell had some spice in it, like nutmeg & biscuits, also some fruits, like peach & apricot.

The flavour is spot-on for the style. This is definitely a Belgian-style brew. Lots of yeast flavour; lots of spice (clove & nutmeg). The fruit takes a back seat to both.

The feel's good. A little strong fizz-wise, and almost a little bit of a heart/alcohol burn, even though it's not that strong.

Overall, a very drinkable Belgian ale.