Sunday, February 1, 2015

Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

 Dragon's Milk - New Holland Brewing (United States - Missouri - Holland) 11.0%

Dark brown in a glass with a silky head of mocha coloured foam. A really nice, almost chewy, aroma of dark fruit and chocolate; plenty of oak and vanilla as well.

Dark fruit flavours, and oak and vanilla abound. There is some distinct alcohol tingling in the mouth and warming of the chest. Strong bourbon spice in the finish, that same spice may explain some of the tingling I had ascribed to the alcohol. The mouthfeel is creamy as you drink it but thin once you swallow leaving a nice espresso, vanilla and hints of oak aftertaste but very little lingering texture for a stout (probably because of the cleansing properties of the high alcohol content).

I have found in the past that oak accentuates the taste of alcohol (and I don't think that's just because I, as a bourbon fan, associate oak with hard liquor BTW) but I think the strongish alcohol sensation and a bit of a taste are actually from the alcohol content. Now you may wonder why I'd comment on this when reviewing a beer that is listed at 11% but I've had other 11% beers that carried their alcohol less obviously. All that said, I think Dragon's Milk might be even stronger than the 11% indicated on the label, considering how squishy my head is feeling already. While Dragon's Milk carries its booze a bit more obviously than some other ales I think they did a bang-up job making a tasty chocolatey and oaky stout that is well suited to their High Gravity (aka high alcohol) series.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Gigantic IPA (United States - Oregon - Portland)

Gigantic IPA (United States - Oregon - Portland) 7.3%

A cloudy bronze in a glass with a resilient head of foam. A cedar and melon aroma. The flavour is very nice, a much more mellow IPA than I expected: cedar and melon. The aftertaste is more bitter but still not a hops character that slaps you across the face - which is perfect if you've grown tired of overhopped IPAs. That isn't to say that Gigantic's IPA isn't hoppy and bitter, it is, but the flavours are put together in such a way that the malty sweetness and hops bitterness work as partners rather than the flavour just being all hops.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Accumulation - New Belgium (United States - Colorado - Fort Collins)

Accumulation - New Belgium (United States - Colorado - Fort Collins) 6.2%

A whole bunch of tropical fruit makes up the aroma to this cloudy golden beer: mango, papaya, passionfruit and grapefruit. The taste is quite bitter, especially initially and in the finish, and it is full of the same tropical fruit mix but with more orange. The mouthfeel is a little bit creamy with some classic wheat herbal tones (coriander) in the finish. As far as the combination of the two flavour spectrums of a Belgian White and an IPA I think Accumulation does it best of the, admittedly few, I have tried.

Despite the wintery scene on the label, Accumulation's flavour seems like a tropical breeze - or maybe that's the point. Accumulation certainly is a refreshing break from the winter.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Blue Buck - Phillips Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Victoria)

Blue Buck - Phillips Brewing (Canada - British Columbia - Victoria) 5.0%

Full gold in a glass with a resilient if not overly large head of foam. Nice caramel touch to the slightly raw malt flavour that reminds me of a malthouse. The hops are subtle but lend balancing hints of cedar and forest tones to the flavour. This beer delivers as promised as a tasty session ale, one that features more malt than hops character.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Abandoned Abbey - Big Rock Brewery (Canada - Alberta - Calgary)

Abandoned Abbey - Big Rock Brewery (Canada - Alberta - Calgary) 9.2%

A strongly yeasty, herbal aroma; cloves and banana. Very dark in a glass without much of a head of foam.

The taste is also strongly yeasty: banana, herbs, cloves. Lightly spicy, the faintest bit of licorice. Sweet with some dark, dried fruit flavours. A bit of chocolate comes out in the finish, and dark crusty bread out in the aftertaste. These same flavours are there in the main body but overshadowed by the Belgian yeasty tones. A well constructed Belgian Style Dark Ale that conceals it's hefty alcohol content dangerously well.