Loncium Imperial Schwarze Gams

Loncium_schwarzegamsBrewer: Loncium Brewery, Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria
Style: Dunkler Bock
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: Unspecified (low)

Description: The Schwarze Gams is brewed in the Germanic tradition of Bock beer, employing dark, rich malts and a subtle dose of Noble hops to achieve a well-balanced, malty, and slightly sweet beer with intense mouth feel. It won the silver medal at the 2011 European Beer Star in the Dunkler Bock German Style category, the silver medal at the 2012 World Beer Challenge in the category of German Style Dark Bock, and the bronze at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards.

Tasting Notes: This is yet another late sampling from the 2014 Advent Beer Calender, one which I tried already but didn’t get around to reviewing. As Bock’s go, this was definitely a very decent one. It was a tad subtle, compared to many others I’ve had. However, this is something that’s to be appreciated. Subtle, complex, smooth, malty, and slightly sweet.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, raisins, brown sugar, molasses, mild herbal hops
Taste: Rich, deep malt, mineral tang, dates, raisins and brown sugar, herbal hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malts, sugars, and minerality
Overall: 8.4/10

Fernie Rusty Tractor Weizenbock

Fernie_weizenbockBrewer: Fernie Brewing Company, Fernie, BC
Style: Weizenbock
Alc/Vol: 7.5%
IBU: 23

Description: This spring seasonal beer was inspired by the end of winter and coming of spring for Canadian farmers, hence the agrarian imagery in the name. Brewed with wheat, several different kinds of malts, noble hops, Belgian yeast, and served unfiltered, the resulting beer combines the elements of a wheat ale with a bock-style lager.

Tasting Notes: I am pleased to see the weizenbock style making the rounds, as it combines two distinctive styles that I’m quite fond of. And true to form, it combines the telltale flavor of wheat malts and yeasty flavor of a wheat ale with the dark fruit and chewy mouthfeel of a bock. It also manages to pack some tart fruit and some grassy hop flavor in there to boot, reminiscent of spring fruit and a refreshing lager. Very true to its name and a good addition to summer!

Appearance: Dark amber-brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong wheat malt, yeast, sugars, plums, raspberries
Taste: Rich/coarse and viscous malt, tang, yeasts, notes of tart raspberries and plum
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and grassy hop bitterness, tart fruit flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

P49 Defibrillator Doppelbock

parallel49_labelsBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Doppelbock
Alc/Vol: 8.5%
IBUs: 25

Description: Yet another limited release by the Parallel 49 Brewery, this beer is fashioned in the historic lager style known as doppelbock, which monastic have been producing since the 18th century for the consumption of German royalty and nobility. This beer uses a combination of Pilsner and Munich malts and is fermented and aged for an extended period to give it a dark, rich, and more alcoholic profile.

Tasting Notes: This latest release from P49 was certainly consistent with what I’ve come to know about bocks and doppelbocks. It was dark, rich, especially malty, and had a smooth, velvety profile. In addition, it has a discernible hint of vanilla that makes it especially drinkable and appetizing, in addition to a hint of herbal hops that – when combined with its other flavors – are reminiscent of Jagermeister and herb liquor.

Appearance: Deep reddish brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Deep malts, sweet herbs, vanilla, mild trace of Noble hops
Taste: Rich, smooth malt, slight sweetness, tang, hint of grainy, herbal hops, vanilla
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, vanilla, and herbal hop flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Scandal Paricutin Rye Triplebock

photo (1)Brewer: Scandal Brewing, Prince George, BC
Style: Triple Bock
Alc/Vol: 9%

Description: The fourth installment in Scandal Brewing’s Seven Wonders of the Beer World series, the Paricutin Rye Triplebock takes it name from the Mexican volcano that erupted in 1943 and devastated the town situated at the foot of it. The beer is brewed using five different kinds of organic barley, Hallertau Tradition hops and a special Belgian yeast for secondary bottle fermentation. Like all Scandal products, it is also made using spring water from the source the brewery is located on top of.

Tasting Notes: This beer is definitely an interesting take on the traditional bock. In addition to its enhanced strength and rye flavoring, it also has some distinct Witbier characteristics that come across in the noticeable yeast and hint of banana flavor. Other than that, it is what one would expect from a good bock, containing notes of raisins, dates, and a hint of brown sugar, and balancing all that out with more yeast flavor and a hint of rye. This is my second sampling from the Seven Wonders of the World lineup, and it’s definitely made me curious to continue.

Appearance: Dark brown, heavily translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, rye bread, dark fruit, yeasty backbone
Taste: Syrupy malt flavor, distinct Witbier yeastyness, raisins, dates, banana
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ftertaste: Lingering rye flavor, yeast and mild fruit
Overall: 8.5/10

Philips Twisted Oak Rye Bock

whiskey_barellI’m back with another limited release from Philips ample and ever-expanding stock of small-batch beers. And this time around, its another installment in the Twisted Oak series that I managed to procure. This is the third beer in that lineup, and I’m quite proud that I’ve been able to keep pace with their releases. Between the Scotch Ale, the Red Ale, and now the Rye Bock Ale, I’ve now tried them all, and have been pretty pleased.

Twisted-Oak-Rye-BockThe first installment was a bit of a misfire for me, an imperial Scotch ale where the whiskey infusion managed to overpower the rest of the flavors. And then there was the Red Ale, which was aged in rum barrels and achieved a rich, malty, vanilla-like flavor. This one I was quite impressed with, as it was very smooth flavor, but with a certain candy-like flavor without the addition of any added sugars.

As for this installment, I have to say that I was similarly impressed. Combining a bock-style beer with a rye whiskey barrel-aging process, they managed to create a beer that is possessed of the usual sweet, malty flavors and multi-layered nature of a bock with (once again) a certain vanilla-like, smokey flavor. All of this is quite pleasing to the palate without being overpowering. A hit for me, like their Red Ale, and an example that oak barrel-aging can work.

Appearance: Dark brown-amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, mild vanilla, brown sugar
Taste: Mild tang, notes of whiskey, sweet malt and sugar
Aftertaste: Mild bitterness, hint of vanilla and smokey flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Slowly, but surely, I am coming around to barrel-aged beer! It seems that everyone and their brother was doing the bourbon barrel-thing in 2012 and I had few nice things to say. But it seems Philips is determined to make this a regular thing, and is getting better at it all the time…

Moon Under Water The Victorious Weizenbock

MoonLogo1

logo_weizenbock2

Finally, at long last and after months of stalling, I have managed to procure the the fourth and final beer in the new Moon Under Water lineup. I can remember long ago, back when the brewery underwent a change and released its four newest brews, how I had managed to obtain a bottle of each. But for reasons I prefer to keep to myself, the Weizenbock was lost and did not get its due!

Luckily, I managed to get a fresh bottle during my latest visit to one of my favorite beer stores and have sat down to give it a comprehensive tasting and review. And let me tell you, this fourth and final installment in their new lineup may very well be the best of the lot! It’s up against some stiff competition, but after sampling this beer and assessing its characteristics, I have to give it top marks for ingenuity and taste.

Appearance: Amber-brown, very cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Gentle notes of wheat malt, toasted sugary malt, clove spice
Taste: Bursts of banana, chocolate, cloves, spice, wheat malts and yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, dance of spice and fruit notes on the tongue
Overall: 9.5/10

In short, the label claims its a combination hefeweizen/bock, and when you taste it, that’s exactly what you experience. In addition to dark, rich malts that are smooth, tawny and delicious, you also get a heaping of banana, clove spice, and the yeasty effervescence that wheat beers are famous for. And at 8.2% alc/vol, its also packs a pretty good punch, but concealed within a velvety glove. And as this beer snob will tell you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of that!

Yes, I think I have a new favorite from this Victoria-based brewery, and possibly a contender for a best wheat as well. Only time will tell…

Aventinus, Found At Last!

Rejoice, beer snobs, for this is great new indeed! After years of fruitless searching, trying in vain to find a supplier of beer that carried the venerated Schneider und Sohn Aventinus Heffeweizen Doppelbock, I was about ready to give up. Be it a private liquor store or the province-run BCL, again and again I was told that they either did not carry this product, that it was not something I was likely to find in BC, or they just looked at me blankly like they didn’t have the slightest idea what I was talking about.

But after six years of searching and waiting, I finally found someone who came through! And would you believe it, it was a restaurant of all places! Yes, the good folks at The Rathskeller Schnitzel House here in beautiful Victoria BC that were able to procure a shipment of this premium Bavarian beer. And good on them, since this is something that beer drinkers all across the province should be getting their hands on. A dark, double-fermented, bock-style wheat beer that boasts smooth, rich malts and a fruity, spicy palate with hints of chocolate and bananas, this beer remains one of the best I have ever had! The only one to do better no longer exists, so I guess that makes this beer my number one favorite ;)

I can remember fondly being introduced to this beer roughly a decade ago. It was my first time walking into Vineyard Bistro, located in the heart of the Bytown Market in Ottawa. Unfamiliar to the territory and still only a beer snobblet, I asked the barkeep for something tall, dark, German and strong, emphasizing that I was talking about beer. He immediately handed me a bottle of this and a tall, fluted glass. It took me a few samplings to appreciate the taste of the bock-style wheat, but once I acquired it, I was hooked!

Since that time, I never miss an opportunity to pick up an Aventinus whenever I find myself in Ottawa or anywhere in Ontario. You can’t imagine how crestfallen I was when I first moved to BC and found that it simply didn’t exist here, a fact which still makes no sense to me. Schneider-Weisse, the more well-known wheat beer that is brewed by the same brewery, is readily available in BCL liquor stores. So is their Eisbock for that matter. That seem right to you?

So… expect a full and complete review to be coming just as soon as I can get out to the Haus and pick me up a case! Though I have raved long about the virtues of Aventinus, I don’t think I’ve ever described it any real detail (not the four point breakdown at any rate). And if you get a chance, get out to Rathskeller and ask them for a bottle. You won’t be sorry :)