Lighthouse Seaport Vanilla Stout

Lighthouse_SeaportBrewer: Lighthouse Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: Vanilla Stout
ABV: 5.5%

Description: This latest release is part of the brewery’s Explorer Series. It begins with dark roasted malts, and finishes with the infusion of Madagascar vanilla beans. This beer is also part of their Bounty series – alongside the Tasman Ale and Shipwreck IPA – as part of the breweries new look and structure.

Tasting Notes: The addition of vanilla to this West Coast-style stout creates a well-balanced and smooth drinking experience. With the addition of chocolate and coffee notes, it wasn’t dissimilar to a Mochachino, or a Milk Stout with a hint of cocoa. And it certainly was an interesting departure for the Lighthouse Brewery, a fan of big flavor that usually involves hops!

Appearance: Tar black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Deep roasted malts, espresso, chocolate and vanilla
Taste: Smooth malt, creamy, strong hint of vanilla, chocolate, hint of coffee
Aftertaste: Lingering vanilla flavor and smooth malt flavor
Overall: 8/10

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Russel 19th Anniversary IP G’Day IPA

Russell_IPG'DayBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 53

Description: Brewed in honor of Russell Brewing’s 19th birthday, this India Pale Ale pays tribute to one of their brewers – Scott Bohanna-Martin‘s – Australian roots, This they did by using  Galaxy, Ella and Topaz hops that were grown Down Under.

Tasting Notes: This was a nice twist on the conventional West Coast IPA. In many ways, I was reminded of a fresh-hopped IPA and an ESB, in that it packed some strong notes of herbs, citrus rind, grass and pine, but in a way that slightly dry and subtle. Despite the moderately bitter rating of 53 IBUs, it was quite hop-forward, and had a strong but smooth malt backbone.

Appearance: Dark ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong hop-forward nose, grassy, herbal notes, hint of citrus and pine
Taste: Rich malt, strong infusion of herbal, bitter hops, citrus rind and grass
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and notes of citrus rind and herbs
Overall: 8.5/10

Brasserie des Rocs Grand Cru

Brasseriedesrocs_GrandCruBrewer: Brasserie des Rocs, Montignies-sur-Roc, Belgium
Style: Strong Brown Ale
ABV:
9.5%

Description: This strong Belgian brown ale is fashioned using 7 different varieties of malts, a mixture of three kinds of hops – Belgian, German and Czech – and is brewed without any sugar. The end result is then double-fermented and unfiltered to create a malt-forward, strong special ale.

Tasting Notes: This was a surprising experience, being very malty and sugary – despite the lack of Candi sugar in the brewing process. However, it was what one would expect from a strong Brown ale or a Belgian Dubbel. Basically, it was packed with flavors of dark fruit, brown sugar, and had a nice, smoky finish that reminded me of Christmas and figgy pudding. Another good intro to a previously-unknown Belgian brewery.

Appearance: Ruby/brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugars, fruity notes, plums, dates, raisins, rum-like essence
Taste: Smooth malt, strong sugars, dark fruit, hint of smoke, mild alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering smoky, dark fruit and sugary aftertaste
Overall: 9/10

Nelson Organic Pumpkin Ale

Nelson_pumpkinaleBrewer: Nelson Brewing, Nelson, BC
Style: Pumpkin Ale
ABV: 5%

Description: This fall seasonal comes to us from Nelson Brewing, located in BC’s interior. The brew combines pale malts with a dose of pumpkin and the usual spice palette – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves. And true to Nelson’s tradition, all the ingredients are organic.

Tasting Notes: As pumpkin ales, this one has all the usual things going for it – pale malt, pumpkin flavor, and a spice palette that gives it that pumpkin-pie flavor. But unlike many other pumpkins I’ve had of late, this one was quite subtle and smooth by comparison. The malt and spice notes are all very well balanced and play well together.

Appearance: Ruby/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Subtle malt nose, notes of ginger and pumpkin pie spices
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and cloves
Aftertaste: :Lingering malt, pumpkin flavor and spices
Overall: 8/10

Steamworks Jasmine IPA

Steamworks_JasmineIPABrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 60

Description: This beer is part of Steamworks regular lineup and is brewed is a combination of Maris Otter, Caramalt, and Munich malts. It is then dry-hopped with Centennial , Celeia & Bramling Cross hops, infused with Jasmine flowers and fermented using Ardennes yeast.

Tasting Notes: When I first drank this beer, what I immediately noticed was the sharp tang of Saison-style yeasts in addition to some Jasmine. I was encouraged to see that my taste buds were not off. In addition, the dry-hop flavor also comes through in the end, providing a nice citrus backing. Nevertheless, the overall taste experience is still quite refreshing and clean, which you might not expect from an IPA that has some serious Saison yeasts going on. I strongly recommend sampling this brew alongside other Jasmine IPAs, a style which is fast becoming popular here in the Pacific Northwest!

Appearance: Golden/amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, saison-style yeast, dry, citrus, floral hop infusion,
Taste: Semi-sweet malts, bitter citrus, sharp yeast backbone, jasmine, dry hop flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hops, bitterness and yeasty flavor, refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Phillips Green Reaper IPA 2014

GreenReaper-300x416Brewer: Phillips Brewery, Victoria BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%

Description: This is Phillips third annual fresh-hopped special seasonal beer whose release coincides with the fall hop harvest. This year’s is hopped using fresh Cascade hops from local farms to create a smooth drinking, slightly citrusy, and well-balanced India Pale Ale.

Tasting Notes: This is my second time sampling Phillips Green Reaper, and this year’s is comparable to last year’s, but also has a few noted differences. For one, the malts were lighter in hue, and the hop palette was slightly different, packing more citrus and pine into the nose and flavor profile. However, it remains an overall subtle brew with gentle notes and an overall clean taste.

Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, floral hop aroma, citrus, pine, pineapple
Taste: Smooth malt, mild tang, hint of citrus, pine and herbs
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hops, bitterness, clean finish
Overall: 8/10

Het Anker Golden Carolus Cuvee van der Keizer Rood

cuvee_van_de_keizer_r_75clBrewer: Het Anker, Mechelen, Belgium
Style: Special Blonde Ale
ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 17

Description: Launched in 2008 on the 10th anniversary of the Cuvee van de Keizer Blauw’s release, this special blonde ale that contains added varieties of malt, an exclusive Belgian hop variety, and three kinds of herbs.

Tasting Notes: As blonde ales go, this one was rather “special”. The strong malt, sugars, and yeasty notes are true to a blonde ale, but the infusion of herbs, notes of honey and fruity esters give it a flavor that is somewhat reminiscent of mead. It’s also very smooth despite its high alcohol content and diverse array of flavors. Definitely an interesting experience and a worthwhile buy!

Appearance: Deep golden, slightly cloudy, heavy foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich grainy malt, yeast, honey, sugars, sweet herbs, white wine
Taste: Smooth start, tang, yeasts, sugar and honey, fruity esters and herbs, oak,
Aftertaste: Lingering honey, malt flavor, yeast bitterness and esters
Overall: 9.5/10