Four Winds Triplicity Belgian Tripel

Fourwinds_tripelBrewer: Founds Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 33.3

Description: As part of their Eurus series, the Triplicity is brewed in the tradition of Belgian-style Tripels, but with some added twists. In addition to employing three varieties of malt, three varieties of hop, and three sugar sources, this brew is also fermented with Lillooet wild sage honey. It even weighs in at an exact 33.3 IBUs!

Tasting Notes: Just about everything Four Winds produces has come with a major endorsement. And I was very happy to see that they produce a Tripel, one of my absolute favorite styles! And this brew is not only delightfully esoteric (all things in threes) it is also in keeping with the best of this brewing tradition. Strong malt flavor, a spicy and effervescent yeast backbone, a slight honey and sugary sweetness, and some mild hops make it an all around pleaser!

Appearance: Golden/orange, cloudy, very good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, yeast, spices, honey, herbs, floral hops
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of sweetness, spicy, effervescent yeast, notes of honey
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness, yeast, spices
Overall: 9.5/10

Phillips Apteryx IPA

phillips_apteryxBrewer: Phillips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs:

Description: Phillips latest limited release, which is named in honor of the iconic Kiwi bird, is a tribute to New Zealand. As such, this India Pale Ale features a generous dosing of Nelson Sauvin hops, which are then added post-boil for a dry-hopped profile.

Tasting Notes: This Phillips release was definitely one I could get behind. The combination of strong pale malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and the fact that it’s dry-hopped made for a very tasty, but also subtle and complex character. The malt base is strong but sweet, and the hop flavor comes through with notes of citrus, grass, pine, and grape – but at no point is it overwhelming.

Appearance: Amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, strong notes of grape, hints of citrus, grass and pine
Taste: Strong malt, hint of sweetness, hop bitterness, herbal, grapes, citrus
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and pine
Overall: 8.5/10

Gaedingur Stout

gaedingur_stoutBrewer: Gaedingur Brewery, Skagafjordur, Iceland
Style: Stout
ABV: 5.6%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description: My latest sampling from the Advent Beer Calendar, this stout comes all the way from Iceland, and combines the stout malt, water and hops with licorice to create a strong yet smooth ale that is rich and varied in flavor.

Tasting Notes: Ordinarily, I’m not a big fan of licorice stouts, but this one managed to strike a very nice balance. The nose is definitely yeasty, and has some sugar to it that reminded me of a Bock or Belgian ale. And the flavor is nicely varied, packing espresso, bitter chocolate, and licorice in a nice, bitter (but not too bitter) balance.

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark, roasted malt, roast espresso, sugars, licorice, yeast
Taste: Rich malt, dark chocolate, espresso bitterness, licorice, yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, licorice and espresso
Overall: 8/10

Big Sky Brewing Biere De Noel Holiday Extra Strong Ale

Bigsky_beiredenoelBrewer: Big Sky Brewing, Missoula, Montana
Style: Extra Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 10.1%
IBUs: 35

Description: This seasonal Belgian-style dark ale is part of the brewery’s Specialty Beer series, and as the name would suggest, is available during the winter season. Plenty of dark roasted malts, Belgian-yeast, and bottle-conditioning combine to an extra strong ale for the holidays.

Tasting Notes: Another great installment from the Advent Beer Calendar. This Christmas ale had all the right characteristics – the strong malt base and mineral tang of a good bock, the strong notes of sugar and dark fruits of a barleywine, and the alcoholic warmth of a good winter warmer.

Appearance: Deep ruby/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits, minerals
Taste: Strong malt, mineral tang, raisins, dates, brown sugar, mild Noble hops, alcohol
Aftertaste: Lingering malt sweetness, alcoholic warmth, mineral tang
Overall: 9.2/10

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

Mikkeler Dry Stout BA Sauternes Edition

mikkeler_drystoutBrewer: Mikkeler Brewery, Copenhagen, Denmark
Style: Stout/Sour
ABV: 4.1%
IBUs: Unspecified (low)

Description: As part of the breweries Sour/Wild lineup, this stout is brewed at their branch plant in D’Proef, Belgium. It is fashioned using dark-roasted malts that are then fermented with brettanomyces yeast before being aged in Sauterne (French sweet wine) barrels for a complex flavor.

Tasting Notes: This was an odd combination, and one which works on some levels, but not others. It combines a stout base, with all the bitter notes of coffee and dark malt, and the addition of brettanomyces yeast adds a dimension of sour cherry and lactic acid that gives it a certain bite. These seem a bit at odds, and very little of the Sauterne wine comes through, except at the tail end of things. Not the best combination beer, in my humble opinion, but certainly an interesting one.

Appearance: Black, virtually opaque, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark roasted malt, roasted espresso, brettanomyces
Taste: Rich malt, bitterness, notes of coffee, sour cherry, yeast, hint of sugars
Aftertaste: Lingering malt bitterness, sour yeast and coffee
Overall: 7.3/10

Mt. Begbie Nasty Habit IPA

mt.begbie_nastyhabitipaBrewer: Mt. Begbie Brewing, Revelstoke BC
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.0%
IBUs: Unspecified (I estimate in the 50-60 range)

Description: Another item in Mt. Begbie’s year-round lineup, this India Pale Ale is fashioned using rich speciality malts, a good dose of hops, and mountain water. In addition, it was a Gold Medal Winner at the 2010 Canadian Brewing Awards.

Tasting Notes: This is the third time I’ve had this IPA over the years, but the first time I gave it’s due with a review. And it’s quite lovely, with a rich but smooth malt base and just enough hops to provide a bitter backing without being overwhelming. And though the hops varieties are not listed, I do detect at least two of three C’s of the Pacific Northwest (Cascade, Centennial and Columbus).

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, rich hop nose, citrus, grassy, piney, passion fruit
Taste: Strong malt, sweet breads, notes of citrus, grass, resin and pine
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus and herbal notes, quite clean
Overall: 8.3/10