Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller 2015

driftwood_ocd2015Brewer: Driftwood Brewery, Victoria, BC
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 11.4%
IBUs: Unlisted (60ish or more)

Description: This is the latest vintage of Driftwood Brewery’s Old Cellar Dweller, a seasonal barley wine released every year in time for the holidays. This year’s offering is brewed with 98% Pale Malt and a small trace of CaraMunch thrown in for color, and is then bittered using a generous dose of Columbus hops.

Tasting Notes: As I’ve said before, every year’s OCD is a little different. This year, they chose to tone down the alcohol (just a little), and go the single hop and (mostly) single malt route in order to showcase what both of these ingredients, in their most concentrated states, could do. And like the two previous vintages, this year’s tends more towards the Imperial IPA than a barley wine. But it remains a powerful winter warmer, boasting some rich malts, powerful hops, and a warm, alcoholic bite!

Appearance: Deep gold/light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Powerful hop-forward aroma, grassy, citrus, pineapple, rich malt
Taste: Sweet, semi-coarse malt, notes of pineapple, citrus rind, grass and pine
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt and hop bitterness
Overall: 8.5/10

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Dageraad 8°

Dageraad_8Brewer: Dageraad Brewing, Burnaby, BC
Style: Brune
ABV: 8.9%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This brew is part of Dageraad’s Single Batch Series, and is fashioned in the Brune style, a Belgian brew native to the West Flanders region. In accordance with this tradition, but leaving some room for experimentation, this brew employs English crystal malt, wheat, date sugar, and a mild hopping before being feremented and then referemented in the bottle with Lactobacillus yeast.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit of a stumper. On the one hand, its got all of the wonderful aspects of a good Brune going it (with some intrusions into the Dubbel) front, but also has the smooth milky flavor brought about by lacto-fermentation. So in the end, its a smooth-drinking, malt forward beer with notes of plums, dates, raisins, brown sugar, and figgy pudding. And it finishes with a nice, rounded smoothness of supple mouthfeel. One would think a “milk beer” and a Belgian Brune didn’t belong together, but they kinda work!

Appearance: Deep brown/amber,cloudy, thick lacy head, good carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, strong notes of dark fruit, sugars, milk
Taste: Smooth, sweat malt, notes of brown sugar, dates, figs, raisins, smooth finish
Aftertaste: Lingering sweet malt flavor, sugars and fruit, milky smoothness
Overall: 8.5/10

Category 12 Induction Dubbel

c12-bottle-shot-INDUCTIONBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 19

Description: The latest from C12, and a testament to their commitment to Belgian-style ales, is a traditional Dubbel. And consistent with this, the brew is made using plenty of dark malt, handcrafted dark candi syrup (which they made themselves), and a mild hopping.

Tasting Notes: The Induction was actually a little different than what I am used to. Whereas your usual Dubbel has some very syrupy and sweet malts with plenty of dark fruit flavor, the Induction is a bit lighter and has a flavor profile that starts smooth and subtle but ends with notes of phenols (aka. tannin) and caramelized sugar. A bit different, but definitely interesting and creative!

Appearance: Brown/ruby red, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, minerals, fruity esters, caramelized sugar
Taste: Smooth malt, syrup, tannin, hint of dark fruits and caramelized sugars 
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malt flavor and tannin, relatively clean finish
Overall: 8.5/10

On a side note, this is my 500th post on the GCBS! Woohoo!

Category 12 Simplicity Ale

c12-bottle-shot-SIMPLICITYBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 16

Description: This brew was originally one of C12’s many R&D batches, one which they chose to revisit in September of this year and has since been made available in bottles. Combining organic spelt with Saison yeast and a mild hopping, this “Ancient Grain Saison” is a new (or old, depending on your point of view) twist on a classic Belgian beer.

Tasting Notes: I had a chance a chance to try this beer out of the keg months back. But as tradition dictates, I prefer to do a review based on drinking it from the bottle. In any case, this beer is what would expect from a classic Saison, with a sharp yeasty underdone and some spicy, fruity notes. But the spelt malt base is particularly smooth and very light in color, with a hint of nuttiness and a refreshing aftertaste and finish.

Appearance: Straw gold, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: mild malt, grainy, saison yeast, hint of spice, coriander, floral hops
Taste: Smooth malt, mild yeast bitterness, coriander spice, hint of nutty flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, mild yeasts, clean finish
Overall: 8/10