Category 12 Excitation Cocao Nib Espresso Stout

c12-excitation-bottle-c-1Brewer: Category 12, Victoria, BC
Style: Stout
ABV: 6.4%
IBUs: 30

Description: This latest installment from Category 12 takes the English-style of stout and enhances it with cold pressed, organic espresso and raw cacao nibs. Combined with a mild hopping, and what are clearly Belgian yeasts (thought they won’t say so!), this beer is both a compliment and a twist on the traditional stout.

Tasting Notes: Category 12 has tackled the venerable style of stout at last! And as always, they bring a touch of the classically-inspired and Belgian to the mix. Roasted espresso and cacao nibs add some additional depth to the dark malt flavors, and Belgian yeasts add some yeasty bite to the mix!

Appearance: Black as tar, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Toasty malts, roasted espresso, dark chocolate
Taste: Roasted malt, hint of espresso, dark chocolate, Belgian yeast
Aftertaste: Lingering espresso and roasted malt, yeastiness
Overall: 9/10

Phillips Trainwreck Oak Aged Barley Wine 2016

phillips_trainwreckBrewer: Philips Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 10%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Phillips annual winter seasonal ale is back for another season! And this time around, they have chosen to age their barley wine in French and American oak. Basically, for 2016, they’ve brought back the barrels, but ditched the bourbon! However, this beer still packs a punch, and is recommended best served at cellar temperatures (8 °C).

Tasting Notes: This year’s Trainwreck was quite delightful! I have only ever had nice things to say about their barley wine on its own, and mixed things when it came to the bourbon-barrel aged variant. But an oak-aged Trainwreck certainly manages to get the job done and doesn’t offend along the way. In fact, its natural sugars and maltiness do well with some natural oak flavor, which restrains the sweetness but doesn’t overpower the flavor.

Appearance: Dark amber/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugars, raisins, dates, minerals, oak
Taste: Strong malt, oakiness, brown sugar, raisins, dates, mineral tang, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering mineral tang, alcohol and oak notes
Overall: 8/10

Steel and Oak Beechwood Smoked Honey Doppelbock

steelandoak_doppelbockBrewer: Steel and Oak Brewing, New Westminster, BC
Style: Smoked Doppelbock
ABV: 7.9%
IBUs: 20

Description: This seasonal release is lovely combination, where a venerable style of German lager meets a rauchbier (smoke beer). It is brewed using honey and beechwood-smoked malt, which is then double-fermented and mildly hopped. This creates a beer that is smooth, rich, smokey and tangy, and nicely refreshing!

Tasting Notes: Smoke beers are generally kind of hit and miss for me. But this one has a range of flavors that manage to complement each other quite nicely. The smoked malt go well with the doppelbock’s natural tang, which are cut nicely by the natural malty flavor and the addition of honey.

Appearance: Amber/orange, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, honey, smoke, mild hops
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of smoke, mineral tang, touch of honey sweetness
Aftertaste: Lingering smoke minerals and mild malt sweetness
Overall: 9/10