Sound Dubbel Entendre Abbey-Style Ale

sound_dubbelBrewer: Sound Brewery, Poulsbo, WA
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 8.0%
IBUs: 20

Description:  This beer, brewed in the Belgian Abbey tradition of Dubbels, is part of the brewery’s regular lineup, and was also the silver medal winner at the 2012 North American Brewing Awards.. A strong, dark malts base and mild hops are combined with Belgian yeasts and bottle conditioned to create a particularly sweet, malty brew of respectable strength.

Tasting Notes: Sound Brewery first became known to me thanks to the Advent Beer Calender, and I was pleased to find more of their wares being offered locally. And this Dubbel had all the right qualities to it, with notes of brown sugar, molasses, dark fruit, and some yeasty, malty goodness. However, it also had a crisp and tart quality that reminded me of cider, and made this end on the lighter side of things. Good all around, and a nice follow-up to their Entendez-Noel.

Appearance: Deep amber/brown, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malts, brown sugar, molasses, cherries, raisins plums, acid
Taste: Rich malt, hint of brown sugar, yeast, plums, raisins, apple cider
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, semi-sweet and tart, yeast
Overall: 8/10

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

Mosco Blond Ale

mosco_blondeBrewer: Mosco Brewing, Beit Shemesh, Israel
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: Unspecified

Description:  Located on an agricultural cooperative called Moshav Zanoah in the town of Beit Shemesh, not far from Jerusalem, the Mosco brewery was started in 2012 by two Israeli citizens who named their enterprise after one of the co-founders (Yaron Moscovich) nicknames. The blonde ale is one of their signature products, using local ingredients and know-how to fashion this Belgian-style pale ale.

Tasting Notes: Here we have another late addition from the Advent Beer Calendar, and the first beer I’ve had from Israel. Overall, it was an interesting take on the traditional blonde ale. As expected, it had the good malt base, a hint of sweetness, and the yeasty backbone. What was unusual, at least to me, was the hint of blood orange flavor, the sort of oaky, lemony flavor that I’ve come to associate with Sorachi Ace hops, and the sour notes I’ve come to associate with brettanomyces. An interesting and ecclectic mix. And holy shit, the yeast is so prevalent, it came out in a few grey lumps! I wasn’t turned off by this, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it.

Appearance: Deep orange, cloudy, high sediment, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, sugars, yeasts, floral hops, slight pine and citrus
Taste: Smooth malt, blood orange, hint of yeasty sourness, mild oaky flavor, lemon zest
Aftertaste: Lingering malt and hop bitterness, heavy yeast
Overall: 8.2/10

World Top Marmalade Porter

worldtop_porterBrewer: World Top Brewery, Yorkshire, UK
Style: Porter
ABV: 5%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: Part of World Top’s regular lineup, this beer is fashioned in the traditional 18th-century English porter style, marrying dark roasted malts and oats to a slightly sweet kick and bitter notes of orange and roasted coffee.

Tasting Notes: This is the second time I’ve had a World Top product, and it comes to me courtesy of the Advent Beer Calendar (yep, still sampling my way through it). In any case, I did enjoy this one better than their IPA. A slightly bitter, but rich and dark malt base are nicely accompanied by notes of coffee, orange peel, roasted nuts, and some sugary molasses that make this porter live up to its name!

Appearance: Deep brown/black, clear, low foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Dark malt, orange zest, baked sweetbread, molasses
Taste: Bitter malt, tannin, bitter orange peel, notes of molasses, coffee, roasted oats
Aftertaste: Lingering dark malt flavor, coffee, orange rind
Overall: 8/10