Category 12 Transmutation Specialty Belgian Ale 2016

C12_transmutationBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Belgian Tripel
ABV: 9.6%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: Transmutation is a limited release that did very well the last time it was around. And so they’ve decided to bring it back into circulation. And just like last time, this Belgian-style Tripel is brewed using Superior Pilsner and Belgian Caravienne malts, which are them fortified with amber Candi sugar that is made in-house. It is then bittered with a modest amount of Hallertauer and Norther Brewer hops.

Tasting Notes: This beer has once again excited and surprised me. It has the distinct notes of a Belgian Tripel, which include a strong malt base and some serious alcohol! At the same time, you’ve got Belgian Strong notes, in the form of burnt sugar flavor. And again, there are the Saison notes, in the form of some spicy, sharp, yeasty notes. And the end result is a big pleasure, and my favorite creation of theirs. I’m very glad they brought it back.

Appearance: Solid amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt base, citrus and orchard fruit, candy floss, spicy yeast
Taste: Strong malt, slightly coarse, burnt sugar, alcoholic bite, yeasty notes
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, burnt sugar, alcohol
Overall: 9/10

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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

Lighthouse Jackline Rhubarb Grisette

LIGHTHOUSE_JACKLINEBrewer: Lighthouse Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Saison
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: Unspecified

Description: This Table Saison, or Grisette, is the latest addition to Lighthouse’s Explorer Series. Alongside 10 other beers, it made its debut at the “Craft Beer Thunderdome” during Victoria Beer Week, and is now available. Consistent with this Belgian-style ale, it is brewed with wheat, oats, Pilsner malt, and fresh rhubarb from the Fraser Valley before being fermented using Saison yeast.

Tasting Notes: Saisons and farmhouse ales seem all the rage lately! And I definitely liked what Lighthouse did with this one. The combination of malts made for a very clean, smooth malt base, and the addition of tart rhubarb flavor added was very nice compliment to the Saison yeast, which is usually sharp and spicy. This beer will go great with the approaching summer weather!

Appearance: Light golden, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild malt, Saison yeast, tart, tangy notes of rhubarb
Taste: Smooth, mild start, burst of tart rhubarb flavor, slightly sharp yeast finish
Aftertaste: Lingering rhubarb tartness, smooth malt finish, quite refreshing
Overall: 8.5/10

Swan’s Seven Swans a Swimming Tis the Saison

swans-seven1Brewer: Swan’s Brewery
Style: Belgian Saison
Alc/vol: 7%

Description: Seven Swans a Swimming is brewed in limited quantities in honor of the holiday season every year. The Belgian-style Saison ale is made in the farmhouse tradition, using barley, water, Belgian yeast strains, spices, and an infusion of raisins.

Tasting Notes: The beer is consistent with some of the best Saisons I’ve had in recent years. Like a good Saison, it is  distinctly yeasty, subtle in terms of malt flavor, and has a some discernible coriander spice and sweetness to it. The added raisins certainly helps in this latter regard, providing a slight sugary hint that is a little reminiscent of barley wine. Definitely reminded me of the holiday season.

Appearance: Golden orange, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Yeasty, subtle malt, hint of coriander spice
Taste: Immediate burst of yeast, slight sugary sweetness, coriander spice
Aftertaste: Mildly bitter, lingering spice and yeast flavor
Overall: 9/10