GIB Cocoa Loco Chocolate Imperial Stout

GIB_cocoa_locoBrewer: Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 8.7%
IBUs: 45

Description: A seasonal released for the winter months of November and December, this imperial stout is brewed using a combination of four different types of malt and Sterling hops, then flavored with cocoa and cocoa nibs to create a strong, and intense “winter warmer”.

Tasting Notes: I am especially interested in what breweries like GIB produce as part of their limited runs these days – mainly because it’s a testament to how breweries that went big are getting back to their craft brewing roots. In any case, this was a good example of an imperial stout (which I’m not usually a fan of) that was nicely rounded out. The infusion of cocoa provides a nice balance to the intense stout flavor, which comes through in some seriously strong malt and licorice favors.

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, strong notes of cocoa, espresso
Taste: Rich malt, notes of licorice, chocolate and roasted espresso
Aftertaste: Lingering malt, roasted coffee bitterness, and cocoa
Overall: 7.8/10

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VIB Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale

Thirty-Years-Bottle-Mock-smBrewer: Vancouver Island Brewery
Style: Imperial Red Ale
Alc/Vol: 8.5%

Description: A limited release brewed in honor of the brewery’s thirtieth anniversary, this beer pays homage to their Piper’s Pale Ale by ramping up the recipe. This includes Two-Row, Crystal and Chocolate Malts with Northern Brewer, Perle and Hallertau hops, but brewed to extra extra strength.

Tasting Notes: This beer was highly reminiscent of an Irish Red, given that it has that characteristic syrupy malt and chewy mouthfeel. And of course, there was a noticeable citrus hop backing. However, the overriding characteristic of this beer is the intense malt flavor and the alcohol content, which create a heavy, slightly sweet, smokey, and coarse profile that lingers on the tongue..

Appearance: Dark amber, dense, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich red malts, baked sweat breads, mild citrus
Taste: Immediate burst of rich malt, tang, coarseness, viscous malts, hint of bitter hops
Aftertaste: Lingering malts, slight tang and coarseness, chewy mouthfeel
Overall: 7.75/10

Granville Island Shamrocker Potato Stout

shamrocker_stoutBrewer: Granville Island Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Stout
Alc/Vol: 4.8%
IBU: 35

Description: Released just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, this limited release from Granville Island Brewing combines Crystal and base Stout malts with Delta hops and an infusion of potato to create a stout that the brewery describes as “a medley of Celtic proportions.”

Tasting Notes: As stouts go, this one was a little light in alcohol content and flavor, and put me in mind of an auburn ale (another Irish classic!) in a few respects. At the same time, it managed to achieve a nice balance between roasted malts, an hint of espresso bitterness, and the earthy flavor that comes from Delta hops and the addition of potatoes. This last ingredient also came through with the pervasive starchy, slightly sweet essence I noticed throughout. All of this makes for a rather interesting drinking experience, and a welcome addition to St. Patrick’s Day. Slainte!

Appearance: Black, opaque, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, hint of espresso, smokey aroma
Taste: Light malt flavor, hint of starch, tang, espresso, smokey, earthy hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering earthy flavor and hints of espresso and malt
Overall: 8.5/10