Dead Frog Big Stump Spruce Golden Ale

deadfrog_bigstumpBrewer: Dead Frog Brewery,
Style: Spruce Pale Ale
ABV: 6.5%
IBUs: 26

Description: A summer seasonal that celebrates the summer on the West Coast, this brew combines spruce tips with Prairie 2 Row, Maris Otter, Cara 30, White Wheat malts and is then hopped with a combination of Simcoe, Northern Brewer, and Cascade hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve come to enjoy Spruce ales in recent years. There’s just something about those sprigs that imparts a refreshing flavor to beer. And this brew did a good job of balancing those with a good malt base and some mild hopping that leads to some varied flavor. A good summer drinker!

Appearance: Amber, cloudy, good foam and carbonation
Nose: Pale malt, citrus, pine, resin, tropical fruit, rich spruce notes
Taste: Crisp malt, hint of sweetness, spruce notes, citrus rind, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering spruce flavor and citrus rind, mild malt finish
Overall: 8.5/10

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Steamworks Imperial Red

steamworks_imperialredaleBrewer: Steamworks Brewery, Vancouver, BC
Style: Imperial Red Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 80

Description: One of Steamworks seasonal releases – available only in Spring – this Imperial Red Ale combines Maris Otter, Munich, Caramalt. Crystal, and Simcoe malts in significant quantities to achieve a strong, malty base. It is then bittered using significant amounts of Cascade, Centennial & Simcoe hops, dry-hopped, and then bottled unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: This Imperial Red was a bit more subtle than I expected. Normally, one expects some sweet, coarse malts balanced out by strong hops. However, this time around, the strong malt base was balanced by a strong and varied hop mixture, plus some dry-hopping that made everything a bit more downplayed. Basically, despite its strength, this brew is both balanced and subtle.

Appearance: Dark copper, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, citrus, floral, grassy and piney hop notes
Taste: Strong, syrupy malt, citrus rind, fruity esters, dry herbs, alcoholic bite
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop and citrus bitterness, dry hops, coarse malt
Overall: 8/10

Big Rock Monkey’s Fist Imperial IPA

big-rock-iipaBrewer: Big Rock Brewery, Calgary, AB
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 7.5%
IBUs: 73

Description: This brew comes as part of the Family Jewels pack, and is otherwise known as their Dead Reckoning Imperial IPA when part of their Brewmaster’s Edition. In the traditional of Imperial IPAs, this brew is fashioned from a combination of Maris Otter, Caramel and Black malts, while bittered with English East Kent Golding, Challenger and Progress hops.

Tasting Notes: This is the last of my new samplings from the Big Rock’s Family Jewels pack. And similar to the others, it was somewhat lighter than what I am accustomed to of late. Being English in style, this brew had a good malt base and some varied but comparatively subtle hop flavor. This came through in some sugary, coarse malt and some strong citrus notes and deep earthy flavor. And yet, it finishes rather clean and mild.

Appearance: Deep amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, burnt sugar, citrus and earthy hops
Taste: Strong malt, mild coarseness tang, citrus rind, dry hops, earthy tones
Aftertaste: Lingering citrus rind hop bitterness, malt flavor
Overall: 7.8/10