Russel Angry Scotch Ale

russel_scotchBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Scotch Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.5%
IBU: 30

Description: As part of Russel’s Brewmaster Series, this beer is brewed in the style of 19th century 90 Shilling Scotch Ales. This entails an extended boil time that intensifies the malt flavor and results in a complex, roasted profile. This strong ale was a bronze medal winner at the 2010 World Beer Cup.

Tasting Notes: This is one of Russel’s limited release beers that I have tried in the past. However, I failed to review it, and couldn’t seem tor recall if I even liked it or not. Having tried it again, I feel understandably ashamed. In addition to be being deliciously malty and complex, its got a fruity and semi-sweet profile that is slightly reminiscent of barley wine – another venerated, British-style ale!

Appearance: Dark brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, mild espresso, toffee, sugar and raisins
Taste: Toasted malts, hints of plum, raisins, toffee and citrus hops
Aftertaste: Lingering roasted malt flavor, fruit and mild malt and hop bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Russel Blood Alley ESB

bloodalley_esbBrewer: Russel Brewing, Surrey, BC
Style: Extra Special Bitter
Alc/Vol: 5.5%
IBU: 50

Description: This beer is named after the historic and notorious cobblestone laneway in Vancouver’s Gastown District where numerous butcher shops were located. Apparently, the laneway was also known for its many robberies, muggings and murders. As part of Russel’s Brewmaster Series, it only recently became available in six packs as well as 650 ml bottles.

Tasting Notes: Though it has a slightly higher IBU rating than most ESBs, the Blood Alley has the same subtle hop flavor due to the fact that they are added post-boil. They are also clearly local – most likely of the Cascade or Centennial variety –  imparting a slightly floral, citrusy flavor. The deep amber malts balance this out nicely and lead to an all around stronger, but faithful example of an ESB, albeit with a Pacific Northwestern twist!

Appearance: Deep copper/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Deep, roasted, and syrupy malts, floral, citrusy hops
Taste: Smooth malt, hint of sweetness, baked bread, dry hops, subtle citrus bite
Aftertaste: Mild, lingering bitterness and dry hop flavor
Overall: 8.5/10