Dieu du Ciel Moralite American IPA

dieuduciel_moraliteBrewer: Dieu du Ciel, St. Jerome, Quebec
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: Unlisted (high)

Description: This IPA is one of the breweries year-round offerings, and is the result of a collaborative effort with John Kimmich – the brewmaster of The Alchemist brewery in Waterbury, Vermont. In the American IPA fashion, it is fashioned using a rich malt base and then bittered using an “immoral” amount of Simcoe, Citra and Centennial hops. 

Tasting Notes: This is definitely a classic IPA. Strong in the alcohol department (though not too much), rich in the malt department, and strong and diverse in the hop flavor department. I’ve been a fan of just about everything Dieu du Ciel creates, and I am glad I found this one too.

Appearance: Golden-orange., cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, notes of grass, pine, citrus, floral hops
Taste: Strong malt base, hint of sweetness, citrus, herbs, lemon, pine and resin
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, herbal and piney hops
Overall: 8.5/10

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

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

Parallel 49 Rye The Long Face Imperial Rye IPA

p49_ryethelongfaceBrewer: Parallel 49 Brewing, Vancouver BC
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: 86

Description: Part of Parallel 49 Spring Seasonal lineup, this Imperial IPA combines a hefty combination of pale and rye malts, and is then bittered using a similarly robust amount of Chinook, Simcoe, Amarillo and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: As Imperial IPAs go, this beer was quite smooth and drinkable. Surprising considering its strength and the hefty dose of rye. And yet, the rye malts and heavy helping of Pacific Northwest hops balance out to create a pretty subtle but complex brew.

Appearance: Deep orange, mildly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: rich malt, rye notes, citrus, pineapple, and passion fruit hops
Taste: Smooth, slightly crisp malt, notes of herbs, citrus, peach, pineapple
Aftertaste: Lingering tang, citrus and tropical fruit and rye bitterness
Overall: 8.3/10

Category 12 Disruption Black IPA

C12_disruptionBrewer: Category 12 Brewing, Central Saanich, BC
Style: Black IPA
ABV: 6.7%
IBU: 77

Description: Category 12, which is located just up the road from me, has recently opened its doors and began distributing. This is their second release, and my first sampling. The Black IPA is made using Carafa and Munich malts and then bittered with Simcoe, Cascade, and Columbus hops.

Tasting Notes: This beer delivered in all the expected departments. On the black side of things, it had dark roasted malts that were reminiscent of a good stout or porter. On the IPA side of things, it had a good dose of citrus and herbal hop flavor that lingered long after the initial tasting. A good start for this hometown brewery, and a good intro for me.

Appearance: Black, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, hint of espresso, strong notes of citrus and pineapple
Taste: Toasted malt, mild espresso, citrus rind, herbal hops
Aftertaste: Lingering herbal flavor, malt and hop bitterness
Overall: 8/10

Two Beers Forester Double IPA

forester_doubleipaBrewer: Two Beers Brewery, Seattle WA
Style: Double IPA
Alc/Vol: 7.8%
IBU: 92

Description: The Forester Double IPA is a seasonal beer and the brewery’s expansion on their Evo IPA. And as the name suggests, is naturally stronger, maltier, and hoppier than the original. In terms of malts, it employs Base, Crystal, Vienna, Munich, and Carapils, and is bittered using Simcoe, Amarillo, Centenniel, and Super G hops.

Tasting Notes: I’ve had many India Pale Ales in my time and more than a few doubles. But this was definitely one of the better ones. In addition to not being terribly high in alcohol content or very coarse, the hop flavor was also just bitter enough, and plenty diverse. It’s the mark of a good double IPA that it can be strong all around, but maintain a nice balance. Looking forward to the next one!

Appearance: Orange-amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malts, strong hop nose, citrus, grassy, and piney
Taste: Strong, semi-coarse malts, rich hop flavor, resin, pine, citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, coarse malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

Two Beers Evolutionary IPA

twobeers_IPABrewer: Two Beers, Seattle, Washington
Style: India Pale Ale
Alc/Vol: 6.2%
IBUs: 70

Description: A Northwest IPA by design, the Evolution combines Pale, Munich, Vienna, Crystal and Carapils malts with  Simcoe, Amarillo, and Centennial hops for the initial boil, and is then dry-hopped with Simcoe and Columbus.

Tasting Notes: The Evolution is definitely what one would expect from a Northwest India Pale Ale, containing a rich, dark amber malt with plenty of citrus and strong hops notes. The dry hopping also comes through in the taste, adding a subtle, dry finish to a strong hop start. Citrus rind lingers on the tongue long after the beer is drunk, and is relatively appetizing and pleasing. It was lighter than what I was expecting, given the full-flavored CDA in their lineup, but good nonetheless.

Appearance: Copper-colored, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Discernible citrus, pine and tropical fruit and dry, subtle hop notes
Taste: Strong grapefruit and pine hops, giving way to dry hop finish, tangy and herbal
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness, citrus rind and herbs
Overall: 8/10

Parallel 49 Sahti Claws Finnish Sahti

p49sahti_clawsAnother seasonal beer has arrived in time for the holidays! And in true Parallel 49 fashion, their latest limited release is an interesting mix of brewing traditions, the likes of which I have tried only once before (that would be Odin’s Gift Juniper Pale Ale). It’s known as a Finnish Sahti, a Scandinavian style of beer that is made with rye, barley and juniper berries and served unfiltered. The good folks at P49 then added a dose of piney Chinook and Simcoe hops.

And of all their experimental brews, this is definitely one that works very well. The dose of piney hops are very complimentary to the crisp, bitter flavor provided by the rye and juniper. This is further complimented by the use of Pilsner, Munich, Crystal and Wheat malt, which provide a light, smooth backbone to it – which is surprising given its strength (7.7% alc/vol). It tops it all off with a smooth and creamy finish, and the cloudy, dark amber color is very appealing to the eye. Definitely a nice spin on the Sahti, combining this traditional style with some a little Pacific Northwest character.

Appearance: Dark amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Piney hops, dry, crisp rye notes
Taste: Immediate tang, smooth malt, piney hops, strong bitterness of rye and juniper
Aftertaste: Mild and varied bitterness, creamy finish
Overall: 9/10

Holiday drinking has been good so far! In the coming weeks, I will be getting into that pack of Historic Scottish Ales, McAuslan’s 2013 Millennial Ale, and grabbing as many limited holiday releases as possible. ‘Tis the season, after all!

Tuatara Double Trouble Extra-Dimensional APA

tuatara_logoQuite the mouthfull, isn’t it? Well, believe me when I say that nothing about this beer seems tame or conventional. In addition to a label that is designed to look like something that requires 3D glasses, this New Zealand brew and its patrons were clearly going for something overwhelming, yet nuanced, powerful, yet balanced.

Tuatara_DoubleTroubleAnd the style, IAPA, I can only assume means Imperial Australian Pale Ale, or possible Imperial American Pale Ale. Hard to say. All I know is, given its strength, maltiness, and extreme hoppy profile, this beer is essentially an Imperial IPA with a big twist!

But I digress… This beer came highly recommended from one of my buds at the beer store. Weighing in at a heft 9% alc/vol, and loaded with hops to the point that it ranks at a stunning 167 IBUs (most IPAs rank between 40 and 80). The varieties include Pacific Jade, Nelson Sauvin, and Simcoe hops to bitter the beer, then Zythos late in the boil for flavour and aroma, and then more Nelson Sauvin for the first dry-hop, followed by more Simcoe and Zythos a second dry-hop. And the result, as I said, is something truly multi-faceted and powerful, though not overwhelming.

Appearance: Deep orange/amber, cloudy, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Very malty, syrupy nose, massive bouquet of citrus, pine, floral, tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet, slightly coarse malts, citrus fruit and rind, notes of pineapple and apricot
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and heavy malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

awards2012poster

Apparently, this brew also won a the silver medal for the 2012 Brewers Guild of New Zealand (BGNZ) Awards. This is just one of several medals collected by the brewery in 2012, but don’t expect them to brag about that much. For as they say on their website, no doubt with much irony: “Awards are just irrelevant wank for beer snobs. But dammit, somebody’s got to win them!”

My God… can you really say “wank” on a website? Apparently, they can! A good first sampling from this Kiwi brewery, and I will be looking for more. In addition to much foul language, their website would seem to indicate they have a rather full lineup. I will have to go searching for some very soon…