Hoyne 2016 Gratitude Winter Warmer

beer-gratitudeBrewer: Hoyne Brewing, Victoria, BC
Style: Winter Warmer Ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This is the fifth incarnation of Gratitude, which began as a seasonal release designed to thank Hoyne’s patrons for their support. And in the keeping with the tradition of Winter Warmers, this years offering is extra strong ale that is dark, malty, has a nice spicy flavor.

Tasting Notes: Well now, this is my fifth sampling of this beer over the years and I swear that it has been changing with time. Always, I have noted that the Gratitude Winter Warmer captures all the notes of a good winter ale without being overwhelming. But this year’s offering does seem more flavorful than previous ones. The hints of brown sugar and dark fruits are not just hints, and the notes of allspice are there in full. And all the while, the alcoholic strength manages to warm the insides without overwhelming the palate.

Appearance: Deep ruby/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich malt, brown sugar, raisins, figgy pudding, hint of allspice
Taste: Smooth malt, mineral tang, brown sugar, dark fruits, allspice
Aftertaste: Lingering malt flavor, minerals and spice
Overall: 10/10

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Double Mountain Fa La La La La Winter Ale

DoubleMountain_WinterBrewer: Double Mountain, Hood River, OR
Style: Winter Warmer Ale
Alc/Vol: 7.5%
IBU: 85

Description: One of Double Mountain Brewery’s older seasonal beers, the Fa La La La is a Winter Warmer brewed annually for the holiday season. Like a traditional Winter Ale, it has a slightly sweet and coarse malt profile. But the ale also has some distinct Northwestern characteristics, which in this case takes the form of a generous dose of Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: This beer was a bit of a surprise, taking what is typically a malt-forward variety of beer and adding some serious, bitter hop flavor. The end result was not so much balanced as conflicted, lovely in appearance and bouquet, but somewhat muddled in the flavor department. Initially, it is slightly sweet and floral, but becomes quite strong towards the end with a heaping dose of bitter grapefruit flavor. A good beer, but perhaps a little heavy on the IBUs, under the circumstances.

Appearance: Dark red-amber, translucent, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Rich hop nose, sugary, floral and citrus notes
Taste: Rich malts, slightly coarse, hint of brown sugar, raisins, citrus rind
Aftertaste: Lingering citrus rind and coarse malt bitterness
Overall: 7.5/10