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Black Sunshine Blackberry Weizen, 5.25% ABV - 650ml, (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

On the front label:

"Gripping the glass, your taste buds perk up in desire! Refreshment exploding on your tongue like the rays from the summer sun. True taste: Refermented with blackberries for a subtle tart fruit flavour… This is Black Sunshine."

  • Style: Fruit Beer (flavoured Hefeweizen)
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Sweet malts -> red grape/black currant -> light tart/malty/light bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: Bottle Jockey
  • How much: $7, December 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nope
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not that exciting

Tasting notes: pours translucent copper brown with a small creamy head, ringed retention, a whole multitude of active streams. Faint fieldberries on the nose, nothing much. Drinks with a medium dense 7/10-sweet bright malty sweetness up front, gently cascading into hints of red grape and black currants, finishing crisp, clean, malty, mildly tart, on the watery side and light-med bitter. Low-medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, okay carry, good drinkability. Overall just about average and not a whole lot of depth or excitement.

Trappistes Rochefort, (Rochefort, Belgium)

My favourite: Trappistes Rochefort 8 (Green) - “most balanced”

1) 6 (Red), 7.5% ABV - 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Cola/fizziness -> sweet malts/yeast/cereal -> thinnish light bitter malt finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: unlikely
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque light cola brown, massive creamy/foamy head, good retention, lots of active streams. Malts and cereal on the nose, reminiscent of Westvleteran 8. Drinks with that same initial cola like Westv but less intense, more fizzy/less creamy, sweet malts, yeasty, finishing 3/10-malty bitter and on the thin side. Medium complexity, medium depth, good carry, good transitions, good drinkability. Overall, solid.

2) 8 (Green), 9.2% ABV - 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B+
  • Taste Profile: Sweet creamy malts -> cola/cocoa/sarsaparilla -> long malt med-bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $6 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: 50/50
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy amaretto brown with a large lasting creamy/foamy head, sticky lacing and a plethora of active streams. Malts and light cola on the nose. A burst of 8/10-sweetness up front, creamy, tastes of cocoa, cola, malts, and slight sarsaparilla. Better carry and longer length than the 6. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, great drinkability.

3) 10 (Blue), 11.3% ABV - 33cl

  • Style: Belgian Strong Ale
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Heavy malty sweetness -> molasses/soy sauce/sarsaparilla/coffee -> malty bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: W.16th
  • How much: $7 (after 10%), April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: nah
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours opaque dark Dr.Pepper Brown with a noticeably smaller head, light ringed retention and just a few slow streams. Thick heavy malts on the nose with some molasses. Drinks with a heavy maltiness with 8/10-sweetness up front-creamish mouthfeel, tastes of molasses, light roast coffee, soy sauce, alcohol detection, sarsaparilla, cocoa, finishing light tingly/fizzy with a med-deep malty medium bitter smooth finish. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good transitions, excellent carry, good drinkability. Substantially heavier/alcohol-forward than the 6 and 8, but just a smooth.

Molson Canadian Lager (in a can), 5% ABV - 355ml, (Montreal, Canada)

  • Style: Pale Lager
  • My Rating: D+
  • Taste Profile: Semi-sweet malted barley/cereal -> fizzy/dry roughness -> light bitter jagged finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $12/6pack, Winter 2010
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not in the least

Tasting notes: pours clear pale golden yellow with a very small head, ringed retention, watery pour, lots of active streams. Faint notes of barley malt on the nose. Drinks with a mellow malted cereal 5/10-sweetness up front, quickly transitioning into a fizzy mouthfeel, dry roughness on the tongue near the finish, ending with minimal bitterness. Low complexity, low depth, no carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. I can see why beginners may like it as it goes down crisp and easy. Would be okay with hotpot.

Sua Sparkling Wine (Lemon), 10.5% ABV - 750ml, (Argentina)

“Sparkling Wine with natural lemon pulp. Natural fermentation.”

  • Style:(Flavoured) Sparkling Wine
  • My Rating: B
  • Taste Profile: Sweet lemon zest/alcohol -> fizzy/alcohol warmth -> white wine/candy lemon finish.
  • Where I got it: St John’s Liquor
  • How much: $17, Summer 2011
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: perhaps with friends
  • Would I recommend this to sparkling wine aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours almost clear bright mellow golden yellow with some sediment and lively effervescence. Lemon zest on the nose. Drinks with 9/10-sweetness, lemon zest and alcohol up front, medium cloying sugars, burpy in the mids, fizzy mouthfeel, partial alcohol warmth, mellow acidity, light generic alcoholic white wine in the finish, along with a lingering lemon aroma. Medium complexity, medium depth, decent carry, good drinkability. Quite drinkable when nicely chilled; might be more cloying as it warms.

Jubelale Winter Ale (25th Anniversary) - Deschutes, 6.7% ABV - 12 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

from ratebeer.com:

“Jubelale is classified as a “Strong Ale” or an “English Olde Ale,” and has ties to the traditional Celebration Ales of England. Characterized by a very large malt body and pronounced bitterness, Jubelale contains five different varieties of hops and a healthy amount of caramel. The perfect ale for surviving the long, cold nights of winter. Our tradition is having a different local artist design our Jubelale label & packaging each year. October - December - draft and bottles ”

  • Style: Strong Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Creamy malted bittersweet caramel -> hoppy/burnt roast/cola -> long lingering heavy dry bitterness.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $16/6pack, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not fully

Tasting notes: pours dark amaretto brown, decent foamy head, ringed retention, sticky lacing, some slow streams. Caramel malts on the nose. Drinks with a thick creaminess up front, quickly turning caramel hoppy bitter balanced by 4/10-sweetness, burnt roast, cocoa, finishing long lingering dry hopped bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, okay transitions, okay drinkability. The heavy bitterness is taxing on the palate.

Great White Beer - Lost Coast Brewery & Cafe, 4.8% ABV - 12 fl.oz., (Eureka, California, USA)

On the front label:

“This light, unfiltered beer is made with two-row malted barley, unmalted wheat, crystal clear mountain water and ale yeast. It is spiced with Coriander and a secret blend of Humboldt herbs that give it a delicate citrusy flavor. Because Great White is unfiltered, natural yeast settling may appear at the bottom of the bottle.”

  • Style: Witbier
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile: Tangerine creaminess -> yeast/wheat/coriander -> off-dry roughish finish.
  • Where I got it: Darbys
  • How much: $3, April 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours almost clear golden yellow with a hint of orange, suspended sediment, almost no head, ringed retention, and lots of active streams. Aromatic tangerine citrus on the nose. Drinks with a bright tangerine fruitiness up front, half creamy/fizzy mouthfeel, 6/10-sweetness, transitioning into off-dry yeast, coriander, light malts, wheat, the body petering out thin/watery, finishing off-dry with a roughish finish. Low-medium complexity, low-med depth, okay transitions, not awesome carry, okay drinkability. Good flavour up front but finish isn’t great.

Brouwerij de Ranke - * de Dottignies (Dottignies, Belgium)

1) Saison de Dottignies, 5.5% ABV - 33cl

On the front label:

“Unfiltered and unpasteurized top-fermented beer with secondary fermentation in the bottle and taste evolution.”

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Medium sweet/hops -> grapefruit bitter/orange peel -> lingering hoppy bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), Feb 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy copper orange with a small head, ringed retention, abundant lively effervescence. Sweet malts and honeyed citrus on the nose. Crisp creamy 5/10-sweetness up front, quickly transitioning into hoppy grapefruit bitterness, light malts, orange, bitter peel, finishing lingering dry hopped. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, good carry, good drinkability. Great full-bodiedness for a 5.5% ABV beer.

2) Noir de Dottignies, 9% ABV - 33cl

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: B-
  • Taste Profile: Heavy sweet malts -> cola/root beer/bittersweet roast -> lingering bitter finish.
  • Where I got it: Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $4.50 (after 10%), Feb 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy dark root beer brown, huge foamy creamy head, good retention, sticky lacing. Thick heavy malts on the nose. Intense malty caramel 9/10-sweetness up front laced with alcohol, tastes of cola, root beer, bittersweet roast, finishing lingering bitter. Medium complexity, med-high depth, good carry, good transitions, decent drinkability. Drinks somewhat heavy, but full-bodied.

Blonde de Chambly - Unibroue, 5% ABV - 341ml, (Quebec, Canada)

On the back label:

“Blonde de Chambly honours the heroic Filles a Marier (marriageable girls) later know as Filles du Roi (King’s daughters). These brave single young women came to Nouvelle France in 1665 to help populate the colony. Many of the married officers and soldiers of Carignan-Salieres Regiment, who built Fort Chambly on the Richelieu River and forged the legendary Iroquois peace of 1667. Most French Canadians are direct descendants of these extraordinary ancestors.

Mild and refreshing Blonde de Chambly has a floral nose and a light citrus bouquet. With it’s foamy white head and lively effervescence, it is an ideal partner for an unforgettable sensory experience.”

  • Style: Blonde Ale
  • My Rating: C
  • Taste Profile: Sharp burpy -> banana/apricot/wheat -> dry (unbalanced) finish.
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: ~$24/12 variety pack, Summer 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Tasting notes: pours cloudy golden orange-yellow with a large thick foamy head, good retention, lots of very active streams. Mild funk, light citrus & sourness on the nose. Drinks with a sharp burpy bubbliness up front, 7/10-sweetness up front & mild sourness, fading into banana, apricot, wheat/grain, mild coriander, almost salty, cutting dry across the tongue, and an aromatic wheaty exhale. Medium complexity, medium depth, good transitions, okay carry, decent drinkability. The dry finish of this beer is a bit off-putting. Watery mouthfeel.

Hunny Late Harvest Riesling 2011 - See Ya Later Ranch, 11% ABV - 375ml, (Okanagan Falls, Canada)

  • Style: Saison
  • My Rating: C+
  • Taste Profile:
  • Where I got it: BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $25, Nov 2012
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: no

Tasting notes: pours clear golden yellow. Tastes of honey, apple, pear, lime, med-sour, somewhat tart, 10/10 sweetness. Nothing terribly exciting but decent when chille

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