I recently posted a blog review of Granville Island’s Imperial IPA one of several new beers in a limited release series of smaller batch brews from the Vancouver brewpub. Another big bottle in the “Limited Release” series is the Scottish Ale, a 6.5% ABV ale brewed in the fashion of a Wee Heavy. With the addition of peated malts, this Scottish Ale traditionally has a hint of smoke and dark earthen malts.
Pouring a dark burnished brown with burgundian highlights in the body and a light beige coloured head. The head albeit shortlived gives a few intriguing lacing rings to the glass. The initial aroma is a bit intense up front with noticeable roasted and peated malts and a slight smoky ash scent. An overall malty aroma lacks an overall balance with a big blend of robust dark malts. The flavour profile has mild sweetness with toffee malts and rich creamy pudding flavours. The peat and smoke is lacking in the flavour despite the mild presence in the aroma. A bit of spritzy carbonation towards the finish with moderately hop bitterness rounds out the flavour rather well. A nice lightly smoked brew with rich malts throughout and a good balance. Overall, a nice solid brew.
Grade: 81/100 Price: $7.09
In celebration of the birthday of great Scotsman Robert Burns, affectionately known by many as Rabbie Burns, I have decided to write an article dedicated to my personal favorite Scotch Ale. This Scotch Ale brewed by Le Bilboquet in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec comes in at a whopping 10.8% ABV in what you could refer to as a “more than wee” Heavy. The addition of honey to the brewing process helps to increase the alcohol content of MacKroken to this high level. To be honest I find most Scotch Ales produced by alot of craft breweries to be corner cut ales made with a bit of peated or scotch malts. Unlike many of these other beers, I find MacKroken to be a truly unique beer with a ton of heavy and authentic flavours.
Pouring into a stemmed glass I first notice a beautiful dense beige head form and die slowly with a few remnant lacing blotches sticking to the glass. The body has a beautiful dark roasted copper-brown coloration with a few meandering carbonation bubbles. The nose has a potent booze scent right off the top of the glass with rich treacle and caramelized toffee aromas. A ton of sweet roasted notes accompanying mild peat and scotch malt scents that pair well with the sweeter notes. The aroma while rather boozy and intense smells absolutely delicious. Mid-palate I am greeted with sweet caramel and toffee malts with a kick of light woody malts and a hint of vanilla. A light floral and surprisingly fruity note soon encroaches with a mildly obtuse booze finish that lingers for just an instant. Despite the aroma has a bold and robust character, the taste profile is rather smooth and incredibly well balanced. Mild peated scotch notes linger as just an indentifiable trace and MacKroken has a sublime warmth to the finish accredited to the 10.8% ABV. IN conclusion, this is an utterly smooth and extremely well composed Scotch Ale unlike many others on the market.
Amidst a torrent of American craft beers recently released unto the Alberta market are several beers from the mostly unheard of Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company of Belmont, California. At the current, Devil’s Canyon has a small but expanding lineup of diverse craft beers most of which are sold in 500 mL cans. After surviving a grueling pre-Christmas cold and finally getting my senses of taste and smell back, I could hardly wait to dig into some of Devil’s Canyon’s offerings.
The Deadicated Amber ale pours a deep amber and bright ruby red colour with a finger of bland beige head with a solid stream of bubbly carbonation. The nose is sweet with prominent caramel and toffee malts, light floral hop notes and a mild roasted malt. The flavour has a rather sweet foreground with notes of caramel and a hint of molasses. A mild bread and toffee malt flavour throughout with a hint of citrus fruits and floral hop notes. A good balanced with a mild caramel malt and a pent up floral hop bitterness with moderate astringency on the finish. Overall, Deadicated Amber is a flavourful, balanced and sessionable Amber ale. Grade: B-
At 75 IBU’s and 7.1% ABV, California Sunshine IPA is definitely not a beer directed at the general beer audience. California Sunshine pours a bright orange with a thick frothy white head with a wafting aroma of orange peels and freshly squeezed grapefruit. The aroma is mostly of fresh citrus fruits and juicy hop resins with a hint of pine. Toasted rye bread and slightly caramalized malt flavours with a monotone citrus hop taste and prolonged moderate hop bitterness. Mild sticky and resinous hop notes accompany a moderate and lingering hop bitterness. Overall, a great hop forward beer with a genuine crisp taste and a mild yet lingering bitterness.
Full Boar is a 7.4% ABV Scotch Ale brewed in the traditional Scottish “Wee Heavy” style. A beautiful dark burgundy pour with a thick creamy beige head standing high atop. An aroma of rich roasted malts, light chocolate and vanilla notes and a mild smoky and earthen wood aroma. A rather sweet malty first sip with brown sugar and molasses flavours accompanying toasted bready malts and roasted chocolate notes. A bit of a smoky undertone with beautiful chocolate and earthen subtleties. Full Boar Scotch Ale is far and wide the best of this bunch with a big roasted flavour.
Parallel 49 Brewing Company, a relatively new craft brewery in East Vancouver hit the shelves in Alberta a few months ago. Starting in 2008 when 3 craft beer enthusiasts quit their jobs and opened St. Augustines; now a landmark pub in the Vancouver craft beer scene. After several successful years their dream of opening a brewery came to fruition and their product has been well received as new twists on classic styles. Salty Scot is their first “Big bottle” seasonal and is a Scottish Wee Heavy style ale with sea salt and caramel added; a truly quirky idea. Similarily, Parallel 49 has recently created a India Pale Lager, a Watermelon Wit and a Pumpkin Marzen. According to the owners, the brewery’s goal is to create sessionable beers with unique flavours.
Salty Scot is a Wee Heavy or Scottish Ale by style which are generally dark, rich, heavily malted and higher alcohol ales. The term “Wee Heavy” is a colloquial term referring to the dark and strong nature of the beer. But now, let us get to the beer.
Salty Scot pours out a dark, murky and near-fully opaque brown with a thin finger of quickly dying head. A few splotches of beige lacing form on the glass with no apparent carbonation in the body. Giving the nose a deep sniff I detect a light peaty smoked malt note, light caramel and toffee malt sweetness with gorgeous earthen aromas throughout. Overall Salty Scot has a rather sweet and rich scotch accented aroma, but I didn’t get any sea salt notes. But then again, what exactly is the smell of salt?
After taking the first sip I am overcome with a fantastic heart warming fireside-sipping aura. The malts are rich and well roasted with an extravagant toffee and caramel malt sweetness. Beautiful woody and earthy malt with just a pinch of peaty intensity fill the middle of the palate. On the finish a light hop with a tepid astringent bitterness. The palate has a medium body and slightly syrupy texture with no carbonation and a mild astringent finish and aftertaste. Salty Scot is perhaps not the most elegant of beers, but its flavour profile is rather unique and presents a sweet, malt forward and lightly hopped beer that is easy to drink. But I still don’t taste sea salt…
Grade: 85/100 Price: $5.50