Brewery: Brasserie D’Orval S.A.
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Brewer Description: (from website) The distinctive fruity and bitter taste of Orval beer means it has become a genuine reference in the exclusive world of authentic Trappist beers. Orval beer is a high fermentation beer. The ageing process adds a fruity note, which strikes a subtle balance between the beer’s full-bodied yet complex flavour and bitterness. The beer was first brewed in 1931 and owes its unparalleled taste to the quality of the water, the hops and the yeast used. The brewery has selected very aromatic and unique hop varieties, which hark back to the first brewmaster of Orval, who hailed from Bavaria. The beer’s aromas are very pronounced while maintaining the right level of bitterness thanks to the English method of dry hopping. The various stages of fermentation – combined fermentation with the original yeast and with wild yeast, followed by fermentation in the bottle – mean the beer must age for some time and requires numerous quality controls.
My rating: 5
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.56
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.3
Intro: A 330ml bottle, bottled on 3rd February 2016, best before 3rd February 2021, and poured into a Chimay goblet.
Appearance: A clear copper colour with an almost two finger white head that had great retention and left nice sticky lacing.
Aroma: Very fruity berries, grape, apple and pear with hints of coriander and brett.
Taste: Nice gentle fruitiness, berries, grape, bubblegum and plum with a light tartness, light peppery spice, brett, funk and a hint of banana.
Mouthfeel: Dry-ish, medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: Very nice and very well balanced beer, and a must buy beer in my book.
Brewery: Mikkeller ApS
Style: Belgian Pale Ale
Other Notes: Brewed & bottled by Mikkeller at De Proef Brouwerij
Brewer Description: (from Mikkeller blog) Originally created as a tribute to one of Mikkeller’s favourite beers, Årh Hvad is a great accompaniment to cheeses. A Belgian Ale with cloudy amber colour and white head. The taste is a combination of pepper, malt and hops. Årh Hvad finishes with notes of strawberries and nutty malt and a light hopped grapefruit finish.
My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.62
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.5
Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 23rd October 2023. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: A hazy dark orange, copper, amber colour with a huge two finger fluffy off white head that kept growing out the glass with great retention and lots of sticky lacing.
Aroma: Tart berries, brett, funky, grape with hints of white wine and citrusy mandarin, orange on the back end.
Taste: Lightly sour to start with berries, plum, orange, pine, pepper spice and florally with a lightly bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with low to moderate carbonation.
Overall: This was interesting as it was created as a tribute to Orval, and while there are some similarities, I still preferred Orval (which I had side by side) and which I felt had a smoother and better flavour profile.
Brewery: Tempest Brewing Co.
Style: Scotch Ale
Other Notes: Barrel aged Imperial Scotch ale. Hops – Waimea
Brewer Description: (from website) Nostalgia and Celebration in a bottle. Raise a glass to the art of barrel aging with this rich, complex imperial scotch ale aged in Craigellachie barrels. Smoke, stone fruit, and caramel blend together on the palate with warming hum of whisky.
My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.64
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.4
Intro: A 330ml bottle with a best before date of 28th December 2018. Poured into a snifter.
Appearance: A cloudy brown colour with quite a bit of small to tiny sediment, a thin tanned head that dissipated quickly and some sparse spotty lacing.
Aroma: Sweet, malty, caramel, dark dried fruit, wood with some light smoke and alcohol.
Taste: Roasted malts, caramel, wood, vanilla and smoke. There is some whisky character, and light sweet dark dried fruit, mostly prunes and raisins.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied with light carbonation.
Overall: I find that not many beers taste better than its aroma, but this beer falls in that category. The sweetness coming from the aroma kind of put me off a bit. But this was not the case when I tasted it as the barrel character was clearly the main attraction (smoke, vanilla, wood) and it was a good thing (for me), that the sweetness of the dried fruit was only in the background.
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Company
Style: American Wild Ale
Other Notes: Sour ale barrel aged 4 to 8 months. Ale aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with currants added
Brewer Description: (from bottle) con.se.cra.tion, n 1. The act of dedication to the service & worship of a deity. 2. The act of giving the sacramental character to the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine. When we made the Toronado’s 20th Anniversary Ale, we had no idea that it would turn out to be one of our favorite barrel aged beers we would ever make. With that said, we have always wanted to make a dark barrel aged beer using 100% Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, but, we never were inspired. That is, until we blended five different beers to make the Toronado beer, the tobacco character from the dark malts blended nicely with the fruit character that developed in blending. So, with Consecration we set out to make a barrel beer using all Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. Now, we are not saying this is a replica of the T-rooms anniversary beer, after all, a beer like that can never be duplicated, and, there was no fruit added to that beer as there is with this one. All we are saying is that it gave us great inspiration to brew Consecration. Consecration is refermented in this bottle to create its carbonation- a process commonly used to make fine Champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment in the bottle, adding yet another layer of complexity and flavors. Pour slowly as to allow the natural yeast sediment to remain in the bottle.
My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.31
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.2
Intro: A 375ml corked and caged bottle, bottled on 4th April 2016, poured into a Cantillon ballon glass.
Appearance: A dark reddish brown colour with a two finger light tan head that dissipated quickly while leaving only slight lacing.
Aroma: Lots of oak, cherry, blackcurrant, grape and red wine.
Taste: Sweet-ish blackcurrant and cherries followed by sourness, oak, red wine, vinegar and light funk.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation.
Overall: This was just like drinking red wine with carbonation. There was no sign of the 10% ABV, and although I thought the aroma was better than the taste, both were still good.
Brewery: The Bruery
Style: American Imperial Stout
Other Notes: Imperial Stout with coffee. Our first release sources coffee from the Philippines, and supports Free Wheelchair Mission
Brewer Description: (from bottle) Share This experience with a friend, and in the process you’ll be part of helping friends in the Philippines become mobile for the first time. For every bottle we produce, Free Wheelchair Mission receives one dollar. #sharethisbeer made with Mostra Coffee.
My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.22
My ratebeer.com rating: 4
Intro: A 750ml bottle, batch #315, bottled on 2nd May 2016. Poured into a Lost Abbey teku glass.
Appearance: Dark dark brown in colour with an almost two finger dark mocha head that had pretty good retention and left some lacing.
Aroma: Dark roast coffee, dark fruit plum and raisins, molasses and dark chocolate.
Taste: Dark fruited chocolate, cherry and plum sweetness, molasses, booze. Only light coffee notes along with hints of caramel.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to full bodied with light carbonation and a hint of alcohol.
Overall: The coffee flavours were not as strong as I would have expected. To be fair, it has been almost one year since bottling, but there are many examples of Coffee Stouts, where the coffee has held up really well. Having said that, this bottle is still tasty and really easy to drink, and whereas some Imperial Stouts I can sip for hours, I have pretty much finished this 750ml bottle in less than an hour, which is really fast for me, for a beer with double digit ABV%.