Straffe Hendrik Heritage 2015 Armagnac Oak Aged Ale

Brewery: Brouwerij De Halve Maan
Country: Belgium
ABV: 11%
Style: Belgain Quadrupel
Other Notes: Armagnac Oak Aged Ale

Brewer Description: (from bottle) This quadruple is a heavy and dark beer, brewed in the unique family brewery “De Halve Maan”, which has been located since 1856 in the historical centre of Bruges. This quadruple is matured for more than one year in oak casks in the ancient cellars of the brewery. It gives this beer a complex flavour and rich aroma. The beer is re-fermented in the bottle, and has a longer shelf life, during which the taste evolves still further. The tannins and the complex malt flavours ripen into a harmonious balance over the time.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.38
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.3

Intro: A 750ml corked and caged bottle, bottle no. 22214, 2015 vintage, and with a best before date of end of 2026. Poured into a Chimay goblet glass.
Appearance: A hazy dark amber brown colour with an almost two finger creamy beige head that dissipated fairly quickly but settled to a rapidly replenishing thin layer over the top while leaving some nice lacing.
Aroma: Plum, prunes, apple, oak, with notes of cherry, red berries, and brandy.
Taste: Dark fruit, plum, prunes, oak, boozy, brandy, caramel, toffee, apple, with notes of red berries.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium to full bodied, light to moderate carbonation, and a warming finish.
Overall: Very nice complex flavours and the Armagnac barrel matched well with this Quad. I haven’t tried many barrel aged Quads, but this definitely makes me want to try more.

Carbon Brews Little Rich Lupulins v.6

Brewery: Carbon Brews
Country: Hong Kong
ABV: 6%
Style: New England / Hazy IPA
Other Notes: 22 IBUs. Malts – Pilsner, Oats, Vienna and Carahell. Hops – HBC 630, Sabro and Nelson Sauvin. Yeast – London III. Experience – Fresh, juicy

Brewer Description: (from postcard) Some of our favourite hops right now are HBC630, Nelson Sauvin and Sabro, so we piled them into the dry hop resulting in a juicy beer packed full of flavour. Initial burst of pineapple, lime and candied cherry followed by a subtle coconut and white grape character.

My rating: 3
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.86
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.7

Intro: A 330ml can, with a best before date of 12th February 2021, so should be less than two weeks in the can. Poured into a Holy Mountain tulip glass.
Appearance: A hazy but murky orange colour with an almost two fingered white head that had decent retention and left some nice lacing.
Aroma: Pineapple juice, lime, orange pith, citrus zest, with notes of mango.
Taste: Light to moderate bitterness, citrus pith, lemon zest, lime, grapefruit, melon, with a hint of coconut here and there on the finish.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: Personally I preferred the original version more as the stone fruit flavours were more my thing. I believe the change was partly due to not being able to source certain hops in the current environment, which is fine as I enjoy trying different beers. In addition, there was also the mention of candied cherry in its description, and I love candied cherries a lot, but I don’t even get a hint of that here in the aroma or flavour. All that being said, this was still fresh and enjoyable with citrus pithy and melon flavours coming through strongest.

The Bruery Share This: Mint Chip

Brewery: The Bruery
Country: USA
ABV: 10.5%
Style: American Imperial Stout
Other Notes: Imperial Stout with mint and cacao nibs. We donate $1 for every bottle we produce in our Share This series. This release, inspired by mint chip flavors, supports the mission of Food Forward, which donates fresh produce to hunger relief agencies across Southern California.

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Share This is a series of beers that spotlights unique ingredients and important causes. This imperial stout is inspired by mint chip flavors, recreated by adding spearmint leaves and cacao nibs to a rich base. It supports the efforts of Food Forward, who is chipping away at hunger relief across Southern California, reaching over 100,000 people a month with recovered fresh produce.

My rating: 2
My beeradvocate.com rating: 3.46
My ratebeer.com rating: 3.1

Intro: A 750ml bottle, 2017 edition. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: Black in colour with a one finger brown head that had good retention and left lots of spotty lacing.
Aroma: Light roast, chocolate, and strong mint, maybe too overpowering.
Taste: Spearmint, light roast, and only a hint of chocolate.
Mouthfeel: Medium to light bodied with soft carbonation.
Overall: So I like a good mint chocolate any day, but the mint really overpowers anything else in this beer and there’s just not enough chocolate and roast to support the mint. The body is also lacking and feels too thin. You have to really like liquid mint for this.

The Bruery Share This: O.C.

Brewery: The Bruery
Country: USA
ABV: 11%
Style: American Imperial Stout
Other Notes: Imperial Stout with orange zest, cacao nibs and vanilla beans. We donate $1 for each bottle we produce in our Share This series. This orange chocolate release supports the mission of Food Forward, which donates fresh produce to hunger relief agencies in Southern California, including Orange County.

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Share This is a series of beers that spotlights unique ingredients and important causes. This rich imperial stout is inspired by orange and chocolate flavors. It’s a profile we’re quite fond of, given the abundance of orange trees in our own backyard. Food Forward takes it one step further – reaching over 100,000 people a month with recovered fresh produce.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.41
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.3

Intro: A 750ml bottle, 2017 edition. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: Black in colour with a one finger brown head that had decent retention and left lots of spotty lacing.
Aroma: Roasty, dark chocolate, cacao, coffee, with notes of vanilla and citrus zest.
Taste: Much like the aroma, roasted malts, dark chocolate, cacao, coffee, vanilla, and orange notes.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium to full bodied, with soft carbonation.
Overall: An excellent Imperial Stout with great roast and chocolate flavours. The orange citrus notes also complement the chocolate well. I do wonder whether due to the age of the bottle (three years), any of the adjuncts have toned down a bit, but the chocolate to citrus proportion is great right now.

Garage Project Baltic Porter Bourbon Barrel Aged

Brewery: Garage Project
Country: New Zealand
ABV: 11.5%
Style: Baltic Porter
Other Notes: Bourbon Baltic Porter 2016

Brewer Description: (from bottle) Baltic Porter, the favoured tipple of the Tzars. This batch has been treated to an extra serving of imperial decadence, aged for over a year in oak bourbon barrels. The result is a real heavyweight-rich and smooth with a seamless combination of vanilla, dried fruit, coffee, toffee and liquorice, but a classic clean finish courtesy of it’s long, cold fermentation. He’s an old bear, but he can still take any contender pound-for-pound.

My rating: 4
My beeradvocate.com rating: 4.2
My ratebeer.com rating: 4.1

Intro: A 650ml bottle, packed on 29th September 2017. Poured into a snifter glass.
Appearance: A clear dark brown colour with a one finger beige head that dissipated fairly quickly, while leaving only sparse spotty lacing.
Aroma: Chocolate, cocoa, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, with notes of dark fruit, prunes, and plum.
Taste: As you’d expect from the aroma, lightly sweet, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, with a hint of dark fruit, prunes, and plum.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.
Overall: A very nice and enjoyable Baltic Porter with great bourbon and dark fruit notes. I like this a lot more than the base non-barrel aged version.