Cherry Stout – Storm Brewing, 6% ABV – 1L., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

  • Style: (cherry) Flavoured Stout
  • Taste: Sweet chocolate cherry malt “weird stem-twig-woody”
  • How much: $8 – 1L, bring your own bottle (May 2015)
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not 100% clean

Visual: (growler fill) Pours dark cola brown with minimal head, a very thin layer of retention, a few bubbles here and there.

Nose: cherry from the cherry-filled chocolate, cola, malts. (lvl-3)-pungency

Attack: incoming dark fruit, med-thick malts

Mid-palate: (lvl-6)-sweetness, subtle sour, subdued tangy-acidity, (MAIN) chocolate, malts, non-descript cherry darkness

Finish: cherry stems, twigs, leafy-woody finish.

Summary: The initial to mid chocolate-dark fruit is good, but ends with a strange woody cherry stem note, not that clean. Average I’d say, wouldn’t recommend but it wasn’t offensive.


The Abyss 2014 Reserve – Deschutes Brewery, 11.1% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (Bend, Oregon, USA)

on the front label:

“The Abyss: malt beverage brewed with black strap molasses, licorice, with cherry bark and vanilla added with 6% aged in oak bourbon barrels, 11% aged in oak barrels, and 11% aged in oak wine barrels.

It’s dark, it’s deep, it’s mysterious. This imperial stout has immeasurable depth inviting you to explore and discover its rich, complex profile. The flavor of this special brew draws you further and further with each sip. The Abyss beckons. Enjoy the journey.”


  • Style: (bourbon, oak, wine) Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Evolving with temperature roast malt chocolate raspberry alcoholic soy sauce vanilla woody
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn (Bby, Hastings)
  • How much: $17 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., February 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, annually
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes way, it’s a trip

Visual: 2014 edition, black wax sealed. Pours coffee black with a very small head, petri dish lacing, SUPER-fine bubbles.

Nose: roasted dark malts, cherry wood, wet red wine barrels. (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: very slick-oily mouthfeel, subdued alcohol

Mid-palate: light sourness, (MAIN) brown sugar, thick malts, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, woody, raspberry ->transition-> (lvl-7)-sweetness+malt

Finish: soy sauce, licorice, roasted-burnt bitter exhale, light burpy, cascading alcohol buzz, sweet-light bitter chocolate malt finish.

Summary: A beer with impact, both in taste and alcoholic bite. Layers upon layers of flavour, every year is exceptional. Notice the changes in flavours as the temperature decreases; less malt and more fruity characteristics emerge.


Citra Session IPA – Green Flash Brewing, 4.5% ABV, 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., (San Diego, California, USA)

on the front-left label:

Epic Journey Limited Release

We believe in continuously evolving. This means crafting and sharing special release and experimental brews to inspire and enlighten your palate. Our passion for hops presents infinite possibilities. We are constantly exploring new hop varieties, fresh combinations and innovative brewing methods. Embark on an epic journey and discover our limited release Citra Session. 100% Citra Hops”


ratebeer‘s definition of Session IPA

“The term Session IPA describes a category of beers marketed for their hop-dominant flavor profiles at “sessionable” levels of alcohol. While this is typically 3.2 – 4.6 percent alcohol, a few have stretched the definition. This class of beers arose in 2010 out of the Craft Beer Tradition as a reaction to the trend of increasingly strong beers and greater public appreciation for hoppier profiles around the globe. It is differentiated from American Pale Ale by typically being lower in alcohol and usually having more hop-dominant profiles. While hops used are typically American Pacific Northwest and New Zealand, proprietary/experimental and South African and other hops may also factor into a Session IPA hop bill.”

  • Style: Session IPA
  • Taste: Grassy-piney soft orange-grapefruit bitter peel hops
  • Where I got it : Liquor Barn (Bby, Hastings)
  • How much: $9 (after 10% off) – 1 pt. 6 fl.oz., January 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not for me anyways

Visual: Pours clear golden amber with a small creamy head, a thin layer of micro retention, lots of slow and steady streams.

Nose: bright lemon-orange-pine with some pineapple, quite fruity. (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: crisp bite, citrus hop oils

Mid-palate: (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) resin, barley malt, orange-grapefruit peel,  -> transitions to dry, fizzy-light creamy mouthfeel

Finish: grapefruit bitter hops, lingering hopped bitter finish.

Summary: My first “session” IPA, basically lots of hop flavour with a much slower alcoholic buzz. Okay I guess, goes better with a meal. Unfortunately the citrus oils disappear as the beer warms, leaving only the bitterness behind.


The Hobbit: Smaug Stout – Central City Brewing, 8.5% ABV, 650ml., (Surrey, BC, Canada) *local craft beer*

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Heavy thick roasted malt brown sugar chocolate light chili
  • Where I got it : BC Liquor Stores
  • How much: $9 – 650ml., January 2015
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: not memorable at all

Visual: Pours coffee black with a small creamy head, a thin layer of retention with clumpy lacing, visible activity near the surface.

Nose: dark brown sugar malts, medium roast (lvl-6)-pungency

Attack: thin-slick mouthfeel, crisp, light fizzy

Mid-palate: subdued sourness, (lvl-7)-sweetness, *smoky bitter astringency*, (MAIN) roasted barley, chocolate, brown sugar, coffee bitterness

Finish: trace chili pepper vegginess, roasted exhale, bittersweet roasted malt with hops finish.

Summary: To me the chili was an afterthought. If you hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have known it was there in the first place, zero spiciness. Some astringency in the mids, but otherwise and okay stout, nothing special.


Pliny the Elder – Russian River Brewing, 8.0% ABV – 510ml., (Santa Rosa, CA, USA)

Finally!! Onto the mythical, legendary, hard-to-find, Pliny the Elder…and I found it! I managed to get the last one at Stearns Liquor store in LA (map below), thank you Aaron! How awesome is it? Let’s find out.

  • Style: Imperial IPA / Double IPA
  • Taste: Creamy tangerine bitter hops caramel biscuit malt smooth finish
  • Where I got it, price: $6 USD, Sept 2014, Stearns Liquor
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: yes, shared with friends
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours almost clear luminescent amber, very small dissipating head, a super thin layer of micro retention, zero activity.

Nose: fragrant orange-citrus-grapefruit hops, with oils (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: creamy-silky mouthfeel, bursting flavourful hops, tangerine, crisp bite

Mid-palate: sharp compounding bitter hops, (lvl-4)-sweetness, (MAIN) grassy, caramel malt, biscuit

Finish: bitter orange peel exhale, resin, very subtle hop bitterness, lingering bitter hopped finish.

Summary: So smooth. Oh so smooth. Very easy-drinking for an 8%er. Bursting tangerine hops flavour is all I can say.


Phillips Snowcase 2014 Calendar Day #12

Crazy 8s Annu-Ale – Phillips Brewing, 8.0% ABV – 341ml., (Victoria, BC, Canada)

more info about this beer can be found on their Snowcase website:

on the front-right label:

“Happy Holidays to you! We brought back one of our favourite anniversary ales to b ring cheer and good times to all. Enjoy this hoppy gift to your palate!”

  • Style: Imperial IPA / Double IPA
  • Taste: Controlled citrus grapefruit hopped bitter toffee malt SMOOTH
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Pours clear golden orange with a small lasting foamy head, a decent layer of retention, several slow but steady streams.

Nose: bursting lively citrus hops, strong floral notes (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: creamy mouthfeel-smooth, subdued sweet hops

Mid-palate: (lvl-5)-sweetness, (MAIN) orange citrus, soft biting grapefruit bitter hops, toffee malts

Finish: lingering bitter hoppiness, smooth finish.

Summary: All-around easy drinking IIPA where you don’t feel the ABV or the heavy hops. Fabulous.


  • My Rating: [B]

Fortified Blackberry Wine – Wellbrook Winery, 18% ABV – 375ml., (Delta, BC, Canada)

  • Style: (blackberry) Fortified Fruit Wine
  • Taste: rich blackberry tangy alcoholic light warmth
  • How much: $22 – 375ml
  • Where I got it: @Winery, November 2014
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to dessert wine aficionados: 50/50

Visual: Deep luscious dark purple. Shrink foil wrapped, real cork.

Nose: blackberry juice, vodka vapours (lvl-4)-pungency

Attack: incoming tangy sugars + alcohol, thicker mouthfeel

Mid-palate: alcohol detection, rich sour-tangy acidity, fruity (lvl-7)-sweetness, (MAIN) blackberry, red grape

Finish: residual warmth, black fruit exhale

Summary: Very clean from start to finish with a good fortified alcoholic backbone. I enjoyed this one much more than their fortified blueberry offering.


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