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Monthly Archives: December 2013

All I want for Christmas is a barrel-aged stout

Christmas is over and everyone is starting to snap back to the reality that we still have many months of cold, short days. I for one believe that these long, cold winters only enhance our love and affection for dark beers. Common flavours for porters and stouts are: chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla, and dried fruit. Barrel aged beers can also add to that “warming” feeling that we get from the beer.

After all that, you are probably aware that I’m reviewing a dark beer. It’s Nickel Brook’s Old Kentucky Bastard Imperial Stout and at 10% ABV this stout is a heavy-weight. According to the description, this is a barrel-aged version of their delicious Bolshevik Bastard imperial Stout which I had the chance to try at Brother’s Beer Bistro, located in Ottawa’s Byward Market.


Sorry about the flash. I never claimed to be a photographer.

Pour is black with a tan head that shrinks pretty quickly. Nose is of strong dark dried fruit, chocolate, oak, and bourbon.  The burn from the added alcohol and bourbon barrel is evident throughout this one. Other flavours are deep vanilla and chocolate. The booze is truly rosy-cheek inducing. Finish is vanilla and a boozy bourbon burn.

This is an excellent winter brew that warms the body and soul. I’ll be buying this again, but I wouldn’t advise it for beer drinkers who don’t like a strong alcohol burn which the barrel-aged stuff tends to bring.

As a side note, I struggled with the wax that was melted over the bottle cap for added appearance. Is there a trick to this, or am I just a special case? Leave a comment if you can relate.


Downtown Amsterdam

Yet another exam week beer review. Let’s be honest, craft beer is a lot more interesting than studying for Intermediate Macroeconomics Part 2… Fuck the theories of aggregate supply & demand.

Tonight I’ve settled down with a tall can of Amsterdam Brewery’s Downtown Brown, brewed in Toronto. It’s a 5% ABV nut brown ale, and here’s what I thought:


Pour is dark brown with white head that dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma’s of roasted malts, dark chocolate, earthiness, hints of burnt caramel, and coffee. The smell is out of this world; like a diet stout. Flavour is toasted malt, light nuttiness, light earthy/grass, caramel, and desert coffee. Finish is clean with rich coffee.

Downtown Brown is light bodied and very sessionable. I could very easily see myself drinking eight of these in an evening (just kidding Mom). Its sweetness isn’t too over the top, and all of the beers flavour is able to come through nicely.

I recommend this for someone who isn’t normally a dark beer drinker. It won’t scare them away in the way that a Triple Chocolate Bull Testicle Imperial Stout might, and might help them transition into the beautiful world of browns, porters, and stouts.

Merry Christmas everyone. May your stouts be imperial, your IPA’s be hoppy, and your hangovers mild!

Baby its cold outside

If you live in the Ottawa region, you were reminded this week of how god damn cold winter can get here in the Valley.

Anyways… It’s time for the last beer from my Bellwoods Brewery visit, and what better timing? I just finished my second of three exams and now have a break until Saturday… party time.

Its stout season folks, and I’m pumped as hell for some winter warmers. This beer is just that. Its Hellwoods Imperial Stout, and it’s a big fucking beer.


Aromas of vanilla, dark roasted malts, and dried fruit. This is a heavy beer starts out with flavours of roasted malts, switching to dried fruit which is slightly bitter, then moving to burnt caramel and dark chocolate for the finish with a slight burn from that 10% ABV.

This stout is on point. Bellwoods, I’ll be home for winter break in about a week. See you then.

To anyone who may read this, whats your favourite stout? (Feel free to name a few, I recognize that’s an unfair question).

I’m still alive

Hey there good lookin’.

Due to end of term papers and tests, along with work and a generally high level of procrastination, I haven’t made a post in a while. Don’t worry, I’ve still been drinking beer, I just haven’t taken the time to do any more than the odd check-in on Untappd (username is: Swainer – add me fools).

Tonight I’m drinking a beer I’ve had many times before. From the Quebec based brewery Dieu du Ciel!, its Penombre. This is a black IPA, a style which really interests me as it normally combines characteristics from my two favourite beer styles. Penombre is sold in a 4-pack in the LCBO for around $13.

Here are the details:


Pours pitch black with a frothy light tan head. Aromas of roast malt, nuttiness, coffee, and fruity hops. The palate is coffee, pine, bitter grapefruit, and earthy tones. The bitter grapefruit comes through in the finish, along with the malts and the mocha.

I really like this beer because it has the traits which I like in a stout combined with the bitterness I look for in an IPA. Dieu du Ciel! is constantly brewing excellent beer (try the Peche Mortel if you can find it) and this is no exception.

I’m looking forward to making more time to post now that classes are done, but no promises.