Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Seasonal Beer review

The holidays are a very slow time for new music release.  Conversely, they are a boom time for seasonal beer releases!

I thought what better way to fill some space than with a survey of my seasonal beer sampling, complete with my own uninformed opinion and random rating system.

So here it goes:

Wychwood Bah Humbug Christmas Cheer Ale
Alcohol- 5.0%
LCBO price- $3.50 for 500ml

A dark ruby coloured ale with an unpleasant lingering chemical aftertaste.  Like most Wychwood beers, this is sold on gimmick value rather than for the quality of the beverage.

Rating: 50/100

Muskoka Winter Beard Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout
Alcohol- 8.0%
LCBO price- $10.95 for 750ml

It's a near-pitch black beer with toasted and cocoa aromas.  There is a hint of cranberry and a hint of chocolate, but not nearly enough of either.

Rating: 70/100

Unibroue Reserve 17
Alcohol- 10.0%
LCBO price- $9.95 for 750ml

A rich brown colour, this beer is smooth with a hoppy, almost organic flavour.  A sweet aftertaste prolongs the mouthjoy.

Rating: 85/100

Old Credit Holiday Honey
Alcohol- 5.0%
LCBO price- $3.95 for 680ml

A beautiful amber colour, the sweet aroma foreshadows the sweet honey taste inside.  Delivers as advertised.

Rating: 80/100

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale
Alcohol- 6.0%
LCBO price- $3.95 for 550ml

An amber beer with a light roast aroma, it delivers a sweet hoppy flavour that is nice, but definitely not exceptional.

Rating: 70/100

Great Lakes Brewery Winter Ale
Alcohol- 6.2%
LCBO price- $6.95 for 750ml

Aromas of pumpkin spice waft from the bottle as soon as you open this dark amber ale.  Rich flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove warm you and leave a long, delicious aftertaste.  This is always something to look forward to.

Rating: 90/100

St. Peter's Winter Ale
Alcohol- 6.5%
LCBO price- $3.9 for 500ml

Burnt hop aromas foretell the toasted coffee taste to come from this dark ale.  Like most of this brewery's wares, it is exceptionally smooth.

Rating: 80/100

Fuller's Vintage Ale
Alcohol- 8.5%
LCBO price- $7.25 for 500ml

Despite the high alcohol content this is an amber beer with a classic clean finish.  It's fresh and crisp and a good value at the price.

Rating: 85/100

Mill Street Barley Wine
Alcohol- 11.5%
LCBO price- $11.95 for 500ml

Thanks to marketing this has become a Christmas institution.  In reality it's a beer with a harsh entry, syrupy middle, and eminently forgettable aftertaste.  Add a ridiculously high price and you're left with a lighter wallet and nothing decent to show for it.

Rating: 60/100

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