The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #12: Spinnakers Festive Spiced Saison

20170106_234954.jpgOn the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

This years incarnation of Festive Saison blends a holiday spiced saison with Spinnakers own dry apple cider. This once a year treat combines the best of Spinnakers Brewery and Cidery, so enjoy it while it lasts!

From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Stats: ABV: 5.5%; IBU:12

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out an amber colour a finger of white head that dies away in the blink of an eyelid and leaves no memory.

The nose is spicy saison yeast, biscuit malt, and hints of nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. The palate is pretty much a mirror of the nose, with the saison spiciness being the dominant flavour. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with light carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

 

Festive spice to me means, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, all spice, etc. This just lasted like a regular saison with mild hints of the aforementioned. It’s not bad, but I’ve had much more flavourful straight-up saison.

A bit of a weak way to finish the 12 days.

Rating: 3/5

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The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #11: Spinnakers Blue Bridge Double Pale Ale

20170105_013233.jpgOn the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

An emerging new-world style, this double pale ale uses a blend of both Northwest American bittering hops and old-world noble aromatic hops creating a complex and floral hop profile in a balanced strong pale ale with big body and lots of alcohol, yet still retaining a high degree of drinkability. Beware!

Stats: ABV: 8.2%; IBU: 36

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out an amber/gold colour a finger of cream head that disappears quickly, leaving no sign it was ever there.

The nose is bready and caramel malt, with a touch of earthy noble hops and a hint of citrus. The palate is a mix of crisp caramel malt and earthy herbal hops, but the malt is the dominant flavour; however, there is a bit of a metallic aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

What is a double pale ale, you may be asking. Well, it’s basically a pale ale with a higher ABV, i.e. an imperial pale ale.

This beer has been around few a while now and I think it’s the first double pale ale I ever tried. However, I’ve since tried double pales from other breweries and they leave this one in the dust. The balance between the hops and malt is a little off. I know it’s not an IPA, but it tastes less hoppy than many pale ales on the market, which leaves it more like a slightly hoppy malt liquor. Also, that metallic after taste is very off-putting.

Rating: 3.25/5

The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #10: Spinnakers Lion’s Head Cascadia Dark Ale

20170104_010017.jpgOn the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

Named in honour of the Lion’s Head Pub in Robson, BC (the Kootenay’s first craft-beer focused pub), this beer has a dark roast body paired with crisp Northwest hops.

Stats: ABV: 6.5%; IBU: 55

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out a near-black dark brown colour with half a finger of white head that fades quickly and leaves very little lacing.

The nose is dark toasted malt, brown sugar, and a touch of piney hops. The palate is a again toasted malt, brown sugar,  coffee, and a hint of grassy hops. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied and a little thin, with low carbonation, and a slightly bitter finish.

As Cascadian dark ales go, this is one of the poorer examples of the style. It’s not a bad beer, but any means, but with so much competition out there, you would think that Spinnakers would up thier game a little bit to stay relevant. Then again, I guess most of their trade comes from the droves of tourists pouring into the brew pub…

Rating: 2.75/5

The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #9: Spinnakers English India Pale Ale

20170102_234911.jpgOn the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

From the Brewers Reserve Series comes this Bourbon Barrel Aged Extra Special Bitter. This special version of our classic Mitchel’s ESB was brewed with English malts, Noble hops and aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels.

Stats: ABV: 7.1%; IBU: 55

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out an amber-gold colour with a finger and a half of white head that fades quickly and leaves a little lacing.

The nose is light grassy-herbal hops and biscuit malt. The palate is a bit of a bland affair, with delicate grassy hops and toasted malt, but nothing really stands out . The mouthfeel is light-bodied, with low carbonation, and a slightly bitter finish.

 

This was a pretty unremarkable beer. English pale ales aren’t as hoppy as their North American cousins, especially for the North-West ones; however, neither are they less hoppy that a pale ale or ISA. Trust me, I’m English.

I wish they’d put some more of their unique beers in this pack. So far it’s been mostly standards with a couple of specials.

Rating: 2.5/5

The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #8: Spinnakers Bourbon Barrel-Aged ESB

20170102_234902.jpgOn the eight day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

From the Brewers Reserve Series comes this Bourbon Barrel Aged Extra Special Bitter. This special version of our classic Mitchel’s ESB was brewed with English malts, Noble hops and aged in freshly emptied bourbon barrels.

Stats: ABV: 5.2%; IBU: 55

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out a deep amber colour with half a finger of cream head that dissipates rapidly and leaves a tad of lacing.

The nose is bourbon, caramel malt, and floral/grassy hops. The palate is dominated by the bourbon flavour, with hints of malt and hops, but they are very subtle. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

Now this is the sort of interesting beer I have been waiting for. Everyone is aging big imperial stouts and porters in bourbon barrels and they tend to be boozy as hell. Bitter usually has a milder flavour, so it really lets the bourbon flavour shine through without overpowering it with the high ABV.

However, that sour undertone was lurking in the background again…

Rating: 4/5

The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #7: Spinnakers Irish Stout

0fd8e138b8b4dad34d96d41222fd65d4_640x640.jpegOn the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

This light stout is delicate and smooth, brewed using Canadian and English Malts and done in the traditional Irish fashion

Stats: ABV: 5%; IBU: 20

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out a dark tan colour with two fingers of beige head that dissipates slowly and leaves a nice bit of lacing.

The nose is roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, and toffee. The palate  is dominated by dark toasted malt flavours with notes of coffee, nuts, and molasses. The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

OK, this is the best so far. I was a bit worried there for a while, but this is a good Irish stout. It’s maybe a touch thinner than I like my stouts, but that’s just because I drink big imperial monsters. I’d say it’s a good representation of the style and much better than the commercial trash that comes out of Ireland these days.

Rating: 3.5/5

The 12 Beer Reviews of Christmas #5: Spinnakers Belgian Tripel

20161230_005322.jpgOn the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me…

From the label:

Brewed with the finest malted barley, imported hops and Spinnakers’ own deep well aquifer pure mineral water, Spinnakers Nut Brown Ale exhibits a refreshing light body with hints of delicate nutty flavours. Serve slightly chilled.

Stats: ABV: 8%; IBU: 25

Tasting notes:

This beer pours out a cloudy gold colour with a half a finger of head that fades quickly and leaves little lacing.

The nose is unexpectedly nondescript—there’s is biscuit malt and booze, with the faintest hints of Belgian yeast esters. The palate is surprisingly bland for the style—it’s mostly malt with a a touch of esters and no phenols or hops. The mouthfeel is light-bodied and thin, with light carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

 

I like my Belgian and Belgian-style beers, but this is not the best example. The typical ester/phenol aroma and taste is almost absent and there is no spiciness. The whole affair was rather thin and watery and god damn it, a little sour again. Why are all of these beers a little sour?

I had to drink a real Belgian beer after to appease my sad palate!

Rating: 2.5/5