Braggot (2013 Vintage) – Parallel 49 Brewing (Aged 3 Years)


From East Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing comes their “Braggot 2013 Vintage” a beer / mead hybrid aged in oak barrels for 10 months and then cellared for three years.  The beer pours a deep red almost brown with a light brown head.  The aroma consists of honey, treacle, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits and chocolate.  The flavour is of honey, treacle, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits, chocolate, oak, earth and some cherries.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.2% with an IBU of 8.5.  While this is a boozy brew you don’t really taste very much alcohol anymore and it reminds me of some of the better barleywines on the market after some aging.  I hope that Parallel 49 Brings this gem back as it is very tasty!

Commercial Description:  A tale as old as time, beer as old as Chaucer:  Braggot is a blend of beer and mead that has been enjoyed as far back as the 12th century.  With malt and honey flavours, this hybrid is aged in oak barrels for 10 months for a slightly sweet and complex aroma.

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Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine (Vintage 2013) – Central City Brewers & Distillers (Aged aprox 2.5 Year)


Review Based on Vintage 2013 brewed in aprox December 2013 released late 2014 and consumed on April 28th, 2016.  Central City is one of the few breweries to age their Barleywine in house for a year before releasing.  I am guessing a little on these dates as There was a 2011 Vintage, unlabeled that was 2013 and a 2014 (The dates on bottles make no sense).  2015 still has not been released from what I can see (Well at least not the non bourbon barrel aged version).  I wish they would get their dates straight for this beer!

From Central City Brewing (Red Racer Brewing) in Surrey BC comes “Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine (Vintage 2013)” a bottle conditioned beer that has been aged for almost a full year before release!  The beer pours a cloudy amber/brown colour with a tan head.  The aroma consists of dark fruits and maybe cherry, candied sugar, toffee and and overall smoothness.  The flavour is of dark fruits, cherry, brown sugar, toffee, earth, ash, leather, bitterness, resin but not a lot of alcohol.  I am really surprise at how smooth this beer is tasting and it is my first beer in three days (not a thing you expect from a barleywine).   Thor’s Hammer has a commanding alcohol content of 11.5% which like his hammer, it should not be taken lightly!  Barley Wine’s should be aged as they reduce the alcohol flavour and increase the other flavours of the beer and this bottle may just have hit its sweet spot.

Commercial Description:  Matured for almost one year, mahogany in colour, this award-winning barley wine is crafted from fine barley malt exuding deep, rich notes of dried fruit, plum and candy with a walnut ester.

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Bois Anno 2013 (Aged 2 Years)– The Bruery


From Placentia California’s The Bruery comes the “Bois Anno 2013″ a Bourbon Barrel Aged that has been cellared for 2 years.  The beer pours a very dark ruby red with a brownish head.  The aroma consists of molasus, syrup, dark fruits, brown sugar, anise and some bourbon.  The flavour is of brown sugar, molasus, dark fruits, anise, oak, bourbon and some alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at a whopping 15%!  I had a sample of this beer fresh two years ago and saw potential but it was quite harsh.  After two years this beer has seriously mellowed out and is tasting amazing!

Commercial Description:  The traditional fifth anniversary gift is something made of wood, or “Bois” in French.  Bois is our fifth anniversary ale, loosely brewed in the English-style Old Ale tradition using our house Belgian yeast strain and then blended using the solera method. A portion of each of our anniversary ales is saved in our barrels and blended in with the next year’s production, providing more complexity and depth of character that comes with age. Layered with complex flavors of dark fruit,vanilla, oak, and burnt sugar, Bois is a robust ale, surely the perfect beer to mark this major milestone.

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Utopias 2013 (Aged 2 years) – Samuel Adams


Limited Edition
Bottle 6,561 of less than 15,000

From Samuel Adams out of Boston Massachusetts comes the Holy Grail of most beer nerds “Utopias” 2013 Vintage (also the most expensive beer to date).  This beer destroys your perception of what a beer is as not only is it uncarbonated but it is also 28% alcohol and is a blend of beers some of which have been aged in barrels for up to or more than 20 years!  This years edition has been aged in Bourbon barrels, 8 year old port barrels and rum barrels and the finished product is blended together with a small amount of their beer the Komsic Mother Funk.  Before you pour this beer understand it is not meant to be refrigerated and should be served at room temperature in one or two once pours.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with absolutely no head which makes sense as this is uncarbonated. The aroma consists of maple syrup, cognac, whiskey, booze, vanilla and some dark fruits.  The flavour is of maple syrup, dark fruits, vanilla, cognac, whiskey, alcohol warmth, chocolate, cherry, earth, brown sugar, rum, butterscotch, toffee, honey and plums.  This is a huge beer at 28% and there is no doubt when you drink it.  I still really enjoyed this beer although I have to say that there has not been a huge change over the last year since I tried this last.

Commercial Description:  Utopias is brewed using traditional methods. The brewers begin with a blend of two-row Caramel and Munich malts that impart a rich, deep amber color. Noble hops – Hallertau Mittelfrueh, Spalt Spalter and Tettnang Tettnanger – are also added to lend complexity and balance. During fermentation, several yeast strains are used, including one normally reserved for champagne. The beer is then blended with a variety of different brews, some of which have been aged in different wood barrels for more than 20 years. As a result of the blending and aging, Utopias invokes the flavors of a rich vintage Port, fine Cognac, or aged Sherry while feeling surprisingly light on the palate.

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Wooly Bugger Barleywine 2013, 2014 – Howe Sound Brewing (BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites Part 2, #3)


BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites – This special review is part of a multi-blog collaboration between five BC Beer Bloggers (including a guest from over the mountains in Alberta) where we each chose our top three local winter releases and are blogging about them. Please take a look at the bottom of this review for the other links to see all the beers we chose in no particular order and bookmark these sites so you can check them often.
West Coast Beer Geek

Winter beers are often higher in alcohol content and darker in colour.  With higher alcohol content comes the opportunity to age beer and see how they change over time.  With this in mind I got my hands on Howe Sound Brewing’s 2013 and 2014 vintages of their “Woolly Bugger Barelywine”.

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When I poured both beer side by side I did notice that the 2013 was slightly lighter in colour although both were a dark chestnut colour.  Much like the differences in colour the 2014 had a much more active and larger tan head than the 2013.

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Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2013 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, big malts, caramel and molasses.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts, caramel, molasses, some sweetness, pine and hops bitterness.  There is a hint of alcohol but more present as warmth.

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Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2014 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and some brown sugar.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts including caramel, brown sugar, sweetness, hops bitterness and pine.  This beer is still fairly hot with alcohol but it is still very drinkable.  It is obvious that this beer was fairly fresh with the high alcohol content.

Both Vintages of this beer come in at a big 10.5% alcohol by volume and an IBU of 75.  As both versions warm up the flavour builds and this is quite noticeable with the bitterness.  With a year of aging this beer looses a big chunk of its boozy nature and the malts take over.  Not every beer should be aged but when it comes to big winter ales like Barleywines it is almost better to buy a couple bottles and hold onto them for at least a year before consuming.

Commercial Description:  A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense the depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wet fly, one of the most effective and widely used patterns in fly fishing. Brewed with pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts, Nugget, Fuggles and Golding hops, water and ale yeast.

Food Pairing as per brewery:  The malt & caramel flavours of this barley wine make it a great accompaniment with hearty meals and desserts and aged cheeses, nuts and winter specialties.

Awards for beer
2014 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2013 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2012 Gold Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards
2011 Bronze Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards

Participating Bloggers: be sure to check them daily, I’ll add in their links as they go up!

West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.

Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.

Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings.

Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.

Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.

How to stay tuned into what we are doing? Look for the hashtag #bcbeerbloggers as we will be using it a lot. Please engage us in conversations, enjoy our posts, try these beers and share our work if you like it.