Hermannator Ice Bock – Vancouver Island Brewery (BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites Part 2, #2)


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

I do not usually run out to buy 6 packs of beer.  I usually want to be trying as many different beer as possible but this is one beer that breaks the mold.  “Hermannator Ice Bock” from Victoria’s Vancouver Island Brewery is just that good!  This ice bock is cold aged in a cellar for over 3 months to help build the flavour.  The beer pours a deep chestnut brown colour with a small brown head.  The aroma consists of brown sugar up front with toasty malts, dark fruits, chocolate and an overall sweetness.  The flavour is of brown sugar, molasses, dark fruits like raisins, milk chocolate, roasted malts, nuts, mild bitterness and a pretty prominent alcohol warming at the end.  Much like many winter ales this is a great one to age for a year or three to lessen the alcohol warmth while building the malts.  This beer is a huge 9.5% alcohol but you would not guess it when you drink it!  This is one dangerously easy drinking beer and must be taken seriously!

Commercial Description:  Brewed in limited batches each year, Hermannator Ice Bock was first introduced by Hermann, one of our original Brewmasters, during the holiday as a unique gift to his closest friends and customers. Crafted at 9.5% abv, using a signature blend of chocolate and caramel malts, this German Eisbock is slowly cold aged in our cellar for over 3 months.

Having a six pack if you don’t want to age a few bottles maybe you want to cook with it!

Hermannator Cookies
Hermannator’s Famous Chili

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This is an old photo of mine as I seem to have lost the photo that I took a few days ago.

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.

Solstice d’hiver – Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel


Seasonal Release

From Montreal Quebec’s Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel comes their “Solstice d’hiver” a winter seasonal Barleywine.  The beer pours a deep ruby colour with a tan head.  The aroma is of malts, dark fruits and a decent floral hops kick.  The flavour is of malts, dark fruits, caramel, hops bitterness, earthy and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.2% as per bottle (website says 9%).  I am a big fan of barleywines and this beer is no different in as much as I think it tastes great.

Commercial Description:  This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel coming from the malt and a prolonged boiling time. It is a very bitter beer with aromas of hops and alcohol, and flavours reminiscent of red fruit brought by the English-type yeast we use to ferment it. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops. Solstice d’Hiver is brewed only once a year, and is then aged for 4 to 5 months before being sold. This aging process is necessary to achieve an ideal equilibrium between the sharp bitterness and the other flavours in the beer.

Solstice d’hiver is brewed only once a year, at the end of the summer. It is then aged for a few months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting mid-December of each year, until stocks last.

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BC Breweries 30th Anniversaries


This year was the 30th Anniversary for three different BC Breweries.  First off there is Spinnakers Brewpub in Victoria BC the very first Brewpub in Canada.  The other two breweries that are celebrating their 30th are Vancouver Island Brewery in Victoria and Granville Island Brewing in Vancouver (Owned by Molson).  The craft beer boom may be going strong but these are some of the real pioneers for craft beer in Canada.  I would like to congratulate the breweries on fighting the good fight all these years!

All three breweries released a beer to celebrate this occasion.  Granville Island Brewing released a new 6 pack offering as the start of a new series of beers called the Under The Bridge Series and the beer was called Swing Span Amber Ale.  Read the review here.

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Both Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery released special one off bomber releases.  Spinnakers Brewpub released “30th Anniversary Grand CRU” while Vancouver Island Brewery released a “Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale”.  In great BC tradition both beers were very big imperial ales with tones of flavour that packed a punch.

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Because Spinnakers and Vancouver Island Brewery brewed special one off releases I wanted to honor them together with a combined review.

Spinnakers Brewpub – 30th Anniversary Grand CRU

The beer poured a dark amber almost brownish colour with an off white head short lived head.  The aroma consisted of sweet dark fruits, caramel, candied sugar, wine, spices and some yeast notes.  The flavour was of sweet dark fruits such as raisins, earthiness, candied sugar, spices, Belgian yeast, tartness, some herbal notes, mild bitterness and some alcohol warming.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 20.  This beer although a little thin was very full of flavour and a really good commemorative brew.  I would like to see Spinnakers play around with this style more and untap the possibilities.

Commercial Descripiton: In celebration of our 30th Anniversary, we present our Grand Cru as a token of thanks. Brewed with UK Marris Otter Pale malt, Belgian yeast and dark candi sugar, our Grand Cru is a medium-dark, malt-forward, complex ale best enjoyed with friends.

Cheers to the next 30!

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Vancouver Island Brewery – Thirty Years Imperial Red Ale

The “Thirty Years Imperial Red” poured a ruby red colour with a tan head.  The aroma consisted of sweet fruits, dark fruits, anise, sweet caramel malts, molasses which is very reminiscent of barleywines.  The flavour was of fruity with good notes of dark fruits (rasins), sweet Caramel malts, orange, citrus, rum, mild hops bitterness and an alcohol warmth at the end.  The alcohol content came in at 8.5% alcohol.  Other than Vancouver Island Brewery’s Hermannator Ice Bock this is their most complex and exciting beer to date (That I have tried that is).

Commercial Description:  For over 30 years we’ve lived the belief that one trend is here to stay – true craftsmanship and quality. With this in mind we decided to pay tribute to our long standing Piper’s Pale Ale and ramped up the recipe to create a big, bold and robust beer. This malty, well-hopped Imperial Red Ale is our way of saying thank-you for your support. Cheers!

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Both of these beers are extremely well crafted brews and well worth being commemorative 30th anniversary beers.  I would like to congratulate all three breweries on 30 years of brewing and look forward to the next 30+!

Congratulations from Mike’s Craft Beer!

I was lucky enough to go over to Victoria and celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Spinnakers Brewpub with the Brewery and locals.  Click here to check it out!

 

 

Pike Old Bawdy Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 (Aged 2 Year) – Pike Brewing Company


Seasonal Release

From Pike Brewing Company located inside the Pike Place Market in Seattle Washington comes their “Pike Old Bawdy Barley Wine Style Ale 2011″ a bottle that has been aged for a full two years.  The barley wine pours a deep cloudy red/orange with an off white head.  Dark fruits start big in the aroma of this vintage with malts, candied suggar, caramel, toffee and floral hops finishing it off.  The flavour is again huge on the dark fruits with caramel, candied sugar (sweet), a medium hops bitterness and some warming from the alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 9.9% with an IBU of 90.  This beer at two years old is already getting far to smooth and tasty!

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Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale 2013 – Driftwood Brewing (Aged 0 Year)


Winter Seasonal

From Victoria BC’s Driftwood Brewing comes the “Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale 2013″.  This is a Winter 2013 Vintage opened up soon after release.  This barleywine is a very different animal than any other vintage that I have tried to date.  The beer pours a medium copper colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of malts, caramel, citrus fruits and floral hops.  The flavour is of big hops bitterness and pine with caramel, citrus, malts and big alcohol warmth. The alcohol content comes in at 11.6% with a high IBU probably in the neighborhood of last years 75 IBU.  Something happened this year with the barleywine it seems.  This seems more like a triple IPA than a Barleywine.  Don’t get me wrong this is a great beer but it does not really fit into its category.  Age this beer for a few months minimum to bring down the alcohol warmth present.

Commercial Description:  This intense concentration of malt and hops is delicious when fresh but can be layed-down for years.  Enjoy with care!

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