The Bottle Imp – Beau’s All Natural Brewing


From Beau’s All Natural Brewing in Vankleek Hill Ontario comes their “The Bottle Imp” Russian Imperial Coffee Stout.  This brew is the 9th beer in Beau’s pro-am series.  The beer pours an opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of coffee, ash, roasted malts and dark chocolate.  The flavour is of bitter coffee, hops bitterness, earth, burnt malts, dark chocolate, hint of vanilla, ash with resin in the finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 9% with an IBU of 81.  If you enjoy a good bitter Russian Imperial Stout with a big coffee hit this one is definitely for you.

Commercial Description:  The Bottle Imp is a strong, dark, roasty and rich creation. This rendition of a Russian Imperial Stout is also infused with a blend of Nicaraguan and Guatemalan fair-trade organic coffee. Complex and contemplative, and with well-integrated alcohol warmth, The Bottle Imp is best served in a snifter, sipped slowly and savoured.  eau’s first brewed The Bottle Imp in 2013 as part of its Pro-Am Series. The recipe was co-created with David Thompson, who won the Toronto Beer Week Homebrew Contest and the prize of coming to Beau’s for a day to brew a beer. In 2014 The Bottle Imp took Bronze at the Canadian Brewing Awards, as well as first place at the National Organic Craft Beer Competition in California.  The Russian Imperial Stout is brewed to weigh in high on alcohol, with the roasted, malty character typical of a stout. These imperial stouts were first brewed in England in the 18th century, and exported to Russia for the pleasure of Czarina Catherine II and her court.  And the name? The Bottle Imp is a haunting turn-of-the-century tale by Robert Louis Stevenson about risking eternal damnation of the soul to have everything on earth one’s heart desires. We suggest pairing the beer and the story on a cold night by a crackling fire.

Food pairing as per the brewery:  Pumpernickel bread, trifle, dark chocolate fondue, coffee cake, grilled steak, truffle-oil-infused mashed potatoes, & sharp cheddar or stilton.

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Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout 2017 – Cigar City Brewing


From Cigar City Brewing in Tampa Bay Florida comes their “Marshal Zhukov’s Imperial Stout” 2017 Vingate.  The beer pours a jet black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, molasses, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, chocolate and some alcohol.  The flavour is of roasted malts, burnt coffee, ash, molasses, caramel, toffee, dark chocolate, anise, dark fruit, maybe some umami, alcohol and a bitterness in the finish. The alcohol content comes in at 11.2% with an IBU of 70.  This is a seriously big beer and right up my alley.  I wish I could have brought more of this beer back or visited the brewery while in Florida but there is only so much room in your luggage and we had to leave Florida in a hurry to avoid Hurricane Irma.

Commercial Description:  This Russian Imperial Stout is dedicated to Georgy Zhukov, arguably one of the finest generals of World War II. Opaque black in color, with notes of espresso, chocolate, dark toffee and hints of blackstrap molasses. The English hop varietals provide a subtle herbal dryness, and the beer finishes with a hearty slap of roasty espresso. Pair Marshal Zhukov’s with mushroom solyanka, dark chocolate, cherries and ground wars in Russia.

Baltic Porter With Red Grape (S2S) – Howe Sound Brewing


From Squamish BC’s Howe Sound Brewing comes their new beer in yhe Sea To Sky Series of beers called the “Baltic Porter With Red Grape” and is the 8th release in the series.  This is a Baltic Porter where red grape must is added to the brew.  The beer pours a deep brown with a ruby red tinge and a tan head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, slightly bitter chocolate, toffee, plums, grapes and a sweet finish.  The flavour is of roasted malts, milk and dark chocolate, toffee, dark fruits, some grape, cherry, earth, bitterness and maybe some brown sugar in the finish.  The alcohol content comes in at 7.5% with an IBU of 30.  The addition of red grape must really adds a new dimension to the style and makes for a great sipping experience.  I have only had a few beers from this Sea To Sky Series so far but they have all been very interesting and well made.  Take a look for a bottle of this one.

Commercial Description:  Baltic Porter is an old style beer originating in the Baltic states in the 1800’s. The style is unique because it is fermented with lager yeast which creates a crisp smooth finish. It is conditioned over a two month period before packaging. Red Grape must is added at the end of the fermentation to add complexity and intrigue to the beer.  Simon Jongsma, head brewer comments, ” A rich Baltic Porter with notes of raisin, plum, dark chocolate, and toffee. The addition of red grape adds a complex aroma of sweet cherry and currant with a delicate finish. The combination of a very old traditional style of beer with the red grape creates a very elegant beer with complexity that continues to grow with every sip.”

Food pairings as per brewery:  Excellent with smoked or grilled meats such as beef, pork or poultry, hearty stew or soups. Pairs well with rich deep chocolate, dark fruit/berries with the red wine notes.

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Baltic Porter 2016 – Cannery Brewing


From Cannery Brewing Company out of Penticton BC comes the “Baltic Porter” part of their Artisan Creation series.  The beer pours a deep brown colour with a brownish head.  The aroma consists of toffee, roasted malts and dark fruits.  The flavour is of toffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, earth, dark chocolate, some coffee notes and bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 8% with an IBU of 40.  I am quite fond of Baltic Porters and enjoyed this bottle quite a bit.  The beer has not changed to much from my 2014 review but there was a slight difference.

Commercial Description:  This classic Baltic Porter is brewed with traditional German malts and noble hops. Its sweet roasted flavour combined with a spark of dark fruit embraces the warmth of the alcohol. Its dark lager characteristics allow a rich, velvet smoothness to blast through to the finish.  Kiek in de Kök is a cannon tower in Tallinn, Estonia. Like the tower, this style of beer originated in Estonia. To embrace this history, the photograph was taken and the label was designed by the Mikkin brothers of the design agency Brand Manual, based in Tallinn.

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Moody Ales and Ridge Brewing – 1880 Export Stout


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Moody Ales from Port Moody, BC and Ridge Brewing Company from Maple Ridge, BC have collaborated to create their 1880 Export Stout as part of the Moody Ales Small Batch Series.

The eye almost slides off this beer it is a dark, murky brown that almost seems like an absence of colour, it is kind of fun to stare at it and try to really see through it.  The head is a creamy light tan with bubbles that look almost nitrogenated.  I normally don’t go on about how beers look but I really love staring at this one.

The nose is so rich, leading with a little bit of alcohol heat and coffee, almost like a Spanish Coffee for after dinner.  There is a touch of prune underneath.  A roasty malt aroma rolls up on the heels of the coffee.

The mouthfeel is luxuriously smooth, almost creamy and glides across the tongue.  The carbonation is very mild, just a whisper of a tingle just as you swallow.  The flavours are amazing, dark chocolate with a hint of coffee and a little alcohol warmth but not heavy and chewy, just smooth.

This is exactly the beer I want sitting in front of a fire on a cold night.