Hands Up Red Ale – Tin Whistle Brewing


From Tin Whistle Brewing in Penticton comes their “Hands Up Red Ale” their newest seasonal release.  The beer pours a deep red colour with a small brownish head.  The aroma consists of raisins, fruit, molasses, malts and some rum.  The flavour is of raisin, rum, fruits, molasses, oatmeal, mild roast, bitterness and a hint of earth.  The alcohol content comes in at 6.5% with an IBU of 20.  This is a tasty red ale that sits on the sweeter side of the spectrum.

Commercial Description:  A raisin oatmeal red ale to commemorate Bill Minor, the Gentleman robber.

Backstory:  Bill Miner (1847-1913).  Bill Miner, the first train robber in Canada was known as the “Gentleman Bandit” because of his good manners during a hold-up.  He was also the originator of the phrase “Hands Up!”.  On May 8, 1906, he held up the C.P.R near Kamloops making him a local folk hero.  He was later arrested by the Royal North West Mounted Police and sentenced to 25 years in the New Westminster Penitentiary.  The 1982 Canadian film The Grey Fox was based on Billy Miner’s life.

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Tortuga (Wild Ale Aged in Rum Barrels) – Steel & Oak Brewing


From New Westminster’s Steel & Oak Brewing comes their “Tortuga” a Wild Ale Aged in Rum Barrels. The beer pours a cloudy brown colour with a tan head. The aroma consists of tartness, dark fruits, rum and an overall sweetness. The flavour is of tartness, rum, dark fruits, cherries, malts, woody and a sweetness from sugar. The alcohol content comes in at 7.3%. While this is not my favourite barrel aged beer I like the direction Steel & Oak is going and I look forward to their next release.

Commercial Description:  Named after a Caribbean Island famous for piracy and aged one year in Caribbean Rum barrels, this caramelized wild ale delivers notes of fruit cake, plum, raisin and sugar cane. A secondary wild fermentation contributes a hint of sour cherry for a refreshing tart finish.  Tortuga is the second release in our Oak Aged Series.

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Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter – Last Best Brewing & Distilling


From Last Best Brewing & Distilling in Calgary Alberta comes their first ever bottled beer the “Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter” the first of their Lineage Series.  This beer was barrel aged in rum barrels for 7 months.  The beer pours a black opaque colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, plums and sweetness.  The flavour is of plums, dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, sugar, toffee, rum, wood and alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 10.5% with an IBU of 30.  I look forward to trading for more Lineage Series beers in the future as this one was very tasty!

Commercial Description:  We want every bottled beer to get better with time.  This is restrictive, but important. It means the beers we bottle will be big. Like the 10.5% of this porter big. Alcohol preserves beer and is involved in a variety of chemical reactions that develop complex flavours over time. We’ve aged it in ex-rum barrels for 7 months until the tannins started to leach from the wood, giving it structure akin to a well-oaked red wine. It’s a touch rough right now, but will smooth out in time. This beer is already full of intense dark fruit, chocolate and raisin notes, and we expect these to only get better.

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Eclipse (18 Year Old Rum Barrels) 2013- Fifty Fifty Brewing (Aged 2 Years)


Every year Truckee California’s Fifty Fifty Brewing Co releases their “Eclipse Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout”.  The 2013 edition has  9 different versions of this beer all aged in different high end barrels.  The different editions of this beer are only marked by the colour of the wax on the top of the bottles.  This version is the Fuchsia wax edition that has been aged in barrels from 18-yr Rum Barrels.  The beer was bottled in winter 2013 and consumed winter 2015 (Acquired Feb 2014).  The beer pours a black opaque colour with a brown head.  The aroma consists of molasses, licorice, rum, oak, roasted malts, sweetness and chocolate.  The flavour is of licorice, molasses, rum, oak, earth, sweetness, roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, chocolate and dark fruits.  This beer is still boozy but not overly after two years in a bottle.  The alcohol content comes in at 11.9%.  Event with a bit of boozyness this is still a great imperial stout and I look forward to opening my last bottle in the future.

Commercial Description:  What happens when you take an award winning Imperial Stout, put it in oak bourbon barrels, and then age it for six months? One of the most epic beer tasting experiences you will ever have: ECLIPSE™.  Imperial Stouts are noted for being very rich substantial beers, and FiftyFifty’s Totality Imperial Stout does not disappoint on this fact. Brewed in small 300 gallons batches, our brewers lovingly craft this masterpiece once a year. Made with the finest malts, hops, fresh mountain water and yeast, over 18 separate ingredients lend their unique character to this beer.  To become Eclipse, Totality is then aged for a minimum of 180 days in oak bourbon barrels. This time spent adds a plethora of flavors to the already rich Imperial Stout. At first taste there is a large presence of dark chocolate, espresso and warmth from the alcohol of the beer. Oak barrel character then comes into play with hints of vanilla and coconut, followed by mild bitterness from the hops, and then a nice long lingering finish with hints of tobacco, dark dried fruit and more chocolate. Eclipse is a wonderful companion with dessert. A beer meant for contemplation best enjoyed in a snifter and with a friend.

Because of the extensive brewing and aging process, Eclipse is only released once a year.
March-April: Brew Totality
Mid April:Futures available
May: Begin aging in oak barrels
November: Bottle and keg
December: Official Release & Party

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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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