Solstice d’Hiver – Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Vin d’orge Américain, 10.2%, de Montréal, Québec.

American Barleywine, 10.2%, from Montréal, Québec.
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4 = 3.86/5

Aged around 6 months : Deep murky dark brown color with a copper hue and lots of activity. Light creamy and bubbly beige 1-2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with poor legs but strong lacing yet wild swirl effect. Flavors of walnuts, dark berries, prunes, liquorice, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, dark grains dominant barley, and herbal hops. Slick and oily medium body with a light crisp. Strong strength finish, quite alcoholic and whiskey like with a slightly leathery feel. Thick ester fruits, leafy and earthy. Very lightly sour from the aging, so it did age well, it’s not really vinous but more boozy and less fruity. Rich and powerful, yet the balance is good, ending with a nice barrel feel. It’s the bold type of barleywine for real cold times. Could easy fit as an appetizer but would really appreciate a big portion for warming sessions. Easy to down and still highly enjoyable. Overall high quality craft.

Ceci N’est Pas Une Gueuze (Hors Série) – Les Trois Mousquetaires

Gueuze, 5.5%, de Brossard, Québec.

Gueuze, 5.5%, from Brossard, Québec.
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25 = 3.96/5

Aged around 1 year : Slightly hazy golden color with lots of activity. Gets a bit cloudy as the yeast is poured. Light foamy white 1 finger head, lasting around 2 minutes, with not much legs but pretty strong lacing, moderate swirl reaction. Flavors of cranberries, green apples, peach, sweet grains dominant wheat, wild yeast, floral hops. Slick oily medium to full body with extra crispy carbonation. Strong sour finish of tart fruits, heavily funky and vinous, yet it ends clean on the tongue. Soft straw and floral notes with some cheese and a hint of wood. Great balance here because I don’t specially like sours yet this one I can easily enjoy as an appetizer. I don’t know if it aged well cause the sourness slightly hits the throat but it’s bearable. Gets quite sharp and interesting as more yeast is poured, producing a vegetal feel. Good complexity, passable freshness, though quite warming. Overall excellent quality craft.

Stout Impérial Russe (Rum Cognac) – Frampton Brasse

Stout Impériale Russe, 10.5%, de Frampton, Québec.

Russian Imperial Stout, 10.5%, from Frampton, Québec.
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25 = 3.22/5

Aged around 6 months : Opaque black. Thick creamy brown 3-4 finger sparkling head and floating yeast, lasting around 10 minutes, with light legs and swirl reaction, but a strong lacing. Flavors of raisins, dark berries, chocolate, coffee, black liquorice, vanilla, smoked dark grains and herbal hops. Slick and oily medium body with light crisp. Medium to strong strength finish, dominant smoked grains similar to bacon, lightly earthy feel, slightly vinous, dry and minty. A bit sour with diacetyl from the aging session, still bearable but didn’t age as expected. Lack balance and proper « Russian barrel » sensation, more like a dry stout. Although the alcohol is well hidden, so it’s at least pleasantly warming. Overall decent quality craft.

Frappabord – Microbrasserie Du Lac-Saint-Jean

Barleywine Américain, 11%, de Saint-Gédéon, Québec.

American Barleywine, 11%, from Saint-Gédéon, Québec.
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25 = 4.12/5

Aged 8 months old : Deep cloudy and murky brown caramel color with not much visible activity. Creamy and frothy beige 3-4 finger bubbling head, lasting around 10 minutes, with good legs and decent swirl reaction, some powerful lacing. Flavors of berries, plums, toffee, orange peels, slight cheese, wood, walnuts, barley and herbal hops. Slightly creamy, smooth silky, medium to full body with soft crisp. Strong strength finish, thick dark esters, pleasant caramel feel similar to maple, ends leafy and earthy on the tongue, a bit clovey with a hint of grapefruits. Superb balance and decent freshness from probably some Belgian yeast in there. The barley sensation is not too intense, it’s still a robust one while strangely delicate. Slightly sour from the aged session, but it aged well with added complexity. Impressive intensity, the alcohol effect is moderate, very easy to drink while extremely warming. Overall excellent quality craft.

Vagabond des Îles – Microbrasserie Le Naufrageur

Doppelbock, 9.3%, de Carleton-sur-mer, Québec.

Doppelbock, 9.3%, from Carleton-sur-mer, Québec.
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5 = 3.44/5

Aged around 6 months: Opaque dark brown. Slightly creamy, more foamy, brown/orange 3-4 finger head, lasting around 10 minutes, with strong lacing but not much legs nor proper swirl reaction. Flavors of dark grains, plums, raisins, wild berries, chocolate, liquorice, coriander, and herbal hops. Oily medium body with crispy carbonation. Deep yeasty chunky feel. Very strong intensity, although it ends quickly not overly killing the tongue, it’s earthy and alcoholic. Nice barrel aged sensation, slightly winey and vinous, port like. A bit cheesey and chalkey, but too stout like. Also too sour from the aging process so it didn’t age as expected. The body is overly dull and thin. Quite spicy with good appetizer qualities, highly warming and rich. Interesting though lacks a bit of balance and complexity. Overall good quality craft.

Rang 10 – Microbrasserie Du Lac-Saint-Jean

Stout Impériale Russe, 9.5%, de Saint-Gédéon, Québec.

Russian Imperial Stout, 9.5%, from Saint-Gédéon, Québec.
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5 = 3.52/5

Aged around 8 months : Opaque black. Thick creamy and frothy brown 3-4 finger head, lasting around 15 minutes, with serious legs and lacing, good swirl reaction. Flavors of raisins, plums, coffee, cocoa, molasses, liquorice, vanilla, walnuts, clove, dark grains and herbal hops. Slightly creamy and silky medium body with a light crisp. Extra strong strength finish, chalky and deeply earthy, almost leathery, lightly sour from the aged feel that makes it more powerful. Extremely tongue coating, highly fruity, rich black coffee and barrel aged feel. A little unbalanced there, quite bold, yet it feels somewhat proper to the style. I don’t recommend cellaring this one, makes it overly acidic and alcoholic. Intensely rich and robust, highly warming in bad weather. Good appetizer qualities. Overall good quality craft.

Dunham 150 Pils

Pilsner Tropicale, 5.3%, de Dunham, Québec.

Tropical Pilsner, 5.3%, from Dunham, Québec.
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75 = 3.73/5

Bright straw color with lots of activity. Tight foamy and frothy white 3 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with good legs. Flavors of flowers, lemon, grapefruits, sweet grains, lager yeast and dry hops. Light slick, kinda oily medium body with a sharp crispy feel. Medium strength finish, leafy and dry floral feel with plenty of citrusy bitterness, dominant residual grains and wet corn more like an American lager, gets quite thick on the tongue and doesn’t end clean. A more robust version of a regular pils, not much noble feel, plenty of fruit zest too, kinda tropical. Too oily and not well rounded with okay freshness. Though very flavorful having rustic pale ale or Saison similarities. Overall very good quality craft.

Musje – Brasserie Dunham

Saison, 4.5%, de Dunham, Québec.

Saison, 4.5%, from Dunham, Québec.
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25 = 4.25/5

Deep cloudy almost opaque dark straw color with no visible activity. Extra foamy and frothy mountainous light beige 3-4 finger head, lasting around 10-15 minutes, with strong legs and a good swirl reaction. Flavors of cheese, sweet grains, lemon, wild berries, grapefruits, wild yeast, wheat and straw, with floral hops. Silky and smooth medium to full body with extra crispy carbonation. Medium to strong strength finish, flowery noble spices and sharp yeast, highly fruity with a strong barnyard feel. Belgian style Saison/Pasterbier, not an APA, but it’s more intense than a table Saison with similar ABV. Really pleasant and uplifting. Well balanced, super fresh, nice complexity. Overall excellent quality craft.

Le Trinqueur – Brasseurs Du Monde

Scotch Ale, 9%, de Sainte-Hyacinthe, Québec.

Scotch Ale, 9%, from Sainte-Hyacinthe, Québec.
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3 = 3.15/5

Aged 6 months : Near opaque deep brown, almost black, with a copper hue and lots of activity. Slightly creamy brown 2-3 finger bubbly head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with poor legs and average swirl reaction. Flavors of liquorice, dark berries, prunes, coffee, dark grains, walnuts, and herbal hops. Slightly creamy, but more oily, medium body with light crispy carbonation. Very strong strength finish, a bit chalky, thick earthy feel, molassy with brown sugar and raisins, also vinous but the aged feel while overly acidic (hits the throat). The bottle didn’t age really well, heavily alcoholic and unbalanced, similar to whiskey. Astringent and tongue coating fruity barrel feel included, not fresh nor accessible. The body is not pleasant and it lacks complexity. Overall average quality craft, probably better if not aged, not an excuse for this type of brew.