Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Muskoka picks up 5!

Muskoka Brewery picked up 5 awards at 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards.
  • Muskoka Cream Ale won a Gold award in the British Pale Ale category
  • Summer Weiss won a Gold award in the German Style Wheat Beer category
  • Mad Tom IPA won a Bronze award in the North American IPA category
  • Muskoka Craft Lager won a Silver award in the North American Lager category
  • Muskoka Winter Beard: Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout won Gold award in the Imperial Stout Category
Congrats to Muskoka Brewery!

Big Rig Brewery wins awards!

I read a tweet from Chris Phillips' wife (@PhillipsErin) that Big Rig Brewery (@bigrigbrew) won a few awards from the 2013 Ontario Brewing Awards.

  • "Newcomer of the Year"
  • Gold for "European Style Lager (Pilsner)" with their Champion Pilsner
  • Silver for "Dark Lager" with their Schwartz Bier
  • Bronze for "Cream Ale" with their Gold

There's a photo posted here: http://t.co/h7CCobhDLj

Congrats to Big Rig Brewery and their brewmaster Lon Ladell (@brewmasterlon)

Monday, April 29, 2013

la Divine

When we stopped at the LCBO this past Friday, I had planned on picking up two beers that I had mentally tagged last week, for this week. We had enough picked last week that I didn't want to over do it, so I decided to wait.

Bad move.

They were both gone. :(  Mental note for next time: don't wait.

Fortunately, this one was new and they had two bottles left on the shelf. I only grabbed one though.

St Landelin la Divine

Yet another beer labeled "strong beer".

Colour: clear amber

Aroma: sweet, caramel, malt(?), something fruity

Taste: smooth, slight bitterness, creamy, caramel

ABV: 8.5%

Overall: I liked it. It's another potent beer, so beware. I liked the swing-top bottle as well. :)

Summer Weiss

After some tasty beers from Muskoka last week, I had to stop by the beer store for their Summer Weiss.

Colour: Light, cloudy, golden

Aroma: Wheat, spice, citrus.

Taste: Light peachy sweetness. Very smooth with light carbonation.

ABV: 5%

Overall... I like it. It's very similar to other beers of the same style but with a little less sweetness. It's more beer like. This is a tasty beer that I can see myself buying all summer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

RPA (Rye Pale Ale)

Cameron's RPA

Colour: Dark orange.

Aroma: Very citrus. Very grapefruit.

Taste: Grapefruit. Tangy. Bitter. Very much like Mad Tom IPA.

ABV: 6.6%

Overall pretty tasty, if you like this style of beer. Crisp and refreshing. I honestly don't know what a rye pale ale is. :) I'll need to look it up.


We picked this one up from the mixed bottle barrel at the LCBO and I had it earlier this week: Gouden Carolus Tripel

My wife was worried about this one being a "very strong beer". No worries. Should be "very tasty beer".

Colour: Cloudy orange with a light orange creamy head.

Aroma: Orange citrus. Peach. Occasional I could really smell the alcohol. Or I thought that's what it was.

Taste: fruity orange with a little bite

ABV: 9%

Overall very nice. The high ABV limits too much enjoyment.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Smashed in the face by a Christmas tree

Funny stuff.


I've said maybe one or two of them. :)

Thanks to Katy Watts (@klwatts) from Sheltered Girl Meets World for finding and sharing this on Twitter.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


I've had a 6-pack of Unibroue Maudite in my fridge for about a week now. It's pretty potent.

Colour: Cloudy, caramel brown.

Aroma: Lightly sweet... caramel... fruity something.

Taste: Fruity something again. Citrus with a hint of bitter finish. Caramel is there too I think.

ABV: 8%. Yeh. Careful. :)

Overall, another fav-to-be of mine. I'm not sure if I prefer La Fin du Monde or this one better. Guess I'll just have to keep buying both.

Pale Ale

When we stopped by the LCBO today they were sampling St-Ambroise Pale Ale.

After a small taste, we picked up a can.

Colour: coppery amber?

Aroma: citrus, hoppy

Taste: Right away it reminded me of Mad Tom IPA, but lighter. If you find Mad Tom IPA a little too grapefruity, this one might be worth trying.

ABV: 5%

Overall a nice, crisp, refreshing beer.


A new one appeared at our LCBO. Tree Brewing Company's Captivator Dopplebock "Limited Edition".

I like dopplebocks. :)

Colour: dark/ruby red. It loks dark brown until you hold it up to the light. It really surprised me. I love the colour.

Aroma: Not sure. Hints of something sweet. Toffee? Caramel?

Taste: I think we'll go with toffee. A little on the sweet side.

ABV: 8% go easy with this one.

Overall... Like I said, I like dopplebocks. They a nice treat beer. Not something I could drink a lot of. Especially at such a high ABV. :)

1664 Blanc

We picked this up from the odd bottles bin at the LCBO: 1664 Blanc.

Colour: Light, cloudy, orange. Weak head, but lingers.

Aroma: Orange. Wheaty.

Taste: Citrus, orange. Smooth with a slight tang.

ABV: 5%

Overall.... I enjoyed it, but then again, I like Witbiers. My wife said it didn't taste like beer to her; it was more like a cooler. It was very refreshing and would probably go down really well on a nice hot summer day.

Swartz Bier

Another Big Rig brew... Swartz Bier.

The growler is unbranded because apparently they got a shipment in without their logo printed on it.

Colour: dark brown

Aroma: lightly chocolaty coffee

Taste: Again, lightly chocolaty. Creamy smooth. Just the right carbonation.

ABV: unknown

Overall: Big Rig beers have yet to disappoint me. This one is up there among my favourites from them too.

Holy Smoke

First of all, a big thanks to Mark and Dawn for this bottle of Holy Smoke, by Church-Key Brewing Company. (not associated with this blog, but definitely has a cool name) ;)

Colour: Dark cola brown. The head was creamy right after pour and dissipated leaving just a hint on top with minimal lacing.

Aroma: Surprisingly not-so-smoky as I expected. My wife thought it was a little stronger than I did, but compared to some of the smoky beers I've tried, this is definitely the lightest.

Taste: Just the right smokiness for my taste. Probably one of the lightest smoky flavoured beers I've tried to date (not that there's been many)  It wasn't overpowering at all. I found that the smokiness was lighter right after the taste, and then got a little stronger for the finish.

ABV: 6.2% so it's not going to completely kick your ass — just smack it around a little. :)

Overall: I really enjoyed this one. I would definitely buy this again if I had a hankering for some smoky beer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bacteria pong?

A group of Clemson University students tested pingpong balls being used in beer pong games across campus one weekend last fall and discovered teeming bacteria. More research found that dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, e. Coli and staph on the balls end up in the beer when players make successful tosses into glasses.
Click here to read more.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


The third of four from the Muskoka mixed case: Kristallweizen.

This was a nice surprise because the label says it "embodies all of the sensations of our Summer Weiss but is finely filtered to a mellow shine". I guess I still get a taste of the Summer Weiss that I passed on for the mixed case. :)

Colour: Clear golden.

Aroma: This was tricky. I had to rely on my wife's better nose. She said she smelled peaches... or nectarines. I detected something kinda floral. Other reviews I've read mention banana. I'm not sure. I've got 2 more bottles there to try at a later time. :)

Taste: Peachy. Again, others say banana. Whatever it is, it's light and subtle.

ABV: 5%

Overall... an interesting beer. I'm not sure I've tasted anything like it. If there's really banana flavours in this, I should compare it with the Big Rig Dunkel Weizen side by side.

(P.S. I won't be doing a review of the Mad Tom IPA from this mixed case because I did one before on a 6-pack.)

Dark Ale

The second of four flavours from the Muskoka mixed case: Dark Ale.

Colour: Dark brown. Duh.

Aroma: Chocolaty... caramel... molasses. My wife mentioned the molasses. She may be right.

Taste: Smooth... roasty... chocolaty. All light, not overpowering. Smooth finish.

ABV: 5%

Overall, a nice beer. I liked the fact that nothing about it was overpowering. You could have a few of these easily. :) My wife liked it and she's not usually a fan of darker beers.

Cream Ale

I paid a visit to the beer store on Friday to see what offerings they had. The last time I was there, their inventory looked pretty sparse, aside from the usual big name brands. This time they seemed to have everything, everywhere.

I almost picked up a 6-pack of Muskoka Brewery's Summer Weiss, but sitting beside it was a mixed 12-pack of four of their other flavours that caught my attention. It had three bottles of each of the following: Cream Ale, Dark Ale, Kristallweizen, and Mad Tom IPA. Choices are a good thing. I went for the 12.

First up... Cream Ale.

Colour: Clear amber.. or is that copper. The photo looks more orange than it was. The head disappeared pretty quickly.

Aroma: Lightly fruity floral.

Taste: Smooth and creamy with a light bitter finish.

ABV: 5%

Overall... I enjoyed it and I'd buy it again.

Dunkel Weizen

I stopped in at Big Rig Brewery after work on Friday to pick up a growler of one of their seasonal beers that made a return visit, Scotch Ale, and decided to add a second growler to my purchase of something else I hadn't yet tried: Dunkel Weizen.

They describe it as "Soft malty body with a mild roasty flavour. Plays off all classic Weizen. Banana, clove, and vanilla notes. "

Colour: Dark. The head is initially nice and foamy, like the photo, but dissipates fairly quickly. Not that it matters in the end.

Aroma: I'm not sure if I've ever smelled anything like it. A little earthy is the best way I can describe it. Maybe that's malty... or vanilla?

Flavour: Smooth... and yes, malty and roasty. :) I may have detected the aforementioned banana and vanilla. If I did, it was very subtle. Probably a good thing. I like banana, but if it was a strong taste I don't think I would enjoy it as much.

ABV: 5.2%

Overall, I really liked it. It's not overpowering in any way. I could drink this all evening. I've still got half a growler to enjoy over the next few days, so if I come up with any more thoughts I'll add them when the time comes.

(P.S. Scotch Ale review will be up sometime this weekend. I didn't open it last night.)

Friday, April 12, 2013

1100+ Page Views

I noticed that the blog now has over 1100 views in 43 days. There may have been a few belonging to me, until I set the cookie to exclude me, but I think that's pretty impressive for half-assed reviews. :)

On a different note, don't be surprised if you see another half-assed reviewer here soon. I think he's still lurking in the shadows. He'll be able to add a little more variety since he lives in the U.S. and has access to beers that we don't up here in Canada.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Carboy Cleaner - is it good?

The carboy I have was given to me by a friend. It used to be used for wine making, and I think there was some old residue build-up on the inside. I had tried to clean it with hot water and dish liquid, and letting it soak, but it still wasn't quite clean enough.

I was anxious to try the Carboy Cleaner that arrived last week and that chance came on Saturday afternoon. I was impressed. They recommend using a cordless drill to prevent electric shock. That must be a purely cover-yer-ass statement in case there's spillage onto your drill. I only own a corded drill, so I didn't have that option. But there was absolutely no problem with using it with the Carboy Cleaner.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any decent video of it in action. If you want to see that, you can follow the link above.

All I have to add is that it was able to scrub out that residue with the recommended 5 cups of warm water and one packet of their cleaning solution, using the Carboy Cleaner of course. The water was a light brown when I was done. Just to be safe, did the cleaning process a second time and the water that came out the second time was just a cloudy white as a result of the cleaning solution.

I now have one sparkling clean carboy waiting for me to purchase the remaining equipment and beer ingredients.

Leffe Blonde

This is one of the three that I first tried at Christmas. Leffe Blonde.

This is the first time I tried it since Christmas and I think I enjoyed it more now than then.

Colour: Clear golden.

Aroma: Fruity, floral, citrus. I let my wife smell it and she said there was something odd about it, like maybe hazelnut?

Taste: Lightly sweet, malty, slightly peppery.

ABV: 6.6%

Overall: As I said, I think I enjoyed it a little more than the first time. Maybe my taste for blonde beers is growing. :)


I had my first Hoegaarden at Christmas, when my wife bought me a gift pack of 3 beers and 3 glasses. Hoegaarden was one of them, and it was my first taste of a witbier style beer.

I loved it. And I bought a few 6-packs after that. This was right at the beginning of my adventure to taste new beers.

What I found interesting today is that it didn't quite taste like what I remembered. I still liked it, a lot, but I've tried many beers since then and my tastes may be changing a little I suppose.

Colour: cloudy, pale yellow... awesome creamy head... and there's lacing.

Aroma: Fruity... umm... ya.

Taste: lightly citrus, spicy, peppery.

ABV: 4.9%

Overall... still a winner in my books. I don't think I'll ever get tired of this beer.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hop Head Double India Pale Ale

While I'm not normally a fan of hoppy beers, I still picked this one up: Hop Head Double India Pale Ale Limited Edition by Tree Brewing Co.

Colour: A dark copper with a nice frothy head.

Aroma: Hoppy. It is "loaded with five different hop varieties" after all. I picked up hints of citrus.. orange(?).... maybe pine.

Taste: For me, surprisingly good. It definitely has that hop bitterness, but I expected it to be more bitter than it was. There's a hint of sweetness, and it was smooth going down too.

ABV: 8.5%

Overall I really enjoyed it. It was a pleasant surprise for me. But whyyyyy do the great tasting beers have to be so high in alcohol? :) This one pretty much ended my Friday night beer sampling.

Grand Cru

My wife spotted this one. The bottle reminds me of a small bottle of champagne. St-Feuillien Grand Cru.

We were a little hesitant to buy it because it has an extra label on it stating "EXTRA STRONG BEER". What exactly is extra strong? Is it the taste or alcohol content? This was is a whopping 9.5%.

It also said "Product of Belgium". Seeing as how I like Belgian beers, I was sold.

Colour: Amber with a white frothy head.

Aroma: Sweet, malty... caramel... maybe orange.

Taste: Hints of caramel... spice... citrus... umm... yum. :)

ABV: 9.5%

I really enjoyed this beer. I think it might be similar to La Fin du Monde. It's unfortunate that the alcohol is so high because I could drink a few of these very easily.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro

This one was my wife's choice. Since she liked the last Italian beer we bought, she wanted to try this one: Peroni Nastro Azzurro by Birra Peroni. I'm not sure where its name begins or ends, so I just typed what was on the can. :)

Colour: Light, clear, golden.

Aroma: Also light, and crisp. Perhaps a little sweet.

Taste: Light, again, and crisp, with a hint of sweet but not sure what. Very clean. This is probably why my wife likes it.

ABV: 5.1%

We both enjoyed it. I don't think it would be something I'd buy on a regular basis, but it's a nice option if you're looking for something that is simply a clean, refreshing beer.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's this tube?

When I got home after work today, I saw a cardboard shipping tube sitting on the dining room table. I asked my son what it was and he replied "some cleaner thing". It took me a moment to realize what he meant.

It was the Carboy Cleaner I ordered. Duh.

I opened up the tube to find exactly what I ordered:

  • 1 Carboy Cleaner
  • 5 - ½ oz single use packets of cleaning solution
What I didn't expect was the 5 additional packets of cleaning solution, and an extra pair of cleaning pads for the Carboy Cleaner included inside the packaging.

I just checked their web site again and there's no mention of the extra items. Unexpected bonuses make me a happy camper. 

Another thing I noticed is that the postage on the shipping tube cost them $13.35 to ship this to me. I only paid $5 S&H when I ordered it.

Sweet deal. Canadians often get screwed on S&H when ordering things from the U.S. and I was happy to see that the makers of Carboy Cleaner don't do that. I was once quoted $30 S&H by Magellan to ship a CD with a GPS map update to me. WTF?

Anyway, kudos to Carboy Cleaner for absorbing some of the shipping cost.

I'll try it on the weekend and see how it goes cleaning that residue out of my carboy.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Carboy Cleaner

A short update on my homebrew project, which has not began.

The carboy that was given to me was pretty clean, but there is some sediment or something on the inside near the top that won't wash out without some scrubbing.

I don't (yet) have any bottle brushes capable of cleaning it properly, so a couple of weeks ago I did a little searching on the web and came across the Carboy Cleaner.

I actually found it recommended in a forum by someone who had actually used one. After watching the promo video and reading a few testimonials, I was convinced and ordered one from their web site along with some of their cleaning agent. Perhaps I'll do a video of the cleaning in action. :)

I found a Canadian distributor, but the ordering process on their web site was awkward. Fill out the order, submit, and then they would contact me to let me know what the S&H was?  Umm... no thanks. How about your web site telling me at the time I place the order?

The only thing is that the shipment from the manufacturer comes from the U.S. and will take longer, especially with the whole customs & duty thing. I hope I don't have to pay any extra, but we'll see.

Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier

I'll be honest. I'm not entire sure that the name of the beer is Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier. I'll go with the simple wording on the label that says "Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer". :)

Holy smoky! If you like smokebeer, this beer will not disappoint.

From the label:
First mentioned in the year 1405, the historic "Schlenkerla" has been the source of smoked beer for centuries. Following the most ancient brewing and malting traditions, selected barley is malted at the brewery and kilned over a fire of beechwood logs. "Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer" is a dark, bottom fermented beer with an intense smoky aroma and flavour.
Colour: Dark brown. Good head. I noticed a little lacing after a half glass or so too.

Aroma: The aroma hits hard. My wife said it reminded her of a campfire, and it does just that. I almost find it a little too much because it distracted me from the taste whenever I took a sip.

Taste: Smoke... chocolate... coffee. It is pretty smooth though.

ABV: 5.1%

Overall: Not really something I could drink often. My wife picked this up because it was something different, and I'm glad I tried it since I haven't tried anything like it yet. My wife didn't particularly like it.

Sinha Stout

My nephew recommended this one for me to try: Sinha Stout by uhh.... Braueri Heller Bamberg?

The label describes it as follows:
Sinha Stout is brewed in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and has a heritage dating back to 1881. It is a traditional stout with a blend of chocolate, coffee and toffee flavours. It has a extraordinary chocolate mocha liqueur like character.
On with my thoughts...

Colour: Dark brown. Decent coffee brown head.

Aroma: I definitely picked up chocolate and coffee. Not so sure about the toffee.

Taste: Matched the aroma. Just the right carbonation. It immediately reminded me of Hockley Black & Tan. Very similar beers, IMHO. I think the Amsterdam Spring Bock was similar as well.

ABV: 8.8%

Overall I enjoyed it, as I did the Hockley. I guess my choice of which I'd choose might boil down to the price or whether I want to remain standing at the end of the night, because that ABV could be dangerous. ;)

Canny Man

A friend at work picked this up for me a while ago after her husband recommended it. I finally got around to popping the cork on it.

Radical Road Brewing Co's Canny Man. "A wee heavy matured in scotch whiskey barrels".

Did they forget to empty the whiskey barrels first?

Holyyyyy crap, it's strong. :)

I'll start by saying that I'm not a really big fan of scotch whiskey. I don't mind it, but it's not on my list of choices when it comes to alcohol.

Having said that, I did enjoy this for what it is. In my opinion, this is far from being a beer you'll want to chug back. This is a sipping beer that you drink slowly and enjoy the flavour.

Perhaps that's why it's 9.1% alcohol... to ensure that you do just that.

Colour: A clear, caramel brown.

Aroma: Smokey, sweet, whiskey.

Taste: Smokey, whiskey. If you're a whiskey lover, you'll like this. It really absorbed a lot of the whiskey flavour from those oak barrels. The tag on the bottle said "hints of Scotch Whiskey". I think there's way more than just a hint there.

ABV: 9.1%... didn't you hear me the first time?

Overall: As I said, I enjoyed it for what it is. I don't think it's a beer that I would buy again though, unless my taste for whiskey grows.

The comments on Untappd are all over the board for this one. From "too much scotch and not enough beer" to "too much smoke", to "love it".

Someone on Instagram recommended drinking it at room temperature, so my first glass that this review is based on was just that. I put the rest in the fridge to see how the taste compares.

Update: I tried it when it was cooler. It tasted a little weaker, but not enough to really make a difference. However, I did notice that it reminded me of a strong version of Innis and Gunn's Irish Whiskey Cask. If you like this but find it a little on the strong side, that Innis & Gunn could be an alternative — if you can still find it.

Beer Snobbery

I loved this write up at Brewpublic.com.

Beer Snobbery Be Gone

Go read it.