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Two More Seasonals From Phillips

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It seems like you can’t turn around these days without bumping into yet another one-off from Phillips Brewing, and this time there’s two of them (well, truthfully, there’s five of them but I’m only talking about two today). Leviathan is a Milk Stout brewed with charity in mind, and no, I don’t mean the well meaning stripper at the club around the corner from the brewery. I mean whales, specifically in the form of the Cetus Research and Conservation Society.

Phillips is generously donating the profits from this particular beer to said society, who concern themselves with… uh… riding around in zodiaks and… uh… measuring fish and… hunting whales, I guess? I dunno, I didn’t read the page–it was full of long words. Anyway, bravo Phillips.

The second beer is the first in their Twisted Oak Stillage Series, a Scotch Ale. Basically, Phillips wants to brand all their barrel’d releases under a single banner, and this is the first to get the new branding. As an aside, from beer bloggers everywhere: please pick less complicated names. It would make entering these into our databases easier. This beer isn’t called “Twisted Oak”; it has no actual name, and that means it doesn’t fit into my table below very easily. Oh well, screw it, I’m using Twisted Oak.

Tasting notes:


This is a pretty beer. It pours by the book with a thin tan head, light carbonation and a body black as night. Nose is rich roasted malt, with a hint of chocolate, coffee and an underlying promise of sweet creaminess. On tasting the coffee and chocolate are a bit more obvious, and the creamy mouthfeel is present, but not as massive as could be expected from the style.

The finish, though… wow… that’s where the wheels come off the cart. The finish is a harsh metallic twang that is amplified by the lactose into a nasty, off-milk undertone. It’s almost as if they threw in a few rolled up tubes of pennies in with the lactose during conditioning. As the beer warms the metallic finish becomes less pronounced, almost enough to make drinking one of these for the whales something everyone should do.

Twisted Oak:

Alright, let me say right off the bat that this is not a particularly good Scotch Ale. Great Scotch Ales are rich, creamy, malty and sometimes they don’t wear any underwear, and this isn’t really any of those things. What this beer IS, though, is a fascinating malty, oaked, ale that has lots of complexities and nuances with a distinct Scottish heritage.

The nose is sweet caramel combined with a hint of cherries and oak. The taste is slightly spicey and caramel, but the oak is blended in wonderfully, providing an astringent tannin pull to the sides of your mouth that work well with the high sugar of the body. The slight metallic finish common to all Phillips brews is here, but with a Scotch Ale, it’s on style and works.

All that and it’s only 6.8%, meaning you can have multiples before lifting your kilt over your head.

Coles notes:

Brewery Phillips
From Victoria
Name Leviathan Twisted Oak
Style Milk Stout Scotch Ale
SOA Now None Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; table beer
Drink Now
Do it To support the whales, man To support fucking around with barrels, man
Availability Most LRSs
Cost $6.50-$7.50 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) Parallel 49 Ugly Sweater As a scotch: lots, including Howe Sound Wee Beastie. As a barrel beer that’s not so scotchy, none.
Chuck says Buy one. Buy several.

Mmm… pennies.

Written by chuck

January 25th, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Posted in Beers

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Barley Wine Time

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Barley Wine season marches on. You already know to buy Driftwood’s dual release, and lots of it (perhaps more OCD than OBD though), but what about the other bottled barley wines? There are four other members of this elite style of beer vying for your attention (that I’m aware of), and three of them are out right now. What says Chuck?

Central City Thor’s Hammer

It’s good, buy it. What? You want more details? How about the fact that the NW Brewing News Readers’ Awards just named it the best Barley Wine… not in BC, but in all of Alaska, BC, Washington, Northern California and Oregon. That swath covers a good chunk of the best breweries on the planet. Sure, I’m not a fan of populist polls, but I do trust readers of NWB to be a little more beer-savvy than readers of the Straight.

What? My opinion? Okay, fine. This is a thinner, sweeter and spicier cellaring beer compared to Driftwood’s OCD, and frankly I don’t think it will improve as much but, you know what, it’s better right now so it all comes out in the wash.

Phillips Trainwreck

It’s not great. Don’t buy it… unless you like burnt nuts and toffee. Now, to be clear, this is not an awful beer (few Barley Wines are), but so far it’s the loser of the 2012 release cycle. That toffee is accompanied by a diffuse maple syrupy sweetness and, dare I say it, tones of bubblegum… in a beer. As a side note, does anyone else wonder how Phillips keeps slipping beer names past the LDB that basically promise extreme intoxication? Amnesiac, Instigator, Trainwreck? Is anyone even paying attention over there anymore?

Howe Sound Woolly Bugger

It’s great. Buy it. It’s not one of these massive, hoppy new world barley wines like Thor’s Hammer and Old Cellar Dweller, no, this is a throwback to the high malt, chocolatey English style, and it’s an absolute delight. Massive malt tone and depth give this a smooth, creamy almost velvety body, rich with chocolate. Balancing out all that sugar is subtle old world hops. Take a sip and guess at the IBUs. You, too, will be shocked to learn this has 75 of the things, and that tells you just how balanced and deep this beer is.

If you see it, buy some, as I have no idea what the production run on this was, since the bottles are not helpfully numbered as they have been in previous years.

Coles notes:

Brewery Central City Phillips Howe Sound
From Surrey Victoria Squamish
Name Thor’s Hammer Trainwreak Woolly Bugger
Style American Barley Wine American Barley Wine English Barley Wine
SOA Now Silver None Silver
SOA Potential Silver None Silver
Drink Now to 2014 Don’t Now to late 2013
Best feature Unusual spicey-ness Name implying this beer will fuck your shit up Consumption-friendly bottle size
Availability Very Limited LRS Widespread LRS Limited LRS
Cost $15.00 per 650ml $5.50-$7.00 per 650ml $4.00-$5.50 per 341ml
Similar Beers (you can buy) Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller, Old Barrel Dweller
Chuck says Stock up Skip Stock up

Written by chuck

December 13th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Phillips Super Krypton

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An imperial version of one of Phillips’ best beers? Why sure, I’ll have a go at that! Super Krypton is an amped up version of their regular Krypton Rye PA (Rye Ale/IPA), and it’s the latest in the seemingly never-ending string of Phillips speciality releases (side note: keep ’em coming guys!).

On pouring, this guy has a much lighter colour than I would have figured given the usual heavy malt profile of Rye Ales. The colour is a light amber, almost yellow. However, there’s a decent amount of cloudiness, meaning this beer hasn’t gone through a filter. That’s a good thing.

Nose is all hops–citra hops to be specific, but something’s missing here. I get the floral punch of citra, but the tropical fruitiness is absent. In fact, there’s not a lot here except the citrus florals. But screw the nose, there’s a party in my stomach, and Super Krypton’s invited (was that as bad as it sounded in my head? It was? Well screw you, go start your own blog, then!)

Huh. The body is thinner than I’d ideally like from a Rye Ale, and the mouthfeel is definitely trending towards watery. In fact, that unique rye punch to the body is barely perceptible. The hops are definitely there, but again they’re diluted by something… medicinal. I wonder what’s causing that… oh yeah, 8.5% ABV, and you taste every single point of that.

In the end, this is not a bad beer, but not one that I’d pick up again. The massive booziness detracts from, and thins out, what should be the focus: the thick creamy body of a big rye malt IPA. Ultimately, I kinda felt like I was stealing from my parent’s medicine cabinet while they were out of town. “It tastes sorta like cough syrup” really isn’t a flattering tasting note for any liquor, but especially beer.

Lastly, most Phillips beers suffer from a metallic tang on the palate from either piping or yeast, and this one is no exception. The only real issue here is that this tang only amplifies the booziness.

Coles notes:

Brewery Phillips
From Victoria, BC
Name Super Krypton
Style Imperial Rye IPA
SOA Now None awarded.
SOA Potential n/a. Not a cellaring beer.
Drink One.
Best use Getting amped up before a bar fight.
Availability Widely available at LRS
Cost $6.50-9.00 per 650ml bottle.
Similar Beers Phillips Amnesiac, CC Imperial IPA, HS Total Eclipse of the Hop
Chuck says Meh. Skip it. There are better options; yes I know all those are normal DIPAs, but this one wasn’t very rye-y.

Written by chuck

November 20th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Posted in Beer and You

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