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June Beer of the Month

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Another month, another beer to feature. This month’s beer is special for a few reasons, but perhaps most of all because it was brewed by my friend Dave Shea. Yup, I have no qualms promoting my cronies via this here blog. That Nautical Disaster is worthy of consideration for at least five other reasons doesn’t matter. I’d still be singing its praise if it was complete and utter dreck. So what else is interesting? Well, it’s:

  • A Barley Wine released in June, instead of December
  • Brewed at Russell Brewing as a prize for winning a homebrew competition
  • Has an awesome label created by Dave Shea himself
  • Is named after a Tragically Hip song
  • By having a name, avoids the name confusion of the last homebrew winning beer

In addition to all those great reasons, Russell has gone to the effort of putting together a big ‘ole list of places where you can find this beer should you want some. I mean, in addition to Dave’s closet. What more could I ask for in a beer?

Okay fine, flavour and alcohol would be nice, too.

Overall, this is a nice hybrid Barley Wine–somewhere between the sweet English style and its hoppier American cousin. I suspect the bitter finish will mellow out with some time in the cellar, but right now it’s drinking very similar to Central City Thor’s Hammer, and damn if that isn’t a compliment. With a bit of time, though, it should start moving towards Howe Sound Woolly Bugger: a big, complex, malty bastard of a beer. I’m not guessing on this one, Dave has been kind enough to periodically update ND’s Uptappd page with tasting notes tracking the declining hops.

Tasting notes:

APPEARANCE Murky dark caramel brown
NOSE Sweet, malty caramel with hints of more complex sugars. Did I get some light red fruit/cotton candy?
TASTE Young barley wine; lots of subtle red fruit esters and earthy yeast sub-tones; needs a few more months to mellow and blend. A bit bitter on the finish.
SHOULD I BUY IT? Do you like Dave? Then buy one to drink and more to age. If you don’t like Dave, then I don’t like you.

Coles notes:

Brewery Russell x Dave Shea
From Surrey
Name Nautical Disaster
Style Barley Wine
SOA Now Bronze
SOA Potential Silver
Drink Late 2013 to mid 2014
Should Dave keep brewing commercially? Yes. How about a run of your double IPA please?
Availability Widely available at LRS (list)
Cost $7-10 per 650ml bottle.
Similar BC Beers Central City Thor’s Hammer, Howe Sound Woolly Bugger

It’ll get there.

Written by chuck

June 4th, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Beers

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Russell Naughty and Spiced plus Hop Therapy

with 2 comments

I’ve had these tasting notes on the ole iPhone for a few weeks, but got distracted by other beers, events, and general rantings… then the Barley Wines lumbered onto the scene and, well, those things take a certain toll on your attention span, sobriety and really general health.

However, better late than never, so here’s the two latest bombers from Russell Brewing’s ever-expanding special release program which, as I understand it, now has a few dozen barrels to play around with.

Naughty & Spiced is a high gravity porter that’s been augmented with a dabble of vanilla and a handful of oak chips. As Christmas seasonals go, it’s a more mild take on the traditional “let’s get fucked” approach to ABV (only clocking in at 6.5%), and should make a decent beer to sip while wearing your once-a-year ugly Christmas sweater (and yes, P49’s Ugly Sweater could be considered a better fit, but that’s a bit too on the nose, don’t you think?).

Hop Therapy is a double IPA that I’m still tasting two days after drinking it. This is a massive, in your face, American-style hop bomb that uses basically every Yankee hop varietal known to man, and at every step of the brewing process. Massive hops aroma begets massive hop flavour begets massive hop finish. Did I mention there’s some hops in this?

Tasting notes:

Naughty & Spiced: A full, round, roasted malt-heavy body supports the spices, which in turn support the limited booze quite well. Despite the (relatively) low 6.5% ABV, a pleasant boozey warmth is evident after a few ounces. Any time you add vanilla to a beer there’s a danger of cloying sugar overload (aka the “GIB Lions Effect”) but this doesn’t happen here. The sweetness of the vanilla is effectively cut by the astringency of the oak chips.

Hop Therapy: Pours cloudy (bottle conditioned?) with a nice mouthfeel and… I’m sorry. That’s as far as I got before the impending tsunami of hops broke on my face. My tasting notes from the day in question just read “HOOOOOPPPPPPSSSSSSS!!! Hops… hops… <broken sobs>

If you’re a colossal hop head you’ll love this beer. If you’re not, you might want to stay away from any hop heads you know for a while because they’re going to be gleefully exuding hop resin from their pours while sporting a stupid, blissed out grin.

In summary: While both these beers are good, N&S just isn’t that special. HT is a balls-out take on an aggressive beer style and, while not perfect or even superb, I have to admit: I kinda want to go back for more.

Coles notes:

Brewery Russell
From Surrey
Name Naughty & Spiced Hop Therapy
Style Spiced Porter American Imperial IPA
SOA Now None Bronze
SOA Potential n/a; table beer
Drink Now
Single handed affect on the going rate for hops futures n/a +25%
Availability Most LRSs Limited LRS, going fast
Cost $6.50-$8.00 per 650ml bomber
Similar Beers (you can buy) Hoyne Gratitude, Howe Sound Father John’s Uh… none.
Chuck says Buy one and share. Buy several and don’t.

My tongue is tingly!.

Written by chuck

December 24th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

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June Beer of the Month

with 3 comments

This month’s beer is special for a few reasons. Perhaps that’s why I’m putting this up early! Yup, leaving my BOTM selection until it’s nigh The Next Month is a thing of the past. So, goodbye Howe Sound 4Way, we hardly knew ye.

And hellllloooo Russell’s Rick August Imperial Stout! To be honest, I have no idea what this beer is really called. Is it Russell’s Rick August’s Stout? Russell/Rick August Stout? Russell’s Rick August Stout where “Rick August” is the name of the beer much like “Blood Alley” is the name of their bitter? I have no idea.

And I don’t give a flying fuck. Why? This beer is good. Damned good. Fantastic, in fact. It’s a solid 7/10 amoung imperial stouts, and that makes it a solid 99.9/100 amoung All Beers. It’s a damned tasty beer, and you should drink it.

What else is special? Well, this beer is actually made by some bloke named Rick August. He won the 2011 Golden Stag Home Brewer’s award with this beer. Well, not technically *this* beer. Just a beer very much like this. *This* beer was brewed recently by Jack at Russell Brewing from a recipe very much like Rick’s, and bottled under his name.

That’s probably why I love this beer so much. Not only is Russell brewing and bottling a scaled home-brew recipe brewed by some guy named Rick from Saskatchewan, but they’re doing it again this year with Dave Shea’s barley wine. In case you aren’t sure, that’s cool. That’s very cool, and it deserves our support.

So, when you see this in an LRS near you, buy it by the armload.

It’s okay to lick the screen. I already did. It’ll be like we’re eKissing!

Written by chuck

May 30th, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Beer and You,Beers

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