Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Archive for the tag “scotch ale”

Leapbeer Reviews #329 & #330 Skull Splitter & Dark Island by Orkney Brewery

The next two beers I’m putting on the blog are from a place I’d never heard of. The Orkney Islands are located off the north coast of Scotland.

Orkney Islands North of Scotland

Cascadia Liquors in Victoria set these two beers aside for me. I’ve always been welcoming to try new beers from different areas of the world. I got one of the Skull Splitter Scottish Wee Heavy and one of the Dark Island Scottish Ale. Despite it being the higher alcohol test beer, I chose to try the skull splitter first.

Skull Splitter is their 8.5% Wee Heavy (no kidding at 8.5%). It was named after Torfinn Hausakljuv, the 7th Viking Earl of Orkney (aprx 950 AD according to Wikipedia) who was nicknamed “Skullsplitter”. This is a deep brown beer with a frothy tan coloured head on top. Only a little light gets out of this beer, its that thick. The aroma it gives off is of dates and rich malts. The taste is something quite strange considering the ABV. It starts off very smooth, very tame. But then mid way through the tasting it grabs a hold of the back of your throat with a gentle alcohol burn. Here’s the tasting notes from their website.

On the nose, this strong beer has a fruity malt character, with hints of dark fruit, spicy hop, dates and figs.
On the palate, rich and complex with sweet toasted malt, molasses, fresh and dried fruit and hints of warming spices.  (per http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/skull_splitter.html )

Leapbeer #329 is Skull Splitter by Orkney Brewery

Skull Splitter Scotch Ale by Orkney Brewery, Orkney Islands Scotland

Skull Splitter Scotch Ale by Orkney Brewery, Orkney Islands Scotland

Brewery: Orkney Brewing Company (Sinclair Breweries) Sandwick, Orkney, Scottland
Size/ABV: 330ml Bottle/8.5% ABV
Availability: Very Limited
Website: http://www.sinclairbreweries.co.uk/skull_splitter.html
Other Reviews: Beer Advocate, Rate Beer

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Leapbeer Review #289 Service 1904 Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

This next beer I picked up in my growler on one of my more recent trips to Victoria. I was perusing the Phillips website and noticed a beer on their “Whats Growling” section I’d never seen or heard of before. The Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale is specially brewed for Vic Pub Co to be served at their Victoria establishments, Bard & Banker, Irish Times & The Penny Farthing. If you’re curious, like I was, about who Robert Service was, he was a poet and a writer best known for his poems “The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and “The Cremation of Sam McGee”, who spent some of his early years in Victoria working at the Canadian Bank of Commerce. Which just so happens to be the same building that now houses the Bard & Banker. Another nice note about this beer is when they make it, they drop hot stones into the beer during the brewing process to enhance the flavours.

Like most scotch or scottish ales I expected the flavours on this beer to be mild. It has a light copper, or almost orange and gold colour to it with a thin head. It smells yeasty with a little hint of apricot. It isn’t overwhelmingly pungent, but smells nice and light. It tastes very good, like a nice mild scotch ale should. It has a little bit of malty sweetness and is very refreshing.

Leapbeer #289 is Robert Service 1904 Scotch Ale by Phillips Brewing Company

Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips

Robert Service Scottish Stone Fired Ale by Phillips

Brewery: Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria BC
Released: Unknown
Size/ABV: 1900ml Growler/5.00%
Availability: Bard and Banker Pub, Irish Times Pub, Penny Farthing Public House & Occasionally Growler Fill @ Phillips
Purchased @:
Phillips Brewing Company
Other Reviews: Rate Beer, Beeradvocate & Untappd

Thanks for Reading

Leapbeer Week In Review

Todays post is going to be a review of some of the new beers I’ve drank and a few thoughts I had on them. It isn’t so much a full fledged review of the beers. That is why I am putting them together in this post instead of giving them all their own post.

First up is the Coney Island Lager by Shmaltz Brewing Company of New York, New York. (New York CITAY!). While Lager beer’s are mostly recognized for their malty notes, this one has a excellent initial bitterness to it as well. Then the malts really start to shine through. It tastes as tho the malts are roasted to a near licorice flavour.

Leapbeer #147 is Coney Island Lager by Shmaltz Brewing Company

Next up was the Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel by Brasserie d’Achouffe (Duvel Moortgat). It is a Belgian India Pale ale. As you might guess it has a sour yeast taste to it. Then there is a generous dose of floral hops in the nose as well as in the bitterness of this beer. I found it surprisingly easy to drink despite the beers strength. 9.0% ABV

Leapbeer #148 is Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel

Thirdly we get to a local product, the Phillips Double Barrel Scotch Ale. I did not read the bottle before I cracked this one. I placed it in my fridge immediately after purchase and grabbed it out quickly for consumption. I poured the chilled brew into my glass and went in for a sniff. Nothing. I took a taste, bland. I thought why would they do something so forgettable? Then I turned my attention to the label. Here’s what it has on it.
Dangerously good. This scotch ale has been aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels and then loaded into Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from the Okanagan. This unique beer has a gentle peat note, complemented by rich vanilla flavours picked up in the Barrels. Don’t go off half cocked, enjoy this beer in a snifter and at CELLAR TEMPERATURES.

Let my mistake be the lesson for you. Always read your labels with regards to specially made craft beers. If it is something that they took the time to put information on the side, take a second to read it.

2nd glass (when the beer was rested up to room temperature) was a completely different story. The notes of the wine are readily apparent in the nose, and in the taste. If you let it linger on your palate you get the peat taste as well as a hint of the whiskey barrels. At first I didn’t like it, but after a proper tasting it was really good. This is a higher test scotch ale (7.7% ABV) and it goes down easy. Be warned, be careful.

Leapbeer #149 is Double Barrel Scotch Ale by Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria BC

Next up is Salvator by Paulaner Brauerei. This German beer is a very malty doppelbock. To say this beer is malty and sweet is an understatement. Its super malty. It also is quite thick. It’s a nice beer for the doppelbock style, but one I’d only have 1 of. You really need to sip this beer.  Nice, but definitely not a session beer.

Leapbeer #179 is Salvator by Paulaner Brauerei in Germany (Had to be renumbered due to mistakes)

Lastly I wanted to make a note about a trip to a local establishment. I had avoided this trip long enough and I finally caved and went to Merecroft Village Pub, the local “brew pub” in Campbell River. Below is a picture of their Maple Leaf on the left, and their Railway IPA on the right. The Maple leaf is a carbon copy of Molson Canadian. And by carbon copy I should have said carbon crappy. I realize this is me harnessing my inner beer snob, BUT this stuff is crap. It isn’t even worth your time. Their IPA doesn’t fair too much better, although it is at least somewhat hoppy. I drank through one pint of it and we went on for the night. This is what I expected from the quality of the beers brewed here. Campbell River really isn’t a craft beer town, and the local brew pub here reflects that. I wish them well and hope that someday they’ll make something that could be considered ‘craft’. But until that day I plan to avoid the place.

This isn’t how all the posts are going to be. I do plan to spend some time delving into different aspects of beer.

As always I thank you all for reading and hope you drink well, drink what you like and always drink responsibly.

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