Tag Archives: stout

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel – Aprhodisiaque

I picked up this American stout from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (St-Jérôme, Quebec) at Bishop’s Cellar in Halifax in December, and actually managed to save it for a couple of months before I sampled (which is something of a record for me). Generally, I don’t get too excited about stouts (I’m more of an IPA or amber guy) but I’ve had enough good Dieu du Ciel beers to know that any style from them is a safe choice.

From the brewery: Black ale with aromas and flavours of vanilla, dark chocolate, bourbon and roasted malt. The vanilla and cocoa marry nicely, without out-competing each other, to produce a surprisingly well balanced beer. This beer is mildly hoppy, but the cocoa introduces a touch of bitterness. Its colour may be intimidating, but it is a very smooth beer within reach of most beer drinkers. This highly appreciated dessert beer is brewed with organic fair-trade cocoa and first rate vanilla beans.

Appearance: Black as coffee in the glass, with lively carbonation and a slight off-white head. Stubborn lacing.

Aroma: Big roasty nose of vanilla bean, dark chocolate and creamy malt. 

Taste: The taste delivers what the aromas promised. This is a beautiful, rich stout—tastes like fresh baked brownies with creamy dark chocolate icing. Just a hint of roasted malt. Sweet without being cloying; elegantly balanced. 

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, slight bitterness on the tongue to cut through the sweetness. Medium body.

Overall: Holy smokes. This is the best stout I’ve ever tasted.There are so many sweet, tantalizing flavours going on, all in well balanced harmony. After reading my enthusiastic notes a few days after tasting, I decided to sample another bottle, thinking I might dial my praise back a bit. I ended up raising the score. It’s sweet and tasty, but so well crafted that you could drink it all night. Dieu du Ciel is one of Canada’s best breweries, and this is one of its best beers. It’s a must-try.


You can find Brasserie Dieu du Ciel on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

Regular contributor and guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing). You can see what Trevor is drinking on Untappd and follow him on Twitter.


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Bad Apple Brewhouse – Barrel Aged Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout

IMG_2038.JPGBad Apple Brewhouse is a new brewery on the Nova Scotian craft beer scene that’s making a big splash. Located in Somerset, N.S., it’s recently taken home some hardware from the Atlantic Canadian Beer Awards, including Brewery of the Year. It’s Black and Tackle Russian Imperial Stout is also a winner, taking a Silver and a Bronze.

From the Brewery: “Our Black and Tackle RIS is truly a flavour adventure. Very dark with a creamy head this brew has distinct tones of espresso and cocoa giving it a bold rich taste that is sure to impress.”

Appearance: Inky black, the only way I could see light through it at all is looking through it as I poured a thin stream. Slight head that is tan in colour. Some lacing, but the head fades.

Aroma: There’s a big hit of alcohol in the nose right up front, like a smack in the face. The whiskey barrel aging comes through with lots of the whiskey in the aroma. There are notes of liquorice and some of the malt does come though. These a slight fruity note as well, maybe a yeast character.

Taste: First impression is how smooth this beer is for being so big (11.6% ABV). The alcohol is there, but its not hot at all and displays the whiskey traits. There is some roast, but its rather subdued and the hop bitterness is balancing. Neither sweet nor overly bitter. Some hop flavours come though as a slight fruity/floral back-note to the beer. Malt shines as a bready/biscuit flavour holding together the other flavours. A complex beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, light carbonation.

Overall: Well done, a well made beer showing off the skills of the brewmaster. In high demand for good reason; if you find it, buy it. Sip and enjoy. Smooth: pace yourself.


You can find Bad Apple on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Microbrasserie Charlevoix – La Vache Folle – Imperial Milk Stout

IMG_1996.JPGThere is a great number of micro breweries throughout Quebec that are producing outstanding Belgian styled beers for many years. But there are now an ever growing number of breweries producing excellent English styled beers, and MicroBrasserie Charlevoix – La Vache Folle (translates to The Mad Cow) is following that path. Their take on a milk stout (also known as a sweet stout, its a less roast-more body version of a stout that utilizes lactose (milk sugar) for body and sweetness) crosses the threshold from ordinary to big and bold.

Appearance: Black, nearly completely opaque. Pours with a nice, dense, creamy, tan head. Great lacing on the glass – right front top to bottom.

Aroma: The aroma is of sweet malt with a bit of chocolate and dark fruit. There’s hints of spice and roast and just a faint note of floral hops, barely enough to say it is there.

Taste: The first thing that hits is the alcohol, its right up front – not burning, but smooth – you know this is a high-test beer. Next comes the sweet malt flavours, not to say this is a sweet beer, but it is not like a dry stout or a hoppy imperial stout either. The flavour is of bread and stone fruit, with slight hint of roast. There is a bit of milk chocolate mixed with hits of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: The body is creamy, medium body – maybe a little thiner than I expected, but that lets this big beer be quite drinkable and not heavy. The carbonation is fairly light letting the beer keep the creamy texture.

Overall: Not too bad. It gets a bit better as it warmed up a little and allowed the alcohol notes fade slightly. Be warned, this can be a little dangerous because it is rather easy to drink, but at 9% ABV you might just find things becoming a little wobbly.


MicroBrasserie Charlevoix can be found on the web, Facebook, and Twitter.

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Rare Bird – Full Steam Stout


IMG_1740.JPGRare Bird brewery, located on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore in Guysbrough, is one of Nova Scotia’s newest breweies, but is already receiving rave reviews. Full Steam Stout is a dark, roasty coffee stout – one of their regular offerings made with Authentic Seacoast (the maker of Rare Bird) Full Steam coffee.

From the brewery: “Here’s a hearty brew built for the Authentic Seacoast. Take our nicely hopped East Coast Stout with notes of licorice, chocolate and roasted malt, add our freshly roasted certified organic, fair trade Full Steam Coffee to the brewing process and you have a richly flavoured, creamy coffee stout that pours black as a starless night, capturing the unique seacoast spirit of the Maritimes. “

And what did I think?

Appearance: As a stout should be, this is a pretty dark beer – dark with ruby highlights when put up to the light. Nearly opaque, but not quite.

Aroma: The aroma is somewhat mineraly. There is also some fruity and dark roast (coffee and dark chocolate) aromas coming through.

Taste: This first thing that is apparent are the alcohol notes. At 7% this is a strong beer and those notes come through, but fade as the beer warms (probably best drank at an elevated temperature). There is a bit of fruitiness and some hops. Not as roasty or as much dark roast/coffee character as would be expected. There is also a slight licorice flavour that appears after the second or third sip.

Mouthfeel: The body is lighter than it looks – light to medium body. Light to medium carbonation.

Overall: Not too bad. Light and easy to drink – not heavy on the palate. Better as it warms, I would place this one on the counter for a bit and not drink it right from the fridge. Probably would be a great one to age for a few months or years. Also, theres a nice buzz from that hit of coffee.


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BEER MONDAY REVIEW: Picaroons – Timber Hog

20140316-121802.jpgHappy St. Patrick’s Day! In honour of the day it’s a Dry Irish Stout review, but this ones not from Ireland, but comes from across the pond out of New Brunswick. Picaroons Traditional Ales, located in Fredericton, NB, crafts their beers in small 15 hectolitre batches, giving each batch it’s own unique character.

Timber Hog is described on the website as: “The classic Irish-style dry stout is the basic background of this aromatic ebony elixir but deviations may occur from batch to batch as we improvisationally wander through variations on the theme.”

Here’s what I thought:

Dark black with faint hints of ruby on the edges when put up to a light. Very slight beige head that’s not long lasting.

Not a strong aroma. Has some malt, but is mainly dark roasted coffee.

Deep roasted flavour. Black coffee with a slight bit of hops. Molasses, and burnt sugar with dark fruity notes and just a hint of leather. Nice dry finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Slick in a good way. Drinks very nice.

Very drinkable. Roasty and dry, for sure, but it all adds up to a nice drink. As it warms up slightly a bit more of the fruitiness comes out and it becomes even more drinkable. Excellent example of the style.


A Little Bit of Irish For You

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner, we start to think of some rather dark ale to celebrate with – most commonly the one with a harp on the bottle. When Arthur Guinness set up his brewery in 1759 he was brewing standard ale of the day, but it was when he switched to Porter production that things took off. But what about other Irish beers to celebrate ol’ St. Patrick?


imageBeamish Stout

Dark and bitter, this stout is one of the big three in Ireland, being brewed since 1792. Long lasting head, lots of roast, and coffee. An excellent beer.


Murphy’s Irish Stout

Nuttier and more chocolatey than other stouts, this dark drink with hints of espresso would be great as desert or any other time.



Kilkenny Irish Cream All

Bright redish-brown with a beige head, this ale is smooth and well balanced. Easy drinking and a treat to have.




Murphy’s Irish Red

Bronze in colour with fruity and carmel notes, this red ale finishes crips and dry. Best followed by another.



Smithwick’s Irish Ale

Brewed on the site of an Abbey, this beautifully amber ale is balanced smooth and refreshing.




O’Hara’s Celtic Stout

Brewed in an ancient Celtic tradition with only barley, water, yeast, and hops it pours dark burgundy and is roasty and creamy.