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5Dec/130

Revisited: Winter Beard (Cellar Aged)

Though I started buying Muskoka Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout in 2009, I first reviewed in in December of 2011 after they rebranded it to Winter Beard. At that time, I thought it was a “wonderful holiday season treat and, in my opinion, is the star of the Muskoka Brewery lineup”.

Though there is a 2013 version of Winter Beard available in other provinces and at the retail store in Bracebridge, the team at Muskoka Brewery opted to give the rest of their home province a cellar aged edition of the 2012 batch.  Last winter they offered a limited number of aged 2011 bottles that were packaged in a wooden sleeve and I was able to compare an aged version to a fresh 2012 bottle. Without a doubt, I preferred the aged version and though the fresh bottle was still quite pleasant, I found it tasted a little “green”.

Winter Beard

This Wintry Treat Gets Better with Age

Pouring the 2012 version of Winter Beard (Cellar Aged) yields an opaque brew with a spongy beige head that has great retention; hanging around as a collar and film while leaving thick streaks of lace on your glass. The smell of this American imperial stout is very much chocolate-centric with a strong and juicy cranberry tone that opens things up and subtle hints of lemongrass, toasted malts and ground coffee.

27Dec/120

Tempest Imperial Stout: Causing a Commotion

This seasonal American imperial stout from Amsterdam Brewing Company Limited in Toronto, Ontario is opaque black with a creamy beige head that sticks around as a thick collar and leaves spotty lacing behind. Tempest Imperial Stout has aromas of roasted grains, coffee, chocolate, wood and dark fruit, as well as a peppery bite.

Tempest Imperial Stout

I Use a Corkscrew Knife to Cut the Wax Seal

The taste of Tempest Imperial Stout follows suit, with roasted grains in the forefront and accents of dark chocolate coffee. A pronounced fruit flavour has a tart black cherry tone that transitions to a sharply bitter finish. The stout is grainy, earthy and weighs heavily on the tongue. A mild creaminess and oiliness eases the beer down and its hefty ABV is thoroughly masked by the rich flavours, which blend and linger in the aftertaste.