Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus from Sawdust City Brewing Company in Gravenhurst, Ontario is completely opaque black with a creamy dark beige head that is retained as a stringy collar and leaves long swaths of lace on the glass that appear to drip like spray paint. This Russian imperial stout predominantly smells like coffee and dark chocolate with a syrupy and cordial-like fruit tone, woody hints of pine and fir and an unmistakable whiff of alcohol.
The taste of Long, Dark Voyage to Uranus is uncommonly dry, which allows rich chocolate, pepper and coffee flavours to poke through individually and then blend together. A deceptively strong bitterness is balanced by thick notes of cherry, anise and blueberry. Though the finish of this full-bodied and grainy ale a bit hot, it’s not too out of line and leads to an aftertaste of lemon oil that helps to refresh the palate somewhat.
Lion’s Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewing Company in Vancouver, British Columbia is a deep, cola-like ruby colour and yields a large and frothy tan-coloured head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves small spots of lace on your glass. This winter warmer has strong aromas of store bought chocolate syrup and vanilla extract that choke notes of roasted grain and red berries.
The predominant chocolate flavour of Lion’s Winter Ale tastes more natural than it smells and has a nice dryness to it that helps to balance a rich sweetness, but falls just short. The finish has notes of vanilla and cedar, along with a subtle hint of peppermint that comes through in the aftertaste. This ale has a thin, yet mainly syrupy body that doesn’t really stand up to the richness of the flavours presented, a low amount of carbonation and a vague graininess.
This milk stout from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario is opaque black and pours with a very creamy tan coloured head that doesn’t stick around long, but leaves a tidy collar behind along with a few spots of lace. The Tom Green Beer! is thick with aromas of ground coffee, dark fruits such as cherry and plum and chocolate, with outdoorsy notes of musty wood and fresh tobacco.
The taste of The Tom Green Beer! has an undeniable sharpness to it when it first hits your tongue and plays out much like the smell. Coffee, chocolate and dark fruit flavours are warmed by a woodsy accent, before a suitable sweetness takes over in the finish. This ale has a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel despite its full body and grainy undertone. A mild oiliness helps to ease the brew down, leaving subtle chocolate and cedar tones behind in the aftertaste.
This flavoured porter from Mill Street Brewery in Toronto, Ontario is a deep, ruby-hued brown with a very frothy, nitro-charged beige head that settles as a persistent cap and leaves large swaths of lace as you drink. Mill Street Vanilla Porter has an appetizing blend of aromas including chocolate, coffee, roasted barley malt, berry and of course vanilla.
The taste of Mill Street Vanilla Porter is chocolate-forward with notes of dried dark fruits like plum, raisin and cherry and a subdued vanilla flavour. This ale is full-bodied, rich, grainy and slightly viscose, with very little carbonation aside from the head. There is a moderate bitterness on the tongue that lingers throughout the aftertaste along with a warm, woody tone.
This Russian imperial stout from Wellington County Brewery Incorporated in Guelph, Ontario pours an oil-like, opaque black with a large and frothy, light beige coloured head that burns off quickly, leaving little lace and a thin cap behind. Wellington Imperial Russian Stout has aromas of chocolate syrup, roasted grains, red berries, prunes and coffee.
The taste of Wellington Imperial Russian Stout is deep and rich with roasted grain flavour, accents of dark berries, chocolate and coffee and has a sharp bitterness that lingers throughout the finish. This ale is very full-bodied, grainy and earthy with a subtle tingle on the tongue. The aftertaste is quite dry with notes of prune and pepper.