Follow beer writer, Troy Burtch, as he explores the wonderful world of craft beer and the pubs that serve it. Great Canadian Beer is a place to come to catch up on beer news, read tasting notes, check out event listings, and for pub previews and reviews.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Two More Beauties From the East

Propeller Revolution Imperial Stout and Propeller Pilsner

I should have received these two treats last week, but it turns out Purolator couldn’t park on my street. Then the package was broken? I hope the boys in the warehouse enjoyed these beers. But not to worry! Another package was sent right away and here I am writing about how much I enjoyed them.

Everyone knows Catherine the Great right? Fat lady, Russian Czar Court? Well, the story has it that Catherine paid a visit to England and fell head over heels in love with porter’s and stout’s and demanded some be sent back to her castle. But while on the voyage back to the Baltic ports, the beer spoiled leaving poor Catherine very upset. Her tantrums lead to the Barclay brewery of London experimenting with different gravity levels, which resulted in a strong stout at 10.5%. The beer was able to make the long journey and was an instant success with the wealthy Russians, who would later refer to it as Russian Stout.

Hundreds of yeas later, I sit in my apartment drinking one of Canada’s best, in Propeller’s Revolution Russian Imperial Stout. Brewed as a seasonal offering for consumption in the long cold days of the Canadian winter, the RIS is simply terrific. Listed at 8%, the RIS pours a thick black colour resembling a thin tar. After a brief swirl, I start noticing the smell of sweet Christmas cake and molasses along with small hints of real dark chocolate, black licorice and the alcohol.

With the first drink comes the numbing effect of the alcohol after a long day at work. It touches the gums and creates a small tingling sensation before giving way to the real taste of the stout. For such a full bodied beer, it goes down relatively easy and is quite refreshing. Dark nutty chocolate, coffee, molasses and licorice stand out in the taste. I had my fair share or RIS last winter while I was living in Halifax and it tasted exactly how I remembered it. It goes great with a good book on a cold night, making it a great digestif beer.

Also included in the package from my buddies at Propeller was their newest creation Propeller Pilsner. Propeller started brewing the Pilsner this winter and introduced it just before Christmas. Normally the winter months are reserved for winter warmers, not pilsners, but Propeller wanted to add another beer that could be enjoyed by everyone during the winter holidays.

The beer pours a golden pale colour out of the 341ml bottle and produces a small head that leaves behind small while lacing around the glass. It was bottled last Monday, so it was nice and fresh when I cracked it open. The aroma was very similar to any other Bohemian style pils, but I also picked up a leafy aroma. The pilsner had a nice spiciness with a dry finish thanks to the Saaz hops used in the brew. Unlike some other pilsners, this one had some good flavour and I imagine it will do very well for Propeller, who have developed quite a name for themselves with their English IPA, ESB, London Porter and the RIS. I would place this beer in a category with King’s pilsner and F&M’s Stonehammer pilsner.

Two quality beers from a highly respected brewery, not bad for a Tuesday night tasting.

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