Tag Archive: Bellwoods


Senne: Bellwood: Imperial Donkey (Belgium: Imperial Stout: 8.8% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Thin dark brown dash of a head.

Nose: Vinous white grapes. Yeastie champagne. Liquorice. Subtle cherries. Dry Madeira.

Body: Bready bitterness. Sour cream. Dry white wine. Slightly astringent. Dry Madeira. Dry cherry. Dry spice. Tannins. Light cocoa.

Finish: Sour dough. Dry white wine and white grapes. Champagne. Sultanas. Spicy dry red wine. Subtle bitter cocoa.

Conclusion: Ok, my first though was “What type of wine barrel did this spend time in?” On first breaking open the bottle, as I desperately tried to pour it into the glass before it frothed over, I got hit with a distinct, strong dry white wine into champagne character on the nose, with the imperial stout character lost under that due to its intensity.

The stout character comes out more as a bready, earthy kind of thing in the main body. For an imperial stout those flavours come across as fairly restrained.

What makes me question the barrel ageing is then how it changes, becoming spicier with dry red wine character coming out. Initially dry Madeira like notes into full on spicy red wine by the end via a few dry dark fruit hops in-between.

It is very barrel ageing dominated, even if I can’t quite pin down exactly which wine barrel it spent time in. There are slight cocoa to chocolate notes late on, but if you are enjoying this, chances are it is because the barrel ageing brought you there, rather than anything else.

As of such, it is not really for me. I like what the ageing notes bring, but I really need more beer backing it up. The beer just feels lost here. So, very vinous, lots of wine character and range, but so very little beer. May be for you, was not for me.

Background: Been a while since I had a beer from Senne, they have been stonking good in most of their past beers, so this one caught my eye at Independent Spirit – A barrel aged English style Imperial Stout. From googling I confirmed that it was a wine barrel as I thought, but yet to find anything that tells me the type. If you know please drop a comment and fill me in. Don’t know much about Bellwood Brewery apart from the fact they are a Toronto based brewery in Canada and they did a Beavertown collab I tried. For a heavy dark beer like this I put Arch Enemy – Wages of Sin on in the background to match.

Beavertown Bellwoods Barrel Aged Moose Fang

Beavertown: Bellwoods: Barrel Aged Moose Fang (England: Black IPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: Black to very dark brown. Thick brown head that leaves mounds at the side.

Nose: Malt chocolate and cashew nuts. Ginger bread. Chunky marmalade. Spirity. Cocoa dust. Cream.

Body: Milk chocolate and cream. Zesty orange. Strawberry crème. Bitter cocoa. Slightly spirity.

Finish: White and milk chocolate mix. Marmalade. Lemon sherbet. Bitter cocoa. Strawberry crème.

Conclusion: Ok, orange zest and Armagnac aged – that is a mix that results in one chunky slice marmalade infused beer. Thankfully I like marmalade. I am like Paddington Bear, but less cute. And an alcohol fan. Well, Paddington Bear may have been an alcohol fan. We shall never know.

This tingles, spirity, yet with smooth character at the back end. Between the marmalade and the spirit character the barrel ageing really seems to have had its wicked way with this beer. Because of this the base beer is somewhat kept to the back – A creamy, chocolate base beer that mixes sweet white chocolate with bitter cocoa. Or so it seems; Considering how much an influence the barrel ageing has, it is hard to say exactly where that portion ends without drinking the unaged version. That isn’t a dig at the beer – that creamy characteristic gives great texture and backing and lets the beer slip down nicely, However it is very evident that the marmalade characteristics are the main thing.

It is very satisfying but a touch one note – at around 9% abv and 500ml I would say that it is a perfect beer for two people to share. The flavour otherwise gets a tad sickly by the end. I know this as I mistakenly thought it was a 375ml bottle so drank the whole thing myself. Oops.

Anyway, had in smaller, shared measures it is a bright, sugar sweet shock, delivered by a sweet yet mellow base. The base is sweet, but still less than the sugar shock high notes so still manages to drag the sweet barrel ageing back from the, well, edge.

I think that with shorter barrel ageing this would have been better balanced and so awesome. As is it is fun, but kind of like watching a guy get shot out of a cannon twenty times. Cool, but a tad repetitive. Still fun and well made.

Background: Bellwoods is a Canadian brewery, so of course they have Moose and hockey imagery on the bottle. I don’t know why I even had to google to find that out. I should just have known. I kind of gave up on beer style and went with ratebeer’s call of Black IPA. This sure as hell is not a standard Brown Ale, but I was kind of stumped on where to put it. Anyway, this is the final beer that I was given at Christmas, this one from Matt. Many thanks :-). This has been aged in Armgnac barrels, and made with cocoa nibs, vanilla pods and orange zest. So now you know.

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