B.C. Beer Reviews is back to take a look at the first ever entry from Vancouver’s Parallel 49 Brewing. The first entry from them comes in the form of a big beer, their Belgian Strong Ale by the name of Vow of Silence. This beer clocks in at a whopping 9.8% ABV.
B.C. Beer Reviews with Nic Hendrickson: Parallel 49 Brewing – Vow of Silence
Parallel 49 Brewing is well-known for their interestingly named beers and their whacky labeling. More often than not, the beer matches up to the character on their labels. Their Vow of Silence Belgian Strong Ale follows along these lines.
Let’s take a look at this one.
This beer poured a very clear medium brown colour from the bottle. The clarity did not change when the glass was full, as you are still able to see right through it. It is a medium dark hue of brown with a hint of ruby colour to it.
This beer hits you with exactly what you would expect from a strong Belgian beer: sweet and malty. It has the heavy sweet notes from what is very likely a very large malt/grain bill.
To add to the sweetness of the malts/grains, there is a very noticeable boozy sweetness to this one as well. This is something you would certainly come to expect from a beer clocking in at 9.8% ABV.
There is a bit of the Belgian yeast characteristic to this one from the Saccharomyces, but it is very subtle. There is also zero hop presence in the nose/aroma.
Very few surprises are offered up from this beer. It sticks well within the expectations of the style and the assumptions you would make from a beer just short of 10% ABV.
The first thing that hits you, and what is undeniably the most powerful note, is the boozy characteristic of this beer. There is a sweet taste from it along with the common warmth you get from high ABV beers is very present here.
Much like in the nose/aroma, and equally as unsurprising, is the sweet notes of the malt/grain bill. This, added to the boozy sweetness, makes for a very sweet beer overall, which is not overly surprising with Belgian beers overall.
You definitely will get the typical notes of the Belgian saccharomyces used in this beer. There are sweet and somewhat fruity notes reminiscent of plums present on the back end of the tasting notes. Very subtle overall, but adds a nice level of complexity to an otherwise one-dimensional beer.
The branding/labeling is what you would expect from Parallel 49 Brewing, a whacky cartoon character smack in the middle of the label. A cartoon monk with his mouth sewed shut has a big grin on his face, bringing new meaning to Vow of Silence.
The beer poured a very small head from the bottle, even with a somewhat vigorous pour. The retention of that head was virtually nonexistent, and the head was gone in almost no time at all.
The body of this beer is rather thin, even with despite the strong sweetness of it. It is a dry and crisp finishing beer on your palate. This helps to balance out the sweetness without adding any noticeable bitterness from the hops used.
The carbonation level of this beer is very light overall. Hardly noticeable at all.
There are very few if any, surprises offered up by this beer. It is heavy in sweetness from the malt/grain bill and the boozy notes. The Saccharomyces adding a bit of a plum taste on your palate is a nice touch, and it suits the style overall.
The best part about this beer is the crisp and dry finish that it has, offsetting the level of sweetness to an extent. Without this, the beer would likely be a bit too sweet overall.
All in all, a fairly solid beer that fits the style perfectly.
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Main photo by Nic Hendrickson, Lastword Inc., all rights reserved