There is a beer that is so legendary and aged in B.C. that it even predates a vast majority of the breweries you know today. This is the Hermannator Ice Bock from Vancouver Island Brewing. The Hermannator recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, and this one comes with an interesting twist to the yearly release. B.C. Beer Reviews is here today to take a look at a new twist to a legendary brew.
B.C. Beer Reviews: Vancouver Island Brewing – 30th Anniversary Hermannator
This beer pours a deep brown colour that is almost earthy. There is a very noticeable red hue to the beer as well. This red hue is much less noticeable when the glass is full, but when held up to the light you start to notice that red wine hue to it once again.
Aside from the red hue in the colour, this is where the red wine character really shines through. There is a very distinct aroma from the wine that is reminiscent of the dry tannin-like notes that you would come to expect from a heavy and rich red wine.
Aside from the notes of the wine there is a very present malt backbone in behind it. It is the typical notes of caramel and bread crust that you would come to expect of a Bock or an Eisbock. This is a nice balancing note to the fairly powerful red wine notes.
There is, as expected, a woody characteristic imparted by the barrel ageing process. It is a nice side note, not overpowering anything from the red wine or the malt/grain bill.
What you smell is really what you get on your palate. The red wine notes are at the forefront, presenting you with a light sweetness at first and tannin dryness on the back end of your palate.
The malt/grain bill is once again a very present note. It gives you the notes it did in the aromatics, giving you a nice bready and caramel sweetness to help balance out the dryness from the tannins of the red wine.
This beer from Vancouver Island Brewing is a very well-balanced brew. The woody character is balanced perfectly with the sweet notes from the malt/grain bill and the dryness of the tannins from the red wine. This is not a beer you are going to drink quickly, but rather something to kick back and drink slowly to ensure you enjoy it and all its subtle nuances in the flavours and aromatics.
The branding/labeling to this bottle from Vancouver Island Brewing is very simplistic. Needless to say, this one lets the beer on the inside do the talking rather than the label. There is a black label with a bold maroon stripe going on a 45-degree angle with gold lettering on it.
The one thing that is well below average to this beer is the lacing. The glass is just about as clean as possible upon finishing it.
There is a decent amount of carbonation to this beer. This is a nice note to go along with the rather heavy red wine notes and the heavy sweetness of the malt/grain bill.
This beer hits all the stylistic notes of an Eisbock. There is a heavy sweetness from the malt/grain bill in the form of bready notes and caramel, a high ABV at 9.5% and the red wine and barrel-aged notes are a nice twist on the beer. Overall, this beer lives up to the hype that it comes with.
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Main photo by Nic Hendrickson, Lastword Inc., all rights reserved