Review: Microbrasserie Le Castor's Ol' Keeper Vieille en fûts de Brandy (2017)


Thanks mon ami Eric for saving this bottle for me while I was in Montreal months ago! He told me I was going to absolutely love this beer and then bumped into my table at a Brasserie du Bas Canada tap takeover, spilling Substance Imperial Stout all over the table.. which he then proceeded to drink every drop right off said table!

I had the pleasure of getting a rare quick visit to Rigaud, Quebec's Microbrasserie Le Castor almost four years ago with my buddy Jonny, fairly small brewery but everything about the brewery screamed deliciousness! Eric gave me a bottle of their Ol' Keeper aged in Brandy barrels. Ol' Keeper is an Old Ale/Stock Ale, but for some reason I was thinking this entire time it was a Barley Wine, but that's on me!

From the label: "Brewed with malted barley and wheat, this beer was inspired by old ales (also known as stock or keeping ales) brewed in Great Britain in the 19th century. Fermented with British ale yeast, the beer was then left to age 10 months in Brandy barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast. During this long secondary fermentation, the beer takes on more characteristic "stock ale" aromas and flavours, and becomes drier and more complex." Serve between 10-13C. Bottled April 19, 2019. 9.8% ABV

Appearance: Pours a rich yet heavy reddish brown body that reminds me a bit of a Barley Wine to an extent. The head on the beer starts off with a bit of a beige head on top with a hint of yellow hue to it. The head diminishes a bit to leave behind a light amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

Aroma: It was certainly the Brettanomyces that I got in my first impression of this beer, so a decent amount of barnyard funk in every sniff! There's a sweet yet boozy aroma in this beer that I can attribute to the Brandy. There's a nice fruitiness here that reminds me of sweet cherries and a bit of raisin. There's a bit of an oakiness to it but fairly light to mild, as well as a bit of a spice profile to it that I can't really get my nose on.. maybe a bit of cinnamon? The last thing I get is a hint of bubble gum. Absolutely worth sampling so far!

Taste: It took me a while to actually finally taste this, I procrastinating for about 10 minutes (or more!) before I could finally get my first impression in - so far, it's exactly what I got from the aroma. There's a sweet Brandy-like presence in this beer with a bit of a booziness but much smoother than expected compared to the aroma. There's a nice fruity presence that has a bit of a cherry and raisin sweetness to it, while the barn yard funk of the Brettanomyces is a bit more muted than in the aroma but still gives off a bit of sour funkiness with a trip to the farm vibe to it. There's a bit of vanilla, oak, and a bit of a caramel sweetness at the end. My palate feels that this beer is fairly dry, while the aftertaste is a bit of the Brandy and a hint of the funk. There's a bit of a bubble gum-like sweetness that pops up again right at the end.

Overall Thoughts: The first time I ever tried Le Castor was only back in 2013 but feels like it was much longer than that - they've been one of my favourite breweries for a long time.. but definitely underrated for me to the point that I always miss out on buying their beer while in Quebec. This Old Ale/Stock Ale is definitely something you should try if you like a nice boozy, sweet, barrel aged beer to help enjoy life during the long gloomy cold winter nights like I do. For those who like something like a Barley Wine or an Old Ale (which this is), you'll definitely enjoy this. Turns out I had this one at Foudres Unis last year, I would never had remembered even if someone told me! The label of this beer reminds me a lot of the beer labels of yesteryear, the typical beer label you'd see back in the 30s to the 60s.. great throwback to an oldschool style!


My trusty camera's 50mm lens' motor died on me today so a review that would take me not long took me well over two hours to create because my manual focusing to get the photo. So I may be putting a hiatus on this blog for a while - I know a lot of you have told me that you'd be content with me not having a photo for the reviews or are fine with me using my cellphone for it but for me.. I started BeerCrank.ca (and The Cranky Beer Blogger prior to it) as a photo project.. my photos aren't great compared to some other beer bloggers but photographing beers is half the project for me for these reviews. Once I can afford a new lens, I'll probably be able to write more.. but I'm still going to do reviews with a broken manual-focused lens in the mean time, but I'm definitely not going to have fun with it. I hope you at least enjoy my reviews!

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