Two of Toronto’s oldest independently owned and operated craft breweries, Great Lakes Brewery (2013 & 2014 Canadian Brewery of the Year) and Amsterdam Brewery, are set to release the third beer in their ongoing collaboration series this Friday December 18 – Life Sentence IIIPA.
This beer was brewed in collaboration with Amsterdam at Great Lakes on October 30th and features 100kg of late harvest Chinook hops, which was added in its entirety to the whirlpool of this 3000 litre batch. The Chinook hops come from Yakima, Washington, an area known for their world class hops.
During the trip to Yakima, Amsterdam Brewery was fortunate enough to be offered hop selection and got to experience all different varieties found in different lots across the Yakima Valley. “I was blown away by the late harvest Chinook hops than any other hops on the trip. The dense, dank and almost Mosaic aroma had a piney backdrop that I’ve never seen in Chinook before,” noted Iain McOustra, Brewmaster at Amsterdam Brewery.
Iain also points out that the aromatics that can sometimes be lost with processing are still very prevalent with a bail this fresh. The fresh natural flavour of the late harvest Chinook hops really stand out.
“Iain is normally such a calm, cool, collected and impressive brewmaster (and man) – so when he called from Yakima Valley with an tinge of excitement in his voice saying he had dibs on a bail of late harvest Chinook for this year’s Life Sentence, it piqued my interest to say the least,” said Mike Lackey, Head Brewer at Great Lakes Brewery.
The tasting notes:
This collab beer pours a lovely burnt orange with a snowy white head that begs to be instagrammed. Swirl the glass around to experience a wide range of amazing aromas – pineapple, lychee, grapefruit, pine resin, juicy fruit bubblegum, nerd candies and then the dankness comes out. And that’s just the hops. A touch of sweetness (honey) from the malts alongside a gentle whiff of alcohol notes.
Life Sentence IIIPA starts off with a punch of sweetness that almost immediately gives way to a big battering of hops like being hit with a ball and chain from the leg of a skeleton. Big pine presence meshed in with a healthy dose of tropical fruits (kiwi, grapefruit). For 10% and 100+ IBUs, this behemoth IIIPA has a soft mouthfeel with a pleasant level of carbonation that helps tame the 100kg of hops. Juicy in the middle, finishing bone-dry.
The 10.0% beer will retail for $5 (473ml can) and $120 a case at the GLB retail store starting this Friday December 18th at precisely 12:00pm. It will also be on tap at the Amsterdam Brewhouse on Queen’s Quay West in limited quantities. There will also be a number of kegs at select bars and restaurants across Ontario with plans to tap on December 18th.
This is the third large release collaboration beer between the two Toronto breweries in as many years. In the spring of 2013, both breweries brewed a Leipziger Gose and called it Maverick & Gose, which was a huge hit with craft beer drinkers across Ontario. Then in 2014 it was Ezra: Cider Barrel-Aged Farmhouse Ale that is still developing character in the bottle.