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Singularity | Driftwood Brewery

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Brewed by:
Driftwood Brewery
British Columbia, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2011-11.8%(silver foil), 2012-11.6%(black wax),
2013-11.8%(black wax), 2014-14.6%(black wax),
2015-12.2%(black wax), 2016-11.2%(black wax)

Our 6th annual release of Driftwood Brewery’s Singularity has been conditioned for 3 months in authentic Kentucky bourbon barrels. This aging process adds warming notes of bourbon and oak that push this Russian Imperial Stout beyond the event horizon. The result is a beer of infinite density and depth of character. At 11.2%, Singularity Russian Imperial Stout 2016 will be a prized addition to any beer cellar!

Added by ericj551 on 01-18-2011

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Reviews: 58 | Ratings: 157
Photo of TRiGS
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

This is a serious beer. It will steal your soul if you don't respect it. Bottle says 14.6% ABV but it's probably higher than that. Aged 5 months. Black as night. Head is a unique and gorgeous gradient from brown to caramel to beige near the top. Bourbon on the nose. Chocolate, Caramel, coffee, sugar, molasses, and lots of bourbon. Super malty goodness. One bottle of this stuff will probably get you well on your way to slurring your words. Truly a special, unique, and delicious beer.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't remember if I got this from peensteen or liamt07. 2010 vintage that was LCBO tested at 13.8%. Served in a Surly Darkness glass.

A - A tan foam settles to a wispy haze on top, thin ring, and tiny spots of lace. Black body with some light brown coloration at the edges of the glass.

S - Massive dark chocolate, fudge, oak, char, spicy bourbon, and a hint of vanilla. Massive barrel presence here, and relatively low sweetness. Booze is present, but I wouldn't have guessed it's nearly 14%.

T - The taste is actually a bit better, with a nice blend of licorice, dark chocolate, oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Highly attenuated, with perhaps a tad more char and roast character that I prefer, but still quite enjoyable.

M - Full body, lower carbonation, viscous, chewy, but with only light residual stickiness. Not overly tannic, particularly considering how intense the barrel flavors are. Mild alcohol warmth, but far less than I was expecting.

D - It's a serious sipper of a beer, and one of the few times I've actually been glad that I didn't get around to opening a beer fresh as I imagine the booze was pretty intense last January. It'd be pretty tough to put down a whole bomber, but 12oz would make a nice one-and-done serving. One of the first Canadian barrel-aged imperial stouts that has been competitive with American offerings, but not quite in the top tier.

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle.

Looks like a serious beer - deep red and gold highlighted black

Somewhat closed aroma at first, but opens up over half an hour or so as it warms in the glass. Dark and brooding. Burntness (with a touch of smoke, deep, almost industrial, or like a train station), molasses, a Scotch ale sort of maltiness, mild bourbon barrel, and hints of dark fruit like raisins or figs.

Quite a bit more intensity on the palate than suggested by the aroma - bittersweet molasses, burnt caramel/sugar, dark chocolate, orange rind, bourbon, mild licorice. Starts fairly sweet, but finishes bitter and almost dry. Quite a long finish, impressive, with the flavors lingering for a minute or more. Powerful, and delicious.

Medium-full bodied, fine carbonation, smooth texture. Noticeable alcohol, but quite drinkable for what it is.

Good stuff. Thanks to the very helpful staff at 16th St Liquor in West Vancouver for the recommendation!

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Photo of jrenihan
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer is black- totally black. Good sized tan head dissipates fairly quickly, leaves decent lacing.

It is clear by the smell that this is a barrel aged beer. Oak and bourbon are immediately noticeable, strongly so. Hard to get a lot else, other than booze, which is certainly present. While the bottle lists this at 11.8%, the LCBO puts it at 13.8%. Nice smell, but not overly complex.

Taste is very similar to the nose, but with a bit more going on. Teh bourbon and oak are the strongest, and there is noticeable alcohol heat, but a faint chocolate and coffee taste is present. Some very mild sweetness causes the alcohol to have a slight fruity taste, a bit of prune or dark cherry. I have to emphasize how slight the fruit aspect is- this is by no means a fruit flavoured beer.

Minimal carbonation, full bodied A bit oily. Feels good.

This is a heavy duty beer. Very strong. The barrel aging has an enormous impact, and is very nice. Wish the beer was more readily available here in Ontario.

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Photo of Derek
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 consumed 12Apr2015:
Only a thin ring of head, showing some oxidation... 4.2.

2012 Consumed 6Apr2015:
Cellared incedibly well... 4.7.

Original 2011 review:

A: 4- Black with a tan head, thin ring of retention, leaves a bit of lace.

S: 4.5 Alcohol & oak are readily apparent, brown sugar, molasses, great fruity esters, toffee, light spicing.

T: 4.5 Caramelized raisins, piny hops, black-strap molasses, licorice, sponge toffee, bourbon & oak, roasted nut, candy floss, burnt caramel, assertive bitterness, alcohol on the cusp of becoming harsh.

M: 4 Highly attenuated, light acidity and a strong, drying alcohol finish.

D: 4 A sensational sipper.

I was expecting more west-coast hopping, but this one's actually leaning towards a historic British brew (minus the bourbon).

It's not harsh, but it'll be interesting to see how it cellars & mellows.

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Photo of korguy123
4.32/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 03/06/2011
Into DFH Snifter

A- A totally black pour, cola colored around the edges when held to light. Tight bubbles form a thin dark khaki head. Lacing is decent.

S- Dark chocolate and mild coffee notes. Slight vanilla and brown sugar. Slight smokiness to it. Bourbon and oak are both there and round everything out well.

T- Bourbon right off the bat, dark chocolate and bitter roasted coffee. Vanilla and brown sugar ass a sweetness in the back end. Slight alcohol burn on the way down with a slight bitter aftertaste.

M- Medium to full bodied. Warming alcohol and slight carbonation prickle.

O- Good representation, great overall. Needed a little time to mellow out a bit.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.33/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer! Thanks Hollis!

poured into snifter glass.

Appearance: Light to medium black bodied beer with about a solid 1 and a half fingers of brown head. Spotty lace covers the glass.

Smell: This beer is really roasty and got a moderate amount of bourbon in the nose. Getting some smokiness in it too.

Taste: The beer starts of roasty and then it goes right into the barrel; something unique about this barrel flavor. You can get the oak and it almost seems like there is cedar in there too. I also get some chocolate and nuttiness from the malts. The beer finishes with a mild bitterness from the hops. A little bit grassy and I also taste cherrys in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with low end of moderate carbonation. The carbonation really breaks the thickness of this beer up. The carbonation is sort of pricky and surprisingly epervescent for a bourbon barrel beer. It does make the beer smooth and the beer drinks like its 9 or 10%. It got a little alcohol kick that is mostly warming and subtle. This beer would have been a 5 in mouthfeel if it was thicker.

Overall: Really nice canadian beer. Its complex, balanced, and smooth. Really nice beer from a brewery I have never heard of.

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Photo of souvenirs
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Impenetrably dark, with chocolatey tan head.
S: Licorice, vanilla, bourbon.
T: Lots going on. Sweet black licorice, bourbon, vanilla, coffee...
F: Heavy.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.35/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Another brew that I was holding out on to celebrate the birth of our daughter. Enjoyed via a FaceTime review with my buddy Devin who was also the one to hook me up with this gem.

2012 Edition

A - Pours pitch black, thumb of dark mocha head, some retention and some nice sporadic lacing.

S - Rich mocha, dark cocoa, sweet booziness, bourbon and oak notes come through alongside a touch of tobacco and leather.

T - The rich cocoa notes dominate, molasses and toffee, burnt sugar and caramel, hints of oak, burnt tobacco, sugary bourbon, and leafy green hop notes.

M - Medium bodied, insanely smooth and a little sticky on the finish.

O - Well worth the wait and deserving of the title of one Canada's top rated RIS's. Incredibly worthy of such a celebration and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to try it. Flavour profile is incredibly complex, yet the ABV is insanely well hidden and smooth drinking. So glad I had the chance to share this brew with my buddy and definitely worth seeking out.

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Photo of largadeer
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Thanks, Vlad.

Appearance: Pitch black body with a clinging tan head and oily leggings. A small but lasting head forms, and never completely dissipates.

Smell: The aroma is led by burnt sugar, with a bit of dark fruit sweetness buried beneath. Roasted malts are moderate - reigned-in enough to balance the sweetness. Bourbon barrel is evident, but it isn't dominant - it brings notes of vanilla and caramel.

Palate: Rich brown sugar, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate. Heavy on the barrel, but without much heat. The body is viscous, almost oily. This leans more toward the sweet and rich side than the roasty and bitter, and it's quite impressive in small quantities.

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blind tasting of RIS, about 20 of the highest ranked on this site - and this one won out. Thanks to EskimoDave who sent it my way.

Black pour, finger of light khaki head. Ok retention. Nose reveals this is heavy on the barrel - loads of vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, huge roasted malt notes, chocolate.

Loads of barrel in the taste as well, almost overwhelming the base which comes off as a little thin in comparison. Vanilla, roasted malt, chocolate, loads of brown sugar, a sort of cinnamon toast crunch character, sweet and rich, smooth and silky. Could perhaps use some more balance and complexity in the base, though I love all the barrel coming through in so many ways; neat character. Great beer.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.42/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz waxed bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: entirely black, allowing no light through the body. Hed is a finger of dense, creamy dark-tan foam. Very attractive, but head retention is not great and the lace isn't as beautiful as I want it.

Smell: strong aroma of roasted malt, rich, ripe, dark fruits (date, plum, black cherry), a fruity, aromatic alcohol character and a tannic woody bite. Complex and engaging.

Taste: surprisingly light (in a good way), despite the masively dark appearance and sky-high alcoholic content. The fruitiness is right at the fore, with plums and cherries and apples and pears; yes, even lighter fruits make it in here. I'm guessing this thing is pretty highly attenuated, lightening up the body and adding in more alcoholic complexity. I like it very much.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a good level of carbonation and a very silky smooth texture. Not as bodaciously creamy as I'd hoped, but good nonetheless.

Overall: this is a very tasty Imperial stout which isn't cloyingly sweet and overly thick. For a beer of this flavor profile and alcoholic content, it is dangerously drinkable. Great!

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Photo of wordemupg
4.44/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bomber poured into tulip 27/6/11

A nearly black but has some dark cola at the edges, dark tan two finger head falls fast leaving little in the way of lace, looks pretty basic

S nose is smokey vanilla, woody booze and some coffee, all fairly strong and the effect from the barrels isn't over the top but pretty hard to miss

T thankfully the flavor mimics the smell quite well, a little more bourbon with some chocolate covered raisins but that's not a bad thing, the booze could be better concealed but that's my only complaint

M thick, slick and oily, just enough carbonation to give it some life, feels very nice just a little booze burn keeping it from perfection

O this is a great brew for sure and one of the better beers I've had from Canada, very well rounded and no flaws other then booze feel and that's to be expected at nearly 12%

could use some aging for sure but that can be done thanks to chickenm and EskimoDave because they were both nice enough to send me bottles of the stuff. this ones worth looking for and buying a few extra for aging

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Vintage with black wax.

A: 1/8" tan/light brown coloured head over black liquid.

S: Oak, toasted malt, and toffee. An unidentified wood smell is most predominate.

T: Oak, toasted malt, vanilla and toffee with some alcohol.

M: Thick viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Some drying from the alcohol.

O: The best Canadian RIS I have ever had.

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Photo of peensteen
4.47/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Near black, minimal tan head that hangs around the edge of the glass, some spots of lace show up. Big bourbon presence in the nose, roast malt comes through, nice oaky notes, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, the oak is really impressive here. Taste is of bourbon, oak, vanilla bean, nice roasty notes, alcohol is present and at times a little high, coffee comes through in the finish, well balanced. Full body, nice dense weight, light to medium carbonation, syrupy at points. Solid brew, one of the tastiest bourbon barrel stouts from Canada for sure I wish I had a bottle to put away for a year or so.

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Photo of liamt07
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled sampled at Volo, presented in a tulip. Bottle is labelled as being LCBO lab tested at 13.8% ABV. Yowzers.

Poured pitch black, not a ray of light getting through this. Thin collar of retention, and minimal head. Mild lacing, but this is a huge stout. Nose is bourbon right off the bat, some oak and vanilla as well. Digging way deeper I get a sense of some dark roasted coffee and a hint of the alcohol. Well hidden, although the barrel dominates the nostrils here. Taste is predominantly bourbon and oak, until midway through the palate some silky milk chocolate and vanilla comes through. Some sweetness and finishes with a coffee-like roastiness. Great, silky mouthfeel and real bourbon-y. Lots of the bourbon 'flavour' without burning like straight bourbon. Oak and some vanilla notes begin to almost overtake the bourbon as it reaches room temperature; two different beasts in this one. A great RIS overall, and we agreed that this would be awesome to have a bottle to sit on and see how it develops. Awesome.

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Photo of IllNate
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours and inky black almost syrup with a couple fingers of thick brown head. Looking good, although that's easy in this style. Smells of oak and nuttyness amongst the intense roast and bourbon. The taste is again oak and nuttyness and bourbon. Fantastic balance, can notice the alcohol, but well balanced with sweetness and roast. Surprisingly the roast doesn't dominate. Mouthfeel is thick and oily, but it's to be expected. Overall an amazing beer, luckily I bought a few, I'm going to cellar some for a rainy day.

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Photo of 604growler
4.48/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle, aged for 6 months

Appearance: What more do you want? Perfect Imperial stout tan head with black.

Smell: Sniffing the bottle opening before pouring: Pine. It's a unique (for a beer) and amazing smell that seems to dissipate once poured. It smells like a damn west coast Douglas Fir pine cone! Once poured, molasses.

Taste: Oak. Chocolate. Coffee, Bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit carbonated for an imp stout. But not thin.

Overall: IMO On par with Peche Mortal for a top Canadian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of SebD
4.49/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick tan head that dies down moderately and leaves very little lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, woody oak and some dark fruit.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet and roasty chocolate, some coffee, vanilla, bourbon, a touch of oak and some sweet dark fruit. Very nice balance.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a very nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with great flavors and aromas.

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Photo of Beervana
4.52/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours nearly black with a pillowy beige head. A nice sweetness on the nose, getting mostly vanilla but some milk chocolate as well. Taste hits with a good kick of bourbon but little in the way of an alcohol heat, maybe a bit of dark chocolate. A smooth roastiness and a touch of hop bitterness come out on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is nice and thick, very mouth-coating. All in all, one of, if not the best barrel aged stouts from Western Canada.

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Photo of Rutager
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 black waxed bottle.

Appearance. Pours a nice thick looking black with half a finger of rich and creamy tan head.

Smell. Rich, chocolaty dark roasted malts, some vanilla, bourbon and a bit of toasted wood. Smells awesome.

Taste. Sweet chocolate and a little vanilla fade to a slightly bitter roasty coffee and some smoky wood. Some booze for sure, but not too bad considering abv.

Mouthfeel. Full body, but nothing excessive, low smooth carbonation.

Overall. Nice big bourbon stout from Canada. Fantastic.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.53/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Completely black. Chocolate-coloured head with creamy, small bubbles that linger.

Smell: Chocolate, vanilla, whiskey, coffee. This beer is quite exceptionally complex. Lots of dark flavours and the whiskey gives a slight alcohol aroma.

Taste: A punch in the face of whiskey and coffee. The malt is sweet and the whiskey lends a nice vanilla flavour. The chocolate is a lot more subdued in the flavour.

Mouthfeel: Extremely smooth and creamy. Slight prickliness from the alcohol burn.

Drinkability: As high as it can be with a ridiculous 11.8% alc/vol. No more than 1 per night, otherwise this would catch up with you. Great sipping beer on a cool/wet Vancouver evening.

Overall: This beer reminds me a lot of Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. This is a slightly less intense interpretation. But in my book, that is a good thing as the Goose Island was so overpowering that it was borderline undrinkable beyond <6 oz samples. The Driftwood is definitely easier to drink and an extremely enjoyable Imperial Stout. Honestly, it's hard to find a bad Driftwood beer. These guys/gals are just so damned consistent in an incredibly varied portfolio of ale styles.

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Photo of urbanpioneer
4.56/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I scribbled a detailed review for this on a napkin when I sampled it.

I noted it’s earthy and bourbon scented aroma, its low alcohol profile in the mouth feel even with its relatively high percentage. I appreciated its subtle complexities melding flavours of licorice with the typically roasted and malty elements of the genre and even thought it would be great paired with wild game like Elk or Caribou.

I then thanked my wife for picking me up a bottle while in BC and ended up crossing out what I had written and putting in its place the words "Extremely Enjoyable" . That pretty much sums it up for me.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.59/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage poured in late June, 2014. Poured from bottle into tulip. Initially cold from the fridge, but let it warm over an hour.

Appearance: Black as night, with a gorgeous brown head. Good amount of carbonation.

Smell: Holy crap! The nose blew me away. Lot's of bourbon, but nice sweet malts. Picking up a bunch of dark fruits. Very excited to taste this one!

Taste: It doesn't disappoint, but definitely a bit different from the smell. Very nice bourbon flavors, with a sweet aftertaste. Alcohol comes through, which I bet would ease off with some age. It's almost 15%, so a bit of aging would probably be great! There is also a massive dark fruit bomb on this. Cherries, plums, and blackberries. A bit of grape as well. Very nice! This is a perfect treat after dinner!

Mouthfeel: Wow! A smooth and creamy feel. This one lingers nicely. I just want more!

Overall, this is an amazing beer. This is a beer that I would seek out and keep in my cellar. I can only imagine what a bit of age would do to this! Driftwood did a fantastic job with this one!

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Photo of canucklehead
4.6/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer looks like the goods with its all black label and silver foil plus the way cool name. Luckily the beer is world class ( well worth the $12) in that is delivers a barrel aged RIS that is muscular and complex but becomes focused and very drinkable as it warms up. Yes, this beer needs a few years in the cellar to truly meet its full potential but already this is amazing stuff that tastes of the wood but never forgets what makes a RIS so special. One of the best beers made in BC? Yes, and expect this release to be hyped in future as the reputation of Singularity increases

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Singularity from Driftwood Brewery
4.22 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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