Stormy Monday | Bush Pilot Brewing Company

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Stormy MondayStormy Monday
30 Ratings
Stormy MondayStormy Monday

Brewed by:
Bush Pilot Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our Stormy Monday is a spiced barley wine aged in Calvados barrels. Legendary Danish craft brewer Anders Kissmeyer (of Nørrebro Bryghus fame) created the recipe and supervised the brewing/aging process. We prepared a huge cargo of spices consisting of star anise, bitter orange peel, cocoa, cinnamon, dried fruit (quince, apple, dates, raisins, figs), real vanilla beans, cardamom, juniper berries and the list goes on and on... We also used pure maple syrup from our long time supplier and friend Frank Higgins of Combermere, Ontario. It is fair to say we logged quite a few hours sourcing some of these ingredients all over the world.

The resulting beer was aged for over seven months in Calvados barrels sourced from Domaine Dupont, Normandy, France. A second, non-barrel aged batch was brewed in order to create a rather harmonious presence of oak and Calvados notes. At the end, we settled for the 60:40 blend (barrel vs. non-barrel batches).

Added by MasterSki on 04-28-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 30 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by Cramshawbar:
Photo of Cramshawbar
2/5  rDev -42.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of beerhunter13
2.25/5  rDev -35.7%

Photo of biboergosum
3.74/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle, @ 10.3% ABV, and part of the triad of this contract brewery's existing offerings to suddenly appear in Alberta of late.

This beer pours a deep, dark murky brownish amber morass, with a thin cap of wispy and bubbly beige head, which leaves a bit of the RMS Titanic's worst nightmare iceberg profile lace in spots around the glass as things very slowly sink away.

It smells of weirdly spiced seasonal cake (nutmeg, ginger, metallic cinnamon, and allspice), apple brandy, musty caramel malt, equally left under the basement stairs for way too long toffee, those concentrated maple sugar candies sold at Canadian tourist traps, and some middling leafy, weedy, and mildly piney hop bitters. The taste is sweet, saccharine caramel/toffee malt, muddled spice coffee cakes, gritty Calvados barrel notes - vanilla, wood, and hard apple cider - understated maple syrup, a weak black orchard fruitiness (tinged with the sauce), and more leafy, weedy, and rather perfumed floral hoppiness.

The bubbles are fairly low-key in their plain and barely structural frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and smooth enough, I suppose, those musty and hoppy notes straining credulity by this point. It finishes off-dry, uvula-tauntingly hot, dry and dusty, and fading in its robust, I'm sure, baking spice character.

Yeah, sometimes throwing so much, um, stuff, into the brew cycle may not be the best idea since sliced gingerbread. The particular barrel-aging is nice, and certainly a coup for the producers here, as it adds a different sort of boozy woodiness than we are accustomed to, that much is true. Overall, nice to try, and it will be a slow, contemplative sipper for the rest of this heady vessel, methinks.

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Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

LCBO bottle. A very ambitious project for a first release. A lot going on, perhaps too much. Getting raisins and wine and booze and chocolate and barley, fruit and spice(the whole kitchen cabinet). Seems more like a young 14% barleywine. Average mouthfeel, a sipper and something I cannot drink too much with so shared the bottle without anyone wanting more than a 150 ml.

 372 characters

Photo of DaveBar
3.68/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for just over $10.00 for a 750ml bottle. Served at 6deg C in a tulip glass

A- Opens well and pours a small 1/2" head that lasted for around 1min before film out. Vary dark brown and unfiltered

S- Definite BA scent.

T- Woody good. Has a great malt backbone. Definitely a Bryghus. Guess he taught them a few things at Bush Pilot and look forward to seeing what they produce in the future after learning from Anders.

M- Sweet and sticky as expected. Thin

O- Pretty good little brew. Nice to try but will not buy on a regular basis. Good change from the everyday

Food Pairing

This heavy brew went well with...... Pepper crusted roasted pork loin


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Photo of Rutager
3.53/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

25 ingredients? That's just crazy. Thanks Jeffo!

Appearance. Pours a murky brown with a thin off white head.

Smell. Spicy! Cloves, cardamom and juniper berries jump out. Some sweet caramel and vanilla in there too. Not quite as complex as I imagined, but the spices overpower things here.

Taste. Brown sugar, cloves, cardamom and juniper berries, raisins and coffee. I guess I can taste most of the ingredients listed as I go through the ingredients, but those mentioned are the only ones I could definitely pick out.

Mouthfeel. Full body, low carbonation. Not bad in this department.

Overall. Worth trying and kudos to whoever made it for throwing together such a crazy experiment. Once was enough, but happy to have tried it after reading about it a while back. Thanks again Jeff!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.54/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a dark murky brown color ale with a small bubbly head with almost no retention. Aroma of oak and residual brown sugar notes is OK at best. Taste is dominated by Calvados and woody notes with some residual brown sugar notes. Finish is thin and watery. Body is full enough with medium to low carbonation. I thought this one fell very short in terms of complexity and I didn’t appreciate the thin watery finish.

 425 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle to snifter.

A - Poured murky dark brown; swamp-water like. A thin layer of taupe coloured head formed and slowly receded to a ring around the edges of the glass.

S - Very heavy spice profile up front. Clove, cardamom, maybe some ginger and many other spices that I can't distinguish. Sweet caramel, brown sugar, raisin, fig and date notes also present. Very busy nose and all of the various flavours don't necessarily come together well.

T - Very sweet up front, followed by a warming alcohol presence. Dark caramel, raisins, figs, maple syrup and brown sugar flavours come through in the sweetness. There is a huge spice profile here with cardamom, cloves and juniper flavours standing out. There is a lot going on here, too much for my palate. I don't get the barrel at all, nor do I get any apple notes.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

O - The label boasts 25 ingredients and I think this beer would have been a lot better had they used less than half of that. I am not sure what they were trying to achieve with the long list of ingredients, but it didn't work in my opinion.

 1,105 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
3.25/5  rDev -7.1%

Photo of spinrsx
3.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

750ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $12 or so

Appearance – Brown colour with a below average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some great lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell – Malts, caramel, fruit cake, dark fruits, all spice

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel, and quite a bit of clove/all-spice. There is also some medicine like flavour, oranges, and a hint of the barrel aged notes.

Overall – Lots going on here. All kinds of flavours come out with each sip. It is missing the sweetness that most barley wines have. Reminds me of a gruit beer or a christmas brew. Interesting but not something I'd buy again.

 770 characters

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of liamt07
3.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of SebD
3.55/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It has a very murky brown color to it. It has a thin off-white head that dissapears almost instantaneously and leaves next to no lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, dark fruit (raisins and figs) some sweet caramel and some orange.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a spicy character upfront (cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and some ginger), raisins and figs, a caramel/maple sweetness and brown sugar.

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

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

 622 characters

Photo of Ultrarunner100
3.8/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jrenihan
3.56/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is murky brown in colour, with a very small off-white head that is gone quickly, leaving just a ring.

A lot happening the nose- a real bombardment of scents. Spices are very prominent, both clove and cardamom. Lots of vanilla as well. The (lengthy) ingredient list on the bottle is indespensible for helping to pick out other scents, including orange, maple syrup and fig. An absurd amount going on, but that doesn't make it a great scent. Interesting but a bit messy.

Taste is also a mess. Very complex, but not well blended. Vanilla, spices, oak, calvados. Very boozy and very malt focused, although with a pronounced hop bitterness. Dark fruit: fig and raisin.

Medium bodied, a lot lighter than expected. Moderate to high carbonation level. Really dries the mouth, with lots of alcohol heat.

Overall, quite intersting, and a very ambitious first beer, but there is just way too much happening. The flavours are not well integrated with one another and the result is not very enjoyable. Simpler would have been better.

 1,030 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
2/5  rDev -42.9%

Photo of lgmol
3.99/5  rDev +14%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of leaddog
3.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a murky chestnut with red highlights and a finger width of tan head.

Smell - Chai-like spices (cardamom), caramel malts, oak barrels, residual alcohol, slight earthy hops, raisin and fig.

Taste - Dominated by spices, followed by caramel malts, oak, and dark fruit. Hint of earthy hops and maple syrup.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full bodied with light carbonation. Finishes with a lingering sweetness on the palate.

Overall - For a barleywine with 25 different ingredients, Bush Pilot delivers a valiant effort. Although all these ingredients were hard to detect and the spices dominated the beer, I give kudos to these guys for trying something "outside the box".

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Photo of Franck
3/5  rDev -14.3%

Too much flavors at the same time: nutmeg, cloves, maple syrup and dark fruits. Very bitter with aromas of dry wood and orange peels. Calvados barrel aging don't taste a lot, lost into this flavors mess. Actually a good beer, but there is work to do to equilibrate all the flavors. But thumbs up for the effort

 310 characters

Photo of pootz
4.27/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle – Pours a dark opaque brown colored ale in the snifter, when held to light this is a beautiful hazed ruby color. 2 finger tight-pored tan cap which lasts and laces (a rarity in barley wines) – big proteins in this brown big brown ale. The operative word for delineating this beer’s character is – “complex and layered”.—the aroma is rich – spice, dark fruit, succulent fruit, herbaceous tones, layered malt aromas – amazing – overkill? The flavour tells the tale – from the front side to the middle to the finish this ale is complex. The palate is assaulted with a host of flavours from piquant to subtle – spices, fruits, malts, herbs, wood, hops and various impressions caused by these amalgams – some new aroma or taste emerges as the brew warms – this holds great promise for what cellaring will do to this brew. This is barley wine meets spiced ale meets barrel aging. Wonderful first offering for this brewing company – they will be the one to watch. I think those who panned this ale either don’t understand the barley wine genre or are not tasting what’s there.

 1,116 characters

Photo of korguy123
4.04/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into snifter. Dated Mid Jan bottling date.

This is a huge ingredient list... and aged in barrels I've never heard of from a company I've never heard of. (It's Apple Brandy for anyone who doesn't know and doesn't feel like using Google)

Murky, opaque, raisin colored pour. Zero head or lacing as the label had promised.

There is a ton going on in here. Raisins, Apple Brandy, figs, dates, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, strawberries, those candied pineapples you find in good trail mix (random smell of the night) apricots, orange rind, some alcohol with a touch of ginger? It smells borderline on a winter warmer instead of a barleywine.

Coffee surprisingly in the start and finish of the mouthfull. Cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, apricots, a bit of orange potpourri (slightly perfumey) It has one of those tastes that makes you scratch your head but it actually works. Brandy and some oak. Brown sugar, vanilla and a touch of alcohol.

Light to medium body, decent carbonation, slightly dry finish.

This was unexpected. I saw it listed on grabbed a bottle, (slightly hefty price) and was shocked reading the back label at home. 25 ingredients and barrel aged. Pretty adventurous and enjoyable. Knowing what is in it and it's process the price doesn't bother me as much.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.42/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at the LCBO in the summer of 2013. Let it sit for a year as a beer of this magnitude could use some time to settle.

From a 75cl bottle into a snifter
Barleywine in calvados barrels
Twenty five ingredients
Best Before October 2020

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, slightly thinner, off-white head with lousy retention. Head quickly recedes to a faint wisp and ring. Body is maroon red, clear, with no carbonation evident. A slight wisp remains leaving some falling dots down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel, dried fruit, apple and orange notes, some red fruits and touches of vanilla on the nose. Light maple syrup and hints of coffee are there as well. Seems like the plethora of adjuncts listed on the side of the bottle are there to some degree or another, but not sure if it actually makes something good. It’s definitely interesting though.

TASTE: Caramel, apples and dried fruit up front, with some alcohol and spices at the swallow. Cardamon is the more dominant spice here. Bold and lingering finish of oak, apples and sweet red fruit, caramel and vanilla, light maple syrup and just a hint of bitter coffee as well. Spices like cardamom, clove and cinnamon linger as well. Complex, but perhaps a touch too sweet for my palate. The calvados barrels are well measured and add just the right amount of apple and booze here.

PALATE: Medium body and lower levels of carbonation. A bit prickly on the palate, not overly creamy, unfortunately, goes down fine and finishes sticky. A touch of heat lingers.

OVERALL: This brew was actually a lot of fun. Sure, they went nuts and threw in everything but the kitchen sink, but so what. I can imagine the brewers walking around a store somewhere throwing everything that seemed even half-appropriate into their cart, getting back to their brew set up and going, “so now what?” It was fun to go through the list of ingredients, trying to pick out what I could. The beer is rather sweet, so those of you looking for a good bitter-sweet b-wine will be disappointed. Drink this if you like sweet barleywine and are interested in seeing a new brewery shoot for the moon. One might interpret this as a muddled mess and too ambitious for a beginning brewery, but others will have a good time, especially if you have a couple people to share and discuss with. I finished the whole bottle over the course of an evening and rather enjoyed it. Would drink again. Cheers!

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Photo of biegaman
3.52/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Stormy Monday looks like it just barely survived a storm... and is only about as cheery as Mondays. Aptly named, I guess. It is excessively murky and muddied, completely flat and haggard looking. It's a sort of barrel brown tone beer with cinnamon stick coloured edges but absolutely no clarity, highlights, or carbonation whatsoever.

I'm glad I opened this around Christmas time - it exudes very holiday-themed scents of orange peel and fruit cake. Its bouquet is defined by its spices which include (rather evidently) cinnamon, clove, anise, and cardamom; it's a lot like a chai tea.

Spending more than 7 months in Domaine Dupont Calvados barrels - 60% of the beer, anyhow - has unsurprisingly contributed both a stewed apple flavour and a little bit of brandy-like warmth. The maltiness of the Barleywine feeds into this profile with sticky-sweet toffee notes.

When brewing with 25 - yes, count 'em, 25 - different ingredients it's unlikely that each and every one will be tasted. Among this 'dog's breakfast' some things are more obvious (the spices, the dried apple, raisin, and figs) whereas others go virtually undetected (the coffee, juniper berries, vanilla). Maple syrup contributes not so much in taste but in texture.

Taking the advice of other reviewers, I've let the beer "settle" for several months and am still taking my time with my half of the bottle. I was also smart enough not to open this until I had a friend with whom to share it (the brewery recommends as much). The 11% might not be so obvious but it's compounded by the chai-like spice and residuals of the Calvados barrels.

The guys at Niagara College and Nickelbrook must have scoured the globe for some of these ingredients so it's only fair that the beer turn out nothing quite like any other I've tried; Stormy Monday is as unique - but not quite as fantastic - as it is billed. It's a ballsy first foray into the commercial beer scene; the confidence and ambition is worth admiring... and supporting!

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Photo of Cycle69
4/5  rDev +14.3%

Photo of KrisDLSmith
4/5  rDev +14.3%

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Stormy Monday from Bush Pilot Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.5 out of 5 with 30 ratings