Trafalgar Critical Mass | All or Nothing Brewhouse

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Trafalgar Critical MassTrafalgar Critical Mass
20 Ratings
Trafalgar Critical MassTrafalgar Critical Mass

Brewed by:
All or Nothing Brewhouse
Ontario, Canada

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 17.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
The mother of all! A double imperial I.P.A. brewed with pale ale and Munich malts then blasted with Target and Challenger hops.

Added by Sammy on 05-24-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 17
Reviews by mrmanning:
Photo of mrmanning
3.32/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing Derek! This one is under-rated for sure. Piours a carbon copy pepsi style liquid in the glass. Lots of initial head, with little left after about 20 seconds, but leaves moderate lace. The aromas are black cherries, plums, cola, bell pepers, and black peper. Tastes sweet like cola, surgary plums, dates, raisins, peppery sharp, deep rooted roasty malts. It’s certainly a sipper, but rather enjoyable in small doses. Their best yet.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Popsinc
3.19/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

200 ml bottle....pours a semi-cloudy brownish with zero head and very minimal carbonation....

the nose was sweet, some brown sugar and spicey fruit....taste was sweet initially...molasses and brown sugar, some spice came through mid-sip, alcohol kick moderte off the back end....mouthfeel was somewhat sticky, almost flat due to the lack of carbonation...a little too sweet and lack of mouthfeel to give it better drinkability

as a side note, this beer was the perfect companion with Pralines & Cream ice cream

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Photo of beerhunter13
4/5  rDev +31.1%

Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black, first appearing like a dark wine in the light, or bourbon, no head. Very boozy aroma. Unfiltered, coca-cola-ish lemon/lime, with some Rochefort mouthfeel and spices and Caramel. A good experiment out of the blue from Trafalgar, but 13% was unnecessary.

Had a bottle aged a few months, and the aroma and taste gets better. I hope to find another bottle and store it for 4 years.

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Photo of jsnoek
3/5  rDev -1.6%

Photo of eat
1.06/5  rDev -65.2%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to ritzkiss for bringing this little bottle by. I love trying "interesting" brews and this one certainly qualifies.

The very first BA review of this beer specifically mentions an interest in aging this specimen for four years. As far as I can tell, this was a one-off, so here it is at ~four years. I would have loved to have tried it fresh in order to compare. Since there's no brewing date or best before on the bottle, here's a rundown of what I found inside:

Critical Mass pours a murky, dull straw colour with some black sludge sediment from the bottom of the bottle. The head is to be expected of such a high ABV; only a ring around the glass of large, white bubbles. This honestly does not look very appealing.

At 13% or 15% ABV (?), you would think four years of aging wouldn't be out of the question. Well, it is. Scents of rubber shoe, mint and baking soda prevail with chemicals, alcohol, orange rind and some light hops following. If I was wearing a blindfold, I would have thought this is some kind of cleaning solution.

What comes to mind immediately was the time I tried chewing a Tylenol instead of swallowing it; a bad idea which is even worse in beer form. Bitter medicine dominates, along with burning rubber and electronics, artificial sweetener and more mint. I can't even put into words how bad this tastes. Eric, are you trying to poison me?

The feel...does it matter?

Worst. Beer. Ever. Period. Probably the most disgusting liquid my mouth has ever encountered. Why can't I rate drinkability as zero? Impressively terrible; quite an achievement. I think I wet my tongue three times with this stuff before pouring it down the drain. The label depicts this brew perfectly: an atomic bomb of nastiness.

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Photo of ritzkiss
1/5  rDev -67.2%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Little nip bottle from bobsy, 15%. Thanks....?

Pours like a murky apricot juice until the bottom where a black oil slick-like sludge joins the glass - looks like evil pond water, no head, no carbonation. Some sediment/sludge left in the neck of the bottle.

This is the type of beer that makes you completely re-evaluate all your reviews, it re-calibrates your spectrum, making you understand how bad a beer can actually be. The dominant flavour is a deep medicinal bitterness much like chewing a mouthful of Tylenol tablets, add chalk, smoldering electronics, stewed veggies, mint, rotting organic material, bitter ink, leather polish, ethanol, a slight leafiness and a dash of honeysuckle.

Worst beer I've ever had, I wanted to be done after one sip and I think I only made it to about three. I need to go back and re-rate those macro lagers way up because in comparison their drinkability is through the roof. This holds great value due to the sheer foulness which would be hard to replicate.

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Photo of papat444
3.24/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Flashback #311

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Photo of Mindsquall
3.42/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Made a pitstop at the brewery on the way home and came across this in their fridge. tiny little bottles with a mushroom cloud on them. I was intrigued.

This poured a dark brown almost black with no head at all. Smell is sweet, syrupy and boozy, not bad but definitely potent. Interestingly however this brew is fairly complex, some prune flavors, a crapload of malt, followed by a dry alcohol warming going down. Interestingly enough the alcohol didn't burn, and this is surprisingly drinkable for something this potent.

Not bad, this is one that cannot be rushed however. Definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of Derek
3.83/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bottle is labelled 14%. Probably the stongest beer in Canada, by a fairly good margin!

Closer to a Belgian strong dark ale?

A: Dark, brownish-burgundy. Zero head. Zero leg.

S: Aroma is similar to a fortified wine: Raisins, figs, a little prune & sherry (alcohol/booze). Very nice!

T: Lots of raisin & prune flavour, with an assertive alcohol in the finish. A little dark caramel, sugar & plum. Plenty of alcohol warmth, but it isn't overly harsh. Light on the hop bitterness & flavour (though somewhat spicy). Plenty of yeast sediment, which tastes surprisingly healthy!

M: Moderate body is really well attenuated for it's strength, maybe a little too much? Though it is nicely digestible, as a Belgian should be. Lightly carbonated (a Belgian should certainly have a LOT more carbonation); finish is dry.

D: It's a sipper. But at 14%, it is quite smooth.

Yes, 14% was unnecessary... (even their meads are only 9%)... but it does showcase their talent & future potential. I look forward to their next release!

Press release:


Take cover! Trafalgar Brewing has been planning a line of Very Strong Beers for some time now, and the first of these potentially destructive brews is set for release in June. Critical Mass is a spiced Belgian-style Ale which tips the scales at over 14% alcohol while remaining pleasantly drinkable...but please, only in small doses! Critical Mass will be available for purchase (in our retail store only) by late June in unique 200 mL bottles.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.8/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A unique offering. Poured into a Chalice. Presents a brown ruby color with no head. Low carbonation, and no lace. Aromas of dark plums, figs, dark cherries and sweet, hearty malts. Nice. Taste is full bodied and quite filling; complex notes of deep roasted malts tangle over sweet nuts and dark berries. The essence of light wood and sweet molasses make their way thru, but quickly bow out to the warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is dense and rich, very liquor like. Nice. Drinkability is average. The higher ABV really keeps this from being any kind of consistant brew i'd want on a regular basis, yet it's still mighty good. I'd like to see a lower ABV version (perhaps 7-8%). Special thanks to Derek for the sample.

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Photo of crwills
3.55/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up 6 of these (in tiny 200ml bottles) from the brewery on Sunday (Father's Day) when they were having their open house. Cracked one open the next day after dinner.

Poured into a white wine glass. Dark reddish brown, like dried blood. Has a grainy look to it. Tiny layer of bubbles that can't really be called a head appears for an instant and then evaporates.

Aroma is quite nice... cherries and wine, with some yeast presence, candy, and a bit of breadiness.

Taste is mainly sugary sweet with some strong warming alcohol. The cherry notes remain, while the breadiness isn't really present after a few sips. Mouthfeel is decent, if a bit syrupy. Aftertaste is not memorable.

Overall, a pretty good attempt by Trafalgar, and a great deal at $2 CAD (at least from my experience buying high ABV singles). I agree with a previous reviewer though -- it really didn't need to be 14%.

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Photo of Viggo
3.47/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Toronto Beerfest 2006.

Pours a clear brown/red, tiny tan head forms, goes fast, but leaves a thin ring, no lace. Smell is boozy, dark fruits, sherry, some spices. Taste is sweet, caramel and sherry, some fruits, alcohol, but still not overpowering. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. Really not bad for how big it is, I hope Trafalgar keeps doing things like this!

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Photo of GodOfBeer
2.37/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Comes in a tiny little 200ml bottle with a label that looks like it was printed on my commodore 64.

Pours a clear deep golden colour with no head and no carbonation to speak of.

Smells very sweet, sugary, some light mango fruity smell, and sort of winey.

Tastes very sweet, almost like wine, the alcohol is well hidden. Needs more hops. It almost tastes like they just added craploads of sugar just to increase the alcohol content..

Thin, uncarbonated mouthfeel, I was not impressed with this at all.

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Photo of pootz
3.6/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

200 ml bottle...fresh from the brewery was a lab sample.

Color is nice a deep cola color with ruby highlightings, lightly clouded with yeast, small off color cap dissapears instantly, low carbonation.

Aroma of dried fruits and black treacle, light burlap mustiness and a waft of fusil alcohol (in the aroma it is subdued though)

Medium bodied with a moderate malt spine amply supplimented with Demerara

Slick, oily mouth feel.

Sweet and herbal up front with flavors of dried plumbs, dates , raisin, black strap molasses against some decent british hopping that emparts a herbal tone when saturated with the booze and sugars in this ale. Midway it gets a tad rough with the alcohol peeking in ( not too bad though)...finish is vinous like a medera port, light licorice tones and a light bittering in the end...then massive warming.

Alcohol not as hard to take in the new product as I would have thought. Well done Trafalger I’m glad I put a dozen of these wee 200ml scamps down in the cellar for aging....we will see what a year or two does to this boozy vinous ale.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A huge sign boasting of this being Canada's strongest beer caught my attention at the Toronto Beer Festival. Inside the tent it was being served from colorful 'radioactive' barrels.

It pours a very dark brown, nearly black with no head to speak of, just a few bubbles around the edges. The aroma is a heady mix of dried fruits, figs, demerara rum and shear sweetness. The taste is extremely sweet with banana notes and an estery alcohol solvency. Alcohol heat and port notes make up the finish. Hops are alarmingly absent. The mouthfeel is very light for a beer of this gravity.

Its OK, but unneccesarily strong (15% at the fest). Alcohol dominates the flavor. It seems to be gimmick of sorts, relying more on novelty and flashiness than substance.

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Photo of biegaman
3.32/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Listed as 14.7% ... 6oz snifter sampled off tap at Volo.
Nice presentation, comes with no head (which was no surprise considering the high gravity and Trafalgar's track record with poor carbonation) Nearly but not quite opaque , deep chestnut amber shine - black on other angles. Aroma fairly complex, offers alot to ponder. Boozy, plenty of over-ripened fruit notes. Mouthfeel is thinned out, syropy and under carbonated. Again, hard to say if its the brewery of just partial to the style. Not much flavour, no spice or roastness. Wine/Liquor like in character, I taste olives and grapes more than anything else. Kept itself together for 14%
Was better initially, became more discontenting as I worked through the sample. Glad to try, a neat and welcomed experiment with mixed success in my opinion.

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Photo of TerryW
3.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark chesnut with no head or lace.

Noticeable fruit and alcohol in the nose. Slightly sweet, distinct caramel/toffee aroma dominates.

Sweet and boozy to taste, alcohol dominates. Not nearly as sweet as cousin Korruptor, so it is closer to being properly drinkable. Could use a bit more carbonation and a little less alcohol to let other flavours through.

Pleasant finish, doesn't linger overlong. Maybe a good beer to finish an evening with.


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Photo of peensteen
3.15/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Now this was interesting. Pours a deep amber almost light brown colour. Smells of swwet caramel toasted malt and candy corn, very sweet on the nose. Tastes almost exactly how it smells at first and then your hit with a warm boozy taste that sticks with you a while. Has a thick syrupy mouthfeel and drinks decent considering that it comes in at 17%ABV. Had a 6oz. glass and I probably would again but not more than 6oz. a definite sipper here.

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Photo of allergictomacros
2.2/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Clear gold. No head at all.

S - Boozy. Some fruit and very sweet smelling. Also alcohol and some vegetal aromas.

T - Immensely sweet. Strong booziness and a touch of grassy hops. I suppose it's a matter of balance, but with the booze and sugar, this needs some more hops or something. This really is way too sweet. Sugary... cloying.

M - Very heavy with minimal carbonation

D - Not very drinkable at all. Way too sweet. I'm glad these bottles are so small.

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Trafalgar Critical Mass from All or Nothing Brewhouse
Beer rating: 3.05 out of 5 with 20 ratings
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