Trafalgar Maple Bock | Trafalgar Ales & Meads

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Trafalgar Maple BockTrafalgar Maple Bock

Brewed by:
Trafalgar Ales & Meads
Ontario, Canada

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Maple Bock is a uniquely Canadian twist on the German tradition of Bock brewing. Pure Ontario maple syrup is added after fermentation and then the beer is lagered for a full two months to achieve full strength and flavour. A rich, dark beer with a distinct tang of maple.

Added by pootz on 04-17-2007

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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 45
Photo of BuckyBeerBeaver
4.15/5  rDev +93%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For our second foray into the beers of Trafalgar Ales & Meads we sampled their Maple Bock ("MB"), purchased in a 650 ml bottle from the LCBO. The bottle had a best before date of June 2012 punched into the label, and was 6.5% alcohol by volume.

MB poured a very dark, opaque brown, with an aggressive pour producing 1" of short-lived tan coloured head. The head faded to a foamy collar within 2-3 minutes and left considerable lacing down the glass. Its aroma was dominated by coffee and chocolate but the maple syrup was certainly detectable. Who doesn't love the aroma of coffee, chocolate and maple syrup? When I swirl the beer around the glass I can also smell the hops. We're off to a good start...good looks and aroma. The first taste to hit the palate is the maple syrup, followed by the chocolate and coffee, ending with a mild hop bitterness. A bitter/coffee aftertaste lingers but isn't so strong or long lasting as to be offensive. Trafalgar has the carbonation just right on this one...the fairly low level of carbonation that you would typically experience with a stout. Mouthfeel is slightly creamy and I would describe MB as medium to full bodied. Trafalgar has a winner here! So many beers with "maple syrup" on the label fail to deliver any detectable presence of maple syrup, but that's not the case here. At $4.75 per 650 ml bottle MB represents decent value for money, and I would certainly buy this beer again. Good work Trafalgar.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.48/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

This one I saw at the LCBO because I recognized it from the bottom 100 list, and knew I had to have it to see how bad it could be. That and I didn't have a Trafalgar bottlecap for my collection.

Appearance: A very dark murky brown colour that does not seem to boast very much carbonation in the body. The half finger of head immediately dissipated. Not looking good so far but still doesn't look harmful to drink.

Smell: Well, it smells like maple syrup and malt. Given the name, the Maple syrup smell is expected, and given it's supposed to be a bock the high malt is also expected so good. There is a bit of an odd yeast funk to it, but for the most part is comes as advertised.

Taste: Surprisingly the malt starts out this beer, as rich molasses malt carries a milder maple taste in the background. The two begin to switch places as the maple becomes more pronounced and the malt eases up. It's doing very well as a dark chocolate and hop touch comes, but is ruined by a vicious metallic bite that accompanies it.

Mouthfeel: The lack of head is not impressive and the carbonation falls flat almost immediately. The transitioning works, but sadly the aftertaste is the metallic bite that builds on itself and not the malt or maple taste I'd want. It also gets a little bit clingy, but I guess that's to be expected from a maple beer.

Drinkability: Drinking it is fine, it's the aftermath that is just awful. It's not overly sweet (as I would expect) but that's only because the metallic taste murders the only good parts of the beer. It is the very definition of overkill. Anyways, it's medium bodied and sits down well enough but I don't think I'd want to have more then one.

Final Thoughts: Well Trafalgar disappoints again, but not to the level that I would expect from a bottom 100 beer. Make no mistake, a maple bock beer is a great idea. It's just poorly implemented, either due to some bad or cheap ingredients or the wrong mix of them. It pains me because I know that there is someone out there that can tweak this beer and get it done right. I can't recommend it, but I'd want to see another brewery take this idea and try to run with it. Maybe I'll give it another shot a couple years from now.

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Photo of Foddz
1.82/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A: An aggressive, sloshing pour only yields the barest of soapy foams on top of this beer. Said foam wastes little time in vanishing. It doesn't seem well carbonated. Colour is deep caramel/cola. Looks more like a soft drink than a beer.

S: Caramlized notes. Sweetness. Maybe a hint of maple. Smells a bit overly sweet more than anything. Perhaps some woody/smokey overtones. It makes me think of an old log cabin in the woods. It manages to remain largely unappealing and bland in spite of some nice components.

T: Similar to the nose. Vaugely maple/caramel sweetness fades linearly into an even more vague bitterness I can only assume comes from whatever hops they put in this. If I swirl it in my mouth for long enough I can start to detect some candied fruit and perhaps cherries, but something seems off about those tastes as well. Possibly the edging in of ethyl alcohol flavours.

M: Pretty much completely flat. Mouthfeel is predominately watery with some stickiness from the sugar content and some harshness from the alcohol.

O: There's some promising aspects that do encourage me to try other Maple Bock style beers. However, bland tending towards harsh flavours and lackluster aesthetics leave one wondering what could have been.

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Photo of SebD
1.86/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown/amber color to it. It has a thin beige head that dies down fast and leaves very minimal lacing.

Smell: The aromas give out hints of maple syrup with maybe a hint of chocolate?

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a dominant maple syrup taste to it, light roasted malts, smokiness and metallic flavor.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with an overpowering maple syrup flavor and a thin and somewhat watery overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with bland and unbalanced flavors and aromas.


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Photo of Groulxsome
2.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 1 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had heard this was quite a bad beer, but I don't like to be told, so I had to get one (rather, a friend left one in my fridge).

A: Um, disappointing if this was a home-brew, devastating as a commercial beer. The head went away very quickly, was very, very light and bubbly for its brief existence, and left a dark brown-copper beer. The color of cola.

S: A nice maple smell, but that's it! I can't get much malt or anything at all. I'll give it a 3 for smelling like maple, which is a good smell, really.

T: Similar story here. It tastes like maple. As it warms there are some faint malt notes - something vaguely toasty. A little bitter, but it has a thinness like and extract home-brew. Not saying there is extract (I'm no expert), it just it missing some body.

M: Surprisingly light. I was expecting the maple to make it somewhat syrupy and heavy, but it was really thin. Very light carbonation.

O: I don't like being mean to a beer. I really want to go back and bump a number there and there to make this, overall, not so bad. The sad fact is that I feel sorry for all the nice maple syrup that went into making this beer. It could have been on nice pancakes or waffles, or in a nicer beer. If a friend had made this as a home-brew I'd end up drinking a few, it's just kinda sweet and plane. It's not offensive, but it's not something I'd have people flocking to his house to try. But, as for something to spend $5 on, it just isn't really worth it.

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Photo of thehyperduck
2.52/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber picked up at the LCBO; best before July 2012. Having heard such terrible things about this beer in the past, and being steadfast in my masochistic tendencies, I pretty much had to try this stuff. Served slightly warmer than fridge temperature.

The pour reveals a dark, muddy brown brew, effectively opaque between the darkness of the hue and the haziness of the liquid itself. Some reddish highlights when held to the light. Like most of the other things I've tried from this brewer, this stuff is just incapable of retaining a head for any length of time - even using my patented Angrypour, the tan-coloured, creamy foam went from one finger thick to a negligibly thin, uneven soapy film within a minute of pouring. The aroma is actually kind of nice, although unmistakably one-dimensional - that 'Trafalgar yeast' smell is fairly prevalent, along with an underlying malty sweetness and maple syrup notes.

Weird taste, not as bad as the reviews led me to believe though. The profile leans heavily on the malty side of things, with lightly roasted bready malts forming the backbone. Sweet-tasting with no relent; syrupy notes of molasses and maple remain prevalent throughout the sip. Some faint dark fruit/chocolate notes are just blown away by the generic syrupy sweetness. Roasted malts and some earthy, drying bitterness compose the aftertaste, which doesn't really linger. Unacceptably thin-bodied and watery for a bock, with a weird sour vibe that feels like it should not be there (but at the very least, stops this from being cloyingly sweet). No heat from the alcohol is apparent. Light carbonation, with a very smooth/flat mouthfeel.

Not good, but its badness has been exaggerated a little. It's also possible that Trafalgar has just improved the recipe/brewing method this season. Regardless, it's just not the level of quality a beer geek should expect from a 4-to-5 dollar bomber of beer. Disappointing when taken as a bock too, reminding me more of a brown ale than anything - and a thin one at that.

Final Grade: 2.52, which is in C-minus territory. This is my 8th trek into the world of Trafalgar beers, and although I seemed to be making a plea for leniency up there, it's still probably one of the lamest things I've had from this brewery. If I could use one word to describe this beer, it would probably be 'disorganized'. There are a few different flavours going on, and while none of them are terribly off-putting, they are balanced poorly and the result is something that just tastes like roasted malts and watery syrup. Not really a chore to drink, but I would not buy this again or recommend it to anyone else.

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Photo of andrenaline
2.08/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I consider myself an eternal optimist, either that or someone who likes to punish oneself over and over...

A - Pours a dark cola colour with a finger of head after a rough pour, little retention and no real lacing.

S - Bready caramel and maple syrop, raw oats and cheerios.

T - Typical Trafalgar metallic and odd leafy notes, the syrop comes through and isn't as overpowering as the nose implies. The bready caramel lingers alongside a strong leafy bitterness. Rather one dimensional with the flavours being unadventurous and rather tame for the style.

M - Disturbingly thin, reminiscent of flat coke with a sour dryness that lingers.

O - Well, admittedly I was a bit surprised by this one. Based on the rating I was expecting to drain pour this bottle, but it certainly wasn't that bad. A good example of the style? Absolutely not. Would I drink it again? Unfortunately, yes, because I made the mistake of buying two bottles.

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Photo of slitherySOB
1.65/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

I didn't realize this was a Trafalgar offering until after I brought it home. Well, how badly can they fuck up a maple bock? Pretty badly. First off, no foam whatsoever. It looks like a watered down cola. Sort of a dark copper or brown colour. Smells weak. I was expecting a more malty smell. A more sweet smell. A more, smell. Hardly any scent to this at all. It reminds me more of NA beer. Tastes, pathetic. If this was a bock, it was watered down. Very astringent, weak, thin mouthfeel. But oddly enough, despite the label of maple bock, I am detecting no maple syrup. Do you know what I am tasting? Maple leaves. That taste one gets in their mouth when raking leaves on an autumn day. It's not a good taste. Overall, a pathetic beer. Something I'd expect from Trafalgar.

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Photo of cyrenaica
1.8/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

650ml bottle
6.5% ABV
I tried this beer on April 5, 2011 after purchasing from one of my local LCBO outlets. The beer poured a translucent ruby red with a 1" tan coloured bubbly head. The aroma is maple first, sweet malt and floral hops second. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation. The flavour is sweet maple, sweet malt and nothing else. A good idea, but not much substance to support it.

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Photo of decimator
1.44/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

650ml bottle poured into a pint glass.
ABV 6.5%

A - Poured a dark brown with copper hues and a thin cream coloured bubbly head. Some lacing.

S - Light maple syrup sweetness and sour notes. I was expecting more sweetness.

T - There's some maple syrup and roasted malts in the finish but that's overshadowed with nasty metallic and sour notes.

M - Good carbonation, thin, and quite astringent.

O - Drain pour. There's no way I'm getting through the whole bottle.

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Photo of SkinnyElvis
1.42/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Here we go... Thanks to Jan for this brew obtained in a bet. I insisted he send it to me since I am masochistic & he said it was heroically bad.

A: The brew pours with a thin head. Dark amber. Nothing notable here from a regular bock.
S: Smells like maple syrup. I like maple syrup but not in beer.
T: Yuck! I almost spit it out upon sipping it. Tastes like watered down maple syrup. I can't detect much bock in here at all except a little bit of fruit/toffee. I taste some sourness towards the end of each sip which is nasty.
M: Very thin.
Overall: This is god awful. I told Jan I would finish the bottle (which I will!) but this is going to a painful experience.


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Photo of Roke87
3.18/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature

Appearance- Pours a dark dark brown colour, almost completely opaque but it does let some light through. Average pour yields a nice bubbly two fingers of off white head that slowly dissipates to an above average bubbly top and a nice ring leaving average lacing throughout the glass till finish.

Smell- I do get the maple right away on the nose but there’s not too much else going on here, very sweet with a hint of caramel malts in the background as well.

Taste- For the very low score it’s received on BA so far, it actually tasted a little better than I expected it to be. You do get the sweet maple syrup taste right off the bat and it does dominate a lot of the palate, and it finishes with a nice roasted malt flavour in there as well, although I do get a bit of and off almost metallic taste.

Mouthfeel- Light to Medium bodied this bock has pretty good carbonation if you ask me, goes down easy although it is a little on the light side, not overly bad on the mouth feel for a bock to be honest.

Overall- Definitely nothing to write home about but this batch of maple bock doesn’t really deserve this low of a score either. I also did not have high expectations and I was kind of surprised by this one, I mean I probably wouldn’t buy it again but it was worth a try for sure, and from such an underrated brewery I think this one is a step in the right direction for Trafalgar.

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Photo of Mit
2.91/5  rDev +35.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a pours a dark brownish amber colour with a decent head.

s-smells like maple when you smell it in the glass bottle.

t-Syrup not as pronounced...balanced by a nice bitterness, some dark fruits in there...kinda thin though.

m-Feels a little thin....but not bad for the 6% abv.

o- It's not great but I applaud their effort. At least it seems like they have any production issues under control now. I would buy this again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.23/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Deep brown with a very small amount of cream coloured head.

S - Maple syrup is evident immediately and is complimented by some light caramel and toffee notes.

T - Maple syrup is the dominant flavour with not much else coming through at all. A very slight toffee flavour is present but not much in the way of typical bock flavours. As I continued to drink this beer it became sweeter and sweeter and almost got too sweet by the end. Decent but very one dimensional.

M - Light to medium body with moderate carbonation.

D - My expectations were VERY low for this one and it did surprise me a little. It was not terrible as many of the reviews had prepared me for, but it certainly isn't worth buying again. Doesn't represent the style at all - that would be my big complaint.

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Photo of irc
4.14/5  rDev +92.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

What can I say? I liked it. Where a beer with a twist like this would normally fall flat (I'm looking at you GLB Pumpkin Spice Ale), this one delivers on the maple. It's a little thin, but I found it perfectly drinkable. The bottle I grabbed from the LCBO was capped well, fresh.

I'd drink it again.

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Photo of bryehn
2.92/5  rDev +35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fresh 2011 bottle from Ottawa, Ontario.

Pours a cola brown-ruby colour, very little head, but leaves a long-lasting, hair-thin ring.

Smells of sweet chocolate malt, table syrup and a slightly spicy malt and hop blend.

The maple is accompanied by a hearty smoke in the flavour, backed by a thick milk chocolate.

Mouthfeel is water and yeast, but very smooth.

This would have been better as a stout, there was a chocolate that never quite came through.

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Photo of sid
1/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I bought this beer from the LCBO, 650mL. I just opened it and I saw it was expired Sept 2007. I bought this in October. I thought to myself, this is a BOCK maybe this will do the beer good. I pour it. Smells sweet.

Then I look at the actual glass. I see a bunch of particles floating around! I look at the bottom of the bottle and I see that either the maple or beer stuck to the bottom and formed a hard like substance. I don't drain beer, so I went ahead and drank with with the particles. Like others have said, tastes sour. I didn't taste any maple. Ruined my thanksgiving dinner. Terrible beer, no one buy me!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
1.03/5  rDev -52.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle: Poured a deep burgundy color bock with a small foamy head with minimal retention and no lacing. Aroma is intensely sweet with an overabundance of primary sugar. Taste is cloying with way too much sweetness – totally gross and a drain pour. I can’t really understand what they try to do here but this is definitely the worst maple beer I had and I had some pretty bad one previously.

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Photo of CanuckRover
1.62/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Thought there may have been something wrong with this one, but since all the other reviews seem to match my experience exactly, I'll throw my thoughts in as well.

The idea of beer and maple is probably the holy grail for Canadian beer drinkers. I don't know any Canadians who haven't dreamed of the day these two great things can be combined (well). A Maple Bock sounded like just what we had all been waiting for. Unfortunately, as has already been pointed out, something went wrong.

To borrow from another review, cola is a pretty apt description for the pour and head, and like that reviewer I was still clinging to hope.

Sweet aroma with a hint of maple in there somewhere, but it certainly doesn't jump out at you.

I tried so hard to like it, but my taste buds put up too much of a fight. The sourness is overwhelming. Like the aroma, there was a maple hint somewhere in there but it was incredibly hard to get the taste and keep it, it was very slippery. Through all that there was a pleasant smokiness to the malt that was as elusive as the maple. These two notes hint at the possibility of a great beer, but this isn't it.

The cloying sweetness kept me from even finishing the beer and my girlfriend refused the rare chance to finish one of my drinks after trying it herself. Keep dreaming maple lovers.

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Photo of BDTyre
1.51/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

What happened? The idea of a bock -very malt with a bit of spice- and maple syrup seems like a great idea.

Murky brown with a viscious, slow dissipating head that just seems to keep growing.

Very weak maple nose, mostly just sour, rotten scent. Maybe some malt in there for good measure.

Taste is horrible: sour, acidic, bitter and metallic. Rancid, smoked meat background. Where are the malts? The slight hop bitterness? Or even the maple syrup?

Carbonation is way off, and this is hard to even get through a few mouthfulls.

The first time I tried this I thought maybe it had gone off...then I read the other reviews...something has gone terribly wrong with the production of this beer.

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Photo of mrtatulas
2.33/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I had heard about the Maple Bock in an article and was intrigued by the idea of adding maple syrup post-fermentation to add a more prominent maple flavour. I wish I had checked this site first, then maybe I would have gone for something more worth my money.

Appearance - its pour made me think of an oily Coca-Cola... dark brown, fizzy, with a light brown head that disappeared in less than a minute. So far, not too impressed. It must be the syrup. Remained cloudy long after the bubbles disappeared.

Smell - Smells like Lake Ontario at its worst. No floral or fruity notes, no hops, at all. I can't even smell any Maple.

Taste - A little better than it smelled... a sour-sweetness overshadows the hops, it's got to be the maple syrup again, this is not working at all like I thought it would. The aftertaste is not so good, my throat is full of some sort of goo, as if I've just puked. It also tastes like something's wrong with the water. I tried Trafalgar's Celtic Ale a while back and I thought the weird taste was a one-off but this is discouraging, I don't know if I want to buy anything from these guys again.

Mouthfeel - it feels exactly like you'd think maple syrup mixed with beer would... I don't know what else to say, it's interesting but the other factors are just turning me right off this beer.

Drinkability - I wouldn't unless you want to try it for yourself, maybe you'll like it. I don't really. I'm 5 sips into this stuff and it's hard to go any further. Overall really disappointing.

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Photo of Beers
1.53/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I recently bought a case of Harbour Gold, and was quite impressed with that beer, so I figured I would give this one a shot. I haven't had any other beer from this brewer

650 ml bottle purchased from the LCBO

The beer to me tasted sour. I think something went wrong with this bottle somewhere along the line.

I tried to taste past the sourness and get to the underlying character of the beer, but ultimately after a few sips it was a drain pour. I think that there was potential in there somewhere.

Hopefully they can get this cleared up. I would like to see some smaller Canadian Brewers doing well.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
1.66/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Yet another failure of a beer from this mediocre brewery.

Pours dark burgundy with a thin head and smattering of lace. The aroma is very sweet with malt sugars and maple syrup in abundance. A steely alcohol note is prominent in the nose as well. The taste is cloying with a malt extract cheap sweetness that is all too common with this brewery. a bit of earthy hops and some wet paper are there as well. A bit of alcohol numbing is evident. The mouthfeel is viscous and sickeningly slick and lacking in carbonation. The finish is sweet and hot (with booze).

I regret paying $5 for this bomber. Move along unless you have a taste for exceedingly sweet one dimensional beers.

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Photo of TerryW
1/5  rDev -53.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I can't believe that this stuff made it past the front door of the brewery - its utterly vile.

I'm also appalled that the LCBO would make this a choice as a seasonal beer as it does a huge discredit to other small Ontario brewers and their attempts to establish themselves as making a quality product. I thought that choosing a beer would involve something more than deciding it had a pretty label that would look nice on the shelf.

Pours dark with a short sputtering, soda pop type head. Fierce carbonation and colour make it look pretty much like a cola.

Questionable aroma, very sour to taste. Vague, rough edged hint of maple. Flat out unpleasant and unredeemable.

Trafalgar has never been a real favorite of mine - despite an occasionally credible brew - but this one is a disasterous mistake. For shame!

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Photo of Wintermute
2.25/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

650 ml bottle from the LCBO, dated best before Sept. 2007.

Medium brown liquid with a considerable amount of haze.
Poured with only the slightest amount of light brown head that disappeared almost instantly. Just couple specks of lace.
There was very little malt smell and essentially no hops smell. There was a kind of empty sweet smell; I thought it kind of smelled watery, if one can say that. The most distinguishable feature was a smell of sour, dried fruit. (maybe cherry?)
Tasting started somewhat watery and sweet. Then came the sour. Like soured fruit. And not in a good way. Some dried fruit notes too. But not much maple flavour, perhaps it all fermented away. No noticeable hops. Finished kind of watery too. At least the aftertaste doesn't linger with you.
The mouthfeel was like watered down syrup, with a slight effervescence.
After drinking enough of it to write this review, the taste didn't seem quite as bad as when I started. But not good enough to finish even the glass. Three quarters of the bottle went down the drain.

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Trafalgar Maple Bock from Trafalgar Ales & Meads
2.15 out of 5 based on 45 ratings.
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