Cane Life 2020 (Red Label) | Other Half + J. Wakefield
From a 515ml bottle served warm at 14 degrees Celsius into a TeKu glass. I picked up this beer straight from the brewery about 5 weeks ago - it's still well within optimal drinkability. My expectations are high.
The beer pours a very dark brown (opaque black in the glass) with no head. No lacing - and as you can imagine - no retention. It's ok (and expected), I just wish it had some kind of foam going on...
Strong intensity with sweet balance. The aroma is rich, luxurious, and dessert-like with impressive depth and complexity. Rich chocolate brownies with toasted coconut, and caramel. Molasses and black licorice blend with ethanol and dark fruit. Hints of amaretto (boozy almonds + vanilla). A touch of spice. The dry nose is sweet, round, and reminiscent of biscuity malt, toffee, and raw sugar. Very impressive. World class.
Follows the aroma with strong intensity, sweet balance, and assertive perceived bitterness. The palate opens up sweet with notes of caramel, raw sugar, vanilla, and dark fruit which carry over to a delicious center where the beer takes on a boozy chocolate brownie character topped up with coconut, almonds, caramel, and spice. Hints of black licorice and molasses. The long finish is strong and sweet-ish with notes of coconut, milk chocolate, caramel, dark fruit, cinnamon-like spice, and ethanol. Deeelish.
Full body with medium-low carbonation. The mouthfeel is heavy, chewy, and round with considerable alcohol warming and a luscious finish. No astringency or harshness of any kind on the palate. Heavy and lush - world class.
Other Half Brewing's + JWB collaboration Cane Life 2020 (red label) is a world class pastry stout. The beer pours a black liquid with no head to speak of. I'd appreciate even marginal fluff with fair retention, but this is expected of a 14% ABV beast. As I always say, when the flavour and overall drinking experience are stellar, I don't mind the looks. That's the case with this one. The flavour is rich and complex - some would even call it decadent. I call it scrumptious. A beer capable of evoking memories of specific desserts is not easy to create. This is a dessert sipper well-shared and appreciated with friends. The perfect end to a nice meal or just "one of those days" - maybe even celebrating passing the BJCP entrance exam (wink wink). Yes, some people will find this too sweet, but as luscious as this is, it has enough alcohol and hops to not be cloying. I highly recommend this to those with a sweet tooth and an appreciation for liquid desserts. My thanks to Other Half and J Wakefield Brewing for creating something outstanding. Next stop? Cane Life 2020 green label.