Brewdog: Libertine Black Ale (Scotland: Black IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Black with a large charcoal dusted tight bubbled head.

Nose: Lime. Kiwi. Passion fruit. Slightly roasted nuts. Charcoal dust

Body: Bitter and roasted. Liquorice. Egg plants. Smooth coffee like bitterness, but with a growing rough hop character. Chocolate. Fudge. Passion fruit. Dried pineapple and lime sweets.

Finish: Cashew nuts. Bitter hops. Coffee beans. Rough feel. Kiwi. Lactose. Lime.

Conclusion: After the excellent Equity For Punks 2011 take on the Black IPA I had high hopes for this beer. The similarities are quickly evident with both having great smoothness. This one is a bit below EFP’s, but that is probably linked with the roasted character and bitterness being more present which will naturally give a rougher feel.

This sues the good old Simcoe hop to good effect. It’s a hop I usual prefer in lighter coloured beers where it is able show itself fully without the malt interfering. However its bitterness and nice but oddly vegetable like characteristics are plain to see here.

Also like EFP the hops bring a large amount of citrus notes into play, more forthrightly here, which is pretty much necessary considering the upped bitter character. Very tongue drying bitter in the finish, and impressively so. The roasted elements present are quite stout like and gives the impression of a heavily hopped stout without the clinging hop character that I dislike in that style.

The mix of styles, that being stouts roasted style, IPA hoppiness and citrus, and general smoothness, are all well done. For drinkability EFP does beat it however due to being smoother and easier to drink. Then again good luck finding any more bottles of that these days.  This is impressively placed in the style and enjoyable. It aims more for Sublimely Self Righteous Ale’s place in the BIPA world, and while it doesn’t reach that height you can respect the attempt.

A tasty uncompromising beer.

Background: Initially this was going to be Libertine Porter, which I tried on tap a while back but never reviewed. However Brewdog felt that it was too close to their Alice Porter, so turned out this instead.  I’ve heard a few negative comments made towards its label by a few women I know, who feel that the use of Slut” and “Whore” in the labelling are more than somewhat insulting. This has not been a universal viewpoint however. Myself I feel it’s a tad off, but considering the choice of title for the beer it fits with the subject matter.  However between this, Trashy Blond and Bitch Please I am starting to think that Brewdog is wearing this shtick a tad thin and if it continues in future beer labels and names it will start seeming less forgivable.  As always I am not an unbiased commentator on Brewdog Beers.