Brewdog: Abstrakt AB02 (Scotland: American Strong Ale/Imperial Red: 18% ABV)

Visual: Small bubbles, fizzy dark cherry red that shimmers in a slightly hazy fashion. A frothy brown bubbled head appears on the pour but the high alcohol kills it before the bottle has even been emptied.

Nose: Strawberry, grapefruit, hops lemon and a rich malty character. Passion fruit and planed wood. Sharp sour hoppiness.

Body: Gingerbread and hops, grapefruit. These initial light flavours are then swamped by massive charring and bitter hops. Maybe a touch of cherry wins out before the onslaught, Bitter chocolate and as you acclimatise a huge malt body comes out. If you hold the beer at the front of your mouth sour grapes, caramel, strawberry and toffee are evident.

Finish: Full impact bitter hops, dry and full of charcoaled wood. Very evident alcohol, gin? , at this point. Bitter chocolate and treacle lightly.

Conclusion: A light fruit nose, a body that shows grapefruit and light sourness for as long as you can keep it at the front, then the back, oh the back.

It’s like some bastard just nail gunned hops directly into my tongue and jammed it into a barrel full of them. An immense assault of bitterness at the end and evident alcohol kick to match.

So a subtle beer it is not, well not in the latter half at least, it’s almost a challenge seeing how long you can roll the lighter fruity front along the tip of your tongue before you succumb to swallowing and letting yourself in for everything that follows.

It’s a 5 AM Saint with everything turned up to 11, and hops to 12 falling into a Hardcore IPA V2 Back.

It is remarkable how much they can pack into the front to contrast the back, and as you acclimatise a remarkable complexity can be found in the secondary assault.

Very much a Brewdog ale, fruit, especially grapefruit, hops and an ABV that makes you gasp. Initially seeming unsubtle but revealing itself over time. Even then it’s not a refined gem, but a sledgehammer of flavour. Worth it if you can keep up.