Brewdog AB 04 (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 15% ABV)

Visual: Dark black, frothy brown head that leaves a brown tide around the glass.

Nose: Light nasal tingling, lemonade, coffee and slight potpourri. Minor eye watering after leaning in for a deep sip. Blackcurrent, gin, treacle and molasses. Crushed chilli seeds, liquorish, vanilla and butter.

Body: Smooth chocolate, blackcurrent and blueberry. Smooth and slick. Slight spiciness, fudge, molasses. Really creamy. poppadom green sidings. Bitter touches. Gin. Frothy coffee texture.

Finish: Warming air, that starts to linger on the lips about half way through. Charring and coffee, bitter chocolate. Whisky, slow building spice and fire.

Conclusion: Well, considering I was expecting AB03 this was a touch of a shock to the system. It didn’t take me long to realise my mistake. This thing is a smooth rich chocolate monster, delicious, and yet there’s an edge lying underneath, like sunken threats to a ships hull they await. It just tingles across the tongue for the most part, revitalising and making it a sensation as much as a flavour, but the odd moment comes for it to leap out. Thankfully there’s enough blackcherry sweetness to keep it under wraps and merely an enjoyable element for most of the time.

This spicy spark is what makes it feel a touch different from the innumerous high quality Imperial Stouts that exist. Unlike the god awful chilli lager I once tried ( a thing of legend in its horror and test of character to finish, one day maybe the story can be told), this is actually a good beer, and intriguing to try, a slow warming addition to an already fine beer.

Not the best, but different and very good, and more importantly different from the herd. Well worth a bottle.

(Addendum: Since the tasting notes I have had an “official” AB04, the taste is nigh identical so I didn’t do a new tasting note, the only difference is it seems it had more time with the chili which is now much more evident, this does nothing to hurt the beer and emphasizes its unique point so all in all a fantastic success.)

(An explanation for the” previously unknown beer” commeny, this was originally the unlabeled beer in the photo below which I posted with the note

“So I got in the post some beers that were meant to be my AB03, that were however unlabelled. After breaking one open it turns out that they were not AB03 but instead some mystery brew: Current opinion based on the tasting I did is that it is in fact the not even near to being released AB04! A coffee and cocoa made imperial stout with the worlds hottest chilli used in the making. It is therefore Work In Progress and as soon as I drink a labelled beer that tastes the same I will tell you if I guessed right (the second highest guess is the new Bashah reserve, but it doesn’t seem quite bitter enough for Bashah unless the berries smoothed it massively”

Since I have had AB04 and can confirm it is the same beer, but with a slight more time in the tank with the chili as described above – a great beer and one I’m glad I got to try early 🙂 )