Brewdog/Mikkeller: I Hardcore You (Scotland: IIPA: 9.5% ABV)

Visual: Steamed mahogany, clear with a worlds map outline of a dark bubbles head thinly dusted across.

Nose: Pineapple, passion fruit, dry oh so very dry hops. Peach, hayfield and cold cellars. Crushed seeds and grain dust air. Strawberry and that slight lemon sharpness wrapped around wondrous bitterness. Grapefruit, oh so much hops and fruit. Finally dry malt and ice cream syrup sweetness.

Body: Bitter, pineapple, huge hops, sweet apricot syrup. Grapefruit and hop oil. Malt drinks, fluffy hops and popcorn. Tiny amount of sweet butter.

Finish: Massive dry bitterness, charring and hops, dusty and mouth drying. Unsweetened chocolate dust, greenery and pine needles. Dashing hints of sweetness that don’t survive long enough to identify.

Conclusion: I adore this beer but the things that it does to my mouth are just cruel. Tongue drying to an extent that calls for release, this massive fruit and hop beer just layers itself all over your mouth and wont let go. Immense flavour and matching bitterness, you can feel as it roams around and sets up home. There is sweetness there, but you feel it ebb away drip by drip leaving hops and bitter dryness victorious again.

Oddly this isn’t a bad thing – well as long as you have something wet on standby for when you finish. It’s an enthralling experience and immerses you in its hypnotic grasp. A beer that makes solo drinking less like being an alcoholic and more like transcendent meditation.

Notes: Drunk whilst listened to the wonderful work of †‡† (http://www.no-conclusion.com/2010/10/07/†‡†-san-marino-feat-unison/) and admiring the photography of Spleencheesemonkey especially (http://www.flickr.com/photos/spleencheesemonkey/3276942659/)