Brewdog/Stone Brewing: Bashah: Highland Park and Black Raspberry Reserve 2009 (Scotland: Black IIPA: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Opening the bottle results in an explosion of froth not seen since the De Dolle beer days, resulting in hastily grabbing a glass to catch the cascading froth.  Unsurprisingly then it has a massive brown head with dashing of red dust upon, the head leaves lace over the dark brown black body as it diminishes.

Nose: Cinnamon, smoke and peat. Blackberries, iodine traces and sour mash. Ground bitter chocolate, mulled wine and fish oil.

Body: Very smooth front before the main assault, then bitter with sour blue berries, iodine and chocolate. Very tart. Raspberries, an almost lambic sourness at the back and touch of salt.

Finish: Bitter chocolate and hops, the dry hops remain the longer of the two. Salt and sourness.

Conclusion:  The original Bashah was a bitter delicious thing, with lots of hops and rich layers of flavour.  This one, well it dials down the hops a tad but otherwise brings a hell of a lot of force to play.  From its explosive emergence from the bottle, to the still bitter to the core Bashah body, to the sour berries or the salt and medicinal whisky influence, this is a monster.

Strangely, considering Highland Park is one of the more subtle islands, it brings a huge amount of medicinal peat and salt to the game here, most likely because the Bashah and berries overpower the more subtle notes that it normally brings to the game.

Still the bitter as hell Bashah can only just keep up with the forces brought to bay by the added elements, the different elements rampage against each other, explosively fighting on your taste buds.

The Bashah core does managed to hold its own just enough to bring its bitterness back to the fight, even if the ageing has muted the hops.  Well worth a ride if you can hold on, if only for the experience of doing so. A demolition derby of a beer.