Brewdog: Punk X/Punk IPA 2011 Onwards (Scotland: IPA: 5.6% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy banana grain mix, with an amber core. Large wheaty bubbled white head that leaves lace trails.

Nose:  Wheat, pineapple and grapefruit. Passion fruit. Very heady and fresh. Slightly sweet. Light spice dusting. Cinnamon, avocado and an orange zest.

Body: Bitter, lemon. Syrup sweetness. Banana. Pineapple. Light grapefruit. Light custard sweetness in the very middle.  Passion fruit again.

Finish: Gritty bitter and wheat. Dry bitterness grows. Orange, grapefruit and lime.

Conclusion: Punk IPA is well known as one of my all time favourite beers, so this interloper is due a lot of scrutiny.

The first impressions in the aroma are fantastic, the dry hopping has made all the difference here with a fresh and grapefruit laden pile of smells.

The body then in where the controversy will lie.  It’s still bitter, but lightens in the centre to a sweet middle, before returning to a dry growing bitterness in the finish.  The smoothed out elements add passion fruit into the body, which calls to the Trashy Blond Monk beer that seems to have a slight influence on this drink. Overall this makes it much smoother and more complex.

All sounds good so far, but this added complexity to the ride does come at the sacrifice of the legendry kick and spark of the original.  Of course, part of the complaint is it’s new in a land where the old was classic.  I will admit that technically it’s got a lot in it, and the bitterness still has a good ride.

For now the original Punk IPA still holds my heart, and a small stock of bottles in my cupboard, but I think with a bit of time I could get used to this. It’s definitely a worthy contender, and it may be worth a revisit later with the clarity of hindsight to give a more objective comparison.

Background: As always I am not a completely unbiased actor when it comes to Brewdog. In particular the original punk IPA is one of my all time favourite beers, and is one of the few beers I credit with introducing me to a previously unknown area of beer.   This version called Punk X was introduced as a prototype late 2010.  The changed recipe drops the IBU and alcohol, and adds dry hopping.  Early 2011 it was decided this would be the ongoing version of Punk IPA.