Brewdog: Abstrakt: AB06 (Scotland: Black IIPA: 11.2% ABV)

Visual:  A very dark reddened black with a solid fudge brown bubbled head.

Nose: Grapefruit, pineapple, all mixed in with a touch of custard. As that settles down roasted coffee beans come out along with hazelnuts. Hop character, but not overwhelming despite its strength. Dry., Strawberry after a while.

Body:  Roasted. Lots of nuts and a good amount of hop bitterness. Light fudge sweetness. Fresh grapefruit backing it up. Texture seems smooth, but the hops soon turn it to a prickly sensation. Lots of fluffy hop character builds. Bitter chocolate.

Finish: Good dose of hops with milk chocolate traces. Still a touch of citrus about it. Quite bitter and hop oils. The hops grow noticeably throughout the bottle to become a resolute presence.

Conclusion:  Straightforward, but potent.  With all its talk of triple dry hopping I was wondering if this was going to end up firmly in the assault (black) IPA camp.  While it is very bitter, it doesn’t quite go overboard, though it does build throughout the bottle.  Either that or maybe I just killed my taste buds off years ago, one or the other.

So then they have taken a roasted BIPA, added a hell of a lot of citrus hops and this is the result. The huge amount of dry hopping seems then to give it the great aroma, without making the beer itself undrinkable.  The beer seems very much a massively ramped up Bashah, and that was no light going itself.  It also has some calls to Stones Arogant Bastard Ale in its hopping style.

Despite this it doesn’t seem to make itself seem as special as the other beers in the Abstrakt line, possibly due to no simple high concept hook to hang itself upon.  The extra ABV doesn’t seem to have brought a huge amount extra to the table, it’s more the dry hopping that gives the extra character.

Now, as always with beers like this I may be being a little harsh. When you are asking a tenner plus for a bottle I tend to be a bit more critical of any flaws I find.

It’s a very solid BIPA, with its hop influence as its main selling point, a beer that fights you, but doesn’t thrash you.  This is the thing, for all it doesn’t have that high concept hook, a solid Black IPA done well is a bloody good beer, even without all the bells and whistles.  The halfway mix of a roasted stout and an American IPA, and oddly while I find highly hopped stouts annoying I don’t mean that as a bad thing here. This walks the line between the styles nicely. Don’t go expecting a revolution and you will find a lot to enjoy.

Background: As I have frequently mentioned I am not an unbiased actor when it comes to Brewdog.  Black IPAs are a style that amuse me, if only for the intrinsically contradictory involved in their naming.  This particular Abstrakt is a triple dry hopped version of the beer, with dry hopping being the process that tends to commit the most hop aromas to the smell of the ale.