Brewdog: Hops Kill Nazis/ Hops Kill ? (Scotland: Amber Ale: 7.8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark yet clear black cherry red. Good inch of caramel head forming in a bubbled froth manner.

Nose: Treacle. Mixed spices. Heavily hopped and bitter. Some grapefruit. Malt drinks. Either ground chilli seeds or maybe a mild chicken curry. Cherry aid.

Body: Grapefruit and granite. Bitter and hops. Dry black liquorice. Touch of canned peaches in syrup. Slight glacier cherry. Dusty apricot? Shortbread. Caramel becomes evident when it warms.

Finish: Chilli seeds. Hops and bitterness. Dry and gritty. In fact lots of bitterness. More glacier cherry.

Conclusion: So this is 5AM saints big brother, or so they say. Appropriate, it took me a while to warm to 5AM saint and this has me equally in two minds.

Actually it would be more accurate to say that this is the half way point between 5AM saint and the brutal AB02. AB02 still holds the crown for uber expression of the hop explosion. This does not match up to AB02’s massive flavour, though considering the cost, lack of availability and ABV of AB02 that’s hardly surprising.  Similarly this beer cannot come close the comparative sessionable of 5 AM saint, its 7.8% comes in far too high for that.

So what is it, not the big time beer, nor the session ale?   What are we to do with it?

Well it ratchets up the tingle. Very chilli like, even though none were used in the making. In fact for a short moment the aroma almost seemed to carry curry scent with it.  Now it disappeared quickly enough, but the true oddity of it led me to include it in the notes for reference. Thing is the aroma is fractured to include everything from that to cherry aid and hops.  It’s so all over the place that it’s hard to tell its intent.  The flavour is powerful main body but the thick full hopped kick means that you really have to search to get the subtleties.

Despite all this it is remarkably easy to drink. It’s harsh and heavy, but slips down easy.  Without AB02’s full power it doesn’t quite pull the complexity main body, but for all I’ve been picking it apart it is tasty and so dangerously easy to drink a bottle of.

The thing is it is such a mixed up beer. Enjoyable, but for every element it does well I can think of another beer that does it better. A jack of all trades beer, yet master of none.  Still, for fitting badly into any one niche perfectly it does find itself quite adequate for a range.  So maybe not a bad thing.

A last thought. Don’t chill the beer too much. At the current autumn room temperature it expresses itself much better than when chilled.

Background: This beer’s name was voted on, with “Hops Kill Nazis” being the winning name. Unfortunately not drunk whilst listening top Anti Flags “This Machine Kills Fascists” as that would have been awesome. To make up for it I am listening to it while writing this tasting note.  This beer seems to be slightly cursed. Available mail order only it sold out before hitting general release, and fell in the very short time that Brewdog was using Yodel as a delivery company and thus a good chunk of the bottles were broken or went missing in the post.  I got some bottles thus I am happy.  A comment from Will on the change in name to “Hops Kill ?” “The beer is an emissary of certainty in this confused world. Which many mean they’re all logical positivists. That would be a bad thing”. I agree. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers despite my best efforts.

Note: This has recently been rereleased as one of four prototype Brewdog Beers.