Brewdog: Anarchist/ Alchemist (Scotland: IIPA: 14% ABV)

Visual: Rich ruby bronze. Large off white head that settles to a dusting

Nose: Resin. Grapefruit. Dry mango. Slightly thick pungent hops. Apricot. Dry malt. Quite a green feel.

Body: Sweet. Golden syrup. Pineapple. Resin. White grapes. Peach melba.  Custard. Glacier cherries. Moderate bitterness mid body, but wrapped in swetness. Shortbread. Apricot. Raspberry pavlova. Blueberry.

Finish: Resinous. Brown sugar. Sticky feel.  Custard. Light grapefruit hops and moderate bitterness.   Hop oils.  Light malt chocolate after a while. Blueberry.

Conclusion: Whew. This beer is going head to head with Dogfish Head’s 120 minute IPA for insanely sweet high abv IPA. It’s strong, sweet and somehow through that masks the abv with the exception of a slight fire on swallowing.

Like 120 minute it does seem like a highly hopped barley wine in some ways, but this beer goes further in pouring on resinous touches and hop oil feel that gives it a good claim to the IPA style despite the massively sweet main kick.

Like many at this abv it brings glacier cherries and custard styling to play, and the build up of flavour as you drink results in a great range of unexpected elements that show themselves as time and heat alter the beer.  The level of citrus hops they play with is another element that just snatches it back to being an IPA from the barley wine element it also claims.  The hops are odd though, more flavour and aroma than hop texture which is nearly completely absent.

It is worth noting that Brewdog does seem to be leaning towards almost over sweet beers as of late, at least at the high abv end of the range.  I would like to see more variety, even though it does work well here in contrast to the resin and hop aroma.  The sweet bomb beer is a style that can get wearing quite quickly. Still that is a note against the trend rather than this beer in itself.

So stylishly smooth, sweet and citrus hopped. Massive flavour – very expressive and holds up to a long time of examination with new flavours showing themselves. The flavours shift and mingle in great combinations.  It does have slight crude touches. The abv does show itself in fire on the swallow, and the over sweetness can be sickly, but I enjoy the sheer amount of flavour it brings to bear with that.  Mixed up, over sweet, and yet enjoyable.  It is a flawed gem but stills gem.  Of course I may have been a bit drunk when I thought that.

Background: Brewdog announced this initially at a higher abv and declared it the world’s first Triple IPA.  People pointing out that other Triple IPAs exist was answered with a comment that those beers were closer to double the expected abv and thus still double or imperial IPAs.  This beers reduction in abv kinda invalidates that claim, though the abv drop was apparently necessary as it was even more sweet at the original abv. Also, regarding the first triple IPA claim, well Dogfish Head’s 120 minute IPA exists already. Despite this I was still looking forwards to it, possibly because, as always mentioned, I am not unbiased on Brewdog beers.