Brewdog: Abstrakt AB11 (Scotland: Barley Wine: 12.8% ABV)

Visual: Black, good sized frothy coffee brown head. The body leaves a viscous sheen after a swirl around the glass.

Nose: Barley and a gentle ginger warmth. Smoke. Gingerbread. Touch of chilli seeds. Black liquorice bits. Crushed mint leaves.

Body: Liquid liquorice. Mild bitterness. Gingerbread snaps. Toffee. Grapefruit and pineapple. Smooth. Chocolate liquore. Gentle warmth in ginger beer style.

Finish: Gingerbread. Light warmth. Golden syrup. Salt and rocks. Barley. Some bitterness. Christmas mulled spice.

Conclusion: Gently warming, this may be the alternate winter warmer for the year. Maybe. It’s gingerbread dunked into liquorice chocolate liquore and then Christmas mulled. It’s also ginger beer with all the warmth that entails but kicked by barely wine sweetness and dipped into dark flavours. You know, I’m started to get the feeling I won’t manage make a one line high concept statement to sum up this thing after all.

Ok, lets look at it a different way. It’s got a lovely mix of flavours, even in the wordy run on sentences above I didn’t manage to include mention of the toffee malt and grapefruit that keeps turning up.  So from that you can probably guess it isn’t lacking for depth nor sweetness. It does feel very ginger beer influenced, but when you dig below that you get into the shark infested water of flavour below.  Ok, this beer is messing with my ability to use metaphors as well, let’s continue anyway.

Below the ginger beer flavour is chocolate liquore elements which seem to mix naturally with the black barely wines expected flavours. This works well with the heat, making it feel both luxurious and challenging at the same time. So with that we have established it is a pretty complicated beer, but is it any good?

Probably yes. I say probably as there is part of me permanently scarred by the mass of adverts for alcoholic ginger beer that cannot acknowledge that anything that has even hints to that style can be any good. I’m ignoring that part of me for now though. This is enjoyable with a lot of flavour and just enough hints of alcohol strength but only to warn you. Similarly the heat is balanced as warm but not burning. It is therefore very good. One of the top Abstracts so far.  If there is justice in the world this will become a praised catch like AB04 was.

Background: Ok this thing has ginger, black raspberries and chipotle peppers in it.  One day Brewdog will run out of odd stuff to shove in a beer. One day.  This turned up while I was away on the road trip of awesome and I only just got around to giving it a try. Hopefully should have given it time to settle. Early on in my drinking days I was not a fan of chilli beers due to trying some truly dreadful ones. They are starting to grow on me now as long as they don’t go to lava levels. Oddly I’ve not seen this one at Brewdog Bristol on tap yet.  Hmmm. Anyway, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Note that after I looked at the description and saw there were raspberries in this I started tasting them, however since I may have only got them due to reading that description I left it out of the main review.  Drunk while listening to Bad Religion: 30 years Live Album