Brewdog: Jackhammer IPA (Scotland: IPA: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold. Moderate amount of froth with a speckling of larger bubbles. Off white colour to the froth.

Nose: Dried apricot. Resinous and hop oils. Bitter. Grapefruit. Hoppy. Shortbread.

Body:  Bitter and hoppy. Resinous. Apricot and grapefruit. Toffee shortbread.

Finish: Dried apricot. Pineapple. Bitter and hops. Dry. Granite like. Very dry in its hoppiness.

Conclusion: Sometimes a beer is very appropriately named. In this case Jackhammer.  I’m having a hard time picking out the subtle elements from the beer as the resin, hop oils and sheer bitterness are massive here.  Your tongue dries up at the end with rough granite and dry hops desiccating it.

With a set of descriptions like that you may be surprised to realise that I enjoyed the beer. Yes it is brutally bitter, but there is grapefruit tartness and apricot sweetness there. The sweet flavours do play second fiddle though.   Despite being in the standard IPA league the body and aroma play much closer to the IIPA that is hardcore IPA, albeit far less rounded than that beer. The finish? Well as already suggested it is a punishing thing to a degree I have not encountered since Mikkeller’s 1000 IBU beer.

So zero points for subtlety, full marks for power and middling for flavour range.  It is both a beer that is hard to recommend on a technical bases and one that I have enjoyed repeatedly on bottle and tap despite that.

Fresh fruity, resinous and uncompromising. If you love bitter beers then you will enjoy the rush. If you don’t then stay away. If you are on the fence then I would imagine a more rounded beer would do you. Either an IIPA like hardcore IPA, or a balanced IPA like Dogfish head’s 60 minute IPA.

Simple, brash and unashamedly a one trick pony. The ECW of the beer world. (ok for ECW fans, I do know they actually did quite a range of stuff but their reputation was of a one trick pony) I enjoyed it but as a prototype I cannot see a beer I would want it to replace.

Background: Part of Brewdog’s prototype challenge for 2012. They had already had the results in by the time I got round to drinking it so I didn’t have a chance to vote.  Looks like this one will be a semi regular appearing beer at the bars.  A quite heavy duty 200 IBUs+. Then again after a certain point IBUs start becoming pretty meaningless as I found with a 1000 IBU beer. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.