Brewdog: Cocoa Psycho (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 10% ABV)

Visual: black. Froths up coffee brown for a head but leaves no trace of itself within seconds after that.

Nose: Roasted coffee beans. Roasted nuts. Sour dough. Bitter chocolate. Wet wood.

Body: Milky chocolate fudge. Frosted chocolate cake topping. Sugar eggs. Slight sour dough. Rich velvety texture. Bitter chocolate undertones.

Finish: Fudge chocolate drink. Bitter cocoa. Sugar dusting. Milky coffee. Very smooth. And coats your tongue. Caramel.

Conclusion: Count the number of times I have written chocolate above if you dare.  It paints a picture doesn’t it? Very chocolaty, very smooth, very luxurious. A good range of expression of the chocolate character as well.

Outside of chocolate flavours? Not that much. It plays lightly with that sour dough touch that seems popular in stouts these days to keep them from being too sweet.  There also a very chewy fudge element mid body.

Considering what the dominant element of the beer is it does a good job of balancing bitterness to sweetness and manages to defy the abv to keep the beer so smooth.

Compared to its precursor, the Chocolate and Coffee stout? This is smoother, more chocolate dominant and less coffee elements. Sweeter, not as bitter. This is definitely the better beer and also better than Riptide, Brewdog’s closest commonly brewed beer.

Very luxurious but quite one note. I don’t see myself as desperate for having one often, and I think it work’s best in thirds as you get the total feel of the beer very quickly with few surprises after that.   It is good for a steadfast always quality beer, but for an easily bored short attention span beer drinker like myself it is less so. Then again that is a very specific quirk so your mileage may vary.

A good beer and I would be intrigues to see what a paradox equivalent oak aged version would be like. I would guess that it would give the beer that bit extra range that it really needs and may make it something special.  So a high quality, tad one note beer of very high class texture and good flavour within its limited range.

Background: The winner of Brewdog’s 2012 prototype set according to their website and thus will be an ongoing beer for 2012. I have to admit I was hoping a non Imperial Stout would win as despite my love of the big Imperial Stouts they do seem to overly dominate a lot of the craft scene these days.  This is a tweaked recipe of the Chocolate and Coffee stout and  a beer I first had on tap at a  Brewdog event. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.