Brewdog: Abstrakt AB12 (Scotland: Black IPA: 11.2% ABV)

Visual: Black. Large coffee froth. Creamy head.

Nose: Blackberry. Gooseberry.

Body: Bitter chocolate and creamy chocolate. Black berry and black raspberry. White grapes. Cadbury cream eggs. Glacier cherries. Thick texture. Raisins.

Finish:  Blueberry pie and chocolate cake. Lightly tart. Bitter chocolate. Slight hop bitterness. Coffee rises up over time. Raisins. Baileys.

Conclusion:  This is thick. Very thick. The beer just fills you mouth and sits there, creamy and dessert like. The flavours are similarly dessert like. Bitter and creamy chocolate layered on against blueberry pie and blackberry, fruity and tart all against a solid bitterness backing it up.

It is a beer that sounds delicious, and it does taste good, but is not without flaws. The first flaw is hinted at in the aroma.   It is very nice fresh fruit, but very simple with so subtle side notes or short lived variances.

Not a huge crime, but there is similar lack of variance in the body. The flavours are distinct, chocolate and fruit, but it never shifts off that. The thickness of the body feels like it deserves more and feels like it could hold a vast amount of extra flavours to explore as you roam it around your tongue and leave it into that long bitter finish.

In a way it is that great strength of brilliant texture that betrays it, it just feels like it could do more. This isn’t to call it in any way a bad beer – the flavours it has are full and very easy to pick out. The finish is long and well expressed bitter chocolate. You just never find anything new in there after you get the initial measure of the beer. For a whisky aged beer there feels a surprising lack of influence on that part.

The balance of the flavour in the beer is well done, the tart fruit swims above the bitter chocolate and only as the tartness falls does the bitterness rise to penetrate it. The thick and sweet nature of the beer makes it liquore like. The bitter finish is a good counterpoint and provides the expected bitterness of a black IPA.

Heat does give a bit of variance, and is thus a grace against the beers only big weakness, bringing out raisins and bailies elements which are welcome by this point.

So a tart, wonderful dessert fondue textured beer of limited room for experimentation but high in luxury and well defined balance. The fruit is tantalising, and the beer is delicious, you just get the feeling it could do that bit more with what it had. A flaw in not reaching potential, not a flaw in the beer itself.

Background: Ok, this one is a black IPA that has raspberry, tayberry and blackberry and has been aged in Invergordon whisky casks.  Kind of a follow up to the Bashah Reserve beers. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers, and also I am a huge fan of Black IPAs.