Paradox GRain
Brewdog: Paradox Grain (2013 15% Version) (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 15% ABV)

Visual: Black. Caramel suds around the edges and dashes of head in the middle.

Nose: Oily. Thick. Motor oil and treacle. Cinder toffee. Vanilla. Tobacco pouches. Golden syrup cake.

Body: Thick and chewable. Bitter chocolate. Smoke. Toffee and treacle. Charred alligator.* Noticeable alcohol feel. Spirity. Oily. Salted toffee cheesecake.

Finish: Bitter chocolate. Smoke. Light iodine and salt. Charred oak. Gin air. Plum touch. Grain whisky. Tobacco.

Conclusion: The aroma on this one. Wow. Like toffee melted over hot motor oil and then covered with tobacco. Heavy, rich and wonderful.

The body really backs it up, oily, heavy and sweet. Slightly spirit like in feel and with charred and bitter chocolate depths. It hangs on until the last moment before you finally swallow it down.

The finish is robust but nothing on what came before. Bitter chocolate and smoke. Robust, but not the wow of the aroma or the body. It however does not in any way weaken what came before with its presence.

It does weaken however as you progress through the beer, element by element. The body, though great is not as good as the aroma. The finish is not as good as the body, Then again, the aroma is amazing, so that is pretty much to be expected.

It is big, brash, smoke and motor oil with imparted sweet flavours from the cask, The feel hangs around more than the flavours. Your mouth feels like it shines from the inside with a thick layer of liquid.

A brutal weight of viscous flavour that oozes on your tastebuds. Unrefined? Maybe. Flavoursome as hell? Definitely.

For an unsubtle Imperial Stout this is very impressive. The Imperial Stout world is too cluttered with gems for this to be one of the best, but its dark waves and different and the thick oily character and massive flavour make it distinct, not just another well done clone of the leading competitor.

Well worth a bottle.

Background: I tried the original 10% Paradox Grain many years ago, back when I first discovered Brewdog. Recently they started releasing new, much stronger versions of the beer. So far they have been pretty darn good. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers, but I try. I’ve had this one in the cupboard for a few months, often as Imperial Stouts tend to get better with age, they get left until I have drunk most of the hoppier beers I have to hand first.

* Disclaimer. It has been bloody ages since I ate alligator meat. My memory could be off. Also it may have been a crocodile. It was tasty anyway. I included this mainly as the thought came to mind and it amused me.