Dirty Bastard

Founders: Dirty Bastard (USA: Scotch Ale: 8.5%ABV)

Visual: Dark black cherry red, toffee touched froth head.

Nose: Wine soaked raisins. Mulled spices. Chocolate dust. Grapes.

Body: Raisin. Cherry. Port. Grapes. Slightly vinous. Rich. Feels treacle touched. Chalk. Slightly sour.

Finish: Bitter. Charring and cocoa dust. Raisins. Treacle. Sour.

Conclusion: OK, while I’ve mentioned this in the background as well, lets open up with the fact that I am quite hard to sell on scotch ales. I’ve found a bunch I’ve enjoyed, don’t get me wrong. However your everyday example tends to leave me cold.

This example therefore almost seems to be deliberately trying for my attention by having some cross style elements exchange. The rich vinous elements and slight sourness call more to old ales than scotch ales for me, a style I am generally better disposed to.

The chocolate malt and raisin flavours are more traditional scotch ale fare and something about their combination with the old ale elements seem to push them up to almost sickly levels. I like what they do with each side, but combined they don’t quite grab me. It could be the treacle like feel it brings, which is slightly overbearing.

There are elements that feel like they should be balancing, the chalk and charring elements would normally be grounding touches, here they feel like a slight off element rather than an integrated part of the character.

Now, my disposition towards scotch ales means I am probably being a bit harsh here, there is a lot to like. By itself the old ale like elements are very well done and powerful, and the sweetness, while quickly overpowering is very tasty in moderation. The early half of the glass I enjoyed much more than the latter. Overall it feels less enjoyable than the sum of its parts.

It is a pity, as each part has an element I enjoy. The call to old ale is an interesting twist, the subtle rising chocolate is well done, the sour touch refreshing. Together it just feels a bit of a mess.

Not a scotch ale that converts me to the cause, but as always, I will admit my biases on this style. If you are more of a fan, I get the feeling it will have a lot to catch your attention.

Background: Picked up from Brewdog’s Guest Beer section. I am not a huge fan of scotch ales, so be warned on that, however a few exceptionally well done examples over the years have caught my attention so I’m always happy to give them a try. Founders have been generally good with their line up so they seemed like a good go to, to see if something special could be done. For one thing it meant I could break out the absurdly fun and ridiculous scotch thistle glass again.