AB14

Brewdog: Abstrakt: AB14 (Scotland: Weizen Bock 10.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy bronzed red with a large browned creamy head.

Nose: Very ripe banana. Candy floss. Cream. Toffee. Treacle sponge. Brown sugar. Yeasty.

Body: Banana. Honey and syrup. Caramel. Touch of spirity character. Gingerbread. Candy floss.

Finish: Oak. Honey. Liquorice. Light ginger. Banana yogurt. Slightly spirity like blended whisky in alcohol feel.

Conclusion: Normally when I put down Banana as an element in a review I more mean banana like, or hints of banana, or banana syrup, or something like that. Not here, here the aroma is the thickest, purest ripe banana I have ever run into outside of an actual banana.

Well, second place because, oddly, even this strong banana is less evident than when I first tried it on keg a few weeks ago. I am unsure if the keg made the difference, or just how supremely fresh it was back then compared to mere weeks later. Any which way, I am impressed.

In body it is more dessert like and syrupy with the honey and toffee flavours barging in. This is another difference from the keg where it was more banana and toffee single minded all the way through. Here in the body the alcohol spirit like presence is more noticeable, also there is a slight Belgium yeast like feel. Smooth but slightly funky which suits the beer well and adds extra layers of complexity in feel compared to the simpler expression of flavour.

The alcohol presence leads to a bit of a beer ageing dilemma. I think a bit of ageing will calm the spirit feel and sooth it, but will it also ruin the seemingly fragile awesome banana aroma? I think I will break one open in six months to see how it is going and decide then.

Any which way this is a very different beer with unusual identity and I must say I like it, the aim to do a banoffee pie like beer is cool, because banoffee pie is the dessert of champions. The fact that they do such a good job of it as well is just great.

It is sugar shock sweet and treat to give to yourself. It is slightly simple in flavour but that unique selling point of ultra distinct banana character is cool. So on a technical scale is it quite simple and slightly alcohol heavy in feel. On the more nebulous “fun” scale it is great, not one to have often (Says I who has hypocritically has had it on tap every weekend I could), but this more than many of the abstract beers shows the strength of pushing unusual experiments.

So thumbs up for innovation and fun.

Background: OK, there’s a lot to write here. First: This is an “Imperial Weizenbock” aged on oak chips, I tried it on tap a few times at Brewdog Bristol while waiting for my bottles to arrive, as mentioned in the review there are some differences between bottle and tap. Secondly this was drunk while listening to Spektrmodule 29, a collection of relaxing music collected by the writer Warren Ellis, I oft find this music good for enjoying a strong beer at the end of day and winding down. Third, while not reviewing I was reading a newly picked up collection of “The Devils Panties” comics (note the comics are a) Far less creepy than the name would indicate, and b) awesome). Finally this was drunk while lounging over newly picked up plump pillows of relaxing. All in all could the situation be better for drinking? As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

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