Santa Paws

Brewdog: Santa Paws (Scotland: Scotch Ale: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown to black. Moderate milky chocolate colour creamy froth.

Nose: Chocolate dust. Bitter coffee. Nutty. Aniseed notes underneath.

Body: Roasted nuts. Honey. Bitter core. Malted milk biscuits. Raisins. Chalk touch. Treacle.

Finish: Charring. Hazelnuts and honey. Treacle. Chalk. Malted milk biscuits. Raisins in fruitcake. Light greenery.

Conclusion: I have never been massively taken in by the Scotch Ale style, the chance to use the Thistle Glass aside. Still, I’ve never been one afraid to go once more into the breech and give a style another chance, so let’s try this Christmas Scotch Ale from Brewdog.

First I will point out that it is only mildly Christmas linked and that is at a quite liberal interpretation. There is some greenery that could be Christmas spice, and a touch of aniseed that when added to the spice could be interpreted as a call to mulledness. However a more critical review would say that it is more a quite standard Scotch Ale that has been sweetened a tad by honey.

Brewdog have done a hell of a lot of honeyed Scotch Ales, and this doesn’t do much to stand out amongst the crowd. It has a lower abv, and uses an odd twist on its bitter core, which feels more like a charred bitterness than a huge bitter kick. This means that it is far less likely to get sickly than a lot of scotch ales. Even with the honey used it is a lot drier than most scotch ales, and while it is not eminently quaffable, it is easier to drink a few of.

The flavours are quite roasted and malty, with a bit of treacle and dark fruits. For fan of the style it is competent but unexceptional. For me? Well it is ok, the honey sweetness is well balanced, the flavours, especially the dark fruit, works well as a balance to the honey. It is ok, does the job, but isn’t too exciting.

Background: Rate beer lists this as a Brown Ale, Brewdog call it a Scotch Ale. Since it fairly well fits the Scotch Ale style I’m going with the Brewer’s call on this and rating it based on what they call it. This is made with Heather Honey. Again. Brewdog are doing a lot of Honey Scotch ales these days. This was one of Brewdog’s two Christmas beers, so in my standard tradition I drank it several weeks after Christmas was over. Just because. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog Beers. There has previously been a different Brewdog beer called Santa Paws, a spiced ale I think, but I never tried that one.

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