Mashtag 2014

Brewdog: Mashtag 2014 (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Black cherry red. Off white dash of bubbles for a head. The body is clear with low carbonation.

Nose: Cherries. Bitter hops. Malt chocolate. Raisins. Orange crème centres in bitter chocolate. Liquorice. Brown bread.

Body: Barley. Thin when chilled. raisins. Malt choc orange. Glacier cherries and fruitcake. Bready touch. Fresh feel. Hop oils. Pink grapefruit.

Finish: Black liquorice. Raisins. Orange liquore. Bitter chocolate. Fruitcake. Barley. Light spiciness. Pineapple.

Conclusion: “This democracy? I think I’m sick of it. Constantly politicking chicken shit liberalists”. Ah, Scroobius Pip, always worth a quote. Anyway, so, how does this *ahem* democratic brewed ale hold up?

Well, I may have over chilled it just a tad originally. That sucked. The first few sips were very thin, which is bad for a 9% abv ale. However that was my fault, I left it in the fridge too long (Would you believe this is the same person who adamantly didn’t put beers in the fridge only a few years back? How times change.)

Anyway, leaving it to warm up gave me time to examine the aroma as it did so. Here, even chilled, it entices. Lots of cherries, bitter chocolate and sweet orange crème, grounded by a bready character.

By the time I had finished luxuriating in that the body was only slightly chilled so I returned. Fruitcake, cherries and raisins came out against orange crème filled chocolate sweets. Very much delivering what the nose promised, again with the bready touch which kept it from being sickly. Reminds my of some rye ales in a way, with a light dry spiciness.

There is a nice balance to the hop oil bitterness against a fresh feel. Your mouth feels clean after drinking, sparkling, despite the heavy dark fruit and chocolate flavours. As it warms more the sparkling feel starts to become more apparent as pineapple which leads out after the chocolate and orange finally fade. A mouth refreshing final element.

It really does show more citrus as it warms, and slightly more resinous, and it balances very well. It is shockingly easy to drink for a 9% abv ale – You get so much in it with the fruitcake against citrus against bitter chocolate and orange. It feels like a decadent chocolate box with extra hops.

When I started this review I wanted to make a few jokes about how direct democracy tends to suck donkey balls, but, here it appears to have worked. They have made a very proficient ale. Complex yet easy to drink red ale. So it has ruined my dreams of donkey balls jokes.

And that is your ad copy quote right there “…has ruined my dreams of donkey balls…”. and you can quote me on that.

A very nice beer.

Background: The second mashtag beer, a beer with various elements voted on by the public to decide what is made. This ended up being an imperial red ale brewed with global hops , blood orange and lemon and orange peel. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. As you may have got the impression in the review, I tend to favour representational democracy over direct democracy for many and varied reasons that are nothing to do with beer.