Brewdog To Øl Hardcore Maelk

Brewdog: To Øl: Hardcore Maelk (Denmark: Black IPA: 10.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. Good sized creamy brown head that leaves suds.

Nose: Grapes. Champagne. Light spritzy apple juice. Vanilla slice. Light hoppiness. Gooseberry. Slight gin.

Body: Milk chocolate. Apple spritzer. Whisky infused sponge. Gooseberry. White wine. Light roasted back. Cherries. Creamy texture. Light milk coffee notes. Some bitterness.

Finish: Bourbon. Rye crackers. Apples. Elderberry. Gin. Pineapple. Light but rising bitter chocolate. Cognac.

Conclusion: Ok, not what I expected. At all. It is a dark beer. A very dark beer. I know it is half IIPA, but it is still half Imperial Stout. Yet what I get first is tastes like apples and elderberry mixed in with white wine. The fuck? Now I know what an IPA stout mix is, but I have never experienced one that comes through so fruity and fresh.

Behind that fresh fruit comes the more expected dark beer notes that show through with dark and velvety chocolate. It is a beer that suits perfectly being chilled down, where all those lovely fresh notes comes out, then being allowed to warm with dark rich fruit, cognac and chocolate. Even as it warms it shifts back and forth, allowing different elements to come to the fore – at times fresh and spritzy with hop notes, and at others dark and rich.

It is a lovely blend of hops and malt, making for a rich complex ale. Through that you get the feeling it has been soaked through in spirit like a tiramisu base – the balance is impeccable. By the end of the beer you are steeped in classy cognac notes, and quality chocolate delights – the elements before having built to this crescendo, which soothes you down after that high, relaxing from the fresh hops and fruit. This is a beer that is not just good in individual moments but throughout a well progressed life-cycle.

Utter class, in a glass.

Background: A mix of Hardcore IPA and Jule Maelk aged in whisky barrels. Before I had broken it open I was already hearing a positive buzz about it. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was drunk while having a pre Christmas catch up with friends. This should be going up on Christmas day, so hope everyone is having a great time. This mix of IPA and stout is often called a black and tan in the USA, it is sometimes called that in England, but less so, and never in Ireland. Because over here Black and Tan was also the name of a British quasi military group used in Ireland which, well, performed a shitload of atrocities. Never order a Black and Tan in Ireland. This was a public service announcement.

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