Brewdog: Restorative Beverage For Invalids And Convalescents (Scotland: IIPA: 8.7% ABV)
Visual: Pale yellow to gold. Large white bubbled head. Clear body with some carbonation.
Nose: Pineapple. Hops. Resin. Strawberry. Toffee. Peach. Digestives. Lots of hop oils.
Body: Dry. High bitterness. Peach. Digestives. Pineapple. Shortbread. Sugar dusting. Toffee touch. Peach. Lots of hops. Strawberry. Bubblegum. Lemongrass.
Finish: Bitter. Big hops. Apricot. Lager like characteristics in feel. Slightly gritty. Charring. Bubblegum. yeast extract.
Conclusion: Like Ruination IPA, oh so many years ago, this is not as harsh as I expected. This probably says more about me than it does of the beer. The description on the bottle promises something brutal, instead we get?
Well it doesn’t lie when it describes it as “Dry”. This is dry, and I would guess from that, that it is very highly attenuated – and it is that character that gives the bitterness some kick. Some says I, the master of understatement. However for all they say “Screw any semblance of balance”, there is, quite thankfully, balance. It just doesn’t come from the expected place. There is some small malt sweetness, but mainly you get real fruity sweetness from the hops which make it dangerously drinkable.
Still, this is a big and bitter beer – lots of resin, hops and hop oils. The aroma has an almost cannabis touch, such is the influence of the raw hops. The dryness makes it almost lager crisp and clean bodied – there is nothing to get in the way of the hop character – this is especially noticeable in the finish, which comes in just slightly gritty. Thankfully due to the weight of flavour it doesn’t ruin the beer, instead just emphasises a rough edge, without being dominated by it.
The hop flavours are the main game then, since the malt sweetness is restrained, as well as more expected pineapple and peach, there are more unusual notes. A slight strawberry, not huge but there. There is a much bigger character of lemongrass – not what I would expect from the hop choice listed but in blends in excellent with the resin and natural hop character. The whole range works very well together, creating a lively but grounded experience.
So, you have restrained sweetness, good level of fruit, big bitterness and huge hop character and lemongrass. It is possibly an acquired taste, but it is hellishly easy to drink. It is so very dry, but has just enough offset to keep bringing you back. If you think you can deal with the high abv, good level of bitterness, and restrain yourself from drinking it silly, then this is a great beer.
Background: As I type this up, I am down with a cold. How fucking appropriate. Anyway, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog. Drunk while listening to Crossfire – Mainly their cover of Omen. Which is fucking awesome. I am going to go back and hide under a warm blanket again now.