Brewdog Vs Ballast Point: Ship Wreck (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 13.8% ABV)
Visual: Clear dark gold with a moderate off white head. Some carbonation.
Nose: Brie. Smoke and stewed beef. Massive. Blue cheese. Thick. Peat. Lightly bready.
Body: Sweet. Red and white grapes. Thick. Light medicinal note – drying iodine. Apricot. Smoke. Fruit syrup. Seaweed wraps. Slight soft cheese. Mead. Custard. Gingerbread. Light strawberry.
Finish: Dried apricot. Fruit syrup. Dried beef slices. Light salt. Seaweed wraps. Pear drops. Medicinal. Dried fruit sugars. Light charred oak.
Conclusion: This definitely feels like it is calling to the older, early, beer recipes – I have no idea if that is the intent or not, but it is definitely called to mind on drinking. It is very big and sweet and with the Islay influence it ends up tasting like smoked mead. If there is such a thing. Smoked honey? Sounds possible. May exist for all I know.
Anyway, let’s back up a bit – there is a huge aroma on this thing. I could appreciate it even as I struggled to turn the fizzing fountain bottle into a glass to catch it’s cascading contents. When I could take a moment, after cleaning up, to appreciate it I found it evident at great distance from the glass and full bodied. It brings a mass of soft and blue cheese notes mixed with peat and smoke. This is both 1) awesome and 2) Slightly disappointing when you find that the blue cheese notes are mostly absent from the body.
The body instead mixed new wave and traditional styles with ease. There is mead stylings and tons of grapes for a fruity sweet as hell mix of traditional alcohol styles that meet the drying, medicinal, smoke and seaweed character from the Islay barrel ageing of the new wave style. It turns the nigh sickly sweet body into a surprisingly drying overall beer. As time goes on more and more comes out – strawberry, hints of the cheese, gingerbread. I am not sure if they are so much there, as it is my body trying to deal with the already existing alcohol and mix of big sugary flavours. Any which way it hits big with a complex and very enjoyable range.
Overall, a very big beer, very Islay dry and medicinal, yet very sweet and fruit filled, syrupy set of notes. It is extremely good. Every moment something new comes out to be experienced. Basically, this is a smoke, Islay aged, mead beer with grape influence. There is little else like this and it is very worth grabbing.
Background: Or, Brewdog Vs Blank as the label puts it. Since doing this collaboration Ballast Point was bought up by a macro brewer so Brewdog blanked their name out. A tad petty, but oh well. Anyway this ale is made with *deep breath* Sal De Gusano, Smoked agave syrup and smoked malts, and aged it a mix of Islay and Speyside whisky barrels. I may have had to google a few of those words to find out what they were. Normally Brewdog beers are not volatile on open so this caught me out as it frothed up rapidly, causing me to lose a small amount of the bottle as I tried to get it into the glass. Be warned. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was bought direct from the Brewdog shop and drunk chilled on a very warm night.