Tag Archive: American Strong Ale

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.

8 Wired Mighty Imperal Ale

8 Wired: Mighty Imperial Ale (New Zealand: American Strong Ale: 11% ABV)

Visual: Deep cherry red. Dash of off white head. Head becomes larger and somewhat toffee edged when I filled up the glass with the last of the bottle.

Nose: Smoke. Smoked bacon. Fruitcake. Caramel. Shortbread. Thick. Cherries and cream.

Body: Thick. Salt touch. Smoked meat platter. Toffee. Very smooth. Lots of cherries and cream. Vanilla. Somehow rough edges right at its core. Oak.

Finish: Liquorice. Dry smoke. Drying feel. Light cream. Salt touch. Chocolate. Meat platter.

Conclusion: Now this is an interesting work. Smooth cherries, vanilla and fruitcake in a very layered, decadent silken style. Then, against that, there is a heavy oaken, salt touched and hugely smoked meat style that is actually quite punishing and thus utterly unlike the underlying sweetness.

So, that means the beer is a mess, right? Somehow, no actually. The layers, in their two distinct groups are layered carefully over each other. The weightier elements seem to sink through permeating everything over time. So the beer starts sweet but smoke touched and slowly builds to a rock salt and smoked meat crescendo.

That extreme smoothness of texture means that all the rough edges it has must come from the flavour and it certainly uses them well, mixing the flavours where they meet to create contradictory sensations.

The best part of the beer is the build up, the slow progression. About three quarters of the way in it peaks too early, and, while still good, the rest of the beer doesn’t have the same feeling of rich contrast or the promise of more to come.

So, 50% a beer of sheer joy and class, about 25% of peaked awesome, and 25% of merely ok. I’ll take that

Background: 8 Wired are probably my favourite of the New Zealand craft beer scene at this point, and that is a fairly skilled group of brewers. As is often the case, Brewdog’s guest beer section is facilitating my 8 Wired needs. Not much else to add to this one, was listening to Scroobius Pip’s/B Dolan’s Soldier Boy (Kill Em) while drinking.

Abstrakt AB 15

Brewdog: Abstrakt: AB 15 (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 12.8% ABV)

Visual: Very dark burgundy red. Small layer of off white head.

Nose: Trifle. Salted toffee. Liquorice. Port. Cherries. Chocolate. Fruitcake.

Body: Treacle. Salted fudge. Madeira cake, Cherries. Liquorice toffee. Liquorice. Black cherry. Dessert wine. Trifle. Shortbread. Raisins.

Finish: Raisins and cherries. Rum soaked. Salted toffee. Vanilla slice. Shortbread.

Conclusion: So, salted caramel popcorn beer. Well it is definitely salted, and while I would have called fudge or toffee the sweetness is definitely in the caramel milieu. Popcorn? Well no one element really calls popcorn, but there is a dryness to the body despite the high sweetness levels, and that does give a style you could just about describe as popcorn. Maybe. So, analysis of the high concept album styling of the beer done, is it good as an actual beer?

Hmm. Very sweet and fruity as a backing to all the concept elements. OK, maybe more than just a backing, the flavour has big wine, fruitcake and fruit which makes up the real mid range of this beer. Very smooth though, the saltiness and a well used and understated liquorice gives some contrast, but there are very few harsh edges. It makes for an exceptionally sweet dessert like beer. More than anything else the mid notes come together in a trifle like fashion, fruit, alcohol, creamy and smooth.

If you let the beer get too warm the individual elements start to get a little disjointed and the beer suffers. Slightly chilled down it all integrates wonderfully. It is almost too sweet, no actually it is too sweet at times, but for the most part that salt character keeps it in check.

A bit too big and sweet but still a very flavoursome dessert beer, and as a dessert wine replacement it is a rich alternative. Very good.

Background: Every time I think beers have hit the limit of their oddness. A salt caramel popcorn ale. What does that even mean? Well in this case that it has been part aged in bourbon and rum barrels, and I dunno about the rest, if they actually used salted caramel. It wouldn’t really surprise me. Anyway ,as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was drunk while listening to 8 bit zoo, snooglebum. Because I am a geek. SUPERSHARK AND TINY LION!

Mix Tape 8

Brewdog: Mix Tape 8 (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 14.5% ABV)

Visual: Reddened brown. Dash of off white head.

Nose: Resin. Pine needles. Toffee. Shortbread. Mash tun. Strawberry jam. Apricot jam. Slightly musty.

Body: Strawberry jam into cherries. Custard. Resin. Brandy cream. Cranberry. Apricot. Slight medicinal touch. Pear drops. Black cherry. Fruitcake. Smooth. Salt rocks. Shortbread. Slight brine feel.

Finish: Plums. Resin. White grapes. Cherries. Dry sake. Smooth whisky. Strawberries. Caramel. Salt breeze/ Brine touch. Pineapple.

Conclusion: Ok, head brewer Stewart Bowman, I will concede, this is, as you say “Fucking Complex”, no doubts about that. So is it also bloody good? Lets dissect this complex bad boy and find out.

For such a high abv IPA based beer it is not actually very bitter. There is lots of hop flavours, some resin, but the bitterness itself is near non existent compared to the level of prominence of the very fruity base. It does show some of its Belgian IPA roots in the very smooth, slightly yeasty texture though, a very easy drinking feel for such a high abv beer.

The sweetness of this thing though, oh the sweetness, all sorts of fruit, lovely jammy chewy character. This is where you get an idea of the huge hops that were used in it, and the massive amount of malt that must have been needed for this beer. You can get lost in its range, seeking out new elements as you roll it around your tongue.

There is a spirit touch though, brandy cream in the body and dry sake in the finish. I know that grain whisky has been used to age this, but what I find strange is the slight medicinal touch. They haven’t used even one of the lighter Islays to age this (The best I know) but there is a slight medicinal character that, when mixed with the texture, gives a slight brine and salt touch underneath. I am guessing it is part of the grain character as it meets the high abv, though I’m not sure. All I know is that there are slight harsher edges under the massive fruit and the beer is better for it.

What else is there going on? Well there is a tight core of crunched up digestives and shortbread all condensed together to give the elements all the others are built around, and there is a touch of custard sweetness to accompany the fruit.

Ok, that is pretty much an overview of what is going on, all laid out and cut upon the table. So now, I ask again. Is it any good? Yes. That simple actually. Yes.

It is smooth enough, big enough, sweet enough, spirit touched enough, complex enough, and almost harsh element touched enough. That last bit is the only element I would raise, me being an Islay fan, but hell it is still a beer that makes you go wow.

Now, is it good enough to be one of my favourite beers, or to declare one of the best in the world? Harder question. Its base IPA trappings make it less refined than say, Hair OF The Dog Matt, but also more energetic. It is pretty much head to head with Dogfish head 120 minute IPA in style and it has been too long since I drank that beer for me to make an honest comparison of quality.

Definitely a great beer, just some small thing that says not world best, I can’t easily pin them down. Possible the alcohol is too evident to be completely a refined beer, but not challenging enough to justify it. Very small point really. This is great, only the insane quality of its competitors keeps it from the title. It is amazing by any other scale.

Background: A triple IPA and a heavily hoped Belgian Tripel (I’m guessing what I would call a Belgian IPA), both aged in Grain whisky casks for then mixed together and released in a posh presentation box. Well it should be interesting if nothing else. This was drunk to celebrate some good job news, and was drink while listening to the Super Meat Boy soundtrack. Because I felt I hadn’t been geeky enough recently. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers

Double Bastard

Stone Brewing: Double Bastard Ale (USA: American Strong Ale: 11.2% ABV)

Visual: Dark black cherry red. Reddened froth of a head with brown touches.

Nose: Toffee. Large amount of malt. Light hops. Caramel. Slight menthol. Malt biscuits. Grain whisky. Suet – Mince pies.

Body: Nice pineapple. Sweet golden syrup and bitter hops. Toffee and malt. Glacier cherries and raisins. Liquorice touch. Fruitcake and Madeira. Slight chilli seeds and paprika.

Finish: Hop dryness and bitterness. Grapefruit and raisins. Resin. Bitterness grows. Chilli seed warmth and light spice. Peppers.

Conclusion: Somehow I was expecting something very different from this. More hops and more IPA like character. I mean this is stone brewing, they are not known for their discretion in hop use.

Instead the aroma comes in quite mellow, now this could be an age thing, it is a 2012 edition of the beer so has already had a bit of time ageing. For whatever reason there is a comparatively simple and light aroma.

The body opens up with some hops, but the main part of it is quite sweet with fruitcake and golden syrup touches when cool. Warming up it is completely different beast though, the bitterness up, spicy and with the dark fruit elements from the fruitcake on show.

The bitterness expectations are met on the finish though with growling hops and bitterness. There is some extra flavour around but mainly you get that bitter growth in rising not kicking form.

So the question changes from “does it meet expectations?” to “is it any good”. Well, yes, but with reservations. The beer feels like it needs a middle point. When cool it lacks the bitterness, when warm you lose the subtleties to the spiciness. You need something between the two. Also, for all the abv rise, it doesn’t feel like it gives that much extra over the excellent oaked arrogant bastard ale. As a final flaw the hops can feel muggy in the finish. Strangely for a beer of this abv it works better in large mouthfuls, bringing more richness and flavour with it. Tasty, but dangerous for a beer this strong.

So, despite the flaws, it does have enough flavour and size that I enjoyed it despite those points, but overall it doesn’t add up to enough to be great. I’d say that from Stone their Belgium take on an IPA, their Sublimely Self Righteous ale and Oaked Arrogant Bastard, all stand tall over this. Stone have too many great beers to go with one that is just ok.

Background: Stone Brewing, their Sublimely Self Righteous Ale was one of my first USA Craft Beers that really caught my attention. Always loved the attitude, the fun write ups on the bottles and the insane amount of hops. Oddly despite having drunk it many a time, I have yet to get around to reviewing standard Arrogant Bastard ale. Really should do that some time. Anyway, as you may have guessed expectations were high going in. This is a 2012 edition of the beer, drunk mid 2013.

Hair Of The Dog Matt

Hair of The Dog: Matt (USA: American Strong Ale: 12.5%ABV)

(2010 Edition: Drunk 2013)

Visual: Black, a shimmer around the edges that is all that passes for a head.

Nose: Raisins and brandy cream. Plums. Fortified red wine. Stewed apples and apple crumble. Gooseberries.

Body: Silky. Brandy cream. Raisins and port. Tangerine notes. Bourbon. Apples. Slight alcohol spirit feel. Pink grapefruit.

Finish: More brandy cream. Chocolate liquore. Bourbon and accompanying vanilla notes. Light charring. Lightly tart. Pink grapefruit. Treacle. Gin air. Fruitcake.

Conclusion: Recently Brodie’s Elizabethan set the bar high for exactly what a strong ale could be. Then, after Herculean efforts, I manage to get to try this. The legendary Hair Of The Dog Matt. How does it do in the fight?

Well, as you would expect from HOTD it is incredibly complex. Dark fruits and raisins against tart grapefruit and tangerine flavours. It shifts back and forth between the two contrasting elements with ease, all lying upon a chocolate liquore and vanilla bourbon base that is the omnipresent background. The flavours are absolutely delightful.

The texture is silky smooth but the flavours have no problem gripping and seeping in. It is like a high quality liquore. There is a spirit like presence, even with several years ageing under its belt you can feel a small spirit burn. It is the beer’s only flaw. The weight of the beer already happily advertised the abv without needing the alcohol burn, though admittedly very light, shown only in a tingle to the end.

Of the Hair Of The Dog beers I would probably put Adams ahead of it as I feel it balanced weight to smoothness better. This I think may have a slightly better rep due to its rarity rather than it actually being a better beer. Then again, I’m comparing it to one of my three favourite beers ever. That is the only situation where this beer can really be said to fail at anything.

So it may partly have a reputation due to rarity, but mainly because it is amazingly bloody great.

On complexity of flavour this is a winner, it is only that slightly too tingling alcohol that keeps it from perfection. Because it is such a great beer, in such a great style with so many great contenders, I am reaching to find criticisms, minor though they are.

A near perfect mix of sharpness and dark fruit, silky texture. If anything feels a heavier beer than it is for abv. Despite that minor imperfection the utterly sublime range and balance of flavour wins it a place in my heart. Wine notes, stewed apples and brandy cream all come in exchange for that slight burn.

After much back and forth I am unsure of if I should put it in my favourites, as the competition for styles like this is so high. Then again, with fruitcake, apple crumble, citrus tart , bourbon, plum pudding and liquore, frankly that should not matter. Anything that can pull that off is worth drinking.

Sod it, despite the insane level of competition I will call it a favourite. Its been a hell of a nine hundred reviews. Hope you enjoyed them and the beers to come.

Background: 900 drink reviews! Conveniently this little beauty was available in the excellent Craftheads bar in Tokyo to celebrate the event. If anyone has been tracking my notes and my trip write up you may notice this one is slightly out of order, almost as if it was not exactly the 900th review and I just budged it down the line a bit to match the occasion. Cynics.

I nearly didn’t get hold of the beer. I had seen on craftheads website that they had it, and since it is only made every two years, it is from the very hard to get Hair Of The Dog Brewery which I adore, and is one of rate beers top 50 beers , I thought I must try to get it. Unfortunately one day they were closed, the second day I could only quickly drop by and they no longer do take outs on Hair Of The Dog beers. The third day though, sprinting and riding train journeys from after watching a Sumo match in another district of Tokyo, hoping to get to it before it shut, I found it open and ready to sell me beer. Success.

Yes I am a fan of Hair Of The Dog beers and will go to insane lengths to try them, why do you ask?

This beer is apparently made with two Munich malts, two smoked malts, two types of Belgium candy sugar, and aged in Bourbon and Apple Eau de Vie barrels. Or so I just read on ratebeer. I knew not this at the time.

Brewdog: Imperial Red Wheat (Scotland: American Strong Ale:11.1% ABV)

Visual:  Cloudy browned red with a thin white dust around the edges for a head.

Nose: Rye. Sprinkled Christmas spice. Red grapes. Wheat crackers. Toffee.

Body: Big. Red cherries and grapes. Salted toffee. Mulled spices. Wheat and bitterness.

Finish: Dry wheat. Red grapes and a touch of sour red wine. Bitter. Salted crackers.

Conclusion: Wow, this is a big beer. At the simplest description it’s like Hops Kill Nazis with a mass of mulled spices. That description would be selling the beer a tad short though.

There is a huge berry based flavour coming out and with the spice it is like wheated mulled red wine. Yes an odd combination I know. It balances that with a toffee malt backbone in that style that Brewdog use quite often. It gives a sweetness that the almost sour sediment wine like flavour needs to have so it has something to work against.

The odd thing I have here is trying to identify what it’s flaws are. It definitely has some as the beer doesn’t feel like a world class beer, but it is a very good beer. I just can’t identify what it is that is keeping it from those top positions.

Possibly it is because the wheat element only gets a minor show. It is an interesting element but doesn’t make enough of that to make it very interesting and different. Maybe it is that the flavours, while good, are similar throughout the beer. For such a heavy beer the fruit flavours stay present and you don’t get much change over time.  You would expect a lot more given the abv.

Any which way those are minor points. This is a very good beer with big fruity and spice flavour to enjoy. A good match of sour wine balanced by wheated beer and bit malt sweetness.

Well worth enjoying.

Background: American Strong Ale for style? Well that’s what ratebeer says. I was going to disagree but I realized I had no idea what to put it under, it doesn’t seem to fit neatly under the Belgium or German interpretation of a wit, and it’s definitely not under wheat ale. So yeah, I guess America Strong Ale. Ok, I’ll go with that. This was drunk at Brewdog Bristol. You may be hearing that a lot in the near future. I am currently mildly obsessed with that place.  As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.

Epic: Mayhem (New Zealand: American Strong Ale: 6.2% ABV)

Visual: Slightly reddened and clear. Just off white head. Quite smooth set of racked bubbles in a coffee froth style.

Nose: Fresh grapefruit and gooseberry with a distinct hop character.  Smooth, tart and fresh. Dried apricot. Toffee and malt sweetness. Riesen chocolate chews.

Body: Tingling hops. Moderate bitterness. Slight milky coffee hints. Thin acidic fruit tartness. Grapefruit. A thick stream of coffee liquor when warm. Toffee.

Finish: Dry hoppiness and popcorn texture. Nettles. Malted drinks. Pink grapefruit. Light toffee and marmalade.

Conclusion: Talk about a disconnect from nose to tongue. This from early on drew me in with a subtle smooth hop aroma and because of that I couldn’t wait to give it a taste. The smell was tart and hoppy into a smooth malt and toffee sweetness. It promised a balanced malt dose to fruity hop bomb.

On main body that subtlety vanishes to give an old fashioned hop tingle that calls more to the simple golding and fuggles hops than the more fruity NZ and USA hops which it is crammed with.

The dominance of the hop character oddly doesn’t come with quite the massive bitterness that you would expect. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with the flavour range that the aroma promised either.

I guess in attempt to ratchet up the hoppiness they lost a lot of the style, a real pity as it promised so much.  It’s still drinkable as a hoppy beer, but it feels like it ends up half way between a American Ale and an IPA without settling either. As such if is nowhere near as good as a dedicated example of each style, for example 8 wired’s excellent Hop Wired IPA.

Overall, as you can probably guess at this point, an excellent nose, a basic hop body with hints of what it could have been.  Not bad but disappointing.

Background:  Picked up from Brewdog’s Guest Beers section. Epic is one of the big names from New Zealand so I thought it about time to give them a try.  Made with the NZ hop  Riwaka and the USA Cascade hop.  Don’t know too much about Riwaka  so this will be an experience for me, the Cascade hop seems to be a quality main beam of the American hops. Apparently this was brewed as  Festival beer in small amounts so I guess I should be chuffed it reached the UK.

Brewdog: Abstrakt:08 (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 11.8% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany tinged honey gold with a white dust of a head. The head never froths heavily even mid pour.

Nose: Strawberry. Champagne and mandarin orange mix. Sugar cane and brown sugar. Brandy snaps. Milky chocolate. Very sweet. Dry malt and toffee.

Body:  Golden syrup and marzipan up front. Toffee and milk chocolate.  Some bitter chocolate depending on the moment.  Big amounts of fudge. All the stout like elements are mid body to end.  Strawberry and glacier cherry at the back. A moderate amount of pineapple hop moments but not heavily.

Finish:  Milk chocolate. Roasted nuts and deep bitterness. Tea like tannins. Coffee. Feels very fresh as it airs around the mouth. Fudge and bitter chocolate towards its last moments. Creamy in its bitterness. Still a touch of pineapple.

Conclusion:  Ok, it’s a blond stout. Ok.

I’ve accepted the existence of Black IPAs for a while now; blond stouts really shouldn’t be that much for my brain to handle.

Though, looking at it, it seems a more deep honeyed gold than blond. If I had to eye it I would have guessed the beer as a Barley wine.  But enough about the appearance, lets get stuck in. The aroma is similarly barley wine sweetness, to sugar shock levels in fact.

The first sip was while the beer was chilled, and it kept to the sweet fruit barley wine style. Very smooth and thick. Insanely sweet.  So I let it warn a while.  Now I’m not going to claim a bit of heat magically changed it into a stout. For one because that would be bullshit.  It kept its barley wine characteristics top and tail, but then into the centre like a depth charge came chocolate fudge and coffee.

It was like a shot of stout had been dropped in becoming a stout heart of the barley wine body.  The finish similarly sprouted a mix of chocolate stout and barley wine sweetness. Even the aroma shifted for a more dry, muted and less sweet character.

So it’s a bloody mixed up beast then, but what would you expect, it’s an attempt at a blond stout.

Stylistic pixelbitching aside, is it any good? Well the insane sweetness is overwhelming, all sugar fruits and candy cane. This can get a tad sickly, but when warm the surprisingly bitter finish does a nice offset. It s a bit too random to be a great beer, but it is a beer that gets better towards the end of a gulp. That’s when the real richness of the flavours hit.

Its problem is its stuck half way between stout and barley wine, with maybe just a hint of blond ale finish. It has that slightly creamy yet dry touch of blond ale there.  It’s an experiment that doesn’t quite work, but I love the fact it has been tried. As I have said many a time, I prefer a beer with ambition that doesn’t quite work to one that aims for the middle or the road and succeeds.

This is a wild Frankenstein fusion that enthrals me with its attempts for all its flaws. It’s up to you if you think you will have a similar response.

Background: When you can’t tell an April fools joke from an actual beer its time to get worried.  Brewdog did a joke about a blond stout last April fools, then the buggers only decided to go and make it. Liqorice roots were added to the beer, and it was aged on coffee beans to give that stout flavour.  Despite Brewdog calling it a “Deconstructed Blond Imperial Stout” there is some discussion of the actual style it belongs to. Obviously it has stout like qualities, but I would tend to call the beer a Barley Wine myself.  Ratebeer has it listed as an American Strong Ale, which is a loose enough grouping of beers that covers a wide range so in the end I decided to go with their category choice until further notice.  Drunk while listening to the album “After” by “Ihsahn”.

Brewdog/ Stone: Bashah Reserve: Imperial and Tayberry (Scotland: American Strong Ale: 8.7% ABV)

Visual: Very dark brown black, a fizzing brown head as poured but none settles.

Nose: Milk chocolate, sour berries – gooseberry. Light smoky whisky,  Sea breeze. Raspberry, blackberry and chocolate cream.

Body: Sour berries, blackcherry and pips. Bitter with a decent malt run. Gin, smoke and slight woodiness. Milk chocolate. Lots of sour and tart elements.

Finish: Bitter chocolate, gin air and more chocolate in shavings form. Smoke and salt. Sour and slight charring remains.

Conclusion: Another take on the Bashah and this one racks up the sour and smoke.  Whilst it is a powerful as heck beast like its blackberry aged brother, it seems to give a bit more room for the Bashah base beer to come out which I definitely appreciate given that the other reserve was damn near overwhelmed by its ageing elements.

Generally this is the less popular of the two reserves, however I found I enjoyed it more, the massive sourness it brought to play and the interactions with the base Bashah made for a very interesting beer, playing well with the bitter chocolate body.

It doesn’t play well with subtlety, the strong flavours do mask the edges of the taste range from Bashah, but it des retain the bitter edge trail in the finish.  A bold and brash beer, not balanced or subtle but for a massive sour and bitter kick it is very nice

Background: Bashah was initially a double Belgium style black IPA (for all the contradictions that entails) from Brewdog and Stone back in 2009, and was a delicious and very bitter beer.  Small amounts (about 700 to a thousand bottles of each type) were aged with berries in whisky casks.  I have previously tasted and enjoyed standard Bashah and the Highland Park and Black Raspberry and enjoyed both.  Disclaimer: I am not an unbiased actor when it comes to Brewdog beers but aim for objectivity.

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