Tag Archive: Brewdog


brewdog-vs-cloudwater-new-england-ipa

Brewdog Vs Cloudwater: New England IPA (Scotland: IPA: 6.8% ABV)

Visual: Pale cloudy coconut touched apricot juice look. Large white crisp bubbled head.

Nose: Pineapple and coconut juice. Dried banana. Light hop character. Light bitterness.

Body: Thick, slightly bitty texture. Apricot and pineapple. Creamy smoothie style character. Light hop character. Fresh peach. Crusty white bread.

Finish: Peach. Coconut. Creamy banana smoothie. Milky. Light hop oils and bitterness. Slight musty dust notes. Malty ovaltine. Slightly gritty, rocky character.

Conclusion: Ok, this is far better than the first bottle – as explained in the background my first experience with this was kind of odd. Anyway, this is a much thicker beer with a bit of an unusual texture with it. It mixes a creamy smoothie style with a slight gritty infusion that comes in late mid body and then rises massively in the finish. I am not 100% sure if it works, as I shall explain, but it is interesting.

To begin with the bitterness level here is low, concentrating more on the fresh fruit and using a touch of coconut style for grounding. Here in the early days the smoothie character rules the roost. Very fruity juice smoothie giving a mix of pineapple, sweet peach and mashed banana. Pretty good start.

As time goes on the grittiness rises, bringing initially just a hop feel, then into that rises hope oils and light bitterness. At this point it is a pleasant addition to the beer – but after that it becomes gritty and with slightly musty bitterness in the finish. It is around this point in the finish that I begin to feel the beer doesn’t 100% work. The rest of the beer is quiet restrained – easygoing and fruity for an IPA. It builds up to a slow drinking , leisurely beer for kind of if not quite session drinking (anything over 6% is not a session beer!). The final musty and gritty moments in the finish make it feel rough. Elements that are good in a bigger more brutal IPA feel out of place in an easygoing one like this.

The thing is, the early fruit juice smoothie with a bit of grip to it still works – it is just let down by the end. So, still reasonable and a bit different but doesn’t work either as a big IPA or an easygoing IPA. So, close but not quite.

Background: Cloudwater know how do do very good IPAs. So do Brewdog. Ok, let’s go with this one. I grabbed two bottles of this – first was slightly thin. Think that something went wrong with bottling on that one- it had a lot of brown gunk in the neck of the bottle – filling about 80% of the area. Think some sediment or yeast issues there. Anyway, this was the second bottle – gunk free, so let’s give it a go. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog. Still plaything Dark Souls 2 – finally broke another DLC area so this was my treat to myself for that bit. Drunk while listening to more Louise Distras.

Hey everyone.

Hope you are enjoying your drinks – was planning to do a new set of tasting notes here on Brewdog’s Born to Die 17/03/2017. I have done notes on Born To Die before, but they have tweaked it a bit recently – upping the abv to 9.5% abv as they are phasing out Hardcore IPA and doing regular releases of Born To Die to fill its place. So, I figured I would see what the difference is. Thing is, having tried it, it seems very similar to the prior ones, and I mean very similar. Each release has been tweaked a bit, but this doesn’t seem significantly different to the prior ones, so the notes ended up being virtually identical.

So, still a good beer, I very much enjoy each release – however feels like it fills a very different area than Hardcore IPA – BTD is much drier, and the hop don’t assault as much. I’m guessing it is a business decision as having two big IIPAs out regularly would clash for sales – and I can’t give them shit for that, especially as this is such a good beer. Just a pity for Hardcores’ passing as this really doesn’t fill the same niche for me.

Still, until next time – enjoy your drink!

brewdog-tropic-thunder

Brewdog: Tropic Thunder (Scotland: Stout: 7% ABV)

Visual: Black. Large creamy brown head.

Nose: Mocha coffee. Choc orange. Orange juice. Kiwi. Slight cloying touch. Grated bitter chocolate. Blood orange. Tropical fruit juice.

Body: Bitter chocolate front. Light earthy bitterness. Kiwi and grapes. Orange juice. Slight grapefruit. Tart grapes. Bubblegum. Coconut and very slight rum.

Finish: Coffee. Choc orange. Slight dried pineapple. Light tart grapes air. Orange juice. Slight sour cream twist. Tinned tropical fruit.

Conclusion: an unusual beer! I was expected the orange – since it was used in the brewing that was pretty much a no brainer. However I wasn’t expecting how much of a tropical fruit punch this stout was actually going to be.

Now the base stout is there – pretty bitter chocolate, mocha coffee and that light cloying twist I associate with foreign stouts – but everything from the nose to the finish shouts out fresh tropical fruit drink.

The bitty orange juice pocked throughout the chocolate is the first element, but it rises into tarter blood orange and from that bursts open into kiwi, tart grapes and grapefruit notes. The solid stout back counterbalances it with weight and restrained bitterness but it feels like the fruit is what makes it shine.

It is wonderfully fresh, while still keeping the stout weight. The stoutier notes last long into the finish as the freshness fades, leaving your final impression of that base weight and stout taste. It both keeps it loyal to the base style and means that each sip refreshes anew with the fruit mix.

Far better than I expected the mix to be – heat really helps bring out the fruit notes as the base weight also grows, fills the beer with utterly tropical flavour and makes it rewarding as heck. I’ve very much enjoyed this one.

Background: I think this is predominantly available through Tesco stores and was made for them, I think, but I grabbed it direct from the Brewdog online store. The winning HomeBrewDog entry and now made by Brewdog this is stout brewed with orange peel. Also it shares its name with a Dugges/Stillwater collaboration, and a Hollywood film. So a popular name then. Anyway, sounded interested, though, as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. This was drunk while listening to more Two Steps From Hell, love the epic feel of their work.

chimay-white-tripel

Chimay: White – Tripel (Belgium: Abbey Tripel: 8% ABV)

Visual: Clear yellow gold. Large yellowed to white head. Moderate carbonation.

Nose: Peppery. Wheaty. Dry. Light bitterness. Coriander.

Body: Dry. Cane sugar. Peppery and wheaty. Light custard sweetness. Light bitterness. Light white wine and tart white grapes. Creamy. Lemon.

Finish: Light bitterness. Wheaty character. Dry. Dry lemon. White wine. Soft toffee.

Conclusion: Oh this is a so very well attenuated tripel. Dry, always on the verge of too dry for my tastes, but always done well enough that it doesn’t take it that step too far. It just looks over the edge without the need to step back, or overbalance and fall forwards. It works a base that is dry, wheaty and lightly peppery – actually feels kind of tending towards those Belgian wit spice flavours, but layered over a more dry attenuated base than those beers tend to go for. It then lets the sweetness rise into the middle of that – giving cream and lemon notes that rise to the surface for a few moments, then sink again to let the dryness return. Cane sugar shimmers over the top of that generally dry base, creating delicious contrast.

The lemon character rises as the beer warms, which gives even more of a Belgian wit meets super attenuated Tripel impression. This leans away from the super sweet, easy crowd pleaser tripel style and into something that is harder to get used to – but to my mind is much more rewarding for that. It does get creamier over time, but never loses that dry air around it.

It works very well, never too dry, never sugar shock sweet, and always has a lot going on. This is the blueprint for how to do a classy tripel.

Trappist beers still impress me after all these years, and this especially does not disappoint.

Background: Chimay was my first experience of Trappist ales – ales brewed by Trappist monasteries. I ran into them in York as I was starting to expand my beer horizons and the sheer weight of them just blew my mind. Think it was the blue I first tried. Anyway, decided to grab this – the tripel of the bunch from Independent Spirit. Something big like this deserved big music, so I broke out Two Steps From hell – Archangel – lovely big epic music.

brewdog-hop-shot

Brewdog: Hop Shot (Scotland: IIPA: 22% ABV)

Visual: Apricot colour, some bubbles. No real head. Mild amounts of carbonation.

Nose: Peach. Musty hops. Kiwi. Apricot. Thick. Solid bitterness and hop oils. Light floral notes.

Body: Thick and syrupy. Golden syrup and honey. Good hop oils and some bitterness. Custard. Kiwi. Big peach. Syrupy alcohol. Pineapple.

Finish: Big kiwi, grapes and pineapple. Big hop bitterness. Thick sheen. Alcohol gin air. Big peach. Drying. Passion fruit. Hop oils.

Conclusion: This is actually a lot better than I expected. After the atrocious misstep that was Watt Dickie I feared that this would be similar.

Instead this actually feels roughly akin to an Imperial IPA, albeit one that has been crossed with golden syrup and had the alcohol feel turned way up. That may not be the most promising sounding description when I put it that way, I will admit, however I’m enjoying it. It has calls to Sink The Bismarck – but while that was was a raw onslaught of a beer, this is smoother and more refined. Now don’t get me wrong – you can totally tell the alcohol – but the very thick, very sweet texture compensates surprisingly well to control it. It feels like slightly thinned golden syrup slowly oozing over your tongue – dispensing varied honey to custard notes as well as its native syrup character. Very, very sweet indeed.

The fruitiness is the second biggest thing this has to offer, layered over the syrupy sweet notes. It is exploding with peach and kiwi notes, amongst a smattering of others. There is nothing subtle, subtlety would not work here. It all has to be big, all the time.

That is why I find it odd that of all things, it is the bitterness that is comparatively restrained. There is a lot of hop character, and definitely a lot of hop oils feel, but the bitterness? Well, with the exception of the finish, it is always restrained. Even in the finish the bitterness gets overwhelmed by the indomitable momentum of the sweetness over time.

So, it is a party piece rather than one to have often. Too insanely thick and strong to have several of. Despite its huge flavour everything is up front so it is not one to contemplate either. It is very fun though. So a sugar shock, fruit hop heavy, golden syrup thick thing of an Imperial IPA. You will either have great fun with it, or hate it. Either way you will only ever probably have a couple then go back to more balanced drinking fare. Still – fun!

Background: Grabbed from Brewdog Bristol, this tiny bottle is Brewdog’s latest attempt at freeze fortifying beer. Generally they have been pretty good, but the last attempt – Watt Dickie was freaking terrible. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. I grabbed the smallest glass I had for this one – a third pint glass from the Great British Beer Festival – at 110 ml the bottle still barely made a dent in the glass. Still, plenty of room for the aroma to roam. Drunk while listening to the hauntingly wonderful Alver album – atgclvlsscap

brewdog-self-assembly-pope

Brewdog: Self Assembly Pope (Scotland:Imperial Porter: 7.4% ABV)

Visual: Black. Large creamy brown head.

Nose: Coconut macaroons. Rye bourbon. Very milky coffee. Velvety.

Body: Light roasted nuts. Coconut macaroons. Bitter cocoa. Hazelnuts. Milky chocolate. Slight dry rice. Vanilla.

Finish: Dry coconut and slight rice. Bitter cocoa dust. Slight earthy bitterness. Bitter coffee. Slight soy milk. Rye crackers. Slight bourbon. Vanilla.

Conclusion: Coconut. Lovely, lovely coconut. Good start. Also an amazing amount of what I would call bourbon influence, except this beer hasn’t been barrel aged. So, doubly impressive then. Up front this is definitely a good one – it has so much I like in a porter or stout; Lots of rye like notes, moderate roasted nut character, huge amount of coconut macaroons – backed by a bitter core, smoothed by a lot of vanilla. Well balanced, good range – very good first impressions. Opening aroma through to early body is velvet smooth and spot on.

The second half is, well, different. Much harsher in the flavours – not in off notes or alcohol – just emphasising a very different style. Lots more bitter coffee, bitter chocolate – the rye bourbon notes now mix with a lot of rye cracker flavours, and even a touch of earthy bitterness. Very different and a bit of a shock. Not bad, just not what I would have predicted at the start.

What is a nock against it thought is a slight grittiness of feel that comes in – with also a hint of accompanying flavour of dry rice. It comes in more than the finish than elsewhere, but is hinted at later in the body. It makes the harsher notes more emphasised, and puts a few off notes in there with them.

Still, for the most part a very good beer – was in the running for a favourite for a while as it has so many of my favourite things. It is still good, but those flaws means that it feels like it needs a polish to get those off notes smoothed out.

Overall – very enjoyable up front, an ok end with some flaws. So close to being very good. Hope they do work on this one.

Background:man, Brewdog are putting out a lot of beers at the mo. Anyway, grabbed this from Brewdog Bristol – a porter made with coconut, vanilla and cocoa. Which in retrospect explains roughly half the items in the tasting notes. Love the fun artwork Brewdog have been putting on their small batch cans, and this is no exception. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This was drunk while listening to more of Grimes: Visions – it is just an awesome album. Also had been playing some Pony Island – a weird meta as hell game, so was in a generally fun mood.

brewdog-rye-hammer

Brewdog: Rye Hammer (Scotland: IPA: 7.2% ABV)

Visual: Light clear yellow. Good sized white bubbled head. Some small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Rye crackers. Passion fruit. Moderate hop character. Soft peach. Brown bread. Thick aroma.

Body: Big peach and peach melba. Passion fruit. Good hop character. Custard and toffee malt character. Strawberry hints. Apricot. Brown bread and rye crackers.

Finish: Rye crackers and light spice. Pineapple and kiwi. Moderate hop bitterness. Grapes. Strawberry. Brown bread. Slightly dry. Pepper.

Conclusion: Ok, after being mostly ok on the Jack Hammer variants over the past year – good but not great – I think I have finally found the one that I adore. It is odd that this is the stand out one for me, as generally I am not a huge fan of beers not originally designed for rye having it added. Beers designed for rye tend towards good, but added afterwards it generally seems to result in a weaker beer than the original. This, however, works,

I think part of it is that it doesn’t mess with the base Jack Hammer too much. You still get the massive fruit range, the good hop punch, the sweet but not excessive malt base – all the fond elements that have been carefully honed since the beer’s original release, all on show here.

The rye just adds to that – extra spice and peppery notes to the finish. Extra weight given to the back that gives it more impact from the base as well as the hops. The rye doesn’t seem to take away from anything in the beer, it just gives it a bit more to play with. More flavour, more character, more range.

I already liked Jack Hammer, a bit of a one note assault as it was – it had a good amount of fruit and hops, but it was the same notes the whole way through. This makes the beer much more full, gives more grip, so the flavours have more to examine. There is possibly a tad less raw bitterness – it is hard to say – I have got so blasé to high hop bitterness over the years that I may just not notice it as much.

The most normal of the Jack Hammer variants in that it does not vary as much from the base, but also the best. It keeps all the juicy and fresh fruit character, all the hops – the biggest difference is in the finish – there is some rye shown throughout, but in the finish it is far more with the bready and spicy rye character. The biggest joy from this is that this is a great beer,a great Jack Hammer with that bit extra I never knew it needed. Awesome stuff.

Background: Fourth and final (for this year at least) Jack Hammer variant from Brewdog. This one, as the name suggests, is made with rye. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. The original Jack Hammer was a fun wee hop assault that I enjoyed initially and has grown on me more over the years as they tweak the recipe. This was grabbed from Brewdog Bristol, and drunk while listening to Mobina Galore again.

brewdog-casino-rye-ale

Brewdog: Casino Rye Ale (Scotland: Speciality Grain: 5.1% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Some carbonation. Thin yellowed head.

Nose: Rye crackers. Dried apricot. Pepper. Brown bread baps.

Body: Bready. Pepper and paprika. Rye bread. Lightly creamy. Prickly hop character. Slight earthy note. Light apricot.

Finish: Slightly milky. Rye bread and pepper. Bready. Slight earthy. Mild malt drinks and nutty notes.

Conclusion: Fairly simple one this – the biggest surprise I got from it is that it is light gold. I am used to rye influenced beers being a bit darker on the eye. So on pour I was expecting something a bit more unusual.

Despite the lighter colour the rye still dominates the flavour of the beer. Lots of rye crackers and light pepper taste against a slightly creamy, but generally dry body. That is what you get dominating, for the most part, your drinking session with this beer. Drinkable enough but nothing to get the pulse pounding.

At 5% abv I know that I shouldn’t expect this to be a massive beer, however we do have a lot of complex beers around at this abv and lower. Frankly, despite a bit of abv inflation in the craft scene over the years – 5% is still above standard sessionable abv and should give plenty of room for some depth and grip. As is the flavour profile feels more appropriate for something aiming at the sessionable, easygoing end of the scale.

Outside of that you get an occasional apricot high note, but not much of that. More common is a malty drink and lightly nutty led set of low notes – which add to an already grounded beers style. However rather than added low notes, it feels like it needs a few more contrasting high and fresh notes, or some other contrast as it can rapidly start feeling a tad samey in the experience you are getting.

Not much else to say. Drinkable, bit basic – needs a bit more to it to make it work. Nothing terrible to complain about – just very average.

Background: Was not sure if I was going to grab this one. First, as Brewdog have released a lot of new beers recently, always releasing them one at a time, which makes mail ordering a pain. Second due to the gimmick attached to it. To try and promote their USA shares thingy, Brewdog were doing a gamble your shares promotion. Now, as someone who happily drinks beer, which if misused can be a bloody harmful habit, I feel a tad hypocritical criticising gambling for the damage it can do if people become addicted. However, just for me, and as me, my experiences with people addicted to gambling means such promotions leave a bad taste in my mouth. Anyway, looks like the whole promotion ran into some legal issues, and I was in Bristol – so grabbed a bottle from Brewdog Bristol. So, feh, trying it after all. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. Anyway, listened to more Mobina Galore while drinking this – lovely punk energy with a touch lighter sound.

brewdog-omipollo-flat-pack-fruit-bat

Brewdog: Omipollo: Flat Pack Fruit Bat (Scotland: Fruit IPA: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cherry-aid red. Moderate carbonation. Large reddened froth head.

Nose: Musty hops and bitterness. Tart raspberry. Greenery hint. Slightly bready. Vanilla milkshakes.

Body: Tart raspberry. Gripping hops. Raspberry yogurt. Vanilla milkshake. Thick mouthfeel. Some bitterness.

Finish: Brown bread. Fresh raspberry. Good hop character. Vanilla and vanilla yogurt. Quite heavy bitterness. Charring touch. Resin. Slight earthy hops and greenery.

Conclusion: Recently in a set of notes I talked about the joy in a deep, complex ale versus the fun of a simple beer done well. This is most definitely in that second category.

This is very much fruit orientated – fresh in the raspberry – and with a good gripping mouthfeel which I’m guessing comes from the lactose that was used in brewing it. Definitely uses that thick mouthfeel to push the smoothie angle well – very fruity to match that. It is a much creamier texture than you would expect from an IPA because of that. Still mouth freshening from the light tartness of the raspberry – but tends towards the sweeter side of the fruit usage.

The IPA, hop side, of things is more shown in the bitterness and feel than in any fancy hop flavours. It feels kind of musty, slightly sticking hops, resinous and slightly charred in the finish. From the aroma through to the back end it is just (“Just” he says) a solid hop character – nothing too bitter, but with a kind of bready character and influenced mouthfeel backing the smoother front and raspberries. The finish is where it finally starts to really kick with high bitterness now mixing with those charred notes and a touch of greenery.

So, despite the flavour, mouthfeel and freshness wise being very much about the tart smoothie concept, it still manages a resinous, very bitter (in the finish) IPA like character to back it up.

So, not complex, but delivers on what it promises and what it sets out to do. A great balance of fruit and beer. You definitely feel both and in good quantities. A good general drinking beer with a big character and lots of quality.

Background: As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer – I am also quite a fan of Omnipollo, despite not trying much of theirs while I was in Sweden. This, bought directly from the Brewdog shop, is an attempt an an IPA raspberry smoothie. Whatever that would be. Apart from this it seems. It is made with wheat, oat, milk lactose, vanilla and raspberries and single hopped with mosaic. This was drunk while listening to some Zodiac Zoo – a band I got into due to one of their weird sounding tracks on the original guitar hero which sounded like a guitar hymn to Azathoth– the rest of their work didn’t quite live up to that, but it still strangely discordant rock.

brewdog-ace-of-equinox

Brewdog: Ace Of Equinox (Scotland: Session IPA: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellowed main body. Some carbonation. Moderate sized white head.

Nose: Passion-fruit. Fresh. Digestives. Moderate hop prickle and bitterness. Slight thick musty notes. Dried pineapple. Flour. Slight smoke?

Body: Prickly. Fresh. Vanilla toffee. Flour. Black pepper. Fresh grapes. Slight chalk. Somewhat spritzy.

Finish: Slight musty bitterness. Sulphur. Slight sparkling mineral water. White grapes. White pepper. Charring.

Conclusion: Ok, this is very different to the other “Ace of”s and, in fact, quite different to the vast amount of other session IPAs. Which, good or not, does mean that I can’t just go on my usual session IPA rant here. I actually need to write new material. So let’s have a gander.

While it does not taste it, I have a feeling that the malt base must be as dry as the other ones in the range – they are all based on the same recipe after all – and there are hints of dryness in the character, along with a very peppery character which would normally indicate that the low abv session IPA curse of over dryness has hit here. However, the bullet is neatly dodged by the spritzy, quite fresh, hop feel. Not huge, nor with a large range of flavour – it is kind of grape like (and let’s face it, it is possible that some of the pepper character comes from the hops as well) and even has that kind of mineral in mineral water taste. Not deep, and in fact not notes that you normally hunt out – but the freshness that comes with them really keeps the dryness in check early on.

By the time the dryness comes to a head it is matched by a much bigger bitterness than before; A bigger bitterness than you would expect from a light beer – not so much in the mid body, but when mixed with the charring and pepper in the finish it is quite the punch.

So, the range of flavour is on the simple end of the scale – though on actually making a sessionable yet bitter IPA this does a lot better than I expected when starting it. Heck, the malt base even seemed to bring some of the usual toffee and vanilla notes you would want from an IPA.

So, not as good as the awesome Neck Oil – but a refreshing and punchy beer. Definitely lacking in depth, but I could imagine kicking back a few as long as it is chilling with friends rather than examining them. A fair decent social lubricant, but not one of the greats.

Background: Last of this year’s “Ace of “ series. A single hopped session IPA. Frankly I very rarely get along with session IPAs – this range started off fairly weak, but the has become ok over time. Which is not really high praise. Hopefully this one will break the trend. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer, and this was grabbed direct from Brewdog’s online store. This was drunk to the odd music mix of Propellerheads and Slipknot. Very 90s.

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