Tag Archive: Brewdog


Brewdog: The Physics (Scotland: Amber Ale: 5% ABV)

Visual: Mahogany to slightly browned. Large browned mounded head that leaves lace.

Nose: Malt chocolate and choc orange. Light crushed peanuts. Milky coffee. Lightly fresh feel.

Body: Nutty with slight cashew nuts. Orange and choc orange. Lightly milky chocolate. Soft fudge and toffee.

Finish: Roasted nuts and roasted hop character. Light orange. Creamy lime. Toffee. Light bitterness.

Conclusion: OK, of the three Brewdog re-brews this seems to have fared the best. Probably because it is malt led I imagine. The malty beers seemed to be the ones that fared best on being moved to the new site, back when Brewdog had about a year of very variable beer quality just after they set up their new brewery.

From the three beers they rebrewed I really am thinking that they didn’t bother trying to customise their brew time, etc for their new Brewery kit for doing these beers; as the beers that work and don’t work, and their flaws are so similar to those first batches after they moved over. Or if they did, they sure as hell didn’t do it well, and yet still put the beers on the market. Which really comes across as slapdash for a set that is supposed to be a celebration of their old beer.

Anyway, that rant aside, unlike the other two beers , this is still very decent. So I may have started ranting too early. Or too late and I should have put it in the prior set of notes. Anyway…. As said, this is well done with a soothing toffee led base matched with lots of choc orange that is laced throughout It has a fresh and sweet feel to it, but not excessive in either of them – Instead it is grounded very well by a solid dose of nuttiness and a little bit of roasted hop character. The fresh elements are helped by a taste not unlike those green flecks you get when you unshell nuts, which again means it never gets too heavy.

Yep, this one brings back memories of why The Physics was the beer that cemented by respect for Brewdog after Punk IPA had first blown my world. It is still solid with the malt chocolate and a mild, very milky, coffee set of notes giving a robust base behind the sweetness. All very easy to drink, and if it wasn’t for the 5% abv it would be kind of sessionable.

So, still got it, all these years on.

Background: I think The Physics was the second ever Brewdog beer I tried after Punk IPA – back before I had starting doing this little blog of mine. So, when Brewdog was doing a rebrew of their original three beers to celebrate their tenth anniversary it brought out a bit of nostalgia for me. Then again, their other two beers in the rebrew turned out to be sub-par, so by this point I was more nervous. This was grabbed direct from Brewdog’s store, and as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beer. Had a bit of Faithless playing while listening to this, some good old 90s electronic nostalgia. So, really a nostalgia overdose for this set of notes.

Brewdog: Dog F (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 17.5% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Small brown grey head.

Nose: Cocoa dust. Chilli smoke. Barbecue sauce on ribs. Beef stew.

Body: Barbecue sauce. Chocolate. Moderate chilli heat. Golden syrup. Sugared orange sweets. Cognac late on. Smooth. Dried banana. Brown sugar. Smokey.

Finish: Chilli heat. Chocolate. Orange liqueur and caramelised brown sugar. Smooth cognac. Cocoa dust. Banana custard.

Conclusion: I’m glad I jumped back onto the Dog ( Ascending Letter) series with this one. I was considering holding off, as the last one was very similar, but the promise of cognac ageing lured me in. I try only to do new notes when the beer is reasonably different – and trust me, this is definitely significantly different.

Smooth, and because of that feels far below the heavy duty abv it is packing. There may be some alcohol heat to it, but I wouldn’t know from drinking it – mainly because this packs a higher chilli heat than any of the rest of the Dog (x) series up to this point, so any alcohol heat it does still have is lost under the respectable level of chilli heat. It isn’t overpowering – I definitely like my chilli more towards flavour than heat, and I found it reasonable – but it is still a very distinct presence here.

It is strange, this uses habanero as its chilli, but the smokey heat and flavour actually reminds me more of my favourite chilli – the chipotle! This definitely means that I am looking on the beer more favourably as it has that lovely flavour mixed in with a smooth and viscous texture which creates a distinct almost barbecue sauce type of flavour as a base for the beer.

Now the beer does lose some of the complexity that usually comes with the Dog (x) series due to that heat being so present. A lot of the coffee, black cherry and such are gone. Thankfully the cognac ageing is here to bring some all new complexity back into this! It brings golden syrup and erm .. cognac, orange and such notes. The oddest additional note is a set of banana notes, which I have no idea which ingredient caused them but I am very glad they are there – adds a soft sweetness under the intensity. This is very far from the original Dog A in flavour, and even further from the AB 04 roots before that. This is distinctly its own thing

The beer that existed before is barely seen here – now more a texture, and a chunk of bitter chocolate – the beer it has become however is awesome.

A great entry into a high quality series.

Background: Dog F is the distant relative of one of Brewdog’s early hits of a beer – Abstrakt AB 04 – a chilli, chocolate and coffee infused imperial stout – it evolved a bit into their anniversary beer Dog A which upped the chilli, altered the coffee and added vanilla, which then had a a bourbon aged version when they hit Dog D, and now a cognac version with this one Dog F. I think the recipe has changed a bit each time, but I’ve only gone back to do new set of notes on the really big changes. As well as the barrel ageing, this has changed the chilli used this time – going with habanero, while AB 04 used naga chilli. Probably some other changes as well, but those are the big ones. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. I grabbed this from the Brewdog online store and put music on shuffle while drinking, so a fair eclectic mix of metal, punk, electronic and anime soundtracks came up. These days I am getting a bit weary on the waste associated with things like boxing up bottles as this does – however as a 10th anniversary beer I guess it has better call to do so than most.

Brewdog: Hop Fiction (Scotland: India Style Lager: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Pale gold. Small amounts of carbonation. Large white, mounded solid head that leaves suds.

Nose: Floral. Coriander. Light bitterness and hoppy character. Wheaty. Orange zest. Light lemon. Slight carbonation.

Body: Dry. Slight lemon cake. Some bitterness. Slight granite. Moderate hop levels. Some toffee to caramel if held. Light brown sugar.

Finish: Some bitterness. Cardboard. Good hop character. Lemon cake. Light orange notes.

Conclusion: You remember those “Backyard Brew” beers from a while back? Beers from a large brewer trying to pass themselves off as a faux craft kind of thing? Well, if you had handed this to me blind and told me it came from them I would not have been surprised. Not to say that this is terrible, but it is so very meh, which is a bad sign. Incidentally, unlike 99% of the population I am actually quite fond of the word “Meh”. Just some random trivia for you.

Anyway, like a lot of the early beers Brewdog did after moving to their new brewery, this feels over attenuated and too dry – losing what should be a refreshing lager character and instead giving slight cardboard notes and granite. So, a few definite down sides to this beer are immediately obvious.

On the up side this does have a fairly solid bitterness and a mix of light lemon and orange notes. A lot of the early brews at the new site also had massive loss in hop character as they dialled in the recipes, so it is good to see that this did not get hit with that problem on rebrew.

However, even the original version of this – going by vague memory – was only ok but not world shattering. This, more attenuated version, means that the positive notes are far from enough to make it a beer I can recommend. Not terrible, but when a faux craft brewer is turning out a better larger than yours, you have a problem.

So – not similar enough to the original brew to be worth it for nostalgia. Not good enough by itself to be worth grabbing. Just meh. Meh. Meh. Meh. So, cannot advise buying.

Between this and the terrible rebrew of 6% abv Punk IPA it really feels like not much effort was put into these rebrews. A great dissapointment.

Background: Was wondering what style to put this under lager wise, so I gave up and checked ratebeer – turns out they now have decided India Style Lager deserves its own category now. Since they managed to resist calling it an India Pale Lager like every other IPA variant name, I have no objection to this. Anyway, this is a rebrew of one of Brewdog’s original three beers which I grabbed from their online store. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. I had tried Hop Rocker back in the day, but not much and never got around to drinking it. Mostly grabbed Punk IPA back then. Speaking of Punk IPA, they also did a rebrew of the original 6% abv Punk IPA. It was terrible, far too over attenuated – looked like they hadn’t tweaked brew times and recipe to make it work with their new kit. So, I was a tad nervous if this was going to be shit as well. Drunk while listening to a bit of “Hate In The Box” – nice kind of electric punk goth mash up in feel.

Brewdog: Paradox Rye (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 15% ABV)

Visual: Black. Short lived brown creamy head that settles to a loose bubble dusting.

Nose: Milk chocolate. Tiramisu. Bourbon. Caramel. Crushed rye crackers. Praline. Crushed walnuts and coffee cake.

Body: Bitter chocolate and coffee cake. Smooth. Low alcohol character. Caramel. Vanilla fudge. Cocoa dust. Slightly bready. Bourbon comes out as it warms.

Finish: Coca dust. Rye crackers. Crushed peanuts. Chocolate cake. Coffee cake. Crushed walnuts and pecan pie. Spirity air. Bourbon.

Conclusion: This has been less influenced by the rye bourbon ageing than I had imagined – at least at first. Initially the alcohol feel, and bourbon feel, in this is pretty low. Alcohol warmth but that is about it on that side.

Instead it is very smooth – chocolate cake and coffee cake styled luxury imperial stout. A lot more nutty that previous Paradoxes though – which I presume is a more subtle piece of influence from the time in the oak.

Strangely there is very little of the big vanilla notes that you tend to get with American oak ageing. Even as the beer warms, and a bourbon air comes out in the finish, it is more subtle than usual. This finally revealed oak ageing influence seems a mixed blessing. It gains a slight spirity feel as it warms. I prefer this sort of thing to feel integrated into the beer, while here it seems to float as a separate note rather than part of the beer itself. Also, for all the beer seems to gain a good nuttiness, in general the beer feels like a very smooth base Paradox separate from those spirity notes. There are comparatively few added elements outside the bourbon air.

So, a mixed blessing, but still a blessing to have spent time in the oak. The oak rest has made it smooth as hell, and the base notes are emphasised in exceptionally good ways because of that. Praline for the chocolate, rich for the coffee cake, and the aforementioned great range of nuts. Very good – it just feels like it needs either less oak influence to ditch the spirity air and indulge the luxury, or more oak influence to add more complex layers to justify the spirit air.

So, not perfect, but a very luxurious smooth imperial stout. Feels like either a great example of what you would want from an unaged imperial stout, or a slightly weak take on an aged one. Make of that what you will.

Background: Ok, we all know the drill by now – big imperial stout. Aged in barrels – in this case Rye bourbon. As always I am not an unbiased actor in Brewdog beer. Grabbed from the Brewdog store. Think that covers the usual stuff. Despite being canned now, this still comes in a presentation box. Which seems a bit of a waste of material, and looks a tad silly. I used to be up for the more fancy things around beers, when they were used occasionally for really special stuff. They are used for so much these days the novelty has worn off and it just looks like an unnecessary waste of resources. Wanted some simple but heavy music for drinking this – so shoved on some Obituary. Nice, heavy and guitar led. Job done.

Brewdog Vs Beavertown: Coffee and Cigarettes (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 12.1% ABV)

Visual: Black. Brown coffee rim of a head and a dash of a head across the main body.

Nose: Tar. Peat. Brown sugar. Smoke. Thick treacle and caramel. Ash. Honey. Rich coffee. Crushed muscat grapes.

Body: Ash. Smoke. Mild bitter chocolate. Rich coffee beans to coffee cake. Light carrot. Smoked meat. Spiced red grapes.

Finish: Milky chocolate. Smoke. Smoked meat. Shortbread. Bitter coffee. Slight salt air. Slight carrot cake. Cocoa dust. Ash. Spicy grapes. Treacle.

Conclusion: You know, you can rarely criticise Brewdog beers for not matching their concept. This, well it matches the concept to a tee. This has coffee, rich and full up front with thinner and more raw notes at times; This also has ash, smoke and such cigarette imagery. Quite peated and full up front, dry and smokey at the end, with smoke meat dished out throughout to help the idea.

Despite all this, which is impressive, I am a tad disappointed. Please let me explain why. The aroma is a booming beast – tarry, smokey and meaty. It hints and brown sugar and rich, sweet and spicy dark fruit. Frankly amazing. Not quite explaining the disappointment, am I? Give me a mo.

None of the above is entirely absent from the body, but it is far more restrained. Drier really, and a touch lighter. Not thin, but far from the beast of an aroma that dragged you in. A lot of the notes aren’t their at the start as well, they take a long time to develop. The spice grapes especially take some time to build up, so the initial impression are a distinct let down from the wonderful aroma.

When it has built up is is a) Very good and b) still nowhere near as booming as the aroma. While the nose is tarry, caramel thick and full of the burnt sugar the body is dry coffee cake and cocoa dusting. Not bad but distinctly different in intensity.

It is still good though – lost of coffee, spice grapes and caramel taste late on – lots of salt air but far from Islay heavy duty. It is drier than most Imperial Stouts, lighter all times but still complex with tons of well defined smoke and coffee notes. So, despite my criticism I enjoyed it – just a tad too dry, a tad too reined in. Small flaws but with a bit extra boom this could have been a classic.

So, good beer that does the concept well and well balanced. Maybe they made it how they did as a bigger beer would have blown out the balance. Who knows? Any which way, very good, but not ten quid a pop good. For that cost I demand a lot from a beer. Nearly worth it, but not quite for me. Hopefully I’ve given you enough info to decide for yourself if you think it would be worth that much to you.

Background: As I always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. This one, a collaboration with the excellent Beavertown brewery, is one with a heck of a lot shoved in. Made with oats, muscovado sugar, coffee then aged in three different whisky casks – Islay, Rye and Bourbon it sounds like from the description at the Brewdog Store. This was drunk while listening to the experimental funk, guitar mash up wonder that is Praxis: Transmutation. Not broken that out for a while, still weird and awesome.

Brewdog: Semi Skimmed Occultist (Scotland: Stout: 8% ABV)

Visual: Black with dark brown edges. Inch of mounded, brown creamy froth head.

Nose: Light roasted nuts. Cashew nuts. Light milk. Quite clean. Milky coffee. Light greenery.

Body: Milky and creamy. Creamy chocolate to chocolate liqueur. Rich chocolate cake. Thick mouthfeel. Milky bitter coffee. Fudge. Vanilla.

Finish: Chocolate cake. Light hop earthy notes. Milky coffee. Scones. Bitter chocolate shavings. Vanilla.

Conclusion: This thing uses a shit-ton of ingredients to work out the one thing it wants to do, and then does it well. Basically this takes all the core stout elements spread over several beers, and epitomises them in a single beer. It takes a lovely thick texture, creamy flavour, varied chocolate and coffee notes, and sweet vanilla and just crams them together. It has a few other rounding notes, but basically this concentrates on the core stout concepts and does them very well indeed.

Strangely, I had no idea of this going in as the aroma announced pretty much none of that. In fact it instead brings in the one stereotyped stout style that the body missed -a rough edged nutty character. Overall though the aroma is pretty simple and gives no hint of the rich creaminess to come.

Warning then, since the aroma does not – this is a very sweet stout; Though it is delivered in a creamy, not a sugar shock way. It manages to wear the creamy chocolate styling alongside mild bitter chocolate and coffee opposition so that the base sweetness is big, but not sickly. In fact the biggest sweetness, and closest it gets to sickly is from the strong vanilla backing, it is quite sweet and slightly syrupy, but manages to to only appear for long enough to make an impact, not dominate the beer.

So, yeah, the oats, wheat, et al have all given this a fantastic smooth and thick mouthfeel so it can put on a lesson on how to do a luxury stout. There is nothing unique here, but it does everything well.

Background: Usual disclaimer – I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Anyway, this is their most recent canned release with neat art. I’m not going to complain at that trend – I do like how they are making cans something that are visually appealing, which is seemingly a tad harder to do than with bottles for some reason. This is a stout (Possibly imperial stout – it is right on the line for me on that) made with (deep breath) wheat, oats, cocoa nibs, lactose, coffee and vanilla. None are too unusual, but it is rare to see them all shoved together in one beer. Anyway, due to having grabbed tickets to see NXT Wrestling later this year, this was drunk while listening to a one hour long version of Shinsuke Nakamura’s theme. Yes I am odd sometimes. However it is awesome, and so is he.

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.

%d bloggers like this: