Brewdog: Paradox Islay (2015 Edition) (Scotland: Imperial Stout: 13.8% ABV)
Visual: Black. Still. Caramel coloured dash for a head.
Nose: Smoke. Iodine. Salt. Tar. Brown sugar. Toasted tea cakes. Fresh cooked brown bread.
Body: Thick. Liquorice. Tar. Molasses. Salty rocks. Peat. Toffee and fudge. Sweet chocolate liqueur.
Finish: Salt. Brown bread. Bitter chocolate. Medicinal character. Coconut.
Conclusion: Oh fuck yes. Ok, for ninety percent of the people reading this, you have probably worked out where I stand on this. Some of you may even feel you don’t have to read any further. That is ok. I may have kind of summed it up. for everyone else, let’s go.
The trick with Islay ageing, I find anyway, is making sure it doesn’t overwhelm the base beer. So, I initially found it odd that at 13.8% this is slightly lower abv than most of the Paradox range these days. Despite that the base beer still manages to rock the casbah in a big way.
There is sweet chocolate liqueur into molasses level flavour along with big toffee. This is an important thing to mentioned, as it is a miracle that it could kick hard enough to be tasted beyond the tarry, medicinal beast that is the Islay influence.
If you like the heavier end of Islay then it is all here, from the big aroma to the medicinal finish. If you like big imperial stouts, then it is all here, from the fresh bready opening to the bitter chocolate end.
So, basically if you like big beers, it is all here. Thick, big, yet somehow balanced. One of the best Paradoxes Brewdog have turned out, and one of the best Islay aged beers ever.
That is saying a hell of a lot, no?
Background; I was worried I had missed this one, I had tried a sip of this a few weeks ago, before I realised that it looked like this may be a keg only release. So I made sure to run back and try it properly. The Paradox range is Brewdog’s Imperial Stout aged in an almost silly range of varied casks over the years – it started at 10%, is now 15%, yet this release comes in at an unusual 13.8% – not sure why. Drunk at Brewdog Bristol – as always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers.