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Brewdog/Beavertown Coffee and Cigarettes

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.65

Released at the start of summer last year, this beer is a collaborative offering from Brewdog and London based Beavertown that I picked up soon after it was released but was purposely keeping to try over the holiday season, finally getting round to it on my last day off before starting back work again. A huge imperial stout that comes in at 12.% abv. and is aged in three different types of whiskey casks before being blended together again; Islay, Bourbon and Rye whiskey casks were all used during the brewery process with this one. The beer itself was one that I wasn’t too sure about picking up but it was one of the few I hadn’t tried from Brewdog when I was visiting their bottle shop so I decided to grab myself one for winter, here’s what I thought of it when I finally got round to cracking a bottle open.

Appearance (4/5): Opaque black in colour, this one looks like oil in the glass and is topped with a half centimetre foamy head that is a light brown colour and settles as a fine surface lacing after thirty seconds or so but is still pretty good considering the strength of this one.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a strong nose kicks things off here, there was plenty of coffee initially with a touch of chocolate backing it up and adding some sweetness to the equation along with subtle liquorice notes too. Around the middle the ‘cigarette’ side of things started to make itself known with some strong smoked notes and touches of wood coming through, a hint of oak showed itself here too. It was definitely a dark beer on the nose with some peat and warming alcohol aromas at the end, as well as some subtle vanilla sweetness.
Taste (6/10): Mirroring the nose, the beer opens with strong chocolate and cocoa flavours alongside a solid coffee taste that was slightly bitter. There was some alcohol showing soon after with the beer having quite a strong kick to it which made it seem boozy and warming then from about the middle on there was some wood and smoked notes coming through with some of the vanilla (or possibly coconut) sweetness from the nose carrying through as well. At the end there was a definite whisky taste with peat malts and some darker fruits coming through as well, most notably I got some raisins and plum but it was definitely the alcohol that dominated nearer the end.
Palate (4/5): A very strong, full bodied beer that was loaded with alcohol from the start and definitely lived up to its 12.1% abv. content although at least some of the alcohol was masked by the chocolate and vanilla sweetness along with the coffee bitterness and wood flavours but I felt these could have been stronger. The beer was a softly carbonated offering that was quite warming at the end and came with quite a strong kick to it but I was hoping for a slightly better balance to make it an easier to drink offering in truth.

Overall (15/20): Very strong stuff from Brewdog and Beavertown here, this one is a huge beer that initially opened with a lot of chocolate and coffee but was quickly followed by a tonne of alcohol alongside some wood and oak flavours; there was also quite a strong whiskey taste with peat malts and further alcohol showing towards the end. It was a difficult beer to drink, particularly with the wood and smoked flavours nearer the end and the fact that the beer didn’t have the best balance, something that I felt held this one back and prevented me from enjoying it as much as I have other imperial stout I’ve tried recently. It was quite a complex offering though with some rich touches and darker fruits towards the end but I felt the alcohol dominated too much and I doubt it’s one that I’d have again.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog/Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.1%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog BottleDog (Glasgow)
Price: £9.64

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Buxton/Stillwater Subliminal

January 15, 2018 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.75

My sixth beer from Buxton now, this one a collaborative offering from them and the Baltimore based Stillwater Artisinal that I picked up from the Brewdog online shop back in April when it was heavily discounted. The beer is a one-off from the brewer that was released in late 2016 and is one that I’ve been saving for the Christmas period since it’s a relatively strong 10% abv. offering. The beer follows on from their Axe Edge as the first beer from Buxton that I’ll have reviewed here since June of this year, that one being a beer that I actually picked up alongside this one earlier in the year; the only other Stillwater offering I’ve tried was their collaboration with William Brothers for their Stravaigin Croft Saison that I tried way back in June 2013 which was an enjoyable offering so it should be interesting to see how they do with an imperial stout.

Appearance (4/5): Very thick and dark looking as it poured, the beer is pitch black and opaque with a centimetre tall head that’s medium brown in colour and foamy before it starts to break up slightly at one side after about twenty seconds or so but it’s a good start considering the strength of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Opening with some roasted malts and a coffee aroma, the beer has touches of chocolate through it in the early going and is very dark with some alcohol notes coming through as well. It’s a semi-sweet offering that has some caramel malts and a little sugar sitting in the background with touches of smoke towards the end as well; a pleasant beer but slightly more alcohol showed than I’d have liked.
Taste (7/10): The taste was kicked off with some chocolate and roasted malts alongside a strong alcohol kick that carried on from the nose, there was some liquorice and sugars in there as well though. Towards the middle I got some of the smoke and wood flavours that were hinted at with the nose and there was a coffee bitterness further on that rounded things off nicely.
Palate (4/5): Quite a boozy, full-bodied beer that was thick and came through with a lot of alcohol showing, something that I’d have liked to have been better hidden but the beer was still a drinkable offering. It was quite a warming drink towards the end with a subtle bitterness from the roasted malts and coffee flavours as well as a caramel sweetness backed up by some sugars. It was moderately carbonated and the balance was okay, although as I’ve said there was perhaps a little too much alcohol at times.

Overall (15/20): Strong and boozy with a lot of alcohol showing but this one was also quite a complex offering that opened with some dark malts and chocolate alongside a caramel sweetness which gave it quite a rich, warming feel. I’d have liked a better balance with less alcohol showing but the beer was still a drinkable one with a few roasted malts that turned smoky with some wood flavours towards the end; definitely one worth trying, especially for the price I paid for it but there are better imperial stouts out there too.

Brewed In: Buxton, Derbyshire, England
Brewery: Buxton Brewery/Stillwater Artisinal (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2016
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 10.0%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £3.57

Watt Dickie

December 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 2.75

A strange on this and a beer that I picked up approximately four years ago, not long after it was released as a one-off from Brewdog back in 2013. The beer is a huge 35% abv. offering that sits closer to a spirit than a beer but started life as an IPA before being freeze distilled and ending up in its current form that is somewhere between an imperial IPA and an eisbock. It is a ‘beer’ that I picked up when it was launched mainly due to the novelty of it and that’s part of the reason I’ve only just opened it now, it should at least be interesting but I’m not holding out much hope for it being a classic. It will be by far the strongest beer I’ve reviewed here so far but I have also tried Brewdog’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin offering which comes in just a little lighter at 32% and that’s not exactly a beer that I’ve rushed back to try again either.

Appearance (3/5): Dark copper and very thick looking, this one pours with absolutely no sign of a head and is very still in the glass too; slightly disappointing but in truth it was as I’d expected given the high alcohol content of the beer.
Aroma (7/10): Huge alcohol notes on the nose initially, this one is slightly sweet with some toffee before some brandy type aromas and plenty of alcohol coming through. It’s got some peated malts and hints of sherry a little further on too with a subtle touch of vanilla right at the end; there’s a little more to it than I’d initially anticipated which is a pleasant surprise.
Taste (4/10): It took a while to build up trying this one, I wanted to give it some time to open up after pouring but once I finally took the plunge I was greeted by an initial sweetness that was very warming and loaded with alcohol, it somehow managed to seem stronger than the 35% abv. listed on the bottle upon first taking a sip. Once the initial burn passed, there was some sweet malts and toffee coming through alongside touches of brandy and sugar. It was a strong beer as you would expect but also one that was like drinking a spirit and it was definitely a beer to sip rather than rush through, sadly the taste didn’t seem quite as varied or easy-going as the nose was either.
Palate (3/5): Thick and very warming thanks to the abundance of alcohol coming through, there was naturally quite a kick to what was a relatively sweet beer and it was a difficult one to get through as well, I took much longer than anticipated for such a small serving of the stuff.

Overall (9/20): Very strong stuff and nothing like a beer in the traditional sense of the word, this one was a boozy spirit with tonnes of alcohol showing throughout and a warming kick to it was well. There was a little variety to the nose, something that I wasn’t expecting but the taste was pretty much what I thought it would be like going in with plenty of alcohol and a burning feel to it that dominated throughout. It’s one that I’m glad I’ve managed to try but I can’t see me ever giving it a second go, even if I manage to see it again somewhere in the future; dangerous stuff indeed.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2013
Type: Eisbock / Imperial IPA
Abv: 35.0%
Serving: Bottle (60ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £4.50 (approx.)

Make Earth Great Again

December 7, 2017 1 comment

Rating: 3.6

Possibly another marketing gimmick beer from Brewdog, this one is a protest against global warming and the US withdrawal from the Paris agreement, with all proceeds are donated the 10:10 Climate Action group as a result. Launched on the night I tried it in a Glasgow Brewdog bar last month, the beer adopts a popular Donald Trump campaign slogan and comes through as a 7.5% abv. farmhouse ale which I ordinarily wouldn’t have went for but it was launch night and I was in the bar so I thought I might as well give it a try. Since this one is only available as a limited release from the brewery, I can’t imagine this is one that I’ll get another chance to try but it turned out to be quite an interesting beer and one worth trying while you still can, particularly if you’re a saison fan.

Appearance (4/5): Quite a clear bodied beer,t his one was a light amber colour with a thin and foamy head on top that had a little more lacing on the sides of the glass but wasn’t too bad a start.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly funky with some lemon and faint tart coming through, the beer was fresh with a few good citrus notes towards the middle but nothing too strong really. Further on I detected some subtle coriander and spices with a few background hops as well.
Taste (7/10): Lemon and tart kick things off here, there was some fresh flavours to the beer as well as some funk and the odd pale malt nearer the middle. Again it wasn’t an overly strong offering but some nice spices and hops made an appearance towards the end to round things off.
Palate (4/5): Medium to light-medium bodied and well carbonated, the beer was relatively fresh and easy-going with some subtle funk and tart throughout. Overall it was quite lively on the palate with some sourness further on and a subtle kick from the alcohol that was enjoyable as well.

Overall (14/20): This one was a decent sour saison that was quite crisp and lively with a subtle hit of funk and tart but one that remained balanced and easy to drink. To be honest, the beer really isn’t anything special despite it being drinkable and easy-going but thankfully it’s a limited release from Brewdog and one that will probably not be around for too long.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: Saison/Farmhouse Ale
Abv: 7.5%
Serving: Keg (Schooner)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: £4.50

Deaf Mermaid

December 6, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.9

A free birthday beer from Brewdog here, although I opted only for a half pint rather than a full one since I was in a hurry. This offering from Brewdog is a re-release of a beer that previously came in at 5.2% but was made available again earlier this year as a keg-only offering available at their UK bars for a short time. My first review of a new Brewdog beer since trying their Mandarina Lager offering back in August, this one wasn’t a beer that I was holding out much hope for but thankfully it turned out to be a fairly enjoyable offering, here’s what I thought of it when I tried it at the end of October.

Appearance (5/5): Very clear golden in colour with a foamy white head that was about a centimetre tall and quite thick looking with good lacing left on the sides and excellent head retention.
Aroma (7/10): Quite fresh on the nose with some light hops and citrus kicking things off alongside a few lager-type malts. Towards the middle some earthy hops started to make an appearance with touches of pine and mango coming through as well, and there was some zesty lemon not too far behind those. It was a juicy and fresh nose with some floral hops seeing things out nicely.
Taste (7/10): Not quite as fresh or lively as the nose but there was some tropical fruits and hops kicking things off alongside some grassy flavours and pale malts which seemed more dominant but fell short of overpowering. It was almost a hybrid pale ale/lager offering that reminded me of Caesar Augustus from Williams Brothers at times. Further on and there was some nice grapefruit flavours alongside touches of pine but the nose was definitely a little stronger and better, it was still a nice tasting beer though.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied, perhaps slightly lighter but balanced and fresh with the nose in particular coming through relatively strong. There was a zesty feel to this one and it was well carbonated with a smooth body and dry finish that made it quite sessionable too.

Overall (14/20): Surprisingly good stuff from Brewdog, particularly because I wasn’t overly optimistic about this one on the way in but it was a fresh and enjoyable beer from the outset. It was almost a cross between a pale ale and a lager with some nice citrus and floral touches working well with the earthy hops and grassy flavours. It was sessionable and easy to drink too with a few subtle tropical fruits coming through further on and the head retention was excellent as well.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2017
Type: American Pale Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Keg (Half Pint)
Purchased: Brewdog DogHouse, Glasgow, Scotland
Price: Free

Black Eyed King Imp (Vietnamese Coffee Edition)

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 4.15

At the time I purchased this one last August it was the strongest canned beer in the world (apparently) but it’s taken me over a year to finally open it. Brewed as a one-off from Brewdog in 2015, this was a beer that I almost didn’t bother picking up given the price but eventually changed my mind last year when placing another online order with the brewery. This one is the Vietnamese coffee edition of the beer and one that I finally cracked open early last month so I was interested to see how the beer had held up in the year since I’d bought it; as it turns out it had aged pretty well.

Appearance (4/5): Oil black and opaque with quick a thick looking pour, the head is a medium, tan brown colour that is about half a centimetre tall but fades to a thin surface lacing after about thirty seconds, covering the centre and some of the edges of the surface.
Aroma (9/10): Quite a strong opening but not one that overpowered, there was some strong coffee and vanilla notes to open things up alongside some dark, roasted malts and plenty of chocolate. I managed to get some sweetness in the early going with some touches of oak and subtle fruits that seemed to work well together towards the end; dates and plums featured strongest but there was also some dates in there as well.
Taste (8/10): Opening with a lot of chocolate and a solid sweetness off the back of this, the beer also had some subtle vanilla flavours and sugars coming through in the early going. Further on some oak and dark, roasted malts from the nose started to come through alongside a few creamy touches and more coffee. Towards the end there was a few dark fruits with plum and raisin seeming the most pronounced and continuing what the nose had earlier started.
Palate (4/5): Smooth and full-bodied with soft carbonation levels and quite a dark, rich feel to proceedings. There was a lot of complexity to the beer and the balance was quite good too, it was a lot easier to drink that I’d expected from such a strong beer.

Overall (17/20): Excellent stuff from Brewdog and definitely one of their better beers, this one seemed to hold up well in the year plus since I bought the can. Opening with plenty of coffee, chocolate and vanilla flavours and some nice roasted malts too, this one was a complex but very well-balanced beer that went down quite easily considering the strength. It’s rich but softly carbonated with some darker fruits near the end although things did fade a touch nearer the end too but I guess that’s understandable given how long I took enjoying it; it was a great beer throughout.

Brewed In: Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewery: Brewdog
First Brewed: 2015
Type: Imperial Stout
Abv: 12.7%
Serving: Can (330ml)
Purchased: Brewdog.com
Price: £9.50

West Side Beavo

October 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.25

A recent collaboration between California-based Firestone Walker and London’s Beavertown, this one is a beer that was brewed over in California but has now made its way to the UK as well. The beer is one that I picked up in July this year and tried at the start of September but it’s one that I’m just getting around to reviewing here now. Given the two breweries responsible for this one are ones that I’m a fan of, I went into this beer expecting something special and sadly it failed to really deliver; here’s what I thought of it when I tried it last month.

Appearance (4/5): Bright and golden-yellow in colour, the beer is very clear and has a few larger bubbles rising to the surface as well. The head is a bubbly white one that starts about two centimetres tall before fading to a thin, half centimetre one that leaves touches of lacing on the sides of the glass as well as covering the surface of the beer.
Aroma (6/10): Clean on the nose with some lager malts and a few touches of corn, there is some bread and the odd background hop as well as some citrus but it’s a fairly mellow aroma and one that could definitely have been stronger.
Taste (6/10): Corn and light biscuit make up most of the taste with some lager malts and citrus not too far behind. The beer was a fresh one with some lemon and grassy hops around the middle but it was quite weak at point too. Towards the end some floral flavours and a lighter bitterness feature as well but it’s not an overly complex offering by any means.
Palate (3/5): Light and crisp with a fresh and mellow feel to it, the beer was fragrant and had a light tang from the citrus too. It was an easy-going beer with a faint bitterness and the odd bit of spice but there wasn’t a whole lot going on in truth.

Overall (13/20): Quite a light and clean beer with touches of citrus and some floral hops as well but it was definitely basic and not as full-bodied as I’d have liked either. The beer seemed thin at point but it was at least easy to drink without it impressing at any point sadly.

Brewed In: Paso Robles, California, United States of America
Brewery: Firestone Walker Brewing Co. / Beavertown (collaboration)
First Brewed: 2017
Type: India Pale Lager
Abv: 6.5%
Serving: Can (355ml)
Purchased: Good Spirits Co. Wine & Beer (Glasgow)
Price: £3.70