BrewDog Ltd
from United Kingdom (Scotland)
25th highest rated brewery (of 635)
Highest RatedBrewdog / Three Floyds Bitch Please (Islay Cask) (98 / 100) Average score67 / 100 (Solid)
Lowest RatedNanny State (36 / 100) Number Tried105
B-Side: Sour Red Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.07.16 on tap
Overall:
50 / 100
(OK)
On tap at GABS 2016.

Pours an amber colour, clear with nice foamy beige head. Good retention. The beer could be redder, the head could be header.

Smells fairly sour, and somewhat corporeal. Some organic notes in there - horse blanket kind of character and a slightly salty sweaty sort of aroma as well. Touch of oak to it too which counterbalances the off-putting factor, and a slight underlying sweetness. Not bad.

Taste has a huge green apple character all over it and I'm not sure why. It just feels like an acetyldehyde flaw. Sweet over the whole palate too, with some vanilla notes from the malt. There's a slight champagne sort of organic character towards the back which is the only real sour or wild note, otherwise it's just big and sweet and tastes like disappointment.

Fairly staid, unimpressive texture. Fluid, and thin.

Not great, a bit boozey and too malty. Just not sour enough to be interesting, which is all I ask of this style. I don't always love it but it needs to be interesting at least.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Hinterland
Reviewed by Jez on 02.01.16 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a deep, dark black-brown, oily and thick and looking like it coats the inside of the glass. Head is almost non-existent though. It frothed a little with a soda-bubbling crest of chocolate brown, but the disappeared, leaving only the fainted hint of a ring around the edge. Otherwise, it looks pretty thick.

Smell is pretty good. Smooth chocolate and fat vanilla notes come through strongly, along with a pronounced rich darkness that almost hints at smoke. Alcohol is actually noticeable, giving a hint of brandy and kerosene. Mostly, it's fragrant vanilla and sweet chocolate though. It's really very good.

Taste is also good, with the cocoa character prominent here, providing a very nice slick sweetness. It mingles with the booze though, giving a rich chocolate liqueur or very tannic red wine note. Finish lingers long, but is cushioned by more cocoa, stopping it from getting ashy or astringent. In the end it feels slick, boozy and potent, but surprisingly smooth.

Feel is very good. The extremely low carbonation isn't to its detriment here at all—indeed, the slickness is helped by the fact it's not fighting the carb.

Overall, yeah, this is a very nice beer. I have a lot of conflicting emotions about BrewDog nowadays, but tasting beers like this one reminds me that they still crank out some really great brews. This one in particular is a cracker.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.25
Abstrakt AB:12
Reviewed by Jez on 20.05.15 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
375ml green caged and corked bottle. Purchased a long time ago from the brewery. So long ago that I forgot what a great annoyance it is to try to remove the black plastic corks from the Abstrakt series. Bottle #2297 of 9829, supposedly.

Pours a deep magenta-tinged black brown—completely flat and still and looking more like wine or tamarind extract than beer. Body definitely has some weight to it, as you'd want from a beer this big, but otherwise it looks lifeless.

Nose is interesting. Did I mention tamarind before? I did, and possibly because the aroma was already noticeable here. Slight sweet-sour character, fruity but dark and with a lot of oak coming through. This mingles with deep high-cacao chocolate and vinous tones that accentuate the oak. There's also something a little salty, medicinal, fishy or sulphurous in this one, possibly something that would have blown off had there been any carbonation. Still, it's hard to deny that there's a great deal of complexity to it.

Palate is actually a lot different to what I was expecting. It's actually a rather light entry, thin and a little fruity, with berries coming through prominently. This develops into a dustier, darker note towards the back, with some twinges of dark malt. This provides a little bitterness, but it doesn't ever get dry or ashy. Instead, it stays quite light with the fruit, accentuating that wine-like quality. The back also helps this illusion, with aftertones of oak, and a mild, breathy alcohol heat that mimics the slight astringency you'd get from something like an aged shiraz.

I wonder just a little bit if this isn't another perception-bending effort like the AB:06 Blonde Stout. So much of this beer suggests a sort of parody or emulation of an oaked red wine. It's not quite the same, of course, but it's better if you think of it this way. At least then, the total lack of carbonation makes sense.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
BrewDog vs. Weihenstephan India Pale Weizen
Reviewed by Jez on 10.03.15 in bottle
Overall:
70 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars.

Pours a rather deep golden colour, seemingly darker due to haze, but in actual fact rather light on the haze until you really agitate the bottle. Head forms a compact, somewhat coarse bubbling of white that leaves some wide streaks of lace. Body has a bit of heft to it, but flows pretty fluidly.

Nose is surprisingly rather spicy, with some of the hef characters coming through more strongly than the hops (certainly after you've added the yeast). Coarse pepper, a little clove, backed by some other spicy characters from the hops. I get a little pine resin, and almost a hint of tobacco. Under this is a smoothness akin to the classic banana notes you get in a German weissbier. It's pretty pleasant all up.

Taste is also quite smooth, once the yeast is added. Prior to that, it felt pretty thin, with a persistent hoppiness that felt reedy and insubstantial. With the yeast character, it almost swings too far the other way, with the weizen character coming through dominantly and almost overwhelming the palate with the wheaty banana yeast ester flavour. Still, there's a sting of bitterness through the back that does cut through this a little, meaning it does manage to fulfill both parts of its nomenclature.

Feel is fairly rounded and smooth with the yeast. Slight dank aftertaste starts to pile up after a while, but the hops do a decent job at clearing it away on each sip.

Overall, it's solid stuff. They've certainly done a good job of getting both the weizen and the hop characters into the beer—at first I thought it was too hop heavy, then I thought it was too weizeny. The fact that I thought both of those things must mean that they've hit it somewhere in the middle.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Shipwrecker Circus (Oskar Blues collaboration)
Reviewed by Jez on 25.12.14 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars. Shared with my Dad on Xmas Day 2014.

Pours a really lovely ruby red-brown, with excellent clarity. Head is thick and persistent, forming a solid crest of static pale orange. Carbonation is very fine through a very solid body. Looks great.

Nose is also really very good. Solid, sweet body, with a firm, broad basis of malt, that is balanced with a clean Cascadey hop fragrance. That's maybe all there is to it—there's not a lot of deep complexity, but there's a pleasantness to having those two core characters matched so well.

Taste is very supple and pleasant. Strong boozy entry, with a firm malt character giving a big richness to the palate. This is balanced right from the front by a big spicy hop character that ends up being pretty raw and vegetative by the back. Finish ends spicy, piney, organic and almost medicinal.

Feel is thick but with a slickness that helps the drinkability despite the alcohol content.

It is a heavy beer, but there really is stacks to enjoy in it. I'll be honest—it's too raw and raucous for me to consider drinking more than half the glass I shared with my Dad, but I certainly enjoyed what I had.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.25 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Amarillo (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 14.12.14 in bottle
Overall:
62 / 100
(Decent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars with the others in the latest 4-pack. This was the last of the quartet I tried.

Pours similar to the rest: slightly hazy dark golden colour, almost bronzed, with a fine, but pocked head of white that leaves a few sudsy streaks of lace. Body is firm, and holds some nice streams of carbonation when tilted. Overall, it looks pretty good.

Nose is a touch disappointing to be honest. Quite a mild Amarillo character, with a slightly dusky, herbal tone to it that almost suggests rather old hops. As it warms, this is mitigated somewhat by a more fruit-like sweetness, perhaps giving a touch of pear or stonefruit. There's also a slightly sweet lemon tone that comes through a little later. Overall though, I don't think it's the best showcase for Amarillo I've seen, aroma-wise.

Taste is a bit better—here, either this batch has more malt, or the hops accentuate the malt more, because it definitely tastes sweeter than the others. Some of this is probably due to that pear and stonefruit character, which is more prominent on the palate. On the back is a slightly vegetative flavour, again slightly more herbal than I expect. It dissolves into a slightly dank character on the back, not truly the clean bitterness you want from this type of beer.

Feel is smooth and a little slick, again perhaps suggesting that this one is slightly more malty than the others—but again it might just be the lack of bitterness or the sweet characters from the hops that gives this impression.

Overall, it's not bad. It's certainly a decent beer. But I quite like Amarillo, and I think this beer really doesn't do it any favours. And as a single-hop IPA, that's a disappointment.
appearance: 3.75 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Tactical Nuclear Penguin
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 27.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a dark cola colour, flat and fairly uninteresting. Head is dead and cannot be resuscitated, with no lace. Yeah, it's a dark beer. It's dead.

Smells very, very intense. Boozey, that seriously starts to irritate my nostrils after a while, it's so strong. Nice oaky character and a touch of vinous character around the edge. Actually smells like a fine cognac. Can see warming that over a candlestick. Impressive.

Explosive. That's like a dirty bomb in my mouth. Sweet at first, with lots of chocolate malts, then enormous boozey hit explodes, loads of peated whiskey and Courvoisier notes that somehow intensifies towards the back, getting petroleum and vegemite notes that has a slight sweetness and slight oaked character to it. But that's basically undrinkable as beer. A single sip is like a chug of kerosene. Just a fiery little package. Impressive, but too impressive.

Sticky and nice when in the mouth, but it feels carcinogenic going down the throat.

There's some nice characters in there, but it just napalms the inside of your mouth. It's an unforgettable, unique experience but not one I'd particularly want again.
appearance: 2.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Tactical Nuclear Penguin
Reviewed by Jez on 22.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml brown bottle, purchased from Slowbeer many moons ago when this was first released. Realising that there would never be the right occasion to open it, I just cracked it open early during a brewday for Sam and Rich.

Pours an oily brown colour, definitely more brown than black, and with no head or carbonation, despite the fact that it did hiss a little on opening (surprisingly). Body is very, very rich. It actually sticks like treacle to the inside of the glass, in long waves that never actually settle back into the beer. It looks still and ominous.

Nose is boozy. Boozy, boozy, boozy. Big spiritous burning in my nasal cavities, blunted by a very slight papery oxidation character. It smells like fortified port that's been distilled a couple more times for good measure. If I'm looking for it, there's a slight toasty roast character that adds darkness and the very faint suggestion of acidity. It's certainly excessively powerful.

Taste is perhaps even more powerful. Big burning entry of spiritous booze that wallows around the mouth coating every surface. Slight woody, almost smoky characters follow. Some tight toasty flavours keep it beer-like, but the alcohol is clearly present to such a degree that it wallops everything else. Finish is astringent with booze—very hot and dank, with a strange grainy character bringing up the rear. You have to sip it in tiny bites, any more and the booze steamrolls all subtlety to it.

Feel is impressive though. It still has a good deal of body behind it, despite the fact that the heat makes it feel like whisky—and there's a suggestion of sweetness brought through as a result.

How drinkable is it? Not at all if you consider it as a beer. But it has a rugged, unapologetic charm to it that makes you respect it and take it seriously. You have to be gentle with it, and in return it will be gentle with you.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 3.5
EXP 366 (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 19.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars with the others in this series's 4-pack.

Looks decent. A fine deep golden colour, with good clarity—surprisingly, I think it actually seems clearer than the others in the series, although I don't know why that would be unless I did a particularly careful pour (which I didn't). Head is a fine buffer of white that leaves a few weak streaks of lace. Overall, not bad.

Nose is soft and the hops have a slightly buttery quality to them. There's maybe a woody leaf-mold kind of character to it, but none of the purported citrus and pine. Rather, there's a damp, papery note or an aroma like frozen puff-pastry. There is a middling "generic hop" character that comes through, a bit leafy but bland. I'm not impressed, to be honest.

Taste is similar. It's not unpleasant, but the hop character is pretty bland. There's a mild generic bitterness through the centre, with a bit of malt around the edges that again evokes sweet pastry. There's even a slightly astringent character towards the back, and perhaps a touch more true bitterness in the finish than some of the others have given. In the finish, there's an old tint of red apple in the mix.

Feel is fine, but it doesn't have a great deal to work with overall.

Yeah, this is definitely a lowlight of the series for me. The hops not only don't have a distinct quality of their own, they don't even really hold the beer together as a solid IPA. This was a pretty disappointing effort—the others in this series have certainly been stronger than this one.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.25
Kohatu (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 18.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
300ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars as a four-pack with the others in this series. This is the second of this particular foursome I've tried, after Comet.

Pours a hazed, dull golden colour, with a loose head of white that settles out to a finer ring leaving minimal carbonation and just a few specks of lacing as it goes around. Body has a bit of weight to it, and it holds the carbonation rather tightly. Looks decent enough.

Nose is pleasant, but a little dull as well. There are some fairly pleasant green, fragrant herbal qualities to it, but also an odd quality that reminds me of Pride of Ringwood, that most maligned of Australian hops. Indeed, there's a lagery quality to the aroma that isn't all that appealing. But above this it's pleasant enough—it's certainly not the classic crisp and bright NZ hop character you get with its brethren, but it's not bad.

Taste is a little better, and the earthy hoppiness integrates well with a kind of frothy sweetness here. Bitterness is tempered quite substantially, giving more of a flavour of crushed herbs than any real biting alpha-acid hit. Some bitter lemon and quinine tonic come through towards the back again with a kind of lilting aromatic herbal note. Finish is quite dry, but ringed a little by that frothy sweetness.

Feel is solid. Smooth but light, with a good level of carbonation.

Overall, it's decent enough. To be honest, it's not one of my picks of the IPA Is Dead series, and so far, I'd rank it 2nd-out-of-two in this series after the Comet. But it's still a solid IPA, as you'd expect. This hop, however, didn't particularly excite me.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Comet (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 17.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml brown bottle purchased from Leura Cellars as part of the latest 4-pack of IPA Is Dead. This was the first of the new batch I tried.

Pours a rather hazy dull golden colour, with a fairly frothy head of white that settles out quite quickly to a pocked ring around the edge of the glass. Body has a pleasant weight to it. Carbonation is fine but muted. Some lacing forms in small specks. Looks reasonably good all up.

Nose is nice enough, with a noticeable if not particularly prominent hop aroma that gives a little mild citrus—a little like lemon butter or lemon creme biscuits. There's an earthiness to the character though as well. It doesn't have the pungency of pine, but it does give that more resinous, more vegetative quality to the brew. Underneath is a fairly solid base for an IPA, tending towards the sweeter end of things.

Taste is pleasant, indeed better than the aroma. Here, the hop flavours seem to integrate better with the sweetness, giving a semi-savoury character to the beer. They still come across as slightly earthy, but there's a lilting citric character towards the back, with perfumed, floral overtones of jasmine and gardenia. Finish is quite dry, with a lingering bittersweet citrus character and an earthy, slightly tannic aftertaste.

Feel is solid. Smooth and rounded, but it gets out of the way enough to allow you to appreciate the hops.

Overall, it's another solid entry in the series. Although it appears Comet doesn't necessarily have any particularly unique characteristics (although that floral tone on the back is certainly slightly idiosyncratic), I do feel like I've got a handle on the hop now. And with a beer like that, that's the main attraction.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Christmas Paradox 2012
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 07.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
72 / 100
(Very Good)
Pours a dark brown colour, quite thin-looking in the glass. Head is ochre, jaundiced. Sparse bubbling and not quite enough lace. Bit soft drink-esque.

Smells sweet, oaky. Masses of caramel, toffee, peanut brittle crunch and honeycomb. Could use more dark notes - chocolate or roast. Nice, but a bit unbalanced.

Taste is a bit better. There's a spicy, boozey kick to the back - possibly a bit young? But yeah, sweet stout with more honeycomb, caramel, pancake batter before slight chocolatey finish and plenty of whisky oak sweetness on the back. Big, rich underlying which gives backbone to an otherwise pleasant, sweet stout.

Thick, fair heat from the booze. Could smooth out with more age.

Pleasant overall, but a few rough edges. Maybe a few more months on this and it could open out into a sublime flavour explosion.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Shipwrecker Circus (Oskar Blues collaboration)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 03.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
73 / 100
(Very Good)
Dark red with nice beige head, sticky lace sinks a bit. Looks nice and malty.

Smells oxidised a bit, but sweet and malty. Caramel, lots of cinnamon apple as well, which is odd. Spicy, too. Stewed peaches. Bit odd, nice though.

Taste is huge, smokey with lots of malt. Peaches, spice with black pepper, oaky notes with caramel, toffee but almost a seafood character as well. Meaty, chewy malt. Currant sweetness, some piquant spice. Very pleasant.

Smooth, full as expected. Bit of harsh booze on the back but not bad.

Nice brew: some really weird hot spice but thick, malty and marmaladey overall with an odd smoke that's quite an unexpected treat.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Christmas Paradox 2012
Reviewed by Jez on 01.11.14 in bottle
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Rum barrel aged impy stout purchased as part of a large group order directly from the brewery. Opened with Sam during perhaps the hottest day in Sydney's spring.

Pours a surprisingly light, rather nutty brown colour, especially at the edges, with a loose head of yellowish pale brown that survives as a wide ring of large bubbles. No lacing. Body is pretty thick and heavy and holds a very small amount of fine carbonation when tilted. Looks pretty decent, although certainly a little odd for an imperial stout.

Nose is definitely full of rum barrel, with a noticeably strong booziness and a pronounced woody note that almost turns slightly grassy. Under this is a solid bittersweetness, giving some dark cocoa chocolate and a bit of carob. Very boozy all up, almost turning spicy, especially as it warms up. Not bad.

Taste is very good. Although the booze is very prominent here as well, it's used to explore some of the other elements of the beer rather nicely. Spicy opening on the palate, with some brusque woody and rather herbal tones accentuated by the heat. Back is warming with a rum-like tone that sinks into a bittersweet chocolate and cocoa finish. Aftertaste lingers with some boozy heat, but also feels slightly abbreviated as though it's a bit oxidised. Overall though, it's very complex and very interesting.

Feel is dominated by the booze—even without the rum flavours, the 15% ABV packs a punch.

Overall, there's stacks going on with the beer—the complexity is exciting even if it makes it a bit too dominant to be really what you'd call drinkable. But as an interesting diversion, it's certainly a worthy entry in BrewDog's long back catalogue.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Tokyo Rising Sun (Highland Cask Aged)
Reviewed by Jez on 23.08.14 in bottle
Overall:
86 / 100
(Exceptional)
330ml brown bottle purchased directly from the brewery some years ago. Bottle #219 of 2237. Brewed in 2008 and forgotten, they say, and not bottled until 2012.

Pours a deep viscous black—with some prompting it forms a ruddy, pocked large-bubbled head of pale brown, but this settles out fairly rapidly, leaving an almost entirely dormant and flat beer with no head whatsoever. No head, no carbonation. Still, given everything it's been through, it's understandable.

Nose is excellent. Big sweet, dark roasted characters laced with lashings of smoky whisky and oak-aged richness. There's a slightly medicinal, iodine character running through it, and with the sweetness it gives it a slightly sticky character like children's Panadol. This is extremely impressive stuff.

Taste is just as good. Here there's a slickness that gives it the velvety texture of melted chocolate, along with all of the richness that the barrel-aging gives it. Stacks of whisky, brandy snap, toasty, woody booze and just general deliciousness. It's genuinely well-developed as well, giving it a lovely balance that manages to temper the intrinsic sweetness with some of those more medicinal and biting characteristics. I'm not going to lie: I just love it.

Feel is slick and hot. The booze is rampant, but you want it to be. The beer has laid down such a rich basis that the alcohol is allowed to express itself fully. This is a big beer, and you want it to explore everything it can.

Overall, this is genuinely awesome stuff. Let's not lie: leave any beer in whisky barrels for four years and you're going to get something interesting. What's so good about this is that they've managed to get something so balanced and so fully formed out of it. Amazing stuff.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Brixton Porter
Reviewed by Jez on 17.04.14 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at Brewdog Camden in Camden Town, London.

Pours a very dark brown, very hazed with solid weight behind it. Head is milk-chocolate in colour, forming a fine but subsiding crest. Lace forms solid patterns. Looks pretty decent overall.

Nose is toasty. Dark chocolate aromas come through, along with a bit of ashyness to up the tempo a bit. Malt is well restrained apart from that, making the beer feel a bit subdued overall. Nice enough.

Taste starts with some clean roast, before the chocolate comes through a little bit more on the mid-palate. There's little body though—the mid feels slightly empty and grainy. Finish has some dusty dark notes, smooth but ephemeral, and a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste. Feel is very light indeed.

It's pretty drinkable—perhaps too easy to drink: it could have a bit more weight and be a better beer, but that's probably not what they're going for. Overall: for the foremost punk brewery in the world, this is remarkably restrained and conforming.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | drinkability: 3.75
FAKE Lager
Reviewed by Jez on 17.04.14 on tap
Overall:
41 / 100
(Not Great)
Tried on-tap at BrewDog Camden in Camden Town, London. This beer started out as an April Fool's joke, but was brewed as a way to "reclaim" the wonderful European lagers that have been filtered beyond recognition.

Pours a very clear golden colour, very light in the body with coarse-bubbled, riddling carbonation. Head is a foamy white that collapses and settles out to very little. Lace forms in bits and pieces. Looks okay.

Clean characters to the aroma. Grainy with Saaz coming through giving grassy green notes. It doesn't have a great deal of complexity though, and it certainly has very little oomph behind it.

Clean entry on the front-palate, but from there it's downhill. Grainy, weak sweetness gives off honey characters without much balance. Slight crispness on the back tries to provoke some balance, but there's nothing doing. Weird coffee bitterness wraps it up. Feel is extremely light and crisp, but it doesn't have much to work with.

I started out feeling as though BrewDog has pranked themselves: they set out to prove what a good euro-lager could be, and ended up just proving how generic a beer they could brew. But in actual fact I fear they've just ended up pranking me—I paid BrewDog prices for something not significantly better than Carlsberg. Well played.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 2.5
BD Camden 01
Reviewed by Jez on 17.04.14 on tap
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Tried on-tap at Brewdog Camden in Camden Town, London.

Pours a deep claret red colour, somewhat hazed but with fair clarity overall. Head is a filmy yellow-white, firm at the edges, otherwise subsiding. Body is solid, holding an undercarbonated bubbling when tilted. Lace forms in streaks. Not bad, but not great either.

Nose is pleasant and fairly complex. Beetroot, spice and sweet chocolate come through in fairly heavy waves, the spice turning distinctly to anise and Vietnamese pepper after a while. The sweetness gives rise to an aroma like chilli wings—sweet but spicy. Very interesting, and very solid.

Light and sugary on the front-palate. Slight herbal spice characters leading to some sweeter notes on the mid. Here we get some chocolate and a slight twinge of roast which makes it feel dark for a dubbel. More roast on the back, but this drops out, leaving carob, light candi sugar and toffee. Aftertaste has some more pricks of aniseed.

Feel is smooth but a little ephemeral.

Overall, it's pretty nice. It's not a huge dubbel, but it's pleasant enough, and wends its way through the style with some sense of panache at least.
appearance: 3.25 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.75
Abstrakt AB:13
Reviewed by Jez on 05.10.13 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
375ml green bottle purchased directly from the brewery. Shared with Rich.

Pours a silky and intense black-brown, with a very fine and somewhat insipient head that lazes about on the top of the glass like a fine, aristocratic ring. No carbonation, but that which supports the ring, in a sort of bourgeoisie status quo. Slight reddish tinge, throughout from giving a suggestion of colour to the body, to providing a red-earth quality to the head. It does look intense, and pretty impressive.

Nose is rich and ripe, with a big roasted character that always stays supple and wobbly with a pulled-back elasticity: like stout jelly that hints at fruit characters behind the mask. The cherries (which I know are there) are muted, but present, providing a strange pliantness to the beer. It's interesting.

Taste is good. Here, it's a little more understandable, with a big, rich chocolate and roast Impy stout brashness that is made approachable by the cherry character which ropes in the harshness, caressing it with a supple fruity and slightly tart sweetness. There's not much hint of chocolate except what you might get from an exceedingly high cocoa content: it gives it a brash bitter edge, but doesn't provide much of the supple sweetness.

Feel is smooth and pleasant: it feels light, but this works in pleasant complaisance with the cherry character.

Overall? I'm pretty happy with this. It has class, and approachability, but skews it into strange directions. This is a tasty, intense and strange brew, that dances in the bizarre way the way that an Abstrakt beer should.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.25 | drinkability: 4.0
Jack Hammer
Reviewed by Jez on 05.07.13 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
330ml brown bottle purchased as part of an order from the brewery. Bottle conditioned by the looks of things.

Pours a pale golden yellow hue, with a very fine, but rather timid head of pure white. Lacing forms in tiny specks as a result. Body is actually relatively fluid, but the carbonation is very limited. Looks decent enough.

Nose is intensely sharp and bright. Huge pine resin and sweet citrus charged right up my nostrils with massive power. Crisp sharp gooseberry and a hint of passionfruit as well: so intense that the aroma is almost sentient. There's malt in there too, probably, but I can't find it. This is all about the hops, and the purported bitterness on the palate (according to the label), but I'm so glad to see that such an emphasis has also been put into making the aroma so intense as well.

Taste is actually less intense than I thought it might be: this is no iso-hop bomb like Mikkeller's 1000IBU. This is certainly hoppy, and the resiny character provides the bulk of the flavour, but has a restraint: the hops are so forward more because the dial has been placed so heavily in their favour. Malt takes a backseat here, so much so that although I know it must be providing some basis, there's almost not a trace of it in the flavour of the beer. Instead we get that clean, sharp, piney fragrance through the centre of the palate—a vector directed towards a astringent, oily aftertaste that wants to shoot through as fast and as raucously as possible. It's extremely well done—it makes the hops so extremely prominent without really sacrificing too much in the way of drinkability.

Feel is actually very light: like the malt, it's just enough to provide some body, but to almost leave no discernible impact otherwise.

Overall, I'm extremely impressed. This is a wonderful framing of our favourite alpha acids, and is done in a way that makes a remarkably drinkable product. I love how well it balances the ridiculous aggression and the restrained gentility. Awesome stuff.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.75 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Goldings (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 02.07.13 in bottle
Overall:
74 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml bottle purchased from the brewery with the rest of the series.

Pours a noticeably hazed burnished golden colour (interestingly, there has been some considerable difference in the level of clarity in the series), with a filmy top of off-white that stays persistent at the edges, but mediocre otherwise. Lacing is good and the carbonation is fine. Overall, it looks good, but certainly inferior to some of the other ones I've had.

Smell is very pleasant. Herbal, tight and clean, with a vegetative overtone and pleasant crisp, oily hop character. Malt provides a slightly powdery sweetness that mingled with the vegetative hops reminds me of poster paint. Some bright carbonation and mineral characters complete the picture. It's really quite pleasant.

Taste is also good. Slight biting citrus character (surprisingly, I'm getting mandarin on this one—as I've done with others in the series), slightly peppery, with a chewed eucalyptus bite, a little more vegetation and a vaguely medicinal finish. Feel is very smooth, but light, working with the subtle fragrances of the hops.

Very good stuff. If anything, it just underlined that I'm a big fan of EKG—the EKG Mikkeller SHIPA was my pick of that series. I think this is pipped in this series by Waimea (and potentially El Dorado as well), but it has a lot to offer, and it really showcases what an excellent hop Goldings can be.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
El Dorado (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 02.07.13 in bottle
Overall:
69 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml bottle purchased as part of the series direct from the brewery.

Pours a pleasant, clear burnished golden colour, solid in the body with fine carbonation. Head forms a lovely sturdy, relatively frothy crest of off-white that settles down to a fine top that leaves tiny specky lacing. Looks good.

On opening, the nose reveled a gorgeous, intense mandarin character, chewy but sweet and citric. As it settles, a lot of that sort of volatile aroma is lost, leaving a decent pithy hop character that is nonetheless more generic. Pleasant edging of green herbal aromas and a sweet malty backbone round it out. It's still very pleasant.

Taste is more subdued, but pleasant enough. The bitterness is actually remarkably restrained, leaving the bulk of the central and back palate to the malt. Given that the malt character is intentionally quite neutral, it tastes a little bland. The hops do present themselves on the front, however, with a pithy citric character and a touch of mandarin peel. On the back the hops flitter out, leaving just a slight medicinal bite and a reminiscence of the mandarin. Feel is smooth but light, missing the little kick that some residual hop acid would bring.

Overall, though, this is a nice beer, well-done, that does give some pleasant insight into El Dorado as a hop variety. I was hopeful that it would be the standout of the series, but so far, that honour remains with Waimea.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Dana (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 19.06.13 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
330ml bottle purchased directly from the brewery as a 4-pack with the others in this series. This is the "purple label" of the four.

Pours a hazed, but not opaque orange-golden hue, with an initially frothy head of off-white that froths out and becomes a bubbly ring with islands of film. Body is decently weighted, and forms some fine carbonation when tilted. Lacing is decent where it forms, but a little transient.

Nose is a little dusty and dry, with a rather organic hop character a little like undergrowth. Some pepper, a little dried ginger, and perhaps something a little sweet. Pie crust, perhaps, again with a slightly savoury spice character. It's not all that exciting, or all that appealing to be honest, although the hop character is robust and forthright.

Taste is also a bit dull, but pleasant enough in its way. Supply supported fruit characters give a slight tropical feel, with much green vegetation and a slightly underripe bite towards the back of the palate. Some slightly phenolic, almost medicinal or chemical notes come through if you let it sit in your mouth for a while—it's interesting, there was not much fruitiness on the nose, but on the palate there's an almost unripe tropical character about it.

Feel is pleasant, and adds something to the palate and taste overall.

Overall, this is decent, but I feel as though it either doesn't explore Dana that well, or just exposes it for a pretty mediocre hop. Still, it has a uniqueness to it: something I can't quite put my finger on, so maybe it's doing a better job of showcasing the hop than I think.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.75
Waimea (IPA IS Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 19.06.13 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
330ml bottle purchased as part of a group order from the brewery.

Pours a hazed orange-golden colour, that almost looks opaque until you hold it to the light: in fact it seems to have relatively good clarity, and no suspension. Head is frothy and full, and pretty meaty, solid off-white crest. Lacing is excellent. Carbonation is a little dead, but that suits me fine.

Intense mandarin character on the nose, citric, but rounded and fleshy. Strong, peely citrus character: quite unique. Under this is almost a hint of noble European varieties, a little dusty, green and vegetative, with a hint of dough and a suggestion of earth. It's incredibly potent and big. Love it.

Taste is a little more subdued. Fine clean citric bite, with a slightly weak but flabby undertone, reminiscent of latex. Hops ride carefully over the top, providing flavour and a slight sting in the tail. It all seems pleasantly, if precariously, balanced, with the hops providing the character, but prevented from going too hard by the light body. Slight dusty, peppery tones towards the back. Finish makes a nod to the mandarin again, with a pithy tangerine bite to end it.

Feel is a little light, but with a pleasant smoothness that again manages to aid the balance.

Overall, this is a cracking IPA, and one which provides something new and exciting. It does waver and quiver a bit, preventing it from being truly great, but there's certainly something immensely interesting in the beer, and the hop it showcases.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | drinkability: 4.0
Libertine Black Ale
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 20.05.13 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)
Bottle gifted to me by @lacqueredmouse. Enjoyed from a pilsener glass on my mother's patio.

Pours a dark mahogany colour, with murky clarity. Head is very generous: fluffy and dense with gorgeous lace, beige in colour. Looks scrumptious, maybe could be a shade darker though.

Smells hoppy, but not a lot. Fair grassy and slight piney, citric edge. Most of it is roasty though with a slight coffee edge, bit of cocoa. Quite a nice mix, would like more aromatic hops though.

Lots of dark malt upfront, plenty of roast, chocolate, and a touch of charry bitterness. Hops play a nice complementary role towards the back; resinous, almost salty, but quite fresh. Really pleasant drinking, not too aggressively hopped but a nice balance.

Little bit dry, with quite a pull from the hops in spite of their mellow flavour. Pleasant texture otherwise.

Really lovely IBA. Superb example of the style, just artistically put together. You've surprised me with this one, BrewDog. There's almost a subtlety here with the amount of finesse used. Love it.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Brewdog / Three Floyds Bitch Please (Islay Cask)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.03.13 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a red-brown sort of colour, mostly red. Head is beiege, foamy but quite decent. Nice lace; looks good.

Smokey. Charry, burnt, smouldering actually on the nose. So much aroma, and history, and evolution in that smell. It's all of one family but so much character. Wow.

Taste is hugely burnt, charred and smokey. Not meaning to channel Ralph Wiggum but "it tastes like burning". Smouldering, peat-filled, smokey malt. Slight spice and caramel at the back adds a touch of sweetness, but it's really just mostly that smouldering, day-old ash heap; that's the flavour.

Remarkably smooth for the size; big body but pretty good.

Hugely burnt, almost spicy, carbon-burning flavour. I love it of course but it's just so deep and complex and yet there's a smoothness to the construction. Pretty amazing beer.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Anarchist / Alchemist
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 07.03.13 in bottle
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)
Pours red, ambery colour light lace. Head is bubbly but pillowy, beige colour. Overall a little thin, looks good but heavy.

Smells fresh and inviting. Sweet, vanilla-tinged aromatic malt with light citric notes - orange, mandarin and some stonefruit. Lychee even. Very pleasant indeed.

Taste is tangy, but a bit too earthy and gravelly. Sweet toffee malt with touches of citrus, pine needle and apricot, but also a bit of banana bread, pumpernickel and balsamic vinegar, none of which I really want. Overall pleasant, but a bit heavy in places and a little confusing in others.

Lingers a bit too long on the bitterness, but decent texture otherwise, for something as big as this.

Bit too heavy in places. Lots of potential, but a bit overblown. Sadly feels inevitable once you get this big.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Sunk Punk
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 24.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Dirty brown-tinged peach colour, whispy white head with decent lace left behind. Cloudy look. Alright.

Caramel malt in abundance on the nose; slight citric hops, rye spice, a milky kind of character as well. Mild; mostly sweet, but could be a lot sweeter.

Starts sweet, caramelly, slightly grainy, pleasant but mild mid-palate, then finishes earthy with a slight bitterness. All very soft and pillowy with very few sharp edges. Nice, but I wouldn't mind a bit more wildness, especially for the style.

A little thin on the mouthfeel upfront, but comes back with presence late where the hop flavours come in.

A little underwhelming, sadly, but pleasant.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Dead Pony Club
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 15.02.13 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a burnished amber colour, listless white head. Lacing is pretty decent. Not too bad.

Smells very floral, with rose and lavender, white tea leaves, a bit of lemon tang and an unusual meaty character which may just be the clash of hops with the malts which seem somewhat darker than I might expect from the style. Light, fairly pleasant though.

Fairly light on the palate. Quite grainy upfront with honeyed oats and wheat bran. The honey character continues to midway where there's a yeasty touch, plus some light floral hop character with kiwi, grapefruit and lavender. Finish is very light but quite clean. Not bad; pretty drinkable and fairly simple.

Fluid, pretty decent body though; hop oils add some texture.

Yeah, fairly standard APA but decently handled.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Abstrakt AB:05
Reviewed by Jez on 24.11.12 in bottle
Overall:
88 / 100
(Superb)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer for me by @epiclurk. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a lovely deep, rich and thick black colour, with a very minor, but fine head of mocha-brown. In essence, it's only a ring of very faint bubbles, but it suits this murky and heavy beer. Body is fluid but very thick. Because of the lack of head, there's no lace, but you kind of forgive it that. It's a very pleasant looking brew.

Nose is rich and roasty, with a deep, underlying sweetness. Certainly there's some coconut and cocoa character, melded with a deep vanilla, stacks of chocolate and coffee and a hint of sharpness that reminds me of Patrón Café. Perhaps it's the booziness, which is prominent, but which works itself into the overall picture really nicely. Lovely stuff.

Taste is just as good. Deep liqueur suppleness cradles a deep sweetness and a fragrant coffee and roast bite. Big chocolate characters meld with the slick and clear mouthfeel to make it feel a little like molten cocoa. Bitterness makes itself felt in the pure crazy depth of the beer, but really it's about the sweet rounded, caressing characters of the chocolate and malt sweetness. Gorgeous stuff.

This is a really, really lovely brew, almost certainly the best of the Abstrakt beers I've yet had. This is rich, supple, delicious and put together white purpose and foresight. I just love it.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Anarchist / Alchemist
Reviewed by Jez on 13.10.12 in bottle
Overall:
76 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle purchased directly from the brewery as part of a bulk BrewDog order with other Sydney beer aficionados. Shared with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a burnished red-amber hue, with a frothy and relatively stable head of very mildly off-white. Lacing is speckled but very decent. Body is thick and solid and holds very nice fine carbonation. It looks bold, heavy and deep: all good things.

Nose is C-heavy: huge crisp and sharp fragrant citrus aromas pretty much leave no room for anything else. Very fresh and very pungent, but it's extremely one note. Fortunately, it's a note that is exceptionally good, but still, I'd love a bit more complexity.

Taste is similar, although the body is thick enough to provide a serious basis here, and leaves a bit of caramel and toffee. But still the main event is that pungent, fragrant and biting citrus character. There's a hint of medicine on the end: perhaps the ABV just can't stay hidden for so long. It gives it a slight cherry note on the finish, which adds up to an odd candy character all up. Feel is smooth and fluid.

This is certainly good. Is it better than "good", though? That's the question I've been trying to resolve. I love the directness of the hops: it's intense while still being familiar and lovable. And yet, there's perhaps not a great deal more to it than that. That's the conundrum of this beer. On another day, this might have gotten 5's across the board. And another it might be worse.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Brewdog / Three Floyds Bitch Please (Islay Cask)
Reviewed by Jez on 01.09.12 in bottle
Overall:
98 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Bottle purchased directly from the brewery and sent to Australia. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a hazy, even smoky red colour, with a fine firm head of mottled cream. Lacing is intricate but sparse. Body is as thick as you'd expect, holding carbonation statically in its grip. Overall, it's a pretty awesome looking brew.

Nose is huge and peaty. Like, as peaty as you can physically get, and then with a little more peat thrown in for good measure. Insanely smoky and slightly sharp, with an almost peppery note to it. There's perhaps a hint of wood to it, and an odd character of rubbed lemon skin. It's excellent stuff.

Taste is (if anything) even better. Here, there's (yes, yes) peat, smoke, scotch, sweetness, depth (yawn): everything you'd expect from the nose. But they up the ante with a really unexpected note of capsicum or fresh, fruity chilli, almost like a habanero without the spice. The subtlety of it is masterfully done, even though everything is caught in a traumatic, abusive maelstrom. This is absolutely fantastic stuff. Brilliantly insane, but with inimitable cohesion to it.

Love it. Love it. Love it. This is actually fairly different to the original Bitch Please, but it's still absolutely brilliant. This is why I keep trying new beers: in the hope that something like this will come along.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 5.0
Sunk Punk
Reviewed by Jez on 01.09.12 in bottle
Overall:
66 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased directly from the brewery, shipped to Australia, and handled through two others before arriving with me. Shared with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a very hazy orange colour with a bubbly off-white head that leaves some patchy inconsistent lacing. Body is firm, with some nice fine carbonation. Looks pretty good.

Hee hee hee. Nose is weird. On the surface, it has a pronounced, if generic American hoppy character, much like the Punk IPA, but it's laced with a weird, salty twang, like the sea air above a cockled rock. Definitely minerally, with a twang of odd organics like seaweed. These other characters are subtle, but they're an interesting twist on a straight IPA.

Taste is a little bit lighter, but there's still a moreish twang of salt on the back palate, this time however deadened by a flat malt character. Hops are still prominent, with a mild bitterness and slight tropical fruit character driving through the centre of the palate. To be honest, the palate is a lot less exciting than the nose, and a lot more like a standard Punk IPA.

Still, this is an interesting enough experiment. It does nothing whatsoever to assuage my feeling that BrewDog are all style and no substance—coming up with wacky ideas that really aren't that groundbreaking. They're just weird.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Devine Rebel 2010
Reviewed by Jez on 11.08.12 in bottle
Overall:
61 / 100
(Decent)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Pours a brilliantly deep red hue, with an amazing oily weight to the body. Head pours out immediately bright yellow, but settles to a beige ring of fine, wistful bubbles. Not much in the way of lace. Still it's an impressive looking beer.

Nose is deep and boozy, with sugary, faintly malty, but more port-like hints of sweetness. Slight peppery, oxidised cardboard characters along with some slightly smoky whisky and woody oak notes. It feels hot already, but let's give it the benefit of the doubt for now. It's impressive, in any case.

Taste is indeed, big, robust and impressive, but also excessively hot, with a cutting boozy heat strafing through the centre of the palate. The oxidised character comes through strongly on the back, leaving some peppery sharpness and a flat, lightly phenolic finish. Sweetness is muted, and the feel is battered into a whimpering thinness by the strength of the booze, which is not reined in at all. Phew.

Overall, this is unrestrained and cacophonic. It's big, bold and intense, without any regard for decency or taste. That makes it a harsh and somewhat painful experience.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
Abstrakt AB:08
Reviewed by Jez on 28.07.12 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Blonde imperial stout? Since hearing about this brew, I was on board. Let's see how they execute it.

Pours far from blonde, but then again, far from imperial stout: a solid amber hue, with a fine, but very filmy head of white. Some spotty lacing forms. Body is heavy and solid. Carbonation is minimal when the beer is static, but forms in fine rivulets as it's tilted. Overall, decent: and excitingly different if it's really an imperial stout.

Imagine I have my eyes closed. Then, I can almost believe it's an impy stout from the aroma. It has a deep coffee-like overtone, that tends more towards chilli when you can actually see it. It's something of a stretch to imagine it really as a stout.

Taste: well, there's some trickery going on here. I can genuinely see the genesis as an imperial stout, but again, it's almost purely a coffee overtone to the beer, which lends a roasty sweetness to the brew. Otherwise, it has a slightly sickly vanilla character, which does carry the character, but again, it feels a little like a cheap trick.

Feel is solid and smooth: it matches up with whatever else is going on.

Overall? Well, you know what, this delivers wholeheartedly what it promises. This was billed as a Blonde Imperial Stout, and that's what we get (maybe besides the genuinely blonde colour). But I can't imagine this was easy to accomplish, and I'm impressed at BrewDog even having the balls to try such a concept. If I were blindfolded, I genuinely believe I would have guessed this was a big imperial stout.

Where it fails, it fails, but as a concept brew, as a piece of artwork: I'm on board.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 5.0
BrewDog Paradox Jura
Reviewed by Jez on 25.07.12 in bottle
Overall:
89 / 100
(Superb)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer in Melbourne.

Uncaps without so much as a hiss, making me think it's completely uncarbonated. But, in fact, it forms a firm fine head of deep brown as its poured into the glass. Body is a deep but surprisingly clear black-brown. Weight is actually surprisingly light. I thought it might be chewy and oily, but it seems remarkably fluid in the glass. Looks good, but not exceptional for an imperial stout.

Nose is very good. Big smoky whisky malt comes through strongly, above a deep dark, roasted note that released softer, sweeter characters, like raspberry, rose and even a hint of concord grape. It's a big, big beer, and a powerfully aromatic one. Wow this is good stuff.

Taste is also exceptional. Big roasted characters blend with smoked malt grain characters, while subtleties give off characters of leather, tea tannins, raspberry, rosewater and musk. It's big, boozy and dark, but still, I come back to that fruitiness: on the palate it's almost like an artificial strawberry candy flavour. It seems to come out of the booziness (which is indeed pronounced and hot); as it tears a path through the palate, it seems to burn away all of the rich dark sweetness, leaving those volatile aromatics in its wake: the strawberry, the musk, the grape candy. It's fascinating, more so because it gives purpose to the intense booze beyond just the size and power of the beer as a whole. Amazing stuff.

Feel is quite light, given everything else. At least, it's light for the style: the booze takes up some of the slack here in providing a textural element to the beer.

Overall, this is very, very impressive stuff. How anyone cannot sit an appreciate the depth of complexity here is beyond me. Even if the style is not to your tastes, there are nuances and depths to explore in this beer. It makes for a very worthwhile tasting experience.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Lost Dog
Reviewed by Jez on 10.06.12 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)
I'm usually a little unenthused about BrewDog's beers, but I'm usually over the moon to try a new Lost Abbey beer. This is a conflicting experience.

Pours a deep reddish black colour, still somewhat translucent, with a fine film of ochre brown one the top. Some speckled lace and a very solid and firm body. Lots of fine carbonation when tilted. I like that the colour is not intensely black. It keeps it in Porter territory. It's a good looking beer.

Nose is big, friendly, comforting and boozy, with deep barrel notes giving vanilla and caramelised sugar. There's not a lot of roast to it, or indeed much that is sharp to keep the sweetness at bay—the closest that comes to it is a sherry or port like booziness that just suggest a little acidity. But it's impressive nonetheless. Like a big barrel-aged American Strong ale.

Taste is smooth and light, with a very woody port cask flavour on the back palate, the melds into a faint reverberation of salty roastedness. Indeed, there's an umami character on the back palate, like beef stock or vegemite that's really odd, but not unpleasant. This cuts through the oaky sweetness that fills out the rest of the palate. As a result, it's not too heavy, not too cloying, and all the characters manage to stay complementary and in balance. That must be tough work.

Overall: impressive stuff. This is a really pleasant and interesting beer that manages to be both complex and balanced. These are pretty much my by-words when it comes to beer I like, so I'm unashamedly enamoured.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Abstrakt AB:06
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 05.01.12 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a murky red colour, quite dark with sexy, slinky beige film of head, clinging to the sides of the glass nicely. Looks good.

Smells malty and sweet and thick. Plenty of English toffee, brown sugar and treacle, with a mild citric tang over the top and a hint of resin. Bit sweet and dessert wine-esque; could use a bit more cutting.

Taste is also pretty damn malty but not quite so ridiculously sweet, with a slightly toasted edge and quite a lot of booziness. Rye bread, brown sugar and sherry, with a touch of brandy on the back that's quite noticeably warm. Overall a bit simple, too, doesn't quite develop the complex sugars I might have expected. So big, yet subdued in some ways. Not bad.

Bit watery on the feel, but there's a noticeable kick to it - boozey with a slightly frothy texture. Decent.

Sweet, desserty kind of brew. Feel like it's missing something though that might have pulled it all together.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
BrewDog / Three Floyds Bitch Please
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.01.12 in bottle
Overall:
83 / 100
(Exceptional)
Pours a burnished red colour, vibrant up to the light. Head is beige, nicely packed together but dissipates to look a bit whispy. Lace is clingy and pleasant. Looks good.

Woah, massive smoke to that. Peaty and bacony with a meaty woody note. Slightly salty as well., but a very decent hop aromatic just taming the wild smoke beast. Touch of peanut, citrus and pine wood. Very nice.

Taste is intriguing; very nutty and woody. Big smoke grows from the front which is quite a caramelly malty front, then peaty and smokey and bacony notes dominate up to mid-palate. The back, where it all culminates, is all charred wood, with solid burnt pine and oak, and a slight malty caramelly touch of peanut and pine nut. Very woody, with a touch of side sweetness. Idiosyncratic and very interesting. Also, it's genuinely more than I gave it credit for, that sweetness is cracking.

Full, drying as it goes through. A bit ashy on the back, both palate and texture. Kind of has the texture of an ashtray, in the best possible way.

Yeah, is it an everyday beer? No. Should it be? Yes. People should train their palates to enjoy this kind of weird, challenging, virtually undrinkable snuff as their go-to drink.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Bramling X (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.01.12 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a vibrant orange colour, quite translucent haze. Head is off-white, whispy and dissipated to a ring of bubbles. Lace is OK, but not very impressive. Looks quite standard.

Smells intriguing. Hoppy mostly, with side effects of pepper and herbal tea, mostly. Touch of soil, spearmint and an almost capery bitterness to it. Subdued, but not bad.

Taste is very tangy from the get-go and full of flavour in spite of what the nose said to me. Lemon tang upfront that descends into nutty main palate with nice rye-esque notes, quite sticky with a touch of wet grain on the back. Slightly herbal finish, hint of pine and plenty more nuttiness. Lots of flavour but largely unassertive, with a smooth journey of flavour for the most part. Quite nice; nothing amazing.

Full enough, nice bit of texture to it; fair amount of bittiness. Not bad.

Doesn't really wow me; kind of yells out to be grouped with a whole bunch of other beers similar to it. Hooray for conformity!
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Black Tokyo Horizon
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 02.01.12 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a very, very dark brown, only a glimmer when I peer through the blackness onto backlighting. Head is tan in colour, nice and thick but dissipated with not much lace. Can be revived pretty easily, but not leaving a lot of lace. Good.

Smells nutty, with a dark, spicy and boozey edge. Lots of almonds, peanut and a sticky rye note, with a touch of charcoal and espresso behind. Slight cognacy booze whiff with a touch of cayenne pepper blocking up the nostrils at the back. Smells a bit heavy, but nice sweetness and complexity.

Taste is big, sweet and boozey. Lots of nutty character on there with dry peanut and a touch of cashew that culminates in a peanut skin dryness on the back. Treacle and milk chocolate are really quite sugary midway with a touch of English toffee. Late-mid grounds it better with some espresso grounds but the sugar abides. Would like more roast to give it oomph; it's very much on the sweet side for me.

Also not helped by the listless body which allows it to seem syrupy; almost crystalline.

There are some nice characters here, but it's off-balance in the wrong direction for me, and I couldn't see myself drinking a lot.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
BrewDog / Three Floyds Bitch Please
Reviewed by Jez on 22.12.11 in bottle
Overall:
96 / 100
(Best of the Best)
Bottle purchased from Leura Cellars, shared with @LaitueGonflable.

Pours a lovely clear red colour, bright and vibrant, with a solid and frothily fine head of off-white. Quite a lucid and fine body, but the carbonation is incredibly fine and powdery when tilted. Lacing is tiny, intricate and persistent. Overall, it's a really gorgeous looking beer.

Nose is powerfully strong with peated smoke, but balanced gorgeously with a resiny, almost pine-like hoppy fragrance, that gives it depth and complexity. It's bright and pleasant, but with a depth that's quite extraordinary. Wow.

Taste is, also, just incredible. Pleasant rustic bounce from the smoke, giving it a pleasant dryness and a touch of Islay Scotch, before that lovely piney resin character comes through to balance and deepen the complexity. Furthermore, there are other, more subtle malt characters that come through later—biscuits, toasted grain and a dry spiciness almost like rye. It's incredibly complex, but all fused and tied to that smoky, peaty backbone. Feel is light and pleasant, but the lightness itself is astonishing in a beer this big.

Confronting but reassuring all in one, this is a beer that puts together some astonishingly good complexity into a whole that makes gorgeous sense and fabulous anarchy all in one. Absolutely fantastic.

appearance: 5.0 | aroma: 5.0 | taste: 5.0 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Black Tokyo Horizon
Reviewed by Jez on 22.12.11 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Bottle purchased from Leura Cellars and shared with @LaitueGonflable. Tasted as the first beer of an evening, so as to try it in all its unmitigated and untainted glory.

Pours a very deep and dark black, with a deep chocolate brown head that fizzles to nothingness pretty quickly. Body is actually surprisingly fluid, but this may not be surprising if they take the Tokyo method to get it this high in alcohol. Looks decent, but I've had very deep and impressive imperial stouts.

Nose is gorgeous. Sweet, roasty aromas mingled with big liquorice notes. Almost minty herbal aromatics hang around in the sinuses. Mostly, the gorgeous sweetness, giving hints of whisky and oak take this all the way however. It's robust, powerful and exciting.

Taste is even better—indeed, it's almost an ideal example of a sweet Imperial stout. Big port-like sweetness on the front, that develops into more whisky-like tones, with more fragrant liquorice and mild aniseed tones, and almost no roastiness or bitterness on the back—it drifts into a sweet, fragrant funk like a syruped-up black coffee. In fact, despite the initial impression, the lack of clean-up on the finish means the sweetness almost cloys the more you drink. Feel is very smooth but absolutely flat and uncarbonated.

A very impressive and very big beer. The sweetness is my only problem—it sticks around a bit too much. It has those aromatics and the herbal twang to pull it back slightly, but it could be restrained a little further.

Still, a great collaboration, and one I'm extremely pleased to have tried.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Abstrakt AB:06
Reviewed by Jez on 10.12.11 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)
Again, the plastic cork is difficult to extract; as always with the Abstrakt series.

Pours a ruddy brown colour, rather translucent, with a bubbly and inconsistent head of pale chocolate shavings brown. Body is very thin and fluid. Lacing is patchy and speckled. Wow. I didn't expect this beer to look so innocuous, but it does.

Nose is very pleasant, with a nice blend of sweet, grainy malts, above a dark fruity hop character. The hops give a rather berry-like aroma, with hints of blackcurrants and a herbal tone. Smells to me rather like Bramling Cross. It's nicely integrated, but surprisingly light.

Taste is similar, and indeed, perhaps a little more subdued again even. Sweet, swilling malts give off mild grain and confectioner's sugar notes through the centre, while a moderated and earthy bitterness creeps through to balance on the end. Through the mid palate, toasty, slightly oaky notes come through, giving mince pie filling and some slight brandy. There's hints of booze in there to accentuate all of this, but again I'm surprised at how mild and moderated it all seems.

Feel is particularly light, and while smooth, is very fluid.

Good enough when viewed in isolation, but a pretty tame entry in the series, and not even a great example of an IBA. Given these things, it doesn't justify the hefty price tag it attracts. Not even close.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Sorachi Ace (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 08.12.11 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours an orangey amber colour with off-white head that's dense and crema-esque but with larger bubbles atop. Lace is nice, clingy but thin. Looks OK.

Smell is really rather odd. Big spicy orange aroma to that, sweet and glacé in a certain way but a citric tang to it and a slight booziness. Slight grand marnier kind of aroma. Touch of mandarin to it as well, and maybe some caramel malt underlying. I'm intrigued, but reserving judgement.

Taste is similar, but weak and largely missing actually. Tang on the front with slight orange and tangelo notes, descends into mid-palate which is frankly a bit insipid. Finishes stronger, with that grand marnier booziness, not very heavy though and could use more oomph. There's a spice to it and a richer citric note, but ultimately it's like a lightly spiced soft drink. Potential is there but some holes really need patching.

There's definitely body there and texture. Wish there were more flavour to go with it.

Drinks alright but there's room for improvement. I've seen other people use sorachi ace to far greater flavour results - our own homebrew operation included. Don't know what else to say; I'm disappointed.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Sorachi Ace (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 26.11.11 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a cloudy and very pleasant orange golden colour, with a speckled head of pocked bubbling. Foam is off-white, and a little flat, persisting only because of the large bubbles. Minimal lace. Body is quite thick and holds the fine carbonation very nicely. Looks pretty good, all up.

Nose is a very good exposé on Sorachi Ace. Big sweet, oaky vanilla characteristics coming through, along with a slight spice and a sharp lemony character. Vibrant and fresh.

Taste is wildly fruity, with massive characters of apricot pie coming through, tinged with lemon and peach. On the back, we get slight wood tannins and a dry, almost puckering bitterness. Feel is smooth for the most part, but with the dryness on the back and the really fragrant front palate characters, it could support a little more sweetness.

Ah, what a unique hop and what a unique beer. This does a great job of showcasing one of the more unusual hop varieties around today. It leaves nothing out, and leaves nothing to the imagination. By the end of the beer, Sorachi Ace is lying quivering, naked and violated in front of you, without any of its secrets intact.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Citra (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 31.08.11 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Bottle purchased from Slowbeer, in person, no less—very unusual for me.

Pours a deep and hazy, slightly bronze-tinged orange, with a frothing but subsiding head of off-white. Some lacing, although it's very ambivalent—sticking like crazy in some places, and not forming at all in others. The absolute lack of head retention is a bit of a let-down, but otherwise it looks ok.

Nose is sharp and hoppy, but oddly grassy as well, almost like some chinook got caught up in its business. There's a hint of the pleasant biting citric twang, but it's muddled, and less fragrant and fresh than many other citra-heavy brews I've had.

Taste is similar, in that the bitterness comes on strongly before petering out to a clipped grass organic finish. Lingering undertones of fresh orange peel, like they should, but it's all a bit muddled and fractured.

This is a shame, really—the other two I've had in the series have been good, and I certainly prefer Citra to Bramling Cross in general (although probably not Nelson Sauvin), but I've had much better beers that put Citra to better use.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Nelson Sauvin (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 10.07.11 on tap
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Had on-tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney.

Pours a cloudy orange-brown with a great head of waffly, speckled rocky off-white bubbling. Lace is great. Body is quite light, but otherwise it looks great.

Nose is sharp with green underripe passionfruit and tropical fruit characters, perfectly showcasing the hop variety. It's crisp, but fragrant and very potent. Awesome.

Taste is clean and crisp, with a big lingering bitterness. The palate is tempered with sweeter nutty characters which give a nice balance. Slight acidity from the hops. It's very pleasant.

Very smooth and easy to drink, but also crisp, clean, piquant and delicious. The hops give fragrant bite, but everything stays supple and connected. Very drinkable, and well balanced to the hop variety used. My favourite of the series, so far.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
Bramling X (IPA Is Dead)
Reviewed by Jez on 07.06.11 on tap
Overall:
75 / 100
(Excellent)
Had on tap at the Local Taphouse in Sydney. Good to see them get this on—now will they get the others, I wonder?

Pours a dark golden orange colour, almost coppery, with a fine white head. Lacing forms in clumps down the glass. The body is really nicely thick. Almost looks gelatinous.

Sweet and a little earthy, with some brown organic characters and a little dark fruit. Reminds me somewhat of a blueberry muffin. Bit of earthy leaf, giving a herbal touch. Nice.

Nutty on the palate, with a touch of almond skin giving it a round, and slightly astringent bitter bite. Only mild hop bitterness on the back, and although there's not any sweetness to back up what's there, leaving all the work to the thickness in the body. A little organic on the finish, giving very English earthy characteristics. Quite nice.

Looking forward to trying the rest of the series, if I ever get around to it. This was an interesting start.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Nanny State
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 06.05.11 in bottle
Overall:
36 / 100
(Nasty)
Pours a red-tinged amber with light but steady bead feeding a beige, quite dense head that sinks in parts, leaving uneven texture on top, but nice retention and a big run-on sentence. No lace but otherwise very nice.

Nose is pleasant enough; hop aroma which is the overriding characteristic. Citric on the front but quickly becomes very metallic, with big brass notes, hint of floral at the back. A bit thin, almost like a hop soft drink, but decent.

Front palate has virtually nothing on it, just thin with slight tang from the hops which come more to the fore midway, nice and citric. Towards the back they become again very metallic, with a real ashy astringency on the back that is just unbalanced and simple with no nuance. It's inevitable from something with no body but I still can't forgive it. The whole palate is as empty as life itself, there's nothing here but bitterness and disappointment.

Watery and flat, couldn't expect much but that doesn't elevate it from nothing.

This beer is evidence that a sense of humour and clever marketing do not equal good beer. Under the circumstances, this is a pretty good brew; but this is the same as saying "That girl's a pretty good ballet dancer, considering she hasn't got any legs."
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 2.5
Hardcore IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 12.04.11 from a growler
Overall:
75 / 100
(Very Good)
Drunk from a growler purchased from Slowbeer. (That's not just a description of my method of imbibing but a description of me a couple of hours later)

Pours a red-tinged amber colour. Head is listless but some nice sheets of lace with not much substance; not thick or sticky. Carbonation is minimal - looks alright but just a bit lacking.

Lots of citrus-forward hops on the nose. Lemon, orange rind with plenty of herbal notes as well, coriander and thyme on there which is really quite tasty. Bit of earthiness rounding it off; very pleasant aroma.

Taste is very hop-centric. Lots of citrus - lemon, orange with touches of tart pineapple on the front-to-back. It's like the pineapple closer to the skin, the more acidic taste. Bit of pine resin to the hops as well. Tangy overall with fruit, sherbet and then floral bitterness with resinous touch. The back is very aggressively bitter but stops short of being overpowering. Great hop bomb here.

Quite a full body with lots of texture. A bit sharp around the edges where the hop acids really assault the mouth but yeah, enjoyable overall.

Well flavoured and brewed IPA. A growler full must be shared with friends but it's definitely a good one to send round a party (as I did, for the most part).
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
I Hardcore You
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 09.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a rusty orange colour, fair sediment haze. Head is just gorgeously puffy, dense with big poppin' bubbles on the top and nice trails of lacing down the glass. Retaining a good crown, yeah, an aesthetic beer for sure.

Oooh yes. That's what I've been looking for, yes indeed. Good malt base, first of all. Caramel and some fruity ale esters and just a massive hop whallop, just lovely though; zesty and floral with big citrus peel notes, lemon and grapefruit and a delicious pineapple and pine needle character as well. Just beautifully zesty, a great smell.

Taste is quite nice; doesn't quite deliver to the extent of the nose on the hop punch. Starts fairly malty with caramel and toffee on there that develops a citric zestiness on the mid-palate, slightly bitter and fruity but then doesn't quite live up to bitter potential, gaining itself more of a nutty character at times, but some nice citric and floral notes packed in around the edges. Yeah, all the right notes, but in the wrong proportions, and the end result is not quite what it might have been, but is still a very positive result.

Nice body, nice foamy texture, maybe a bit too dry on the back with the carbonation coming through, but doesn't detract.

Yep. Line these up on the bar and just watch me go, thank you very much indeed.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.5
I Hardcore You
Reviewed by Jez on 05.02.11 in bottle
Overall:
81 / 100
(Exceptional)

Purchased at Leura Cellars for some ridiculous price. Not the $55 some bars are selling it for, but still, enough to make me dubious. Let's see if it matches the price tag.

Pours a reddish-dark orange colour, burnished with haze, enough to give a little sparkle to the body. Head is foamy and thick, but large-bubbled, causing it to froth itself out to a film. Minimal stickiness to it, meaning it leaves little lacing. Love the colour, but the body and head surprisingly leave a little something to be desired.

Full and fruity on the nose, with a big American hop aroma of citrus and a dash of tropical fruits. Pineapple is dominant for me. Really lovely and very freshly robust hop characters. Some spicy booze comes up to accentuate the sharpness in the hops as well. It's a truly lovely nose.

Taste is really well balanced, just as I remember the Hardcore being, although perhaps there's a trace of that nutty Mikkeller character as well. it's not a huge slice of bitterness, but rather it's nicely blended; the sharpness on the front mellows wonderfully into a lightly nutty and sweet finished, which is still held back by the hops. Lovely organics and crushed vegetation flavours though.

Feel is slightly overcarbonated on the front, but in some ways it meshes nicely with the sharp hops. From then on it sits smooth and rather light.

Yep. A cracking beer. I loved BrewDog's Hardcore in a way I've not loved many of their others, and while I've not had the I Beat You, the mix really works nicely.

So, is it worth the price? Given it's a limited release from the other side of the world, and a great beer that has withstood the journey, I'll say probably. But you'd probably be just as happy with one of the originals in isolation.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016)
Reviewed by Jez on 15.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

Purchased at Leura Cellars, and drunk with @tobeerornottobe and @FakeCousinAndrew.

Pours a mildly thick, but mildly not-thich-at-all brown black, certainly clear at the edges, but with a depth in the body. Head is fine and tight to begin with, but turns relatively cloudy and crusty after a while, sticking in film and large bubbles to the surface of the beer. Lacing is decent, leaving some frothy suds on the side. Looks decent, but not particularly enticing.

Nose is dark and rather astringent, with some peaty notes and a faint peppery spice. The booze is rather prevalent, almost giving an eye-watering sharpness that strikes tears in my eyes. Potent.

Taste is rather black, with a heavy ashy character throughout, which mingles with the heavy boozy character to leave it very astringent and unapproachable. Some boozy sweetness, but whatever leavening character it lends, it also adds more heaviness with the alcohol burn. Feel is light in parts, but burning with booze as well.

Phew. It's a powerful beer, but not necessarily a particularly enjoyable one. It's heavy, boozy and sharp, but certainly missing some complexity and some smoothness. Not an easy beer for me.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 2.5
Abstrakt AB:01
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 14.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
49 / 100
(Not Great)
Enjoyed at 10:50AM on a Sunday morning.

Pours a murky red colour with odd chunks of sediment all the way through it. Head is sparsely webbed out, leaving a film of large bubbles and some tight, sticky lacing. Apart from the floaties, looks great.

Smells a little rancid, in all honesty. Fair malty aroma with a touch of paint stripper-level alcohol at the back, and a fair tart hit that smells rather like really overripe peaches. Slight lactic touch to it as well. Can't say I like it a whole lot.

Tastes quite strong as well, with a lot of bold characters bouncing around. Really quite different from moment to moment. Lots of treacly malt at first that gets a strong chemical boozey note that increases through the palate. Touch of herbal medicine on the mid with a strong bubblegum flavour coming through as well. Fusel alcohol sting on the back that is not all great. Overall, this is a strong bitch that doesn't really harmonise its flavours together well. Just tastes like throwing lots of fermentable malts together with a high flocculating yeast.

Quite thick body, but also slick enough. Surprisingly good, really.

Yeah, a bit strong for 10:50AM. Or, for that matter, any other time.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 2.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 2.5
Hardcore IPA (2nd Ed. 9.2%)
Reviewed by Jez on 09.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
85 / 100
(Exceptional)

Going off the pictures of the bottle presented here, I had this version rather than the original. Certainly, I imagine this is the most recent version, and this one has a best before date half a year ahead of me.

Pours a lovely deep orange colour, dark enough to have flashes of ruby to it, with a firm and frothy head of white foam. Often with highly hopped beers you get a yellow tinge to the head, but this is clear and pristine. Lacing is lovely and intricate, falling in anarchic patterns as the beer goes down the glass. Very good looking IPA.

Nose is fresh and hoppy, with big pine resin and spicy citric characters. Indeed, almost getting a minty herbal quality. It's a really delicious nose: fresh, heavy and robust, and on a par with some of the great American pioneers of the style.

Taste is really well balanced, exceptionally so in fact: big hoppy presence on the front, but a tempered bitterness that melds really nicely with the light malt and grain characters on the back, to a very pleasant nutty finish, that reminds me of Mikkeller for some reason. In any case, it's a delicious palate, balanced really nicely between malt, grain and hops, with enough body to support it. Oh yes.

What a great beer. This is certainly one of the best brews I've had from BrewDog. Fresh and robust, but beautifully balanced. For once, I believe they're capable of getting the balance right, rather than just skewing insane beers off in insane directions.

A lovely IPA, I'd say comparable with the best.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.5
Abstrakt AB:01
Reviewed by Jez on 08.01.11 in bottle
Overall:
64 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a silty and sediment-riddled bright burnished red-orange, with a relatively aggressive head of off-white. Lacing is thick, owing at least partly to the insanely syrupy body. It leaves some of the best static carbonation I've seen - when tilting the glass, it looks as though huge clumps of white have just been left behind, but in fact, it's just the remaining carbonation struggling to get to the surface. Looks pretty damn good, I have to say.

Nose is fruity with banana esters coming out very prominently, along with a harsh fusel kind of character. Hint of cinnamon spice coming through along with a sweetness that could be the vanilla. Interesting and bold characters. I'm not sure they mesh that well together, though.

Taste is really disappointingly light for most of its length. Light and sharp for most of it, giving a little alcohol bite, before all the flavour comes in at the end. Here, there are some subtly sweet nut characters, and a light, pastry-vanilla note. Alcohol present throughout, giving a harshness like bad port throughout. Feel burns with the booze.

Pretty hard to drink, and without the complexity or the depth to make it worthwhile drinking either. Very poor characters for a Quad, and the vanilla seems only to accentuate the very prominent alcohol - like drinking artificial vanilla essence.

Not a great fan, although there are some interesting things to it, and I always appreciate BrewDog pushing the boundaries.

appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 2.5
BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016)
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 22.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
77 / 100
(Excellent)
Pours a very dark brown colour - black everywhere except a faint murky murmur of colour at the bottom, dark mahogany letting a sliver of light through. Head is ochre, nice and dense and generous when poured, sinks very quickly to leave a thin mocha film and some wonderful trails of lace behind. If head retained just a smidgeon better...

Smell is very nicely strong and roasty. Lots of sweet dark chocolate with a good hearty belt of caramel as well. Some star anise and black pepper aroma, but without spice intensity. Whiskey is nicely balanced with the rich dark sweetness. Gives it a nutty character with a faint dark berry note on there as well. Pepperberry, musk and some fresh woody notes. Just wonderful.

Taste is quite strong, and strong throughout the palate, although most pronounced on the back. Lots of chocolate and rich cocoa on the assault, develops lovely complexities towards the mid-palate with black pepper, cloves, cranberries and marzipan all getting a look-in. By late-mid the roastiness takes over and gives it all an espresso bitterness. It never gets that full roasty intensity though, I think because the woody oak notes cut it off and take over the finish. Touch of vanilla and more marzipan, with a healthy boozey warmth as it goes down.

Leaves a little raw, with a noticeable burn and sizzle from the carbonation. A bit of a weak spot, but just a bit.

Tastes great, just flags slightly with that heat on the finish. Mostly a cracking beer and very enjoyable drinking. The best I've had from BrewDog.
appearance: 4.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
77 Lager
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
46 / 100
(Not Great)
Pours a clear gold colour, with slow and very light bead. Head is white with visible bubbles. Quite foamy, retains a thin crown. Lace is OK, as is the look overall.

Smells quite musty. Oddly sweet, with a buttery aroma slight citrus twang and mild cinnamon note. Not bad, but a bit blah.

Taste is a bit bland, with odd phenolic notes. Sweet on the front, quite buttery and corn notes. Bitterness comes through early and long, but totally unnuanced with just a long battery acid flavour. All one note and almost blaring, with not a lot to hold my interest. A bit too phenolic as well, needs something fresh to balance it. Not out and out bad but it's another mediocre offering from BrewDog.

Mouthfeel has an interesting texture- weird fizz on the mid yet mostly smooth. Not bad.

Lacking a bit, because of the intense bitterness. Some cleaning up would help and make this better than just meh.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.0
5 A.M. Saint
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 13.12.10 on tap
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)
Pours red amber colour, clear, but with a slight cloud. Head is beige, sinks to a modest crown with nice lace left behind. Looks pretty good.

Good American character on the nose, lots of nutty malt with marzipany bitterness and lots of pineapple and passionfruit from the hops. Fruity and bitter. Quite pleasant.

Taste is malty with lots of American hop, nutty on the front with fruity notes, lots of passionfruit and spicy bitterness. Some notes of oatmeal on the mid-palate and the first touches of a brown sugar flavour. But quite bitter on the back with that nelson sauvin-esque heat, quite an astringent bitterness. Nice spicy heat to balance it but slightly acerbic with a slight flaxy character. Decent flavours, just a bit unbalanced and hot in places.

Drinks with a good texture. Lots of carb but not over blown. Goes down pretty smooth.

Yeah, fairly tasty beer. Good hoppy finish makes for challenging, but rewarding drinking.
appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 3.5
77 Lager
Reviewed by Jez on 09.12.10 in bottle
Overall:
54 / 100
(OK)

Pours a pleasant bright golden colour, that's almost clear, but which has a very slight haze to the body. Head is weak, merely a froth of large-bubbles on the initial pour, which collapses to film soon after, and has disappeared by the end of the glass. Not overly inspiring all up, although it has some nice characters.

Nose is slightly spicy and organic, with a lilt of leaf matter, mulch and pine and an upturn of lemon rind. Slight ointment sharpness to it as well. The hops are certainly giving a slightly citrussy, slightly pointed aroma.

Taste is clear for the most part, with a biting, slightly nutty bitterness on the back that also gives a slight astringency; tannins and grain husk. Some harshness on the back, could be a combination of early hopping or some husky characters, but it reminds me a little of the unpleasant aftertaste of that notorious Australian hop Pride of Ringwood. Feel is clean, but very light and rather empty.

Eh, not BrewDog's best effort. It's probably a reasonable effort for a gateway beer to get people drinking craft, but it's pretty tame otherwise.

appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
5 A.M. Saint
Reviewed by Jez on 25.11.10 on tap
Overall:
68 / 100
(Solid)

On-tap at the Local Taphouse, Sydney.

Pours a mean and lean bright red colour, touched with burnished amber. Head is like whipped orange cream. Minimal lacing and apparently no carbonation. Haziness in the body, could almost be mistaken for a fruit beer.

Nose is crazy with fruity hops, but with a strangely compelling underlying hint of chocolate. Together, it gives a sweet caramel character, or something akin to squashed overripe fruit. It fits the American style, but has that odd BrewDog twist to it.

Taste, however, gets oddly skewed between the two. There's not nearly enough hop bite to cut through the sweet chocolate and malty caramel character. Gives it a slightly mental peach twang, and a light butterscotch character, although I don't attribute it to diacetyl - just the oddly clanging mixture of hops and malt. Back is nutty with a hint of marzipan, feel is sparkling.

Decent, and reminiscent of the great west coast styles, although oddly skewed in a way that makes it both more interesting and less enjoyable. Very drinkable though, and I liked it well enough.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Zeitgeist
Reviewed by Jez on 02.10.10 in bottle
Overall:
71 / 100
(Very Good)

Pours a really nice deep black-brown, with good clarity. Heady is loose-bubbled and made of mocha-coloured foam. Lacing is good. Looks like there's a decent amount of carbonation, and a surprisingly thick body for a lager of this strength. Looks good.

Dark roasty cereal notes on the nose, a bit of sweetness and a lot of toasted bread character. A bit of something green and fresh as well; cut grass or lucerne. Not bad.

Taste is clear on the front, before a welling of roasted character on the back gives a bitter finish with a pleasant leavened nuttiness. Quite a dry finish, but it has a lingering dark ashy character that lengthens the palate. Feel is clear.

Very nice beer, clear and clean, but with a robust dark character to add a deal of interest. I like it.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 4.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Tokyo*
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 23.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
51 / 100
(OK)
Pours a deep brown - not quite dark, as it's brown all over that. Head is modest, but a reasonably good retention, lace is alright but not very sticky. Looks a bit plain, but not bad.

Smell is incredibly boozey. Actually feels like it's giving me a headache just sniffing that. Very sweet with huge alcohol phenols. Has a refined-sugar/rum kind of aroma, and disappointingly little dark or roasty characters off it besides a slight sweet chocolate fragrance.

Taste is incredibly strong, very sweet with golden syrup combining with slight chocolatey notes, and a genuine heat from alcohol on the back. Only a slight sip gives you a huge amount of flavour, so marks for that, but it's strong so of course you will get that effect. Brown sugar, some peppery spice, but really the palate is unnuanced with the dominant flavour being strong alcohol. Doesn't quite harness its own strength, and the booziness dominates an otherwise fairly unilateral palate.

Syrupy, fairly thick mouthfeel. Definitely feels heavy as well as tasting it. Can't say I'm a huge fan.

Yeah, not an unpleasant experience, just doesn't have any sparkle to it. Like a really strong, muscular person with no personality.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Tokyo*
Reviewed by Jez on 14.09.10 in bottle
Overall:
79 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a pleasant deep brown colour, with a filmy head of crusted off-white foam. Very fine bubbling when swirled. Body looks pleasantly thick. Not bad at all.

Nice hop characters on the nose. Extremely fresh and slightly fruity, with a slight hint of coconut. Crisp and rather sharp. Certainly not much note of the darkness apparent in the appearance on the nose. But it's extremely pleasant.

Taste is yet another spanner in the works. Extremely long and languid palate -- big roasted characters and deep tropical fruit characters mingle together. Overripe papaya mixes with the dark roasted flavours and vanilla and coconut nuances. It's extremely odd, but extremely -- really, extremely, genuinely -- tasty. Lovely palate. Really good.

This is an extremely tasty brew, that mingles fruit and darkness together in some wonderfully bizarre chimera. It's a lovely and extremely interesting brew.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Bashah
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 18.03.10 in bottle
Overall:
58 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a dark murky brown, but not very dark; visibly brown. Head is ochre, nice dense bubbles, no lace though. Looks like a standard dark beer. But good.

Nose is very nice, loads of chocolatey malt, some cola hints giving slight sourness and a fair amount of oak. Yeah, nice woodiness and sweet chocolate aromas. It's not a punch in the olfactory but very decent. I like that, I really do.

Taste is fairly standard and a bit of a letdown after that smell. Roasted malt with hints of wood smoke, tobacco, some espresso grinds and maybe a hint of burnt sugar. Actually richer on the front than the mid, and most of the roastiness on the back. Lacking in the chocolate that was promised on the nose. I guess not as sweet as I'd like, but also just not impressive enough, has bland roasty character for the most part. Decent, a bit sour, dark without power. Couldn't drink this every hour.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin in the mouth, but nicely soupy going down. Not bad.

Yeah, a decent enough dark, but another underwhelming effort from BrewDog. Marketing itself as an India Black Ale, the Shawn's Fault from Murray's Brewing is a far superior beer - it really has all the best characteristics of the IPA/dark blend. This one here, it's all dark, but not even enough of it.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 4.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.0
Bashah
Reviewed by Jez on 17.03.10 in bottle
Overall:
55 / 100
(OK)

A deep dark brown colour with a speckled head of crispy brown head. Some lacing, but pretty thin. Body is quite thin as well. It doesn't look particularly good overall. The colour's not bad, but otherwise, it leaves something to be desired.

Nose is slightly smoky, very odd and rather not what I expected. Certainly some darkness, minimal hop character - very little like what I was expecting in fact. Dark, and smoky. That's pretty much it.

Again, quite dark on the nose, with minimal hop character, and very little Belgian style. It's as though the bottle has lied to me. As a dark beer, it's rather thin, leaving only a slight black residue on the tongue, and falling away pretty quickly. There's a slight lingering bitterness, but again, I wonder how much this owes to the dark malt, and how little to hop characters.

Overall, I'm particularly disappointed with this brew. It promised far more than it could deliver, and while it's a moderately drinkable dark ale, it rarely if ever rises above that mantle.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 2.5 | drinkability: 3.5
Trashy Blonde
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 28.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a pale, almost insipid yellow colour, with steady bead feeding a modest but decent snowy head that retains at about half a cm, the sinking has left some whispers of lace around. Could be thought of as dull, but I think has a fair amount of character to it.

Nose is incredibly sweet, with a huge honey character and some bready and rice grain notes as well. Some buttery character suggests possible diacetyl, although there is vanilla as well, and together with the honey makes me think sweetness is mostly deliberate. Unfortunately it's overdone, and too sweet. Otherwise acceptable.

Taste is fairly simple, with a creamy/milky kind of character on the front which becomes a bit more rich with hints of honey and caramel on the mid. Bitterness emerges late, fairly distinctive with organic grassy notes, and some medicinal phenols late. Bitterness is not very strong, but lingers a little bit, providing some English-style hop flavours right on the back. Overall though, it's quite simple, lacking in nuance and doesn't have a great deal of complexity. Not unpleasant, but not enough where it counts.

A little bit of a tingle on the feel, mixing adequately with a fairly thick feel overall. Not bad.

An inoffensive drop, but I'm not hugely impressed. Definitely a sessionable beer.
appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Trashy Blonde
Reviewed by Jez on 24.01.10 in bottle
Overall:
65 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a clear bright yellow colour, with a fine but thin head of white foam. Lacing is tight and fine, if not voluminous. Looks pretty decent.

Some sharply crisp, but somewhat fruity notes on the nose, a little resin and pine, with some citrus and a light skunkiness that actually sits alongside the other characters in a certain harmony. Quite sharp and clean, and rather pilsner-like.

Sharp on the palate too, again, the similarities to a big fruity pilsener are clear. The characters are sharp and direct, but quite fragrantly hoppy. Very nice, clean and extremely drinkable.

A really nice and drinkable pale ale, that's just crisp and clean enough to cut through the summer sun. Went down a treat.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Tokyo
Reviewed by Jez on 21.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
80 / 100
(Excellent)

Pours a deep dark black-brown, not entirely opaque but pretty close. At the edges, there is a lighter character like very burnt toffee. Head is pretty filmy, a light raisin coloured edging around the glass. Lace is ok. The static carbonation when swirled is impressive though. Overall a pretty tasty looking brew.

Some raisins and dark fruit notes on the nose. Very much full of deep, dark sweetness, with a big molasses darkness coming through. Not entirely black and roasted, but certainly deep and heavy. The sweetness is really very nice - it's so beautifully leavened with the darker notes.

Taste is also very nice, a very leavened stout, rich with dark characters, but strangely subtle and sweet as well, with a lingering rye bread character. Notes of licorice come through on the palate, although the molasses has disappeared - a dusty and long finish. Really complex and really very enjoyable. I've been waiting for Brewdog to show me something exciting, and this is pretty close to what I wanted.

A very drinkable, smooth and complex stout, brewed with some attitude. Yep, I like it a lot. Can't wait to try the starred version.

appearance: 4.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Tokyo
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 21.12.09 in bottle
Overall:
67 / 100
(Solid)
Pours a dark cola colour with minimal head, ochre in colour, very visible bubbles and not much lace, just some small specks. Looks alright - could definitely use more head and lace though. Very standard stouty look.

Nose is pleasant - lots of sweet roasty malt with a nutty edge, a fair amount of cola, and some nice boozey aromas. Smells sweet, dark and inviting, like Naomi Campbell on ecstasy.

Taste is quite intense - starts with a pleasant cola character, some roasty flavours as well, then gets quite ashy and bitter, like a stout should. Some bitter chocolate and pine bark characters, very woody actually, with an almost cardboard end to it. Ultimately this tastes quite mild in spite of obvious alcohol, has a liqueur stickiness towards the back, and a nice warmth as it goes down. I may have been spoiled lately with imperial stouts but this seems very standard to me. Has all the right flavours but nothing leaping out, with not a great deal of complexity.

Mouthfeel is quite sticky, but not very. Ultimately feels a bit thin, for what it is.

Pleasant drop, certainly drinkable, just a bit of a minnow in the world of imperial stouts.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Rip Tide
Reviewed by Jez on 26.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
63 / 100
(Solid)

Pours a very nice dark brown with flashes of red when held to the light. Head is slightly filmy, but a pleasant pale brown hue. Looks a little like a dark kriek beer. Shame about the head, and the lack of lacing is also apparent, but otherwise it's not too bad looking.

Decent smoky dark grain on the nose, although it's not dominant, there's certainly a rauch character to this. Other hints of fruit, a little oak, and just darkness. Not bad overall, although a little weak.

Taste is also a little subdued, some chalky chocolate characters and a faint burst of roasted grains mid palate, that just peter out to a dry husky bitterness at the back. Mouthfeel is very weak given the style, medium bodied where it should be full full full. Not a lot on it by the end, and it left be feeling very cold.

I may be being harsh on it unfairly. It's not a bad beer overall, and it's very drinkable, but it has a great deal of potential that it does not live up to. That's probably an unfair reason for penalising a beer, but it does strike me insipid when it should be bold, brash and in your face.

appearance: 3.5 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 4.0
Punk IPA
Reviewed by Jez on 26.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
56 / 100
(Decent)

Pours an insipid yellow colour, with a thin film of head that looks as appealing as an oil slick. Some fine bubbled carbonation, and it has to be said the bead in the head is also very fine. But I'm not convinced that it's a good look overall.

Some pleasant light fruit characters on the nose. A few hints of grape must give it a bit more character than I was expecting from the appearance. Some dark sweetness, a hint of minty phenols wafting around. Yeah, it's not bad. Much better than I was expecting.

Once again I'm taken by surprise, this time by the palate - starts out with light weak tropical fruits, mellows through a dry grain and barnyard character, before culminating in a rather intense English hoppy bitterness, quite gritty on the back of the mouth. It's nice, quite refreshing and I enjoy the adventure with every mouthful. Mouthfeel is good. Not to heavy, not too light - just crisp, accentuating the characters on the palate.

A very drinkable brew all up, and one that far surpassed my expectations of it. I have to say I find it a bit confusing and a little incoherent, but I had fun with it nonetheless.

appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | drinkability: 4.0
Punk IPA
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a strangely pale yellow, slightly translucent, with an Aero-bar-esque head of cream coloured bubbling. Very minimal bead, and leaves some specks of lacing, but very little. Looks bland - a disappointment, for sure.

Nose is very floral and hoppy, a lot of cascade and/or amarillo, I'm sure. Does have an odd sticky malt sensation behind it, slightly yeasty and almost honey-esque. Some pleasant aromas, but not enough. Lacking a bit of nuance.

Taste is better, with floral hoppy flavours and a slight pine resin character denoting the hops throughout. There is an unfortunate trace of that honey character on there, slight wattle character as well, or at least herbacious and floral. Mouthfeel is nicely full, maybe a bit sticky which is unfortunate, but okay.

This is a decent IPA but certainly not a staggeringly good one. Leaves traces of bitterness without an enjoyable hoppy character, and feels just a bit lacking in flavour. An inauspicious start for a brewery I was hotly anticipating.
appearance: 2.0 | aroma: 3.0 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5
Rip Tide
Reviewed by LaitueGonflable on 25.08.09 in bottle
Overall:
57 / 100
(Decent)
Pours a very dark brown, minimal orangey-brown around the edge when held up to the light. Thin beige head, bubbles are large and pocky. Very little lace, very little retention. Nice colours, mediocre everything else.

Nose is pleasant; sweet, with rich cocoa kind of aroma and a nicely roasted fragrance as well, hints of a meaty character in there and some woody notes, maybe a hint of some fortified wine as well. Smells enticing, and interesting.

Taste is predominantly sour, with the gritty, ashy bitterness not quite reaching the highs I would expect, and instead the roasted character feels a bit under-saturated to the point that it's insipidly sour. Has hints of plum and red grape skins, and a fair cocoa hit as well, but overall the flavour is a bit dull and weak.

Mouthfeel is thin, of all things, I mean it feels like it's got body, but given the darkness of the flavour it doesn't have nearly enough.

This is fairly drinkable, and I might be being a bit of a snob to expect this to burst with overwhelming flavour power, but I think I have the right to expect it from an 8% stout. Just tastes a bit weak and a bit bland.
appearance: 3.0 | aroma: 4.0 | taste: 3.0 | feel: 3.0 | drinkability: 3.5