Archive for October 16th, 2007

Nice dogs

Brew Dog bottlesI had the pleasure to sample a few beers from Brew Dog when I was in Glasgow this summer, but I felt they had such a quality I wanted to try them on their own, not just a few in a long row of samples on the same day.

I e-mailed them to order a 12-bottle sampler of their beers, and I was very pleased when they replied that they supply review bottles for serious beer writers. So when I arrived in London last month, I had most of their bottled range waiting for me at the hotel.

Other members of the family hinted that I spent too much of the luggage allowance on beer, but I managed to drag the bottles home intact.

The most interesting beers they make are their Paradox series, where they take their Imperial Stout, which is quite an ale in the first place, and age them in old whiskey casks, which have previously been used for vintage malts.. The various casks give different character to each batch.

The Imperial stout is sold without the aging as Rip Tide. My tasting notes read: Almost pitch black, low carbonation. Coffee, some smokiness, warming glow. Nice chocolaty aftertaste.

I tried Paradox batch 008, which was aged in a Bowmore 1966 cask. This was so fresh they did not have the time to put on the label before shipping it to me.

A dark ale with some ruby trying hard to shine through. Smells of tar and spices – close your eyes and feel you are on an old tea clipper. The beer is a smooth and velvety stout, but the single malt kicks in in the finish. There is more Bowmore than beer in the aftertaste. Oak, vanilla, peaty smoke. The Rip Tide was nice, but this is in a totally different league. I suppose the whisky aroma will mellow a bit if this is stored, but I loved it as it is.

The Speyside batch 005 opens up more, it is sweeter, with more vanilla and less smoke. This has had some more time in the bottle and is more silky, but it still has the finger print of the whisky in the finish. Great stuff.

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