There were four different beers in the box from BrewDog. Trying to control myself, I have only tasted three of them so far. The last one is the Rake Raspberry Imperial Stout, which I had on cask last year, possibly my best beer of 2008.
5 AM Saint is a prototype, meaning they will possibly adjust this before launching it on a broader market. This has been available on tap at selected pubs in the UK. It is a glowing gold/ruby beer. A fantastic hoppy aroma. Flowers, dust. The first sip confirms this – lovely hoppiness, yet there is enough malt and body to cope with it. This may be a test batch- but it does not need any adjustments if you ask me. Peaches, Jaffa oranges, dusty finish. Yummy.
A full flavoured beer, yet fairly low alcohol, I could envisage drinking numerous pints of this.
Next: Devine Rebel. The one I missed at the Copenhagen festival this year. A collaboration between Mikkeller and BrewDog, two of Europe’s finest and bravest. They call it a rock’n’roll collaboration. Part of this is aged in Speyside whisky barrels, part of it in steel tanks. They say it’s a single hop beer, without specifying.
The aroma does not give away much – but the first sip reveals a full bodied and complex barley wine. Tons of malty sweetness, warming alcohol, hops laughing merrily in the background. Dark brown, not much in the way of carbonation – but it does not really need it. Cherries, plums, apples that have had a night of frost. Tannins and dryness very evident, though this is blended well enough to make it impossible to know what is oak ask aging and what is hops generously applied. But it ends up a bit too much on the sweet side for me. But what the heck!
I should go to bed. But there is the Tokyo*. Lovely smells of liquorice, coffee and smoke. Cranberries and jasmine, they say.
I rarely quote the back label, but I’ll make an exception.
It is all about moderation. Everything in moderation, including moderation itself. What logically follows is that you, from time to time, have excess. This beer is for these times.
This is a beer that kicks like a mule and bites like a crocodile, to quote Shel Silverstein. There is strong alcohol involved here, and it is very evident in the palate. But there’s lots more Fruit and flowers, sure. Malt, malty sugar.
Port-like flavours. This would be fine at the end of a meal with ripe cheese and nuts, or on its own as a after-dinner treat. Never mind the the coffee and cognac – this is a better digestif…
Once again, they have managed to create lots of media coverage with the Tokyo*, with Scottish politicians warning about the dangerous consequenses of drinking a beer as strong as this. As Alan has observed, it is a bit over the top in a country famous for alcoholic beverages much stronger, sold in bigger bottles.