Thursday, February 19, 2009

Big Dogs Off the Leash

I am, it must be said, a little concerned. Fret not, the yeast hasn't died on me - in fact both fermenters have nice healthy looking krausens on them, and are bubbling away at about 40 little pops a minute. Yes, yes, yes, I know - how sad can a grown man get when he sits and counts how often his homebrew is bubbling, is there a technical term for this? The bubbling I mean, not the counting, I already know the technical term for that.

Wanting to restore some self-respect I decided that the moment had come, the moment I had been putting off and putting off, the time to open a couple of the monster BrewDog bottles that I have picked up lately. Just like Mark over on Pencil and Spoon, I have a habit of looking at bottles, deciding to drink them and then putting them back because I am not sure the occasion is right. Last night I just picked up the bottle and opened it before I could convince myself otherwise - that bottle was Hardcore IPA.

I have written elsewhere about my first run in with IPA from BrewDog, so I knew the vague neighbourhood I would be in with Hardcore, what I didn't know was just how much bigger and more in your face this one was to be. The beer pours a dark amber and the white head didn't last very long, although every time I would swirl the glass there would be a nice fresh head. The nose was sweet citrus all over the place, grapefruit mainly and lots of it, and the first taste was a bitterness explosion but backed up with a smooth, soothing, toffee like sweetness. American style IPAs are something new to me, and the more I try the more I like.

Emboldened by my impulsive opening of one big hitter, I reached in and pulled out a bottle of the 12%ABV Tokyo. I have heard great things about this beer from Evan, so my expectations were high. As a stout should be, this was a black hole - no light getting through at one, and the nose was alcoholic and roasted and peaty and like molasses (Mrs Velkyal stuck her nose in and instantly said "is this a BrewDog?" - brand recognition!), drool, drool. The first thing to strike home when I tasted it was the flavour of oak and vanilla, not surprising as it was aged on French oak chips, that coupled with the warming alcohol put me in mind of Paradox, but without the whisky element. The more I drank the more complex it became, a strong spiciness and yet a freshness in the finish which I am putting down to the cranberries. Definitely a sipping beer, one where you revel in each and every mouthful.

The only thing missing last night was being back in the Highlands, sat in a deep leather armchair while an Atlantic gale lashes the house and the peat fire glows in the hearth and the deerhound sits at my feet.


  1. I actually reached into my cupboard and grabbed a Tokyo for myself last week (I justified opening this one because I had 3!). It's an incredible beer, one of the best I've had in a long while.

    I wasn't so impressed with the Hardcore IPA, however. I though it was oversweet and not hardcore enough - I wanted more hops! I've got another bottle to try so maybe I'll like that one more. BrewDog's Chaos Theory is a much better big IPA, IMO.

    Glad the homebrew's coming along nicely, sounds like a great!

  2. Actually i just grabbed two brewdogs from an off license today. One was punk IPA and i can not remember the other but im looking forward to tasting them as well as some other beers i have never had including Guinness foreign Extra.

  3. The Punk IPA is very nice, if you like the Galway Hooker you will love this (though in the interests of national pride, our is of course better, and yes you will thrash us in the 6 Nations).

  4. Im having my firs Guinness foreign Extra. Very interesting. Might write about on my blog but im more interested in the other beers i got. Especially the other mystery brewdog. I looked the the receipt and it took e a while to figure out which beer had set me back €5.99!! It is the brewdog Paradox speyside whiskey cask aged imperial stout! Sounds yum. I see you have had it!

  5. Yes, I hear you. We often hoard special beers for so long waiting for the right moment that they eventually go off and we have to chuck them out. How's *that* for stupid? I'm sure there's a moral lesson in it somewhere.

  6. I have a couple of bottles of the BrewDog Paradox Smokehead, and I absolutely love the stuff!


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