Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Spirit of the Age

A while back I wrote about 3 prototype beers that Scotland's bad (but oh so good) boys of brewing, BrewDog, had produced. Of the three I tried, the prototype Chaos Theory was by far the one I liked the most, but I also thought that the Zeit Geist (the original name) had potential. So when I got a few bottles of the production versions I was well chuffed.

I have to admit that I am yet to try the production Chaos Theory, or the 77 Pilsner that came with the box, but last weekend I popped open the Zeitgeist to see how it compared with the prototype.

In my original comments I noted that it was:

dark ruby with a light espresso coloured head, which in common with the other beers disappeared very quickly. As you would expect from a dark lager the nose was dominated by coffee notes, with subtle hints of burnt toffee and even a delicate floral tone suggesting the use of Saaz hops. The burnt theme came through in the tasting, although this time it was less coffee and more chocolate, I would go so far as to say it was like a singed Hershy bar, sweet yet sour.

The production version is still dark ruby and the fluffy tan head disappears rather quickly. Again the nose was quite floral, but the burnt toffee I smelled last time was a bit toned down this time I thought, almost like tablet rather than toffee (for the non-Scots out there, tablet is the world's greatest confection!). Drinking the beer I felt there was more coffee than chocolate this time, which made the beer quite dry and bitter, which is never a bad thing in my world, although there was an undertone of sweet caramel, and even some smokiness - although apparently there wasn't any smoked malt used.

I think the production version is a step up from the prototype, even though the alcohol content is down by 0.2%. There is a more rounded body making it a more satisfying drink, which is still nicely balanced and easy to imbibe. While I don't think it will be replacing Budvar Dark or the magnificent Kout na Šumavě 14° Dark in my pantheon of dark delights, it would more than hold its own in the company of darks from Bernard and Svijany for example, and is a beer that I would very much like to try on tap, whether that be keg or cask.

Good stuff again from BrewDog, keep it up.

16 comments:

  1. I have a bottle of this down in the cellar and am looking forward to it. I had the Chaos Theory the other night and really enjoyed it. It's been Brewdog week in my house. Last night was the first night I didn't have one since Sunday :D

    Your post title has me singing a Hawkwind song in my head now...

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  2. I have a Chaos Theory waiting to be devoured as well, and several Smokehead Paradox's that somehow I can't decide when would be the best time to drink.

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  3. I had a few beers that were lingering as I wasn't sure of the best time. I decided that "now" was a good time, any time :D

    I have a couple of Paradox Arran, and I'm saving them to taste with two whisky fans, and plan on having some wiskey from that distillery on hand too. Should be fun!

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  4. "for the non-Scots out there, tablet is the world's greatest confection!"

    It's certainly the world's sweetest!

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  5. Hmm, I think I may have to make some.

    Does this look like the real deal?

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  6. Could it really be as sweet as Iced Caramels (which my granddad apparently invented by the way, him being a confectioner and all)

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  7. Adeptus,

    that's the stuff! My mum makes it whenever my brothers or I go to their place in France. Absolutely fantastic, but as Tandleman points out, very, very sweet.

    Has me hankering for a black pudding supper, a glass bottle of Irn Bru and everything to be good in the world.

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  8. Adeptus. That is the stuff.I remember my granny making me it when I was about 10. I am sure you can get it mail order. It is pretty horrid really.

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  9. I may as well ask this in a post about dark beer: Is there any truth in the story that Czechs consider dark beer effeminate? I've been wondering for a while if it was real, or just a story they tell foreigners for fun, or an old prejudice that isn't taken very seriously any more.

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  10. Funny you should say that. A new neighbour moved in who is from the former east (nesr Dresden), and when we were talking about beers he mentioned a porter from the region he grew up in. He said it was "women's beer". I thought it was weird. Being the former east, the culture might be similar (in historical terms).

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  11. Just because all the dark beers used to be on a sweet side in former Czechoslovakia, they were rumored to be weomens drinks. Nothing has to do with Eastern whatso ever...

    Honza

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  12. No, my comment related to the fact that areas like Saxony were/are physically and culturally close to areas like the former Czechoslovakia (and have been for a long, long time, sharing borders and having common historic and pre-historic influences) so I found it interesting to hear dark beers being referred to as being women's drinks in the Czech Republic only weeks after hearing a chap from Saxony saying exactly the same thing about dark beers in his area. There are lots of dark sweet beers in other places that don't have this association of being "women's" drinks, so it seems reasonable that there may be a cultural/geographical significance to this way of thinking.

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  13. When I first moved to the Czech Republic back in 1999 I was told by various Czech friends that women drank dark lagers because it gave them big breasts. If that were the case then most men must be dumb as a post as dark lagers are really good.

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  14. So how widespread or serious is this prejudice? What, if anything, would happen to a man who ordered a dark beer in a hospoda?

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  15. I have never had a problem ordering a dark beer in a pub, one of my favourite pubs now knows that I prefer the dark lager so I don't even have to order it. I would say it is more of folk saying than a prejudice.

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