Brewdog don’t muck about, do they? We all know they’re past masters of the humulone cone and the harnessing of it’s magic, but with this Jekyll and Hyde beer they’ve woven an extra-weird spell and left me with a bit of a conundrum…
Crack the top off of the bottle to be assailed by possibly the best and strongest aroma from a beer you’ll ever come across: lychee, kiwi fruit, gooseberry, bitter lemon zest. Beautiful. How they manage to get this much aroma into a beer is beyond me. If you’re a home brewer, your only goal in life is to get this much aroma into one of your beers. It’s staggering. As I write this the glass is 18 to 24 inches away from me and I can still clearly smell it!
(Hours later I had a little bit repeat on me, and IT STILL TASTED AND SMELT OF THIS HOP AROMA!)
All I can suggest is that aroma this big must involve some extraordinary hop rocket technology and literally dustbins full of dry hops.
As you lift the glass to your mouth and admire the old gold yellow, your nostrils are assaulted once again by this wonderful aroma…meaning that the taste has quite a hard act to follow…which it manages to…sort of…but not in any way, shape or form that you’d expect.
First of all there’s a taste of nothing, just a sort of seltzery mouth-feel and a short pregnant pause while your brain says: “come on then, where is it?” (I guess this is the space that a higher dose of alcohol and bigger malt bill would fill?)
Then all at once, your tongue is enveloped by a full-on bitterness that seems to touch every taste bud. This just goes on and on until, after another short while, the hops sort of sidle in and throw a huge blanket of dankness across your palate: think ferns in pine forests, odd echoes of pale summer fruit and an extraordinary accompanying dryness; which I believe is due to a fine mix of carefully chosen hops and a strain of ale yeast (Californian, I’m guessing by the style?, it’s certainly not like any of the other Brewdog yeasts I’ve picked up on)
During all this, the bitterness is still running headlong hand in hand with that dryness…even the aftertaste persists as dry, dank and unusually long-lasting.
I’m not really sure what to make of this beer; on the one hand it’s a tour de force in hopping, but on the other hand it all seems a bit out of whack…you know almost coquettish? One sniff and it’s all like: “oh yeah I’m all juicy fruits and hops like a craft IPA“, then you taste it and it’s a completely different kettle of fish; instead of the expected IPA hoppiness you get serious dry dankness.
All I can say is get a bottle and see what you think. I’m so firmly on the fence I simply couldn’t say…all this mystery, complexity and frankly, weirdness, in a 3.8% beer is quite beyond my ken.
It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s more that I don’t think I understand it. Save one for those days when you need a beer you have to think about…I’m sure the Brewdog folks understand it perfectly, though…
I got my bottle from Sainsbury’s (again) but, you know, every little helps…oh, hold on. That’s the other one, isn’t it? It was £1.80 a pop which, I suppose, is reasonable.