This time we're dealing with one of the top 10 beers ever. There's also a nice connection to the beer other than the love for the stuff itself. The beer is from one of my favorite breweries, Brewdog and the beer itself is THE Paradox, Isle of Arran edition (http://www.brewdog.com/paradox).
The connection I mentioned earlier requires a story. So if you're not into stories then move on to the next paragraph. It was a dark and stormy night... sort of. Actually it was a regular day at the office but it sounded better that way. My friend sent me an email asking me if I was into whiskey. At that time I wasn't. Well, the question was because he was offering me a chance to join an ownership for a cask of Whiskey. Because of the fact that I really wasn't caused me to think of it over the night and also ask some more friends o join this opportunity as there was still room for it. The next day I finally thought that what the heck! I can take part into this and learn to like the "oak juice". Today I have no regrets over this decision! Actually I've started having another hobby on the side of my beers and that's whiskey/whisky (maybe something to be blogged about on these pages as well in the future!). The distillery in question was Arran from the Isle of Arran (http://www.arranwhisky.com/Home/). Some time after this I even noticed a bottle that was labeled with Arran texts in the liquor store. I knew that this was a good way to get to know and start getting used to the distillery products. By now the bottle is empty which means that it was drink worthy. The taste of the Whisky (10 yo) is surprisingly young with strong scent of alcohol, subtle fruits and vanilla and spices. As someone might have already got the link between me the beer and the whisky (or at least the distillery) it is the fact that the beer has been ageing for 6 moths in the same casks as the whisky I'm about to get my hands on in about 8 years from now! How cool is that?! :D
The journey of the casks is as follows (copied from Brewdog site):
The Life and Times of a BrewDog Whisky Cask
- little acorn into a mighty oak tree, really long ago
- oak tree turned into a cask by a skilled human
- cask is then used to mature American Bourbon, releasing wonderful flavours from the oak
- cask then undertakes a perilous marine voyage across the Atlantic, narrowly escaping the clutches of storms, giant squid and pirates
- safely at the Scottish distillery it is used to mature the finest Whisky, adding depth and character to the flavours inculcated in the oak
- cask arrives at BrewDog where we fill it with our Imperial Stout. The ageing process infuses all the Whisky flavours and emblazons the casks journey deep into our smooth robust stout, resulting in an unrivalled taste adventure for the lucky human who gets their paws on the finished masterpiece.
The beer then. Well, you can really notice at least three things with your nose (four if you're not careful with the foam). There's really nicely roasted malts, fruity sweetness of the hops and some of it from the alcohol level as well. The malts used are Marris Otter, Dark Crystal, Caramalt, Chocolate Malt and Roast Barley. It's a really nice and balanced mix that can only speak for the mastery and the passion behind this beer. You can also find some traces of maple syrup.
As mentioned before the alcohol level is at 10 % which is noticeable in a good way. The Caramalts really stand out from he beer and there's a citric twist also hidden into it. In the end you can find the bitter hops (Galena, Bramling Cross used) which finishes to a perfect dry aftertaste, The taste is an unbelievable journey from dark malts via the fruity sweetness to the bitterish and dry end. If you wait for a while you can still notice the taste developing; vanilla, and yes... there it is! Oak! After this also coffee... what else. The IBU's are at 70 which keeps it on a decent level and balance.
I think this should be also tested from the 9 gallon cask they sell it. So if there's someone to join me in buying one... ;) This beer has so complex and well developing taste that it makes the perfect desert (and in some cases aperitif as well). You should try and pair it with a food as well. Brewdog recommends it to be used with meat dishes and I would go even with the grilled stuff. Dark chocolate should also do the trick as well as the aged cheeses. I can only agree on these.
Conclusion: This beer is made to be tasted time after time. This is a beer for me. How about you?
Coming up... The Ultimate Trappist Rumble!