Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Brewdog, Tactical nuclear penguin
Some kerosene for our little friend from the Antarctica...? Quite close! I wasn't not sure how this name should describe the beer itself before checking the description from Brewdog web site (http://www.brewdog.com/tactical_nuclear_penguin):
"The Antarctic name, inducing schizophrenia, of this Ÿber-imperial stout originates from the amount of time it spent exposed to extreme cold. This beer was initially double barrel aged for 14 months; maturing in the deep, rich oak of Scottish whisky casks. After this epic maturation the beer was then frozen, then frozen again, then frozen again."
This reveals also the fact that is usually quite much discussed among the beer enthusiasts; Is it really beer anymore? In a way I would like to say yes and at the same time I understand the other opinion as well. As we all understand this beer is strong. Actually so strong (32 % ABV) that it's not possible to reach with traditional fermenting methods. At least it's not too easy. And here is the thing that separates the old purists from the more open minded, new wave beer fanatics. The key word here being the "traditional". The unique technique used to produce this beer is a way of generating something new. Exposing the already strong beer to extremely cold temperatures making it freeze strips away the "unnecessary" water. This again lifts the ABV %. Brilliant! Repeating this various times makes it a Brewdog product with tons of attitude.
How did I come across with this stuff then? Having some good experiences with Brewdog beers before (some of which you can read elsewhere in from this blog) I had also heard about the existence of these extreme beers in some restaurants (none of which too close to my home) and that they can also be ordered straight from the Brewdog web site. First option means that there's only a small portion that you can have at a time as the laws regarding alcohol are what they are here. I thought that I'd take my chances on the second option and ordered a bottle of this amazing brew with another, limited edition beer for the royal weddings, The Royal virility performance (rated the 5 th best or worst idea on the BD blog: http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/the-best-and-worst-brewdog-innovations). The first order was actually not a success as I received the long-awaited package in the following condition:
Notice the brown ominous coloring at the bottom of the package. And yes. It was the little penguin that took the hit. A sweet little creature decapitated. :( The only thing I got from this batch was the awesome aroma and allover splashed dark brown coloring of the brew.
I'm happy though that the claiming process for the damaged goods worked like a dream and the reunion with the once dead penguin was a fact with a replacement sent straight from the brewery. This was actually the first time I bought alcohol online. I can't say that it would had been the last one as despite the little negative hit and the extra effort in the form of waiting. Btw, the bottle comes with a plug used to seal the bottle while not in use... yes, at least I didn't drink it all at once. :)
Then came the long-awaited moment of tasting this brew for the first time. A special occasion in the sense that it was the strongest beer I had tasted so far. Poured a small portion to an Riedel aroma glass and started the journey on yet another Brewdog roller-coaster. The first thing that needs to be mentioned about this beer is the already mentioned ABV 32 % strength. Now I know that's not the top number on the market as Brewdog has outdone it not once but twice but that's still something not too many have reached.
The color (8) is dark but not black as there's this reddish gloom. Reminds me of a light cola. Dark, yet passing through some light. Against the light the color could be described as a dark copper.
Aroma (8) is very complex including notes of dry cherries, rowan berry, alcohol (really!?), oak, burned malts, tar and fudge, red berries, liquorice, scent of cellar and the burn sugar. The first thing that came to my mind that I couldn't at first connect to anything was actually a scent of glue.
Taste (16) red berries, and dry cherries, notes of burned malts, liquorice with citrus, once again rowan berry and slight tone of alcohol, sweetness from oak. Very complex!
Overall (8) The overall score comes from the complexity of the aroma and taste. The taste is not that much of an enjoyment but a really nice experience as a beer. I loved the cherry and oak notes and the oily feeling in the mouth that the 14 moths in the whisky casks bring to this awesome piece of work. It has the balls, it has the taste and it has a mission. It's a craft beer with no compromise. Still I'm not that impressed beer-wise, or then it just tops my wildest dreams and I don't even understand yet how remarkable liquid I've held in my hands ;)
Total score for the little penguin is 40/50.
The next and natural continuation after this would be the ABV 41 % Sink the Bismark! (http://www.brewdog.com/sink_the_bismark) from Brewdog. That's yet another step that's been taken further in the race of the highest alcohol percentage. According to the legend there was a takeover attempt from the Germans with ABV 40 % beer before StB but it ended ugly. As a closure for the war Brewdog also made this extremely rare edition of The End of History (http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/341), ABV 55 %, and only 12 bottles made, each of them stuffed inside either a roadkill stoat or a grey squirrel. It's more than obvious that this stuff was not going to be too cheap and thus I at least had to pass the chance I had, as 1 of these bottles ended up to the Beer Hunter's restaurant in Pori, Finland. On our summer vacation trip I saw the still closed bottle in the restaurant but the bartender frightened me away from this creature with the prize of a sip. There aren't too many notes written of this drink but the one I suggest comes from an old military friend of mine and you can read it here: http://www.maistuvamallas.fi/node/186.
So, I guess that's it for this time. As these blog entries keep coming at long intervals I suggest that you logon to Facebook and like the page I made for the My wonderful world of beers. You can find the page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/My-wonderful-world-of-beers/163546743724406?sk=wall
On this Facebook site I'll send some updates of beers tasted on tighter pace. These beers might or might not be the following blog entries. The new blog entries are posted on this page as well. I'll keep on testing some new things related to beer in future as well and this page let's me do a bit shorter updates on the issues faced and more real time.
Until next time... Perkale! ...or is it actually Imper Ale...!