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Shipwrecker Circus - BrewDog

Not Rated.
Shipwrecker CircusShipwrecker Circus

Educational use only; do not reuse.
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Awaiting 10 Reviews
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Reviews: 9
Hads: 52
Avg: 3.98
pDev: 26.63%
Wants: 2
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Oakenator on 11-10-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 9 | Hads: 52
Photo of barfootbandit
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap. A dark murky color similar to a brown or dark amber ale with aromas of hoppy-pine and dark fruit. Not much honey in the smell or taste as seen in other barleywines. Very boozy taste with hints of plum, fig, and raisin. A good amount of hop character as well to add some crispness. Again very alcoholic. Overall an excellent beer but I would have preferred to drink this beer after some aging. Great to see a collaboration between two awesome breweries.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I told you the beers leading up to #500 were going to be BIG beers, and it doesn’t get any bigger than BrewDog, brewer of the BIGGEST beer of all time sold in a taxidermied stoat or squirrel*: The End of History. Weighing in at a brain-crushingly, for beer at least, 55% ABV - I would love to have gotten my hands on a sample of this, however as there were only 12 bottles made and sold at brain-crushingly prices I will never get to try that beer... but I have their 10.5% ABV Shipwrecker Circus... Yay!

Poured from 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Mahogany brown, like my bookcase with its mahogany bound books and trinkets of mahogany, with a thin beige lace ring where there was once head. 6/10.

S: The nose is a cacophony of sharp pine resin and bitter orange hops with a burnt sugar and treacle base from the malts. Style-wise this is an American Barleywine for all intents and purposes - I mean the hops alone scream “American!”. Another whiff reveals a hint of sweet dark plum. 8/10.

T: Flavour profile flattens out quite a bit, not nearly as hoppy as expected, but it comes through with a viscous roasted malt taste back to front. A lot easier to drink than expected. The profile has characters of dark treacle, a woody note, roasted coffee and mild pine hops accentuating a slight bitter finish. This combination lends it a very earthy and woody appeal that was not anticipated in the aroma. 8/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied, fairly viscous with hop oils dancing around the glass on first pour, the carbonation is understandably flat. 7/10.

D: This one turned into a real sipper with the charm of a good single-malt scotch... damn I love beer, and I love scotch too, which is how Shipwrecker Circus won me with its wiles. That said - if you’re strictly a beer person, and the idea of drinking a fine single-malt is akin to slicing your own leg off with a hacksaw to get out of a film analogy, then you probably won’t want to try Shipwrecker Circus, if however woody/smoky/earthy characters intrigue you and you want more of those things - Shipwrecker Circus is your beer. 8/10.

Food match: Would have to be something opulent: like black truffle squid with golden caviar and rose hip.

*I understand the extreme specificity of this criteria.

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Photo of SayBoom
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Saturated dark amber colour, poured with small head, disappears quickly. Heavy malts aroma, some caramel, coffee, raisin and forest honey. Taste is well balanced, smooth with caramel, roasted malt, and dry fruits notes. Warm alcohol, finish is sweet, not enough bitterness. Sufficiently booze. Overall very drinkable.

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Photo of flyingpig
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml Bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (£5):
Copper with red tinges, a lot lighter than expected. There's a thin, 0.25cm head of fine bubbles that fades to leave quite a patchy lacing after 20 seconds.

Strong & boozy with a dark fruits (dates/figs/plums) before the dark malts & chocolate come through. Warming alcohol aroma that thankfully isn't overpowering. Traces of hops & pineapple appear in a very complex but excellent smelling beer.

Boozy with minor alcohol notes & sweetness with dark fruits standing out. Complex tasting with some plum, dates, raisins & dark cherries, some figs & citrus too; here is faint hops & pine in there as well. Spicy & warming with pineapple, some malts, caramel & chocolate.

Strong, boozy & sweet but it still managed to go down easier than than expected, helped by the great balance, not to mentione the warming & boozy feel that complimented the medium carbonation & dry finish.

A really nice collaborative effort between Brewdog & Oskar Blues, it's definitely up there with the best I've tried from Brewdog & it went down a real treat & one that I'm slightly disappointed won't ever be available again. Wonderfully complex & definitely boozy but the huge array of flavours managed to mask the vast majority of the alcohol & make the beer seem a lot easier to drink than a 10.5% beer should have done; a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of Sam-VW
4/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Copper with a medium Tan head, dissipates quite quickly leaving a ring around the glass. Some dotty lacing.

S - Some booze, sweet malts, marshmallow, figs and other stone fruit. Some hints of Pineapple and dried Apricot.

T - Toffee, Liquorice, Toasted Marshmallow, Dates, Plumb and Fig. Some booziness and sour Pineapple on the finish.

M - Medium carbonation, finishes sweet.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.54/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with a small head.
Nose shows heavy caramel and bready malt, a little golden syrup and some sultanas as well as a bit of booze.
Very malty flavours too but with a fair whack of hops too. A lot of caramel, but then the pine and grapefruit rolls through. This combined with the booze detracts from the experience.
Carbonation is perhaps a little high.

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Photo of kojevergas
3/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330ml brown glass bottle with branded white pry-off pressure cap acquired at a Budapest bottle shop for 1500 forents and served into a Zlaty Bazant glass in me friend's gaff there. Reviewed live. As a Colorado boy, expectations are high. Batch 235. BB: 07-10-18. 10.5% ABV. Label is appealing. Review is truncated a the environment was not ideal.

Served cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: No head forms as it's poured.

BODY: Dark amber colour. Translucent and glowing. Nontransparent. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated. Not unique or special for a barleywine, but appealing and well within style conventions.

AROMA: Heavy malts. Plenty of sweetness. The beginnings of some marshmallow character; I imagine this would develop well with age. Toffee. Caramel. Sweet raisin and fruit notes - mainly fig. Maybe some pineapple in there too - but not the hoppy pineapple character I despise in imperial IPAs. Candi sugar.

Definitely on the sweeter side, but it has the maltiness you'd expect. Not a fantastic aroma for a barleywine, but generally appealing.

No yeast character or overt alcohol is detectable. It's pleasant enough, and mild in strength.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Syrupy malts with accompanying sweetness. Sweetbread, caramel, and some buried raisin make an appearance, but sadly no toffee. Fruity hops surface. There's some mild booziness, but nothing intolerable. Quite sweet; maybe this needs some aging. It comes off pretty simple for a barleywine, and isn't real well-balanced by any means. It's not a mess, but it lacks sufficient cohesion. Certainly not a gestalt or subtle build. There just isn't a whole lot going on given the style - which demands intricacy.

I do like it in a general sense. Average depth of flavour. Average intensity and duration of flavour.

Smooth, wet, syrupy, thick, and full-bodied. It's filling, and while it does have alcohol warmth, it's not too much of a sipper. Well-carbonated. Not oily, gushed, astringent, or harsh. Texture suits the taste decently. Overall presence on the palate is fair.

OVERALL: Fine for a barleywine - just not at this price. I'm glad I split this with a friend. I wouldn't want to down it alone. It's adequate for the style, but doesn't bring anything to the table to entice the discerning drinker. Pretty middle-of-the-road. It's not unremarkable, but I wouldn't recommend it to friends or trade partners. Maybe 2-3 years of age are in order. On the high side of average at best.

I was ready to love this given Oskar Blues' involvement, but sadly it's not up to par.

High C

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Photo of dcmchew
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark-copper/amber cloudy pour, one finger beige head, nice retention.
Big smell of toasted malt, caramel, sweet citrus, honey, licorice, citrus and cherries.
Taste is a nice balance of malts and fruit mostly: rich and sweet dark malts, with big caramel, a bit of chocolate and nice roasted/toasted notes, mixed with sweet raisins, figs, juicy plums, some dark grapes, berries, cherries, tangerines and faint exotic pineapple and coconut towards the finish. Lots of spice, with clove, pine, dark spices, some anise and vanilla. Funky throughout, with a roadweed/plantain cough syrup taste, but not bad. Hops are green leafy and mildly bitter in the finish.
Booze is hidden beautifully. Perfect mouthfeel for the style, oily, maybe a tiny bit too flat.
This was tasty as hell, nicely balanced, maybe a pinch too sweet. Should buy one just to age for a few years.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich Barleywine. Deep brown to red color with a decent head and spotted lacing. Aroma is sweet - caramel or candi sugar. Bottle says best before 2018 but I'm liking this one fresh. Well hopped and with the strong barley malt presence this is a powerful combo. Wonderful brew. Will probably be excellent still for years to come.

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Shipwrecker Circus from BrewDog
- out of 100 based on 9 ratings.