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BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987 - BrewDog

Not Rated.
BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

43 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 54
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 13.3%
Wants: 1
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Wildman on 03-24-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (105) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 54
Photo of pat61
4.56/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paradox Islay batch 08 pours brilliant deep dark brown with a thin tan cap. I have a Bowmore in one hand and the batch 8 in the other and the beer smells like a Bowmore. This is a tamer scotch than some of the other Islays but the light smoky peaty salty flavors and aromas go very well with the coffee chocolate stout flavors. The beer has the full stout body and the slightly below average stout carbonation but its scotch character is so large it almost isn't a scotch but is an entirely different animal. (508 characters)

Photo of drpimento
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, killa beah. Got this bottle a few months ago at Sam's in Chicago. Poured it aggresively but had a small tan head and no lace. Virtually opaque with slight deep garnet highlights. Aroma is divine: malty, roasty, caramel, peat, vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, whisky, and leather. Flavor's about the same but with a little bite or tang. Lovely bittersweet and mouthfilling. Body is ok, nothing special but not bad. Very boozy finish. A sipper, not a session beer. (468 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.55/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 008, 1998 Bowmore cask.

A - Pours with a scant half finger of medium-brown foam on a black body with ruby highlights. The head settles rapidly and leaves minor lace; despite the weak foam this is very nice looking beer with good color.

S - Rich, complex malt. Buttery carmel notes with some chocolate and smoky coffee. There is a distinct, peaty tobacco note from the whiskey cask that gives the impression of this being as much a Scotch Ale as an Imperial Stout.

T - Smooth, dark caramel malt and strong, smoky, peated whiskey notes. Strong smoky phenolic notes come to dominate in the middle with lots of wood and some medicinal, but not unpleasant peat. Some malt manages to surface again in the finish with notes of coffee and dark, dark chocolate, but the whiskey is the prime mover here with charred wood, smoke, cigar tobacco, and even a bit of alcoholic sharpness to complete the effect. There is a lingering smoke flavor as well as fruity, caramel malt on the palate that seems to only be present in the aftertaste.

M - Medium-thick body, low carbonation, and a moderately sweet finish.

D - Well, this is certainly no session beer, but it is a distinct and enjoyable sipping beer. The whiskey flavors are huge and dominant; clearly this has gained a lot from its time in the cask. There is obviously a nice, rich Imperial stout under there somewhere, but it has been greatly enhanced by the barrel aging and it has become something truly unique. I appreciate the merits of good scotch, but I am not inclined to drink it; what I really appreciate about this beer is that is brings much of what is great about Scotch to the table and does so in a package that I find much more palatable. This is one of the most complex and easily the most distinct barrel aged beer I have yet had. If I get the chance, I will definitely try to get my hands on some of the other beers from the Paradox series. (1,915 characters)

Photo of Thur123
4.52/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a pitch black, reflective darkness. I've said it before about certain stouts, this beer absorbs light. Minimal head, a small layer of light cream colored head faded quickly. The smell, from a distance, is scotch and sweetness. The scotch is authentic smelling and with heat, cocoa and molasses beneath, trying to be smelt. I wish I could pick out more subtleties but that's really it for me. It's not that I can't tell this is complex I just don't have the nose, what I can smell is BIG.

Glug glug glug

The taste is firstly very smoky, but in a good way, like the edges of caramelized pulled pork or something. The peaty smoke flavor is lighter and reminds me of scotch heat without any of the fiery burn. The malt is sweet cocoa and caramel that really adds a base that complements the Bowmore flavor, but I kind of wish there was more competing with the scotch. The mouth feel too, is thinner than expected by looking at it...and the carbonation is nonexistent, which isn't bad. Overall a very tasty stout and something that has sadly piqued my interest, because the scotch and whiskey stouts don't ever come cheap, although this wasn't bad at 3.50. (1,170 characters)

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.52/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter. Batch 8, Bowmore 1998 cask. No head, clear resinous lacing. Almost pitch black. Aroma is of smokey malts, sweet malts and peated flavor with whiskey standing out. Taste is more peat than expected with raisins and sweet pitted fruits. Tongue tingling. Not sure if this really fits the description of an imperial stout at This point. More like a smoked old ale. I suppose that's the paradox? Either way, interesting and tasty. (462 characters)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.52/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

part 1 in a series

Four paradoxen, a few steaks, wild mushrooms, good people.

Pours black, small head. Smoke, peat, caramel, catholic girls. I smell...victory. The taste is a series of flashbacks- Wild nights spent sipping fine scotch on red carpeted bars, celebrations and dreams fulfilled. I can feel those fine barley growers in the field, the rough hands working dirt into grain. I can smell the hop trellises, taste the warm wort. This my children is how beer was meant to be.

Smile, for this is the life you lead. (524 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.5/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It pours a velvety pitch black, impassible to all but neutrinos. A finger of loose, orange-brown head settles gradually to a few patches, and thin strings of lace tier the inside of the glass.

The aroma is whisky first, with a woody compliment to the smokey, seaside air. Chocolate, leather, dark cherry, coffee, burnt caramel, and dark molasses are braced by a spirited swirl of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the profile is filled with peaty, smokey influences, with Scotch, charred wood, and even the merest hint of iodine coming through. There follows a palatal cavalcade of chocolate, dark coffee, dark cherry, prune, caramel, and a more general but comforting dark barley burnt sweetness. The alcohol is quite well incorporated, present and warm but amongst willing friends. The finish is long and dandy, with each element remaining proportionate as they fade over time. What a well-crafted, busy beast.

Full bodied, it has a creaminess that is only moderately cut by the breezy nip of alcohol.

I went for this first at Monk's on New Years Day, as this is the one I wanted to review. I can say I'm very glad I did. I notice a considerable disparity between reviews of this, but I think maybe on-tap would be the way to go. Anyway, if there's a perfect melding of the coastal, smokey elements of Scotch with barrel-aging and big stout, this might be one that comes closest. It's very big, but frighteningly smooth, with a big ABV that's mocked by the overall drinkablility. So throwing caution to the wind would be easy, but unwise. I could have drank just this all afternoon, and then paid in spades the next day. I'm glad I erred on the side of caution, but I'm more pleased I got to have this at all. (1,708 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.29/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours a pitch black color with a thin bubbly yellowish tan head that quickly fades leaving only minimal spots of lacing behind.

Nice peaty aroma with lots of bourbon/whiskey in the nose. Hints of earth, oaky wood, roasted malt and sweet alcohol. The booze kind of overpowers the stout notes but it still smells pretty amazing. Hopefully it's not a complete bourbon bomb.

Thankfully this beer taste more balanced than it smells. Very smooth and quaffable with a nice amount of roasted chocolate and caramel maltiness balancing out the boozy heat. Hints of earthy oak and lots of peat to go along with the sweet alcohol and bourbon notes. Medium bodied and creamy and a nice balance of wood, roasty malt and booze with a slightly dry finish. The ABV is decently masked making this very drinkable. This should age pretty well. Not bad. (847 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Kasteel chalice. Batch 008. Best before 10 October 2009. The label says "imperial stout aged in a former Bowmore 1998 cask."

A: A faint forthy head is more than I've seen yet on any of these old Paradox beers. Black walnut; largely opaque. Touch of lacing.

S: Whisky and wood (oak). Strong, with peaty phenol and vanilla bean. The Scottish pedigree is obvious.

T/M: Vanilla-sweet and creamy-smooth. Not as thin as other three-year-old Paradox beers. Substantial; appealing. The maintaste contains roasted barley, smoky vanilla, thin strands of alcohol, and subtle berries buried in the dark beer. The aftertaste is reminiscent of the ashy finish of an Islay malt (Bruichladdich comes to mind, but that's just me). Complex and rewarding.

O: This is a well-crafted Imperial Stout that has stood the test of time. It benefited significantly from barrel-aging in the young Bowmore casks. Highly recommended it you can find any. My favourite so far of the Paradox series. I would drink again (but of course!). (1,041 characters)

Photo of zaphodchak
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Some red brown in the body.

Nose is rich with peaty Scotch.

Powerful peaty malt-- dry, almost, leathery. Really takes on the whisky character remarkably.

Decent if unremarkable mouthfeel.

This vintage was a bit old, but held up admirably. Really picked up the barrel flavor. (278 characters)

Photo of swizzlenuts
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is black with a decent sized head that sticks around. It poured out looking pretty thick as well.

The beer has a very strong peetie smell. It's smell almost exactly like a scotch whisky. The beer has the very woody flavour to it at first, but after the dark roasted malts come through. The wood taste times back at the end, but it's very subtle. This tastes like wood and a stout, and it's fucking awesome. There isn't much alcohol taste for a 10% beer, but you can definitely feel the warmth from the beer. The mouth feel is thick and nice with a slight bite from the carbonation.

The beer isn't really that drinkable, but it's not what this beer is going for. It's a fucking awesome oak aged beer, that I'd love to have once an evening. (750 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.17/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Hogtowne Beer Festival in Gaineville. This one was a hidden brew at the Anchor booth. Able to secure a couple 6oz glasses of this one.

A: Thin head, almost flat, on a jet black body with no light getting through.

S: burnt toast, campfire, mesquite, smokey, brisket... take your pick of adjectives. I though this was a Rauchbier at first. The whiskey is nicely inter-mingled.

T: Whiskey is stronger in the flavor with the smokey and mesquite flavor perfectly inter-twined. Body is full with light carbonation.

Overall: this is a must try beer. Unique and much better tasting than it sounds. (604 characters)

Photo of Beejay
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very deep dark brown/black. Very thin head on top.. white, and dissipates quick.

S: Deep smoke, like smoked meat. Slight tart scent like preserved cherries.. But mostly smoke. Then the alcohol hits you a little. Very nice..

T: Wow. That is nice.. Starts off a little tart, then the smoke comes in, gentle and soothing like a campfire on the beach after a rainstorm.. backing that up is a rich stout with a lot of coffee flavor. I can see how this would be an odd one for someone who is not a fan of this style of scotch.

M: Based on the pour, head, and appearance in the glass, I thought this one might be a little thin, which the end is a bit, but not what I thought it would be. However, no knife or fork needed for this guy.

D: Not as heavy as I wanted, but good smoke taste, and yummy. Not an everyday beer, as the price would kill me. But a very nice change, and a perfect beer for a cigar. (905 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from Five Points Bottle Shop (Athens, GA). 3.49. Batch 008, best before 10/10/09  (oh well). Served in a snifter. 

Pours deep dark brown (not quite black) with quickly receding light tan bubbles. Dark chestnut edges. No lacing. 

Smell is an inviting mixture of smoky whisky and roasty malts. 

Taste is big on peaty whisky without being too overbearing. The base stout is still lurking there with smoked malt and dark fruit flavors complimenting the whisky. It has picked up a good bit of barrel too, with plenty of smoke, wood and vanilla. Flavors blend well and really hide the 10% abv. 

Body is much thinner than I would have expected but smooth and creamy. Medium bodied with almost no carbonation. 

Overall this was a delight. I liked it much more than the Smokehead. A well crafted barrel aged imperial stout. Despite the best by Oct '09 printed on the bottle I think it has stood the test of time outstandingly. The age has settled the booze, mellowed the whisky and let the flavors blend.  (1,020 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.07/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Batch 008
best before 10/10/09

Pours a thin black inky color with almost no head whatsoever. Smells of Islay Scotch – peat, smoke, combines with chard malts to comprise the nose. First sip is pure smoke then the peat hits hard giving way to a lingering bitter finish. Mouthfeel maybe the only flaw as this tasty puppy is way under carbonated but not to the point of being completely flat. Still, the aggressive flavors of the island of Islay is what makes this beer special. The 10% ABV is all there - not hidden but not in your face. Tasty, yummy, I want more. (565 characters)

Photo of tmoneyba
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from River's Bend.

Poured a black color with a moderate frothy brown head that mostly lasted and produced fair lacing.

Good roasted malt and sweet woody aroma.

Full body with a smooth texture.

Complex peat stout flavor with a smooth woody finish.

Good balanced earthy stout. (286 characters)

Photo of Wildman
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is based on Islay like the Ardbeg batch 9 but this one uses Bowmore instead, which is on a different part of the island and is different than the southern ones like Ardbeg or Lagavullin. This beer poured almost black with no light getting through and formed a dark tan foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. An aroma of malt, scotch/peat, smoke but also a hint of caramel. The flavor was of malt, scotch, smoke and a hint of chocolate. A medium body with some some smoke in the finish, yet some sweetness as well. This scotch combination works better, the irony for me is I prefer the southern Islays like Arbeg. (642 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown, but appears black in the glass. Nose dominated by single malt scotch, with hints of malt nuances. Flavor is terrifically complex, with hints of fudge, cocoa, chocolate and raspberry, combined with the barrel elements of peat and toasted wood. It has a lot of depth and the finish seems to go on and on. Really outstanding now, but young, give it a year or two and it could be sublime. (397 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle, Batch 008, Best before 6/6/2009. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a small tan head. Head retention is low, lacing is OK. The aroma is scotch, peat, wood, and chocolate. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's a strong smoke and burnt wood taste too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little thinner than I like my stouts to be, but you can tell there's some substance to this brew. Carbonation is low, and it's nice and slick. Drinkability is good, it is very smooth and it goes down easy. I really didn't know what to expect from this beer at first. It took me more than a few sips to decide whether I liked it or not. But the longer I drank it, it grew on me and I did enjoy it. If you like barrel aged and/or smoky beers, then you should give this one a try. I'd buy this again. (842 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

no light coming through on this one at all, but also no head as the flat, lifeless body just laid there, quite odd indeed. aroma is dark peat, hints of campfire smoke, notes of light cocoa, and a hint of deep burnt notes, but that was the highlight as it went down from there. very lifeless, flat body did not let the taste come through nearly as much as it could have and this led to a rather lackluster profile. nice barrel notes, loads of wood and peat (455 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to YaKnowBrady for this bottle!

My long journey through this series continues. This one pours a typically murky and oily black-brown topped by a minimal layer of dirty brown bubbles. The nose is dominated by lightly-peated whiskey, followed by some oak, some darkly-roasted malts, some dark chocolate powder, and a touch of char. A bit too much whiskey for its own good, but still generally pleasant. The taste follows pretty closely, but with more cocoa, a smoother (and less boozy) whiskey, and some additional notes: light vanilla, gooey caramel (yeah, I tasted the gooey-ness), and light coffee. The body is a straight medium, with a light carbonation and a silky smooth feel. Normally, this would hurt an impy stout, but the feel really seems to help this one along. Overall, a very nice barrel-aged stout, one that melds very well with its barrel. (900 characters)

Photo of coldmeat23
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BATCH: 008 (Bowmore 1998 Cask)
BEST BEFORE: 10/10/09

This appears to pour black. When given a light source though, it is actually a very dark ruby color. It's beautiful. About one-finger of light brown foam makes the head. It recedes quickly though, leaving a thin, filmy, covering. Lacing is rope-like and mildly sticky.

The nose is filled with huge notes of peat-ey smokiness. The peat is powerful and it's hard to get to any other scents. I think I get just a slight touch of sweet roasted maltiness.

Yes, it was a sweet roasted maltiness I was picking up. It's at the front of the flavor profile. It's backed up by a nice presence of smokey peat notes. They are not nearly as overpowering as I expected though, from the nose. They are blended in quite well, actually. Mild hints of rich, dark, fruits. Light touches of dark chocolate mix with heavy cream. An overall earthy/woody tone.
Definitely a brew for a lover of Islay Scotches. All of that smoke and peat come shining through and make this a helluva' tasty beer.

The body is, sadly, medium, at best. This style should be rich and somewhat thick and heavy. It's very smooth and easy drinking, though.

While I don't taste the 10%abv, I certainly do feel it, as I'm getting close to finishing this one. It's an easy drinker (if you like the smokiness, anyway) but it will hurt you, if you give it a chance. (1,419 characters)

Photo of csmiley
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown with some light that shows on the edges of the glass. Head was average showing good retention. Lacing around the glass was good.

S - Major alcohol style heat comes off of this one (closer to scotch than beer). That fades pretty quick to reveal some strong oak and molasses aromas. There is some bread in the distant background. It comes dangerously close to cough syrup.

T - More hot alcohol in the flavor. Wood character is still very strong which is nice. Molasses shows up midway and starts to round out the initial harsh flavors. Next in line are notes of roasted malt and some light coffee flavors. Some hints of smoke complete the flavor profile. The alcohol really is the biggest player in the flavor but that seems to be intentional since it is so similar to Scotch.

M - Almost full bodied with just the right amount of carbonation. Finish is bitter and the heat from the alcohol keeps the palate warm for a while.

D - Drinkability is just about average. This beer just comes too close to cough syrup in smell. That just throws everything off for the rest of the beer. The beer does start to get better once it warms.

Note / edit: Serve this beer at 55 degrees or higher. As the temperature of the beer started to rise closer to ambient, the flavors in this beer started to shine. I would recommend a serving temperature of just below room temp. (1,381 characters)

Photo of erz316
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 008, best before of 06/06/09, poured into maudite snifter

A - the beer pours a bit less thicker than I would have thought, seemed almost watery. the beer forms a decent 1 cm head which dwindles down to absolutely nothing in about half a minute, I think the head was cream coloured. the remaining bubbles are quite big, but there aren't that many of them. the body is black, quite black, so much that no light gets through anywhere.

S - the smell is actually a bit smoky, just like the smokehead beer. the only real notes that I can get out of this beer is the light but predominant smoke characteristic, savory malts, and a touch of caramel, and some whiskey under it all.

T - This tastes almost like a dumbed down version of the smokehead. the initial flavour is this peaty smoked malt shindig, maybe a touch of oaken whiskey, but not that much. the alcohol isnt as harsh as it could be. the finish is a bit more boozy and still just as peaty, with the malts in the background. the finish is a bit spicier than the initial, but thats probably because the whiskey they used was pretty spicy. the aftertaste is an even mix between smoke, malts, and bitterness. a pleasant aftertaste, but not suited to the damn style!

MF&D - the feel is all wrong. the body is a light-medium, which gains most of its oomph from the medium-low carbonation. at least here the carbonation has been pumped up a little bit in comparison to the smokehead, but not much. I wouldnt want to pay this much again for somehting that is more like a whiskey'd pseudo-rauchbier. (1,555 characters)

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared a bottle with a friend. Pours a nice dark black with low carbonation by appearance. Now real head to speak of. Solid dark black with brownish rim. Doesn't leave any lacing either.

Aroma is nice. Strong whiskey, tobacco, leather, roasted malts, and more BOOZE!

Flavor follows the aroma pretty close. Lots of whiskey and overall booze burn. More tobacco like flat stickiness to the mouthfeel. Very low carbonation. The flavor is actually really good...but just lacking somewhere...somehow. Overall, a nice beer...but not great. (535 characters)

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BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987 from BrewDog
85 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.