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Tactical Nuclear Penguin - BrewDog

Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
80
good

251 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 251
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.5
pDev: 24.29%


Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  32.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Made by freezing Paradox to remove water.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2009)
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Ratings: 251 | Reviews: 119 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Rob3408
Rob3408

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.23/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served as a dram in a tumblr at their Edinburgh location.

Appearance: Dark brown/black and syrupy like a liqueur, which it might technically be.

Aroma: Alcohol and lots of it. Malty. A sweet molasses and caramel not in there as well. It's certainly not the best nor the worst thing that I have smelled.

Taste: Reminiscent of port with its boozy kick and intense sweetness, a thick and raw molasses, with bitter chocolate and espresso notes. Doesn't drink easily but is still worth the try.

Mouthfeel: Neither unpleasant nor pleasant. It's strong in the alcohol and moves like molasses: thick and slow, with a bitter, drying finish.

Overall: It is certainly not something that I would buy a whole bottle of because it is strong with booze and fights its way all the way to the end. If you can find it by the dram then it is worth the experience because as far as it is the only thing like it on the market.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2014 21:12:45 | More by Rob3408
Photo of heygeebee
heygeebee

Australia

4.01/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - dark brown, no head, legs.

S - booze, molasses, sweet. Typical Brewdog Big Beer.

T - just an assault. Booze, spirit, port notes, brown sugar, caramel, toffee. Tar notes as well. Dry astringent note on back palate. Hop notes but not as we know it...

M - oily. Zero carbonation.

O - not as good as STB, but still interesting. Worth noting that the taste will depend on your prior drink, odd but true.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 11:26:37 | More by heygeebee
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

375ml bottle synthetic cork with cage poured into my little cognac tulip 4/1/14,

A dark brown liquid with some reddish hints when tilted and held to the light, long thin legs, lots of color left behind on the glass, no head or lace as expected, looks like a sweet sticky spirit and I suppose it probably should

S heavy wet campfire ash, some burnt peaty whiskey barrel, some soy, teriyaki beef jerky, tar, a little booze stings the nostrils, iodine, more like a scotch then a beer but it smells OK, better then it sounds

T very ashy, reminds me of an ashtray, like chewing on the burnt end of a cigar butt, boozy for sure but its to be expected, a little very black licorice and just a hint of espresso, not awful but the taste leaves something to be desired

M thick, syrupy, hot, sticky on the lips, cigar butt on the finish, numbing on the lips, feels like I expected

O saying this one's intense is quite the understatement, a little to much ashy cigar for my liking, I'm glad I tried it but I wouldn't go out of my way or drop cash to try it again

I tried some the day after I opened it and it actually improved a little after airing out much to my surprise. I couldn't see many people buying a second bottle of this stuff considering the cost but I'm glad I got to try it, an experience in itself

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2014 21:43:28 | More by wordemupg
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner

Kentucky

3.06/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This pours a thick viscous black body that has little to no life but sets up like black liqueur. A swirl in the glass gives a little sheen on the glass as it gets some legs.

The aroma is certainly filled with alcohol but as it warms the molasses, plums, caramel and chocolate come out to create a hearty and robust scent.

Oooh, kick me in the face. The alcohol is simply so strong that it's difficult to taste anything else. The taste becomes dry and chalky with some molasses, soy and chocolate at the end.

The feel is very full and thick but it makes your face pucker from all the lack alcohol.

I've had Utopias, which is close to the ABV, and it works but this seems more a novelty than a beer

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 19:21:16 | More by KYGunner
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BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.4/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Leaving my comfort zone way behind, I now step into the mysterious, ominous, and incredibly inhospitable realm of Brewdog's deepest and darkest recesses. Leaving all those preconceived notions of what beer is supposed to be, far in the rear view mirror, heading into Tactical Nuclear Penguin begs for a reset of the mind, palate and spirit. For this is not a mere mortal beer- its a barley liqueur.

I might as well pop the cork and let the elixir crawl out of the bottle all on its own- its that strong. Pouring like molasses and motor oil, the beer is highly viscous and void of any carbonation at all. Its still appearance stares back at you like its some sort of dare- one in which you are certain to loose. Like a brandied abyss, the ale trickles down the snifter with inky legging with a gentle swirl of the glass. Its whirlpool draws in the nose with much seduction and mesmerizing effect.

Its decadent scent is chocked full of molasses, coffee and vinous port. Its booze-driven nose is undeniable as a waft of cognac, bourbon and sherry waft about. With a fudge-like roast, chocolate and nutty flare, a tangy scent of burnt fruit arise: roasted raspberries, red grapes, blueberries, blackcurrants, raisins, dates and figs all take turns attracting the nose. Its woodish tone awaken earhty notes of fresh-hung tobacco, curing leather, and savory terriyaki.

Its taste is much more savory and satisfying that was once feared. Certianly its absurd alcohol strength is omnipresent, the beer is so much more than just booze- its verbose maltiness folds in its brandy, bourbon and sherry notes with equal strength from black-strap molasses, burnt toffee, bittersweet chocolate, mild espresso, roasted walnuts, brownie batter and fudge. Certainly complex, the real components of the beer shines when its savory and fruity flavors fold within. A salty, briny sense of soy sauce is like glazed and salt-cured meats and is met with rich port wine, sherry and roasted dark fruits. Everything from rum cake to honey-glazed dates, to caramelized bacon, to terriyaki all come to mind even deep within its finish.

Its dense sweetness, with its lack of carbonation allows the beer to seep into the taste buds with complete dominance. Its full saturation of flavor melds the sweet tooth and heightens its sense of smoldering heat as the beer slowly evaporates on the palate. Its long, deep and lingering finish is much more brandy or cognac-like than anything known to the beer world. Its spicy and prickling finish isn't all that naked and its accompanying savory and sweet tones ride along side, deep into the next sip.

Brewdog, I give you another hats off! You've challenged my notion about what beer can be and you made me like it. It's both the blessing and the curse. Damn you Brewdog!

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2013 19:03:03 | More by BEERchitect
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taylor714914

Pennsylvania

1.75/5  rDev -50%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown with no head and just a few bubbles around the rim of the glass. Smells of Tar, dark dried fruits, and sweet sugar. The taste here is wretched. A mix of rubbery tar, molasses, and fusel alcohol dominate the flavor. Some faint raisin and prune come in to play as well, but are very distant. Mouthfeel is thin, as this drinks like a spirit, not a beer. Seriously, unless someone buys you a bottle, don’t do it. Its much worse than you even thought.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2013 21:31:01 | More by taylor714914
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EnemyWithin

Ontario (Canada)

3.25/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into large snifter tulip. Consumed about 1/4 the bottle myself.

Appearance: 4
Cola colored with basically no carbonation. Great legs, akin to red white or spirits. No lacing

Smell: 3.5
Noticeably hot and boozy in nose. Molasses, brown sugar, black liquorish. Sight peat. Nose gets sweeter as it warm

Taste: 3
Initially, a fair bit of heat with mild sourness and faint notes of peat. Mid to late, more smokiness and touch of molasses sweetness. Late finish is slight more whisky-ish that lingers.

Mouthfeel: 3
Strong boozy warmness; very much like drinking a distilled spirit. Relatively drier finish.

Overall: 3.5
A unique experience to say the least. More tolerable than I thought. Even with the high alcohol content, it is still drinkable. But given its price, I wouldn't seek it again. In the end, it's more a novelty. Seems typical for BrewDog.
Consider trying.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2013 19:29:29 | More by EnemyWithin
Photo of M_C_Hampton
M_C_Hampton

Georgia

4.46/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: shot sized pour from a bottle into a snifter, absolutely no head or carbonation of any form, dark red-orange brown, visibly viscous, clear

S: amazing malt smell, sherry, whiskey, tobacco, leather, smoke, raisins, fig, plum

T: incredibly sweet,candied fruits, sloe berries, molasses, cherry

M: thick oil, sweet syrup, dense, no hiding alcohol

O: hard to rate as a beer but an excellent alcoholic drink, hop flavor does not exist in this beer, it is like a sweet liquor, from notes on 8/18/13

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2013 23:23:21 | More by M_C_Hampton
Photo of dwren89
dwren89

Virginia

3.78/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: served as a shot, dark brown/ruby, opaque

Aroma: very alcoholic, spirit-like aroma, malty sweet, syrupy smell

Taste: syrupy sweet taste, mild bitterness, sugary, caramel, brown sugar molasses. Reminiscent of a thicker tasting Jagermeister

Mouthfeel: thick, syrupy, molasses, full body

Overall Impression: A beer to say you've had for novelty's sake, but not much else.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 21:37:12 | More by dwren89
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

2.74/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

Thanks to rudzud for picking up this share between a few of us.

No head as expected, dark murky cola brown color, long legs.

Booze galore, nose burning like whisky, once I get past it dark fruits come through, lots of syrupy brandy and port wine, candied raisins, then some dusty wooden oak and light vanilla barrel, and light wood esters, light oxidation.

taste wtf!! First, booze burns, again like brandy. Through that it has a green white dog liquor taste. Then syrup, thick syrupy sugar sludge, slightly burnt sugar mess. There's a weird bitter thing too, some earthy herbal hops but also like a weird conifer tree thing, then saw dust wood barrel that seems to have soaked up something awful. The booze again breaks on with a bad burning taste even. Also a weird vegetal fermented plants or something, and fair amount of oxidation cardboard. Just a little soy sauce like. Finish is syrupy and sweet, anestesizing, tingly, syrupy sludge.

Mouth is syrupy sludge and super burning booze, no carb.

Overall meh... No, blech. Starts OK with the aroma, but the flavors are just like fermented cardboard and pine then distilled into a super condensed version of ick. Undrinkable!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2013 13:59:12 | More by jlindros
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.15/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Split with Jared and poured into a Kate the great tulip.

A - poured a super dark mahogany hue with no head whatsoever. To be expected though for the ABV.

S - Aromas of brandy, caramel, malts, light barrel notes and I'd course booze!

T - Taste is very boozy with light soy sauce. Brandy notes along with light wood notes. It's not add bad as I thought it would be with lots of warning booze. Really not that that bad.

M - Mouthfeel is pretty typical considering how boozy it is. No carbonation to speak of.

O - Overall I was neither underwhelmed nor impressed by this beer still glass to try it.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 21:08:07 | More by rudzud
Photo of KentMills
KentMills

Germany

4.4/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I bought this hard to acquire beer at Bacchanalia in Cambridge, England.

It poured as black and thick as used oil with a lovely brown head.

It smelled at first like alcohol, but turned into hints of chocolate and raisin as it breathed.

The taste was a mind grenade for me. I assumed a world record setter for alcohol couldn't have flavor, but my mouth was flooded with dark cherry, chocolate and molasses. Amazing!

It's sad I may never get to try this beer again, but at least there are some annually released imperial stouts that are this good, though still not very easy to get.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2013 08:12:51 | More by KentMills
Photo of koganator
koganator

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on 12/31/2012 for New Years Eve at Brew dog Camden in London as a gift from me to me.
The bartender whipped out a bottle and poured it into a shot glass which he then poured into a tulip wine glass.

A: Deep whisky colored brown, no head or any other hint in the appearance that this is in fact a beer. But it's a nice butterscotch-ish color.

S: And this is where the show hits the road; imagine any variant of caramel, toffee, and tootsie roll-esque things and put them into liquid form. This is an deviously intriguing smell, but I pray that it isn't overwhelmingly sweet when I drink it.

T: First thing comes to mind: Really smooth. Like a fine liquor. It's definitely sweet, but not so much as to be offensive. Buttery and mineraly caramel flavors dominate as was previously suggested in the nose. This is interesting, it's both one-dimensional and incredibly complex at the same time... almost like a paradox. Somehow reminds me of bailey in it's texture and sweetness. No carbonation to speak of either.

M: Smooth, but after having the portion I had, I would not want more the following night. It's best consumed in thoughtful and slow doses.

O: The aging potential for this beer is terrifying. It's really got a lot in it that I don't know the proper descriptors for. And with time I feel like this will synchronize into something rivaling a well aged single malt whisky. If you balk at the price thinking your in for an over priced beer, think again. I would say purchasing a bottle of this is like buying a fine brown liquor that you intend to keep for a while and whip out at special occasions.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 19:05:52 | More by koganator
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FLima

Brazil

3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown woody color. Similar to hard liquors left alcohol marks in the glass. No head or carbonation whatsoever.
Sweet malt and woody aroma, Brandy type of scent, booze is felt in the air around it.
In the taste, alcohol numbs your mouth and malt is one of the few clear elements that makes it recognized as beer. Very woody with smoked flavors such as for some particular scotch that uses peat in the process.
Body is heavy and oily.
I found their stronger version, Sink the Bismarck, more tasteful.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2012 20:37:00 | More by FLima
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goodbeerallday

Australia

4.3/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviews with HoppyHayashi

A: a rich blood cherry colour. low carbonation present. huge alcohol legs are present when glass tilted. beer is not transparent when held to light.

S: can smell the alcohol and feel the warmth that accompanies it! dark fruit, figs, raisins and dates are present. extremely sweet notes. cinnamon and brown sugar coming off strongly behind the dark fruits.

T: raisins and cinnamon bounce off the tongue. sweet dark fruits as the aroma suggests. lingering warmth from the alcohol and definitely a great winter warmer.

M: silky smooth! medium bodied although expected to be heavier. spreads evenly across the tongue and a pleasant finish, lingering with rich fruitiness.

O: amazing beer! everything we expected but more! i actually saved this for four months after arriving back from the U.K into Canada. it was planned to be for asking a girl out and she finally said yes so i cracked it open! Praise the Lord!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 06:53:57 | More by goodbeerallday
Photo of GJ40
GJ40

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Brewdog in Camden. I'm not a sprits drinker so I thought this would be way too overpowering for me but I was curious.

A nice mahogany brown with no head or visible bubbles. The aroma is rich with caramel, brown sugar and wood. The flavor is just as rich with caramel, brown sugar, alcohol heat and some sweetness to offset it a bit. It was silky smooth with no feeling of carbonation.

This isn't something I'd drink regularly but I thought it was interesting and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2012 10:37:18 | More by GJ40
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

3.85/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear black colored beer with no head formation.

Smells intensely fruity with a very strong fig and grape aroma. Certainly boozy it smells a lot like Grappa and is about as strong. Scents of cherry and apple and solvent alcohol.

Starts out sweet and fruity with an alcohol burn, lots of fig after taste. It doesn't lack for flavor, in fact it is extremely over flavored. Not exactly sweet but the flavors are intensified, fruit and figs with a fig after taste. Intense alcohol warming in the chest. The flavor doesn't change much as you drink it.

Mouthfeel is hot and thick.

Overall interesting, it was designed for bragging rights not really to be the most flavorful thing ever.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2012 04:38:24 | More by Zorro
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

2.93/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color with no head. In the aroma, bacon and nail polish remover is all I can smell. In the taste, Nail polish remover, coffee, and molasses. A small bite from alcohol and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry nail polish remover with notes of caramel and coffee in the aftertaste. Too boozy! The nail polish remover essence was a bit too much for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2012 16:34:44 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of brystmar
brystmar

Texas

1.25/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

From notes.

It's 9am on Dark Lord Day, and I've been sharing bottles with people in line around me for about an hour. One of them decided to show his gratitude by opening his bottle of TNP and approaching me: "Hey, I really appreciate you sharing with us this morning. Try some of this!" He then drizzled a small pour into my tasting glass and awaited my thoughts on the brew.

Now, TNP is a beast I actively avoided for the longest time: I despise the base beer and haven't liked a single beer from BrewDog, ever. So although I was pretty sure this would cause my taste buds to cry mutiny -- not to mention that drinking a 32% beer in the early hours of DLD is just a bad idea all around -- how could I decline this gesture of goodwill?

Hey, it doesn't look awful. Ruby-brownish body, a little cloudy, no head or lace. About what I expect from an extreme beer like this. However, the smell reminds me why I hesitated to accept his offer: this stuff wreaks of rubbing alcohol, overly-smoked malt, tobacco, peat whiskey, used ashtrays, and more booze. Yuck.

My first sip brings no relief from the torturous aroma. It's a mouthful of ashtrays alongside relentless, burning alcohol. To replicate the taste of TNP, place a burnt chunk of wood in the center of a large mixing bowl. Using water, rinse out a few dozen heavily-soiled ashtrays into the bowl. Add rotting forest foliage, pure ethanol, a bottle of whiskey, liquified peat moss, and refined petroleum. Give the concoction a brisk stir, take a sip, then puke your brains out. Voila! Homemade Tactical Nuclear Penguin!

All the while, this generous BA was standing in front of me, awaiting my thoughts on the beer. I forced a smile, told him it was interesting (technically true!), but said it wasn't really up my alley. If you're reading this, please know that I truly did appreciate your generosity; I just really hated this beer :)

That said, I'm not a smoker, and I strongly dislike being around cigarette & cigar smoke. I also dislike whiskey & bourbon as spirits, so if you happen to enjoy the aforementioned you may find TNP only mildly offensively bad. For the rest of us, this stuff is putrid. And on the upside, at least it's ridiculously overpriced!

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2012 19:52:47 | More by brystmar
Photo of netrioter
netrioter

Texas

3.43/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

friend got a bottle of this in the mail....spent $119.99 on it and called me over to try some

drank from a 2 oz shotglass

I was blown away....tasted like some sort of tobacco orgy in my shotglass...you definitely should be a fan of cigars or other tobacco products to get whats going on here....and this stuff will get you DRUNK...be careful...this isnt no session beer

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 23:08:06 | More by netrioter
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suspect

New York

2.88/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a small snifter. Split with a few people.

A: Mahogany in color, no carbonation, lots of legs.

S: I could smell this puppy from the next seat over. Humongous booze smell with some vanilla and lots of sugary sweet molasses notes. Plums and black cherries hang out in the hidden spots as well.

T: It's an assault on the taste buds with sweetness but it's got the incredibly high amounts of booze mixed in to make it a mix of sugary death.

M: It's got a syrupy, soy sauce feel. Thin but full. Finishes like a SA Triple Bock.

O: Glad I got to try it but I'm even more glad I didn't actually pay for it. I cannot image actually shelling out ~$150 for a bottle of this but you know? If breweries like Brewdog don't push the envelope, we don't progress.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2012 04:01:23 | More by suspect
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pwsoldier

Texas

3.33/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served room temp in a Utopia glass.

A - Pours deep mahogany. Very nice color, but unusual for a beer that was a stout at one time in its existence. No signs of carbonation, as expected.

S - Maple-like sweetness is the most dominant aroma, which I wasn't expecting. Nice though. A strong peat character (fully expected) comes through as well, accompanied by notes of brown sugar, raisins, and wood.

T - Simultaneously sweet and smoky on the palate. A bit of maple and brown sugar help to calm down a very smoky center. Some people have compared this to drinking out of an ashtray. While I don't completely agree, I can see where they're coming from. The smoke is pretty harsh, almost like the taste you get when smoking a cigarette (not the same as licking an ashtray). As a former smoker, I'm not entirely put-off by this, though I can't say it's a pleasant smoke profile either.

M - Syrupy and a bit heavy, as expected. No carbonation, as previously mentioned. Aftertaste is reminiscent of cigarette smoke.

O - I can see why many people hate this beer. As I mentioned, I think the fact that I'm a former smoker helped blunt some of the negative aspects. I'm also wondering how many people tried this cold or chilled. It was very tolerable at room temp, but I can see how chilling it would make it unpalatable. Personally, I found it to be a bit one-dimensional, but decent overall. I'm glad I got to try it. Not so happy about how much I paid though.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 10:21:05 | More by pwsoldier
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

3.05/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Small pour split with hudsonphotog at The Meddlesome Moth.

The beer pours a clear brown color with absolutely no head. The aroma is very smokey with a lot of alcohol, dark fruit and a hint of toffee. The flavor is more of the same. The alcohol really stands out as expected, but there is also a big peat smoke character as well as some roasted malt, chocolate and some more dark fruit. Medium mouthfeel and no carbonation. You can really get the Scotch-barrel aged notes in the beer, which I think is OK, but not really my thing. A decent beer, but not as good as Sink the Bismarck.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 04:35:59 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

4.6/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

NB: this review is for Batch 007.

Poured into a Sam Adams Utopias glass (which seemed appropriate, this being one of the only other beers I've purchased which approached Utopias' price), Tactical Nuclear Penguin is a deep chestnut brown that reflects dark ruby shades when held against a bright light, and maintains its dark shade near the edges of a tipped glass. The high ABV--32%--leaves wine-like legs oozing gently down the sides of the glass. There is no head, and only the faintest presence of carbonation is visible in thin streams of bubbles rising from the bottom. In appearance, this more resembles a cognac or a brandy than a beer.

The aroma drifting up from the glass is so potent that it can be easily detected from three feet away if wafted toward the nose, and from a good eighteen to twenty inches away in still air. Inhaled deeply, the nose is literally dripping with sugars and fruit esters, the beer smelling less like a beer than a heavily alcoholic mashed fruit extract. Berries, figs, orange liqueurs, raisins, plums, and dates abound, mixed with a drowsy syrup of toasted pecans, burnt coconut shell, and walnut. The aroma also bears striking earthy tones, reminiscent of charred oak, fresh loam, and peat moss. Thick vanilla beans lace through everything, joined by molasses. Also present are port, cognac, and brandy aromas, thick with charcoal filtering and oak barrel aging. The aromas also remind me somewhat strangely of open pit suckling pig on a rotisserie spit, fat bubbling and dripping onto the hot coals, and the wet, woody scent of the inside of freshly-peeled tree bark. I imagine this is what the inside of a very rich man's study would smell like: full of the remnants of expensive brandies and cognacs, with touches of pipe tobacco lingering in the curtains, and the oak and cedar paneling adding its own woody layers. In short, this is one of the more unique aromas I've ever encountered, and I have difficulties winding my way through the seemingly infinite layers of scents drifting from the glass. I could honestly sit here and simply smell the beer--as I have been for the last twenty minutes--for a very long time, the aromas so enticing and intriguing that I hesitate to take a sip for fear that the taste not match the aroma. As it is, I can report not only no loss in the potency of the aromas over the last twenty minutes, but a continued sensation of marvel at the complexity, nuance, variation, and depth of the aromas.

Still, at some point I suppose some of this must pass my lips. So: on the tongue, the beer begins with a charcoal and ash slam so powerful that it literally takes over my tastebuds, reminding me of the heavy charcoal of whiskey, vanilla-flavored pipe tobacco placed directly on the tongue, campfire ash, burnt pecan husks, blackened and burnt steak fat, and what I imagine would be the taste of charred oak. These flavors are literally overwhelming, and it is difficult to find other flavors against their strength. However, there are a myriad of fruit esters begging for attention, including fig, raisin, plum, date, orange, and black cherry. Huge port, whiskey, and cognac flavors are also present, ripe with charcoal filtering and the oak-and-vanilla flavors of barrel aging, and joined by an alcohol bite that at least equals any of the strongest of those liquors. The alcohol is so strong that it burns the nose during exhalation, and bites angrily at the soft palate and at the back of the throat when swallowed. Much like a strong liquor, however, this is part of the process, and while the alcohol is indeed potent, it somehow adds a layer of charm and swagger to the beverage. There is a somewhat unfortunate touch of an almost bike-tire-rubber squeal at the edges of the brew, especially noticeable later in the mouthful. The aftertaste is heavy on charred ash, black malt, charcoal, and lingering molasses and burnt sugars, and like cigarette smoke, squats languidly on the tongue for a very, very long time. Mouthfeel is a gloopy, syrupy, viscous, alcohol-burning medium-high, and carbonation is hardly detectable.

Overall, and noting that it is difficult to make any sort of judgement about a beer that in almost every conceivable way does not in the least bit resemble a beer--given an unidentified glass of this, I would have most likely thought it bourbon or scotch--this is still a stunning brew, and should be on the must-try list of any serious connoisseur. Admittedly, the flavors are so warring in their charred, ashy, smoky, charcoal, fresh-out-of-the-campfires-of-hell potency that they're very likely to simply disgust anyone not already a fan of bourbon, scotch, etc., and anyone expecting this to simply resemble a very, very strong Imperial Stout (which, admittedly, it was before the special aging and freezing process brought it to 32%), will be very, very surprised at how much this exactly does not resemble that beer. So try with caution.

But try you must.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2012 00:40:10 | More by jondeelee
Photo of woosterbill
woosterbill

Connecticut

3.5/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

33cl bottle poured into a Lost Abbey style tulip at the BrewDog pub in Camden Town. £6 for a dram. Not bad.

A: Still red-brown body; coats the glass with thick legs and a light brown hue. Looks appropriately intimidating.

S: Monstrous. Booze is first and foremost, with plenty of sugary sweetness as well: butterscotch, creme brulee, and vanilla. I kind of like it.

T: Sweet. Diabetic-coma-inducing sweet. Sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, and toffee. A touch of coffee. Oh, and of course plenty of burning booze. A little too treacly for me, but a tasty sipper all the same.

M: Thick, viscous, and glue-like. So sticky. Not good.

O: I think I just developed a new cavity or two. Wow that's sticky-sweet. On the plus side, it led to an amazingly aromatic burp while waiting to catch the tube back to my friend's flat - everyone on the platform was treated to a potent whiff of Penguin.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2012 18:58:51 | More by woosterbill
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Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
80 out of 100 based on 251 ratings.