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Tactical Nuclear Penguin - BrewDog

Not Rated.
Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin

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

278 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 278
Reviews: 121
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 23.58%
Wants: 208
Gots: 71 | FT: 4
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 121 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by DoctorB2B:
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3/5  rDev -14.8%

DoctorB2B, Nov 19, 2011
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tbryan5, Mar 24, 2014
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2.75/5  rDev -21.9%

woodchipper, Jan 20, 2013
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4.75/5  rDev +34.9%

Satyr179, Nov 18, 2012
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4/5  rDev +13.6%

aquazr1, Jun 03, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
3.05/5  rDev -13.4%

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.

Mora2000, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of innominat
4/5  rDev +13.6%

innominat, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of jondeelee
4.6/5  rDev +30.7%

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.

jondeelee, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of fionn13
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%

fionn13, Feb 05, 2014
Photo of goodbeerallday
4.3/5  rDev +22.2%

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!

goodbeerallday, Dec 07, 2012
Photo of dwren89
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%

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.

dwren89, Jun 12, 2013
Photo of koganator
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%

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.

koganator, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%

Split 3 ways with friends, over the course of an evening...

Into a whisky tumbler, this beer pours a clear medium mahogany colour, with a wisp of soapy beige head, which leaves no lace, as it doesn't touch the edge of the glass. It smells of toasted molasses, caramel, treacle, and soft, slightly peaty whisky-like booze. The taste is strong caramel toffee, roasted malt, and an enveloping booze warming. The carbonation is very low, the body heavy, thick, viscous, smooth, with a slight thinning from the alcohol towards the finish, which shows more a sweet woodiness to go with the persistent dense malt.

This is indeed a decent imperial stout, on growth hormone. Take big and beefy, and make it bigger and beefier, they sure did. Wow. It smells like a sweet whisky, tastes like a strong, but very sippable, stout. However, there's no drinking this one even remotely like any other beer, obviously.

biboergosum, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of alamode
4/5  rDev +13.6%

alamode, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of Mar02x
3.3/5  rDev -6.3%

I was finally able to try this beer with thanks to Fiona de Lange. Thanks for sharing Fiona! She organized a great tasting session at 'de Molen' on 21st of January 2012.

A - A dark amber colored fluid with no head.

S - A strong sherry and spirituous scent.

T - Very alcoholic it totally overpowers the other tones in this beer.

M - A soft alcoholic bomb.

O - Not bad in taste, but a very very strong alcohol presence.

Mar02x, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of ChrisBakken
4/5  rDev +13.6%

I was very excited to try this beer... Very interesting to say the least, certainly a mix between a marketing stunt and an exploration in extreme brewing. It poured like a typical high ABV imperial stout, very aromatic with notes of oak, smokiness, molasses?, and to sum it all up, a smoky whiskey with beer head. The taste and mouthful were like nothing i have had before, very much like a beer upfront on both fronts, but finished like a whiskey. The drinkability was just like a liquor. The highest ABV i have had before (beer) were the last two Utopias. Overall, i would admit the overall score does not represent the experience, does it justify the price? (Maybe not) I have already ordered Sinking the Bismarck, will post once i have tried.

ChrisBakken, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of Sammy
3.73/5  rDev +6%

Thanks JMBSH. Almost no head and very dark brown. Smoke city, in the aroma, in the atste. Almost pure smoke and peat, impeding drinkability. A touch of lace. Average mouthfeel. A little Scotch.More of a Scotch or an Eisbock than competing with the imperial stouts.

Sammy, Jun 06, 2010
Photo of zaphodchak
4/5  rDev +13.6%

Red-amber body, clear. Nice legs.

Woody, boozy, Scotchy nose with some peat.

Intense *peat* and soy-saucey iodine. Remarkably potent.

Sort of burn-y, slippery mouthfeel. It's liquor after all, what did I expect?

Improbably salty for an Imperial Stout. Quite peaty though-- a fractional ounce was all I needed or wanted.

zaphodchak, Sep 22, 2011
Photo of Vanz
4.25/5  rDev +20.7%

Vanz, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of nickd717
2.8/5  rDev -20.5%

Bottle generously shared by Nick3 on BA - thanks, Nick. *COUGH* gimmick! *COUGH* I'm glad I got to try what was briefly (before the release of Schorschbräu Schorschbock 40%) the world's *COUGH* biggest gimmick! *COUGH* strongest beer. Wow, I really seem to have a terrible cough today. In all seriousness though, this "beer" is definitely interesting, although overpriced and overhyped. I liked it more than others at the tasting, but make no mistake, it will floor you. I feel weird calling this a beer, as it was a lot more like a liquor.

Pours very dark brown with a small tan head and great legs. This is a thick one for sure.

Aroma is very hot and boozy, like a rough scotch. Booze socks you in the face as hard as that guy in the bar punched Snooki on "Jersey Shore." Sweet caramel, roast, oak, and vanilla poke through the intense alcohol.

The most prominent flavor in this beer is BOOOZE! I didn't add all those Os for the hell of it. You're going to taste every bit of that 32% ABV. Bud Select 55 this is not. Definitely too hot. Someone else at the tasting commented that they should have eised and then -bal aged this, not the other way around. I agree. 10 years or so of age might do this beer good. Once you get past the booze though, it's a nice beer. Roasted malt and caramel malt, toffee, oak, and mild peat smoke. Like a Scotch, this needs time to round out. Poor execution there on BrewDog's part in my opinion.

Hot and boozy on the palate with good carbonation, unlike most other beers this strong, and fairly full body. Crazy beer overall, just crazy.

nickd717, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of Craigmg0
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Craigmg0, Jul 09, 2014
Photo of Mbpike
1/5  rDev -71.6%

Mbpike, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of bobbo_
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

bobbo_, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of falconxman
4/5  rDev +13.6%

falconxman, Jul 19, 2012
Photo of BigBlacke
4.68/5  rDev +33%

A: Dark mysterious color with plenty of sediment.

S: A smokey, oak scent much like certain scotches.

T: Unbelievably unique smokey taste unlike any beer Ive tried before.

M: Smooth as can be. Many would think it would be harsh due to the 32% abv, but it is just pleasurable as can be. Little to no carbonation.

D: Its almost scary how easy it goes down. More of a sipping beer, but be careful. Pace yourself.

This is probably the most unique brew Ive had the luxury of trying. Magnifico!!!

BigBlacke, Aug 22, 2010
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Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
80 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.