Tactical Nuclear Penguin - BrewDog
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Ratings: 247 | Reviews: 119 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by jondeelee:
4.6/5 rDev +31.8%
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
More User Reviews:
United Kingdom (Scotland)
3.23/5 rDev -7.4%
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
4.01/5 rDev +14.9%
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
2.88/5 rDev -17.5%
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
3.06/5 rDev -12.3%
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
4.4/5 rDev +26.1%
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
Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
80 out of 100 based on 247 ratings.