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Tactical Nuclear Penguin - BrewDog

Not Rated.
Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin

Educational use only; do not reuse.

122 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 122
Hads: 313
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 26.3%
Wants: 249
Gots: 85 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2009

Made by freezing Paradox to remove water.
View: Beers (107) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 122 | Hads: 313
Photo of salvo
2.68/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Tactical Nuclear Penguin is true to its name: it asserts the insanity of Mutually Assured Destruction, the cold war nuclear deterrence strategy. It, like MAD, is insane. It also cooled the alcohol-content wars that consumed Northern Europe recently.

Tastes of deep Sherry oak and smokey roasty malts and … alcohol. Lots of it. It smells like a musty living room after a major fire. Acetone. Drinking is not pleasant. But I appreciate the craftsmanship that made this beer possible.

It is exceptionally difficult to review this "beer." Arguably one of the most extreme beers is existence, it is not pleasant to taste. It is even difficult to compare it to anything I have tasted. But I have tried, and I am very grateful that it was available by the dram at the new BrewDog bar in Edinburgh in the Cowgait. (810 characters)

Photo of SWMeyer4141
3.71/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had this last night with a few friends. This beer blew my mind. Glad I got to try it.

Split 3 ways, about 2.5 oz each into Clarets.

Apppearance-Suprisingly had carbonation, and a head for a couple seconds, which went away quickly. Looks like some uncarbonated coke. Doesn't look like an Imperial stout, but does look dangerous.

Smell-Very complex. Big booze on the nose. Sweet fruits, booze, vanilla, booze, light chocolate and booze. Has plenty of beer features.

Tastes-Front of the tongue alot of dried fruits of the bat, with a alcohol burn in back. In the middle you get some smokiness and on the back end the booze mellows out a bit and you get hit with some chocolate. Interesting to say the least.

Mouthfeel-Lightly syrupy, coats the mouth. Full bodied.

Overall-This is an amazing beer, port, or whatever you want to call it. Has it's Imperial Stout features, more like a Strong Ale in my opinion. I got this for free, so the price tag wasn't an issue. But I would never pay the price for it. However it's a great novelty beer and something I'm very glad I tried. Reccommended to the Beer Connessiuer. (1,114 characters)

Photo of JayS2629
3.95/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is an aggressive but very complex beer. It must be sipped like a fine scotch. Its cola black with minimum carbonation and very small dark fizzy head that fades fast and leaves oily lace. The smell is of oak and smoke with hints of leather, peat and roasted malts. The taste is dominated with bourbon, smoke and oak on top of roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate. Hints of peat and molasis with notes of leather and dark raisins. Earthy hops peek through a hot, malty, smokey bomb. Its full, aggressive, and complex. The mouthfeel is thick and hot. Its a definite sipper and not for the faint of heart drinker. (619 characters)

Photo of yeahnatenelson
1.76/5  rDev -49.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Appearance -- Pours a translucent cola brown. Completely still.

Smell -- The predominant aroma is of solvent alcohol - incredibly harsh on the nose. Beyond that, a dab of chocolate, treacle, and smoke. Strange.

Taste -- Again, the beer leads of with harsh alcohol, akin to bargain basement grain alcohol. Beyond that, there is sweet chocolate, molasses, and smoky roast malt. Really minimal residual beer 'essence' left in this beer. I'll give them this: whatever amount of smoked malt they used lent a Scotch whiskey-esque note, which probably comprises the half point's worth of what I liked in this.

Mouthfeel -- Syrupy and still. So much burning...

Overall -- Not my cup of tea, but I'm glad to have tried it. I appreciate the experimentation, but for me, this just doesn't work. Perhaps my pour was especially sovent-y as some others at the tasting thought this was the highlight. Me, I just can't fathom it.

Your mileage may vary. (941 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
3.87/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ahh, Brewdog, we meet again.

Batch 8. 350ml bottle into a tasting glass. Thanks to OrgasmicChemist for digging up my notes!

Appearance: Cola syrup. Nothing else.

Aroma: Strong peat combined with molasses & toffee. Lots of whiskey earthiness and soil, perhaps a hint of soy sauce.

Flavor: Gooey oxidized raisins and sherry. Peat is breathy in the finish with some leather. Body is warming but not hot.

Mouthfeel: Slick and creamy with a full body sans carbonation.

Overall: Quite drinkable for the 32% and surprisingly impressive for Brewdog. Restrained, yet aggressive at the same time. Glad I got to try this, but there's no way I'd shell out the exorbitant amount of money this beer costs. (697 characters)

Photo of Greencoat
3.35/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at Dark Lord Day, thanks to a very generous soul.

A: Murky brown with zero head. Left legs on the glass like used engine oil. Not something you encounter often in the beer world.

S: Hot alcohol and leathery tobacco. If you could imagine how the rich Lebowski's study smells (before Dude adds his own scents) - it's like that. Interesting nose, but again, it isn't often you'll get that out of a beer.

T: I'm not sure how I felt about it - good or bad. It was most certainly interesting. It tasted how a fine cigar smells (not the smoke, but the actual tobacco leaf.) Extremely hot alcohols, very warming. The extreme concentration makes it very thick, and the flavors stay on your tongue longer than they're welcome. I could see a lot of people enjoying this, but I'm not sure that I did.

M: Thick and flat. Lingering silk textures line your mouth for a long time afterward.

O: I'm glad I got to try this one, and it was certainly an experience I won't soon forget. If you've ever got a shot at trying it, do. I think I'll pass next time. (1,051 characters)

Photo of ferrari29
4.12/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle (cool brown bag) into Snifter glass

A - Beer poured with a dark brown/burgundy colored body; body looked thicker than most beer, but it definitely wasn't that syrupy in appearance; no carbonation; no head formed during pour; the beer didn't form an lacing on the glass but it had LEGS, haven't seen that very often

S - Very, very smoky (from the oak barrel aging process); whiskey oak smell; heavy ABV; liquorish; roasted nuts, specifically chestnuts

T - Smoky flavor is very prevalent in this beer, watch it, you have been warned!; woody/oak; roasted chestnuts; very, very hint taste of berry in the back-end, otherwise it finishes off with a grainy, liquorish flavor

M - Tangy and spicy sensations was over the tongue; very, very unique blend of flavor profile washed over the tongue, to the extreme!; smooth body but definitely burns down the hatch

D - I can't believe I tried this; I have to thank BeerMan1965 for giving me access to the exclusive and rare brew; WOW! unique and a great brew; I feel privileged to have tried this; I encourage others looking to try something VERY different to give it a try (1,139 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.63/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Can't believe I got some of this finally. This brew is out of this world. BrewDog has gone above and beyond the limits of brewing something very extreme here. This beer is very very black, it's aroma fills a room with whiskey, rich dark malts, and a little smokiness. Upon taking the first sip it kicks you in the teeth, really hard. My eyes opened with enjoyment. I was so amazed at how freaking brutal this beer was. I wanted to savor every smokey sip of it as much as possible but the longer it took and the warmer it got it became more difficult for me to drink. The Alcohol is so strong it actually burned the sides of my tongue everything I took a sip. I enjoyed the fact that I managed to get a bottle of this, it was very exciting to try and to have others try. I have a great deal of respect for BrewDog and this beer but I can't see myself buying this again. It was surely a once in a lifetime beer. (909 characters)

Photo of fear025
4.22/5  rDev +22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma:Smokey, malty, dark malts, hot alcohol. It smells a little like a whiskey.

Appearance:Dark, cola colored. It's pretty flat. It doesn't have lacing so much as a syrupy residue that sticks to the side of the glass.

Taste:The foretaste is smokey and tangy. There's a huge malty sweetness that peaks in the midtaste. There's smoke, woody flavors, and hops in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:There is hot alcohol in the foretaste and aftertaste, but it takes a break in the midtaste. There's actually not as much hot alcohol as I thought there would be. It's very thick and syrupy. No carbonation to speak of.

Drinkability:This beer is quite tasty, and a much better beer than I thought it would be. There's a ton of complex whiskey related flavors (smoke and wood) that give the beer a lot of depth. (799 characters)

Photo of zoolzoo
3.6/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at The Cask Republic in New Haven, CT

A: Dark brown, completely translucent. No hint of carbonation in the appearance. Coats the glass as its swished around.

S: Big aromas. Plenty of stinging alcohol in the nose, yet enough character to keep my interest. The smell is complex, sort of like charred wood laced with bourbon.

T: The initial taste is difficult to describe. Its really kind of like raw hide soaked in barbecue sauce or something, joined by dark cherry like sweetness. What follows is an absolute blast of smoke. Call it camp fire, smoked bacon, TNP smashes you with it. The smoke eventually stomps out any other flavor offered by this beer, for better or worse. Alcohol is present of course, but really takes a back seat in comparison to the nose.

M: Zero carbonation, which I expected. Body is just barely robust enough to support these flavors.

D: Drinkability isn't terrible considering how boisterous this beer is, but really my sample was enough. Worth a try if you have the opportunity. (1,018 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
1.19/5  rDev -65.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Thanks to dpuia for sharing a 375ml bottle of this hyped-up beer on 2/1/11. Let's see how this turns out...

A - Emerged from the bottle as a menacing reddish brown murky mess with no head or carbonation, but plenty of oozy "leggings" (aka clear lacing) all over the glass.

S - Aroma is not appetizing at all. AT ALL. Some things that come to mind? Here's a list: beef jerky, dog treats, soy sauce, wet dog food and old shoes. Wow. I am afraid to put this in my mouth!

T - Oh my God! This is literally alcoholic soy sauce, or even moreso akin to Worcestershire sauce with rancid meat. TNP exhibits perpetual alcohol burn on the palate. Awful, or as the British might say... dreadful! I wish I could give this score a "zero". This is dis-freakin'-gusting!

M - Medium bodied with an oily, slick texture. Alcohol burn is akin to rubbing alcohol.

D - This beer had me longing for a Bud Chelada chaser! We saved this for the last beer of the night, and we actually had to drink something else (AleSmith Decadence) to get the flavor off our palates. To quote Bubbles: "You can barely get 'er in ya, but my fuck it'll get you some drunk!"

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"It smells like a box of old shoes." (1,204 characters)

Photo of shodrod
4.72/5  rDev +36.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours an opaque dark brown color; almost like melted tootsie rolls. No head. The aroma has notes of grapes and chocolate. This beer is not for the weak at heart. Don't be frightened off by the intensity of this beer's smell. The flavor of this drink epically complex. Layers and layers of chocolate and dark cherries give way to a hint of prune. For an Imperial Stout, this beer is surprisingly thin but does an excellent job of coating the whole inside of your mouth. As you swallow this drink you can most certainly feel it going down your throat and into your belly. The finish on this drink, despite the ABV, is decently smooth. This beer helps me understand why people love sipping on whiskey or scotch on the rocks. (731 characters)

Photo of jetscream
4.67/5  rDev +35%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer to enjoy with a few friends during the cold winter months. The beer drinks more like a fine scotch then it does a beer. A 375ml bottle is enough for more than a few sniffers for a few friends. For a unique experience one must try this insane beer. (262 characters)

Photo of erosier
4/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at Cask Republic in New Haven, CT.

L: Pours a deep brown/black with no head whatsoever leaving a thick wine-like lacing of all liquid down the glass.
S: Smells of alcohol - scotch and or whiskey, malts, and some sweet sugar/molasses aromas.
T: Tastes of scotch mainly with some malt and molasses mixed in with some dark fruit flavors and some coffee flavors mixed in as well.
M: HOT (but expected), warming, no carbonation.
D: Definitely one of those novelty beers you have to try if you have the chance, but not very drinkable in comparison to beer, but it would be if it were compared to a wine or a harder alcohol. (622 characters)

Photo of kindacold
4.47/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


So I poured this beer for myself and a few friends into small sample glasses. Poured very dark with almost no head.

Smells kind of like scotch and molasses.

Taste scotch and coffee with not-so-subtle sweet flavors. Mild bitter aftertaste, but not overwhelming.

Very sticky...coats the tongue and throat. Flavors linger in the mouth indefinitely.

This beer is very hard to drink, but worth drinking. I could barely get down the sample glass, and most of my friends felt the same way.

It's worth trying this beer, but I don't think I have the desire to drink it more than a few times in my life. It's great in small doses, but too big a beer, and too expensive to buy again. (689 characters)

Photo of MrFootstones
2.21/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Probably the best part here. Rich dark mahogany all the way through. Sexy viscous legs. Looks flat.

Aroma: Vanilla, charred ass, smoke, burny alcohol. Some nice barrel character lurking behind all the burnt rubber and smoke.

Taste: Charcoal, smoked meat, ferocious alcohol, peat.. Oh so much peat and phenolic gnarlyness. The lingering ghosts of imperial stouts passed. Not sweet at all.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly inoffensive. Some carbonation! Rich and oily.

Drinkability: The lowest of the low, except perhaps chelada.

Humongous novelty, that's about it. (571 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
2.74/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to urbancaver for the Hookup.
A-Pours a medium brown with absolutely no head
S-Very complex and extremely boozy. You can tell you are in for a ride once this hits your nose.
T-A lot better than I expected. Very complex, almost like their is an alcohol party going on in my mouth. I don't know if it is good or bad. Definitely drink it slow. To fast and the taste is really bad. Get some oak smokiness. Tastes more like a spirit than beer.
M-Loved it in my mouth, burned on the way down
D-I was thinking this would be a 0, so i guess a 2 is pretty good. Definitely would take me 2+ hours to finish whole bottle. (617 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
3.38/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- pours reddish brown. Sort of clear.

Smell- very smokey with lots of sweetness on the nose. Sme brown sugar and maybe maple underneath

Taste- something almost antiseptic in the taste. Boozy but lots of character. Oak, smokiness, drk fruit flavors, maybe raisins. Can taste some peatiness i think

Mouthfeel- For a 32% "beer" it's got a great mouthfeel. Astringent almost.

Drinkability- i have to say im most impressed. Very drinkable for what it is (462 characters)

Photo of mcgwire756
1.4/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Got this and split it with 4 friends. I pured about 3 ounces into a snifter.

We had been wanting to try this for a while, and while 2 of my friends thought it was ok, I was highly disappointed. The one thing that makes this beer overbearing is the peat/leather/smoke smell it leave in the aftertaste. And this had nothing to do with the ABV. You could smell the beer from nearly across the room. I can taste the smoke aftertaste hours later and is just too much to ever drink more than what I had. I love many of Brewdogs beers, but this beer is just way to over the top with stuff I didn't like. I would not recommend anyone waste their money on this unless you get drawn in by the shock factor like I did. (709 characters)

Photo of LukasProvaznik
1.18/5  rDev -65.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

One of the worst experiences ever. There is a question: Is it still a beer? One of my friends told me, it tastes like soya sauce, but it is quite expensive soya sauce. Every components in TNP are over the top. It is too much alcoholic, bitter, coffee-like something which is really far from regular beer. (304 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
3.18/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Very lucky to have been able to try this - about a one ounce pour. Neglected to take note of batch/bottled on date.

First, a disclaimer: This beer isn't really a beer. It's distilled, and in many ways, much more like a whisky or other dark liquor. It doesn't really fit the category of an imperial stout. I've rated it more as a liquor than an imperial stout. That said, here's what I found:

Presentation: brown paper wrapping with hand drawn sharpie penguin and "32%" on it. Taped around the bottle, and tied around the neck with a piece of white string. Green glass bottle, corked (synthetic, black) and caged. Attached is a bottle re-stopping device.

A - it's a translucent brown color, no head or carbonation to speak of (most likely due to the manufacturing process of freeze distillation), but this beer has some very nice legs to it, which is pretty uncommon in beer.

S - fairly complex, and surprisingly not a lot of booze in it. I got some roasted oats/barley; brown sugar; a spicy tomato, almost barbecue sauce smell; and then a bit of alcohol.

T - Surprisingly complex. There is the sharp and somewhat bitter vegetable spice to it, and a intensely sweet and boozy warmth when you swallow. There's some smoke, some wood notes, and a strong reminiscence of barbecue.

M - drying alcohol dominates, but its got a full smooth body. It's a bit chewy, even, and leaves a tingling sensation on the tongue (most likely from the dryness of the alcohol).

D - It's not very drinkable, as beers go, but for being pretty strong and distinct, it's not too bad. (1,563 characters)

Photo of headlessclown
3.4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle (small amount) poured into a snifter glass then stoppered
Date on bottle: 02-12-20
Batch number: 010

A: Pours medium brown, no head, no lacing, no sign of life. If this is a stout I'm not seeing it.

S: A word of warning - do not stick your nose in the glass; waft the thing or you'll get a faceful of BOOM. Intensely alcoholic for a beer. Almost medicinal. A little too intense for my liking. Something that is more akin to a spirit than a beer, which I guess at 32% makes some sense, but it also means that it overpowers everything else. There is a hint of roasted malt and maybe a bit of sweetness at it warms up.

T: This is where it gets interesting. Drink it too fast and all you'll get is alcohol burn, but let it linger for a while in your mouth and you'll get a bit more. Very dark, roasted, smokey (almost burnt) malts late in the middle and a hint of vanilla disguised in the alcohol burn backend.

M: Some definite alcohol burn (can't be avoided, I suppose) but smooth drinking otherwise. No carbonation whatsoever.

D: Overall, it's an interesting one. Is it a beer? Is it a spirit? Is it a hybrid? I'm inclined to say it's more towards spirit than beer, but it's not necessarily a bad one. The best comparison would probably be brandy. Whilst the look, aroma, and mouthfeel all scream spirit, the taste shows more complexity and differentiates it from both beer and spirits. It's perhaps a bit clumsily balanced, but that's to be expected from such a radical experiment. It's expensive but it's at least worth a try for the uniqueness - share the damage between a few friends! Definitely not sessionable, quite the opposite - the stopper is there for a reason - a small tipple should do for a taste. (1,727 characters)

Photo of chaz410
3.68/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Got this bottle from a friend who ordered it.
I was honestly not expecting much after having the Sink the Bismark and being unbelievably unimpressed. BUT WOW, I will seek this beer out again for sure.
Pours a dark mahogany brown body with no head at all.
The smell is very complex. It's filled with bourbon notes. Layered with vanilla, burn oak, and roasted marshmellow. Notes of chocolate, roasted barley and super sweet caramel. It's actually a very acceptable and rich nose.
The taste is unique. It is a beer that should be sipped and held in the mouth. If you sip and swallow to fast, you will get way to much peated malt burn at the back end. If slowly sipped, this beer is filled with roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, and hints of smoked malt. It has a nearly charcoal character that is layered over lots of vanilla and burnt oak towards the finish.
Very sharp and thin body that burns a good bit at the end.
NOT drinkable at all haha, it's hard to imagine anyone drinking more than half of a bottle let alone a whole bottle. (1,031 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
2.27/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle into a shot glass...Light brown, that is very watery looking, no carbonation at all, not much to look at...Incredibly strong aroma of fusel alcohol, roasty, very hot stinging my nostril, a tinge of peppers, interesting but not very good...The taste is horrendous! Its so hot, burns. Burnt alcohol and charred wood Is all I get this. There were 3 of us and we couldn't finish a 2oz pour.

I was so fascinated to try this and this is beyond terrible. I total liquor but not a good one. SKIP this. (501 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.92/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a champagne glass at a BrewDog tasting.

A: Red-brown, thinish head, with thick, brown legs. It looks like a brandy.

S: A strong smell! Apricot schnapps? The brandy visual isn't far from the taste -- fruity, grapey, boozy, and delicious.

T: Fruits (grape more than apricot), heather herbs, chocolates. The aftertaste is long, bitter, and slightly chalky. More like spirit than a beer.

M: Smooth and sticky, at times almost too much so.

D: Shockingly drinkable for a beer so strong, but it's still like liquor. Strong, almost cloying, but always fun, and absolutely worth trying once (or thrice!). (626 characters)

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
79 out of 100 based on 122 ratings.