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Sink The Bismarck! - BrewDog

Not Rated.
Sink The Bismarck!Sink The Bismarck!

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

182 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 182
Reviews: 91
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 23.35%
Wants: 140
Gots: 57 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
BrewDog visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  41.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: femALEist on 03-23-2010)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 182 | Reviews: 91 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A unique experience, that transends the ratings. Bottle from the brewer, wrapped in a paper bag with a 41%! warning on it, and a bottle stopper should you choose self-control and drink some many hours later. Grapefruit colour with amber highlights, and lacey. The aroma of many hops is a side-show. The taste, and its a sipper and full mouthfeel, is a bitter hopped melange in a river of high alcohol, and mid-sip a little sherryish. Undertstated carbonation.

Sammy, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of t0rin0
3/5  rDev -17.6%

t0rin0, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of spycow
3/5  rDev -17.6%

spycow, Sunday at 08:14 PM
Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

zestar, Aug 17, 2013
Photo of nmann08
2/5  rDev -45.1%

nmann08, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Texasfan549, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

It's incredible that the freeze distilling process finally yields a beer that boasts a whopping 41% abv! The old standards and benchmarks for can be retired. There's new thresholds to be explored!

Much less like beer and much more like cognac, the beer pours a still but deep tawny brown color that looks simply like maple syrup in both its hue and viscosity. Any would-be lacing is foregone by brandy-like legging- all ensuring that this beer must be appreciated a more of a cordial than a traditional beer.

Strong savory aromatics abound from the glass with the overwhelming scents of aged sherry wine, soy sauce, black strap molasses, dried tobacco leaves, cured leather, and a somewhat meaty mesquite note. Spicy alcohols are spirit-like and carry and inherent spicy note of cinnamon, aniseed, and peppercorn.

Sweet and savory flavors weave in the beer's early palate for a sultry and "meaty" character that salivates the mouth and invites larger sips than is preferred. But as the taste extends to the middle of the tongue, the sweetness fades, leaving the earthy and spicy flavors of tobacco, oak, and sherry to carry its grape and cherry taste into a highly spicy finish that reminds me of cough syrups and spiced rum.

Strong spicy alcohol bite just edges out the early sweet texture for command of the mouthfeel early and often. Its a powerful experience that favors strong warmth and hop bite even late for a balance that seems actually beer-like. At heart this drinking experience is a beer- but one with spirit-like power and effect. It's an ale like no other.

BEERchitect, May 06, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
1.55/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I decided to refrain from reviewing beer unless my feelings were very strong, one way or the other. Respectfully to prior reviews, I can't help but conclude that BrewDog is just laughing at every one of us. This beer simply must be a BrewDog prank.

It looks ok, although nothing special and actually opened with some carbonation pressure and there was a bit of carbonation.

The nose is actually wonderful to the extent that you smell huge, pure hops. I felt like I'd taken a handful of hops, squeezed and squeezed them in my hands and then smelled them. A good and complex honey/hoppy nose.

Then, I tasted it. Are you kidding? It is not drinkable. It is pure, strong hop oil. End of story. There is a brief second of sweet honey on the front of your tongue and then your palate is destroyed by hop oil; hop essence. You can't "drink" this - one must take a very small sip. Most of us at this tasting took a small "normal" taste and every single person either made a bad face, gagged or spit it out quickly. One guy saw the reaction of those tasting it before him and refused to taste it!

The hop bitter oil finish and flavor is such the palate wrecker that the flavor numbs your tongue and senses and it lasts for 45 minutes, no other beer or spirit or liquid "making it go away."

I've tasted well over 4,000 beers in the past 3-4 years. This is hands down the most offensive.
Just my opinion.

GRG1313, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev +9.9%

jaydoc, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of womencantsail
1.73/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

A big thanks to Eric for sharing this bottle.

A: The pour is surprisingly standard for an IPA. Golden copper/amber color with a fair amount of white head.

S: At first, I quite liked the nose. A lot of hops, primarily resinous and piney in nature. However, if you breathe in a good bit and get the full bouquet, you'll be able to pick out the three main components of this beer: alcohol (cheap vodka), hop extract, and sugar.

T: Though I did enjoy the nose for a moment, the flavor just completely put me off. Even with just a small sip, the alcohol just attacks your tongue. Hot, cheap vodka followed by incredible bitter, hop extract type of flavor and then some table sugar mixed in to try to mellow things out.

M: The body is quite heavy and almost syrupy. It's also hot as hell.

D: Just a few sips was more than enough of this one. I was not a fan of the Penguin, but I thought this was even worse.

womencantsail, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

kylehay2004, Sep 14, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very glad I got to try this beer. Opened the bottle with friend and instantly got a massive nose full of hops! Thats pretty much all you can get out of this brew is Hops. It's oily and very boozy. The piny hops mixed with the 41% ABV sting your tongue with every sip. This stuff doesn't mess around. Such a stunning beer, I enjoyed this over the Tactical Nuclear Penguin. This beer has been compared to hop infused vodka which I could totally understand. If you're planning on trying this one gift yourself some time to really enjoy it. It's a very brutal yet enjoyable ride.

Knapp85, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
1.33/5  rDev -63.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark amber-hued body. It's still, but check out those legs.

Smell: Lacquery, quick-drying wood varnish, some perceived earthy hops, some caramelized sugars, but it's quite sharp and quite painful.

Taste: Rasping hop bitterness and coarsely fusel akin to a poisoning sip of rubbing alcohol. A beer that quickly leaves you flustered and out of patience (and money).

Mouthfeel: It's hard to distinguish the viscosity of the beer as your mouth starts writhing the instant it hits your tongue.

Overall: Unenjoyable and undrinkable. A proudly gimmicky, unnecessary beer at an equally obscene price.

ChainGangGuy, Oct 16, 2011
Photo of largadeer
1.2/5  rDev -67%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks to Evan for wasting a bunch of money on this so we could tick it.

Pours a dark shade of amber with little in the way of carbonation, though I poured my glass a while after the bottle had been opened. It's pretty leggy and syrupy, like you'd expect from an 80 proof beer. The nose is unabashed booze, with a ton of caramel sweetness to back it up. Hops are there, yeah, but they've got a stale characterless quality to them. As bad as it smells, it tastes even worse. The combination of cloying sweetness and burning alcohol overwhelms nearly any depth of flavor this might have. There's a bit of green/herbal hop flavor and slight smokiness toward the mid-palate, and then brash, burning booze takes over and destroys any actual flavors you might have picked up otherwise, along with your palate for the rest of the day. Pretty horrid stuff.

largadeer, Sep 13, 2011
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +9.9%

JAHMUR, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
2.98/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Served in a tumbler.

Since the brew day is winding down, I'd better crack this guy open so's that we can all enjoy its bounty. It pours a lightly hazed ruby-amber topped by a half-finger at best of white-ish foam. The nose comprises grapefruit, pine, onion, and toffee. It's also very clear that this is very high in alcohol. The taste brings forth some physically heavy caramel and toffee, along with some harsh pine and a heaping helping of astringent alcohol (in the form of a Pacquiao blast to the tongue). The body is a light-ish medium, with a moderate carbonation and a very dry finish. Overall, this is pretty hard to drink, even for those who enjoy straight spirits regularly. That said, I'm glad I got to try this beast, and I feel the price, though sickeningly steep, was sorta worth the experience here with my friends.

TMoney2591, Dec 06, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

375ml caged and synthetically corked bottle. Been sitting on this one for well over a year, waiting for just the right time to crack it. Since no occasion has come to pass that wasn't already spoken for, I figured that the anniversary of Otto von Bismarck's namesake battleship's demise would suffice. As well, I can't help but be reminded of Johnny Horton's ditty of the same name, one my mother (70 years young a few days ago) led me to lo these many years ago.

This beer pours (after a few frustratingly arduous attempts to open) a clear, dark ruby brown hue, with only a few sparse soda bubbles tending to the perimeter in terms of head or lace. Kind of subtly ominous, I must say.

It smells pungent, and then heady, and then a bit in your face - deep, concentrated black fruit esters, fresh leather, tawny port wine, wet cigar ash, edgy, somewhat bready caramel/toffee, leafy smoked wood, and a further perfumed floral citrus warmth.

The taste is hyper-dense caramel pudding, sharp, prickly muddled citrus, like hot grapefruit and citrus vodka, oiled leather, reduced warm brown sugar, a certain woody, lightly smoked meatiness, gritty molasses, the darkest of soy sauces, a heavy cherry and red grape musty fruitiness, soaked tobacco leaf, and more big, beefy grapefruit, orange and pine hops, obfuscated somewhat in their bloated state, but punchy all the same.

The carbonation is there, surprisingly enough, but only in trace amounts, the body more than evocative of the biggest, stupidest meathead you might have seen in the gym or outside a random nightclub - bursting at the seams, with a weightiness not found in nature - hmmmm - and as smooth as a waist-high shelf whisky blended with big-ass west-coast IPA hops could expect to be, which actually works here, somewhat astonishingly. It finishes pretty sweet, though most of that comes from the alcohol, duh, and the tropical fruitiness that has the oysters to stick it out above all that other steroidal mishmash.

It is what it is - a (beer-oriented, I'm guessing they actually meant) spirit derived from grain - so the heretofore (ok, there was TNP) untested status of this 'brewery' here is understandable. I'm just glad to see the substantial hops of the base style style alive and well, if in a sort of zombie-esque state, which renders this in the end a so-so sipper. The Scottish have a propensity for distancing themselves from all things British, so I find it nice of them to rekindle a 72 year-old WW2 naval battle, one more than the 15 miles of note away. For the 110 or so Canuck retail dollars, I will just have to save some of this for my weekly viewing of Mad Men this evening, wherein I typically quaff a dram or two in deference to the habits of those mainly antiquated (?) characters.

biboergosum, May 28, 2013
Photo of nickfl
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

nickfl, Sep 14, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle generously shared by thetomG. Served in a 3 Floyds tasting snifter. First batch, without the resealable bottle.

A - Surprisingly carbonation here. While a hard pour doesn't rouse much foam, there are tons of bubbles present in the transparent dark amber body, and a partial ring is formed on the surface.

S - The smell is actually fairly pleasant, with a nice blend of caramel and red fruit malts, tropical hops, and present but relatively restrained alcohol presence. More malt and less booze than I anticipated.

T - The taste also starts out quite promising, and is exactly what you'd expect if you distilled a high-ABV IIPA. Citrus and tropical hops with caramel and brown sugar malts. The alcohol doesn't manifest much in the flavor, but rears its head in the finish when it combines with some fierce hop bitterness. Starts as a 4.0, but ends as more of a 2.0, so I'll split the difference I guess.

M - Oh God, it burns! Warming and biting alcohol all the way from the back of the throat to the belly. Super, super, dry, with some surprising carbonation tingle. Viscous full body.

D - I actually kind of liked this beer, and it's exponentially better than Tactical Nuclear Penguin. If you go in expecting a hop liquor you shouldn't be too disappointed. Definitely overpriced, but far from undrinkable.

MasterSki, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter from a bottle by James Watt of BrewDog. Thanks, James. Beer is carbonated but the evidence disappears quickly into an orange and hazy beer that leaves a ton of legs on the sides of the glass. I'm fascinated by this behavior of the beer. A real novelty. No head, no lacing.

This is the strongest aroma overall I have ever experienced in a beer. It is lots of hops. The strongest hop aroma I have ever experienced. Lots of alcohol, my eyes were watering. I kept smelling it out of some masochism or some other primal impulse of self abuse. Very awesome.

Beer is thin and holy hell hoppy. Its like hop infused vodka. Very forward, very aggressive. I think I may be blind. Holy crap. I've never had something like this. Last beer for sure (for the record the 15% barleywine my wife was drinking tasted like nothing after this). Just an insane beer.

Drinkability...well. I couldn't drink much of it. When I started to drink it, I coughed. Hard. Don't inhale before you take a sip. Crazy. Glad I did it.

drabmuh, Jun 10, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle, special ordered from Scotland

Poured into a wine glass (seemed appropriate at the time), just a small portion at one sitting. Golden-orange color, syrupy looking, no head, minimal carbonation. Sweet, citrusy nose loaded with resiny hops. Taste: HOPS; very strong, very piney. Imagine doing a shot of highly concentrated IPA, and that's basically what you have here. Mouthfeel was thick and syrupy, alcohol burn combined with intense hop burn for a very intense experience. Overall a very good brew and definitely worth trying. I enjoyed it a lot. But it loses points for drinkability due to its intensity...and unavailability. Unless you're in the mood for hop shots and live in Scotland.

Rifugium, Dec 14, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served at the Common Table in Dallas.

The beer pours an orange-amber color with a white head. The aroma is very heavy on the alcohol along with some brown sugar and piney hop notes. The beer smells a lot like a super-hopped American Barleywine.

The flavor is more of the same with a few notes added. I get a ton of alcohol - which is expected when the beer is 82 proof. However, as the beer warms, I also get a lot of the resiny and piney hops, as well as a lot of caramel malt. There is a ton of alcohol in the flavor and the beer is very warming as you drink it. It may not taste like 41 percent, but the beer definitely tastes like a drink that is 15 plus percent alcohol by volume. That being said, even with all of the alcohol, the beer is drinkable and tastes like a quadruple IPA or whatever BrewDog wants to classify this beer.

The beer is completely flat and has a medium to full mouthfeel. A very interesting beer. Not sure if it is worth the price, but definitely something worthy of trying one time if you can get it at the right price.

Mora2000, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Gonzoillini, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of biegaman
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Sink The Bismark! is best drank in a small portion from a really large glass. Dingy golden, it is a shabby looking beer that lacks both highlights and head. As any designated driver can tell you, it's difficult to remove a beer's alcohol without compromising its flavour in the process. The reverse is true too; too much alcohol makes it difficult to appreciate a beer. The burnt sugar, honey, citrus and pine notes of this bouquet are overrun by boozy dark fruit esters.

Peoples' first reaction to a four-times-frozen 41% beer is to ask whether it should even still be considered "real" beer. Well, somewhat surprisingly, this still tastes strongly reminiscent of one; forwardly hoppy, it showcases a ton of resinous pine flavour as well as grapefruit and dried mango and papaya slices. It actually proffers some recognizable maltiness too in the form of caramel squares and scorched toffee.

That's not to say, however, that it tastes entirely like a regular beer. Brewdog has enough barrel-aged and double-digit alcohol offerings to qualify as a distillery - which is just as well because they're not great brewers - and, indeed, alcohol dominates in this one. These esters could warm all of Siberia. It tastes like raisins that have been macerated in cognac.

The burning in my throat aside, I honestly find it surprisingly drinkable for its strength (this is speaking relatively). It's only my first time trying Sink The Bismark! but I assume it's matured in the three years since it was brewed. That said, whereas most stronger beers are overwhelmingly 'hot' or bitter for the first minute until one becomes accustomed, there's no getting accustomed to this. It only grows more and more syrupy, and less and less agreeable.

Many people are probably impressed by a 41% alcohol beer. It sounds complicated to brew, but you know what else is? A dry stout with the appropriate amount of roast; a Kölsch that's both clean and flavourful; a flawlessly balanced Pilsner. These styles are so simple that they provide nothing to hide behind and concede little room for error. They may be more straightforward but they're no less difficult to make (and can be equally impressive).

Sink The Bismark! may be too extreme but let’s not forget part of its purpose is to correct the other end of the scale: industrial sameness and blandness. Of course, that's not it's only purpose; Brewdog is more about selling beer than making it. They may be among the best publicists and advertisers in the world, but they're far from the best brewers. Where do you draw the line? I'd say here would have been a good place.

biegaman, Aug 09, 2013
Photo of johnnnniee
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I shared a bottle of this with 4 friends and still took some home to enjoy at a later date.
Pours a cloudy deep orange/amber color with no head at all. Smells of serious pine, citrus, resinous hops and lots of alcohol. Not the good kind of alcohol mind you we are talking about solvents and rubbing alcohol. There's a sweet fruitiness in the aroma I imagine apricots covered in corn syrup. As my sample warms the fruit disappears and is replaced with hopped rubbing alcohol. The taste is unique! Strong, burning alcohol with resinous hops covered in a sugary glaze. Slightly smokey taste in the middle somewhere. There is a long lingering hop bitterness mixed with alcohol burning in the finish. I can feel this beer burn its way down my throat into my stomach. Thick chewy body with a sticky syrupy mouthfeel and light level of carbonation. I'm glad I got to try this unique "beer." Smooth it is not! Beer it is not! 41% abv it is and I can taste and smell every bit of alcohol in my glass. As is I find this kind of meh, but if this were put into some oak and allowed to mellow out some, this might make a damn fine spirit.

johnnnniee, Jul 01, 2010
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Sink The Bismarck! from BrewDog
81 out of 100 based on 182 ratings.