BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987 | BrewDog

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BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987
Very Good
55 Ratings
BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987

Brewed by:
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Wildman on 03-24-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 43
Photo of Thur123
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a pitch black, reflective darkness. I've said it before about certain stouts, this beer absorbs light. Minimal head, a small layer of light cream colored head faded quickly. The smell, from a distance, is scotch and sweetness. The scotch is authentic smelling and with heat, cocoa and molasses beneath, trying to be smelt. I wish I could pick out more subtleties but that's really it for me. It's not that I can't tell this is complex I just don't have the nose, what I can smell is BIG.

Glug glug glug

The taste is firstly very smoky, but in a good way, like the edges of caramelized pulled pork or something. The peaty smoke flavor is lighter and reminds me of scotch heat without any of the fiery burn. The malt is sweet cocoa and caramel that really adds a base that complements the Bowmore flavor, but I kind of wish there was more competing with the scotch. The mouth feel too, is thinner than expected by looking at it...and the carbonation is nonexistent, which isn't bad. Overall a very tasty stout and something that has sadly piqued my interest, because the scotch and whiskey stouts don't ever come cheap, although this wasn't bad at 3.50.

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Photo of fairdinkum2
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was looking for a really robust drinking experience and this stout really delivers - not for the faint of heart.

This is a dark, brooding stout. Pours with no head or lacing. Black as midnight.

Nose redolent of Islay scotch - smokey peat, oak intermingled with coffes and cocoa.

An absolute mouth bomb of smoke, peat, oak and alcohol. Flavor is just as brooding as the nose. Not warm and inviting but cold, dark and mysterious.

A very intersting style. Hard to say if I will try many of the other scotch cask versions. The $10 per 11 fl oz bottle might be a disincentive.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

part 1 in a series

Four paradoxen, a few steaks, wild mushrooms, good people.

Pours black, small head. Smoke, peat, caramel, catholic girls. I smell...victory. The taste is a series of flashbacks- Wild nights spent sipping fine scotch on red carpeted bars, celebrations and dreams fulfilled. I can feel those fine barley growers in the field, the rough hands working dirt into grain. I can smell the hop trellises, taste the warm wort. This my children is how beer was meant to be.

Smile, for this is the life you lead.

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Photo of clvand0
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle is barely filled into the neck - not sure how I didn't notice that before. Pours a black color with very little head and no retention and leaves no lacing on the glass. The aroma is a mixture of wood, booze, and smoke/peat. The flavor is almost all smoked malt with a bit of burned character that I don't particularly care for. Very astringent. The mouthfeel is oily and medium in body. Drinkability is not great due to the oily texture.

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Photo of nickfl
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch 008, 1998 Bowmore cask.

A - Pours with a scant half finger of medium-brown foam on a black body with ruby highlights. The head settles rapidly and leaves minor lace; despite the weak foam this is very nice looking beer with good color.

S - Rich, complex malt. Buttery carmel notes with some chocolate and smoky coffee. There is a distinct, peaty tobacco note from the whiskey cask that gives the impression of this being as much a Scotch Ale as an Imperial Stout.

T - Smooth, dark caramel malt and strong, smoky, peated whiskey notes. Strong smoky phenolic notes come to dominate in the middle with lots of wood and some medicinal, but not unpleasant peat. Some malt manages to surface again in the finish with notes of coffee and dark, dark chocolate, but the whiskey is the prime mover here with charred wood, smoke, cigar tobacco, and even a bit of alcoholic sharpness to complete the effect. There is a lingering smoke flavor as well as fruity, caramel malt on the palate that seems to only be present in the aftertaste.

M - Medium-thick body, low carbonation, and a moderately sweet finish.

D - Well, this is certainly no session beer, but it is a distinct and enjoyable sipping beer. The whiskey flavors are huge and dominant; clearly this has gained a lot from its time in the cask. There is obviously a nice, rich Imperial stout under there somewhere, but it has been greatly enhanced by the barrel aging and it has become something truly unique. I appreciate the merits of good scotch, but I am not inclined to drink it; what I really appreciate about this beer is that is brings much of what is great about Scotch to the table and does so in a package that I find much more palatable. This is one of the most complex and easily the most distinct barrel aged beer I have yet had. If I get the chance, I will definitely try to get my hands on some of the other beers from the Paradox series.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bottle into a snifter

Note: Batch 008

APPEARANCE: Pours a very small thin looking tan head that quickly disappears, leaving a bit of wisp around the edges. Color is pitch black and basically no carbonation evident. A small wisp remains and amazingly leaves a little bit of splotchy lacing down the glass.

SMELL: A bold nose of whisky, black licorice and plenty of earthy qualities, like tree and some smoked or burnt wood, and some peat in there as well.

TASTE: Follows the nose quite closely. Some roasted malt and peat up front, but the whisky is the more dominant feature. Earthiness again, as well as some smoked or burnt oak wood again. A slightly bitter but more boozy aftertaste has hints of smoke in there as well. Aftertaste is mild but long lasting. Lots of wood qualities and whisky here. Interesting stuff.

PALATE: Medium-thin body with lower end carbonation. Somewhat lighter on the palate. Creamy and somewhat oily slick on the palate, goes down smooth enough with a bit of an alcohol bite at the very end. Finishes slightly sticky.

OVERALL: Pretty nice. A solid brew I'd have again. Thickening up the palate would help this one out immensely, but non-the-less, this is an enjoyable brew worth checking out.

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Photo of schoolboy
2.75/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow. This has to be one of the nastiest brews I've had of late. The whisky barrel smell hits you immediately, and like a ton of bricks. It continues from there, slapping you with a mouthful of roasty malt and alcohol.

The nastiness continues in the aftertaste, and the best part is when you can't taste it any more. I wish I could share it with someone so I could drink something else.

When I bought this I was hoping it wouldn't be like other Scottish ales but my worst fears were imagined. If you don't like other Scottish brews, you won't like this either.

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Photo of erz316
3.77/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Batch 008, best before of 06/06/09, poured into maudite snifter

A - the beer pours a bit less thicker than I would have thought, seemed almost watery. the beer forms a decent 1 cm head which dwindles down to absolutely nothing in about half a minute, I think the head was cream coloured. the remaining bubbles are quite big, but there aren't that many of them. the body is black, quite black, so much that no light gets through anywhere.

S - the smell is actually a bit smoky, just like the smokehead beer. the only real notes that I can get out of this beer is the light but predominant smoke characteristic, savory malts, and a touch of caramel, and some whiskey under it all.

T - This tastes almost like a dumbed down version of the smokehead. the initial flavour is this peaty smoked malt shindig, maybe a touch of oaken whiskey, but not that much. the alcohol isnt as harsh as it could be. the finish is a bit more boozy and still just as peaty, with the malts in the background. the finish is a bit spicier than the initial, but thats probably because the whiskey they used was pretty spicy. the aftertaste is an even mix between smoke, malts, and bitterness. a pleasant aftertaste, but not suited to the damn style!

MF&D - the feel is all wrong. the body is a light-medium, which gains most of its oomph from the medium-low carbonation. at least here the carbonation has been pumped up a little bit in comparison to the smokehead, but not much. I wouldnt want to pay this much again for somehting that is more like a whiskey'd pseudo-rauchbier.

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Photo of drpimento
4.55/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Whoa, killa beah. Got this bottle a few months ago at Sam's in Chicago. Poured it aggresively but had a small tan head and no lace. Virtually opaque with slight deep garnet highlights. Aroma is divine: malty, roasty, caramel, peat, vanilla, coffee, dark chocolate, whisky, and leather. Flavor's about the same but with a little bite or tang. Lovely bittersweet and mouthfilling. Body is ok, nothing special but not bad. Very boozy finish. A sipper, not a session beer.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.86/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BATCH: 008 (Bowmore 1998 Cask)
BEST BEFORE: 10/10/09

This appears to pour black. When given a light source though, it is actually a very dark ruby color. It's beautiful. About one-finger of light brown foam makes the head. It recedes quickly though, leaving a thin, filmy, covering. Lacing is rope-like and mildly sticky.

The nose is filled with huge notes of peat-ey smokiness. The peat is powerful and it's hard to get to any other scents. I think I get just a slight touch of sweet roasted maltiness.

Yes, it was a sweet roasted maltiness I was picking up. It's at the front of the flavor profile. It's backed up by a nice presence of smokey peat notes. They are not nearly as overpowering as I expected though, from the nose. They are blended in quite well, actually. Mild hints of rich, dark, fruits. Light touches of dark chocolate mix with heavy cream. An overall earthy/woody tone.
Definitely a brew for a lover of Islay Scotches. All of that smoke and peat come shining through and make this a helluva' tasty beer.

The body is, sadly, medium, at best. This style should be rich and somewhat thick and heavy. It's very smooth and easy drinking, though.

While I don't taste the 10%abv, I certainly do feel it, as I'm getting close to finishing this one. It's an easy drinker (if you like the smokiness, anyway) but it will hurt you, if you give it a chance.

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Photo of JMBSH
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A dark reddish brown. Not much head and what little there is shrinks to just enough to cover the top of the liquid.

S - Very smoky. I would have called it a smoked beer by scent alone. Also some cherry like notes as well. The whiskey/bourbon like scent is also there.

T - The smoke again comes forward. I don't know much about scotch whisky but the smoke is overpowering the flavors I see in american bourbon barreled beers. I can't say if this then fits the style or not. Personally the smoke is too much.The alcohol bite waits untl the sip is finished to show up.

M - Thick and coating. No noticable carbonation. A good mouthfeel for a taste this seems off to me.

D - The thick smoke and high alcohol makes this a have only one beer for me. I wish I knew more about whisky to say if it was a good blend and shared the right characteristics.

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Photo of Beejay
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very deep dark brown/black. Very thin head on top.. white, and dissipates quick.

S: Deep smoke, like smoked meat. Slight tart scent like preserved cherries.. But mostly smoke. Then the alcohol hits you a little. Very nice..

T: Wow. That is nice.. Starts off a little tart, then the smoke comes in, gentle and soothing like a campfire on the beach after a rainstorm.. backing that up is a rich stout with a lot of coffee flavor. I can see how this would be an odd one for someone who is not a fan of this style of scotch.

M: Based on the pour, head, and appearance in the glass, I thought this one might be a little thin, which the end is a bit, but not what I thought it would be. However, no knife or fork needed for this guy.

D: Not as heavy as I wanted, but good smoke taste, and yummy. Not an everyday beer, as the price would kill me. But a very nice change, and a perfect beer for a cigar.

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2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I have to admit that coming out of the bottle this beer pours a thinner black than most stouts of this style. Body does settle to a lack of light blackness in the glass. Hosts a inch of biscuit brown head that fades to a bubbly skim in a couple of minutes. Nose is first off smokey with a bit of barbecue and dust. The Whiskey and sweetness is there but more in the backround. With first sip you get a very ashy feel with a hint of sweetness. This ashy feel is oddly like drinking a beer through a hash pipe with cigarette smoke in it. I could understand if it were peat smoke but it really doesnt have that feel. Mouthfeel is like smoking a cheap cigar. Drinkability is a hint less than average.

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Photo of gford217
3.13/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

330mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours almost black in the glass, though it shows a deep mahogany when held up to light. The head is short lived and bubbly, leaving a thin ring on the way down with spotty lacing.

The aroma has tons of scotch with dark chocolate malts underneath. There is lots of peat in the nose as well as some smoke and hints of vanilla sweetness.

The taste is also very earthy with lots of peat and smoke as well. There is some chocolate malts underlying things but they're definitely in the background with the boozy peat taste dominating throughout.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin for me with very little carbonation.

This was an OK beer but you better like peat and smoke if you're going to try it. I've had better Paradox brews.

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Photo of BrewSomerville
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured at about 18 or 19C into a thistle/tulip glass. Best b4 date: 22/12/08.

The AROMA is very peaty & earthy. There is a ... sour smelling smoke aroma (if an aroma can be sour). There is more peat in the nose of this Beer than in most Scotches that I have tasted, with the exception of Lagavulin and maybe a couple of others.

In my glass this Beer LOOKS onyx black. It produces a medium sized beige head. Medium to low head retention. Some lace is left clinging to the sides of my glass.

The FLAVOUR is dominated by the smoke & peat. There is a hint of dark chocolate trying to fight through the smoke & earthy peat. The smoke is acrid & sour, which sounds terrible, but I sort-of like it as it provides some balance to what I believe would otherwise (assumption) be sweet malt flavours (I'm not picking up much hops). The high alcohol percentage is well hidden.

MOUTHFEEL is on the heavier side of medium bodied. The carbonation is just right, providing enough effervescence to liven things up without being too fizzy.

Overall, I think that this is a very unique Beer & quite interesting. It is not overly complex as the smoke & peat truly dominate, leaving little room for much else. I do like it and would recommend to others that they try it.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from River's Bend.

Poured a black color with a moderate frothy brown head that mostly lasted and produced fair lacing.

Good roasted malt and sweet woody aroma.

Full body with a smooth texture.

Complex peat stout flavor with a smooth woody finish.

Good balanced earthy stout.

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Photo of hopdog
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired in trade. Labeled BB 22/12/08.

Poured a dark black color with brown edges and a small sized off white head. Aromas of smoke, plastic, earthy, and peaty. Tastes of dirt, earthy, smoke, ashtray, chocolate, and some caramel. Light alcohol in the finish.

Notes from: 3/5/08

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Photo of markaberrant
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - jet black, creamy tan head, clingy lace

S - peat/phenolic/metallic/medicinal... call it whatever you want, it is not overly pleasing. Not much "stout"

T - there is some malt sweetness and roast, but I find same character in the aroma dominates

M - very warm alcohol, low carbonation, light body, borderline watery, but has some creaminess.

D - somewhat interesting, but a little rough around the edges.

I applaud Brewdog for trying something unique, but I'm not sure they nailed it with batch 008. I just don't find the peat character all that appealing in this one, and I think the stout base could use more body and smoother alcohol.

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Photo of SirChugsAlot
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this one pours a pitch black coal color with minimal to no head. A few sparse bubbles. No lacing.

Really smokey with chocolate and malts

the taste is smokey, almost burnt with hints of chocolate

very little carbonation and a short aftertaste. Semi-smooth.

This hides the 10% abv pretty well it's just not that yummy IMO.

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Photo of Douglas88
3.45/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle thanks to IrishBoy, thanks Richard. Pours a dark brown, almost black color with an initially medium beige head that goes down pretty quick. The aroma is very powerful;loads of peat, smoked venison, wet earth, and some vanilla. The flavor is similar; a large vanilla and woody profile mixed with the powerful burnt and smoke qualities. The finish is like someone threw the ashes form a peat fire into my mouth, very dry. I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. As I have mentioned before BrewDog is doing exactly what I love about craft beer; they are taking local skills and ingredients and using them to produce world class and unique beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with no more than a few random bubbles.

Smell: Dark maltiness with a fair amount of chocolate, then it's a super-duper intense smokey peat scent that borders on smelling of medical grade rubber.

Taste: Chocolatey dark malts and again there's that knee-buckling peat character followed by a rather pronounce alcohol presence and a drying ashiness. Dash of table salt. Good grief! This is one of those beers that leaves you looking for a glass of cool, refreshing water.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-low carbonation.

Drinkability: Preferred the 005 by far as this was more than a little overblown on the peat for me.

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Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown, but appears black in the glass. Nose dominated by single malt scotch, with hints of malt nuances. Flavor is terrifically complex, with hints of fudge, cocoa, chocolate and raspberry, combined with the barrel elements of peat and toasted wood. It has a lot of depth and the finish seems to go on and on. Really outstanding now, but young, give it a year or two and it could be sublime.

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Photo of mdm46410
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle and served in a snifter. This stout poured a near black with some ruby/mahogany highlights and a thin head of large, filmy bubbles that lingered for a bit. No lace. The aroma of the beer was made up of strong, smokey, peat, scotch/alcohol, along with some roasty chocolate managing to sneek in. The flavor included chocolate, charred malt, campfire, peat...all pulled nicely together by a smooth, lasting scotch note. The mouthfeel was full-bodied with little carbonation. It felt a bit weak and lifeless. The scotch cask added a nice change of pace to the flavor, but then again, I could be suffering from bourbon barrel burnout.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle, Batch 008, Best before 6/6/2009. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with a small tan head. Head retention is low, lacing is OK. The aroma is scotch, peat, wood, and chocolate. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's a strong smoke and burnt wood taste too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little thinner than I like my stouts to be, but you can tell there's some substance to this brew. Carbonation is low, and it's nice and slick. Drinkability is good, it is very smooth and it goes down easy. I really didn't know what to expect from this beer at first. It took me more than a few sips to decide whether I liked it or not. But the longer I drank it, it grew on me and I did enjoy it. If you like barrel aged and/or smoky beers, then you should give this one a try. I'd buy this again.

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Photo of mentor
2.42/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Took a chance on a $10 12 oz bottle and got burned. Pours a thin layer of brown head over a pitch liquid. Smells alcohol strong with some rubbing character. Chocolate, vegetal. Earthy tannic onions smoke.

Tastes smoky, alcohol clean, dry wood. Thin and simple. Disappoint for $10. Chocolate, low esters, and no hops. Tannins are low, little wood character and not alot of depth or complexity overall. Md thick body. Cream, but thin in the mouth when sloshed around.

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BrewDog Paradox Islay (Batch 008) - Bowmore 1987 from BrewDog
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 55 ratings