BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016) | BrewDog

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BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016)BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016)

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 Phyl21ca on 12-21-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 185 | Ratings: 279
Photo of jbphoto88
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours black with yellow highlights. Not much light gets through this thick looking brew. The head is nonexistent and very unimpressive.

The nose reveals more stout scents then the isle of arran whiskey barrel nose. Deep roasted grains with dark raisins and plums. There is a faint scent of the barrel aging but it is just a soft touch of earthy vanilla.

The taste has a heavy dose of dark molasses and caramelized grains. Very sweet with a nice touch of vanilla bean. But the flavor falls a little flat in my book. For an imperial stout I feel like the flavors are there but just too muted. I also wish there was more of a presence from the whiskey barrel aging. While it's there slightly, it really could be more smokey and woody.

Mouthfeel is a little flat also. The carbonation is very fine and makes the beer very slick and soft on the tongue. It's missing the nice acidic bite that CO2 adds as well as a sizzle from the bubbles. All in all a let down of a beer. I like brewdog and the innovation/ experimentation they push, but this one is off the mark. It's not even a satisfying imperial stout and way too expensive for what it is.

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Photo of radioscooter
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a lonely bottle of this at Brew Brothers in Pittsburgh. Was inspired to try it after watching a New Brew Thursday special that featured their Penguin. This is as close as I could get right now. :)

Jet black with red trimming only on the very bottom of the glass. Strange, soapy MINIMAL head after a fairly aggressive pour. It just sits there and doesn't break up. A swirl to oxidize brings only a little more suds.

Smell is ass-kicking whisky aroma, some slight dark toffee hints. I'm getting excited as I let it warm.

Paired with cheddar and half a Percocet. Not really! (No's prescription, I strained my back. Aaand the doctor said to wash it down with Arran whisky aged imperial stout)

Taste is so mild it's ridiculous. In a good way. I was worried this would be one of those whisky-barrel beers that the aging overpowers the beer to the extent where you can maybe have one with a fire and hunting dogs at your side on a winter's day on the moor, but no - this is a beautifully balanced ale that you could drink all night. The whisky aroma is more powerful than the taste. Vanilla, malt, toffee, caramel, slight coffee, slightly boozy taste. This is a medium heavy - more of a double than an imp. stout.

VERY drinkable. Low carbonation (as the lack of head would indicate) but it doesn't feel treacly like an old ale. Very nice. The finish is phenomenal and brings a bit of dry vanilla.

I can't overstate how ridiculously accessible and drinkable this is. I'm going back tomorrow to buy the rest of their stock.

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Photo of mulder1010
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330 ML poured into a tulip. Batch 16 9-8-15 expiration date.

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled black. Aggressive pour got a four finger head that quickly went bye bye and disappeared to about one finger of light chocolate. No real head retention to this at all, or lacing. Head does stay at one finger, so that is good.

S-- Chocolate milk, coffee, vanilla, and some fruity tones with this. First got pear and orange before it went to coffee and chocolate. There is some whisky in the nose but not much. Lighter smelling Imperial stout.

T-- Whisky, peat, chocolate, coffee and burnt barley and malts. Everything thrown in the campfire.

M-- Whisky dominated feel. Lots of peat and whisky in the feel but very light. Get some coffee in the mid palate and a touch of chocolate but mostly whisky and wood. ABV is more obvious in the mouth than anyplace else. Heavy feel and lower medium carbonation.

D-- I dig this. Quite good. Like the strong peat notes to this and the whisky. ABV gets more noticeable as you drink on but has a lot of flavors and the flavors do last a while. Good BA beer for the ABV level and gets bigger as you drink onwards but not to the point where have to stop. Sipper and worth cellaring.


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Photo of Gosox8787
3.77/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz bottle with a bottled on date of 08.08.08. Poured into a Smuttynose tulip glass and served at room temperature.

Appearance: Pitch black in color with some bubbles, but not much, even after an aggressive pour. No retention at all.

Aroma: I'm getting a lot of the qualities of whiskey here. Caramel, molasses, peat, and a touch of smoke. Not a lot of qualities I would associate with a stout. The whiskey is certainly more prominent with this much age on it.

Taste: Molasses, smoked peat and the slightest touch of dark chocolate, but its a bit hidden by a burnt character here. Again, the whiskey is dominant and nice, but the lack of any stout qualities really hurt the depth. Smooth and clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Surprisngly thin, and lacking carbonation. Definitely the weakest element of this beer.

Drinkability: For a 10% ABV whiskey brew, this is smooth and goes down easy. At this price, one bottle is more than enough though.

Overall, a nice whiskey beer, but too often teh whiskey overpowers and the stout qualities underwhlem. Some balancing aspects of dark chocolate and vanilla really would have made this so much better.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.42/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Leura Cellars, and drunk with @tobeerornottobe and @FakeCousinAndrew.

Pours a mildly thick, but mildly not-thich-at-all brown black, certainly clear at the edges, but with a depth in the body. Head is fine and tight to begin with, but turns relatively cloudy and crusty after a while, sticking in film and large bubbles to the surface of the beer. Lacing is decent, leaving some frothy suds on the side. Looks decent, but not particularly enticing.

Nose is dark and rather astringent, with some peaty notes and a faint peppery spice. The booze is rather prevalent, almost giving an eye-watering sharpness that strikes tears in my eyes. Potent.

Taste is rather black, with a heavy ashy character throughout, which mingles with the heavy boozy character to leave it very astringent and unapproachable. Some boozy sweetness, but whatever leavening character it lends, it also adds more heaviness with the alcohol burn. Feel is light in parts, but burning with booze as well.

Phew. It's a powerful beer, but not necessarily a particularly enjoyable one. It's heavy, boozy and sharp, but certainly missing some complexity and some smoothness. Not an easy beer for me.

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Photo of WhiteOak
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark cola brown with a mohogany edge in the light. Nearly nothing of a tan head. Even a vigorous pour could not coax up some foam.

S- Roasted malt, soy sauce, lots of peat, figs, dates, raisins. Faint coconut & caramel. An initial dominant rusty nail smell blew right off within two minutes.

T- Sweet roasted malt, with carob-coated raisins and carob-coated almonds. Sweet dark chewy raisinated fruits. Thankfully lacking bitterness. Nice.

M- Super smooth, there was not a sharp corner to be found here. I initially thought this Paradox was on the thin side, but it filled out quite nicely after all.

D- Very drinkable for the type & ABV, which was fully imperceptible.

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Photo of dgilks
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a dark, dark brown with black notes. There's a moderate, tight tan head.

Alcoholic, lightly smoky, caramel notes, mild lemon and fruit.

Smooth chocolate and coffee with sharp smoke and alcohol notes. Sweet caramel and quite earthy. Good.

Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Fine.

A strong, powerful expression of the barrel aged stout. This pushes the smokey notes of whisky ahead of the caramel sweetness of whiskey and is a nice change.

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Photo of laituegonflable
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown colour - black everywhere except a faint murky murmur of colour at the bottom, dark mahogany letting a sliver of light through. Head is ochre, nice and dense and generous when poured, sinks very quickly to leave a thin mocha film and some wonderful trails of lace behind. If head retained just a smidgeon better...

Smell is very nicely strong and roasty. Lots of sweet dark chocolate with a good hearty belt of caramel as well. Some star anise and black pepper aroma, but without spice intensity. Whiskey is nicely balanced with the rich dark sweetness. Gives it a nutty character with a faint dark berry note on there as well. Pepperberry, musk and some fresh woody notes. Just wonderful.

Taste is quite strong, and strong throughout the palate, although most pronounced on the back. Lots of chocolate and rich cocoa on the assault, develops lovely complexities towards the mid-palate with black pepper, cloves, cranberries and marzipan all getting a look-in. By late-mid the roastiness takes over and gives it all an espresso bitterness. It never gets that full roasty intensity though, I think because the woody oak notes cut it off and take over the finish. Touch of vanilla and more marzipan, with a healthy boozey warmth as it goes down.

Leaves a little raw, with a noticeable burn and sizzle from the carbonation. A bit of a weak spot, but just a bit.

Tastes great, just flags slightly with that heat on the finish. Mostly a cracking beer and very enjoyable drinking. The best I've had from BrewDog.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.59/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz into bells tulip.

A- Large, thin bubbles that settle quickly. Not the best looking head out there. Base is black as all hell.

S- Whisky out the gates, some nice toasty/roasty malts as well. This one's gonna be good.

T- The imperial stout has subsided and this beer is all about the whisky. Great flavors here, nice and smoky, a bit of peat, not too much. I think this one would have been interesting to try fresh. I think most of the flavors have mellowed a bit.

M- Medium heft, a bit thinner than I'd care for, low carbonation.

D- Moderately high. I think this is a very good beer, but the lighter body could have been beefed up a bit. Enjoyable, though. Good stuff.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

0.33l bottle.
Pours almost black and opaque with a tan head larger than heads of other BrewDog's brews. Coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts in aroma, surprisingly, no phenolic hints at all in comparison with Smokehead and Speyside. Taste is full-bodied, roasted malt, bitter chocolate, alcohol is well-hidden, carbonation is low. It seems to be worse than 2 other Paradoxes I've drunk, but anyway, worthwhile.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Eulogy, Philly, PA

Only had a sampler of this on tap, but I do have a bottle at home, so this review is kind of preliminary.

A: Dark brown to black color, slight tan head.

S: Roasty malts, weak coffee.

T: Roasty malts with weak coffee and chocolate. Subtle dried fruits. A little bit of bitterness and a bit of alcohol taste.

M: Moderately smooth with some edge from the alcohol, like it's spiked with whiskey.

D: Moderately drinkable; probably wouldn't order more than one.

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Photo of NefariousR
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. glass bottle into a pint glass. Label states that it was bottled on 08/08/08.

A - Deep black with ruby edges. Very thin head that doesn't stick around.

S - Malt, milk chocolate, dark fruit.

T - Follows-through from what the scent suggested. There's just a hint of roast and maybe even a little peat.

M - Fairly thin with little carbonation. Alcohol warms the throat.

D - Moderately drinkable with strong flavors. It actually probably has more in common flavorwise with the whisky than with a typical imperial stout. Interesting, but probably wouldn't buy again given the high price point ($11.99 for 11.2 oz. bottle).

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Photo of smakawhat
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from cask in to a small snifter.

The appearance is of a dark black stout... what's new there with foamy soapy light brown chestnut bubbles that have good retention. Not going anywhere. Upon finish the beer there is virtually no lacing.

Taste consists of a giant molasses front, huge molasses smell on this beer... there is also a pleasant balance of malt, then giving way to a thick faint milk chocolate. There are sometimes occasional anisette whiffs as well.

Upon quaffing, the viewer is reward with a slightly syrupy high body molasses concoction that transforms into chocolate milk viscosity and flavor. Enter milkshake territory especially upon chomping of tasty bubbles.

Afterfinish is a big texture of coating velvet.. Extremely velvet characteristic in finish and feel leaving a cigar smoke and/or cigarette smoke on the palate.

If this is your thing drinkability is high.

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Photo of glid02
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours black with a 1.5-finger brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust roasted malts with mild amounts of char and milder amounts of dark fruit - plums mostly. Also present is a nice oaken smokiness that intensifies as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Large amounts of deeply roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of smokiness and smaller amounts of peat. Midway through the sip hints of unsweetened chocolate and dark fruit flavors make a brief appearance. Very mild amounts of charred wood flavors come into play near the end of the sip before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a smooth thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I'm beginning to think that it's tough to make a good scotch-barrel-aged stout with anything other than a scotch that's on the lighter side of things (such as Macallan). I think that barleywines, scotch ales, and perhaps even brown ales would benefit more from big and peaty scotch influences. That being said, this is still an interesting (if pricy) series that's worth a shot.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice barrel aged stout with a pleasing and accessible whisky sense.

Presentation: 330 ml brown capped bottle. Gold lettering over black background highlighting the BrewDog logo and the name of the brew. Side narratives go over the general history of the brewery, also detail of the whisky distillery, main ingredients, and a longer overview of the intent, characteristics and serving recommendations. Shows batch number (16), best before date (19/03/15), and Alc. by Vol. (10%)

A - Black pour with very dark brown edges, short head with poor retention, but a fair thin surface memory that struggles to leave a touch of lacing.

S - Roasted nose with a nice boozy touch, soft whisky sense, a fruity sense woven back to the roasted profile and the scotch.

T - Malty sense with a nicely integrated whisky range. Roasted malt, chocolate, dash of coffee, touch of dark dried fruits again, raisins, prunes...

M - Medium-full body with low, minimal carbonation, smooth finish with a nicely integrated boozy touch.

D - This flows very well, slightly standard and somewhat gentle regarding the whisky barrel aging bracket but quite pleasing.

Notes: I remember having had it on cask too, and while not blown away it sure felt to be on quite a higher league that this bottled offering. Ginger feel of Arran malts? Maybe, but I did not quite sense it...

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Photo of Patrick999
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a goblet. Black with hint of light penetration, foam there but spotty. Swirls up well though.

Aroma is very woody. This one doesn't smell as dark fruity and/or smoky as some of the other Paradoxes. Lot of oak barrel.

Likewise in the taste, not as smoky as some of the Paradoxes can be, but the whisk is definitely apparent. The base beer isn't really up to the task of matching up with the strong Arran whiskey here.

Drinkable and not bad at all, especially if you like a good Scotch, but to get this up to the next level, the base beer needs to not be so flimsy and wimpy.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran - Batch 016 - best before 8/8/10.

The beer pours a flat black into the glass with a thin ring around the surface. The color is a clear, dark brown around the edges. No lacing.

The aroma is earthy with notes of peat, smoke, roasted malt, chocolate, toffee and nuts (pistachio).

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is oily and slick on the palate. The flavor is malty with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, smoke and nuts. Some dark fruit sweetness is also present. Towards the end some vanilla and oak appear. It finishes dry with some peat and raisins lingering on the palate.

This is a quite drinkable beer with an interesting combination of flavor.

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Photo of liddytime
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to the guys at Gary's Beverages in Portsmouth, NH for tracking this one down!

Poured into a stout glass from an 11.2 oz bottle dated 8/8/08.

Although this Paradox is billed as an imperial stout, it actually looks more like a dopplebock in the glass. It is a dark, mahogany, rust color and not jet, black, opaque as I would expect from an imperial stout.

The aroma is rum, chocolate covered almonds, burnt sugar and maybe a faint hint of whiskey and oak.

My first impression upon tasting is that it is a bit thinner than I would expect. The alcohol definitely hits you up front! BOOM! There is a lot of burnt, roastiness happening here. Vanilla, rum, raisins, maple syrup and more whiskey and oak in the taste than in the aroma. Again, it just doesn't have the body or mouthfeel to back up all the flavors and alcohol.

I was expecting a little more from this one. Probably not a repeat for the price.

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.29/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Body is quite dark with a burnt red hue when held up to light. A thin framework of bubbles float across the top and leave some light lacing.

Rich vanilla, dark chocolate, sweet malts, cherry, grapes, fig and honey on the nose. Faint alcohol. Really like the honey glazed fruits. Good complexity in the aroma.

Alcohol infused fruits fermented in vanilla rich oak barrels wash across the tongue. A touch of peat and fig. The barrels come through nicely without being overbearing. Dark roasted malts hold everything together.

Mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation. Some warming alcohol. I've had this beer with more carbonation before, which I think made it more enjoyable, even though this is still quite good.

A tasty sipper. Lots of interesting flavors going on and a complex nose that is quite enjoyable. It seems that the Paradox series is better fresh than aged, since I've had them both ways. Worth seeking out if they make it again.

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Photo of bobsy
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At the James Watt hosted Brewdog dinner at Beerbistro. This version of Paradox is aged in Isle of Arran whiskey barrels, and takes on a wonderful character as a result.

Pitch black pour, with deep brown at the edges and a filmy off-white head that left a few spots of lace. An intense peat and smoke aroma greets the nose and compliments the roasted coffee notes perfectly. Big whiskey notes in the flavour, with some hints of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Interesting barrel character, and the quality of the alcohol really shows. Medium, almost slick body, with a smooth carbonation. Nicely done!

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Photo of pastradul
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into a stone irs tulip.

Poured some what rough. Produced a small thin mocha head that left very quick.

the apperance is a dark dark brown. not as black as I would like it to be.

the aroma is delish... lots of smooth vanilla, oak and dark malt as well as a hint of booze.

the taste is similar. very well rounded and big with out being to in your face. Lots of vanilla, oak, mild whiskey in the back of the mouth. Smooth dark semi bitter malt in the mid palate.

Overall I feel this is a great ba beer. not to over the top by any means... based on the flavor I would call it sessionable. But being 10%... not exactly sessionable.

thumbs up to BrewDog dudes on this one!

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Photo of oberon
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter jet black like an oil slick,no head to speak of.Candied fruit and some vanilla in the nose along with some light burnt notes,somewhat mellow but nice.Mellow is a good word to describe the feel,not much carbonation and its full,quite nice.Flavors of spiced cherries,vanilla,mild char,and sweet alcohol,its pretty mild and nice to sip on.I was hesitant to try this but I liked it.

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Photo of msmezher
5/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Paradox by Brew Dog is a beer I've been holding off on for quite a while. It's been available at a liquor store near my apartment and at another near my parent's house. Paradox is now my favorite beer by Brew Dog, and it wasn't a hard sell. Aging something in Scotch barrels is about as good as it gets. Mine poured with nearly no head, which I was expecting for an aged beer with a high ABV. Sweet tastes of prunes, raisins, and maybe a hint of apple were present, but the beer was most strongly flavored as an Imperial Stout, with a smokey, oaky finish that felt perfect in the mouth, and could be fully appreciated by letting it roll to the back of the mouth.

I bought this bottle because it was the last one available at Farmer's Harvest in Huntington Beach, and my only remorse is that there isn't another one for me to buy tomorrow. Phenomenal.

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Photo of soulgrowl
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Espresso black with a crop of brown sugar meringue foam. Not great retention, but not bad either, considering the strength. Lovely nose dominated by vanilla and molasses, with shades of soy sauce, wood smoke, chicory, grapefrruit, coffee, prunes, and deep, dark chocolate. The flavor is similarly a glorious layer cake of Scotch on Stout, chocolate on vanilla, brown sugar on peat, bitter orange on burnt toast, rum on raisins, cacao on coffee. Bitter and raw, yet somehow smooth - the rare barrel-aged stout where the barrel seems integral and not tangential. A lovely brew - unbelievable that this is the same base beer that also became the undrinkable abomination of Paradox Smokehead.

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Photo of charlieos
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Decent (for the style) head that dissipates quickly.

S - I've been impressed here by brew dog with this and the springbank beer I had. Very strong, bright taste which is very true to the scotch. This beer smelled very immediately different than the springbank. Much more spice.

T - Again, very true to the scotch. nice peaty profile mixed with spices definitely separates this from other whisky aged stouts I've had.

M - Kinda odd here, bit more carbonated than I would have liked. Kinda thin.

D - Quite drinkable. Less a "dessert" beer feel, not as sweat and heavy and creamy.

Overall, a good beer. If you wanted to give paradox a shot, this would be a good once since the scotch really shines.

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BrewDog Paradox Isle Of Arran (Batch 016) from BrewDog
3.9 out of 5 based on 279 ratings.
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