BrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - Smokehead

BrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - Smokehead
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Stout - American Imperial
3.57 | pDev: 24.09%
Scotland, United Kingdom
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
BrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - Smokehead
Reviews: 30 | Ratings: 42 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by scruffwhor:
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scruffwhor from Illinois

2.7/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Batch 010. Best before date 12/12/09.

Pours a thick, brownie brown colro with some bloody garnet highlights. No head or foam. Thick, dark, and syrupy chocolate. This thins out a little with some alcoholic black walnut. The taste is a watered down, nutty chocolate with a cheap alcohol an hard water aftertaste. Alcoholic and metallic tinge. Maybe some peety smoke at the finished that gets mixed with, then overpowered by the alcohol. Definitely a sippr, but hard to finish my 11.2 oz. bottle.

Mar 04, 2009
More User Reviews:
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SilentSabre from North Dakota

3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured up nice and dark, even though light still passes through around the edges when held up to a lamp. A rather assertive pour yielded only a moderate head of sand coloured foam which faded away in about 60 seconds.
Smell is terrific! Strong scotch whisky aroma with rich chocolate and damp, freshly sawn hickory. A faint coffee aroma is hiding deep down, but the whisky and wood, followed by the chocolate are most assertive.
Coffee nuances are much stronger in the flavour. There are also dark malts, and of course, the whisky, which is a bit assertive. There is no doubt in mind that this is anything less than a 10% brew.
The mouthfeel is rich and heavy; just where it *should* be in a stout such as this, in my opinion.
As far as drinkability goes, I'd say one of these would be plenty. It's a terrific stout and wonderfully crafted, but it's pretty strong.
A solid offering from BrewDog!

Aug 01, 2009
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BuckeyeNation from Iowa

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Polished onyx with rust and russet highlights along the bottom edge of the glass. The pale caramel colored head is small despite a vigorous pour, reaching just one finger at its apex. Very little lace isn't surprising for a barrel-aged stout with a double digit ABV.

The aroma is nice, although it doesn't have as much whisky character as expected. Each sniff delivers dark chocolate, dark caramel and a hint of cold coffee. Maybe these barrels weren't as leaky as some of the others.

Batch 010 is roughly the same level of quality as the rest of the Paradox series of stouts. That isn't surprising since the only difference, as far as I can tell, is the particular spirits that formerly occupied the barrels used for aging.

Despite a serious shortage of malt, the beer has the power that only a 10.0% ABV can provide. A snifter and sips is definitely the way to go. As in the nose, the flavor isn't as whisky-soaked as I recall. That said, it's becoming more so as the beer gains a few degrees.

Specifics include dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, anise seed, a faint dark fruitiness, and the iodine-like seaweed quality that Scotch lovers crave. If that doesn't sound very good to you, then stick with American double stouts and Russian Imperials. There are plenty of good-great ones out there.

The mouthfeel had a lock on an average score... until the past few ounces. It's too light, but manages to firm up just enough to avoid being disappointing. At least it isn't fizzy. More malt please.

Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) is good stuff if you love both big stouts and Scotch whisky. I'm more than content to keep drinking 'good stuff' from BrewDog Ltd (ridiculous prices notwithstanding), but I'm still waiting for that lightning bolt that heralds the arrival of something world-class from these blokes.

Nov 30, 2009
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mynie from Maryland

1.56/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On tap at the Dark Lord Day. There were many beers that I sampled, but I only felt compelled to take review notes for a few of them.

This beer was messed up. Not in a "whoa that's wild!" way, neither. In a "something bad happened during fermentation" way. I was amazed to see that this was only 10% ABV, because its harsh nodes of gasoline made me think that maybe it was something along the lines of Tactical Nuclear Penguin and was therefore supposed to taste genuinely dangerous.

But along with the gas nodes, you had smoke nodes. But you know how most smoked beers resemble smoked meat or cheese? This smelled like smoke, alright, only like the smoke that comes off a burning plastic bag, like the kind of thing you shouldn't inhale without wearing a mask, like after drinking too much of this you're no longer legally allowed to donate blood.

Seriously, some tastes and aromas are viscerally, chemically repellant. This is a survival mechanism, your body's way of telling you to not put some things into it. Paradox Smoke is an incredible melange of several such nodes.

Apr 30, 2012
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hopdog from Pennsylvania

3.95/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle. Batch 10 BB 01/01/10.

Poured a dark brown color with red edges and an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of wood, chocolate, a little earthy, roast, raisins, and some vanilla. Tastes of whiskey, vanilla, wood, chocolate, and dark fruits. Medium alcohol in the finish.

Notes from: 8/17/08

Dec 23, 2008
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nickfl from Florida

3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small, half finger head of light brown foam on dark brown body with chestnut highlights. The loose bubbles dissipate rapidly and leave little lace.

S - A rich, nutty aroma of chocolate and espresso. Some caramel and molasses as well as a bit of boozy smoke.

T - Creamy chocolate up front with a strong phenolic note of smoke and roast grain quickly appearing to cut through. Astringent, grassy hop bitterness washes over the palate in the middle and highlights the spicy, increasingly medicinal phenolic notes. Finishes with a black coffee roast character that imparts significant malt bitterness. Lingering phenols and astringency with just a hint of the chocolate and boozy smoke from the aroma.

M - Medium body, low carbonation, and a relatively dry finish.

D - This is my second beer from Brewdog's Paradox series, and I am shocked at how different it is from the first (the other was a batch 008 Islay). This beer has a rich, malty aroma with a very nice infusion of moderately smoky Scotch character; darker and more nutty than the Islay, but comparably enjoyable and complex. Unfortunately, the flavor is not nearly so nice and it is where this beer really begins to fall apart. It is oddly thin and dry with a strong astringency and phenolic character throughout. This is a contrast to the sweet caramel and smoky peat that dominated in the Islay. It has a definite Scotch note, but it is too woody and sour for my taste and it really doesn't seem to bring out the best in the base beer. One might be inclined to say that the Paradox beers are hit and miss, which they are, but I think the more important lesson to take away from the experience is just how important barrel selection is when aging beer in spirit barrels. There is a stark contrast between the beer aged in the Bowmore cask and the beer aged in a Smokehead cask and it shows that to get the most out of the barrel aging process, the brewer must be careful in selecting the ideal barrel. I would expect that this is as true of Bourbon barrels and Brandy casks as it is of Scotch.

Mar 28, 2010
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brdc from Wisconsin

3.89/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Small capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Nearly pitch black, small, short lasting tan head, minimal lacing.
Aroma is roasted grains, lightly, some chocolate, coffee, and a well balanced contribution from vanilla, whisky and wood notes.
It is unfortunately a bit thin for an imperial stout, but the flavors are well blended together, and quite nice, with bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and whisky.
A little bit more body, and a better presentation would make this a stellar beer. Good as it is, but in this price range, not worth it.

Dec 30, 2010
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Patrick999 from Florida

3.47/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Yup, this is Batch 010. Looks the same as the earlier batch, though - pretty dark, not a hell of a lot of foam. Poured into a goblet.

Smells a little more boozy than the early batch, no surprise there since this is younger. Vanilla and the Scotch are the main players here. Good, but not a ton from the base beer.

Definitely hotter in the taste than the older batch I'd tried. More whisk, too - vanilla and roast coffee elements not as well integrated, I think. Big on the whiskey to the extent that the underlying beer pretty much goes unnoticed. As with the earlier Speyside batch, the whiskey is awesome, but the actual beer needs some work.

Feel is really thin. It's not entirely flat, but damn is it thin. I understand it not being terribly carbonated, but it could still have some more body than this.

That said, if you like the idea of a good whiskey, it's pretty drinkable. The whiskey gets an A+, the beer a C-.

Aug 02, 2009
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potownbill from New York

2.54/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Very Dark brown beer with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small amount of lacing.
Smell: First impression is the smell of burning brakes from a truck going down a steep incline.
Taste: Heavy smoked oak, like the inside of a newly charred whiskey barrel. Aftertaste lingers for a long time.
Mouthfeel: Little carbonation, but smooth.
Overall: Not a drainpour, but would not even be considered for a second chance.

Apr 10, 2011
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Cyberkedi from Georgia

3.98/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep sable with a decent but not too persistent tan head. Aroma is strong, oily and smoky, with undertones of molasses and unsweetened chocolate. Flavor is like burnt unsweet chocolate with a hint of coffee and a trace of molasses, subtly sweet and fairly but not nastily bitter. Texture is smooth, not as thick or heavy as most stouts I have tried, and has a strong alcohol bite, perhaps from the whisky barrel in which it was aged.

May 30, 2009
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t0rin0 from California

4/5  rDev +12%

Sep 02, 2012
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avalon07 from South Carolina

3.12/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a very thick texture. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head, but that quickly dissipated. Not much lacing at all.

S: Once you open the bottle the whiskey smell hits you. It dominates the aroma, but there are traces of malt and coffee.

T: Tasted of malt, whiskey, and some coffee in the finish, but mainly this is a thin, watery beer with not much character. Very average.

M: An OK amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A decidedly average beer.

Oct 09, 2010
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JAHMUR from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +26.1%

Nov 18, 2011
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mattmarka1 from Minnesota

3/5  rDev -16%

Jan 13, 2014
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jaydoc from Kansas

3.5/5  rDev -2%

Oct 31, 2013
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winegourmet76 from Texas

4/5  rDev +12%

Nov 23, 2011
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GRG1313 from California

4/5  rDev +12%

Apr 27, 2013
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mdwalsh from Iowa

4.52/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I love working at a liqour store, had this for free.

A: Reddish brown/black. No active carbonation, no head. Looks like a well aged stout should.

S: Roasted malt, some cherry and other dark fruits. A little whiskey is evident. Yum.

T: Warm tasting. Some very mild roasted game tastes. A little bitter. Cooked fruit for sure. A definte whiskey after taste.

Mouthfeel is too light.

Nov 12, 2009
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chicagobeerriot from Illinois

1.6/5  rDev -55.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I should start by saying that I enjoy a good whisky. The smoky flavor that comes from peat is something that I really enjoy. I also like smoky beers as long as there is some balance and complexity to it. Hopefully, that information provides some context when I review this unspeakable error of a beer.

The problems with Smokehead are evident before you take your first sip. It appears thin and clouded in the glass and the wall of smoke hits you before you even approach the rim with your nose. No other smells are allowed to shine. There is no complexity or subtlety here. Just an unrestrained wave of peat smoke.

Things get worse once you raise the glass to your lips. The smoke is not just overwhelming. It has an astringent chemical quality that made me wince. The mouthfeel is thin and no other stout flavors are allowed any space on the palate. No chocolate. No coffee. No anise. Nothing. It tastes like a five-alarm fire blazed through Brewdog's facility and - rather than accept their losses -- they sold the charred remains to the unsuspecting public.

I've had some of the whisky barrel aged beers that Brewdog has to offer and some are not bad. This, on the other hand, is a near-instant drainpour.

Jul 03, 2011
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robhunta from Maine

3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - one finger of tan brown foam, dissipate to a nice thin lacing covering the top of the beer. A black/dark brown color.

s - strong alcohol aromas, smokey.

T - alcohol, dark malt, woody, smokey flavor. nice complexity, a bit of coffee at the finish. the more I drink it the more i like it.

M - nice smooth, medium body, dryness.

D - at first i wasnt sure if i could finish the whole bottle, but halfway through it became quite drinkable I think partly due to the ABV and also because it took a bit for my palate to adjust to the very strong flavors.

Should go well with my buffalo wings that I'm about to pull out of the oven during the next commercial break of the SuperBowl...

Feb 06, 2011
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TMoney2591 from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to monsterzero for this bottle!

At VDubb's behest, I dive into another Paradox batch. This one, like the others, pours a straight obsidian, with a chapeau of short-lived brown bubbles floating on top. The nose has a strong whiskey bent, along with the necessary oak; these are joined by lesser notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, a touch of smoke, and some brown sugar suspended in molasses. "How very nice!" my overtly proper (and apparently slightly effeminate) 'strils proclaim. The taste mirrors the smell, though the smoke lends itself more toward a blackened biscuit flavor. Like the other Paradoxes, this is a mighty tasty barrel-aged brew. The body is a firm heavy, with barely any carbonation and a smooth, nearly chewy feel. Another bit o' barrel-aged stouty goodness from those wacky Scots.

Aug 16, 2010
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DoctorB2B from Virginia

5/5  rDev +40.1%

Nov 19, 2011
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haddon from Kentucky

3.37/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

not off to a good start. the beer level barely made it to the neck of the bottle (>12 oz.) and no carbonation was released when I popped the cap.

dark cola color with no head and no lacing.

for a stout aged in scotch barrels, not much on the nose. malts, molasses, smoke & faint scotch. everything seems light. hope things improve or this was a $10 flop!

starts with dark chocolate, malts and then fades to burnt wood & peat. ends with bitter hops and scotch to give a not bad aftertaste. best part of the beer.

light body (almost watery) that's low on carbonation. again, strange for a very dark stout aged in scotch barrels.

drinkable? not really. glad I tried it? yes but would never go back to it for such a high price point. novel at best.

Dec 27, 2010
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TheHoppiest from Ohio

3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap as a cask-conditioned ale at the Beer Engine in Lakewood on 4/10/10.

Served warm in a snifter, this brew is black as night with a brown, bubbly head.

Smells of burnt firewood -- no, really, like burnt firewood, the same smell you smell on your clothes after hanging around a fire pit all night. How did they capture that smell in a beer?

Tastes like liquid smoke. It wouldn't surprise me if there was ash in here. Beyond the smokiness, there is faint malt smell, and enough hops to end it with some bitterness.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and rich.

Drinkable? Well, I finished it, and am glad I had it, especially on tap from a cask, as it seems to be a rare presentation for this beer. Would I have it again? It is expensive on tap or from the bottle, plus it is a little much. As such, I don't see me getting this again,

Sep 05, 2010
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ThaCreep from Belgium

2.29/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottle and label high quality, gold and black. Black dark. Strong and persistent foam. On the nose, it smells the smoke and acrylic paint.

In the mouth, such as Tokyo *, in the same style and in the same brewery, it is difficult to perceive that it is an imperial stout because not thick, not strength, not roasted malt. No traces of whiskey either, so it makes sense to marinate. Finally, it was just a taste of the cigarette in the mouth and it's not really appetizing. The finish is reminiscent of barbecue ash and can be persistent, which suggests that foul taste in the throat.

Okay, that's unique in taste but should not exaggerate by suggesting anything like taste. To drink this drink as much juice banging a cigarette ash. Then where is the stout apart in color?

Nov 09, 2011
BrewDog Paradox Speyside (Batch 010) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 42 ratings