BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
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Stout - American Imperial
3.77 | pDev: 19.36%
Scotland, United Kingdom
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
Notes: Identical to Batch 010 as the casks were re-used.
Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 263 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheBrewo
TheBrewo from New York

3.36/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

We pop the top on a bottle, pouring into our three quarter sized snifters. It shows a deep molasses brown coloring. A third of the liquid is covered with fat, oily, soapy medium brown bubbles, but you can hardly classify this as a “head”. Lacing is spotty but present as you swirl the glass. Thick haze obscures clarity, while finite granules of sediment are suspended about the liquid like constellations in a winter night’s sky. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma is intensely peaty, coming out of the bottle almost exactly as Smokehead scotch does; heavily metallic and wildly peaty. The nose otherwise fills with resinous moss, warming oak, heavy buttery diacetyls, heavy phenolic plastics, dark fruitiness of fig and sautéed apricot, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, dried black cherries, wet black and chocolate malts, acetone, perfumed florals, dusty ale yeastiness, and creamy sunscreen chemical bite. The taste, much like the nose, makes it hard to discern anything aside from the smoke. As it warms, however, the complexity increases, filling in with soy sauce, intense peatiness, blackened barley and raw coffee malts, café au lait, white sugars, blackcurrant tartness, vegemite, smoked honeyham meatiness, gentle floral hoppiness, steel, dirty denim, dryer sheet and laundry detergent chemicals, nectarine and agave syrups, and milk chocolate syrups. The body is thin, and the carbonation is on the light side. Each sip gives washed slurp and smack, and cream and froth is utterly absent. The mouth is left chalky and astringently dried, with a soft slimy film covering the entirety of the mouth. The abv is appropriate, and well hidden, and the beer sips rather slowly.

Overall, this was a curious beer. We obviously love beer, but our second love is scotch. We’ve had the supreme pleasure of being able to go through a bottle of Smokehead ourselves, and we can definitely say that this is one of the nicest impregnations of a beer with a specific spirit. Many barrel aged products taste like “bourbon”, but not as much like the specific variety they claim to come from. Here, there is no question. It is Smokehead through and through. You would never know that unless you’ve had this liquor, but the effect is there nonetheless. Unfortunately, the base beer does live up to the same quality as the barrel it was housed in. It is one-dimensional, and when it comes to mouthfeel, it is thin and meaningless. Ultimately, we wished a better beer shined through the smoke, but we’re happy to sample an all-Scottish product. Here’s to the next one, BrewDog, keep it weird.

Feb 10, 2015
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tillmac62 from South Carolina

4.26/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

BOD 8/8/08 - so this one has had 6 years to mellow out - lol. Pours used motor oil black with just a hint of dark ruby. No head to speak of, but considering it's age, it is allowable. Wonderful nose of peat like smoke, oak and scotch. Underneath is some dark fruit (plum, fig). Medium body with no effervescence. The flavor profile is very intense, quite complex and surprisingly well balanced with all that is going on. It begins with an onslaught of peat like smoke over a rich caramel sweetness. As the smoke fades, oak characteristics are evident over an amazing burst of plum. The middle is where the scotch shines with that touch of smoke only it has. The finish is dry and just a touch sweet. A charred smoke like aftertaste lingers with just a hint of alcohol flavor. The alcohol coverage in this beer is amazing - just great scotch flavor with no grain alcohol astringency. An intense, flavorful brewing masterpiece that I wish I could have also had fresh.

Nov 13, 2014
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.69/5  rDev -2.1%

A - Pitch black pour with a micro-lacing ring that's barely visible, no carbonation.

S - Smoke and char that's faded, oak, and some whiskey.

T - Still pretty smoky for (5) years old. Smoke, peat, oak, more peat, some and a trace of whiskey. Not much whisky flavor but dominant smoke, oak, and peat.

M - Full medium body, silky, no carbonation.

O - Wish this had some carbonation but the lack of brings more of the flavors out so not such a bad thing.

Oct 27, 2014
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HipCzech from Texas

4/5  rDev +6.1%

Serving Type: on cask at The Hay Merchant (Houston, TX), served in a snifter (2010 release)

Appearance: Deep obsidian. No head; a few lively, tan bubbles disperse quickly and leave minimal lacing.

Smell: Complex wood and peaty smoke, with some dark fruit and sweet malt.

Taste: Peaty smoke, oak, and peppery spice throughout against sweet, toffee malt.

Mouthfeel: Oily, medium body with almost no carbonation (though the complex flavors and aroma almost don't miss it).

Overall: Although the stout base is a bit thin, it keeps to the background and lets all the complex and satisfying character of the big Islay whisky shine through.

Aug 31, 2014
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

'10 vintage.

Pours a deep, dark oily-looking black, with a small head that immediately dissipates into an oily film. No lacing.

Smells like scotch whiskey, roasted malt, and woodiness.

The taste is similar. Like scotch, this one has a lot of little complexities, especially at 4 years out. Slightly salty/briney, but only in a very subtle way, with some leather, wood, liquid smoke, scotch whiskey, chocolate, roasted malt. Quite nice, even if some of the flavors described above aren't ideal flavors.

The 4 years of aging has made this beer not boozy in the slighest. Medium bodied, very low carbonation with all the aging.

This one was nice, a good little diamond in the rough if you will, I never thought Brew Dog could make a balanced beer.

Jun 20, 2014
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Omnium from Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Served on-tap at House of 1000 Beers on 5-18-14

A - Ruby red brown with half a finger of off white head, little lacing.
S - Huge smokey peat, oak chips, cherry, raisin, fig, sweet malt
T - Sweet cherry, grape, mild smoke that fades fast, definitely boozey too
M - Very tart and chewy.
O - The aroma is killer, but it gets all wacked out after that.

May 28, 2014
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hops202 from District of Columbia

3.62/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into Stone Snifter. Batch #015 - Bottled on 4/15/09

Bought this bottle online. Pours quite thin with almost no head to be found. Smell is very strong peat and smoke. Lots of barbecue and char and scotch whiskey - tons of islay whiskey.

Taste is much of the same. Lots of smoke, peat/Islay Whiskey. Certainly worth a try if you are a scotch or irish whiskey fan, but bourbon barrel aged fans steer clear!

Apr 21, 2014
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JamieDuncan from Maryland

4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

My beer guru rolled this out to split during a session. Good looking beer with an outstanding, very Interesting and unique aroma. Good flavor and very smooth but the smoke was to much for me. Also a little thin. Overall an excellent beer and worth a try but I may not revisit.

Mar 19, 2014
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

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

11.2 oz bottle was poured into a tulip.

Appearance: This beer poured s minimal mocha head that reduced to s thin layer. It is a pitch black color with little vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Really peaty and Smokey, chocolate, soy, oak, and char.

Taste: The Islay barrels put a lot of character on this beer. Smokey, peaty, leather, charred oak, etc. The beer has lost a lot of good characteristics from the barrel aging.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, soy, peat, low carbonation, tough to drink, full bodied, a little booze.

Overall: Tough beer to drink. Was looking forward yo this one, but it fell short. The scotch barrels were a match for this beer.

Feb 16, 2014
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77black_ships from Belgium

2.74/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Notes from early 2011: 33 cl. [email protected]: pitch black with brown head & sand-like sediment, smell is lots of peat, smoke & an oil refinery, taste is extreme, extreme, extreme,... amounts of peat (I am not exaggerating), down to the point that it is basically undrinkable, never thought that there could be too much peat in something but that is the case here, it is like eatng handfuls of peat, burned coffee, incinerated malts, a bag full of espresso bean, iodine & petroleum, body is like fuel, almost hard to tell whether this is good or horrible but drinkability is the worst I have ever come across, this is basically undrinkable, irregardless of whether you like it or not, flat, completely insane, this is engine fuel .

Oct 24, 2013
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

4.31/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured from a 330 ml bottle into a glass, dark brown nearly black with a short tan head that dissipates leaving some lacing, clear

S: huge peat smoked malt, burnt charcoal, tobacco, acrid coal smoke

T: heavy smoke flavor abounds, sweet malt melds with peat smoke, whiskey, intense complexity of sweet caramel flavor, prune, raisin, all burnt in a coke oven

M: thick and oily, low carbonation

O: an excellent smoked stout with emphasis on peat smoke, alcohol well hidden

Aug 16, 2013
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KFBR392 from Illinois

2.76/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from 2008 or 2009. Best before date of 4/4/11.

Appearance: Pours with a light, traditional European imperial stout texture. No head on the pour at this point. Close to zero carbonation. Color is a dark red amber color which is only detectable when put to light. Pretty regular, not much to see here.

Smell: There really isn't much here. There is a spicy oak flavor from the whiskey casks. Some light malt accents and hints of cherry. Get a little bit of the alcohol. For the most part, everything is either subdued or absent at this point.

Taste: The front passes by without much of a peep. Malty sweetness leads to some earthy tones from the whiskey casks. Has the feeling of a cheap glass of scotch. A lot of oaky funk and some stale malt finishes this beer out. The smokey tones advertised are completely gone. Some interesting aspects to this beer, but overall disappointing.

Mouthfeel: Light on the palette and the funkiness of the beer at this point leave a semi dry finish.

Overall: I was disappointed by this one. I wish I would have read some of the reviews about how this one is holding up on here before I bought it. The malt character is seriously lacking. The whiskey oaky characteristics are the highlight of the beer, but have an odd flavor being the most prominent flavor. This one should have been drank two years ago.

Jun 27, 2013
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Ego from New Jersey

2.77/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

batch 15 brewed 8/8/8

this was in the back of my ole cellar closet... brewed back in 2008... we'll see what has happened, given the strength etc you would think it should hold up, this hasn't seen daylight ever...

pours with not much head at all, only a faint o-ring, legs apparent
nearly black with some ruby hues on the edges, not much else to detail here, pretty pedestrian

dry wood, faint whiskey, some smoke (like camp fire, not smoked meat), it smells very dry almost dusty

taste etc...
ashen with whiskey notes and some sweetness, some bitter chocolate notes, the ABV is slightly detectable, the ash flavor is really distracting here

I suppose this one did not age well, I treated it with care but alas she has seen better days I am afraid...

May 27, 2013
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thecheapies from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle. Pricey. Hoping it was worth the loot.

Batch #015. Best Before 08/08/1?. The '?' is either a '0' or a '6'.

Believe it or not, pours translucent dark brown with redder hues when held to the light. She looks almost black against an opaque surface, be sure of that. Carbonation is nearly gone. Elevated the pour to trap some gas. Letting it warm up for quite awhile. I still have bubbles clinging along the outside wall of the glass.

Intensely peaty whiskey cask note with that beefy Islay smoke. A skin of wood from the barrel, but mostly just a full-blown Scotch nose. Blends in with the malts, completely disguising any alcoholic strength. Roasty-sweet malts have thinned out, opening the door for the full effect of a smoky Scotch to take its grip on the nose. I can't exactly tell, but I don't think smoked malts were used; which is proving to be a very wise decision after determining what the barrels could do. There are hidden treats in the aroma in the forms of maple, rum raisin, cherry, and molasses. A Scotch-driven aroma, but I have no complaints in that department.

Ah, but the malts have thinned out a bit too much in the taste! This one still shows potential (or I missed out on its potential)--I can't tell. Direct Islay whiskey note from the cask-aging. Smoky peat is big, some dried-out brown sugar flavor, oak, cherry, raisin, and crème brûlée. The smoke could be accentuated more, as it was in the nose. What a savory beer! Not as tasty as I could have dreamt, but probably because it wasn't meant to keep this long.

The feel suffered the most. Thinner body, hardly any carbonation, a flat mouthfeel with strange lot of leftover dextrins. Lots of points lost here.

Despite the look and feel of this beer being quite sub-standard for the style and its reputation, this is an amazingly ambitious stout with excellent whiskey barrel character, authentic smokiness in the nose, and light fruit notes that probably came with age. It's going to take some serious self-control to not pony up the cash and grab one or two more bottles (even though I already know how South they might go). I can drink them in the nearest future, right?

Jan 23, 2013
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TrappistJohnMD from Mississippi

2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Batch 015 Bottled on 04/15/09

Pours black with almost no head. Just a ring around edges of glass. This ring dissappears within about 90 seconds.

Smell is heavy with smoke, peat and formaldehyde. Frankly this smells like Gross anatomy lab and sterile gauze. Not pleasant.

Taste is smoke, rancid peat and formaldehyde. I couldn't bring myself to shit on it in my numerical review because I probably just don't understand its character, but I can't finish it.

Mouthfeel is watery and without carbonation.

Overall this was terrible. Maybe my palate just hasn't matured enough for something like this.

Jan 19, 2013
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templar316 from Pennsylvania

3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours thick and black with very little head, although it's still working on the sides. Hickory smoke and peat malt lazily dominate the aroma. There's alot of hint's to start bittery dryness, big malts then the smoke hits and all else disappears. The flavor is the same smooth easy malt then POW! Forest fire! Smoke in your clothes and you can never shake it. This is a beer crushed under the weight of it's ambition.

Jan 13, 2013
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AdamBear from Pennsylvania

3.44/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at Two Stone Pub in Newark, DE.

A-dark brown with a thin sticky tan head

S-very smokey. Smokey like charcoal smoke though, not bonfire. That's all I get. Strong scent

T-comes in with a warm taste of alcohol and burnt charcoal. All other flavors are more or less muted. Has a long lasting flavor. Very simple taste. Not exactly friendly.

M-low carbonation with an almost watery finish

O-out of the many smokey beers I've had, this is one of the most pointless. It's not even the right kind of smoke flavor. Tastes like an artificial fire rather than a natural one. On the other hand, it does remind me of a fine whiskey. I do like that aspect. Eh, not really worth a try I'd say.

Nov 19, 2012
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours pitch black with only a hint of a head, ending with a thin ring around the glass and occasional bubbles surfacing. Aroma is dominated by Scotch; whiskey and peat, smokey, with a hint of dark roasted malt in the background. Flavor follows with immediate Scotch whisky and smoke supported by sweet toasted malt. Finishes as a smoked beer should with a campfire smokiness, with wet wood and oak. The high ABV is well covered by the flavor. Medium bodied, a little light for an Imperial stout and the lack of carbonation detracts from the overall mouth feel. Still, the flavors are great for a smoked stout and this was an enjoyable beer.

Oct 05, 2012
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jrenihan from Canada (ON)

3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

BB appears to be 09/08/10.. or is that a 16? 10 seems early.

Beer is black. A vigorous pour results in a smallish, frothy tan head. Fades quickly to some bubbles.

Smoky, peaty. Smells like diluted Islay whisky.

Taste is quite smoky, along with a fair bit of oak. Some peat. The base beer doesn't seem to come through a lot. The standard stout flavours are muted. Some anise, caramel and a bit of chocolate. Smoke really takes over.

Body is very disappointing. Bizarrely thin, moderate carbonation. Does not work at all.

Overall, not impressed. Pretty weak stuff- and this comes from somebody who really likes Islay malts.

Sep 15, 2012
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Maxwell from Massachusetts

4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I am very excited to try this glass after my sublime tasting of Paradox Isle of Arran, which is essentially the same beer, just aged in smokey casks instead of barrels. The beer pours like the darkest night with a light, tan, half a fingers width head that bursts away swiftly to leave a sloppy ring round the glass reminiscent of curdled milk. This beer is all kinds of black and opaque though, much like the Isle of Arran, it looks lovely for a cask aged beer, with little to no carbonation present. The beer is also quite pungent, sending out wafts even as it sits across the table from me in a traditional pint glass (Batman style). The smell is thick and syrupy with chocolate like Isle of Arran’s, giving the nose a sticky sense but there is also a tremendous roasted wood smell and a very pungent heavy alcohol odor present that work their way into the smell as the glass levels out after agitation. This is nothing like a normal smoked ale smell by my account, instead reminding me more of flavored wood burning, or a smoker as salmon is being laid out on it, I am really intrigued by this smell. The beer’s taste follows suit with smoke overpowering the drink with a great heavy char flavor that is very much reminding me of burning hickory woodchips. This beer is very much a smoked salmon beer to me, with the hickory woodchip flavor lending to a saltier feel in the middle of the beer, and a ghost of that salt lingering in the aftertaste which are reminiscent of a salmon's brine. There is a slight sweet chocolate malt taste in the initial sip of this beer and some slight cloying alcohol bite, but these are swiftly eaten up by the wonderful smoked hickory wood flavor. This is definitely a sipping beer, meant for a lovely snifter and a light sipping evening more so than pub knock-backer and a get-fucked-up-night, though the beers 10% could definitely help you reach that state. Mouthfeel is again oozing, thick, and syrupy but the after taste is slick with saliva and tingling like you’ve just breathed in a campfire. The aftertaste is really heavy with the hickory campfire taste which is cool at first, but takes its time in leaving and gets a little heavy on the tongue. Overall, this is a very interesting experience as far as smoked beers go. I think this beer would pare really well with a Gouda cheese and some supple fish meat. This isn’t as good as the Isle of Arran variant of Paradox, but it is still a very intriguing beer that is especially worth a sip for smoked beer lovers and is also worth one for just beer lovers, especially since it is a retired beer. The crazy Scots have done it again! I’m happy to have tried it, but I don’t know if I will be going back for more.

Jul 29, 2012
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MeneerBeerSnob from District of Columbia

3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At Churchkey DC a cask poured into a snifter

A-Pours deep black with a thin finger of mocha colored head.

S-Scotch dominates the smell with hints of smoke and caramel.

T-Smooth and smoky scotch taste with notes of bitter coffee, caramel and malt.

M-Very little carbonation allows the smoky scotch envelop your taste buds.

O-Good stout, could be slightly more carbonated but the scotch flavor really brings it.

May 12, 2012
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bvdubn from Pennsylvania

3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer vigorously from 12oz bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter. The beer is very black with a mocha colored head. I got about a quarter inch of head that that quickly dissipated into a thin layer on top with some lacing around the edges.
I smell lots of Whiskey initially but the smell changes to Robitussin as it warms.
My first sip was on the cooler side and was filled with Whiskey which was then immediately followed by wood. It is like chewing a charred wood. As it warmed I could no longer taste the whiskey and the smoke also started to subdue. I am getting roasted coffee bitterness and hints of toffee and caramel the longer the beer sits. It is now completely room temperature and this is where it tastes best. The bottle specifically says to serve at room temperature but I decided to chill to about 45 and then sample as it warmed.
The beer is a little thin with low carbonation which is just how I like my big stouts.
Batch 015 – Bottled 8/15/09
I couldn’t pass it up when I found it in a bottle shop and saw the bottled on date. It was good but certainly not the best stout I have ever had.

May 01, 2012
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Scotchboy from Idaho

3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 bottle I've been waiting to crack since Christmas 2010. Bottle is dated 2009, split into pint glasses.

A: Not as dark as I had thought it would be, lots of transparent red visible.

S: Smoke, peat, oak, iodine, seaweed, salty seawater. Malt is buried for sure.

T: Very Islay-forward...saltwater and peat are dominant, hints of smoke, the whisky barrel characters are overwhelming the base stout at this point...there is still alcohol here too.

MF: Medium feel, thin, a bit of alcohol burn, fairly spot on carbonation, bubbles are visible but its a creamy lower carbonation mouthfeel.

O: Probably a must have for an Islay Scotch lover. Its a touch aggressive on the Scotch, and I say that delicately as a Scotch lover, though I prefer the Highlands and Speyside to Islay offerings.

Mar 19, 2012
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cavedave from New York

2.99/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm assuming this is the correct page, Speyside wasn't denoted on chalkboard, this page reads retired, YMMV. From notes:

I am abandoning my usual l-s-t-m-o for this unique bird.

My motto for Brewdog: *Go much too far. Then go further*

The black intensity of this almost-still (forgiveable here as it is cask) snifter of wizard waste is its finest feature.

This beer is an upclose and personal tour for tongue and nose of the inner, most charred surfaces of a whiskey barrel is near as I can go to describe. Other elements are present in this over the top escapade, but it is the raw char which overpowers all. "The harsh heat of alcohol floating afire atop burning oak on my tongue," is what I have written in my short notes, but the memory this brings fleshes much too well.

If you have ever enjoyed licking the newly extinguished embers of a wood fire, this beer is for you. Also recommended for those seeking the ultimate excess in sharp flavor intensity. All others need not apply.

Mar 10, 2012
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BelgianBeerHog26 from Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark chocolate coloring

S - Oak, Peat, smokey, Carmel, chocolate in that order.

T - peat, and smoke dominates the front end taste with a smooth Carmel chocolate flavor following though at the very end.

M - very viscsous and full.

O - a fantastic beer, one of the best I have ever had. In the same category as rochefort 10.

Feb 11, 2012
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 263 ratings