BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
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
Reviews by jampics2:
Photo of jampics2
jampics2 from Ohio

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

On cask at the Beer Engine's Wood Aged Beer Festival.

Pours a dark black, no head at all.

Smells like a campfire. Not typical rauch smell, this is burnt but works somehow.

Tastes like smoke from a campfire. Crazy beer, waay intense. Can see how someone wouldn't like this, but it's well done just not a taste I'm sure was worth persuing. Perhaps a cigar would help.

Mouthfeel was good for a cask beer. Nice gravity.

Drinkability was good but def. a 1 and done.

Jan 23, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of wisrarebeer
wisrarebeer from Wisconsin

4.44/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best before 03/08/10. Huh? for a RIS?

A: bottle opened with a slight CO2 release - almost a still beer with just a whisper of carbonation - opaque
S: probably one of the more unusual noses with a dominating Islay Lagavulin-type, peaty backbone
T: to a lover of Islays (Lagavulin, Ardbeg, Uigeadail, etc.) this is a phenomenal beer, a marriage between two of my great loves (big ballsy beers and Islays), peaty, smokey, but with a subdued alcohol bite and well-balanced malt backbone, well-done
M/D: very good, highly drinkable for alcohol content, almost like a single malt with tons of malt and a lot less alcohol!

Feb 06, 2010
Photo of rkasten1
rkasten1 from Connecticut

5/5  rDev +32.6%

Jan 25, 2012
Photo of LtCracker20
LtCracker20 from Connecticut

3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours an almost black body with a huge 3-finger khaki head that's rocky and pillowy. Shows decent retention and awesome lacing.

S- At first, it kinda smells like a Sharpie. A little peat and smoke shows through, but sadly, mainly that magic marker aroma. Not bad, but then again I kinda like that smell. No alchohol shows through.

T- The smoked flavor really stands out, alomst bacon-ish. Not too much here that I expected. A little roasted malt flavor, but again, magic marker.

MF- Medium bodied with flavor that sits well on the palate.

O- A good beer, but was expecting much more in terms of whiskey flavors and a stronger malt flavor, but it seems like it just can't shake that magic marker smell/flavor.

May 08, 2011
Photo of IKHOURY
IKHOURY from Nevada

3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beers pours out a dark brown almost black color. The head quickly disappears.

I absolutely love the smell on this beer, but i also love peaty islay scotches. The smell reminds me of a campfire on a beach, with the peaty campfire smoke, wet wood, and leather aromas. A very comlex smell.

The complex aromas are a little subdued on the palate. The whiskey barrel influences comes though on the nose more so then the palate. Tons of different flavors in this beer, but none really stand out in front. I get smoke, bitter chocolate, dried fruits, coffee, malt,a little bit of seaweed in the background.

The 10% alcohol hides itself very well

Apr 23, 2010
Photo of jonnyprime
jonnyprime from Connecticut

2.35/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: poured into a sniffer. Very dark and opaque with little to no head. No lacing at all.
S: strong almost overwhelming smoke and peat. Had a hard time even getting my nose close to the glass.
T: same as the smell. I'm usually a fan of smoked beers and I do love my scotches and whiskeys but this was too much. No imperial stout qualities what so ever. If I wanted to drink a big snifter of scotch, Id pour a snifter of scotch.
M: thin and watery. Not what you'd expect from the style.
D: I'm glad I tried it but one of very few I couldn't finish. Woke up this morning with half the glass still sitting on the coffee table.

Jan 29, 2010
Photo of zoso493
zoso493 from North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this one sitting in the "cellar" for awhile now and haven't gotten around to drinking it until today, my last day in Europe for awhile. Hope this is a good one. Poured from a 330 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: When you open the bottle, you hardly get a hiss from the carbonation, which in this beer I'm assuming is purposeful. Even the most vigorous of pours can only produce a minuscule head that is all bubbles and last for maybe 10 seconds. Other than that, the color is a deep coffee color that lets absolutely no light through.

Smell: I actually blurted out, "holy shit" when I first stuck my nose in this one. Unlike any beer I've ever smelled, and that includes other beers in the Paradox line. Smells like the smokiest single malt. Also smells just like a nice Romeo y Julieta cigar. Unfortunately, it also has a bit of a scent of old shoes in there somewhere.

Taste: The taste is not as overpowering as perhaps the scent is. It does mirror the smell pretty closely, however. Tastes just like an old, smoky, peaty Scotch whiskey mixed with a Cuban cigar, which anyone who has had either of those vices will tell you is a good thing. I've had a lot of barrel-aged beers but not one that was aged in a barrel of something so smoky, and this retains the flavor beautifully. Very unique beer.

Mouthfeel: This is a little bit thinner than I'd like in a beer of this variety. The thinness is also surprising given the total lack of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a sipper for sure. Not a really high beer in terms of ABV at 10%, but the taste necessitates that you give this one its due time in finishing.

Overall, this is a really nice beer that probably got a lower score than it deserved from me because of the mouthfeel and drinkability. I've never had a beer quite like it and would definitely recommend it to anyone because of its uniqueness. If you like cigars and whiskey, it is imperative that you try this beer.

Dec 20, 2009
Photo of Blanco
Blanco from Pennsylvania

1.5/5  rDev -60.2%

Feb 19, 2013
Photo of tmoneyba
tmoneyba from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Hyde Park.

Poured a black color with a moderate frothy off-white head that mostly lasted and produced fair lacing. Good roasted peaty malt and musty wood aroma. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Complex wood and smoke stout flavor with a burnt wood finish of moderate duration.

Interesting earthy and smoky stout.

Apr 18, 2009
Photo of erz316
erz316 from Indiana

3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from batch 015, with best before of 08/08/10; poured into la chouffe snifter.

A - a pretty disappointing start to the beer. the severe lack of head on the brew is pretty disappointing; it only gets a little ring of small bubbles around the side of the glass. what foam there is, happens to be a mostly cream colour. the body is at least black, though at the bottom of the glass one can see that is is actually very dark brown.

S - very good nose. the top notes are of this peaty charred wood; the charred wood smell is very strong. the middle ground is a big malty body with some nutty ans sweet aspects. the smokey scent is the big player in this brew, really big and amazing smelling. I never though a beer could be as smoky as this and still smell appealing. I attribute this to the huge sweet malt body underneath it all, which subtly curbs the smoke.

T - the overall taste is more suited to be a rauchbier than an imperial stout. really, the only thing keeping this from being a rauchbier is the addition of hops, imo. the initial taste is malty and smoky; really like the schlenkerla, maybe even better. I would never guess this is an imperial stout, but because it is classified as one I am going to have to dock some points. the finish is slightly hoppy, mostly malty and smoky, but a bit yeasty. the aftertaste has this intriguing slight saltiness along with the amazing charred wood flavour. maybe a bit of molasses like sweetness, but the sweetness is more of a simple malt one.

MF&D - the feel is far too thin and hardly carbonated enough. the feel of the body is a decent medium, but the carbonation is so lacking and small-scale that I cannot award any high points. either way this beer is amazingly delicious, just not as a stout.

If I were to grade this beer as to the category I think it should belong, rauchbier, it would be much higher. the body and appearance would make sense, no head and a thin medium body are appropriate for a rauchbier. moreover, the taste would be so incredibly spot on if the brew were a rauchbier. this is by far the best smoke flavour I have ever had in a beer, and I am highly skeptical of the categorization. It would surely be an A+, maybe even quite close to perfect.

Sep 17, 2009
Photo of Parrotshake
Parrotshake from Australia

4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It might help you to know as - a beer fan but not necessarily a fan of Islay whisky - that I'm reviewing this as a fan of Islay whisky. That smoky-tar-burned grass quality that is the calling card of your Laphroigs and whatnot is something I'm pretty fond of, and is a big part of what makes this beer so different. If you DON'T dig it, well.... that crazy smoke taste is all over this beer.

The Brewdog Paradox range is all whisky-barrel aged - in this case from the Smokehead distillery, the newest kids on the island, so to speak. I'll have to grab some of theirs sometime.

Pours almost black without much head - at this ABV it's to be expected. Great lacing though.

Smells massively of those aforementioned whiskies - peat-smoke and tar. There are also fruity, resiny hops in there somewhere in back.

First sip is all smoke and Scotch, a little disconcerting coming from a beer at first. Whether the beer got warmer while I thought about it a bit or I just got used to it I'm not sure, but the big, peaty taste mellows and it all starts pulling together nicely. A little sea salt, leather, prunes, typical chocolate & burnt toast flavors of a strong stout shining through, though no real roast bitterness to speak of. The hops are there too, in the finish, mostly adding a hint of pine and accentuating the wood flavor from the barrel. There's a so much going on it's hard to tell sometimes. Seriously.

Slick mouthfeel with the lower end of medium body. It suits the beer well. No carbonation to speak of.

There's a slight burn in the finish, but not so much alcoholic as "I just smoked 2 cigarettes". Weird. Still VERY drinkable but could conceivably become quite heavy. For best results, save it for the coldest possible evening you're expecting. I have more and I can't wait.

Edit 17 September 2009: Cracked my second one of these tonight. It's a bit chilly out and this seemed just the ticket. Approaching it from the point of view of a guy who's already reviewed it and doesn't need to sit and pick it apart, I can sit back and relax with this one and find it more drinkable than I remember. The harsh cigarette feel is still in the finish, along with pronounced dark fruit I didn't noticed the first time. I've marked drinkability up by 0.5. I want another. THE perfect beer for a relaxing nightcap. Outstanding, seriously.

Apr 20, 2009
Photo of ricke
ricke from Sweden

4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving date: 2009-03-20. Served in small snifter. Best before: 2010-10-10.

A: Appears to be black, but it is actually dark brown colored and is several shades brighter than many other beers of the same style. Clear liquid. Basically no head, it's rather a small layer of uneven bubbles. The bigger bubbles show some retention, the smaller disappear quickly. Minimal lacings.

S: A pleasant and interesting smell. Plenty of whisky aromas, both sweet and a little bit fruity and smoky (peat, charred wood, smoked ham). The sweet and smokey aromas blend really good and works well with a noticeable smell of malts. Not very complex, but very nice.

T: Big whisky flavors all around. Plenty of smoky flavors - peat, charred wood are very prominent. Beautiful sweet flavors as well, and some seaweed. Subtle roasted malt backbone behind the whisky flavors. Barrel character, leather and a hint of tannins. Faint notes of dark fruits, nice chocolate notes. In the finish, there is a restrained bitterness, malt residuals, lingering whisky notes and most of all a very pleasant taste of salt licorice. All in all, not a very complex taste, but still very nice. The whisky character in this one is absolutely beautiful.

M: Rather full body but quite light considering the style. Minimal levels of carbonation. It actually feels almost boring in the mouth, and - god forbid - almost bland. However, towards the end it seems like the beer opens up a bit and gains some body and viscosity.

D: Despite the average appearance and mouthfeel, this is a really good beer, one of the best whisky barrel-aged stouts I've had. The whisky character is really good and blends well with the flavors coming from the beer itself.

Mar 25, 2009
Photo of wethorseblanket
wethorseblanket from California

3.52/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Feb 13, 2015
Photo of Beejay
Beejay from Virginia

4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black, holding it up to the light, you get a slightly carmel color where is it thinner. Tons of carbonation it look like, but not a very big head from a fairly aggressive pour.

S: Peat smoke, and sweet malty goodness. A bit of oak and earth in there.. Very nice indeed.

T: A little sour, and a tad salty, then comes the peat. I feel the peat is a little more subdued in the bottle form.. A nice subtle sweetness backed by peat as it warms up a bit, and tends to become smoother, and richer.

M: Clean, thin feeling, and quite a bit of carbonation.

D: Good to be sure, but I don't think it is their finest brew.. That being said, I would drink one whenever it as offered. Yumm. Definitely let this one warm up a little.

Jul 14, 2009
Photo of winegourmet76
winegourmet76 from Texas

3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Thanks to Chris Campagna for bringing this one for us to taste at the BA La Muerta bottle release day.
This bottle had been open for up to twelve hrs, so a scant bit of carbonation remained.

The color was a deep, rich brown.

On the nose, smoke and petrol, not much else.
The taste was all smoke, like liquid smoke in a bottle with a touch of heat from the alcohol.

To me, the mouthfeel was the best part. It was rich but not too heavy. I had been dissapointed with Dogma's mouthfeel, so was pleasantly surprised with this one.

I am not sure that I would buy this on my own, unless I was planning on mixing it with another brew. The smoke is so pronounced that it would add a nice layer of smoke to any IPA or perhaps an RIS.

Feb 16, 2010
Photo of nickhiller
nickhiller from Texas

4/5  rDev +6.1%

May 30, 2012
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead on cask at ChurchKey, DC.

Appearance: Served in a small brandy snifter, comes with a deep-auburn color, not quite black. Like a Pedro Ximenez old sherry. Perfect winter beer, ideal to watch the snow falling outside in the streets of DC. Absolutely no carbonation, no bubbles, no lacing. Nothing. Dead like a corpse.

Smell: This feels like the BBQ sauce they put on chicken nuggets you'd buy at a McDonald's in Europe. Honey and molasses. Above all, smoke and more smoke. Booze. Soy sauce, whiskey.
Taste: Smoke through and through. Disappointingly one-dimensional, compared to the nose and mouthfeel. Very nourishing, like and outdoor BBQ-party in North Carolina.

Mouthfeel: Absolutely no carbonation, feels like water and old wine. "Diluted waterness", my friend said. More liquor than beer.

Drinkability: I got only four ounces so it was fine. Sure, it is super whiskey-y, but not overtly boozy. A pleasant sipper, but only for smoke and whiskey lovers. I enjoyed it.

Jan 17, 2011
Photo of thecheapies
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
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313 from California

3/5  rDev -20.4%

Dec 18, 2011
Photo of KTCamm
KTCamm from New Jersey

3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours jet black, no foam. Like a syrup - not that it is thick, but completely devoid of any carbonating bubbles. Thick.

Heavy duty whiskey smell, not lending a hand to the beer, completely overtaking it. Peat moss mixed in there, and quite smoky. Musty/earthy.

Stout like taste that blends nicely with the whisky flavor - at first. Heavy alcohol finish. Over time grows to be more of a whiskey aged in beer barrel.

Virtually no carbonation in the mouth.

Interesting concept and a fun new thing to sip on, but can't imagine having more than one.

Jan 30, 2010
Photo of scarfield
scarfield from Nebraska

3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black. No Head- Seems to have a slightly oily residue instead of a head. No lacing.

Smell is strong with roasted malt, then peat appears in the nose.

Taste is quite complex. Heavily Roasted, the whiskey appears in the taste as well as the alcohol heat and a sweet/sour from the wood aging is also dominant. Peat lingers several minutes after a drink, but for some reason it is a stale tasting peat which becomes more stale as the beer warms. Also as it warms an earthy/leathery taste comes out.

Has an oily texture that makes it feel like it slides around on the tongue. Due to the high ABV and the lingering effect on the tongue I would not recommend more than one.

This beer is a good barrel aged stout, but as an islay fan it disappointed me. I didn't feel like the peat came through as much as it could (or should) have for 11 dollars a bottle, and because of this it was overpriced for me.

Oct 10, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

batch 15 bb31/02/11 downed on july23 2009

A quite dark but not quite jet black, the thick head sits heavy for a few sips and just falls leaving a fair amount of lace

S leave it to the Scots to come up with a crazy beer idea and make it work, smoke, earth and booze unlike anything I've put my nose too

T as it smells but I pick up on the whiskey and licorice comes too mind while tasting

M/D not as thick as the color would suggest but not bad overall

had I drank this during the winter it would have gone down a bit smoother. you gotta love the rants on the bottle and I'm left wondering what will they think of next

Nov 24, 2009
Photo of LiquidAmber
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
Photo of caddyshack199
caddyshack199 from Maryland

3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Brew Dog Paradox Smokehead

A- dark pour with a dark brown head.
H- poured vigorously into a duvel bell glass resulting in a short
lived dark brown head.
N-smells like a peaty scotch. Not much else.
T-reminds me of the Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier but instead of a
campfire it's a peat bomb. Also much darker.
I- another wierd beer from the beer guys at brew dog.
$12.99 bottle at staples corner liquors, Crofton Md

Feb 11, 2010
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium from North Dakota

3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Style: whiskey cask aged imperial stout
Brewed by: Brewdog Ltd.
Location: Fraserburgh, Scotland, UK
Rating: 3.8
First had: bottle, special ordered from Scotland

Pours dark opaque brown to black with a tan head. Earthiness in the nose with scents of alcohol and whiskey. Tastes similar, with whiskey, earthiness, and smoked wood. Lots of character. Medium mouthfeel with a bit of filminess and a somewhat harsh aftertaste. Strong, but moderately drinkable.

Apr 29, 2011
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 263 ratings