BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead | BrewDog

163 Reviews
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

Brewed by:
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Identical to Batch 010 as the casks were re-used.

Added by Onslow on 01-12-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 261
Photo of JerseyDevil980
5/5  rDev +35.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is amazing. It is smooth and has a great finish. The aroma is smooth yet smokey. For a strong beer it is not as over powering as one would expect.

Its dark caramel color is exceptional and the beer only gets better with each sip you take!!

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Photo of Onslow
4.89/5  rDev +32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Reakt for this amazing gift.... where do i begin? ... amazing amazing aroma's, from earth, burnt toast, toffee, smoke, more earth, peat, iodine, whiskey, , truly crazy and dry and delicious ... is almost to complex to fully comprehend... this brew was made for special occasions, like a day off from work after an amazing sunday off watching man utd thrash chelsea 3-0 ...

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Photo of Avagadro
4.84/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Served in a brandy snifter, Smokehead is deep black with a faint head that dissipates quickly.

S: Wow... If you like Islay scotch, this is definitely for you. Deep peat is backed by faint coffee and caramel.

T: Dry, with notes of caramel, toast, and peaty iodine. The smoke is far different than that of a Rauchbier. You really have to have had a peaty scotch to know this smoke.

M: Medium body, which complements the heavy smoke nicely, allowing it to coat the mouth as long as possible before becoming too much.

D: I have been meaning to try this beer for over a year know, and am thrilled that I have before it was too late. This is truly an experience. I definitely recommend this to any Scotch drinkers, or those who are interested in an original brew.

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Photo of Suds
4.79/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Although I'm not a huge whisky fan, I have to admit that I do have a taste for the stuff from Islay (Laphroaig, Lagavulin, etc.). So, when I saw this batch-only brew, aged in Islay whisky casks, I had to give it a try. Wow is an appropriate word. Although the appearance is reasonable for an imperial stout (black, thick, thin tan head), it's not particularly remarkable. The smell, however, blew me away. It's a fantastic mix of peat smoke (akin to the Islay whisky) and well made imperial stout. Lots of smoke, wood, char, charcoal, raisins, malt, alcohol, plums, and so it goes. Incredibly complex and powerful aroma. The taste follows suit. Spot on with with aroma. The smoke is wonderfully matched with a big malt flavor and plenty of roasted, burnt grain flavors. Lots of roasted barley, bitter chocolate, oily, thick sensations are abundant. This is one complex and very well balanced beer. It's sweet as well, but not cloying. It also hides it's alcohol quite well, except for a nice warming and the noted scent. Wonderfully drinkable and incredibly complex. Great stuff!

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Photo of klewis
4.73/5  rDev +27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-cask at Nicholson's, Cincinnati - 6/30/09

A: Pours a dark brown, almost purplish, with no head or lacing.

S: A very strong, pungent scotch aroma with a huge smoky character.

T: Big and complex. Lots of smoke - peat, mesquite, campfire - with hints of chocolate, molasses, and vanilla. The aging in scotch barrels is unmistakable, and this one is nearly like drinking a glass of whiskey.

M: Full-bodied, thick, and viscous. A lasting smoke character lingers on the throat.

D: If you like scotch, then this one is for you; if not, then don't bother. Frankly, I love the stuff.

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Photo of Motladiwa
4.72/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh this is tasty! I am drinking it at room temp and poured it from a bottle into a pint glass. I am a big fan of Brewdog's concept and I love whisky. Yeah, no "e" means I am refering to Scotch by the way.

For me this is the best of both worlds. Why wouldn't a Scots brewery age it's brews in whisky barrels? The US breweries have been doing it so it only makes sense and I am glad they have been utilizing various regional whisky casks.

Islay is my favorite region that produces whisky because I love the smoky and peaty qualities it yields. As far as colour it is nothing like a KBS as it reveals a deep cherry red when held up to the light. It has a tan head that evaporates quickly and there is no retention which I think is due to the alcohol presence.

This beer smells like I am by a creek full of fallen trees as I stand over a fire whilst I am near a bog. Like I said, best of both worlds. Febreeze could learn from them.

This beer tastes so lovely. The smoke and peat stick to the sides of my mouth as a spicy, tobacco sweetness runs down the thoroughfare of my tongue, titilating my taste bids. I have a propensity to slam this beer but the Scot blood in me causes me to take my time and savour.

Given the style this is such a drinkable beer! It is so smoothe and well balanced. My tongue is left with a sense of vanilla, oak, moss, and maple syrup..

I know what they say about opinions but all in all this beer is fantastic. I will most definitely be trying more varieties of the paradox series. I couldn't ask for anything better than having a beverage that encapsulates the world of whisky and stout beer.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.68/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours opaque, almost black beer without head, only some bubbles on the surface. Outstanding aroma of peat whisky, coffee, smoke and drugstore's phenol. Taste is peaty, chocolate, slightly bitter, dry, alcohol well hidden. Owing to cask-maturing, wood is easy distinguished in taste. More than moderate carbonation. Very drinkable beer, lukewarm liquid with hot embrace. Unique kind of beer from recent weird brewery.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.67/5  rDev +26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, best before 8/8/2010. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with about a 1/2 inch tan head after a vigorous pour. Head retention is low, but lacing is good. The beer smells like peat, smoke, oak/wood, and a bit like Band-Aid bandages. The taste is big, it's strong on the smoke and peat flavors with with some vanilla, oak, bittersweet chocolate and salt noticable. Mouthfeel/body is medium. It is a bit thin for a stout, but the relative thinness works well for this beer. Drinkability is good too, it's very smooth and the low carbonation makes this pretty easy to drink. Even with the price (around $12-13 a bottle I think), I would definitely buy this brew again. If you enjoy Smokehead or other Islay whiskys, I think you'd like this brew a lot. Out of the 4 Paradox beers I've tried, I have to say that this one is easily my favorite. Looks like I'll have to try some Smokehead Scotch now!

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Photo of stumac
4.58/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my brutha Onslow for this tastey mid-afternoon snack.

this brew pours up solid black with a quickly fading bubbly tan head. great retentive lacing. the nose is scotch, pale roasted malts, nicely smokey. the taste is very salty, seaweed, scotch, smoke, peaty. A very dry beer and not boozy at all! medium bodied, low carbo, a thin head lasted through the whole ride. Amazing beer....

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Photo of BelgianBeerHog26
4.53/5  rDev +22.4%
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.

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Photo of brdc
4.47/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small capped beer, kept in my controlled cellar, poured into a snifter.
Pitch black, tan head that is kind of small, but holds well.
For a rauchbier and stout lover, this is a great beer. The aroma has coffee, chocolate, mild vanilla and whisky notes, and a lot of smoke. It is not Aecht Schlenkerla, but it has a lot more smokiness, burnt wood notes than most smokes beers out there.
Full bodied, heavily malty, with again lots of smoke alongside the more classical coffee, chocolate notes.
Very very interesting, wish I could get my hands on more.
Discontinued and very expensive would be the significant issues.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.44/5  rDev +20%
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!

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Photo of IPA4LIFE
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark Stout, with practically no head when poured. Not even the slightest hint of color on the edges.

S- Strong whiskey smell. Nice smoked notes along with some dark fruit. The whiskey cask smell is strong, but not to the point where it ruins the drink. Nice smell.

T- One of the most complex beers I have ever tasted (maybe because I am relatively new to stouts). The first main taste that jumps out at you is the smoked flavor, beautiful flavors donated by the cask. A nice sweetness, like caramel, or even maybe brown sugar is there as well. Very earthy, very smoky, very sweet, and very good. I think Brewdog really tries to push the envelope with this beer, and it worked brilliantly for them.

M- Thick, a little syrupy . Low carbonation. Enjoyable mouthfeel.

D- The taste is so complex and intriguing that I would like another just to continue to experience the flavors that it has to offer. The smoke flavor is a bit strong though, so I don't think I could pound too many of these away.

Overall, I would say that this beer is not for everybody. It is expensive (cost me 4.99 gbp for one bottle). And the flavors are intense, even for a stout. But if you are looking for something different, or want to see just how intense beers can be these days, then give this a try.

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Photo of DoktorZee
4.42/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I'm breaking the rules a bit here with a review well past the best before date (noted on the bottle to be August 2010, and it's now March 2011 - always disappointing when you buy something well past it's best before). I'm thinking that if anything should be able to age (beyond a Barleywine) something this dark and powerful should have a shot. It was pretty impressive, so I'm reviewing anyway!

A - deep black with little accumulated head, but lots of big bubbles that resolve after a few minutes. Little tiny points of lace on the glass.

S - stunningly familiar (to an Islay Scotch fan) - pure peat and iodine so like many of the classic Islay Malts. Some elements of dark fruit as well, but really lots and lots of peat!

T - lots of peat and smoke up front resolving into some dried fruit and almost sweet malts. An interesting paradox (ha ha). The finish also has some really earthy tones the appear well after a sip.

M - very light; in a sense too light for the flavor. I really expected something with more body to complement to powerful flavors. It's not bad, but it doesn't seem quite right.

D - truly shocking drinkability; it's listed as 10% but there's just the smallest hint of warmth. It's a spellbinding drink that gets more and more interesting.

Very happy to have tried this, albeit a little late in its lifespan; regardless, it was pretty special.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.39/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Gave this a hard pour and it didn't really produce more than a thin film that disappeared. It is tar black in color....not a chance of seeing through this one. The carbonation appears to be fine and the body appears to be viscous. There isn't really any lacing.

S- The aroma of this one is dominated by a smoky, peat filled whisky. There is also undertones of unsweetened chocolate (chocolate malts), burnt wood and alcohol.

T- Very peaty, smoky, but with a somewhat sweet malt flavor lying underneath, that resembles blackstrap molasses. It is very rich, with the notes of bourbon and peated Scotch coming through. The finish is of char and decent hop bitterness.

M- This is one smooth brew! The carbonation is very muted and what bubbles there are, are very fine and don't sting the palate. The alcohol is very well hidden I find and the body is full, leaving the full effect of the peated whisky character. I tried a taste of this like I do Tequila, and the smokiness really comes out once you breathe out of your mouth.

D- Great beer, but one is enough for me. The rich flavor and dryness of this really is a pleasure to drink. This is most definitely a sipping beer and I highly recommend this with an aged cheddar, as I enjoyed this with a 6yr old white and they go magnificently together.

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Photo of dgilks
4.38/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a tight, creamy one finger tan head. Fair head retention with it dissipating to a thin foam over the beer.

Thick, peaty, Islay scotch aromas give way to roast, chocolate and lots of malt. Not too bad but it could have more depth.

Roast bitterness and malt sweetness lead the palate with a quick follow up from some heavily peated scotch. Lots of iodine and salt. Smoke like that in a rauchbier. Some nice medicinal notes. This works really well with the scotch elements tying in with the base beer nicely. Well integrated alcohol.

Really nice, solid mouthfeel with low carbonation give this beer a heft to work with the flavours. Very fine grained tannins provide a bit of grip whilst still being silky and pleasant.

A really nice beer for Islay scotch lovers. Everything just works in this well integrated beer. Dangerously drinkable for a stout at 10%.

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Photo of janubio
4.37/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One finger brown head with big bubbles that fades quickly, though there's always a ring around. Black colour. Smell of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, whiskey. Strong body, you can feel the weight in the tongue. Taste of chocolate, liquorice, coffee, whisky, fruits.

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Photo of JISurfer
4.36/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smmmokin! I'm sure that one's never come up. Big smoke up front with a strong whisky backbone. If this isn't a manly beer, I don't know what is. Think of drinking a campfire and throw some scotch whisky in there, that's what it taste like. Pretty grizzled stuff. What's funny though, is that even though it was as manly as it was, it was quite smooth. All the flavors worked together well and didn't leave a nasty after taste. It's definitely not a beer for beginners, so let this be your warning. I like big meaty beers, so this one us up my alley. I'd like to see how this one is after a couple years in the cellar.

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Photo of stephens101
4.36/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black, black and black in color with a weak tan head that disappears without warning, leaving a thin layer of lace on top of the brew.

Smoky, peaty, boozy, piny and earthy notes assault the nose in the first wave. A second push throws down some dark, bitter chocolates, cherries, plums, raisins and vinegar.

Has an initial sapid, and sweeter than expected character to the tongue with a quick rush of scotch notes, charred wood, dark chocolates and hops. I poured this one a bit chilled, but after it warmed some candied sweetness (licorice, bubblegum) presented itself, and the whisky character truly began to take over, although the balancing sweetness and bitterness never strayed too far.

Mouth-feel lies just on the heavy side of medium, and is actually a bit thinner than expected, but still plenty substantial.

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Photo of codsmith
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark, but with absolutely no head or appearance of carbonation when poured

S: It smells just like a smoky & peaty scotch, but maybe has a touch too much sweetness coming off of it. Perfect if you are a scotch & beer drinker. You can really pick up the alcohol coming through

T: Very interesting and unique. I've never had a beer that actually captures the essence of great quality scotch. The smoke and the peat are very forefront on the taste.

M: Extremely thin and acts more like a scotch and not at all like a beer. There is no essence of carbonation at all, but I think if the carbonation was there it might ruin the beer.

O: You really have to love a smoky and peaty scotch to love this beer... and for me its wonderful. The only negative I can find with this beer is the overly sweet smell and somewhat of a sweet taste.

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Photo of wl0307
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Coming in a slim 330ml slim brown bottle, Batch 015, BB 10/10/10, served cool in Hapkin's branded bulb-shaped sniffer.

A: very dark brown to nearly black in colour, coming with very restrained carbonation and a slowly-dissipating dark beige froth, settling to a thin soapy cap to last throughout the drink.
S: seriously peat-smoky laced with wet peanuts upfront, the aroma is exactly like an Islay or any heavily peat-smoked malt whisky, full of medicinal-phenol and wet-earth notes; somehow the smokiness comes so predominant that other elements find it hard to make their way through. Given a good swirl, dark-date like fruitiness and roast black malts do emerge somewhere from the back, but overall the smokiness from the whisky casks still is the main theme on the nose.
T: interestingly, the foretaste is not unlike the much celebrated Schlenkerla Rauch Märzen in a sense that the smokiness comes with a fine and enticing hint of sea salt, on a par with the juicy black-prune sour-fruitiness or staleness typical of an aged (British) RIS; gradually, the meaty+peaty smokiness develops in a rather soothing way, coupled with spiced nuts, semi-burned red-bean paste, fennel seeds, rather mild roastiness of dark malts, then leading towards a quietly dry and bitter-sweet finish. The peated-whisky aroma is here to stay, so my palate tells my brain, but this is not to annul the efforts of black malts and very dark chocolates in making a kickback, more in the form of aroma actually.
M&D: almost silky smooth if not for the constant stimulation of smokiness, this RIS is mellow and delicious in such a different way than the same brewery's "Isle of Arran" Paradox tasted yesterday. While Arran had a more complex, colourful flavour profile and feature of residual aromatic hops, Smokehead proves how heavy peatiness could be tamed in a perfect harmony with the RIS beer base (Paradox). The result is so enjoyable that I really have problems discerning where Islay starts and where RIS ends. The lighter-than-expected body is also a miracle, in addition to no deliberate presence of alc. and unwanted sweetness - this beer turns out superbly drinkable for me. Absolutely gorgeous, if you like your peat-monster single malt!

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Photo of erosier
4.34/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a deep brown/black color with almost no head, just a slight tan colored ring around the head. I guess a little head would have been nice (though isn't that always the case?)
S: Smells of sweet roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, coffee, and a huge smokey whiskey aroma to it at the end that eventually takes over the nose.
T: Tastes of big smokey malts with hints of a good whiskey, nice caramel and chocolate malts finishing with more smoke and whiskey.
M: Very smooth, warming, lighter bodied than I would have expected, needed some carbonation as this one had none.
D: Very drinkable surprisingly for the amount of alcohol and the amount of smoke and whiskey flavors in it.

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Photo of flannelman808
4.34/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A sound of a light sss with no Crack upon opening is a bit disconcerting. Very dense Mars green colored beer. This guy is topped (with a harsh pour) with a very large bubbled tan colored head with poor retention. Lacing sticks around however.

S: Smells like somewhat harsh Islay scotch. Very smoky but in that peaty musty way and not bbq. Chocolate covered raisins too.

T: Dark fruit are the biggest surprise upon here. The smoke is there but it's most prominent on the nose. So Faint smoky dates run into both sweet and tart raisins (this is an 09 bottle perhaps infected??? It's good either way). The tartness grows as it warms and is really welcomed given the otherwise rich sweet profile of the beer. Turning into chocolate covered cherries this beer finishes in a nice way.

M: Oil spill city

O: I really like this stuff though It wasn't what I was expecting. Frankly I'm not positive it was expected by BrewDog either and I could care less. In more than two years this has matured into something special.

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Photo of Beejay
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a nigh-obsidian with no true head to speak of. The nose kicks off with a healthy dose of smoke, with all else in the background, submissive: toasted malts, toffee, vanilla, and a hint of booze. The taste begins with the usual imperial stout flavors, like coffee, vanilla, and dark malts, but then the smoke kicks in, bringing an extra level of complexity to the proceedings. The smoke goes from BBQ grill to roasted bratwurst to a lighter caramel flavor. Though the body is sonewhat heavy, it is incredibly smooth. This helps keep the drinkability fairly high, despite the best efforts from the ABV and the smoke, which tries its best, in vain, to dominate the stage. Instead, a delightful complexity exists.

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BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
3.7 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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