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 ktrillionaire
1.23/5  rDev -66.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A - Thin cola or root beer appearance. Unimpressive.

S - It really smells like when you unwrap the bbq-flavored dog bone to give to your excited pooch; however, in this application, the experience is disconcerting. The nose is Bacos, liquid smoke, leather, and rawhide, except so putrid that descriptors fail.

T - Tastes like rancid smoked ham or some burnt plastic, if I am being extraordinarily generous. Actually, it tastes like burnt hair smells, but worse. It tastes like the smell of roadkill. One of the most insufferable beers I've ever had. Also tastes of ashtrays. This may have been aged on cadavers in Scotch casks. I would give it a zero if the Bros. would let me.

M - Thin. Low carbonation. Teeth-staining foulness (1.5)

O - Attention BrewDog: Mikkel(ler) called, he said this beer tastes way too much like cigarettes. And Jeffery Dahmer called from beyond the grave, too. He said this beer tastes like rotten corpses.

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Photo of voetsek
1.56/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Dark Caramel, chocolate with nice head

S: Smoky, woody. From a car guy's point of view it's a combination of old gas and heavy greasy

T: Overwhelming taste of liquid smoke with smoky wooden aftertaste

I agree with RuudeJH.
Sniffing it is intriguing, tasting it is tough.

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Photo of AgentZero
1.66/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A - Black beer with a small white head that disappeared.

S - Some caramel, lot of peat, and smoke. There is too much smoke, and it smells like grease too.

T - This is pretty bad. The smokey peat and grease is are just overpowering and leave a horrid burnt, metallic taste. There is a bit of caramel buried in there, but you have to choke down so much of this garbage by the time you get there you're trying not to spit out beer.

M - Lighter side of full bodied, low carbonation.

O - Bad taste makes it nearly impossible to get anything down other than a few small sips. I like smokey beers, but this was something like old motor oil and grease. Disgusting, just use these bottles for target practice out on the Back 40.

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Photo of nlmartin
1.71/5  rDev -53.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

The beer was served lightly chilled in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: The beer has a ruby opaque body to light. The head is a small tan quickly resolving affair. No lacing is noted on my glass.

Smell: The beers aroma is an odd combination of smoke, solvents and medicinal odors. Up underneath all the medical sorts of smells is a suggestion of peat, vanilla and more smoke. The medicinal odors bring this beer down for me.

Taste: Again for me the flavors are an odd combination of smoked medical supplies. I really dont get anything else. Doesnt taste terrible I just dont like it.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is slick but seems like someone put a solvent in my beer. Honestly the beer really wasnt drinkable between odd medical aromas and flavors and thin solvent body. In short this beer is not for me. I will allow to warm up to room temperature and try it again but frankly I am done with Brewdog.

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Photo of bobhits
1.76/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3


This one promises intense peat, lets see. A HUGE nose of smoke, and I mean smoke. Smoked porters best bend over to the new king. This is smoke! I mean suffocating smoke. That said who wants to take a whiff of smoke? It's like being in a burning building. The flavor is far more acceptable. Dominated by vanilla sweetness with far more subtle smoke finish. Brew Dog's IPA that was barrel aged has more peat flavor or at least the flavor is more overt, but this is a fascinating beer.

Don't let my score scare you off from this beer. It isn't great and it is extremely overpriced but it is such a different beer, so unique that I simply can't help but tell people to seek it out and sample it. The port Dundas is a vastly better beer, but there has to be points for unique work like this.

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Photo of rcfunk
1.76/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shared a bottle with friends. I suppose an Islay Whiskey drinker might like the novelty of this beer. As a fan of wood aged beer and not of Islay Whiskey however, I would call this the worst thing I have ever tasted.

I was the token beer geek in the group and as such I was the only one to finish the 3 or so ounces of beer in my glass. Comments were: "must be an aquired taste", "aweful", "that's the worst thing I have ever tasted", and dumping the beer down the sink in descending of order preference.

Well, that being said, I am glad I tried it. It's important to temper one's taste for beer with the occasional dog brew.

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Photo of Hautacam
1.94/5  rDev -47.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Practically no head on this blackish brew.
The smell is very, very smokey and loaded with phenol. The smell of scotch, especially the alcohol, comes through.
Taste ? A complete mess. Way too much smoke, way too much phenol, way too much whiskey.
It tastes like an over smoked ( campfire, a previous reviewer remarked) thin bodied porter, that has a shot of an Islay Scotch in it....and a few drops of liquid smoke....did I mention the smoke ? Nothing connects; it's all just In your Face harsh....each separate flavor is overdone.
I really like smoked beers and I really like single malts, so I thought I would like this a lot...and it was a gift.
A drainpour...really, I know this is not cheap, but I found it undrinkable.
I like what Brewdog is doing, so I will keep trying their beers, but this one sucked.

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Photo of soulgrowl
1.96/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Remarkably obsidian black and perhaps perfectly opaque. An odd mix of ultrafine and very large bubbles float atop the darkness in a fairly sturdy beige-ivory head. The nose is full of smoke (obviously), but it comes through in unpleasant ways, like plastic, burning tires, Band-Aids, or hospital equipment. However, there is also a more enticing, meatier side to the smoke, reminiscent of burnt wood and (naturally) peat. Underlying notes of vanilla and toffee and fruit are all but decimated by the barrel. The flavor is similar to the aroma, but weirdly simplified; sweet and smoky with virtually no nuance to speak of. My tongue searches for subtlety and turns up nothing - basically, this is nondescript, somewhat rum-raisiny sweetness inelegantly wed to nondescript, smoky Scotch. I wonder if these two strong, ordinarily complex flavors destroyed each other. On the palate it is quite full, oily, and chewy, which creates a sort of illusion of richness even though the flavor is rather weak. Dry finish. Overall, this is not very good. I may have to use it as a marinade.

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Photo of wd40
2.23/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Appearance consisted of a pitch black color with no head. Were there some foam or lace left on the glass I would have rated the beer higher. The smell had a distinct chemical/medicinal quality to it. A friend of mine smelled it and said it reminded him of turpentine! His wife said it smelled of nail polish. I smelled smoke with a generic chemical quality. The taste had a hint of underlying maltiness but was totally overpowered by what I imagine the ashes of a bonfire taste like. I understand the concept of incorporating smokiness into the beer, but it totally overpowered the taste. There was no subtle interplay between imperial stout and smoke, there was just smoke with a hint of some generic dark beer underneath. The mouthfeel was thin and watery, not thick and creamy like I would expect from an imperial stout. This is one of the very few beers I could not finish. I understand that it is a special beer, and I respect the concept of combining whiskey barrels with beer and imparting some of the flavor into the beer, but there should be some underlying imperial stout foundation in the taste and there's not. Maybe I got the bottom of the keg or something, but I can't recommend this beer.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.23/5  rDev -39.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Um, this is crazy stuff. Not sure what to make of it. First thing you'll notice is the price: a whopping $10.49 for an 11.2oz. bottle!!! Second, it pours with no head whatsoever. That's a minus in my book. The aroma is crammed full of Islay Scotch Whisky notes. It dominates the nose, leaving little else. The beer itself is almost chewy-thick and oily feeling. Very dense. The flavor is a bitter, smoky, peaty conglomeration that doesn't work well. It's almost like there's a beer and a Scotch Whisky wrestling for your attention. The finish is somewhat bitter in a bad way and pretty oily in itself. Not really a great beer and made worse by the price. Not worth looking for, as it's a novelty only.

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Photo of champ103
2.34/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours nearly opaque black. On a vigorous poor, a two finger tan head forms, and gently recedes to a ring. Some lace is left behind.
S: Smoke, tobacco, ash, rubber, sweet malt. Chocolate and coffee linger. Dry wood.
T: An overdone tobacco and rubber taste. Plenty of smoke, and dry moldy wood.
M/D: A medium body that is low on the carbonation. Just a little on the thin side for an Imperial Stout. Tons of alcohol, and the tobacco flavor makes this really hard to drink. I am struggling after a few sips.

Another high priced let down from BrewDog. I really wanted to like this, but I just can't get past the tobacco, ash and rubber flavor that I get in a lot of their beers. I would not recommend this.

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Photo of jonnyprime
2.35/5  rDev -36.5%
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.

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Photo of Mar02x
2.37/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - A strong beige head on a pitch black beer.

S - Smoked oak and a slight whiskey scent - I don't like smoked malts.

T - It is hard to discover the smoked malts in this one. Their presence is not massive though. The beer is a bit sweet too, along with wood and whiskey tones.

M - Medium to soft carbonation with a bitter finish.

O - Not my favorite, actually I find it pretty bad. They say you have to get used to this taste, but I didn't stop smoking for nothing.

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Photo of crusian
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

freezing cold outside, and I have no power... so might as well go out, buy a beer and review it.
Bottle from local bottle shop, says best before 15/08/14.
Pours a dark brown, much lighter than I expected, with almost no head... and what does form seems to have massive bubbles... looks like Coke. And, almost had to complain about the amount, but 330 ml is a wee bit over 11oz...
Smells a very peaty vinegar (which could be explained by the smoke, I guess) with some chocolate hints... not sure if this is off or not, by the smell, I give this 50-50 chance.
Taste is very smoky and a bit sour with a heavy alcohol presence. A lot of ash and char in this one as well, I was hoping that the smoke would be downplayed a lot more after this has aged as a lot of others do, but doesn't seem to be the case.
Mouthfeel is actually quite nice, the large coke carbonation is not present. Has a nice oily medium/thick consistency.
Overall, not too bad for a beer on a freezing day with no power, but I wouldnt get this again.

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Photo of BeerFan95
2.41/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: A thin black body that had a brown head that had very little retention. Seemed to be as thin as water.

S: Had some favorable smoke and peat notes, some of the alcohol notes seemed to over power it. I did not get a sense of roasted malts

T: Good smoke notes, peat notes were mild. Mostly alcohol and that seemed to over power the beer. Roast notes were present but very mild.

M: Very little carbonation, which I expected. Body was very thin and lacking any character.

O: While the smoke and peat notes were great the alcohol really ruined some of the notes I expect from a stout. I usually don't mind alcohol flavor in my beer, but this had more of a generic alcohol flavor. As a note I have never had any Islay single malt scotch.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Cost was $11.99. Bottled on date: 04/15/2009. Batch 015, 10% ABV. Expectations are average; my love for the style is balanced by my disdain for Brewdog. The bottle was purchased from a reputable store in Orange County, California, and I'm certain it was stored properly.

Presentation Note: The pressure cap was a real beast to pry off; this assures me it didn't lose carbonation over the course of its near three years in the bottle.

A: Pours a quarter finger head of light cream, decent thickness, and awful retention (~14 seconds). Colour appears black at first, but upon closer inspection seems to be a very dark caramel-black. The high ABV helps explain the bad head, but I've seen it overcome before.

Sm: A downright strong aroma: heavy peat, bourbon/whisky notes, and heavy smoke. Complex, warm, and inviting. Rich and delightful.

T: Heavy on the peat, with a smokey finish. The body is rich but relaxed, and not too heavy on the palate. It doesn't beat you over the head. The whiskey is present as a tone throughout but is never horribly strong. All in all it's rather simple for an imperial stout, and structurally it feels very brief: the flavours are only present for a very small amount of time. I like what's there, but it needs to be stronger and feature more presence. It's imbalanced in this regard.

Mf: Extremely thin and fragile - to its detriment. Even a bit watery. It should be a heavy dry coarse beer, but it's smooth and wet. Awfully executed for an imperial stout. Nearly ruins the beer. What a shame.

Dr: Drinkable but boring and disappointing, largely on account of its brief flavour profile and terrible mouthfeel. Extremely overpriced. I don't know that the aging did it much good. I'd never have this again, even at a quarter of the price I paid for it. Another unsurprising overpriced disappointment from the gimmicky brewers over at Brewdog.


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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
2.63/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

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Photo of biglite351
2.65/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - light through the center, very short tight white head.

S - smells like blown gun powder and wet burnt wood with a touch of whisky.

T - tastes like it smells but with a touch of chocolate.

M - good coating, mild tingle all over.

D - not what I would be looking for on a normal basis.

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Photo of bens0n
2.67/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Snagged a bottle of the 015 batch, best by 08/08/10; would have loved to have enjoyed this a little bit fresher but oh well.

This beer pours an extremely dark brown, its almost opaque but not quite. There is almost no head at all.. even with a rough pour.

On the nose I can pick up on an extremely rich, but alcoholic tinged sugary candy smell. I almost want to say bubblegum...

Flavor wise, you can really pick up on the peat and earthy, woody flavors from the aging, the peat is pretty overpowering along with the cask-aged woody flavor. Hard to call this a stout. The peat is just too much for me, it tastes like a mouthful of fresh grass clippings, it just tastes stale and swampy.

Its very smooth and the high ABV is not even a factor in the drinkability, but I guess I really don't enjoy the peat.

For $12 a single 12 oz bottle, I would say don't even waste your time/money on this. (This is the most disappointing beer purchase I have ever made.)

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Photo of 77black_ships
2.74/5  rDev -25.9%
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 .

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Photo of KFBR392
2.76/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

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Photo of Ego
2.77/5  rDev -25.1%
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...

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Photo of jbphoto88
2.87/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Batch 15 bottle with a best by date of 08/08/10... I guess I missed it's freshness by six months. But since it's a stout and a 10% one, aged in whiskey barrels, I am sure the extra time in bottle won't hurt.

Then again maybe it will as the pour is unimpressive. The beer is dark brown with red in the deep end and yellow towards the highlights. The head is thin and not showy at all.

The nose is very distinct. The best description I can give is imagine pouring your favorite deepest, darkest stout into a glass and drinking it gone. Then fill that un-rinsed glass with some scotch and that's the nose of this beer. Heavy peated scotch wIth the muted stout in the distance. Personally I can't wait to try this beer. I'm as much of a fan of scotch as I am of beer and this is the best matchup since you got your peanut butter on my chocolate.

The nose might be all scotch but the taste sure isn't. In fact the only thing scotch-ish here is the peat flavor. The stout is muted compared to the smokiness of this brew. There isn't much dark toasty flavor and it's kind of overly smoked for my taste. This is more a campfire tasting beer then an oak aged stout.

The feel of this beer is my favorite part. It has a smooth and coating mouthfeel that really invades every square centimeter of your mouth. The carbonation is light and the body not to heavy or syrupish for an imperial stout. Alais it all comes back to taste and this one is poor. It tastes the same as sucking on a half burnt stick of oak (don't ask how I know that, just trust me.) That and it was $12 for one bottle! WTF? This is a novelty beer and I'm a sucker that fell for the buzz and hype around it. Pass it by.

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Photo of ummswimmin
2.93/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I picked this up a while ago and aged it in my cellar for about a year now. I like Rauchbiers, especially Aecht Schlerneka, and I thought this would hit the spot.

It pours dark as midnight, but it looked a little thin. I got almost no head; as expected due to the cellaring.

The smell is very strong with smoke and whiskey. Maybe a little tobacco in the background.

The flavor is not nearly as pleasant as the bouquet. There is a huge imbalance in flavors. I get a ton of smoke in the front. It overwhelms the rest of the beer. In the background there is a wincing amount of whiskey. It less of a beer and more of a dose of multiple flavors with no balance.

I like the brand's spirit, especially because they challenge the status quo in the UK. However, this beer really missed the mark for smoke beers.

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Photo of oberon
2.98/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

My second BrewDog ware I have tried,poured into a snifter a jet black,I mean no light showing thru this puppy,a thin almond colored head atop.Wow alot going on in the nose,some good,some not so good,bigtime smokey hard wood and peat mixed with molasses and light vanilla.The peat aromas are very strong,I have never in a beer came close to that aroma of peat and hardwood (alder?),quite intense.Holy smokes the flavors are as smoky as all get out!Intense hard wood smoke and peat flavors mixed with light caramel/vanilla sweetness,that sweetness doesnt hold up to the intense barrage of smoke and wood.This knocked me back a little I didnt expect to drink such a intense beer.I didnt like the flavors but it is original I have to say.

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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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