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 Sammy
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours jet black. Aroma is wood is not attractive, its rather more like being in a wood store and not the freshest wood. Taste is medium. Not much in taste ratehr than a little whiskey. Finish is smoked peat.Sometimes some of the many attempts by Brewdog are overated.Boozy.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Smokey! Had this on tap a little while ago. This beer poured out as a dark brown color. The head was tan but very thin and eventually disappeared. The smell of the beer is very smokey and has a whiskey essence to it also. The taste was smokey but not salty, thankfully. The mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side sadly. Overall this beer was interesting. I was very glad to have glad to try it on tap.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Man, you really got to lik'em smokey. It's much like drinking a lit cigar.

A base beer that straddles the definitions of Stout and Scottish Ales lead to medium roast qualities of highly kilned malts, coffees, and caramel. These a absolutely swamped by the more earthy, peaty, dirty aromas and flavors of Scottish Ale proportions.

The whisky barrels bring on a thinning booze quality that kills the head and body. Those barrels also bring about a smoke flavor and smell that are as intimidating as intriquing. Very rich with smoke, tannin woods, Scotch whisky, and a tawny vinous quality just in case the beer lacked a bit of complexity otherwise.

Ester fruits of burnt currants, dates, prunes, and raisons also decorate the edges. No doubt this beer is as big and complex as they come. It's just so powerful on the whisky and smoke that the beer is difficult to drink even from the very first sip.

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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 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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Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black forest cake with no highlights on this overcast late January morning. A modest escape of CO2 was followed by a slim slice of beige foam that is no longer completely covering the beer. Minimal lace makes it to the snifter. Not the best looking of the lot.

The aroma is three parts peaty Scotch whisky to one part roasted malty stout. It may be because the 'best by' date is a mere three months away, but this iteration doesn't seem as pungent as the others. More of the stout would have been nice.

Smokehead 015 brings it on the flavor front, as all of these Paradox brews do. This is my sixth one and all six have earned 4.0 for both flavor and drinkability. That makes sense since they only vary by the whisky that was previously in the cask.

Even though the Scotch used in this batch is unknown to me, it tastes like something from the Islay region. The beer has that classic phenolic, bandage-like, seaweedy character that some aficionados of the world's greatest spirit crave.

The stout plays a bigger role on the palate. Chocolate malt dominates, with hints of roasted coffee bean peaking in at the edges. The rest is all whisky, in a wonderfully balanced kind of way. Maybe it's age, but this is definitely not boozy beer.

Too bad the mouthfeel has taken a hit, although it's obvious that it was nowhere near Dark Lord thick and chewy to begin with. Enough bubbles have survived to keep things reasonably well-expanded, which helps keep the score at average.

This bottle of BrewDog Paradox Smokehead Batch 015 is more enjoyable than the final score will indicate. Time won't do it any favors, so if you're cellaring a bottle, crack the crown before warmer weather rolls around.

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Photo of Jason
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle with a best before date.

Off of a hard rousing pour comes a lightly crackling tan bubbly lace. The tiny bubble have some retention and the big ones that must have captured some fusel oil start popping right away. Peaty, charred wood, lemon oil, fusel alcohol and ripe plum on the nose. Slick and creamy on the palate with a very light carbonation. Big dry malt character tries to stay afloat as the wood and alcohol trait try and smack it down. Modest hopping here which is fine as it is not needed. Peat flavor throughout is lazily dominant letting both the charred wood and roasted malt flavors to come through. Big breath of alcohol though it never runs hot. Finishes with a sweet fusel alcohol, roasted grain and wood tannin ... obviously dry.

I am very impressed with this beer, the barrel qualities never overpower but are present throughout.

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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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Photo of drabmuh
4.19/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at a local beer bar. Beer is served in a snifter. Beer is brown and has no head. No carbonation to speak of, no lacing.

Aroma is quite hickory, almost smoked ham like. Very interesting.

Beer is strong on the palate, like a strong rauchbier. Its not just smoke there are some sweet malt notes and some alcohol but nothing too special. The smoke is clearly the star. Pretty interesting.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thin tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a basic patent/chocolate malt scent along with a charcoal/smokey aroma. There is a mild whiskey character, but the overwhelming aroma is of burnt wood. The taste is decent. It has a smooth stout flavor that's more sweet than earthy. It's got a burnt wood taste that really sticks out in the finish. It's like stirring an IS with a piece of coal. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an interesting beer. I wouldn't call it good, but it's a unique drinking experience.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown-black with a small beige head.

Very smokey aroma with some oak, but mainly just smoke. Much smokier than the Isle of Arran and Springbank that we tried during the same tasting. The flavor is lots of peat smoke. Very intense, almost charcoal like flavor which hides any more subtle flavors that may or may not there. Medium-thick mouthfeel and light-medium carbonation. Overall I didn't care for the level of smokiness in this beer, but I am still glad I tried it.

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Photo of John_M
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Frisco's is pretty good about identifying specific beers on their menu, and their beer menu did not identify this as the speyside version. So I'll assume this is what I ordered, even though the data base shows it to be retired.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with fair head retention and minimal lacing. On the nose, the smoke and peat aroma is just incredible. The beer smells as if it has spent a CONSIDERABLE amount of time in some Islay scotch barrel. I don't think I've ever smell anything like this that didn't have the word Laphroig or Lagavullin on the outside label. There's also some light coffee and milk chocoalte, but the single malt scotch aroma really dominates! On the palate... hmmm.... OK, I like this beer, but I can see where it might not appeal to everyone. There is plety of scotch flavor and smoke, as well as chocolate and light coffee. However, the beer also comes across as slight oxidized, and this sort of reminds me of a beer that perhaps has been open a bit too long (even for cask, this beer tastes pretty flat). However, there are no off flavors, and there's no drop off in the finish, so maybe this is what the brewer was going for. Mouthfee is fairly smooth with a fairly long finish, and I found myself enjoying this bere more and more as I went a long. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, though you can tell it's up there a bit.

Again, I can see where this may not be to everyone's taste, but I feel as if I have to give the brewer credit for pushing the envelope in this unusual beer. Definitely a beer for lovers of smokey, single malt scotch (and that would certainly be me).

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pour is dark with almost no head.

S: Lots and lots of peaty smoke - obviously aged on Islay-casks. Dark dried fruits and some faint sweetness. Coffee and dark bitter chocolate. A bit alcoholy smell.

T: Heavy roasted malt together with the smoke and faint vanilla from the whisky cask. Dark dried fruits. The coffee and chocolate is fainter compare to the smell.

M: Aftertaste last a long time and holds rich bitterness. Body is smooth medium to full and carbonation is very low.

D: When it comes to experimental beers, Brewdog is very bold. This is, as always, a beer you should try.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Consumed on 9/18/2009 and poured into a snifter. Thanks for opening this, Torry. The beer appears black but is actually just very dark brown when held to the light. The small light brown head is bubbly and disappears quickly.

The aroma is chalky, smoky, and peaty. The smokiness is almost bacon-like. There's a touch of roastiness and some chocolate.

The beer opens up with chocolate which quickly segues into peat then into apple wood smoked bacon. I can't help but think of beachwood, as well. The smoke and peat are amplified in the finish. This tastes pretty interesting.

The beer is light full bodied with medium carbonation and a somewhat thin mouthfeel. Interesting stuff, though I wouldn't ever buy it myself at the ridiculous retail price.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%

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.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straight up pour, no head, no lace. Midnight black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Wicked smokey nose and flavor is smokey, burnt dark chocolate. High ABV is hidden. Bottled 8/8/2008, flavor is good but carbonation is nearly gone. $9.50 for a 330ml bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Enjoy by 11-11-10 printed on the label.

(A)- Pours a pitch black color that produces a lot of tan bubbles that dissipate almost immediately. Man, this is thick stuff!

(S)- Tons of smokiness that is really peaty(salty) and has a hickory wood nuance within the smoke. In fact, hickory does not quite cover it, there is also some oak wood within it too. A little minerality to it.

(T)- Very dry up front with a strong wood smokiness that turns almost sweet, almost salty at the same time. The whiskey from the cask creates that minerality that was found in the smell comes through in the taste as well which combines well with that oak wood smoke. Very light hop presence, but is pretty much subdued out by the smokiness and sweet/salty combination.

(M)- I was expecting a monster of flavors that were going to just tear apart my palate, but this is actually kinda delicate. Its definitely not light-bodied, but has many dimensions to it that really keeps you guessing. Good carbonation level. Not really harsh in anyway, although the amount of smokiness is really extremely potent. The 10% abv is integrated well, the only hint of it is when you taste the whiskey barrel presence within is layers.

(D)- What a strange beer! The smokiness is really different to experience and enjoy. The whiskey cask(s) this was stored in really gives it a nice but strong edge that is really unique; its like they bottled the Scotland coastline in liquid form. Brewdog has my attention with this one! My only complaint is how incredibly smoky this is, if that was toned down, you could really decipher some to most of what nuances this beer really has if to offer if that were the case.

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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 beertunes
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. The beer poured a deep mahogany color, not at all black as expected from a stout, with some reddish tint at the edges. The beer had barely any head at all and no retention.

The aroma was pure smoke, I didn't even notice any peatiness behind the smoke, and just a hint of malt in the deep background. The taste was very good, but again, all smoke. On about the sixth sip I could start to pick a little bit of malt taste and there was a bit of a tang on the finish that could have come from some hops. Much like the in the aroma, I didn't get much, if any, peat out of this.

The body was thin for a stout, although enjoyable. Drinkability is very much going to depend on your tolerance for the smoke. Personally I probably wouldn't have 2 in a row, but I'll certainly have this beer again.

Overall, a quite enjoyable brew, even if it doesn't quite fit it's style. Certainly worth your time.

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Photo of akorsak
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Pizzeria Paradiso. Ksak's choice and my share...

A: Another dark stout, midnight with no moon. The head is lighter than Black Force One, more of an off-white color that has the consistency of a cask pour.

S: The nose is wickedly interesting, combining sea salt, peated whisky and the deep underlying power of a BrewDog stout. Very interesting, especially the barrel and the briny Scotch that it delivers. One helluva pairing.

T: Again, the briny Scotch delivers all that it promises, with sea salt and peat competing for attention. Good news is that both win out, a mouthfull in each sip. As advertised, bittersweet chocolate is below the surface, adding just a bit of depth. Truth be told though, the whisky aspect is what makes the stout sing. The brine lingers in each sip.

M: A stout, a few barrels and Islay? Sign me up any time. The one differs from JW Lee's Lagavulin but still delivers a good punch.

To each his reach and I'll cop this one again.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.72/5  rDev +0.5%
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

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