BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead | BrewDog

261 Ratings
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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 261 |  Reviews: 163
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 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 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 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 deathdealer666
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served in a goblet.

It pours pretty thin. An extremely dark brown with a small tan head that was gone before it was ever there. It smells like grandpa, scotch and old cigarettes. The taste is superb. Great peat character with a good amount of hop. Very smooth and creamy. The scotch maturation really mellows out the beer nicely. And I would never guess just from drinking it this beer is 10%. with the smoke and peat and everything else your only having one of these. That's good too cause it's pretty expensive.

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

Served on cask at Stone Brewing Co. in snifter

Pours a jet black with a creamy brown froth & good lacing. The nose is dominated by tons of smoke followed by bitter coffee beans, smoked gouda, smoked bacon, black licorice, charcoal, oak, peat, subtle molasses, chicory, easy cinnamon, & soft tobacco aromas. There is good weight on the palate with good carbonation & long finish. Overall, an awesome beer that should definitely go either with a cigar or with food. Still, this is an extremely smooth beer (especially for 10% abv)that adds to it's drinkability. However, the smokey element is wonderful, but a bit overpowering on the palate...again, if complimented with food, would be absolutely wonderful!

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another free one at their distributor's showcase. From what I've seen about the cose associated with these guys I'm glad I didn't have to pay.

Pours black with no head. Probably the least interesting part of this beer.

Smells of smoke, sweet malt, smoke, and a little more smoke. It's funny that quite a few smoked beers smell like artificial bacon dog treats. Thankfully this isn't one.

Tastes like smoke, in a good way. I would complain that the base beer is hidden, but the smoke is just too interesting. Smokiest beer I've ever had.

In the mouth it is thick, creamy, and has just enough carbonation not to be syrup.

This beer is a good sipper and would be great by a fire in the winter. If only we had winter in Florida.

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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 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 BierBreath305
3.63/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at The Pub in Pembroke Pines. Before she brought it to me the waitress asked me if I liked whisky because it was very smokey and whisky-like, then she brought me sample to make sure I could handle it.

This is not a review from memory, only a heads-up to those who might try it. Be advised that this is not an Imperial Stout as this beer advocate page states. The only thing this brew has in common with a RIS is the color. This is whisky water. Black and somewhat thin with minimal khaki head, this is not anything like a stout. The taste is predominantly of smoke, hickory or mesquite, I'm not sure, but it is a woodsy smoke taste and texture with strong alcohol following behind. There is more to it, like roasted malts and all that, be they are secondary behind the smokiness.

I had it with some kind of whisky/chocolate cheesecake and it paired wonderfully, but by itself it needs to be reckoned with as it is nothing like any regular beer out there.

One must be a whisky lover to try this and be in a whisky type of mood to be able to enjoy the whole glass. Beware and enjoy, for this brew is something different.

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Photo of ADZA
3.4/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a jet black colour with hardly any carbonation that leaves a fast vannishing half finger head and no lacing whatsoever,it has aromas of strong wooden oaked whiskey and smoked malts,it has an above average mouthfeel with tastes of smoked malts,caramel and liquorice first followed by the smokey heat of a whiskey finish,not a bad beer and a very interesting approach but in saying that i couldnt drink all night and have had better.

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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 erz316
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

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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 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 lackenhauser
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, deep chestnut color. I was expecting pitch black but thats ok. Very nice hue anyway. Not a lot of carbonation. Big smokey and whisky aroma. Not so much peated as just plain smokey. Nice sharp and clean whisky notes. Very complex flavors-peated malt, burnt oak and a grainy, whiskey flavor. Very well balanced-nothing is too overwhelming. Faint alcohol notes but I find that to me more off the whisky flavor then an actual burn quality. Good body-I was expecting something huge body wise. Very drinkable-better as it warms. You might be put off by the price as I was but really worth saying what the hell and trying it. Amazing job they have done with this one.

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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 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 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 Gmann
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near black color with a small off-white head the quickly settled into a light ring. The aroma is all about the smoke. There are some charred meat and wood notes as well. The taste is big on the smoke, I almost think I am drinking liquid smoke. The malt flavor peeks through towards the end as well as the whiskey flavor. I thought there was going to be more of a pronounced whiskey flavor but it seemed to get lost in the smoke. Granted I have never had this type of whiskey before so I'm not sure what I should be looking for. The feel was moderate, thin for a stout. A very smokey stout with hints of whiskey.

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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 hopdog
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle. Batch 015 bb 09/08/10. Just noticed the lable states ' enjoy at room temperature, unless you live in an ingloo'!.

Poured a dark brown color with a smaller sized off white head. Aromas of smoked meats, chocolate, peat, and woody. Tastes of smoked meats, woodiness, a pile of raked autumn leaves, vanilla, and very light whisky. Somewhat of a thinner body.

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Photo of bark
3.49/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The colour is jet black; the finger thick head is brown - it sinks down to a thin lid and a ring. No lacing.

The smell is peaty and smoky with a hint of heavily roasted malt. Some alcohol... It smells more like a Islay whiskey than a beer.

The taste is first malty and a bit roasted, but those flavours are soon replaced with a distinct woody flavour of casks and peaty whiskey. Some alcohol in the background as well as some smoke and a clean sweetness. The aftertaste is milder and mellow: Notes of matured whiskey, some peat and sweet notes of toffee and brown sugar. Salt and peat in the finish.

The carbonation is medium to mild; the smooth bubbles are small. The liquid is quite light for a cask matured beer of this strength.

If you want a whiskey-matured beer that is more whiskey than beer, this is your drink. I personally think it is a bit over the top.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Expected extra-dark espresso with translucent body- heavier than iced coffee of course but maybe a little less viscous than a style benchmark. About ½ finger ginger-colored head, which is par for the course for the Portsmouth snifter. Head retention is a little light for the style, while the sparse lacing helps a bit.

Huge intense, peaty Scotch character. It's enjoyable as hell but the only drawback is that it's ALL I'm getting at first. After a while, I do get a little bit of patent tannin as well as very dry dark roasted malt. Very austere cocoa with a small amount of creaminess against small kick of moderate piney hops? Maybe.

Oooh...yeah, sure...this needs time 'cause there's an opportunity for some synergies to be had and the Scotch in this is wicked wicked hot, but there's some creaminess and saltiness that shines through. Patent tannins pile onto the peat and the dry, austere booze of the Scotch cask. Slight brown sugar tone - even more dry than a typical impy that is a little more sweet. But it's coming along nicely.

The mild sweetness on the back end of this brings the offering all together and moderates the patent tannins and the scratchy, peaty woodiness and pininess of the casks and the subtle hopping. Finish may need smoothing out but the intensity and the pleasure of sipping on this are well-represented. Not sure if it's the Scotch or the huge amount of wings I had earlier at Duff's in Buffalo, but something "tastes like burning."

It may be warming that's helping this deal, or maybe I'm opening my mind to some of these innovative vessels for aging, but this is a pretty damn good one that needs time. There's a fair amount of ultradry slate on the back end that dries this up while soaking the layers of it all.

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