BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
American Imperial Stout
3.77 | pDev: 19.36%
Scotland, United Kingdom
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
Notes: Identical to Batch 010 as the casks were re-used.
Reviews: 163 | Ratings: 263
Photo of Durge
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, you can say it's retired but it was on tap at The Cask Republic in New haven, CT last Friday though I suppose it was a different batch...whatever. It's a very dark mahogany black color with a chocolate colored head that spreads fairly thin and leaves fair lacing. The aroma is just mild whiskey, not sure I can identify much else. It’s good scotch whiskey in my estimation but hard to find the beer here...not complaining though. The taste astounds with creamy molasses malt blended nicely with the smoked peat and whiskey burn. And then there seems to be a bit of dry hoppiness that comingles with the scotch bite. Body is medium and the feel brings an odd hint of creaminess with an ultimately aqueous drinkability. Wild and tasty stuff.

 747 characters

Photo of SLeffler27
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black walnut with a short lived dense latte head that reaches one quarter inch. A viscous film and thin rings of lace form on the glass.

There is a distinct impression of cherry cough syrup, quickly followed by band-aids. While there is some smoke, I find none of the expected whisky. There is a clear scent of cigar left on my breath. This one is intriguing to say the least.

Pronounced flavors of charred wood upon opening are followed by whisky and baker’s chocolate. Roasted coffee bitterness carries long into a dry finish. There are odd flavors which I am attributing to the stated peat smoke.

A full body with smooth texture, light astringency, and prickly carbonation. Alcohol is prominent as expected.

Smokehead is probably served best with bold savory foods. It lacks the wow factor one would expect from the brand hype and price tag. While I’m glad to have tried it, but it is falling short for me.

 923 characters

Photo of Mar02x
2.37/5  rDev -37.1%
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.

 469 characters

Photo of ummswimmin
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

 809 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.63/5  rDev -30.2%
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.


 2,015 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

 318 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz (but looked like a normal 12oz) bottle poured into an unmarked goblet glass. Final beer from the Beer & Grilled Cheese dinner. Served with flourless chocolate cake and whipped topping. Best Before Date: 19/8/16

A: Pours extremely pitch black. It's not as thick and vicous as I thought I'd be. An aggressive swirl prompts a fluffy tan head with tight bubbles. And lots of fragments of lacing on the glass.

S: Very smokey and peat heavy for sure. Really dominates other dark roast malt notes you would have gotten. Smokey like a camp fire or a BBQ like people have described. Maybe you get some deep dark chocolate behind all that, but you have to really get in there.

T: Lots of bitterness: dark expresso and dark chocolate and smoke. But definitely peat heavy. It's a campfire like smoke. The finish is long with smokey asters. Served very cold, so that might be holding back some of the other flavors a touch.

M: This is certainly a full bodied stout. Coats the mouth with bitterness.

O: First Brewdog beer, and it's for sure extreme like I hear many of their beers are. It's a solid offering. I don't think it's as good as others do, but it's a solid B+ or A- on my scale. I might have a higher grade with proper serving temps. It did pair nicely with the chocolate cake though!

O: B+ not my favorite but it's interesting

 1,336 characters

Photo of pjs234
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into my Stone RIS glass. It poured a very dark brown, almost black with a good amount of tan colored head that grew to about 2-3 fingers high. The smell is very interesting. It's very smokey. At first, smoke was all I could pick up. In fact, my first thoughts was that it smelled like the ashes at the bottom of a camp fire. As I smelled it more, I started to pick up smells of cooked/smoked meat. The first taste caught me off guard. At first I hated it. Tasted like an ashtray. I was concerned that I would not be able to get through it. Thankfully, the second sip was significantly better. Now I am getting flavors of dark chocolate, cooked meets, and barbecue sauce, and all of these are complimented very nicely by the overall smoky character of this beer. The mouth feel is nice too. There is a fair amount of carbonation, but not too much.

Overall, this is a very interesting beer. It's probably not for everyone, but there are many (me included) who will really enjoy this.

 1,004 characters

Photo of BeerHunter76
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I am a big fan of BrewDog and what they do, and I have had a few other Paradox. However, this one struck me with its outright boldness. I poured it from a bottle into a snifter. When I brought it to my nose to say that I was suprised about how smoky it is would be an understatement. Pair that with how it hits the pallet and the overwehlming flavor of peat moss and you have a sense of what you get of what it is like to sip a scotch from Islay. VERY earthy and peaty. It has a strong finish, but you don't get much of the 10% because of the smokiness. It is certainly made for sipping from a good snifter. Take your time with this one and enjoy.

 647 characters

Photo of LeoPanna
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle picked up @ Joe Canal's in Woodbridge NJ. Batch 015 and Best Before 19-08-16 marked on the bottle. I'm a little nervous about this one, i've never tried anything aged in a whiskey cask, not sure what to expect.

A: Beautiful *gulp gulp* sound as the liquid pours into the tulip. light brown before it hits the glass, pitch black as it fills up. Massive head, frothy like a root beer flaot... I love how it looks, just watching the head slowly dissipate.

S: Right out the bottle it smells like backyard bbq. It is just outright smoky. Wish I had more words for this one. Definitely feeling the wood and almost a coal smell as well... It's intense but interesting, not sure what to expect.

T:Whoa...Intense smoke flavor. Now I can taste the whiskey barrel. Burnt coal, beef brisket, smoked bbq sauce and whiskey with a stout texture and color. The aftertaste is the highlight. It's HUGE.. like taking a bite out of a slightly burnt bbq pork chop.

MF: Smooth on the tongue, slight carbonation but it disappears completely as soon as it slides down the tongue. Exactly what I expect in an imperial stout.

O: This is one hell of an adventurous beer. If you expect a typical Imperial Stout, you're gonna be disappointed. But if you remember that it's an intensly smoked stout aged in an Islay whiskey cask, you'll appreciate drinking this. I could definitely see myself trying this again with some Spicy BBQ meat. The only problem is it's too hard to finish! It's an interesting taste but not really a sipping beer, more of something to try a couple sips...The flavor is just too intense!

 1,601 characters

Photo of John_M
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
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).

 1,645 characters

Photo of depechemode1983
3.56/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours pitch black in color with just some soap like head that vanishes like soda pop. No lacing at all.

S - Beef jerky, leather, hospital, smoke, scotch, wood and alcohol all seem to just jump out at once. Pretty damn impressive. When it comes down to it this beer mainly smells like smoke flavor concentrate. This would be a good beer to cook with.

T - Yup. A good cooking beer. Definitely getting scotch in the taste with tons of smoke. Getting too many medicinal properties. All in all its very smoky and alcoholic. A sipper.

M - The body and mouthfeel are pretty light considering. Carbonation seems to be low. Watery.

O - This is a weird one. An awesome experience. I would never think about dropping 12 dollars on this again. Gald I got to try it.

 762 characters

Photo of BeerFan95
2.41/5  rDev -36.1%
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.

 739 characters

Photo of flannelman808
4.34/5  rDev +15.1%
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.

 1,016 characters

Photo of stephens101
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

 824 characters

Photo of Scrumtralecent
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A - Pours black with an off white head that dissipates quickly. Head clings to the side of the glass.

S - Lots of peat, leather, and tobacco. An intriguing smell and don't get this much peat usually. Little roasted malt rounds the smell out.

T - That peat stands out, with a little smoke, alcohol heat, malt, bitter chocolate. As it warms, it oddly thins the taste out with that peat getting lost a little. The backbone needs a little more body from those malts. But the islay whisky aging made this different.

M - The peat and smoke make the mouthfeel heavier, but the stout is lacking in the backend. Nice peat feel on the sides of the cheek however.

O - Interesting stout I must say. The stout itself was a little lackluster, but the aging actually helped the beer out, making it unique, smokey, and a little heavier and harsher. I like trying different barrel aging, and since I do like peat and smoke, islay whisky barrels are ok with me.

 985 characters

Photo of AgentZero
1.66/5  rDev -56%
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.

 724 characters

Photo of voetsek
1.56/5  rDev -58.6%
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.

 277 characters

Photo of brotherloco
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

330ml bottle. Batch 015. "Best Before" 31/03/11.

Poured vigorously into a tulip. The pitchest of pitch black with a finger of dark beige foam. Very loose with big bubbles, settles to a frothy ring. Touches of broad, loose lacing.

Aroma is right in your face, unmistakable Islay peat. Smoky, earthy, shoe polishy.

Taste introduces a mildy sweet roasted malt with some salty seawater notes, but the smoky peat takes over quickly and fills the mouth. Adds a sour and bitter character. Extremely unique for a beer, and hey if you don't like Laphroaig, you're not going to like a brew like this. 10% ABV only shows up at the end of the long finish, it's not much of an issue.

A medium-full body and low carbonation don't provide a great beer-like mouthfeel, but it can be slightly forgiven for the unique style.

 810 characters

Photo of rcfunk
1.76/5  rDev -53.3%
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.

 627 characters

Photo of megahurts4
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewdog Paradox Smokehead

Appearance: dark brown, small-no head, and little lacing.

Smell: smoke, roasted cask, and caramel.

Taste: roasted malt, earthy cask, smoke, and a slight sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium.

This is a nice and flavorful brew. You get the texture in the flavor from the cask.

 309 characters

Photo of vandemonian
3.85/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had BrewDog Paradox Smokehead on cask at Pizzerio Paradiso near Dupont Circle in Washington DC. It tastes like a whiskey barrel.

A: Black colour and 5mm head that sticks around. 4.5

S: Smells very woody along with some whiskey smell. 4.5

T: Tastes like like a smokey whiskey barrel. Not much beer flavour left. 3.5

M: Foamy. 4

O: This has a very interesting woody and smoky flavour. I didn't really find is pleasant though. 3.5

 434 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 399 characters

Photo of RuudJH
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Islay whisky cask matured, best before 22 nov 2016.

Looks dark brown, with light brown head.
Having sampled some of the Islay whiskies in my life, I'm not surprized by the smoky characters: dark roasted coffee, nuts, grains, with tobacco, peat, ash. Overwhelming in both smell and taste.
Maybe it's a bit too much: there's hardly a characteristic of any other kind: malts are gone, hops are nowhere to be noticed.
It does cover the alcohol well.
I wonder if this was matured in oak barrels of any superior islay single malt, or just some that got lucky living a 2nd life.

Very much an aquired taste: it takes a long time to get used to this beer.
A very long time. After leaving it in the glass for 1/2 hour, finally noticing some hops: pine, spice, floral, I would say.
Sniffing it is intriguing, tasting it is tough.

 827 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
1.23/5  rDev -67.4%
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.

 936 characters

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 263 ratings