BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead

BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - SmokeheadBrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead
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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 Cyberkedi
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is strongly of burnt wood with subtle hints of roast quality coffee and molasses. It comes out of the bottle an opaque dark chocolate brown with a thick, fluffy, pale tan head that leaves minimal lacing. Flavor has a strong overtone of charred wood and tones of molasses and fine coffee and a hint of licorice. Texture is smooth, thick and lively, leaving a smoky and somewhat fizzy finish.

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Photo of beerdrinker123
2.67/5  rDev -29.2%
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 JISurfer
4.36/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paradox Smokehead (batch 015) pours a flat black into the glass with a small tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a ring around the glass leaving behind a few spots of lace.

The aroma is full of smoke, with hints of peat and a touch of roasted malt.

Each sip of this medium bodied beer is dry on the palate, with a mild fizz on the tongue. The flavor is loaded with peaty smoke, blended with chocolate, pistachio and oak. It almost reminds me of a holiday ham. Once gone the peaty smoke flavor lingers on the palate.

For all the smoke in this beer I'm surprised some of the other flavors come through.

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Photo of scarfield
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black. No Head- Seems to have a slightly oily residue instead of a head. No lacing.

Smell is strong with roasted malt, then peat appears in the nose.

Taste is quite complex. Heavily Roasted, the whiskey appears in the taste as well as the alcohol heat and a sweet/sour from the wood aging is also dominant. Peat lingers several minutes after a drink, but for some reason it is a stale tasting peat which becomes more stale as the beer warms. Also as it warms an earthy/leathery taste comes out.

Has an oily texture that makes it feel like it slides around on the tongue. Due to the high ABV and the lingering effect on the tongue I would not recommend more than one.

This beer is a good barrel aged stout, but as an islay fan it disappointed me. I didn't feel like the peat came through as much as it could (or should) have for 11 dollars a bottle, and because of this it was overpriced for me.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A snifter on tap late night at the bookstore.

A- comes to me with a small cap of dark tan head on top of a pitch black brew.

S- smokehead is right. Char and smoke with almost burnt malts and some boozy hits. Touches of chocolate.

T- charred malts and smokey peat. Bakers chocolate and burnt brown sugar. Whiskey and a touch of anise.

M- on the fuller side of body with a light carb. Some heat lingers.

D- this is way more drinkable then I had expected. The base beer and the barrel play well together and make for a nice ride.

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Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very dark brown into my pint glass with a little over an inch of tan head that seems to have decent retention and pretty nice lacing.

S - Smoke, smoke and more smoke right up front. As it opens up a little I am getting more notes of mahogany, peat, roasted malts, and maybe even a little bit of dark chocolate.

T - Whiskey notes are very prevalent; smoke, peat and woody. Sweet malts, cocoa notes, bitter coffee, and a walnut dryness to it.

M - Smooth and creamy, medium in body with just the right about of carbonation.

D - I really like the balance of this beer. I am a big fan of imperial stouts and the smoke adds a whole new element and next level of complexity with the barrel aging.

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Photo of biglite351
2.65/5  rDev -29.7%
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 Onibubba
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black pour with the dark brown mocha head of a promising stout. Head is very short lived and leaves little to no lacing. Ah well...Roasted malts with a subltle aroma of whiskey and peat, gaining as the beer warms. Carries through in the taste, with less of a smoke / peat presence than in the aroma, but still noticeable. A smooth body, as is welcome in a stout. Alcohol is surprisingly hidden. Drinkability is a non-issue. This goes down with ease and is gone before I know it. Sadly, this was nowhere near the aggressive peaty monster I was anticipating, and the flavor imparted by the casks of phenominal spirits is not as high profile as I was hoping. This beer is so much better at room temperature, I feel that I wasted half the bottle. By all means, let this warm up if you are keeping it in the fridge so you can experience all it has to offer.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
3.32/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz into tulip, allowed to warm to high 50's.

Pours with a faint tan head over a black body with mahogany edges. Head quickly fades to ring, and just a touch of lacing.

Thick peat smoked malt greets you up front, with a bit of black licorice in the back. Touch of whiskey, as it warmed.

Pretty slick mouthfeel, but oh, does that smoked malt drive over your tongue like a lawn mower. Glass of charred wood. Vanilla sweetness. Touch of red wine. Gym sneakers and/or burned rubber closes things out with a cloying residue.

Drinkability is unlike any other Imperial Stout of 10%... this one is relatively thin, but cakes the palate with the peat smoke, making it a one and done.

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Photo of tjfinkle
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had a couple of bottles of this laying around and finally decided to pop one last weekend.

Appearance-Very Dark with minimal head that dissipates quickly

Smell - Peaty, very peaty. It is very obvious that this spent some time in an Islay Whiskey Barrel...

Taste - Just like the smell, first and foremost there is a lot of peat, it tastes very similar to an Islay whiskey without the burn of the alcohol, after the initial shock of the peat, the flavor settles out to a softer roasted malty aftertaste.

Mouth- You can tell that this is a relatively high alcohol beer, but it does not burn like other barrel aged stouts and while the peat flavor is strong it does not ruin the beer.

Drink- Very good beer. I am slightly biased because I have been a lover of Islay whiskeys for some time and this does an excellent job of combining the best flavors of Islay whiskeys and imperial stouts in one drink

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +6.1%
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 IPA4LIFE
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
2.23/5  rDev -40.8%
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 Sigmund
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle, at Olympen, Oslo. ABV was 10%. Imperial stout matured in Islay whisky casks. Black colour, dark ruby in the highlights, low tan head. Moderate carbonation. Intense peaty and smoky aroma, distinct notes of Islay whisky, tar, shore-washed seaweed and salty seas. Very salty, peaty and ashy flavour, with a solid roastiness and a moderate sweetness. The bitterness is fairly moderate though, compared to this beer's other extreme qualities.

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Photo of washingtonydc
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many Europeans shorthand the USA to a land of cowboys and Indians--and maybe they have a point, because what could be more American than cowboys? The sprawling country, the lonesome figure, and the smoke drifting up from a campfire. Maybe Brewdog had this image in mind because this beer lives up to that ideal--it's a rustling, meaty, smoky endeavor.

The Paradox Smokehead was poured from a cask into a snifter, filling the glass with a deep ruby-black--a color alone that conjures up thoughts of charred wood-- but practically no head. Even so, it offered an impressive aroma of meaty smoke and worn leather. If Pavlov's bell induces saliva, then this is the taste that is conjured up when hearing the score of Ennio Morricone--with its smoke and leather, it tastes like the Wild West, like Clint Eastwood chomping on the last bit of a cigar under a blazing sun. It's soothing, then, when it fades into a subtle, pleasing coffee finish. The cask offers little in the way of carbonation, but the brew is still full-bodied and smooth.

A tip of the stetson to the Scots--this is an enjoyable, serious, beer that may have sprung from the British Isles, but seems to have its heart in the West.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
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 Exiled
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(11.2oz Bottle)

Thanks to Mora2000 for sharing this bottle.

Pours dark brown almost black with little to no head. Smell is smoke, wood, caramel malt, and peaty scotch. Taste is like smokey charcoal, caramel malt, and peaty scotch. Full mouthfeel, low carbonation. Overall, I dont like smokey beers, and this was way over the top smokey for me.

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Photo of beeragent
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Poured a dark redish brown, forming a 1 inch tan head with medium spots of lace on the glass.

S - Strong smoked malt aroma completely dominates the nose on this one. For me, I couldnt detect any other notes of aroma aside from the smoke. Maybe a hint of roasted malts are infused with the smoke aroma, but I could be wrong.

T - The taste of smoked and roasted malts coat the palate completely, not allowing any other flavors to form. There is a faint taste of whiskey in the finish, however no other barrel qualities really shine through on this one. However the taste is defintely warming from the abv.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation (low) for the style. Smooth mouthfeel.

D - From the point of view of this being a smoked beer, I absolutely loved it!!! I love any smoked beers and this one was defintely over the top in smokiness. With that said, from the stout standpoint, I felt the smoke was way too strong, obscuring any of the other flavors that could have made this a great stout. Great beer overall, but due to the high price of this one, along with the obscured flavors associated with it, I doubt I'll be having too many more of these in the future.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle in a snifter.
Black color with just the tiniest rim of a tan head.
Wonderful aroma of chocolate, roasted malt, whiskey, and smoke.
The aroma didn't quite translate to the taste. The elements were there, just not as noticeable. Peat, whiskey, chocolate, and coffee.
It was a little too harsh and boozy for me, but was still an enjoyable stout.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml into my arrogant bastard pint glass,

Oil pitch black, very minimal head a dark coppery brown color quickly dissipates with minimal lacing, some bubbles slowly rise to the surface.

Smell is completely new to me, I have never smelled a beer like this before! It's very woody, a dark mahogany which is combined with an intense smoked scent that although isn't burning, it reminds me of wood glue and old used motor oil. As I keep smelling it over and over I am getting more malty undertones as well, smoked and chocolatey, some sweetness although subdued.

The taste took a sip to adjust to but it's very organic and earthy. Wood flavors, smokiness which is not characteristic of barrel aged beers i've had before. I definitely pick up a harder alcohol kick but it's so subtle due to the sweeter malty aftertaste. No hop flavors detected but I get walnuts and chocolate, molasses, tree bark from a dead rotting one in a damp forest with moss growing on it.

The mouthfeel is so smooth, it slides down thick but dangerously easy. The alcohol kick is in the mid-taste and doesn't linger in the throat like a barleywine does. Gotta go high on this one, I like it.

Very drinkable to be sure, thick as hell but to reiterate myself it goes down easy. Bottom line, I love new stuff and this definitely struck my palate with some new flavors I hadn't experienced before. This is something I will be trying again for sure.

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Photo of IKHOURY
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beers pours out a dark brown almost black color. The head quickly disappears.

I absolutely love the smell on this beer, but i also love peaty islay scotches. The smell reminds me of a campfire on a beach, with the peaty campfire smoke, wet wood, and leather aromas. A very comlex smell.

The complex aromas are a little subdued on the palate. The whiskey barrel influences comes though on the nose more so then the palate. Tons of different flavors in this beer, but none really stand out in front. I get smoke, bitter chocolate, dried fruits, coffee, malt,a little bit of seaweed in the background.

The 10% alcohol hides itself very well

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - an opaque brew, very light head formation. Some swirly coverage on top, a thin but complete collar, and some swoops and dots of lace on the glass.

Aroma - I can smell this prior to opening the bottle. The cap has an unmistakeable smokiness to it. Dark sweetened malts and huge smokiness are the first impressions from the glass. Settles down to a sweet peaty aroma.

Taste - the malts start out sweetly, some dark roast making its way through. The smoke is on this thing right now and in force. Comes into its own after 5 or 6 sips. Then, some chocolate emerges, more like cocoa really. The Islay effect is like Liquid Smoke at first but it subsides and ends up playing off the sweetness quite well. The swallow brings in some roasty drying and balances out the intense flavors.

Mouthfeel - doesn't have the full on body of a double, and the carbonation is on the flatter side, making this feel that much thinner. It holds its own, though.

Drinkability - $1 an ounce is a pricy pick, but this was pretty good. A re-buy would not be out of the question, but I'd prefer to split one of these.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 bottle $11.99 ea. Batch 015 poured into a fat snifter.

Darkest shade of brown before you fade to black. A fast to rise brown tinted head, fizzes down pretty fast and has a mellow, aged look which correct here.

The malt has a very light sweetness in the aroma, light chocolate, smokey peat, musty-wet wood and herbs, old leather, dark tangy fruits, pretty damn complex.

The feel is rather light and thin bodied for a big stout, snappy at first and then really relaxes on the palate with gentle roastie chocolate sweetness and a musty, old-wood aroma...i'm thinking antique furniture. A dry, hoppy peanutbuttery and earthy effect gives this one much better balance than some of the other brewdog RIS I've had. This Paradox version is the very best so far in this reviewer's humble opinion. Aged flavor's such as older leather with a mild heat, tangy, but not hot. The flavor's seem to loosen up a bit with the aging process.

A lighter feel makes it pretty approachable but the complexity is sacrificed slightly as well. I was happy with this version.

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Photo of beertunes
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
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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BrewDog Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) - Smokehead from BrewDog
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 263 ratings