Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,310
Ranked #42,859
3.64 | pDev: 21.43%
Scotland, United Kingdom
Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin
Notes: Made by freezing Paradox to remove water.
Reviews: 135 | Ratings: 341 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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polynya from California

1.9/5  rDev -47.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

My parents employed the same tactic - freezing alcoholic beverages to increase the alcohol percentage - in order to save storage space on their yacht during a three year global circumnavigation. The result was godawful, and the same can be said for this "beer".

Apr 13, 2021
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First review of the New Year 2020---Cheers Bluejacket for this one!

This mighty beast pours a thick, oily, black strap molasses color.
No head, no lacing, but this brew has more legs than ZZ Top's famous song.
Nose of black currants, soy, pepper, char, and booze---lots and lots of booze.
Flavors with a few exceptions. Heavy astringent fiery booze, char, black
pepper, soy/worcestershire flavor akin to a heavy beefy flavor, scotch flavors
also arise with warmth amongst bitter malt and leather notes.
Feel is the real interesting thing on this one; no carbonation, slick, hot,
smooth....I don't think I can feel my face...ahem...coating, and finishing
with a bitter malt/soy note.

A brew that has been on my bucket list for years and thanks to Bluejacket
one to check off. Excellent!

A novelty with teeth!


Jan 01, 2020
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.4/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

look: Dark brown with ruby highlights. No carbonation to speak of, as expected.
smell: Rich toasty stout with peaty Scotch, some boozy caramel.
taste: If a Scotch whiskey and Imp Stout had a baby, it would taste like this. All gimmicks aside, a unique beverage and i really like it.

Nov 17, 2019
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Casey3236 from Pennsylvania

4.41/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I'm sorry, there's no effing way this is 32%! Granted, I could smell this 1 1/2 ounce pour from 6 feet away. Coated the glass like varnish, but smell is very reminiscent of World Wide Stout from DFH. Taste reminds me of WWS with a couple years on it. Caramel, brown sugar,vanilla, molasses, booze of course but 15% or 16%, NOT 32%! So pleasantly surprised, thought I'd have to choke this down but I actually have to resist the desire for another pour.

Oct 18, 2017
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jgasparine from Maryland

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

This is a hard one to review. The things I didn't like about the beer- excessive booziness and astringency- are to be expected from a 32% brew.

Overall, this midnight black liquid was oaky and slightly peaty from maturation in scotch casks. No carbonation. The body was a little thinner than I would have expected from something that was freeze-distilled. Excellent sipping beer for those that love scotch.

Glad I tried it and would endorse for the rare occasion.

Aug 28, 2017
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WickedBeer from Alabama

3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A badass name with a deserving punch. This beer is a doozy!

Pours a sort of burnt crimson hue, no carbonation, no head, and no lace.

This nose on this has some serious bite. Very boozy; getting a lot of dried fruit and molasses. Also a good bit of nuttiness coming through.

Again, molasses comes through with a thorough boozy warmth and sharp bite. Agreeing with some other reviews, getting a lot of walnut and anise character as well.

Although it pours surprisingly thin, it has a very syrupy body that reminds me a bit too much of Robitussin. Very sticky residuals left over.

Overall, quite the experience. This monster can never be prepared for, however it's worth trying if you get the chance. The booze is so clear and often overwhelming. But if you take the time to sip it and let it warm, this beer has a lot to offer. Take your time and let this one develop on your palate!

Aug 14, 2017
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earljones199 from New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste is dry walnuts. Booze is comes out as a slow warming as it goes down. I get a little bit of licorice but not as much as the dry walnut flavor. I enjoyed this one but can't imagine taking it on solo.

Aug 13, 2017
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StJamesGate from New York

4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Glowing garnet black with legs. 4
Worcestershire, molasses, and a bang of heat. 4
Chewy natural licorice, bang of salt, fish sauce, pomegranate, and astringent cut. 4
Heavy, cut, hot. 4

For the ABV, still recognizable as an RIS. But doesn’t quite work as a liqueur - more a salty, bitter aperitif. Deep, rough, intricate. 4.25

Jul 08, 2016
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CraigTravor from California

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Good Lord!!! This thing hits like a... nuclear weapon... yep The name kinda makes sense. Strong roasty flavour with a solid alcohol mouthfeel. This beer does not lie about what it is. Obviously, you should try it if you can.

Apr 05, 2016
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TequilaTom from Ohio

2.72/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ok, this is a love hate relationship here. Kudos to my friend Brandon for inviting me to taste not only this beer, but also Sink The Bismarck and Dogfish Head 120!!!!
I am eternally grateful that I had the honor to try this, but I have to be honest, I wouldn't seek this out. It pours a dark brown with zero carbonation. Smells smoky, malty and boozy. This is a sipper for sure. Tastes of peat smoke and heavy malt once the alcohol burn settles down. I preferred this over the Sink the Bismarck. Was a novelty for the most part. While I am happy to be among the rare few that have tried this, My advice is to do what we did, split the cost amongst 10 or so people because a 1 or 2 oz pour was all that I would want.

Feb 22, 2016
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boilermakerbrew from Indiana

3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Pours a medium to dark brown but still fairly translucent with no head. Tons of alcohol legs in the glass and no lacing to speak of.

S- Right off the bat, this is straight booze on the nose. There is just a touch of dark malt to disguise the booze, but I imagine that this is the scent of a whiskey barrel if you put about a half gallon of beer in it right after you empty the whiskey.

T- Starts with the expected punch of booze on the tongue before moving towards a bit of a malt presence. A light bit of caramel can be found alongside more prominent flavors of coffee and a touch of chocolate. Definitely burns throughout but displays more flavors on the tongue after the drink ends. Lingering flavor of light coffee and bitter black malt.

M- Just like Sink the Bismark! this beer drinks like a liquor. It burns, as expected, but also has a good flavor to the beer itself. Imagine a slightly beer flavored whiskey liqueur.

Overall, this is more tolerable than its bigger brother Sink the Bismark! with more beer like qualities. It is a little more than a novelty beer and could actually be enjoyed.

Nov 14, 2015
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sbb32 from Florida

4.56/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.75

L: dark, viscous, dark brown bordering dark black. Looks syrupy as it pours into the glass.
S: Pure alcohol with a hint of caramel
T: Barleywine on steroids, with a little coffee and peat on the end. Absolutely loved the taste.
F: Like a shot of spirits moreso than a beer. A very thick molasses syrup feeling in the throat
O: Glad I got to try this 32% "stout". It's unique, and definitely one to try if you can.

Nov 08, 2015
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maxifunk777 from California

4.48/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brought to a beer tasting the highest ABV out of 18 beers.
This was smooth complex but hard to call it beer more brandy like that beer.
I recommend this adult beverage.

Sep 07, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.46/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Small sample from a swingtop bottle in Edinburgh.

Dark reddish-brown body looks quite thick. Smells much like a barleywine. Tastes like barleywine concentrate.

Syrupy. No mistaking high ABV in the mouthfeel.

Boozy, but much less so than expected given the extraordinary ABV.

Apr 27, 2015
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.18/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle pour at the pre-FWIBF bottle share held at the Adelaide Inn in Paso Robles, CA.

Pours a clear orange-brown with no head. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is of smoked malt, campfire, toffee, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with harsh fruit, smoke, and alcohol flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast and chemical bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is an average beer that is interesting to try, but nothing more than a gimmick in my opinion.

Jun 04, 2014
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KornWallace from New York

3.37/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Date: 4/18/14
Location: The Gingerman (Norwalk)
Glassware: Tulip
Appearance: Dark Brown in body and severely lightens at the edge. The beer has some pretty runny legs. Very light head with an off white color.
Aromatics: The alcohol on this just overwhelms everything and anything else in the glass. I faintly get some caramel and molasses in the bottle.
Flavor: The flavor of the beer is nowhere near as harsh as the aroma. A touch of oxidation at this point but it doesn't hit as hard as I would have expected. A smidge of coffee, but more caramel and molasses.
Mouthfeel: Oily, ashy, and a little oxidized.
Notes: 1ounce pour.

Apr 19, 2014
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Rob3408 from Scotland

3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served as a dram in a tumblr at their Edinburgh location.

Appearance: Dark brown/black and syrupy like a liqueur, which it might technically be.

Aroma: Alcohol and lots of it. Malty. A sweet molasses and caramel not in there as well. It's certainly not the best nor the worst thing that I have smelled.

Taste: Reminiscent of port with its boozy kick and intense sweetness, a thick and raw molasses, with bitter chocolate and espresso notes. Doesn't drink easily but is still worth the try.

Mouthfeel: Neither unpleasant nor pleasant. It's strong in the alcohol and moves like molasses: thick and slow, with a bitter, drying finish.

Overall: It is certainly not something that I would buy a whole bottle of because it is strong with booze and fights its way all the way to the end. If you can find it by the dram then it is worth the experience because as far as it is the only thing like it on the market.

Feb 24, 2014
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heygeebee from Australia

3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - dark brown, no head, legs.

S - booze, molasses, sweet. Typical Brewdog Big Beer.

T - just an assault. Booze, spirit, port notes, brown sugar, caramel, toffee. Tar notes as well. Dry astringent note on back palate. Hop notes but not as we know it...

M - oily. Zero carbonation.

O - not as good as STB, but still interesting. Worth noting that the taste will depend on your prior drink, odd but true.

Jan 10, 2014
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

2.93/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

375ml bottle synthetic cork with cage poured into my little cognac tulip 4/1/14,

A dark brown liquid with some reddish hints when tilted and held to the light, long thin legs, lots of color left behind on the glass, no head or lace as expected, looks like a sweet sticky spirit and I suppose it probably should

S heavy wet campfire ash, some burnt peaty whiskey barrel, some soy, teriyaki beef jerky, tar, a little booze stings the nostrils, iodine, more like a scotch then a beer but it smells OK, better then it sounds

T very ashy, reminds me of an ashtray, like chewing on the burnt end of a cigar butt, boozy for sure but its to be expected, a little very black licorice and just a hint of espresso, not awful but the taste leaves something to be desired

M thick, syrupy, hot, sticky on the lips, cigar butt on the finish, numbing on the lips, feels like I expected

O saying this one's intense is quite the understatement, a little to much ashy cigar for my liking, I'm glad I tried it but I wouldn't go out of my way or drop cash to try it again

I tried some the day after I opened it and it actually improved a little after airing out much to my surprise. I couldn't see many people buying a second bottle of this stuff considering the cost but I'm glad I got to try it, an experience in itself

Jan 05, 2014
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KYGunner from Kentucky

3.14/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This pours a thick viscous black body that has little to no life but sets up like black liqueur. A swirl in the glass gives a little sheen on the glass as it gets some legs.

The aroma is certainly filled with alcohol but as it warms the molasses, plums, caramel and chocolate come out to create a hearty and robust scent.

Oooh, kick me in the face. The alcohol is simply so strong that it's difficult to taste anything else. The taste becomes dry and chalky with some molasses, soy and chocolate at the end.

The feel is very full and thick but it makes your face pucker from all the lack alcohol.

I've had Utopias, which is close to the ABV, and it works but this seems more a novelty than a beer

Dec 15, 2013
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.4/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Leaving my comfort zone way behind, I now step into the mysterious, ominous, and incredibly inhospitable realm of Brewdog's deepest and darkest recesses. Leaving all those preconceived notions of what beer is supposed to be, far in the rear view mirror, heading into Tactical Nuclear Penguin begs for a reset of the mind, palate and spirit. For this is not a mere mortal beer- its a barley liqueur.

I might as well pop the cork and let the elixir crawl out of the bottle all on its own- its that strong. Pouring like molasses and motor oil, the beer is highly viscous and void of any carbonation at all. Its still appearance stares back at you like its some sort of dare- one in which you are certain to loose. Like a brandied abyss, the ale trickles down the snifter with inky legging with a gentle swirl of the glass. Its whirlpool draws in the nose with much seduction and mesmerizing effect.

Its decadent scent is chocked full of molasses, coffee and vinous port. Its booze-driven nose is undeniable as a waft of cognac, bourbon and sherry waft about. With a fudge-like roast, chocolate and nutty flare, a tangy scent of burnt fruit arise: roasted raspberries, red grapes, blueberries, blackcurrants, raisins, dates and figs all take turns attracting the nose. Its woodish tone awaken earhty notes of fresh-hung tobacco, curing leather, and savory terriyaki.

Its taste is much more savory and satisfying that was once feared. Certianly its absurd alcohol strength is omnipresent, the beer is so much more than just booze- its verbose maltiness folds in its brandy, bourbon and sherry notes with equal strength from black-strap molasses, burnt toffee, bittersweet chocolate, mild espresso, roasted walnuts, brownie batter and fudge. Certainly complex, the real components of the beer shines when its savory and fruity flavors fold within. A salty, briny sense of soy sauce is like glazed and salt-cured meats and is met with rich port wine, sherry and roasted dark fruits. Everything from rum cake to honey-glazed dates, to caramelized bacon, to terriyaki all come to mind even deep within its finish.

Its dense sweetness, with its lack of carbonation allows the beer to seep into the taste buds with complete dominance. Its full saturation of flavor melds the sweet tooth and heightens its sense of smoldering heat as the beer slowly evaporates on the palate. Its long, deep and lingering finish is much more brandy or cognac-like than anything known to the beer world. Its spicy and prickling finish isn't all that naked and its accompanying savory and sweet tones ride along side, deep into the next sip.

Brewdog, I give you another hats off! You've challenged my notion about what beer can be and you made me like it. It's both the blessing and the curse. Damn you Brewdog!

Dec 05, 2013
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Thesoundandthefury from Washington

1.74/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a dark brown with no head and just a few bubbles around the rim of the glass. Smells of Tar, dark dried fruits, and sweet sugar. The taste here is wretched. A mix of rubbery tar, molasses, and fusel alcohol dominate the flavor. Some faint raisin and prune come in to play as well, but are very distant. Mouthfeel is thin, as this drinks like a spirit, not a beer. Seriously, unless someone buys you a bottle, don’t do it. Its much worse than you even thought.

Oct 30, 2013
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EnemyWithin from Canada (ON)

3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into large snifter tulip. Consumed about 1/4 the bottle myself.

Appearance: 4
Cola colored with basically no carbonation. Great legs, akin to red white or spirits. No lacing

Smell: 3.5
Noticeably hot and boozy in nose. Molasses, brown sugar, black liquorish. Sight peat. Nose gets sweeter as it warm

Taste: 3
Initially, a fair bit of heat with mild sourness and faint notes of peat. Mid to late, more smokiness and touch of molasses sweetness. Late finish is slight more whisky-ish that lingers.

Mouthfeel: 3
Strong boozy warmness; very much like drinking a distilled spirit. Relatively drier finish.

Overall: 3.5
A unique experience to say the least. More tolerable than I thought. Even with the high alcohol content, it is still drinkable. But given its price, I wouldn't seek it again. In the end, it's more a novelty. Seems typical for BrewDog.
Consider trying.

Sep 22, 2013
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M_C_Hampton from Georgia

4.49/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: shot sized pour from a bottle into a snifter, absolutely no head or carbonation of any form, dark red-orange brown, visibly viscous, clear

S: amazing malt smell, sherry, whiskey, tobacco, leather, smoke, raisins, fig, plum

T: incredibly sweet,candied fruits, sloe berries, molasses, cherry

M: thick oil, sweet syrup, dense, no hiding alcohol

O: hard to rate as a beer but an excellent alcoholic drink, hop flavor does not exist in this beer, it is like a sweet liquor, from notes on 8/18/13

Sep 10, 2013
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dwren89 from Virginia

3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: served as a shot, dark brown/ruby, opaque

Aroma: very alcoholic, spirit-like aroma, malty sweet, syrupy smell

Taste: syrupy sweet taste, mild bitterness, sugary, caramel, brown sugar molasses. Reminiscent of a thicker tasting Jagermeister

Mouthfeel: thick, syrupy, molasses, full body

Overall Impression: A beer to say you've had for novelty's sake, but not much else.

Jun 12, 2013
Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 341 ratings