Tactical Nuclear Penguin | BrewDog

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Tactical Nuclear PenguinTactical Nuclear Penguin

Brewed by:
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 32.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Made by freezing Paradox to remove water.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2009

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Ratings: 335 |  Reviews: 130
Photo of Mbpike
1/5  rDev -71.4%

Photo of eugeniogp
1/5  rDev -71.4%

Photo of beerik
1/5  rDev -71.4%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Appearance: Brown and syrupy with "legs" running down the walls of the glass.
Aroma: Acrid. Unnaturally concentrated peat smoke. Solvent-like alcohol that'll curl your nose hairs.
Taste: Like chewing on the ashes of a peat-moss fire and washing it down with a shot of turpentine.
Overall: The only thing recommending the purchase of this beer is that you too get to take part in the "Highest Alcohol Percentage Wars." Most of my bottle went into a batch of vinegar. A delicious cider/lambic/peat-smoke vinegar--yum!

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Photo of smarcoly
1/5  rDev -71.4%

Photo of Treebs
1.06/5  rDev -69.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks (I think) to danielnovak3 for the share. Served in a mini taster snifter.

A: The pour is completely still with no head. It has the appearance of dark rum.

S: Ash trays, permanent marker, hard liquor and dark fruits. Simply stunning.

T: The taste is burning wood, embers, ash tray, hard liquor, burnt hair and salty leather.

M: Thin, extremely hot and down right horrible.

O: This now hold the distinction of the worst beer I've ever had. This is a complete gimmick and should never be brewed again.

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Photo of LukasProvaznik
1.18/5  rDev -66.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

One of the worst experiences ever. There is a question: Is it still a beer? One of my friends told me, it tastes like soya sauce, but it is quite expensive soya sauce. Every components in TNP are over the top. It is too much alcoholic, bitter, coffee-like something which is really far from regular beer.

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Photo of ffejherb
1.19/5  rDev -66%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Thanks to dpuia for sharing a 375ml bottle of this hyped-up beer on 2/1/11. Let's see how this turns out...

A - Emerged from the bottle as a menacing reddish brown murky mess with no head or carbonation, but plenty of oozy "leggings" (aka clear lacing) all over the glass.

S - Aroma is not appetizing at all. AT ALL. Some things that come to mind? Here's a list: beef jerky, dog treats, soy sauce, wet dog food and old shoes. Wow. I am afraid to put this in my mouth!

T - Oh my God! This is literally alcoholic soy sauce, or even moreso akin to Worcestershire sauce with rancid meat. TNP exhibits perpetual alcohol burn on the palate. Awful, or as the British might say... dreadful! I wish I could give this score a "zero". This is dis-freakin'-gusting!

M - Medium bodied with an oily, slick texture. Alcohol burn is akin to rubbing alcohol.

D - This beer had me longing for a Bud Chelada chaser! We saved this for the last beer of the night, and we actually had to drink something else (AleSmith Decadence) to get the flavor off our palates. To quote Bubbles: "You can barely get 'er in ya, but my fuck it'll get you some drunk!"

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"It smells like a box of old shoes."

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Photo of brystmar
1.27/5  rDev -63.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

From notes.

It's 9am on Dark Lord Day, and I've been sharing bottles with people in line around me for about an hour. One of them decided to show his gratitude by opening his bottle of TNP and approaching me: "Hey, I really appreciate you sharing with us this morning. Try some of this!" He then drizzled a small pour into my tasting glass and awaited my thoughts on the brew.

Now, TNP is a beast I actively avoided for the longest time: I despise the base beer and haven't liked a single beer from BrewDog, ever. So although I was pretty sure this would cause my taste buds to cry mutiny -- not to mention that drinking a 32% beer in the early hours of DLD is just a bad idea all around -- how could I decline this gesture of goodwill?

Hey, it doesn't look awful. Ruby-brownish body, a little cloudy, no head or lace. About what I expect from an extreme beer like this. However, the smell reminds me why I hesitated to accept his offer: this stuff wreaks of rubbing alcohol, overly-smoked malt, tobacco, peat whiskey, used ashtrays, and more booze. Yuck.

My first sip brings no relief from the torturous aroma. It's a mouthful of ashtrays alongside relentless, burning alcohol. To replicate the taste of TNP, place a burnt chunk of wood in the center of a large mixing bowl. Using water, rinse out a few dozen heavily-soiled ashtrays into the bowl. Add rotting forest foliage, pure ethanol, a bottle of whiskey, liquified peat moss, and refined petroleum. Give the concoction a brisk stir, take a sip, then puke your brains out. Voila! Homemade Tactical Nuclear Penguin!

All the while, this generous BA was standing in front of me, awaiting my thoughts on the beer. I forced a smile, told him it was interesting (technically true!), but said it wasn't really up my alley. If you're reading this, please know that I truly did appreciate your generosity; I just really hated this beer :)

That said, I'm not a smoker, and I strongly dislike being around cigarette & cigar smoke. I also dislike whiskey & bourbon as spirits, so if you happen to enjoy the aforementioned you may find TNP only mildly offensively bad. For the rest of us, this stuff is putrid. And on the upside, at least it's ridiculously overpriced!

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Photo of mcgwire756
1.4/5  rDev -60%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Got this and split it with 4 friends. I pured about 3 ounces into a snifter.

We had been wanting to try this for a while, and while 2 of my friends thought it was ok, I was highly disappointed. The one thing that makes this beer overbearing is the peat/leather/smoke smell it leave in the aftertaste. And this had nothing to do with the ABV. You could smell the beer from nearly across the room. I can taste the smoke aftertaste hours later and is just too much to ever drink more than what I had. I love many of Brewdogs beers, but this beer is just way to over the top with stuff I didn't like. I would not recommend anyone waste their money on this unless you get drawn in by the shock factor like I did.

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Photo of avaldivia
1.5/5  rDev -57.1%

Photo of surlytheduff
1.5/5  rDev -57.1%

Photo of Discordian
1.5/5  rDev -57.1%

Photo of Gfunk720
1.54/5  rDev -56%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Mike for sharing this bottle. Reviewed from notes from a tasting event a few weeks back.

A- Solid black, your typical mediocre looking stout. A light head which dissipates rather quickly.

S- Eeek. Smells like straight alcohol mixed with some smoked wood. I've smelled vodka that is less boozy. Hard to make out much due to the heat.

T- Blech. Tastes much like the smell. Straight booze and some smokiness. Some malt profile, but everything is overwhelmed by the booze. It was difficult to finish a 2oz pour. Some notes of port and soy, but the flavors don't work well together.

M- Again, the booziness just hits your mouth so hard. Not inviting, infact makes my mouth unhappy.

O- I had some decent expectations for this beer, but knew it was going to be interesting. There were 5 of us, and we had 12+ bottles at the tasting. We all felt that despite being the most expensive, this was the worst beer of the evening. Even if someone gifted me some, I'm not sure I'd drink it again.


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Photo of largadeer
1.6/5  rDev -54.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Thanks for sharing this, Nick. My curiosity has been sated.

Dark mahogany brown in the glass, not quite black; on the light side for the world's strongest stout. It pours with surprising life, an inch of light tan head topping the amber body, though it quickly dissipates entirely. Swirling reveals thick, syrupy legs not unlike a spirit or liqueur.

It smells intensely of alcohol, peat, oak, faint roast - a hell of a lot like scotch. The alcohol is punchy and plainly noticeable, but not as stinging as I was expecting. That being said, there isn't much to this beyond peat and alcohol. It's simple and unimpressive.

On the palate it's much more harsh and boozy, with flavors of smoke, peat and a touch of oak. Not terribly sweet, just brutally strong. Tarry, ashy, ridiculously alcoholic and stinging. The body is somewhat full, but not as viscous as you would expect from a beer this big. I don't get much complexity from this, and it could really use more sweetness to balance the alcohol. More anything, really - it's lacking the depth of flavor you'd get from a good Scotch. It finishes harsh and solventy, like a charcoal and nailpolish remover cocktail. Have I mentioned that this is harsh? Holy fuck, what a trainwreck.

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Photo of taylor714914
1.74/5  rDev -50.3%
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.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
1.76/5  rDev -49.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Appearance -- Pours a translucent cola brown. Completely still.

Smell -- The predominant aroma is of solvent alcohol - incredibly harsh on the nose. Beyond that, a dab of chocolate, treacle, and smoke. Strange.

Taste -- Again, the beer leads of with harsh alcohol, akin to bargain basement grain alcohol. Beyond that, there is sweet chocolate, molasses, and smoky roast malt. Really minimal residual beer 'essence' left in this beer. I'll give them this: whatever amount of smoked malt they used lent a Scotch whiskey-esque note, which probably comprises the half point's worth of what I liked in this.

Mouthfeel -- Syrupy and still. So much burning...

Overall -- Not my cup of tea, but I'm glad to have tried it. I appreciate the experimentation, but for me, this just doesn't work. Perhaps my pour was especially sovent-y as some others at the tasting thought this was the highlight. Me, I just can't fathom it.

Your mileage may vary.

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Photo of champ103
1.79/5  rDev -48.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Reviewed from notes. Sampled when James came to Houston a while back, and again at a BA Stout tasting.

A: Pours a dull, nearly opaque brown color. A tiny bubbly tan head forms, and in an instant is gone. No lace, and looks dead and lifeless.
S: Not as unpalatable as I was expecting. Sweet toffee with some figs and raisins. Plenty of smoke, and of coarse alcohol.
T: This is pretty unpalatable here though. Big and boozy. Ethanol and fusel like. Moldy dry wood, smoke, ash, and rubber. Cloying sweetness and some raisins try to make its presents known.
M/D: Really weak. Not very viscous, but thin and watery. Way under carbonated as well. Do I even have to say it? Not something I ever care to drink again.

The good news is I did not have to pay for either of my two oz samples. Both times I think it was a drain poor though. What was the point of this again? As harsh and unenjoyable a beer I have had in a while.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
1.94/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

This beer is just an exercise in stupidity, they need to learn extreme brewing from Sam Adams Utopias and find real yeast strains instead of icing their beers like they did with this one.

The beer is dark of course and looks like a healthy stout.

It's downhill from there. The smell is ok with lots of peaty malt and burned notes dominating...

The taste is like eating a piece of charcoal thats been used, its that smoky and peaty and carbony. Yikes! Really hard to drink, it scorches your throat and mouth, totally destroys your palate with peat and not in a good scotch way, in a way over the top kind of way, gross.

Overall this beer is one to avoid if you are a serious beer drinker.

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Photo of vacax
1.99/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Huge thanks to Richard for this surprise beer at a recent tasting. Batch 002 bottle best before Christmas Day 2019. Pours amber brown with a couple of bubbles but no real head to speak of. The strong alcohol does produce some legs to please the eye. I was surprised that this iced imperial stout was not pitch black but instead rather clear copper.

The aroma is immense and ridiculously full of peaty smoke and alcohol. Beyond the nearly offensive smoke lay floral notes and rum raisin. Taste is sherrylike, oxidized, sweet malts. Midpalate is warming, excessively, to a point of physical pain. Smokey, earthy, herbal, and bitter alcoholic finish. The body was spiritlike, feels like hard alcohol and the carbonation is imperceptible.

I was grateful and thrilled to sample this beer, but unable to finish even a tiny sample. Simply put, this tastes nothing like an imperial stout, or even really anything like a beer. It does not taste like a spirit, either, just smokey, sweet, and generally offensive. While Brewdog pushed some boundaries with this beer, this is the only reason it exists. Brewing a tasty beer should take precedence before breaking records, and in this respect, unfortunately, I believe this paragon of brewing has been failed.

 1,251 characters

Photo of nrs207
2/5  rDev -42.9%

Photo of mattboyer182
2/5  rDev -42.9%

Photo of MrFootstones
2.21/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Appearance: Probably the best part here. Rich dark mahogany all the way through. Sexy viscous legs. Looks flat.

Aroma: Vanilla, charred ass, smoke, burny alcohol. Some nice barrel character lurking behind all the burnt rubber and smoke.

Taste: Charcoal, smoked meat, ferocious alcohol, peat.. Oh so much peat and phenolic gnarlyness. The lingering ghosts of imperial stouts passed. Not sweet at all.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly inoffensive. Some carbonation! Rich and oily.

Drinkability: The lowest of the low, except perhaps chelada.

Humongous novelty, that's about it.

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Photo of Sigmund
2.23/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

330 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. ABV is 32%. Sold as "spirits / hard liquor" (40 ml shots) in Norway. Very dark reddish brown colour, nearly black. No head nor carbonation. Strong aroma of fusel alcohols, oaky and roasty notes, hints of smoke. Intense flavour of smoke, tar and salt. Moderately bitter finish. To be honest, this was not very good.

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Photo of JohnBender
2.25/5  rDev -35.7%

Photo of soulgrowl
2.27/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

If I am to judge this as a typical imperial stout, or even as an atypical imperial stout, then I am not impressed. Brown, not black; clear, not opaque. Headless save for the most fleeting of foam.

Barbecue. This smells like meat on a charcoal grill - but boozier. Tremendously smoky, like the most intense Highland Scotch you've ever smelled, with huge balls-out beef jerky and charred oak aromas.

Cuttingly hot, like cask-strength Irish whiskey, and yet this is only half cask strength. Odd, really - where is the body, if this is a freeze-distilled imperial stout? There are beers less than a third this strength (and price) with more body and depth (but not heat), so what gives? Baked apple, smoky bacon, leather, cocoa, and burnt coffee infused into pure grain alcohol - that's what this tastes like, and I am not particularly impressed.

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Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog
3.5 out of 5 based on 335 ratings.
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