Brewdog’s Paradox Imperial stout – seriously strong beer

Food & drink
Brewdog’s Paradox Imperial Stout

Brewdog is a small Scottish brewery with a formidable reputation for creating a marketing stir.

They’ve been chasing controversy since 2007 with a combination of marketing stunts, engaging with social media and some ridiculously strong beer, peaking with last year’s Tactical Nuclear Penguin at a collosal 32% ABV.  That’s a beer that will literally knock your socks off, as shown here.

I opted for something a little more sedate, less showy-off.  Paradox, is nowhere near as strong as Tactical Nuclear Penguin, at a mere 10%, but it’s still a seriously strong brew, worthy of careful handling and a certain amount of respect.

Paradox is an Imperial stout, heavy and dark with a whiff of chocolate and the distinct kick of liquorice characteristic of this type of beer.

But there’s more.

Much more.

Paradox is matured in old whisky barrels.  The result is an extra dimension, a dry and scorching alchoholic layer to the beer, which provides a sharp initial twang and a long, lingering vanilla aftertaste.

The barrel’s journey adds to the beer’s complexity – there’s the scent of bourbon, betraying the whisky barrel’s past life housing American bourbon, which gives way to the the spicy sweetness of Isle of Arran whisky at the end .

Other whisky barrels are used, giving the same beer a slightly different edge.

Paradox is an incredible beer.  It’s absolutely stunning.  Rich, warming, complicated and delicious, it’s a triumph.

One bottle is more than enough, though.

This bottle came from Beer Ritz in Headingley, Leeds, easily the best off-license I know.  They have an Internet operation here, and the shop’s manager, Zac, also has a superb blog.  Zac and his colleagues are seriously enthusiastic about beer, and it shows.