BrewDog Abstrakt 06 – 11.5% Imperial Black IPA

9 05 2012

I mentioned a while back about the release of BrewDog Abstrakt 06, well I have finally gotten round to drinking one of my bottles and as such I can give you all my two pennies worth.

 So where to begin… well if you have read anything about Abstrakt then you will know that it is series of special edition, limited volume concept beers being brewed by BrewDog.

06 is oddly enough the sixth in the series… you see how that works.

 The price per bottle is a little steep – I paid €12.99, but don’t that put you off, you really do get what you pay for!

Nice black coloredbody with a reasonable creamy head. Good lacing which lasts  well through out.

There is a big aroma of pine, dark chocolate, orange and molasses.

Pine and lots of orange flavor combine with the plentful doses of chocolate and slightly floral kick. Nice citrusy aftertaste, sort of like sumac. A full body and well hidden alcohol make up the texture of this beer.

I know that this is billed as an Imperial Black IPA but if I were to try and pigeon hole this I would have to go with a very heavilly hopped Imperial Stout.

Good beer that is worth the money, can’t wait to see how these age.


BrewDog AB06 Goes Live

25 06 2011

Some of you might have been keeping pace with BrewDog’s Abstrakt range of beers, click here to find out more if you haven’t.

Well I have finally managed to get my hands on my first bottle of AB 06 and will be drinking it and reviewing it at the first available oppurtunity, until that time here is what the BrewDogs themsevles have to say about it.


“The latest version of our Abstrakt Series is now for sale.  You can get your paws on some here: and from the abstrakt website here 

 AB06 is a 11.5% Imperial Black IPA which has been triple dry hopped.  This beer is savage; boasting more bitterness and more hops than any BrewDog creation to date, combining loads of awesome malts and monumental amounts of our favourite hops.

 As always with Abstrakt, each bottle is individually numbered and very well suited to ageing. Drink one now and then age one for a couple of years and see how it develops. Cellar it up.”


Crazy chef claims world’s hottest curry

20 01 2011

 Chef  Bablu Rodrick from Glasgow’s Cafe India has cooked up a curry that is claimed to be the world’s hottest – the Tikka Chance is laden with ten scorching hot infinity chillies and customers can have it made with either chicken or lamb.

 According to Cafe India general manager Raj Bajwe heatseeking customers will have to sign a medical disclaimer waiving the right to sue before being allowed to attempt the dish. In an interview with The Sun Raj stated: “This is lethal. “I am only going to be selling the Tikka Chance with a serious health warning. If you have any health problems, especially a heart condition, then do not even attempt it.

“These chillies are so hot the chef has to use rubber gloves to handle them. I normally like chillies and eat them all the time – but even I’ve been suffering since having a taste.”

If anyone is able to finish the £22 dish in its entirity Cafe India will be presenting a certificate to confirm the impressive feat.

So just how hot is the Tikka Chance?  Well Cafe India reckon it is coming in at a little over 1.1 million SHU which lets face it is pretty hot. There is no real scientific evidence to back up the claim however it is using a ridiculously hot chilli in pretty copious amounts.

 The infinity chilli was grown and developed by Woody Woods from Fire Foods in Lincolnshire and according to HPLC tests is clocking in at 1,257,468 SHU making it a solid contender for the title of world’s hottest chilli.

  I have tried the infinity chilli and it is nuts, plain and simple.  I am still waiting to get my hands on some of the other contenders to the Bhut Jolokia’s throne but lets face it once you start getting up above 1 million scovilles pretty much everything is pain incarnate.

Anyone who has read my blog with any frequency will know I love curries and the hotter they are the better they are and the the idea of ten infinity chillies in one dish is enticing to me but it is also a little bit scary and quite frankly I reckon that any sane person would do well to pass on by…

For more information on the Tikka Chance curry contact Cafe India here


3 12 2010

 So as to prove that I’m not some xenophobic “little Englander” I have decided to turn my attentions to the unsuspecting nation of Belgium.

 In particular I have in my sights their very good, indeed often excellent, selection of beers. I am starting with Duvel for no other reason than my own personal love of the stuff, even if too many bottles do result in the mother of all headaches.

 So where to begin, well Duvel is as I say a Belgian beer but it took its original inspiration from English ale of all things.

After WW1 English ales were getting fairly popular in Belgium and Moortgat decided to get in on the act so off they popped to Scotland and got their hands on some yeast and the rest is history…

I have seen Duvel listed as a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and this is probably the closest you will get to pinning a label on it, one thing is for certain at 8.5% it sure is strong, I have known more than one person snort at the diminutive 330ml bottle and knock it back only to find that it has knocked them out for the count – there is a reason it is called the Devil after all.

The aroma of Duvel is rather interesting you get strong citrus notes, some cider like apple, a bit of hay/grass and a strong clean alcohol element that comes through.

Normally I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about the branded glasses that breweries knock out seeing them as a nice little collectible but nothing more, not so this time. 

To really enjoy Duvel at it’s best you need to get your hands on the correct glass, it is the perfect size for starters allowing you to pour the whole bottle in with ample room for the impressive frothy white head; not only that the embossed D on the base of the glass helps create effervescence which aids that head in sticking around. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason the rounded glass helps fully release the flavour and aroma of the beer.

In terms of looks the beer is a lovely clear golden colour that could almost be mistaken for a lager, the carbonation is clearly visible (aided by that aforementioned D) and the pure white head stands tall and lasts throughout with impressive lacing.

The taste of Duvel is to die for; the malt is clean and crisp and lasts from beginning to end, the alcohol is warming and combines with the bitterness of the hops to give a refreshing dry finish that leaves you begging for another sip. There  are hints of pepper and a really pleasant earthiness that are present throughout along with the same citrus notes that you can pick up in the aroma.

There really isn’t a single thing that I can fault about Duvel and trust me I can normally pick holes in anything and everything, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is the absolute best beer in the world but it damn close


Man Walks into a Pub: A sociable History of Beer by Pete Brown

18 11 2010

Man Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of BeerMan Walks into a Pub: A Sociable History of Beer by Pete Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have read quite a few books on beer in the past and have found that typically they all have one thing in common: they are either monumentally dull or a total farce.

Weighty volumes that document the complete history of a particular brewery right down to what tiny changes were made to a particular recipe and when are all very well and good. No doubt they are of great interest to men with big bushy beards who wear cable knit jumpers and who carry note books around with them but they are a bit too serious and stodgy for the more casual reader.

On the flip side of the coin I don’t want to read a book written by some tracksuit wearing chav who just wants to brag about how he can drink 20 pints of Stella, fight some rival football fans and still drive his barely legal Vauxhall Nova that should have been scrapped before he was born.

That is where Pete Brown has got things bang on the money, he treats the subject seriously and manages to convey a lot of useful information whilst keeping things light and smattered with humour throughout.

By choosing to focus more on the social history of beer brewing and drinking he avoids bogging the reader down with some of the useless minutiae that a lot of the more serious beer books pride themselves on.

I am also very impressed with the way that Pete Brown handles the often tricky real ale vs. lager issue. A lot of writers fall heavily on one side of the fence or the other and as such we often hear lager being decried as tasteless or a children’s drink or ale being slagged off for being a drink for fat, bearded weirdos who need to get out more.

Whilst I have my own views on the matter I realise no one really wants to hear them, and in return I don’t really want to hear their views rehashed over and over again either.
So it was certainly pleasant to come across an author who wasn’t using their book as a soapbox to take pot shots at their target of choice.

If you have anything more than a passing interest in beer and have ever considered reading more about beer and drinking then you could do an awful lot worse than to take this book as a starting point.

View all my reviews

Britain recognises Druids Yay :)

11 10 2010

Britain has officially recognised druidry as being an official religion for the first time, despite the fact that the ancient Celtic religion has been around for thousands of years.

The Charities Commission has granted the Druid Network, an organisation representing the religion in Britain,  full charitable status ensuring not only that people can make tax free donations but that Druidry is finally able to take it’s place alongside the more widely accepted “mainstream” religions.

In a statement made after the Charities Commission made their announcement The Druid Network said “This has been a long hard struggle, taking over five years to complete,”

In its ruling on the group’s application, the commission said it accepted that druidry was an “ancient pagan religion” in its own right involving the worship of nature, particularly the sun and the earth.

There had also been some official recognition already, it added, including a provision by Her Majesty’s Prison Service for the practice of druidry and the attendance of a pagan chaplain at services.

“The board members concluded that The Druid Network is established for exclusively charitable purposes for the advancement of religion for the public benefit,” the Charity Commission said.

Having initially emerged in Britain and Ireland Druidry eventually spread into mainland Europe in the Iron Age it continued  to propster until  being suppressed along with other pagan religions  by the rise of Christianity In Europe.

Like many older religions Druidry has continued in some form or another through to the modern day, Druidry has become  more popular in modern times as it  has a strong focus on ecology and because of it’s pantheistic approach.

There are currently somewhere in the region of 10, 000 practising Druids in the UK and with the recent ruling from the Charities Commission I wouldn’t be surprised to see this number grow.

Earth and nature based rel igions take you closer to the land and can help lift your spirit and bring you into harmony with your surroundings in a way that many more “mainstream” religions can’t.

If you are English, Irish, Scottish or Welsh then this is the true religion of your ancient ancestors and the religion that your lands gave birth to; you should check it out if only to feel a connection with your past.

Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted 4.7% Blond Beer

11 10 2010

I wasn’t planning on having a drink last night, but on hobbling (knee injury dont ask) into my local office licence I noticed that he had some new stock in.

Two particular bottles caught my eye; Marstons Old Empire (review to follow shortly) and Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted.

I have never had the oppurtunity to try Bitter and Twisted in it’s bottled form until now and couldn’t say no!

Bitter and Twisted is probably Harviestoun’s best known beer and with good reason it has won a list of awards literally as long as your arm for both it’s bottled and draught variants including World’s Best Ale at the World Beer Awards in 2007.

Not that their other beers are slackers, they also boast a World’s Best Pilsner amongst their ranks from 2008.

There is a lovely zingy citrus nose to Bitter and Twisted along with some slightly spicy and floral hints in the background.

B&T pours to a lovely pale golden colour with a thin white head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

You reallynotice the hops in bitter and twisted which is good considering they have gone to the effort of using 3 separate varieties; challenger, styrian golding and Hersbrücker, luckily though at no point does the hopping seem overwhelming, either in terms of bitterness or taste.

There is a nice balance of caramel sweetness from the malt and a grapefruit/citrus sharpness that comes through strongly along with that pleasing spicy note that you can pick up in the aroma.

I usually only see blond beers as something to enjoy in the summer months, ideally in a sunny beer garden however I found Bitter and Twisted to be a blond that I could just as easilly enjoy on frosty autumn evening by the bonfire.

It might not be the world’s best ale but it is certainly up there.


Innis & Gunn Limited Edition Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer 7.4%

29 09 2010

Innis & Gunn limited edition rum cask oak aged beer, well whatever there is to say about the beer it’s name is a bit of a mouthfull!

As the overly wordy moniker implies this is a beer that has been aged in oak casks which previously contained rum, navy rum to be precise (at least thats what Innis and Gunn say!)

It is a well known fact that maturing beer in particular barrels will impart  a particular flavour to the beer, hence we have whiskey cask aged beers, oak aged beers etc.

In this particular instance Innis and Gunn have given this beer a 60 day maturation period in oak, half of that in American Oak barrels and the remainder in barrels which previously held navy rum.

After this initial maturation the beer was left for a further 47 days for the flavours to mellow and blend together.

Now off the top of my head I would be expecting anything that has been oak aged and has absorbed some rum like flavours to  have a fruity sweetness and a rich smokiness from the oak, maybe some tobacco notes.

Now normally I try very hard not to pre-judge a beer but the combination of a 7.4% a.b.v and what I would imagine to be an awful lot of sweetness didn’t fill me with much confidence that this is a beer I would wish to do anything much with other than sample…. lets find out if I was right!

The aroma when you open the bottle is quite pleasant there are notes of rum, raisins and vanilla with a slight spicy maltiness in the background. If I had to make one over-riding observation in relation to the aroma of this beer it would have to be that the rum notes are really strong and perhaps a little overwhelming, especially as this is supposed to  be a beer, not actual rum.

It pours a pleasing amber/ruby colour and is quite clear, the head is rather thin but lasts reasonably well.

You can really taste the rum in this beer, there is a raisiny fruitiness, a hint of vanilla and some smokey spiciness as well, luckily this beer isn’t as tooth rottingly sweet as I had imagined nor as sweet as the aroma had suggested, there is some hoppiness to the beer but it is doing a really good job of hiding behind the sweetness.

The body of the beer is very light, particularly in light of the high a.b.v and the big flavours in the beer, to be honest it was a little too light for my personal tastes.  I have tried this beer twice now and both times I have thought that there is far too much diacetyl present for my liking.

Diacetyl is a by product of the fermentation process that gives a slick mouthfeel if it is present in small amounts and when present in larger amounts gives a buttery flavour to the beer, but not in a nice sense. To give you an idea as to the properties of diacetyl it is what is used to give artificial butter or margarine its “butteriness”  – not what I want in my beer.

I had been hoping with the second bottle not to get as much of that diacetyl taste coming through as it can sometimes just be the result of an bacterial infection in a particular bottle but alas that was not to be and there it was in all its slippy glory in my second bottle.

To sum things up this was an interesting beer to try but far too sweet for the relatively light bod and buttery taste from the diacetyl just doesn’t sit right with me. All in all a dissapointment.


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