Day Seven – BrewDog Paradox Heaven Hill (UK, 15%)
Having incorporated writing and posting a blog into the Christmas day festivities, on Boxing Day I was too busy having a nice time eating and hanging out with family to worry about blogging. I did manage to drink my intended beer, though, so I hope to post twice today to catch up.
Paradox is a range of imperial stouts each aged in a barrel from a different whiske/y distillery, and this incarnation spent time in casks from Kentucky’s last family-owned bourbon distillery, Heaven Hill. As the old-school BrewDog branding suggests, I’ve held onto this one for a while, partly because of its eye-popping ABV and partly because I thought that time might smooth out the intense bourbon flavour a little.
Whether that plan paid off or not, there’s still plenty of bourbon here, but I’m not complaining. The aroma is bold and boozy, a blast of vanilla fudge with occasional hints of blue cheese funk. The initial taste is pure bourbon – more of that vanilla, lots of caramel and a hint of honey. It’s very sweet and ever more so as it warms, but as your palate adjusts to the bourbon, the base stout offers a touch of burnt, treacly bitterness which just about balances it out. The body is full and the mouthful thick and slightly oily, with carbonation thankfully kept to a minimum, all of this encouraging a slow, contemplative approach; get carried away with too eager a glug and you’re chastised by an intense alcohol burn, but sip gently and this is largely absent. Nevertheless, as well executed as this is, it’s an intense experience, and even half of the 330ml bottle was a little too much for me.