The beautifully labelled creations you see before you (courtesy of the fantastic Esther McManus) form the most recent of BrewDog’s special releases. Four beers brewed with the same ingredients but with the hop and malt ratio altered to suite the specific styles, which increase in strength from a pale ale to an India pale ale to a double IPA to a barley wine. Pale, cara, and dark crystal malts do the malty thing while Cascade, Centennial, Citra, and Simcoe represent the green stuff.
Without further ado (I know, right?) it’s time to try ‘em. First up is the Russian Doll Pale Ale (4.0% abv), modestly hopped with tropical fruit fruit flavours, orange, and pine needles, it wasn’t ‘til it warmed in my hand towards cellar temp that it came alive with malty goodness, caramel drizzled chopped nuts getting a nod of appreciation. Light and eminently crushable, a good start.
Russian Doll IPA (6.0% abv) moves in exactly the direction you’d expect, hoppy with stripped back malts. Freshly squeezed orange juice leads the citrus hop charge, there’s a nice resinous quality and a hint of biscuity malt. A good hit of bitterness brings things to a close, the body’s more substantial and the mouthfeel more rounded than the pale. A better suit for me.
My love of DIPA’s meant that the Russian Doll Double IPA (8.0% abv) was the one I was most looking forward to. Sweet up front with bags of chewy, resinous, citrusy, tropical hops, a touch of caramel malt that kinda pretends to reign in the hop overload for a second or two then just says “fuck it” and stands back as the bitter wave of hop aggression charges past heading straight for your taste buds. A nice US style DIPA, not their best, but highly enjoyable.
Last up, after a hour or so recuperation, was Russian Doll Barley Wine (10.0% abv). By far the most gorgeous colour of the four, it and kinda tastes like blackberry jam, caramel sauce, and grapefruit juice all stirred together with a pine bough. Being an American style barley wine it’s certainly hoppy, but the hops never overshadow the malts and drag it into DIPA territory. It’s sweet and sticky, nicely boozy but not overpowering, a real tasty brew.
And I’m done. Of the four the DIPA and barley wine were (rather predictably) my favourites, but I can’t honestly say that any of these beers come close to surpassing BrewDog’s other examples of their particular styles. For a mere tenner though, this new piece of playful experimentation from the Scottish craft brewers has been highly enjoyable. And that artwork almost makes the purchase worthwhile in itself. Cheers!
The divine happiness of coming home from a long day at work and discovering, yes, there is #beer in your fridge. Plus the added bonus of it matching today’s outfit perfectly. #BackinBlack #blackIPA #craftbeer #21stAmendment (at Lumpy Space)
Stone’s Coffee Milk Stout for dessert after a very healthy dinner. Unfortunately, it’s not very good, haha. Not bad, but not the best. Only 4.2%abv. @StoneBrewingCo #beer #craftbeer #stout #StoneBrewing #CoffeeMilkStout (at Lumpy Space)
We found the #beer at the wine-tasting so everything is great now. Just need to find a TV with the Niners game on… #Vintage #SCU #alumni #khakis #boatshoes #privateschoolers (at Santa Clara University)
Faction Brewing Anomaly White Chocolate Milk Stout with SF Skyline & Bay Bridge in the background. Lovin it. #Alameda #beer #craftbeer #stout #SF #BayArea #BayBridge #SFBay #FactionBrewing #sundayfunday (at Faction Brewing)