Paradox Smokehead (Batch 015) (Brew Dog)

Type:  Imperial/Double Stout aged in Islay whisky casks

10% ABV

Country: Scotland

Bottled On: 08/08/08


My feelings for this bottle are the same as my feelings for the Paradox Isle of Arran bottle, as they are pretty much the same bottle.  I love the grungy industrial feel, and the fading paint is awesome, I also love the Brew Dog shield, and love the font choice.  The only difference with the bottle is they’ve made an artsy little square of words on its side that say things like “OUTRAGEOUS” or “PHENOLIC” which is cool and artsy, but doesn’t really add anything to the bottle, and honestly feels a little out of place with the rest of the bottle.  This is worthy of your shelf though, and would look great next to a Paradox Isle of Arran bottle.


I am very excited to try this glass after my sublime tasting of Paradox Isle of Arran, (Which you can read all about here: Parodox Isle of Arran) which is essentially the same beer, just aged in smokey casks instead of barrels.  The beer pours like the darkest night with a light, tan, half a fingers width head that bursts away swiftly to leave a sloppy ring round the glass reminiscent of curdled milk.  This beer is all kinds of black and opaque though, much like the Isle of Arran, it looks lovely for a cask aged beer, with little to no carbonation present.  The beer is also quite pungent, sending out wafts even as it sits across the table from me in a traditional pint glass (Batman style).  The smell is thick and syrupy with chocolate like Isle of Arran’s, giving the nose a sticky sense but there is also a tremendous roasted wood smell and a very pungent heavy alcohol odor present that work their way into the smell as the glass levels out after agitation.  This is nothing like a normal smoked ale smell by my account, instead reminding me more of flavored wood burning, or a smoker as salmon is being laid out on it, I am really intrigued by this smell. The beer’s taste follows suit with smoke overpowering the drink with a great heavy char flavor that is very much reminding me of burning hickory woodchips.  This beer is very much a smoked salmon beer to me, with the hickory woodchip flavor lending to a saltier feel in the middle of the beer, and a ghost of that salt lingering in the aftertaste which are reminiscent of a salmon’s brine.  There is a slight sweet chocolate malt taste in the initial sip of this beer and some slight cloying alcohol bite, but these are swiftly eaten up by the wonderful smoked hickory wood flavor.  This is definitely a sipping beer, meant for a lovely snifter and a light sipping evening more so than pub knock-backer and a get-fucked-up-night, though the beers 10% could definitely help you reach that state.  Mouthfeel is again oozing, thick, and syrupy but the after taste is slick with saliva and tingling like you’ve just breathed in a campfire.  The aftertaste is really heavy with the hickory campfire taste which is cool at first, but takes its time in leaving and gets a little heavy on the tongue.  Overall, this is a very interesting experience as far as smoked beers go.  I think this beer would pare really well with a Gouda cheese and some supple fish meat.  This isn’t as good as the Isle of Arran variant of Paradox, but it is still a very intriguing beer that is especially worth a sip for smoked beer lovers and is also worth one for just beer lovers, especially since it is a retired beer.  The crazy Scots have done it again!  I’m happy to have tried it, but I don’t know if I will be going back for more.


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