Beer Review: BrewDog’s Storm


It’s been a while since I did a review, so before I dive into it I want to go over some new changes to the way I’m reviewing beers on this site. The first, and most notable, change is that I will no longer be giving the beer a final “score.” The reviews will be more focused on the aspects of the beer I do or do not enjoy and then some recommendations. I have a few reasons for this from the practical – who gives a shit what I rank a beer? – to the pretentious – you can’t “rate” art.

Now that that’s handled, tonight I’m having BrewDog’s Storm. According to the bottle this is a “malt beverage aged in an Islay Scotch whisky barrel.” Apparently this was originally an IPA before it went into the Scotch barrels.

 

BrewDog Storm 1

For those of you that aren’t Scotch or whisky (whiskey) aficionados, Islay whisky tends to have a smoky character derived predominantly from peat. And if you don’t believe me, you can read it on the Wikipedia page I just plagiarized. If  you’ve ever had Lagavulin or  Laphroaig, you’ll recognize the character.

I bring it up because both the aroma and the flavor of this beer carry a strong Islay whisky character. The nose is full of smoke, but also a strong sweet vanilla note as well. Slight hints of caramel in the nose as well, but all of the hop aroma is gone. I imagine that’s partly from the barrel-aging and partly from the “Best Before 02/02/12” printed on the side of the bottle.

There’s no carbonation on this beer, which I don’t know if it is a help or a hindrance. The flavor is very heavy on the smoky peat and very light on the everything-else. There’s a slight hint of citrus-hop flavor lurking behind the smoke but it is overpowered.The mouthfeel is slick, but the smokiness gives it a dry finish like the aftertaste of a good Scotch.

As you can see from the pictures,  this beer is cloudy and a tepid pale orange in color; not a pretty beer and honestly one I’m not too psyched about. But this is a perfect example of why the old rating system was fundamentally flawed. Would it be “fair” for me to assign a rating to a beer that I”m drinking over 2 years past its “best by” date? What exactly am I comparing it against; it’s not like there’s a glut of Scotch-aged IPAs on the market.

Overall, I’m not a fan of this beer. It has some of the characteristic I like in Scotch, but none of the characteristics I like in beer. If you’re a Scotch drinker looking to get into beer, this might be for you. Or if you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, this definitely fits the bill. But ultimately I think this beer will miss the mark for most people’s tastes.

BrewDog Storm 2

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