104. Paradox Smokehead

Posted: June 1, 2011 in ale, International beer, Stout
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Paradox Smokehead

Company info:


Alcohol: 10%
Standard drinks: TBC

Cap type: Non-twist

Cost: Beer supplied by the good folk at Dunnottar Wine and Spirits

Label info: ‘BrewDog and Smokehead’s enthralling alliance creates a revolutionary beer with all the Atlantic smoke, encapsulating peat and raw power of an Islay malt whisky.
Hold onto your hats and fasten your seatbelts, this imperial stout aged in whisky casks, is as extreme as beer gets. We won’t think drastically less of you, if for any reason, you don’t like it.
Serve at room temperature, unless you live in an igloo’
‘Smokehead is an exciting, contemporary rollercoaster of a whisky.
It combines a modern approach with the highest quality malt whisky.
It rocks, you should really try it too.

What the label really means:
Is it a beer, or is it a whisky? The first label description calls it a revolutionary beer while the second clearly labels it a ‘rollercoaster of a whisky’. It seems a little confused but with one clear intention – to punch any reviewer with a bare fisted bloody knuckled fist. It speaks to us with the same attitude of the previously reviewed ‘Punk IPA’ and I like their style. They have an almost be damned attitude to what people think and are very confident that we will enjoy it. I am willing to take this rollercoaster journey and check out what Brew Dog have served this time round.

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: Once again Brew Dog openly challenge my perceptions of what a good beer label should look like. They’ve used yellow gold which is a pet hate of mine on beer labels but they’ve done it in such a glam-metal-rock style that I can’t help be entranced by their dreamy eyes. It’s worn, it’s rough, but the gold ties it to signs of wealth and beauty and therein lies the paradox. It’s actually a very clever label that has really won me over.


I give it a label rating of 7 out of 10.

AROMA: A strong whisky aroma with an almost indistinguishable tinge of malt. It smells like a very strong brew in flavour and intensity (I hadn’t realised this was a 10% alcohol brew at this stage). To be perfectly honest readers, before taking a sip of this beer I gotta say the aroma isn’t appealing. It’s the smell of an upturned glass of whisky that some thoughtless house guest left upturned on your favourite sofa at the party you threw the night before – drenched in the pool of black liquid a stubbed out cigarette lies squished and broken. 

Taste: GLASS – Woah. This is unlike any beer I have ever tasted before. Upon supping this bastard I screamed to my wife “It’s like a plate full of smoked pork ribs with a whisky base marinade,” and the flavour is intensely smokey. It’s very smoothly carbonated which is essential with this jaw dropping flavour intensity, and doesn’t feel too alcoholic (ok, at this point I just realised that it is 10% alcohol volume)….but my head is telling me otherwise – it’s spinning.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 7 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Funnily enough, the Smokehead becomes a bit less flavour intense when drinking this from the bottle. And with a beer with this much going on, this is a good thing. It’s enough to make me take up smoking, pick fights with bikies, and smash bar stools on the backs of fools. Or is this just the alcohol talking? I don’t know but damn this beer is packing one hell of a brutal punch that is really enlivening me. Wow…

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Song of choice: Try this along Alkaline Trio’s ‘All on Black

Accompanying food: I’ve already made the reference to ribs…so I’m sticking to it – RIBS! Pork spare ribs with a chilli marinade…dammitt, I am planning this alliance ASAP.

Best season to appreciate: A real Winter brew. If you aint smashing gang lords around the bar, sit by the fire and let this beer do the freakin’ kumbaya’ing!

All-nighter beer? I’m not sure…at first sip I would have said no but I am damn well warming to this sucker with every sip. One thing is for sure though and that’s the headache this thing will punch you with the next day. On that note, I think I’d stick to maybe 3/4 of a night only.


  1. […] and it’s evoking strong emotions in me similar to those BrewDog’s previously reviewed Paradox Smokehead. This is one amazing […]


  2. McLean not MacLean says:

    Smokey Stout with (by the sounds of the review) hallucinogenic side effects. This sounds like exactly my kind of brew. I’m hunting one of these bad boys down. Thanks for the tip off Hellcat.


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