Imperial Stout • 12 % ABV • Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Brewdog have been dabbling in experimental and unusual beers in their Abstract range since 2010.
Producing a vast range of styles from vanilla infused Belgian quads, Cranachan imperial stouts, salted caramel pop corn imperial ales to triple coffee imperial porters and tiramisu oatmeal milk barley wines. There are some pretty wild flavours.
Due to the limited nature of these bottles, Brewdog fans have put huge collection value on unopened bottles which has resulted in earlier editions coming in at nearly £40 or more on Ebay.
I was really excited to see their latest variation contained what I would deem as one of my favourite ingredients and flavours – Liquorice.
Abstrakt 21 edition is a liquorice and blackcurrant imperial stout.
Its described as offering a rich, full bodied chocolate with a dark fruit character.
The blackcurrant enhances the dark fruit aspect whilst the liquorice brings on the spice with aniseed and molasses.
As a result of the flavours, a brandy like warmth should replace the roast malt as the backbone for the beer.
I was lucky to get the good people of Brewdog Cardiff to hold onto a bottle whilst I was on holiday. This would allow me to try it as part of the first wave as well as enjoy a “return to reality” tipple.
Its just a matter of cracking through the waxed topper and popping the bottle.
At £10 a bottle, this is going to be one hell of a journey!
Abstrakt 21 creates a small tan head on pouring which settles quickly. The stout itself is ruby red to puce in colour and has a rich looking texture.
Whilst settled, there is more in the way of spice and liquorice aromas. Agitating it a little pushes out more of the dark fruit and blackcurrant aromas. There is even some warming alcohol at the back of the throat.
From the initial taste of the beer, you are hit with strong liquorice and aniseed flavours. A dry and tart flavour begins to build up where the fruity, berry flavours work their magic.
Once you swallow, a subtle chocolate flavour moves in at the back of the throat.
Abstrakt 21 is a medium to full bodied beer with a low level of carbonation. Its has a smooth and almost creamy texture which gives warming sensation with each sip.
As a huge fan of liquorice, this is one of my favourite in the Abstrakt range. The flavours balance out really well and has the effect of having spent time cask ageing.
A full flavoured beer, it seems to have split people down the middle when it comes to whether blackcurrant or licorice is the prominent flavour.
The price is up there, but as its a beer to take your time over, I really didn’t see this as a problem.
If you have had an opportunity to try a bottle, then visit @biertaster and let me know what you thought of AB:21.