Total Score: 7.8/10
I told you the beers leading up to #500 were going to be BIG beers, and it doesn’t get any bigger than BrewDog, brewer of the BIGGEST beer of all time sold in a taxidermied stoat or squirrel*: The End of History. Weighing in at a brain-crushingly, for beer at least, 55% ABV – I would love to have gotten my hands on a sample of this, however as there were only 12 bottles made and sold at brain-crushingly prices I will never get to try that beer… but I have their 10.5% ABV Shipwrecker Circus… Yay!
Poured from 330ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Mahogany brown, like my bookcase with its mahogany bound books and trinkets of mahogany, with a thin beige lace ring where there was once head. 6/10.
S: The nose is a cacophony of sharp pine resin and bitter orange hops with a burnt sugar and treacle base from the malts. Style-wise this is an American Barleywine for all intents and purposes – I mean the hops alone scream “American!”. Another whiff reveals a hint of sweet dark plum. 8/10.
T: Flavour profile flattens out quite a bit, not nearly as hoppy as expected, but it comes through with a viscous roasted malt taste back to front. A lot easier to drink than expected. The profile has characters of dark treacle, a woody note, roasted coffee and mild pine hops accentuating a slight bitter finish. This combination lends it a very earthy and woody appeal that was not anticipated in the aroma. 8/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied, fairly viscous with hop oils dancing around the glass on first pour, the carbonation is understandably flat. 7/10.
D: This one turned into a real sipper with the charm of a good single-malt scotch… damn I love beer, and I love scotch too, which is how Shipwrecker Circus won me with its wiles. That said – if you’re strictly a beer person, and the idea of drinking a fine single-malt is akin to slicing your own leg off with a hacksaw to get out of a film analogy, then you probably won’t want to try Shipwrecker Circus, if however woody/smoky/earthy characters intrigue you and you want more of those things – Shipwrecker Circus is your beer. 8/10.
Food match: Would have to be something opulent: like black truffle squid with golden caviar and rose hip.
*I understand the extreme specificity of this criteria.