THE 2014 BREWDOG PROTOTYPE SERIES
“I’m a pro and you are looking like the prototype” crooned the shy and retiring Lil Wayne, no doubt to someone who deduced what that lyric actually meant and then promptly scarpered. But whilst our cryptic picker-upper might have gone home alone following that serenade, maybe when queueing for the night bus he’d have ruminated on what ‘prototype’ actually means: the original; the early form of a future classic. Maybe Wayne, being a glass of Cristal is half-full kind-of-guy, realised that although his pick-up line was truly, bottom of the barrel awful, if he worked on his social graces a little more, he’d maybe have the start of some decent ice-breakers.
Speaking of future classics, our previous Prototype Challenges produced such heavyweights as Brixton Porter, Cocoa Psycho and Jackhammer – so this year’s batch has a lot of smooth-talking to follow (maybe shouting, in Jackhammer’s case). You can do what Wayne couldn’t, and ‘pick up’ these four from our Online Shop right now, so you can put them to the test and see if any are worth a longer relationship down the line. For this year, we’ve created special labels with room to write your thoughts on as you go, to judge them there and then and give it to them straight!
Once you’ve managed to sample all four, and translated those scribbled label notes into a favourite, let us know the one you’d like to see brewed again by voting in the Prototypes Poll above. Which would Lil Wayne pick? Well…he’s probably an ‘All Day Long’ kind of guy.
VAGABOND PALE ALE
Malts: Pale, Cara, Crystal
Hops: Centennial, Amarillo
Vagabond is something brand new for BrewDog – our first gluten-free beer. Brews for people who turn away from gluten have often had very little else to offer other than mere acceptability. Vagabond however shows, once and for all, that a lack of this one element does not equate to a lack of taste, or body. Brewed at 4.5% abv but with an IBU-count that would gratify an IPA (see below), Vagabond has a rioting backdrop of citrus from the Centennial and Amarillo, and could be (if selected) a ground-breaking gluten-free brew.
Hops: Chinook, Amarillo, Mosaic
We’ve made India Pale Ales before (one or two), but until now we haven’t brewed a single one using the process which led to Hop Fiction. Not only is HP not dry-hopped, it isn’t kettle-hopped either; we have fired this IPA purely by wort and whirlpool hopping only. A huge, huge amount, as it turned out. The result is an upfront blast of mango, lychee and stone fruit, with a bitter, dry finish. It was a fascinating process to deploy – we think it has resulted in an equally fascinating beer.
ALL DAY LONG
Malts: Pale, Cara, Cara Red, Munich, Crystal, Dark Crystal, Rye
Hops: Columbus, Cascade, Amarillo, Centennial
All Day Long is a mild like no other. A complex, low-alcohol brew, the third of our 2014 Prototypes features a boatload of seven different speciality malts. For those moments when you need something to turn to that will reward you, All Day Long also gives you an easy shoulder at the same time. Resinous at first, it transitions into something akin to bitter orange marmalade spread onto a thick bread crust. This is for everyone who said BrewDog would never brew a mild…
Malts: Pale, Munich, Carafa
Hops: Magnum, Hersbrucker
Alt translates as ‘old’ – they predate continental lager – and as we’ve not brewed one to this point, it became the final of our Prototypes. A toasty, warming beer, our Alt Amber is the kindly older relative to Five AM Red Ale, and would probably tut at Five’s youthful antics from a gently rocking chair on a porch in rural Westphalia. At 5.2%, our Alt Amber has a long, balanced finish of dry toast and caramel; rich, coppery and moreish.
So, as with our previous Prototype Challenges, it’s over to you to decide which will return as a regular brew. Scribble those tasting notes or scores on the label, and let us know in the comments box, via social media, or in the attached poll what your conclusions are. If you'd prefer to conduct your analysis in person and on draught, then the Prototype Series beers will be launched at 6pm today in all UK BrewDog bars!
We’ll collate all the responses and then let you know which will be re-brewed and could force its way into our line-up of regulars. It’s over to you!
AB:17 (THREE-COFFEE RYE IMPERIAL PORTER)
Elsewhere in our Online Shop, another new release hitting the virtual shelves today is the latest iteration of our Abstrakt series – AB:17. A thrice-coffee’d rye imperial porter, this beer was exposed to the magic beans on three separate occasions – we added espresso in the mash, cafetiere to the boil, and whole beans in the whirlpool and the FV (along with vanilla pods). The result is an enveloping blanket of smooth sweetness balanced by bitter, potent coffee flavours that really come to the fore on the aftertaste. A perfect after-dinner digestif.