How do you make a Christmas Porter? Well the method Brewdog used was to take their existing Alice Porter and add some festive fun. They needn't have bothered because this beer just seems wrong for some reason. It's not a terrible beer or even a bad beer, there is just something lacking, something that leaves you wondering why they bothered? For a start, there is little about it that leaves me in a festive spirit. I want a Christmas beer to remind me of Christmas and this did not even come close. It starts off promising with a smoky aroma with hints of coffee, fizzy sherbet and caramel. It suffers when you taste it and are instantly assaulted by an overpowering bitter orange pith, a sort of Jaffa Cake beer but without the sweetness that backs up a Jaffa cake. It was just plain weird for me, I still enjoyed it but it was just a weird beer. My advice is to just drink Alice Porter and not this Bastardised version.
Old word Russian imperial stout. That's a bit of a mouthful. The interesting thing is that there is no mention of brewdog on this beer at all. In fact the only indication it was made by them is the signature of James and Martin on the back. In actual fact this is Rip Tide in a pretty frock. It's Brewdog creating a stores own brand so to say. Most of the 10,000 bottles went to Total Wine in the US so that's the most likely place you will find it, other than on the brewdog website for sale.
Unlike Christmas Porter, this beer (Rip Tide) is shockingly beautiful. The aroma starts off on a high with liquorice and caramel morphing into milk chocolate, vanilla and a hint of espresso. It's hard to believe that the wonderful aroma can be topped but from the first sip, this beer draws you in and surrounds you in a blanket of comfort. Silky smooth, luscious chocolate and caramel prove a sweet backbone to what is actually a rather bitter beer. Plenty of bittering hops are used and the effect is a burnt coffee bean finish. The whole beer just comes together perfectly with almost none of the 8% abv making itself known. There is only the slightest hint of booze, hidden behind the complex rich body.
An astounding beer. Get this one for Christmas instead and don't worry about Christmas spices that would just ruin the experience if beery excellence.
Thanks to Steve for the bottles.