Beer Wednesday: Paradox Isle of Arran by Brewdog

Local wine and beer shop Wally's recently had in a special brew from Scottish brewing company Brewdog. It was a variation of their Paradox imperial stout, which is typically aged in whisky casks. This version, the Brewdog Paradox Isle of Arran, was aged in whisky casks from Isle of Arran distillery based on a joint partnership between brewery and distillery. The beer was $12 for a 12oz bottle, which ain't cheap.

Full disclosure: I haven't had a regular Paradox in some time and can't recall the details, so I can't compare the Isle of Arran specialty version to the regular version. I'll just tell you how this was - delicious. I'm a fan of imperial stouts anyway, which fall in that spectrum of dark and flavorful beers which I enjoy. The Paradox Isle of Arran is 10% but never overpowered the flavor for me.

Like a lot of imperial stouts it had flavors of coffee, chocolate, and raisins, and it had hints of vanilla and caramel (or maybe toffee? if I were English/Scottish I'm sure I'd say toffee) which added a nice complexity of flavor. Unlike the Ballast Point Victory at Sea I had a few weeks ago, however, it did not have as full a body as I expected. That would normally be fine, except when the label says "whisky cask aged" and has a specific whisky distillery associated with it, I kind of expected the body to be bigger to hold a lot of whisky flavors. Instead it acted more like a delicious but standard imperial stout.

That's my basic complaint with the Paradox Isle of Arran - it was $12 ($1 per ounce!) and was touted as a special brew, but ultimately wasn't worth the cost to me. I wish there was more whisky coming through; I had expected to drink something totally unique in flavor that I'd never had before. I enjoyed it but wouldn't pay that price for the Paradox Isle of Arran again. Still, I'm a big fan of Brewdog in general and I'll continue to try their beers.


  1. I vote that we start calling this Wet Wednesday. What? Don't give me that look, Grace/C-Mac/GotGame.

    Anyway, forgot to link to some reviews. The Beer advocate reviews seem to be generally in agreement with my assessment. The ratebeer score is higher than I expected, and then by "style" (I'm assuming imperial stout) lower than expected. Of course that's partially an issue with the styles towards which beer rating sites skew.

    I will point out that if you tend to like beers that aren't as in-your-face with their strength and flavor, and you want to try an imperial stout that's flavorful and delicious but won't kick you in the teeth, this might be a good entry point. Just be mindful of the price.

  2. I find that last comment hard to believe. I highly doubt any 10% ABV beer is a good entry for someone who has never tried an imperial stout...

    wait...are you saying that for someone who has already tried Guinness (the standard entry into stouts) and wants to try an imperial stout, the Paradox Isle of Arran is a good entry into imperials? Or is it surprisingly mild enough for a 10% ABV for someone to get into microbrew stouts and porters?

  3. Good entry to imperial stouts if you think they can be too overpowering and bold. If you like stouts in general, or like that flavor profile, but like the alcohol content to feel lower than it is.

    I'm not saying it's as light as a Guinness in terms of alcohol but it doesn't taste nearly as in your face as last week's Victory at Sea, for instance. Or even a Double Bastard Ale or something. But that's just my opinion.

  4. Hi! Thanks for the comment on my jumpsuits post :) Love it when bloggers support bloggers. And also, I like wine. So let's do wine night again soon!

  5. Woot thanks Neekoh - nice fashion blog by the way. I feel like we will do a wine thing again soon... very soon...

    That reminds me, what would you think of mixing in wine with the beer Wednesdays? Good idea/ bad idea?

  6. mean Wet Wednesday?

    I'm a fan - I'm really looking for this series to teach me about wine/beer...especially after what we discovered last week.