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Beer Profile

  • Brewery: BrewDog Ltd.
  • Website:
  • Country: Scotland
  • State:
  • Style: American Strong Ale
  • Malts:
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  • PHM Grade: C+

Brewdog Bashah

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Every now and then, you run across a beer that you purchase purely out of curiosity (and perhaps a slight sense of wonderment). To be fair, those of us who call greater Chicagoland our home would probably jump at the chance to get our hands on anything involving Stone Brewery. But when I found this fairly nondescript 11.2 oz. bottle hiding among the specialty bombers at Binny’s, it wasn’t the telltale gargoyle (or is it a gremlin?) on the front that sucked me in. It was the description: Black Belgian Style Double IPA. What?!

First, I’ll make sure I confirm that this is actually a Brewdog beer that was brewed as a collaborative effort with some of Stone’s brewers. So basically, what you need to know is that some of the world’s craziest brewing minds got together and drummed up this concoction. They’re not really paying homage to any style or flavor here … they’re putting on their lab coats and safety goggles and having some fun. This excerpt from the write-up on the label says it all:

Bashah. What does it mean?…Since meaning is a mere illusion, perhaps we shouldn’t let it have any influence on our destiny. This particular beer has refused to succumb to the illusion of meaning or allow capricious parameters to have any influence on its own fermented fate…

But now the important part. How does this self-proclaimed “meaningless” beer taste? Not half bad … but it actually ends up suffering from its identity crisis.

It pours black (they got that part right), and although the one-finger head disappears in a flash, there’s still some subtle lacing that remains. The nose is great … piney and grassy hops blending with roasted coffee. To be honest, the only thing I don’t pick up are any elements of a Belgian strong dark ale. The malts aren’t near as complex or caramelly, and there’s no fruity/spicy note from the yeast to speak of. So far … pretty good.

If you’re not a regular beer drinker, the closest thing I can equate the taste to is a combination of coffee, unsweetened chocolate, and one of those wheat-grass drinks. And in all fairness, this beer seems to at least have stayed true – for the most part – to a double IPA. The malt and hops are well balanced, but the hops win the race (as they should), the mouthfeel is smooth, and the slight warming sensation at the end tells you it certainly isn’t weak. It’s hard to argue that the dark malt and grassy hops compliment each other all that well, though. And completely lost in the equation are the poor Belgians. It’s like inviting a famous celebrity to a party, but then scratching them from the guest list without telling any of the other guests. The anticipation is high, but it ends in a lot of disappointment. Especially with the $8 per bottle price tag. It’s unfortunate, too, because this beer really would benefit from a sweeter, more complex maltiness.

So what does Bashah mean? In my mind, two things. 1) Craft brewing is breaking new ground, both in the US and internationally. 2) Some stones are still better left unturned.

ABV: 8.6%

Grade: C+

  1. What is this craze over Stone Brewery all about?

    Nate — February 5th, 2010, 4:48 PM
  2. I think it’s mostly that we can’t get it here in Illinois.

    Taylor — February 5th, 2010, 4:58 PM
  3. For me, it’s the fact that Stone scores higher than any other brewery on overall reviews on beeradvocate:

    And yes…we can’t buy it here.

    Noel — February 6th, 2010, 3:12 AM
  4. Granted, they generated the results back in 2003, but my guess is not much has changed.

    Noel — February 6th, 2010, 3:15 AM
  5. I dunno … any list that has Dogfish Head at #24 is a poor list indeed.

    Taylor — February 6th, 2010, 9:54 AM
  6. Funny, I bought this beer for the exact same reason yesterday. Still can’t wait to give it a try.

    If you’re looking for more Stone beers, anyone who travels to western Michigan regularly should be able to find some for you.

    Justin — February 6th, 2010, 10:32 AM
  7. Yeah…I do not agree with their rating. Besides, there are so many “sleeping giants” out there in the craft beer world.

    Tom — February 6th, 2010, 10:37 AM
  8. I’ve heard that Stone is going to be distributing in Illinois soon, so I guess we’ll see. I think it’s mostly just the intrigue. Can’t say I agree with beeradvocate’s ratings either…but I do find it interesting that they were generated completely based on user reviews.

    Noel — February 6th, 2010, 2:38 PM
  9. Here’s an article I found with a much more “acceptable” list of the top 25 US breweries of the past decade:

    Noel — February 6th, 2010, 2:45 PM
  10. Living in San Diego County (where Stone Brewery resides) I can readily get the stuff. They certainly deserve a lot of the respect and admiration they receive. They are a good company and produce fine beers. However, at the same time I am not that impressed by their year round standard beers. They are nice but nothing out of this world. However, they are creative and so their special release brews can be pretty amazing.

    The restaurant at the brewery is pretty highly acclaimed around town as well.

    Probably my favorite brewery in California is North Coast from Ft. Bragg. They are not quite as innovative in terms of offering or even brewing seasonal/special brews, but their standard line is nearly impeccable in my mind. Incredibly consistent.

    Good convo we got going here.

    Nate — February 6th, 2010, 4:13 PM
  11. cool list noel.

    if i may boast for a minute, 7 of the 25 breweries on that list are in california. move over Portland, Oregon

    (note: Deschutes Brewery from Oregon is probably my favorite brewer)

    Nate — February 6th, 2010, 4:19 PM
  12. I agree with Nate. NCBC is probably one of the best in the biz. I’ve had all their beers and never given a grade lower than a B+.

    Tom — February 6th, 2010, 4:31 PM
  13. long and short of it is i’ve still got miles to go in expanding my beer palate. good tips boys.

    ps going back to this beer, i think i might give it a B- at room temp.

    Noel — February 7th, 2010, 2:09 PM
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