Tuesday, 11 September 2012

BrewDog/Ballast Point San Diego Scotch Ale

Good evening all. I'm writing this review in front of the US Open final, so it's probably going to take me a while as every sentence I write will be followed up by a quick glance at the TV to spectate another long rally. Tonight's beer is San Diego Scotch Ale, a Scotch Ale from BrewDog (Fraserburgh, Scotland). This beer was produced through a collaboration with Ballast Point Brewing Company, who provided the Californian raisins soaked in their own rum that were added to whisky casks housing the beer for close to a year. Sounds like pretty epic stuff, so let's see what it's all about after the pic....

San Diego Scotch Ale (11.9% ABV) pours a dark brown colour with a thick beige head that retains itself well on the surface of the beer. The aroma is very rich, with yeast extract, caramelised sugar, dark fruits and a noticeable hit of rum in the background. The Scotch Ale base delivers plenty of malty sweetness which acts as a good platform for the raisins to come through, adding to the sweetness themselves in the process. The rum coalesces with the raisins to create a tart raspberry aroma, whilst the yeast extract is powerful at first but becomes more of a sideline aroma as the olfactories become accustomed to it. Great stuff so far, with enough of the Scotch Ale qualities coming through so that the rum and raisin additions can compliment and add their own unique notes. The taste is remarkably subdued in comparison, with raspberries, rum, caramel, dark fruits, bourbon and a decent malt presence in the background. Despite the high ABV percentage the alcohol isn't always noticeable, with the rum/whisky barrel ageing creating a burn along the sides of the mouth during drinking that gradually subsides to leave the fruity tartness and sweetness in the finish, accompanied by some roasted malt-style dry notes. The first sip seemed to deliver all of the flavours in waves, starting with the Scotch Ale caramelised sweetness, transitioning to the alcoholic power of the rum and then finally bringing the raisins in during the finish. Once the palette gets used to these flavours, the Scotch Ale base and the rum intensity overlap but still allow the dark fruits to come out towards the end, along with an increased perception of the dryness. It's also worth mentioning how dangerously drinkable this beer is, so exercising some restraint might be a wise suggestion (although I certainly didn't!). The mouthfeel is thick and the beer is moderately carbonated, which compliments the drinking experience perfectly. Overall, this is another excellent collaboration beer from the BrewDog lot, with the barrel ageing adding a great dimension and the rum-raisin combo sealing the deal. Definitely recommended- I'm looking to forward to seeing how this develops with a bit of age behind it. 

Until next time....


  1. how come you got yours already?! mine was only collected from warehouse for delivery yesterday

    1. I have no idea, I just thought that BrewDog had finally sorted out their delivery system!