Saturday, 10 November 2012

BrewDog Ghost Deer

Good evening all. Cast your minds back to last week, and my announcement that I was going on hiatus to preserve what little beer I had left for this year's Beer Advent Calendar. Well, it seems that BrewDog didn't read that post and decided to finally release a bottled version of Ghost Deer, their massively barrel aged Belgian blonde ale that was brought out in the bars last year and served through the mouth of a taxidermied deer's head; as you do. Weighing in at a titanic 28.0% ABV, it's one of the strongest naturally fermented beers ever made, and has been aged in whisky, bourbon, rum and sherry barrels for 12 months. I couldn't resist putting in an order for this beer as I missed its initial run, so I'll happily break my enforced silence to provide my musings on this bad boy. I also tagged on a bottle of AB:11, so expect another review soon before I truly shut up for the remainder of November. Review after the pic....

Ghost Deer (28.0% ABV) pours a rich amber colour with, unsurprisingly, no head or carbonation. The alcohol content is high enough for there to be evaporation on the sides of the glass, but aside from that there's not much else to report regarding the appearance. The aroma is pretty intense, with plenty of alcohol, some brown sugar and various traces of the barrel ageing popping up at random moments. The first inhale brings up a lot of the sherry, with subsequent ones gradually adding the rum and some vanilla-style bourbon to the proceedings. The brown sugar is noticeable mainly through agitating the beer, and there's no sense of any Belgian characteristics breaking through the impact of the barrel ageing. The taste is complex yet surprisingly subtle, with caramel, fortified wine, phenols, marzipan, volatile alcohol and a range of very light notes lingering on in the finish and aftertaste (yeast extract, dessert wine, dark fruits, butter). The caramelised sugar sweetness hits almost immediately and offsets the power of the alcohol as it becomes more prevalent, before fluctuating as the fortified wine flavours take over. The Belgian base is more apparent through tasting, and when combined with the sweetness produces flavours reminiscent of a Tripel. The alcohol imparts a satisfying burn and effectively cleanses the palette, so there's no risk of cloying during drinking. Some light spice remains on the tongue towards the end, whilst the finish is smooth with some buttery notes and a light fortified wine flavour lingering on in the background. It's almost impossible to describe the mouthfeel of this beer in traditional terms, but it's very similar to drinking port. Overall, this is a very impressive beer that manages to balance muscular barrel ageing with understated Belgian flavours, creating something quite unique that should definitely be experienced at least once. Highly recommended, if only the serving size was slightly larger!

Until next time....


  1. did you get multiple bottles of it? I wanted one but I wasn't about to pay courier charges on something so small!

    1. Indeed; got three bottles, one AB:11 and a 6 pack of Punk cans to justify the courier charge. I did feel a little dismayed after I had poured it into the glass, 60ml really is quite small!

  2. finally got a chance to try it at brewdog bristol and glad i did!