Brewdog Prototype Challenge!

Hi beer lovers! Firstly, let me apologise, as it’s been a while since my last update, but I am excited about this one…

As you may have realised I have a great appreciation for BrewDog beers. I’m always drawn to them; smooth beers, lots of flavour and from my home country! I am also very happy to hear about the new Unicorn fund that has just been commissioned – giving away 20% of profits to employees and charity.

Prototype challenges have been very successful for this brewery in the past. This is where BrewDog releases a selection of beers and allows fans to vote for their favourite – once all votes are counted, only the favourite gets brewed again! A few previous success stories that continue to be part of the standard BrewDog menu include; Vagabond Pale Ale, Cocoa Psycho, Jet Black Heart and personal favourites of mine – Hop Fiction and Jack Hammer. I think it’s a novel idea and great marketing strategy.

This prototype line-up was different to usual. Only three were available at time of review, compared to a typical quad-style lineup.  The fourth, which was a German-hopped blonde ale, didn’t turn out as expected. As a result, BrewDog took the bold, dignified stance of “If it’s not good enough, then we wont serve it to our customers”. However, I have just received an email from them stating that they have now resolved the brewing problem and the beer has been given the green light. It won’t be added to the prototype challenge, but they’re happy with the finished result, so they want to give their customers a chance to experience it. I’m going to have to get my hands on this to give it a shot though as I don’t think it should be overlooked and golden ales are among my favourites… aka yum, yum, yum!

So back to this years’ line up. The three were called

  • Prototype Black Rye IPA
  • Prototype Tangerine Session IPA
  • Prototype Double IPA
The Prototype line up at home, note that the Growler has Double IPA contained within!

I went to my local BrewDog bar and was greeted by a friendly member of staff. She was very knowledgeable on the new arrivals and directed me to bottle versions to take home. I was given the opportunity to have some draught samples (before filling up my Growler!). Unfortunately Tangerine Session IPA was no longer on draught – but that was unsurprising given that the barwoman said that from initial feedback,  this appeared the favourite of the three amongst local drinkers!

First up – Black Rye IPAwp-image-1950965893

By this point I was very excited – for the first time I was participating in the prototype challenge! This beer was interesting – black in colour as it’s name eludes, though on the nose it is much lighter – like a typical IPA. It drinks very smoothly, as you expect with darker beers. It has coffee notes to begin with (which personally aren’t to my taste as I’m not a coffee lover); however, compared to other beers that state “coffee” in their description, this one isn’t overwhelming, which I did appreciate. I got subtle notes of chocolate also. The best way I could describe this is that it starts like a bitter but then pine flavours come through, allowing it to finish like an IPA.

Rating: 2.75/5. Not my kind of brew, but I understand what the team are going for and I respect how they really push boundaries by flooding darkness into their IPAs.

Next stop – Tangerine Session IPA

Whenever I try a new beer, I always take a look at what flavours it says it is going to deliver. I then like to try the drink with this in mind and keep searching for these notes over the next few sips, paying attention to what I feel comes through and what it sometimes lacks. Historically, I find that across the board only about 50% of described flavours truly come through in the drink and I am always disappointed when something promises “full of flavour with x” and  then “x” never appears. Consequently, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes that I would receive a large hit of tangerine.

I thought tangerine was an interesting choice. Though a citrus fruit, which is really popular at present with IPAs, I had never tried a brew with tangerine in it. This made an exciting prospect compared to previous uninspiring, flat and minimal tastes of some “zesty” beers.

As soon as it’s poured tangerine dominates – both in colour and aroma. On first sip, I almost forget that I am drinking beer! It packs an absolute punch! Huge tangerine flavours swamp your palate, whilst both sweetness and some sourness lap across your tongue in waves, leaving you wanting more. BrewDog have smashed this beer – tangerine through and through, no false advertising here.

Tangerine IPA – great smell and taste

Rating.: 3.75/5 Tangerine was promised and it was most certainly delivered. I would definitely have this again – it would be great with a barbeque whilst out in the sun.

Last but not least – Double IPA

This is the one that I chose a growler for – I am a huge fan of Double IPAs. They are packed with flavour, full of hops and have a nice kick of strength to back them up.

This beer had big expectations to live up to, primarily due a fellow BrewDog double IPA known as Mr President . I am a huge – and when I describe huge I should really capitalise this – HUGE, fan of this beer. Though I often find friends describe this as too strong, for me ‘Mr President’ is near-perfection.

The bottle version of the Double IPA

I eagerly anticipated this beer and the aromas that wafted from it reminded me of strong beers that I had recently tried in Belgium. It poured gracefully, with a white coloured head on top. It was nicely chilled from the fridge, but whilst it was pleasant and light in flavour, it lacked the punch I was expecting.

Rating: 2.75/5. For me this beer was always going to be directly compared to Mr President. If both of these were lined up next to each other, then there would be only one winner – and unfortunately it would not be this one. It was nice, but I won’t be upset if it doesn’t become part of BrewDog’s regular line up.


So BrewDog, as per their previous prototype challenges, have a voting system across their social media platforms. I’ve placed my vote, Tangerine IPA, as it is true to Brewdog’s ethos – bags of flavour. If you are wanting to vote your winner then click here. Vote closes 14th September and the winner will be announced on the 18th! I eagerly await the result… Fingers crossed that I will be able to have more tantalising Tangerine Session IPA soon!

Keep me up to speed with any interesting beers you’ve tried recently. Don’t forget to subscribe for all my latest updates and new liquid marvels.

Beer out!

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