Each year, BrewDog hold a poll and allow shareholders (named as ‘Equity Punks’) to vote for a beer they would like to see produced from a whole host of potential brews. A fun, novel idea meant BrewDog shareholders were also invited to the brewery site in Aberdeen for the day of creation. Following a vote by Equity Punks from around the world, “Blonde Export Stout” was the beer elected to be produced (via its Equity Punk gypsy brewery – Beatnik Brewing Collective). “Blonde Export Stout” won the 2017 vote, though from memory it wasn’t available until either late 2017, or early 2018. I picked this bottle up when I was in BrewDog’s bar in Newcastle – a fantastic little venue, which my partner states serve the best coffee she’s ever had in a BrewDog – I however, stuck to beer!
Mandatory “Blonde Export Stout” Facts
- Untappd Rating: 3.72 (at time of writing)
- ABV: 7.5%
- IBU: 70
- Style: Stout – White
- Serving: Bottle, 660ml
I’m slowly warming to stouts, but with this being a lighter, white stout, I thought that this could be interesting. My only other experience of a white stout was during #Collabfest2017. The beer poured like an IPA; a transparent oak colour, with moderate carbonation, forming an airy, white head. The beer smelled incredibly smoky, with a hint of coffee: based on the aromas alone, I expected the smoke to be the most dominant flavour. On sampling, the beer was light, with gas bubbles popping on my tongue. I let the beer swirl slowly around my mouth, allowing my full palate to take in all possible textures and flavours. Smoke definitely dominated the flavour profile, although there was also an unfamiliar battle between subtle clean German hop notes and coffee. On my first few mouthfuls, I never truly appreciated the true roasted coffee notes adding to this beer, but as I had further samples, I picked out a finer note of a light vanilla sweetness.
Rating: 3.0/5. “Blonde Export Stout” didn’t blow me away on first sampling. I got hit with an overwhelming smoke flavour initially, though the tastes developed upon subsequent mouthfuls. I wouldn’t rush back, but it’s quite cool knowing that the BrewDog community were involved in conceptualising a unique beer. It’s not often that thousands of people are involved in the creation of one beer!
Pop and Stop
For those of you with a keen eye, on the board behind the beer you’ll notice the words “Day 1”. The review for “Blonde Export Stout” is from my first sampling, but this was sample 1 of 3! Below, I’ll challenge ‘Pop and Stop’s’ “Keep fresh for 48 hours” promise. Thank you to the team for the complimentary product.
The concept of resealing a drink is hardly new. Plastic bottles obviously have resealable caps and wine bottles can be re-corked; however, glass beer bottles though lack suck a feature. Yes, it is possible to re-cap some beer bottles, but a firm, air-tight seal is never achieved. Even if returned to the fridge for a mere few hours, a beer loses all carbonation. This product aimed to change this: it was brought to life via ‘Kickstarter’ – raising nearly three times the initial target.
‘Pop and Stop’ functions not only as a bottle sealer, but also as a bottle opener. I opened the beer with the reverse side of the contraption: it solidly removed the bottle top, bending it in half! Well done ‘Pop and Stop’, I can no longer partially reseal the bottle by forcing the cap on – you made your own product far more necessary! Once about a third of the bottle was poured, filling the schooner glass, I easily slid the under-surface of the device over the exposed bottle neck. It transitioned over the bottle easily and from first look, it seemed as though it had a tight seal.
Here’s a picture of Day 2’s beer
With a slightly pessimistic attitude, I pulled the beer out from the fridge approximately 24 hours after initially opening it. I didn’t expect the ‘Pop and Stop’ to be overly successful. Following a couple of unsuccessful tugs at the cap, I removed it easily by gentle rotatory motions. A big “hiss” came from the bottle, similar to opening a carbonated beverage. I poured the beer for the second time and I was impressed at the volume of foam head produced. Mouthfeel seemed pretty similar what I had experienced the previous day, so overall, the product seemed to be working well! I enjoyed this beer with a spicy Mexican-style meal – it paired brilliantly due to its savoury nature! I replaced the cap and returned the now 1/3 full bottle back into the fridge for the 48 hour mark.
And finally onto Day 3
I understand that when using the ‘Pop and Stop’ it isn’t meant to be opened, closed, opened again etc, but I really wanted to test the gadget out. Having learned from experience, I opened the cap MUCH quicker this time, but when the tight seal was broken, a tired trapped-gas “hiss” came from the beer, weaker than the previous day’s. This could be due to a couple of different reasons:
- The beer is naturally going flat
- The area left for the gas to build is much larger due to a smaller volume of liquid remaining in the bottle. This would reduce the intensity of noise is lost as the gas slowly escapes, rather than being forced out following a sudden change in pressure
This third sample was smaller in volume, but also had a foam head that was less than half the size of previous drinks. The taste wasn’t compromised, but the texture felt a little thin on the palate due to the lack of remaining carbonation. I know that this is because I’ve split the beer over three separate days and there was very little carbonation to preserve for this portion. From my experience, if a bottle were to be left untouched for 48 hours, I would expect it to have at least 80% of the carbonation as the original sampling.
‘Pop and Stop’, though simple in nature, can be used in a variety of different situations. It’s about the size of a few coins, so easily fits in a pocket. Here are some of the benefits:
- Keeps a beer fresh for at least 48 hours
- Prevent strangers from adding to your drink
- Avoid spillage – good if you have pets or children! *I had to test this out personally – no spillages!*
‘Pop and Stop’ varies in price from $7.99 for the basic version, all the way to “$17.99 – a premium aluminium variety that can be customised by with your own logo”. You can purchase it here
Rating: 4.25/5. ‘Pop and Stop’ was fun to try. Does it work? I’m pleased to say that “yes – it does”! The device can also be customised prior to purchase, which is a cool feature too. Is it a product I’ll use frequently? Probably not; however, I now have the opportunity to split a larger bottle over a couple of nights, such a strong barley wine, which is great. I had a friend over recently who had a 660ml bottle – this was impractical to have in one glass, so was split across two sittings. As it was kept in the fridge for an hour in-between, this would have been perfect for this situation.
NB: Want to get some shares in BrewDog – use my referral code https://www.brewdog.com/equityforpunks?referred_by=R778113
Some perks include discount in bars and online site, a free beer on your birthday and the opportunity to get your hands -new beers before general sale!
Invest at your own risk, but if you are going to invest, there’s only a couple of months left – closing date is October as far as I’m aware!