Black IPA – Scottish/Swedish: Brewdog/Cap Brewing CapDog

This Friday’s beer is a Black IPA, a collaboration between Brewdog and CAP Brewing. Although we’ve had a few Coffee beers over the last week, this is the last one for a little while! I think the reason being is that I haven’t been sleeping much lately and have been working double time on this and my day job, so Coffee is well and truly on my mind! CapDog is a Black IPA infused with Cascara – the fruit of the Coffee plant making for a brew I was very interested in.

Let’s start with the description of the beer –

CAPDOG is a warped smoky black IPA brewed to imperial strength, infused with cascara – the fruit of the coffee plant.

Subtly sweet, with big resin and chocolate notes, balanced by spicy and smoky flavours, CAPDOG is a curious collaboration between CAP and BrewDog.

A good description of the beer – we’re expecting spicy, smokey flavours with some resinous hops, chocolate and some sweetness. Not a balls-to-the-wall description I’ve come to expect from Brewdog, but sometimes it’s nice to have a change! Also, it’s good for them to work with a Brewery unheard of in the UK until a little while ago.

Capdog is brewed with Extra Pale, Crystal, Rye and Carafa malts. I like this mix of malts for a Black IPA, if anyone tries it without the infusion of Cascara, let me know! The malt bill seems like it’s intended for a clean, yet Chocolatey and Roasty flavour. Only one lot of Hops in this brew, the famous Centennial. I think this is a great hop for the beer, as the Lemon and Citrus flavours from this hop will compliment the Cascara nicely. I can imagine either the Cascara is put into the boil, or is made into a “Cascara Tea” and added to fermentation.

This beer pours a thick Black with a Mocha coloured head, there’s a tiny bit of sticky lacing on the sides of the glass. The head dissipates quickly, which is expected for a 9% brew leaving a tan coloured cap on the beer. What a great looking beer! It really looks like a Winter Brew. On the nose there’s lots of Citrus, Dark Fruits and a little bit of Coffee and Pine. It’s quite an inviting smelling brew, especially if you like Citrus Forward beers. When you taste this beer, you get lots of Roasty and Chocolate notes, followed by some Clean Coffee tones, Dark Fruits finishing with a strange Coca Cola/Kola Nut flavour and some pine. The mouthfeel is thinner than I was expecting for a dark beer, but this is an IPA afterall! Medium carbonation and finishes quite dry, despite some of the sweet flavours. If you can get your hands on this beer, I really recommend it. Perfect tucked up next to the fire on a cold Evening when you don’t fancy something more heavy like a Stout.

You can purchase CapDog in the UK (be quick!) at:

Ales By Mail (IN STOCK at time of writing)

Unfortunately, Capdog was a limited brew, but for any Bars/Shops wanting to stock Brewdog’s Collaborations and more Limited Releases I’d really recommend signing up to their Mailing List.

EST. CALORIES: 270   ABV: 9%


Black Imperial IPA – English: Buxton Imperial Black IPA


This week comes with a newer style on the block, an Imperial Black IPA. I’d say this one can be enjoyed year round, although best enjoyed in the evening as they are usually around 7.5%.

Let’s start with Buxton Brewery‘s description of the beer:

Full bodied jet-black ale with a pale-tan head. Abundant fresh hop aromas suggesting zesty citrus pulp and forest fruits.

Quite a brief description, but Buxton has been known to be more modest with their blubs and leave a lot to the imagination which I think is a good idea for such a complex style.

Let’s start with a bit on the style, as I think a great new style such as this needs more recognition. An Imperial Black IPA/Black IPA or American Black Ale. It’s often mistaken for a hoppy Porter or Stout but this is not the case. Whilst this beer has the roasty flavour (hints of coffee and dark chocolate) this usually takes more of a back seat then it does in a Porter or Stout. Don’t get me wrong, the malty roasty coffee/chocolate tones are there and they are still a big part of the flavour. The main showcase however, is the nice fresh citrus/pine hop kick from the hops which is a lot different to a hoppy Porter or Stout as they tend to use Dark Roasted Malts like a Black IPA, but they use English hops sparingly to give it the true character of a stout or porter (usually). Black IPA’s use as many hops as an IPA and sometimes even more in order to get the flavour to cut through.

I contacted Buxton Brewery about the recipe of their beer, but unfortunately they didn’t reply so I have to take an educated guess. Usually with a Black IPA, you start with the base for a normal American Hopped IPA and add Carafa III Special Malt. I’m guessing the recipe is something similar to this: Pale Ale Malt, Crystal Malt and the Carafa III Special Malt. This beer also has some Wheat in, so I think that is most probably a German Strain as the head has very good retention like a bock. The hops are definitely American and going from the fresh Citrus and Pine flavours I think Chinook, Simcoe and Amarillo have been used.

When you pour this beer, the first thing you will notice is the smell of roasted coffee and citrus. Then you’ll notice that the head is spilling out the glass due to the wheat in the beer and possibly to do with the Bottle Conditioning. Once poured it looks very impressive, extremely dark with a crazy Tan coloured Head. The smell is still quite overwhelming and very inviting. Once the head reduces it stays on top of the beer as a medium cap the whole time, which really is quite impressive. Once you taste this beer it initially hits with hints of Fresh Roasted Coffee, Caramel and Brown Sugar. After this the hops kick in with a great punch of fresh citrus and hints of pine. It’s a bit like eating a Key Lime pie with a cup of coffee without it being so sweet. Although it is 7.5% there is no sign of the alcohol in the flavour and instead you get this sweet and sour aftertaste from the malted barley and wheat. It really is quite a complex brew but very enjoyable. Unlike the standard IPA it doesn’t have a dry finish and instead finishes sweet with medium carbonation.

This is definitely a beer to enjoy slowly after a long hard day at work.

I’d purchase this beer again and I’m glad Buxton Brewery have made this a year-round beer instead of a special release.

You can purchase Buxton Imperial Black IPA in the UK at:

Buxton Brewery’s Online Shop
Beer Ritz
Deliciously Different

At the time of posting, you can also grab a bottle from The Pint Shop, Cambridge in person For any bars, shops etc that are interested, I would contact the Brewery directly. Black Imperial IPA comes in Bottles, Kegs and Cask.

EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%