Black Tokyo* Horizon - BrewDog, Nøgne Ø, and Mikkeller's collaboration Imperial Stout

Black Tokyo* Horizon is the result of a collaboration between three of the most exciting and innovative craft beer brewers in Europe; Brewdog, Nøgne Ø and Mikkeller, all of which have built a reputation for brewing bold and sometimes extreme beers with huge amounts of hops, higher ABV’s, and more weird and wonderful ingredients than any other brewers. They are, without a doubt, the beer geek brewers.

So what happens when you put these lot in a brewery together? Well, as you might have guessed, they’ve taken the saying “go big or go home” to a new extreme and produced a beer which almost buckles under its own weight - another kilo of malt and this might just have been too much, but as it stands, they’ve created something really quite special.

The recipe for the beer is a fusion of each brewery’s flagship Imperial Stout; Nøgne Ø Dark Horizon, BrewDog Tokyo*, and Mikkeller Black, with massive amounts of flavour, strength and a formidable ABV of 17.2%.

Enough foreplay, what’s the beer like?

Black Tokyo* Horizon pours a completely and utterly impenetrable black, zero light coming through, with just the faintest tint of dark brown near the edges. A brown cola bubble head quickly disappears and leaves very little trace apart from a few tiny bubbles near the edges, not unexpected for a beer of this strength.

This beer initially smells quite savoury, with a of sort soy sauce aroma, before the reduced, bitter chocolate syrup and herbal gin-like alcohol comes through alongside a faint redcurrant fruitiness.

A moment of hesitation before the first sip; how big is this going to be?

The taste is initially dominated by sweet, dark brown sugar but then you get a really big surge of warmth from the alcohol and a smack of that syrupy dark chocolate hinted at in the aroma. In the middle flavour you get chocolate coated bitter coffee beans, black cherry, dried cranberry, chocolate toffee and intensely reduced redcurrant jam. The finish is sweet, boozy, and chocolaty with an intense fruitiness and just a hint of aromatic dryness and a herbal smokiness – a bit like burnt rosemary twigs.

The mouth feel is extremely thick, slick and syrupy with low carbonation and a definite chewy quality. Just a touch of alcohol burn greets you in the swallow but mainly there’s just a furry warmth to the whole thing which adds to the intensity of the flavours.

It really delivers on what I was hoping for; intense in every way, with big aroma, massive depth of flavour, and a mouth feel like crude oil.

Be warned though, this is a huge beer. It's almost liqueur like in its intensity, and the thick and syrupy body combined with the big sweetness, alcohol warmth and intense chocolate and fruit flavours make it pretty heavy going. But take your time, give it a chance to warm up in the glass and breathe a bit, and Black Tokyo* Horizon will reward you with a depth and intensity of flavour which is seldom found in a beer.

It’s undoubtedly a bit of an effort, but for me personally, it's an ultimately satisfying and rewarding one.

You can buy Black Tokyo* Horizon online at the BrewDog shop. My recommendation would be to buy two - one to drink now, perhaps shared with a few friends, and one to lay down for drinking in a year or so’s time.

Big, high strength Imperial Stouts like this keep very well and will change and mature for years, so are perfect for ageing. I’ve written before about the importance of drinking pale, hoppy beers fresh, but Black Tokyo* Horizon is completely the other end of the spectrum, and can only get better with time.


Massive thanks to James from BrewDog for sending this through for review.

6 comments:

  1. This makes me want to drink the beer immediately! I've got some but they are currently waiting at the Post Office for me to collect them. I'll be doing that tomorrow and hopefully opening one in the evening. Any food pairing ideas?! I've had Dark Horizon and vanilla ice cream shooters which was AMAZING!

    Is it barrel-aged? I'm sure I read somewhere that it is but I might be mistaken...

    Have you tried the three respective beers? They are all huge so 'it’s even bigger in both flavour and strength than any of the aforementioned brews, with a formidable ABV of 17.2%' is not entirely correct. Dark Horizon is 15.5%, Black is 17.5% and Tokyo is 18.2%. If anything it's weaker than the majority of others!

    Can't wait to try this!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wrote this last night after drinking the bottle to myself.... error corrected!

    What I meant was that it's got a depth of flavour different to any of the three, and in many ways its more powerful, even if the abv is slightly less than Tokyo and Black.

    ReplyDelete
  3. *and yes i've tried them! But not in situations where I was taking notes so no blog posts.

    its a great beer, hope you like it mate

    ReplyDelete
  4. Im looking forward to this too. Haven't tried horizon, but enjoyed tokyo* and black was superb

    ReplyDelete
  5. This looks a bit special...maybe it's just the packaging and the knowledge that three amazing breweries have collaborated to bring it to our glasses...but from what you say, it is a bit special! I have an opportunity to try some this week and then will no doubt buckle and buy two bottles :)...oh go on if I must! Good write up, cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Are you talking about the tasting Ghost drinker invited us to? He sent me that too. Unfortunately i'm busy saturday night so couldnt make it. Luckily i'd already planned on cracking a bottle last night to try!

    Got another one i've put aside for ageing. Although it's that good I'll probably end up drinking it and buying another!

    ReplyDelete