BrewDog AB:06 Imperial Black IPA

The Abstrakt range from BrewDog fills a gap in the market for beers which have been pushed to the limits of decency, taken to the extremes of a style and brewed with more hops, more diverse malts, higher ABV’s and more unusual flavours than anything else available in the UK.

That said, I hasten to use the term ‘extreme beers’ as that implies something which has been pushed too far, and I don’t think that’s what the Abstrakt range represents. These beers have been taken to the outer limits of their particular styles but aren’t some sort of super hot chilli that’s just there to be eaten for a dare, they are there to be enjoyed for what they are - very good beers.

AB:06, the sixth and final beer in BrewDog’s most recent Abstrakt range, is an 11.2% Triple Dry Hopped Imperial Black IPA which, as with all of the Abstrakt beers, is bottle conditioned and presented in a swanky corked and caged dark green bottle. BrewDog recommend you drink one bottle fresh and keep one for a year or two so you can see how the beer changes with ageing – which is exactly what I’ll be doing.

BrewDog AB:06 Imperial Black IPA 11.2%

AB:06 Pours a dark hazy brown from the bottle but once in the glass appears a slick almost impenetrable black with a slightly hazy unfiltered look to it and a small beige head which quickly dissolves to a small ring, as you’d expect at this ABV.

The smell is really powerful with sticky, resinous hop oils, bitter grapefruit and rich chocolate pudding, as well as a sweet and very reduced boozy mincemeat undercurrent which reminds me of a big barley wine.

In the taste there’s initially loads of thick, bitter dark chocolate and hints of citrus fruit - like a rich chocolate pot with a blast of orangey boozyness. That chocolate malt dominates but you also get a slight roasted filter coffee flavour before everything is completely bowled over by massive hop bitterness and flavours of orange syrup, dried apricot, grapefruit, pine resin, and a kind of dried mango herbal quality. After the whack of hops and sweet booze you get just a hint of alcohol burn that disappears before you really notice it, and an aftertaste of bitter dark chocolate and resinous hops.

As the beer warmed up (this is after all a beer to be sipped and enjoyed over an hour or so) I got more hardcandy sweetness and a fruity, barleywine like richness.

Imagine a strong, chocolatey imperial stout brewed with an insane dry hopping schedule, and you’re not far off the mark.

Big thanks to James from BrewDog for sending this through for a review. AB:06 is currently out of stock on the BrewDog website but you can join the Abstrakt Addicts Club online at the BrewDog store which ensures you get the beers before anybody else. Alternatively Beer Ritz in Leeds still has some in stock.


  1. I saw someone drinking this straight from the bottle on IPA day. Bloody craft beer louts.

  2. Yeh I spotted that too. Was joking with Dean about it on twitter yesterday. Seems a very nonchalant way to drink a £15 bottle of beer, and perhaps a bit daft too as it's bottle conditioned too.