BrewDog admits ‘missing the mark’ as it tweaks Indie Pale Ale recipe

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Average rating: critics described the beer as “bland” and “nothing to write home about”
Average rating: critics described the beer as “bland” and “nothing to write home about”

Related tags Beer

Scottish brewery BrewDog has announced a tweak to the recipe of its latest headliner beer, Indie Pale Ale, after the beer was described as “bland” and “nothing to write home about” by drinkers online.

The beer, released by BrewDog last month, was described by the brewery as “a pale ale for the 21st century” and “the perfect gateway beer.”

However, beer fans were less than impressed by Indie Pale Ale. The beer currently has a rating of just 11% on online beer website RateBeer, and 2.72 on Untappd. Reviewers on RateBeer described the beer as “s**t macro lager” and the “worst beer of Brewdog I've ever tasted”.

In a widely shared video on YouTube​, user ‘Real Ale Craft Beer’ said that he had “got into craft beer to get away from beers like this” and urged BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie to step down in order to maintain their integrity.

'It won't happen again'

However, the brewery has admitted that it “missed the mark” with the first batch of Indie Pale Ale, and has released a new version of the beer to the public.

In a blog post on the brewery’s website, James Watt said: “The beer was not quite where we wanted it to be, this was confirmed by our customers and Equity Punk feedback. We listened and we changed the recipe. The first batch was packaged over the Christmas holidays and too many of our key people were on vacation at that time. It won’t happen again.

“The new version of Indie Pale Ale tastes really good. We changed the water profile, which massively removes the sulphur element of the original batch that caused the confusion with lager, we reduced the caramalt influence, we tweaked the fermentation profile to focus more on the fruity esters and we increased the whirlpool hop dosage with a very healthy addition of Mosaic.

“All of this means the beer is much better, hoppier expression of what we wanted to create.”

Describing the position that he hoped to see Indie Pale Ale occupy in the market, Watt added: “The top 10 beers (not just lagers but beers) sold in the UK are Carling, Fosters, Stella Artois, Budweiser, Carlsberg, Guinness, John Smith’s, Coors Light, Peroni and San Miguel. All of which are multi-national corporate conglomerates. Most people drink these beers. By a very, very, very long way."

'Beer for girls' criticised 

He continued: “In the markets in which we operate (excluding the US) craft beer, is on average, less than 2% of the beer market. We wanted to create something that could appeal to the 98% and start them on their craft beer journey and help us take the 2% to 5% or maybe even 10% someday.

“With the new version of Indie Pale Ale we feel we have a beer that can do just that, as well as being a great, crushable session beer for craft enthusiasts, as we look to share our passion for great craft beer with as many people as we can.”

Meanwhile, BrewDog has also come under fire​ after it launched a ‘beer for girls’ to celebrate International Women’s Day.

‘Pink IPA’ was officially unveiled by the brewery on 6 March, with the aim of highlighting gender pay inequality and supporting women seeking out a career in particularly in science, technology, education and maths.

However, the beer has received a mixed reaction online, with many claiming the beer’s pink label and strapline are condescending towards women.

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