Magic Rock vs Brewdog

There were some quiet murmurings in the blogosphere that some of the Magic Rock core range reminded them of a certain brewer from north of the border. At the time I suggested someone do a comparative tasting, yet no one seems to have taken up the gauntlet (too scared of repercussions perhaps?); so I've decided to put the issue to bed myself. I'm aware I'm a bit late to the party, but its difficult to get any beers over here!

Regardless of what is found out it won't take away from what Magic Rock has achieved in the short months since it has been opened, a great set of brews, with some tasting spot-on at the first attempt. I've tried all bar the bearded lady and enjoyed the lot. Dark Arts was my keg beer of the year. Their branding is eye-catching and memorable, their web presence is great and they've already done a collaboration brew (Rock-Star) with more to come. . They're certainly going places in 2012.

I'm going to be as objective as possible, though as always, taste is subjective. To prevent bias I'm going to taste them blind* with the help of a third party. I'll present my findings and let you make your own conclusions.
Someone's gotta drink 'em...may as well be me!

 Rapture (4.6%) vs 5am Saint (5%)

Radiant Reds

Malts: 5 varieties including Crystal Rye,
Vienna and Dark Crystal.
Hops: 6 varieties
OG: 1048
IBU’s: 25
Malts: Maris Otter, Caramalt, Munich Malt, Crystal and dark crystal malts
Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Amarillo / Dry Hops: Simcoe, cascade, centennial. ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin
Sight: see above. Forms foamy head in big pour.Sight: see above
Smell: Pine resin, kiwi fruit and oranges Smell: orange peel, caramel and lotus flower
Taste: Caramel sweetness with citrus pith Taste: Sweet and fruity with citrus zest.
Palate: Sticky with medium carbonation Palate: Gentle carbonation
Finish: Drying bitterness Finish: Astringent and pithy

High Wire (5.5%) vs Punk IPA (5.6%)

Perfect Pales

OG: 1053
IBU’s: 45
Malts: Maris Otter Extra Pale Malt
Hops: Chinook, Simcoe, Ahtanum, Nelson Sauvin
Sight: Light gold, effervescent Sight: Slightly darker gold.
Smell: Pineapple, lychee and mango Smell: Cats urine and ripe mango
Taste: Sweet tangerine, mango and gentle
Taste: Mango rind, butterscotch and lime juice
Palate: Gently carbonated and light in
Palate: Tingling carbonation, light in body
Finish: brief tropical fruit Finish: Fruit salad jacks

 Human Cannonball (9.2%) vs Hardcore IPA (9.2%)

Aesthetic Ambers
Hops: Apollo, Summit, Target, Warrior
OG: 1083
IBU’s: 150
Malts: Maris Otter, Crystal malt, Caramalt
Hops: Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe / Dry Hops: Centennial, Columbus, Simcoe
Sight: Medium orange amber Sight: Medium orange amber, slightly less carbonation
Smell: Sticky toffee, melon, green apple and ripe peaches Smell: Black pepper, orange and marmalade
Taste: Sticky toffee, resinous and pithy Taste: Liquid orange extract, zesty citrus
Palate: Highly carbonated Palate: Light carbonation
Finish: Very bitter Finish: Orange pith
*Not literally, else I'd probably pour the beer down my front. The glasses were labelled 1 & 2 and bottles were chosen at random. If you want to know more, just ask me!

Magic Rock are on Twitter as a brewery and individuals; MD Richard Burhouse, Brewer Stuart Ross and Scott Caverley.

Brewdog are on Twitter as a brewery, MD James Watt, Head Brewer Martin Dickie and a whole host of other Brewdoggians if you care to search!

All beer logos were linked from the respective breweries' websites. Images of beer my own.


  1. They do sound quite similar from what I can see!

  2. Hey Steve,
    I can remember the conversation when this hypothesis was born...you can sort of see why, but can't believe that there is anything in the similarities. My thoughts on why the ranges are similar is that any brewery will have a core range of beers, beers that brought them to market, beers we know and love/hate that immediately identify the brand. The core beers a brewery brew will depend on a few things, but in this case I believe it was on personal preference; a pale ale, an amber ale and a double IPA. Similarity in brewery style in terms of the market they are appealing to, but I think the similarity ends there. Good tasting exercise though, nice work on the blind tastings. My favourites; Pale Ale - High Wire. Amber Ale - Rapture; Double IPA - Hardcore.

  3. If I'd wanted to be doubly sure I could have had a thrtee glasses, with 2 and 1 or had one stage with two glasses the same...but i don't have enough glasses or beer to do so! Plus I didn't want to confuse my neighbour.

    I didn't eat any spicy/strong foods 24 hours before thetasting and drank water between each beer. That's the best I could do to give each beer its chance.

  4. Good test. What conclusion did you, as the drinker find? It looks to me like they are similar but certainly not clones.

  5. As a drinker (and looking how i scored them on ratebeer) I preferred the brewdog 5am saint and punk ipa and equally enjoyed human cannonball and hardcore IPA. Given that they are more easily obtainable and usually cheaper than magic rock I will likely drink Brewdog more often but still intend to try all magic rock when i see them on draught