Posts Tagged ‘Imperial IPA’

IPA Week: Dogfish Head 90 Minute

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Dogfish Head, from Milton, Delaware, is a strange brewery (if you couldn’t tell by the name). They make some of the strongest and strangest of American craft brewing. They make forties of “Liquor de Malt” and have a beer called “Golden Shower”. They put strange ingredients in beer and make historic replica brews. They also have perhaps the most acclaimed series of India pale ales in the United States (East of the Rockies, at least), their 60- 90- and 120-Minute IPAs, so named because they are “continuously hopped” each minute for 60, 90, or 120 minutes.

2009-07-02-90-minuteThe story goes that when Dogfish Head started making these so-called continuously hopped beers they rigged up a machine that would shake a coffee can with a hole in the bottom just enough to empty the can after an hour. Nowadays I imagine their system is fancier.

The 90-Minute Imperial IPA is a barely hazy amber with a thick straw head. The nose is strong but delicate. Initially sweet with toasty pale malt, it grows into a serious flowery aroma. Daffodil and lavender are followed by a light peach character.

The peach and toasty sweetness continue on to the first taste. A smooth bitterness tries its hardest to take over but the malt obstinately balances it out. Floral and herbal hop flavor dominate as it moves to the back of the tongue and into the aftertaste. The bitterness lingers a little longer, but a hint of mouth coating holds it just at bay.

A playful and delicate beer, remarkable for one at 9 percent alcohol.

++Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA

4.1 (4-8-8-4-17)

Goose Island Imperial IPA

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Pours an opalescent rust with a luscious, creamy, long-lasting, wheat-colored head. It leaves a thick lacing on the glass and heavy rings. You can smell this beer from a mile away, with it’s thick aroma: a sharp spicy hops fade into citric and pear fruity hops. Thick and sweet, with a note of alcohol coming through. I could sit here and smell this all day.

Right up front is an earthy hop flavor and prominent sweetness. It is definitely bitter, but not too intense. There is an earthy hop flavor and the bitterness and sweetness dance. It is just a bit cloying.

Quite a good brew, intense yet well-balanced. I would only ask it to be a little less sweet.

++Goose Island Imperial IPA

RateBeer: 4.1 (5-9-7-3-17)

Hop Fest!

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Last night Trevor and I sampled a few hoppy beers. We were too tired to get to the fourth (Goose Island Imperial IPA) but I’ll rate it eventually.

First off, Bell’s Hopslam, an Imperial IPA made with honey. I’m told this ages better than any other hoppy beer. We won’t really know because the bottle I have is from January of this year.

It pours a beautiful orange-tinted gold, lightly hazy. The head is creamy, lasts forever, and laces brilliantly. The aroma is strongly of fruit: peaches, orange blossoms, and grapefruit. It is a thick, somewhat sweet nose.

Immediately you get a strong floral, slightly fruity hop flavor. I note roses, orange blossoms, and apricots. The bitterness slowly grows to overpower the delicate flavor, and lingers. This beer is ever so slightly cloying, which actually balances the lingering bitterness. However, these long aftertastes do not get in the way of another sip. That’s dangerous at 10% alcohol.

Next up: Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton, an Imperial IPA aged in oak barrels. At first this seems like it must be more authentic to the history of India pale ale. Note that while Ballantine’s infamous IPA was aged in uncoated oak barrels such as the ones used at Dogfish Head, IPAs actually shipped to India were probably sent in pitched barrels to prevent any influence from the wood. Just saying…

On to drinking it. Burton, an almost clear copper, pours a good straw head. It has a light sweet aroma, somewhat herbal hoppy. There is also a significant caramel note and a little biscuit. I can also detect a bit of alcohol on the nose. Ethanol itself is not volatile, so you cannot smell it. A beer smelling boozy indicates the presence of fusel alcohols, a byproduct of warm, high alcohol fermentation. It is fusels that cause really painful hangovers.

Right at first you notice both a prominent bitterness and a strong sweetness. This beer is thick, and its sweetness is cloying, probably from the use of a large percentage of caramel malt. The oak certainly also adds sweetness and vanilla. The hop flavor is herbal and grassy.

I think perhaps the oak and the hops are competing too much in this beer. The hop flavor is too earthy. They would be better off using a lighter, more delicate flavor hop.

Last we have a bottle from the Tyranena “Brewers Gone Wild” series. This is Hop Whore, their Imperial IPA.

The appearance of this beer is not entirely appetizing. While it is a wonderful copper red color, there are some little chunkies floating and the head is somewhat soapy. The nose is great, though. A strong fruity hop aroma, peaches and some grapes.

Quick sharp hop bitterness, a little fruity and a little sweet. Notes of hop spiciness, reminiscent of cilantro. While it is pretty bitter, this fades and it lingers balanced. Very drinkable.

++Bell’s Hopslam

RateBeer: 4.0 (4-8-8-3-17)

+Dogfish Head Burton Baton

RateBeer: 3.2 (3-7-6-2-14)

+Tyranena Hop Whore

RateBeer: 3.2 (1-7-7-3-14)