Tuesday, September 23, 2008

99 Bottles of Beer on the Blog - Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA

I've been wanting to try this beer for months - it's a beer-lover's beer. It was the favorite beer of homebrewers in a recent poll, and I've never been disappointed by a Dogfish Head beer. So, when Sam came home for the Bruce Springsteen concert, I asked him to bring a couple bottles. It was $11.00 for a twelve ounce bottle. Tonight, I popped one open.

This is a BIG beer. It tips the scales at 20% ABV - that's 40 proof. The brewers boil it for 120 minutes, and add hops every single minute. Then, after it finishes fermenting, they add more hops to the fermenter every day for a month. 450 calories. Extreme brewing, indeed.

It pours out cloudy and orange, hazy with hoppy complexity and malt sweetness. The first sip was truly surprising - almost lemony and sweet. The lemon comes from the citrusy American hops, and the sweetness is more alcohol than malt. The hop bitterness is not at all overwhelming; in fact, I'd say that Samuel Adams Hallertauer Imperial Pilsner is actually a wilder ride on the hop train.

The mouthfeel of this beer is velvety rich. Its head is thin, but lasts through the entire glass - there's a lot of malt protein to support a head, but plenty of alcohol to thin it out.

This is definitely a sipping beer - at 20% ABV, it's nothing you would want to chug after mowing the lawn. In fact, it is probably something to be shared with a friend, but I'm home alone this evening, so I'll have to make do.

Dogfish Head Brewery makes great, interesting beers. Whenever you see something from them, give it a try - you'll be tasting the leading edge of American brewing. They started out with a ten gallon system - not much different from my own - and they, more than any other commercial brewery, retain the excitement and experimental spirit of homebrewing. They make historical brews based on Egyptian recipes, they make freaky Belgian stuff, and they make one amazing Imperial IPA.

Despite its critical acclaim, this is not my favorite beer ever. It's a hell of a beer, mind you, and it sets an outer limit for what an IPA can be. This is serious beer to be enjoyed by those who are looking for a truly different experience - at a little less than a buck a fluid ounce.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are going to party like its 19

9/23/2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hah - good catch, anonymous. By way of explanation for those who missed it, I accidentally hit "publish" when all I had written was "99" in the title section. More cryptic than I intended.

9/23/2008 8:54 PM  
Blogger Bull E. Vard said...

My in-laws are always making trips to TX where Dogfish Head is readily available. I always get a shipment of some Dogfish Head from those trips. I've yet to have the 120 and don't know if I ever will, at some point the high ABV becomes more of a quest than increasing the taste experience. But I envy you for getting to drink one.

9/23/2008 9:20 PM  
Blogger Owen said...

Great review. Makes me want to try it although I'm 40 proof I couldn't see making it past half a one.

9/23/2008 10:54 PM  
Blogger D said...

This is a very good beer. If you are ever lucky enough to go to the GABF you will notice the immediate line that forms at the Dogfish Head table. All their beers are worth trying.

9/24/2008 4:12 PM  

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