Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA Review

Brewery: Dogfish Head Brewery | Beer: 120 Minute IPA
Style: American Double India Pale Ale | ABV: ~18.0% | IBUs: 120
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into tulip glass

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Now here's a beer I've been waiting to try for quite a while now. It's not that I haven't been able to procure any (in fact, I was able to squirrel away a bottle when I was but a poor intern in '08), it's just that every time that I bought some, I didn't end up reviewing it. Though I loved the other beers in Dogfish's Minute series, I just never got around to it. Perhaps I was afraid.

After all, this is a big bastard of a beer. As the name implies, it's boiled for a full two hours with continuous hopping form high-alpha hops. As if that wasn't enough, it's then dry-hopped daily in the fermented for a month and aged for another month on whole-leaf hops.

The result is a hop-monster with 120 IBUs and 15-20% ABV. Barleywine? Triple IPA? Bastard child beer liquor? You could make a good case for each.

Unlike most DIPAs, Dogfish encourage aging of the product, as it's hearty enough to positively evolve over time. I certainly have a nice collection in the cellar.

But, the time has come to finally jump in and review this beast. Wish me luck.

Appearance: A golden-orange body capped by half a finger of cream-colored head that fades in average time, leaving patchy lacing.

Aroma: Somewhat muted (almost aged) dank, piney, leafy, and citrusy hops over heaps of sticky toffee pudding malt. Plenty of spicy booze all around.

Taste: Up front, citrusy, green, dank, resinous, sappy, and bitter hops take charge. There’s a lot of peppery booze here to be sure, but it never gets to be too much. Underneath, enough caramelized malt to ground everything. It’s big, full of character, but not muddled. Leafy hops, grainy malt, and lots of spicy booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with smooth medium-low carbonation and a dry finish. Plenty of heat and oiliness from the booze throughout.

Drinkability: Obviously, with the bonkers alcohol content, this is a beer firmly in sipper territory. However, that said, it still manages to drink a little faster than expected.

Verdict: 120 Minute is just as extreme as billed, but it’s not just extreme for extreme’s sake; it’s a damn good (and thoroughly interesting) beer. Not just a Double IPA, this is on another planet and an experience worth having. Looking forward to finally breaking into the aged ones in my cellar to see how it evolves.

Grade: A

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