Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA. You Are Not Worthy.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Usually, I try to think of some relevent title. But in this case, I just put the name of this beer right away in the title. Why? For the same reason that God is spelled with a capital-G. Why beat around the bush? If you have not tasted this beer, go buy some at your local beer mecca. Now. Stop reading this post, go buy some, try it, then come back and read it. Share in my joy.


Bring your drinkin' livers. This badass weighs-in at 21% abv. 21%, people. Wine is weaker than this beer. Champagne is weaker than this beer. Some liquors are weaker than this beer. Some people I know are too weak for this beer. But you, my loyal readers, are not too weak for this beer. This is the beer you've been waiting for. This beer is America: I'll take your little IPA, England, and make it this because it needs balls. 4:00 tea-time. Bah. It's 5 minutes to 11 in the morning and I need a little pick-me up.

This...this...elixir pours a beautiful opaque orange color with lovely ruby highlights when held to light. The coppery orange of a fresh penny. It leaves a thin but fluffy white head which leaves a lacing down the glass sticky enough to make you have to scrub it out when you're done rather than rinse it. There's a lot going on here.

Right on top, I smelled huge amounts of sugary caramel and a whopping load of ethanol. At 21% abv, you could run a fucking Prius on this beer. Behind it all, as it is continuously hopped for a two-hour boil (about an hour or so longer than a normal boil), is a strong backbone a citrusy hops. Oranges, orange peel. Maybe even a tad of pine.

Put this beer to your lips and quaff deeply. Massive caramel and malt. A big sugary, malty wave blasts your tongue; heavily sweet but strangely not cloying. Then the reason for the Malt Assault hits your tongue: 2 hours worth of alpha acids from an amount of hops that should be outlawed. Citrus melds into pine like a mosh pit when Metallica was still cool. But here's the deal. That many hops would make a normal beer taste vaguely like a tin can filled with blood. But with this much malt, you may as well drink a shot of vodka in sugar water. But the two together in this beer actually form a very well-balanced blend for an American Triple IPA. The sweetness is not so cloying because of the hop assault, which is not so tinny because of the malt explosion. I am telling you, this is a beer that both hop heads and scottish ale lovers will enjoy.

But just 1. I was buzzed half way through the pint.

Of course, you do taste that ethanol burn over the top. It is the one problem I have with this beer; that it has an alcoholic burn that I wonder whether or not is stifles some of the other tastes. But by "problem" I mean "constructive criticism." By "constructive criticism" I mean "I want to sound like I don't worship a beer that has more alcohol than wine."

The malts give this beer a fuller body than normal, as both the sugary taste and the ethanol really coat the mouth. The carbonation is pretty light. All in all, it's a pretty big-bodied beer without being a stout.

Normally, an IPA is refreshing and drinkable. Think India in the summer tiem and you need a beer to refresh yourself. Well, an American TIPA is not the beer to do that with. This is a very drinkable beer....one at a time. This beer drinks more like a barleywine than anything else. But it has such immense and surprisingly complex flavors in such a huge beer that it is every bit worth drinking. One at a time. If you tried to make this a "session beer," you'd be two things: wasting beer; and drunk.

Biggest downside: $10 for a 12-ounce bottle. But do it. Splurge. Shell-out the big bucks for a bottle and drink it like a bourbon.

12 comments:

B Mac,  11:33 AM  

I have no problem worshiping a beer with more alcohol than wine, because

I. Love. This. Beer.

I offered Dogfish Head my first born B Mac Junior as a token of appreciation for their sharing this beer with the world. They politely declined. But the offer stands.

Smitty 12:17 PM  

You see b mac? This beer does that to you.

roger,  1:34 PM  

That is an awesome bottle you have in the picture. I received a 12oz bottle of DFH120 in a beer trade not knowing a single thing about the beer.

The label does only say that it is an Imperial IPA--I was assuming maybe 10%. After consuming half of the beer I consulted BeerAdvocate and was amazed at the 21%ABV content.

Amazingly balanced beer. Truly a feat of fermentation.

Smitty 1:49 PM  

You bring up an interesting point, george, in that there appears to be some confusion between Imperial IPAs and TIPAs...the Imperial IPA is a judge-able category. The TIPA (like Founders Devil Dancer) is a "created" style that is probably technically an Imperial IPA.

I do loves this beer.

George 4:37 PM  

Smitty, drinking it did get to you--you called Roger George (it is sort of an anagram).

One of the few things I like about seeing my family in NJ is you can buy Dogfish Head there. All their beers are wonderful.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 11:35 PM  

Ah, B Mac, now I know why you cancelled on us Thursday night bar night. You drank more than one of these prior to your arrival.

You weren't "sick" You were blasted.

Roger,  12:53 PM  

Smitty, I'd probably submit a DFH120 type beer as a Specialty Beer (Category 23).

Smitty 1:51 PM  

Roger:

close call...but I have to think with all the extra-special hopping technique, you're probably right.

Roger,  3:38 PM  

OTOH, there is a reason that people will submit the same beer to multiple categories (ie Cal Common to Alt Beer, etc.).

Joel 10:02 AM  

Looks like I'm going to need me a little samplin' next time I'm over Noah. Of course, as you and I found out, it takes more than a high ABV to kick start the heart... remember that stuff at Beer Fest that was 19 or so... Total Eclipse or some shit? Tasted like tar and rubbing alcohol.

Rickey Henderson 9:22 AM  

If there is one absolute truth in this universe it is that beer that is bottled in large bottles with corks will always rock.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 10:34 PM  

Just piked up a bottle of this stuff. Waiting until tomorrow to drink it.

Disappointed it didn't have a cork though. It's less of a collectors item that way.

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