Thursday, May 20, 2010

Beer Review: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IIPA

I am going to admit I love hoppy beers, it's an aquired taste, well I would say it is actually a learned taste. That's not to say that I don't enjoy a good bock when it is called for or something else on the malty side of the spectrum. But as the days get longer and warmer there is really nothing better to enjoy on the back deck then something full of hoppy bitterness/aroma/flavor.

Today's review is Dogfish Head 90 minute Imperial (strong) India Pale Ale. Dogfish head puts out three in this series a 60 min, 90 min, and 120 min. The time refers to how long these beers are continuously hopped. Oh, I should probably explain further, Dogfish Head has developed some sort of hopper (no pun intended) that basically continuously adds hops to the boiling wort. The normal process is adding bittering and flavor/aroma additions at different times during the boil. The explanation for what this actually does is included with the brewery's beer description below.

90 Minute IPA

Availability: Year Round
Esquire Magazine calls our 90 Minute IPA., "perhaps the best I.P.A. in America." An Imperial I.P.A. brewed to be savored from a snifter. A big beer with a great malt backbone that stands up to the extreme hopping rate.
90 Minute IPA was our first continually-hopped beer, which is a method of hopping that allows for a pungent, but not crushing hop flavor. Since introducing the world to the continual-hopping method with our 90 Minute IPA, we've since released a continually-hopped 60 Minute IPA, 120 Minute IPA and even a 75 Minute IPA (a cask-conditioned blend of 60 & 90 Minute IPAs).
In addition to the continual-hopping 90 Minute IPA recieves during the boil, we also utilize our 'Me So Hoppy' device to dry-hop the beer during conditioning

Original Release Date: 04/2001
Food Pairing Recommendations: Pork chops, beef, grilled fish, frites, focaccia, split pea soup, Stilton cheese & escargot
Glassware Recommendation: Snifter
Tasting Notes: Brandied fruitcake, raisiney, citrusy

Appearance: Pours a fluffly white head with good lacing. Orange to light amber in color. Head sticks at one finger. Beer was slightly cloudy probably because of the massive amount of hop oils in there.

Aroma: Malty Vienna like aroma up front running into an array of hop types...earthy, floral, and citrus hops evident. Alcohol is also present, the aroma ends with dark orange peel. 

Flavor: Hops pretty much dominate the flavor profile although you can tell the biscuity malt balances the amount of hops out well and is evident in the beginning of the sip. Somewhat astringent, hop flavor goes from earthy to floral to citrus ending with an orange type citrus flavor. Some dark fruit and alcohol is evident. The bitterness is rather smooth for the amount of hop flavor. Very complex, there is a lot going on there.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied beer with a low to medium carbonation.

Overall: I may be the first person who doesn't go ape shit over this beer. There is a lot of hype behind it and just like beer judges others are easily persuaded. This is not to say I didn't enjoy it, I just think there is way too much going on...They probably use at least 5 different hop types and I think this doesn't exactly let them shine like IPAs do per say. Looking at the brewery's tasting notes It does remind me somewhat of brandied fruit cake and I am really not a big fan of fruit cake. All in all I think why I am being hard on it is that it shouldn't be called an Imperial IPA, this is a Barley wine, leave IIPAs to Oskar Blues' Gubna and Russian River's Pliny the Elder. Also, I think DFH overcharges (at least the distributor does) for their beer, I can get hundreds of other craft brew 6 packs for 2-4 dollars less then the $10 dollar price tag per DFH sixer or in this case a four pack. I'll let the price gap slide for the 90 min though as there are a lot of ingredients that go into making a 9% alc beer.


  1. Thanks for the honest review of this beer! I don't know a lot about it (just that I dont' agree with the hype), so it was interesting to learn it was a barley wine.

    One has to tread lightly with the marketing of IPA's.

  2. Well I am not a certified beer judge but I am just callin it how I taste it...I love the story of how Dogfish Head was founded which really started some of the hype...but have not been uber-impressed with any of their offerings...they make great beer but for the pricetag I need to be uber-impressed ...