Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Posts Tagged ‘Double IPA’

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid

Posted by jwpiper on April 14, 2009

I’m going into this beer with a bit of a negative lean. I’m not sure what I want to drink tonight, if anything. But, I want to try this while it’s fresh, so it might as well be tonight. I’ve been drinking a lot of RISs and RISs have been on my mind with the recent release of Struise Cuveé Delphine and the impending release of Three Floyds Darklord – to which I greatly look forward. Been a bit of time since I broke out a DIPA. So tonight’s the night. Poured at cellar temperature into Spaten Optimator 0.5L krug. I love these glasses. But I digress….
Appearance
4.5
Wonderfully clear, golden pour with some amber highlights and an off-white 5cm head when poured into my krug.
Smell
4.5
Sticky pine-sap, with grapefruit peel, soap and resin. Strong hop profile with some caramel hints – maybe even a bit of sweet biscuits.
Taste
4
Mmmmm. I’m pretty pleasantly surprised with this beer. There’s tons of pine in the hop profile, and some nice sweetness to go along with it. The flavors are incredibly light given the pine dominance and the intriguingly well-balanced and light sweetness is reminiscent of Hopslam. The finish is mildly bitter with grapefruit peels and sweet.
Mouthfeel
3.5
A bit sticky and under-carbonated. Medium- to light-bodied.
Drinkability
4.5
This is a really inviting and drinkable beer. I wouldn’t say as refreshing as Pliny, for example, but that’s probably not terribly fair. I’ve got no problem downing this beer tonight.
Overall
4.2
I’m rather surprised by this beer, I must admit. It’s pretty darn delicious. Stands out in the sea of DIPAs. Not quite Hopslam (and similar in balance), but closer than I would have expected.
Price
$6/22oz. I bit higher priced than Bell’s Hopslam, but in the right ballpark for what these delicious DIPAs seem to be going for these days.
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Founders Double Trouble

Posted by jwpiper on February 1, 2009

Ahhh, yet another new DIPA release in the Midwest. What a season. The beat on the street is that Founders brewed the Double Trouble to fill the deep void for West Coast style dry über-hopped IPA in the Midwest instead of compete with the likes of Hopslam brewed not 60 miles away. A good idea as far as I’m concerned. This first bottle was split between two snifters at 50-55 degrees.
Appearance
4
Clear pale orange… almost glowing. Small white head.
Smell
4.5
There we go. Nice citrus, but still a bit sweet. Pine again. Nothing off or compromised about this.
Taste
4
It’s all about the hops here, like a West Coast DIPA. Citrus,
pine, and some bitterness. Some sweet malt, but not too sweet. Pretty well balanced.
Mouthfeel
4
Clean and light. Pretty dry, which is nice.
Drinkability
4.5
Refreshing. Clean. Nicely hides ABV without being too sweet.
Not too bitter either.
Overall
4.15
Nice to have a something approaching a West Coast DIPA in the midwest.
Price
$14/4pk ($3.50/12oz). Whoa, didn’t realize I paid this much until now. Just enforces my wish for having Pliny available in the Midwest. Alas, it is not. I like Hopslam more than this beer, and even as expensive it is, it ends up being less expensive per bottle.

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A Hop Mess

Posted by jwpiper on February 1, 2009

Winter is supposed to be a time for imperial stouts and winter warmers, but somehow this month has become one of the best times for big IPAs here in Ohio. Sierra Nevada recently introduced Torpedo Extra IPA which utilizes a new technique for dry hopping in a beer which is just a bit to big to be called an IPA. Technically, and Amber Ale, Tröegs Nugget Nectar made it to Ohio for the first time this week just months after Tröegs decided to distribute in our great state. Founders Double Trouble is a brand new release from the Grand Rapids, MI brewery. Double Trouble is brewed to target palates more friendly to West Coast style IPAs. Bell’s Hopslam, of course, was recently released and brings its own unique take on an Imperial IPA. An impressive list of seasonals and brews brand new to the market.

It begs for a dedicated evening of hop enjoyment. And it just so happens that in the last month or two, I’ve amassed some additional deliciously hoppy beers in Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA and Russian River Pliny the Elder.

All these hops also beg for some blue cheeses to go along, so I picked up three from Whole Foods. Gorgonzola Dolce ($11/lb) is a smooth, rich, ridiculously creamy cow’s milk blue cheese. Verde Capra Italian ($22/lb) is also rich and creamy, but a sharper more complex goat’s milk cheese. Gorgonzola Cremaficato ($17/lb) was the weak link – firmer, less complex, but still decent.

Some highlights from the tasting: Dogfish Head 60 Minute is almost swill – ok, not quite, but I won’t be buying it anytime soon. Tröegs Nugget Nectar is an incredible Amber Ale and an incredible value. Founders Double Trouble can’t quite compete with the best DIPAs from the West Coast. Bell’s Hopslam is like no other. Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA is actually an incredible IIPA which endured a disservice by being consumed side-by-side with Russian River Pliny the Elder. I will be re-reviewing Dreadnaught based on my last two experiences with it. Finally, Pliny is hands down the best IPA I’ve ever had. And even nearly three month after brewing, as it greatness begins to fade, it was the best IPA in the bunch.

Now, it was fun to enjoy these beers back-to-back. But come on brewers, can’t we spread out the releases of these beers which don’t keep well? I’d like to enjoy these year round.

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Pliny the Elder vs Dreadnaught

Posted by jwpiper on January 10, 2009

Lately, I’ve relished the opportunity to taste excellent examples of a style side-by-side. While it is fun to compare two beers which have long been favorites, it’s also a way to emphasize potentially subtle flavors and really distill what makes a particular beer special.

Given their limited and non-overlapping distribution, such a comparison between Russian River Pliny the Elder and Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA would be quite difficult. Fortunatley, I’ve been to both breweries recently, so I have on hand reasonably fresh examples of both. Both rated among the best DIPA/IIPA’s in the world (and indeed among the best beers in the world), this tasting was greatness in the making. Each bottle was poured at about 50 degrees and split between two 500ml krugs.

In the end, Dreadnaught had a much fuller, richer, heavier malt profile. Pliny was much more floral and citrus on the nose and palate. Pliny was cleaner, drier, and more refreshing. When going from Pliny to Dreadnaught, the offering from Three Floyds felt sticky and and didn’t have nearly the strength or aroma or hop flavor. It emphasized the malt profile and even brought out a little roasted and nutty flavors. The transfer from Dreadnaught to Pliny made the piney and grapefruit peel notes dance on the tongue and tickle the nostrils.

Another worthy comparison was suggested by the impressions of these two beers: Dreadnaught vs Buckeye ’76. That tasting will be forthcoming – just as soon as I can get my hands on some more fresh ’76.

Matt C. and I both found the Pliny to be a much more satisfying IPA. Pliny the Elder just continues to amaze.

Russian River Pliny the Elder

Appearance
5
Pours a wonderful orangish-yellow with a thick head which is retained for quite some time. Pillowy off-white head which leaves foamy rings as the beer is enjoyed.
Smell
5
The aroma is amazing – so much floral hops, with citrus and pine. Some fruit, but its dominated by the hop profile.
Taste
4.5
The flavor too is very hoppy and floral with just enough malt backbone which is in no way sweet… seems to be there just to balance. As the flavor dissipates, the bitterness catches up – it’s there, but not dominant. There is citrus fruit on the palate as well it lasts all the way through. It makes the bitter end taste like grapefruit rind/pith. A very clean, balanced flavor.
Mouthfeel
4.5
The beer is well carbonated and very clean feeling. Clean, dry, and light on the palate.
Drinkability
5
This is an incredibly drinkable beer. It’s quite enjoyable after a day’s work in the yard, and it’s perfect for an introspective evening of beer enjoyment.
Overall
4.75
Truly one of the finest of one of my favorite styles.
Price
$4.50/500ml. An excellent value for this quality beer. If you can get it, do.

Three Floyds Dreadnaught IPA

Appearance
4
A darker beer than Pliny the Elder, also with a nice thick head on the pour.
Smell
4
A lesser floral and citrus profile. The citrus is better described as lemon than grapefruit. The aroma is much more subdued. A definite East Coast (er, I suppose non-West Coast) IPA.
Taste
4
Much sweeter, but still in the IPA range. The bittering hops don’t bring as pleasant a flavor, but perhaps it’s not fair to review this beer while comparing to Pliny the Elder. It does have a nice and much stronger malt backbone.
Mouthfeel
4
Thick, creamy, and smooth without being chewy. Medium bodied, and not dry.
Drinkability
4
The malts are thick and the taste is heavy, which forces a sipping approach. Not a thirst-quencher.
Overall
4
Overall, this is a very good beer. It does not fare well against Pliny, but in its own right is quite good.
Price
$12/22oz. This turns out to be a very expensive beer, and it’s tough to think of it as worth it, especially side-by-side with a better beer which is half the price. It’ll be interesting to see how it stacks up against Buckeye ’76 which is more in the same style and even less expensive than the Pliny.

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