813: Alpha Dog

813 - Alpha DogName: Alpha Dog
Brewery: Laughing Dog Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Ponderay, Idaho
Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
Alcohol Content (ABV): 8%
First Brewed: 2008
Price: $4.99

Tasting Notes
Alpha Dog coats the mouth with a stocky blend of pine and grapefruit and more than a hint of honey and apricot sweetness. The aromatic hops finish off with a pleasant dryness.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I see this beer all the time at Total Wine & More, but have never bought it. Nothing from Laughing Dog has impressed me. But as I was reading this, and seeing how bitter is was going to be, I started to get excited. IBU stands for international bittering units, and this beer has an IBU of 127. That is REALLY high, considering most double/imperial India pale ales are around 100. The Palate Wrecker from Green Flash is 136 (some say 137 depending on the year) and that will pretty much destroy your palate. Regardless, 127 is enough to get me excited!

This is the only beer on the list from Laughing Dog Brewing. Let’s hope the author picked a good offering from them. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: I would wait until the head goes down before I started reviewing this, but that might take 20 minutes! I did a hard pour on this bottle, and the head is a few inches tall. The suds are just sticking to the side of the glass like glue, too. Nothing beats an IPA with a thick sticky head! (So many things I say on this blog could be taken the wrong way… but trust me, always about the enjoyment of the beer.)

Nose: Today is April 1st, 2013. This beer was bottled on April 8th, 2012. The ABV is big enough that this beer should have aged well, but I would love to try this fresh. Nothing beats a fresh IPA. For a beer with 127 IBU, I expected the aroma to be a little more powerful. Don’t get me wrong, it still has a great aroma. But it isn’t the hops that I was expecting. I will say, for the ABV and the size of this beer, $4.99 is a good value regardless of the flavor. Speaking of the flavor, let’s drink!

Flavor: There are the hops I was expecting. They aren’t overwhelming, but they are abundant. The flavor profile actually changes a few times over the course of a drink. At first, the hops are balanced and boring, but then toward the back of the palate the piney dryness kicks in and as you swallow it becomes almost grapefruit sweet. Then, as you continue to swallow, the hops begin to taste like pine cones. The dryness is really nice, leaving me begging for another sip. If you said, “Is that a double IPA?” I am not sure I would be able to tell you… again, not as powerful as I expected. I bet Sheryl hates it. She isn’t into hops like me!

Mouthfeel: At first, it’s boring. There isn’t much going on at all. Then, as it slides across your palate, it begins to open up. As you do swallow, the flavor really explodes and a nice thin layer of bubbles leave your palate excited for a second (or third) drink. I swished the beer around, and the flavor, especially those sweet grapefruit notes, REALLY come out. That is actually a much better flavor. If you are drinking this, I highly recommend swishing it around in your mouth a little bit. You’re welcome!

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is piney at first, but then it begins to turn a nice drying bittersweet flavor that I like in an IPA. I still wouldn’t call this a double IPA, but I wouldn’t call Hop Stoopid a DIPA, either. That beer has an IBU of 103, and it tastes like a boring pale ale. One of the only beers that brewing company makes that I dislike.

This is a good beer, don’t get me wrong. But this is NOT a typical DIPA in my book. I asked Jazz if he has had this, and he didn’t care for it. I am picky when it comes to barleywines… but I am REALLY pick when it comes to an IPA. But hey, I can’t like them all. Where is the fun in that? Cheers, people!

Alpha Dog – The bottle says: “NA”

Rating: 3.5/5 (Since Untappd now allows for a .5 rating, like 3.5, I figured I would start rating beers that way. So, thanks Untappd!)

Sheryl’s Thoughts

I’m a little afraid of the beer we are trying today.  It has 127 IBUs… yikes!  For the uninformed, IBU stands for International Bittering Units, and 127 is pretty high.  The higher the IBUs, the more bitter (bitterer?) the beer is.  Usually IPAs are pretty high, but 127 is REALLY high.

Well, let’s start with the head.  Hmm.  There was quite a lot of foam on this one.  It’s kind of weird how it sticks to the glass, too.  It’s a pretty sticky foam that lingers on the glass even as it dissipates.  It’s a relatively light color, kind of orangey, but it’s very thick.  You definitely can’t see much through the glass.  It smells very spicy and hoppy, but in this case, I like that.  Ok, ok, I know… I usually don’t like IPAs, but if they are kind of extreme, then I actually like them better.  I’m a really big fan of Dogfish Head’s 90-Minute and 120-Minute IPAs because they are hoppy, but very rich and flavorful too.  So let’s hope this one is in the same vein as them.  Time to find out!

It’s definitely rich and thick and hoppy, but it’s not quite as good as I wanted it to be.  It’s super hoppy, and I bet Ricky will love it.  I’m not sure what I think.  It’s good… for an IPA, which in general aren’t my favorite style.  This one is actually creamier than I expect an IPA to be.  Other than that, there’s not much I can say for the flavor other than – it’s hoppy.  I mean, it’s an IPA.  Spicy and hoppy.  So there you have it.

Rating: 3/5

813 bottles of beer on the wall…

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