After the podcast last night, which as you’ll find out in a week or so was about high-gravity beers (all above 10%), we decided to try one last semi-high-gravity beer that I had in the fridge: the Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.
I’ll be up-front about it: We weren’t impressed. The beer describes itself as an IPA, and the Internet heralds it as a champion of hop goodness. Beer Advocate has an average rating of A, with many users giving incredibly praise for this brew. It didn’t make it into the podcast at only 9% ABV, but this is a strong beer.
It starts off a light amber color, slightly orangey. The head is typical for the style — a thin film sticks around, but there’s no full head. It smells extremely citrusy, a bit sweet, with some bitter malt in there as well. Overall, I’d say it smells like a hoppy Bock.
That’s how it tastes, too. But it’s not intensely hoppy. In my mind, for an IPA, they went overboard with whatever idea of “balance” that they have: it’s too sweet, too malty, and the mouthfeel is too heavy for an IPA. I’d call this an American Trippel, or perhaps a Northwest Bock. The malty and downright sugary body to this beer don’t really fit the IPA style, and they cover up all the fresh hops that Dogfish has put in. The hop flavors are so well concealed that I would almost say this was a waste of good hops. Yes, I might go that far. The aftertaste is vinegary and sour, not at all the fresh hop floral or citrusy flavors that I like in heavily hopped brews.
I was afraid that after all the high-gravity beers (including the Dogfish 120) that my mouth might just be shot. So I gave it a day, as the Appellation recommends, and tried another bottle.
Nothing changed. For me, this beer is not well balanced, not hoppy enough for the style, has a sugary and slightly sour flavor that is better associated with Bocks and Trippels than IPAs. It’s not great in small quantities because the flavor isn’t intense enough, and it’s not great in a pint glass because the body makes it hard to drink. The aroma isn’t as fresh as Pliny the Elder, Stone’s Ruination or even Stone’s normal IPA. Coming off two podcasts about great IPAs, I’m frankly disappointed that such a well-publicized beer failed to impress.