STYLE: Imperial IPA
APPEARANCE: Very cloudy gold with lots of sediment
HEAD: Thin, wispy white head that barely pops in to say hello
LACING: Minimal…just a splotch or two around the lip of the glass
NOSE: It’s nice, but honestly I was expecting more. Hair of the Dog is notorious for going “big” with their beers. They first made a splash with their Dave, a 29% brew first served back in ’94 (when such things were utterly unheard of). Since then they’ve knocked a slew of huge barleywines and old ales out of the park. I was expecting their first Imperial IPA to be a hop-bomb of epic proportions. Instead, it’s a subtle, fairly easy-drinking brew similar to the Dogfish Head 60 Minute. If I hadn’t read the label I would have guessed it was just a standard IPA. Nice floral hops up front with a citric undertone of grapefruit and pineapple. A fresh-baked biscuit dough scent provides the foundation.
TASTE: I’d give the malt/hop ratio in the nose roughly a 50-50 split, but the hops do at least take precedence in the taste. That biscuity, bready flavor is very noticeable, but it takes a back-seat to the slightly acidic citrus notes. Again, tropical fruits (grapefruit and pineapple) are most noticeable, but there’s some green apple and pear as well. Nice balance, but I’m still a little taken aback by how subtle this brew is.
MOUTHFEEL: I don’t remember the mouthfeel standing out too much which means it was probably medium-bodied with just enough carbonation to keep it from getting syrupy. The 7% ABV is somewhat low for an Imperial so there’s very little alcohol astringency in the finish.
DRINKABILITY: Actually, quite drinkable…it’s just not as rich, challenging, or complex as I would have hoped. If this had been billed as an IPA, I’d probably be inclined to think more highly of it, but as an Imperial IPA, it doesn’t stand up to the best in class like the Pliny, Hop Stoopid, Hop Slam, or DFH 90.
RATING: 3 Hops.