Monday, June 8, 2009

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (2009 original review)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (597) - Albany, USA - FEB 24, 2010
I’ve never been a big fan of imperial beers of any style. Usually, I find the alcohol presence distracts me from the beer’s true structure. But in the case of Dogfish Head 90 Minute India Pale Ale I was actually able to appreciate the craftsmanship and intricate palate of this beer as I would any other brew. If all “imperial” beers were this good I’d be more apt to try them.


This beer pours smoothly and produces an absolutely perfectly-proportioned head which rises a millimeter or two above the rim of a standard 16oz tumbler. The head is off-white, foamy and yet slightly creamy. Surprisingly, it lasts longer than the life of the drink itself and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The body is a pretty shade of pure copper with some small carbonation action noticeable. The aroma is rich, malty, with some grapefruit and pine notes detectable. It doesn’t scream “hops!” like a regular IPA might, but they’re definitely noticeable.


As I took my first swig of Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA I was able to taste a strong hop presence in the head alone. As I delved into the beer itself, my mouth was greeted with a thick, soft, syrupy palate due to the abundance of hops. This beer has an IBU rating of 90 which means the bitterness is so high it seems to come full-circle back to rich, sugary sweetness.

Beers of this style tend to have a crisp taste, hop bite, and overall delicious bitterness and while I would say this beer is indeed tasty, there’s no hop bite per se. As indicated in the nose, grapefruit and pine are part of the palate here, but they actually take a backseat to the rich, sweet composition of the brew. In fact it’s so rich that it’s a bit dry in the end making me thirsty as I’m drinking it. Thankfully the dryness does not linger and the taste is actually better, in my opinion, during the finish than the drinking process itself.

Alcohol was certainly noticeable, but tolerable since the flavors themselves were inherently strong. I would’ve preferred something a bit more flavorful along the lines of Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA, but this is definitely craftier than your usual imperial IPA.

It’s funny how the lightest of beers and the heaviest of beers are so similar in terms of drinkability. The mouthfeel of this beer is thick, soft and warm but the finish is as smooth as can be. The alcohol is tolerable and compliments the taste rather well, making 90 Minute IPA one of the more drinker-friendly imperial beers on the market today.

There isn’t much to say about this beer in terms of body. Yes it’s quite heavy at 9% ABV (and over 200 calories I’ll bet), but it’s nothing the average drinker can’t handle. In fact, I might even consider this as something of a session beer because it’s tasty, drinkable and doesn’t overwhelm. I’ve certainly experienced denser beers.


A beer like this just goes to show how Dogfish Head is such a great brewer. This 90 Minute IPA has all the makings of a imperial beer but still maintains the great taste and quality of a craft brew. And yet you don’t have to be a beer snob to like it. It’s a win-win-win!

Grade: 8/10

NOTE: Read and watch my 2015 re-review here:

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