Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA (2011 vintage)

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1051) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 29, 2014
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Dogfish Head goblet. It was bottled in 2011 and cost $9.99 ($0.83 per ounce).

Appearance: Ugly hue of rusty orange/brown. Extremely hazy, though no sediment chunks are visible. Pours to a small, tan, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves little to no lacing.

Smell: Pungent aroma of liqueur and confectionery sweetness. Dried fruit and citrusy hops abound.

Taste: Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is probably one of the most controversial beers on the market. Whether it’s truly an IPA and not a barleywine or strong ale of some sort is debatable. Additionally, people tend to either love it or hate it. When I first tried over five years ago I was not a fan, but I’ve had it a few times since then and I’ve come around. While I still don’t think it’s amazingly outstanding, I definitely appreciate what it accomplishes.

There’s two distinct flavor deliveries to the palette here. The first half is strong confectionery sweetness - like drinking liquid toffee, caramel and butterscotch. The second half is more fruity, not unlike that of a Belgian - raisin, cherry, plum, fig and dried fruit. The actual hop flavor and bitterness has definitely faded in two years, though there’s a subtle taste of citrus. I even get a hint of orange sherbet in the finish, though it’s quickly obscured by the strong alcohol component. Since this is a huge beer it’s no surprise that alcohol plays a major factor in how it tastes, as it definitely imparts dryness and heat, but mostly at the end. Otherwise, the base brew speaks for itself and it’s quite lovely.

Drinkability: Let’s face it, when you’re drinking an 18% ABV beer, you’re not worried about the drinkability. Though I was pleasantly surprised by how approachable Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA was. The mouthfeel is soft and viscous, yet it is not abrasive to the tongue or cloying in the aftertaste. There is strong heat on the throat as it goes down, but it’s tolerable. I found myself drinking it in more than just sips, and the beer didn’t weigh heavy on my system, either. 

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