Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
77 Blade Chainsaw
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is an American Double IPA brewed by the Dogfish Head brewing Company in Milton, Delaware. An email requesting its ingredients was not returned, but since it follows the 60/90/120 Minute IPA series, it’s reasonable to assume that the recipe is consistent with the series and includes Two-Row English Barley while continuously hopped with Amarillo, Warrior and Mystery Hop X Hops for two hours.
On the company’s website, founder Sam Calagione presents an informative video which among other information offers an explanation for lowering the 20% ABV to the ridiculously chainsaw 18% ABV for a balance that best compliments an impressive 120 IBU measure over an Original Gravity of 45 degree Plato .
Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA concludes the series as recommended by thousands of you guys that visited bestbeerbuzz.com through stumbleupon. A huge amount of you recommended the 60 and 90 Minute versions, but out of those numbers only Lou and Casey mentioned Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA.
I have to admit that the series got me in some trouble. I can pound bottle after bottle of high alcohol content beer with fury and lethal detonation, but the 90 Minute IPA with its 9% ABV ravaged and maraudered my tolerance viciously at a recent BBQ – sending me on a wild trance filled with inappropriate conversations with pregnant women and passing out on a hammock and waking up to a new crowd during the night. The 60 Minute fared a bit better at 6% ABV, though the experimentation was kept quiet and alone with my wife, in which she had some champagne and was vibing with me. She added that at some I turned the edge and uncharacteristically began playing with some of the children’s toys?!?!? Both beers left me with a question mark filled aftermath and feelings of remorse and embarrassment.
So now, as I approach Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA with a chainsaw 18% alcohol content over 120 IBUs, I’m scared to death and am chaining myself to the wall (in spirit). Really though, I’ve come from a day at the beach with my wife where the waves of the ocean massaged my soul and the energy of the sun temporarily melted away the pain of living. I’ve aged one bottle for six weeks, bought for $7.99, then bought an additional 3 aged just a couple of weeks…. you never know.
Onto The Method
7.0/10 – The Classic
1.5 – Appearance – A solid bronze liquid fills a red wine glass packed with great carbonation that forms a modest tan head, about a quarter inch, subsiding into a cool, smooth layer of live yeast over its serve.
2.0 – Aroma – Multiple layers of complexity fill the air; asserting itself on the senses aided by the rocket fuel that is the alcohol. A creamy malt base with a robust sweetness comes through, complimenting a citrusy and tropical aromatic hop character. Layers of alcohol, citrus and sweetness punch the nose with loving assault.
1.0 – Taste – A thick and creamy malt foundation delivers a powerful sweetness that surprises the senses, backed by a powerful alcohol punch. Vapors rise to the face as the drink is sipped, and while the hop composition is rich and substantial, it is highly overpowered by the sweetness of the malt and unfermented sugars. This unexpected sweet characteristic dominates the profile and lingers well into the aftertaste. Wedges of a South African navel work as a good food pairing and help ease the pain. While constructed well, it is the sweet flavor that ultimately compromises the overall experience and challenges the purpose of a double IPA.
0.5 – Palate – We shared the first bottle as recommended by Mr. Calagione, cool not cold, and its thick and oily body made it warm quickly and inherit the consistency of a heavy and sweet liquor. While meant to be held onto all night by sipping, it’s pretty rough to get down making its drinkability tough. I went solo for the second bottle coming right out of the freezer and into a chilled glass improved the first half of the serve, but the second half acquired that tough body and edge.
2.0 – Overall – So, the series as a whole and this Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA hasn’t fully agreed with me, but I like what those folks at the Dogfish head brewing company are doing and I’d like to support their direction. It takes skill and balls to come up with the strongest IPA on the planet and try to make it work. And while it looks great and has a kickass aroma, it is too damned sweet and tough to get down, even sipping is challenging. But I’m into what their doing, I paid a serious sum of money for four bottles of beer and I recommend this experience because it’s truly one of a kind.
8.0/10 Blades – The Hammer – the booze –This is so far the strongest beer I’ve ever drank. At a monstrous 18% ABV, it’s close to double the strongest and I believe it is third in line with the strongest beers in the world (got to look into that). But with the heavy ingredients and a crazy original gravity of 45 degree Plato, the balance is placed in a nice spot the doesn’t seem overpowering and therefore really well done.
8.0/10 Blades – The Knife – digestibility – While heavy, a light stomach, some South African navel wedges as food pairing and an incredible alcohol content make this beer easy to process and digest, so much so that the booze seems to escape right through the skin.
6.0/10 Blades – The Spider – the lift –Approaching the end of the first serve finds me with little elation. It is the slowness of the drink that keeps the rush at bay, but the vibes come on strong through the pores of the face and bottom of the eyes. It’s as if the lift is concentrated outside of the body and all throughout the largest organ in the body – the skin.
8.0/10 Blades – The Motor –can you handle it? – Being that general expectations for finishing this beer is one bottle shared with a loved one, the motor ran quite long with the first bottle shared with my loved one, and the second finished entirely by myself. The body, weight and flavor of the beer doesn’t allow you to finish quickly (but you can find a video out there from those guys in PA that pound a whole bottle in under ten seconds) allowing the alcohol to process in harmony with the pace.
40.0/50 Blades – The Buzz – Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA is a monstrously big beer made to be the pinnacle of the Dogfish Head brewery’s lineup. Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA is constructed well and behaves much the way it is described. The missing element from it though is the hoppyness – if it’s meant to be the “Holy Grail” of beer for hopheads, it sadly falls short of its purpose as its hop profile is overshadowed by a surprising sweetness that’s dominating and unwelcome. Mr. Calagione defends his creation by stating that 120 IBUs are actually less hoppy and more sweet, and that the unfermented sugars are evident in the flavor. In translation, you can find hoppyer beer in beers with a more modest IBU measure; and there are some great ones out there.
But flavor is one thing, and I’m here to rate the buzz. At 40 out of 50 blades, I’m being generous. If Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA had the 18% ABV and strong hop profileover a much smoother body with a less sweet flavor, it would kick ass! But it is a big beer and there’s just no way around that.
Still, it was a nice experience and I’m glad I shared it with my wife whom had some nice things to say about it, even calling Dogfish head 120 Minute IPA a lady drink at one point – in reference to its sweet liquor feel. And while we drank it during the hottest day of the season after coming back from the beach, this beer might best work over the fireplace after a great ski day on the slopes.
Luckily, we live on the mountains with a ski resort a few miles away and have a sweet fireplace in the master bedroom. As well, I’ve properly stored the remaining two bottles of Dogfish head 120 minute IPA with my private reserves and plan on aging one for at least one and a half years to be ready for the following year’s winter season – and if I can make it – age the last bottle the recommended ten years.