Cresting the summit never tasted so good
A Review of 120 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Posted on 5/2/2012 by Chops
For my 300th BrewChief brew review, I have to give an enthusiastic shout out to the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. I recently had the pleasure of touring their main facility in Milton, Delaware. I also spent a great deal of time sipping on specialty brews at their world famous brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. As an added bonus, visiting the main brewery allowed me to stock up on one of the most coveted yet seldom found imperial delights: the 120 Minute IPA. Why seldom found? Because many states (mine included) still adhere to stupid, repressive, Prohibition era ABV laws which prevent beers like the 120 Minute IPA from being imported and sold. 190-proof Everclear? Sure. 15%+ ABV beer? Hell no! (facepalm)

Before we get started, let's get Dogfish Head's take on this colossal concoction:

Too extreme to be called beer? Brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full 2 hours while being continuously hopped with high-alpha American hops, then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month & aged for another month on whole-leaf hops!

In the glass, this beer has a dark golden honey coloration and is crystal clear. It comes with a frothy white head that likes to stick around for a good while. Oddly enough, this monstrous delight has a creamy aroma. One would think that this aroma would be an explosion of hop-tastic insanity, but it's quite the opposite. The caramel malt makes its presence known first, which is very thick and sweet. The hops fade more into the background as more of a floral citrus. For such a huge IPA, this was somewhat disorienting. That first sip was shrouded in a cloud of mystery.

Much to my surprise, the flavor actually closely matches the aroma. The first flavor out of the gate is that candied malt taste with lots of spicy caramel. Even more of a surprise is the amazingly tolerable nature of the alcohol burn. I've tasted IPAs at half the strength with more of a bite. And this is where you discover the most amazing aspect of this beer: impeccable balance. This, my beer loving friends, is what perfect balance tastes like. All flavors are whole. All flavors are level. All flavors are equally potent. Complementing the mix is a peppering of spicy characters. The mouthfeel is very thick, very smooth, and drinks like a cream sherry. The finish is quite sticky and exits with an herbal bitterness that is flavorful and non-aggressive.

Overall, Dogfish Head's 120 Minute IPA is an exquisite beer that defines greatness in brewing. This is a beer that demands to be shared. It's about the experience, which is why I can recommend the 120 Minute IPA to any and all beer fans. It's a feather in the cap of seasoned drinkers and a right of passage for novices.

As a testament, my wife adores the 120 Minute IPA and she hates IPAs. Trust me, I don't use the term ''hate'' lightly in this situation. I've tortured this woman (her words, not mine) with countless IPA versions thinking ''maybe this is the one she'll like.'' Nope, not a one, just an endless supply of bitter beer faces. All it took was one sip of the 120 Minute IPA for her to fully understand the appeal of the style. She now covets these brews more than I do. Unfortunately, that means my supply of 120 Minute IPAs dwindles twice as fast. On the flip side, that gets us back to Delaware in half the time. Cheers!

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120 Minute IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
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