Laughing Dog Brewing Co – Alpha Dog Imperial IPA

Not too long ago I really decided to drink a lot of IPAs because I got invested in trying to think of how I wanted my recipe for an Imperial IPA to be.  Despite investing a lot of time, energy, and joy into it, it doesn’t seem to really want to carbonate.  Hopefully it will decide to carbonate relatively soon.  I’ve taken a few semi-drastic steps to see if I can force the carbonation; however, only time will tell me if I’ve started to develop carbonation or not.  Since the IPA time, I’ve gotten really into different Belgian beers and various other brews again.  Somehow, however, I managed to end up right back at IPAs.  I’ve documented on here how I managed to order six different imperial IPAs from an online site, so I happen to have a bunch of them in my possession right now.  Of course, I’ve also purchased a few as well.  I can’t seem to stay away from hops.  I don’t really feel all that bad though for buying what I certainly like!

I’ve happened to have one other brew from this craft brewery out of Idaho.  I can vouch for certain that their Dogfather Imperial Stout is quite good.  I think I may have also tasted their Sneaky Pete Imperial IPA as well; although, I can’t actually remember what that particular one tasted like.  All in all, this is definitely the first real time I’ve sat down and had a full beer from Laughing Dog.  This particular bottle was one of the ones that really drew me into purchasing the six pack.  This bottle had the most IBUs of any bottle in the pack.  It topped out at 127 IBUs.  Although I understand it’s really hard to judge how many IBUs there are over 100, they still have to be sure it’s over 100 to make the claim, and that is good enough to get me interested.  I’ve enjoyed quite a few beers that encroach upon, or surpass, the 100 IBU mark.  Some of these have managed to be quite bitter; however, many of them have also managed to seem surprisingly less hoppy than

expected.  Pliny the Elder really stuck out to me as a beer that had a lot of hops, but they were really well blended with hefty malts to hide the bountiful amount of hops.  I was quite curious to see which side of the hop coin this one fell on.

This beer poured out very light orange color with some big red and auburn colors mixed in as well.  There were a few things that immediately stuck out to me about this beer.  The color has me thinking it would be extremely hoppy because the malts seemed really light, and the clarity on it had me really surprised they had managed to create a hoppy beer that wasn’t cloudy.  You can make out a little visible carbonation; however, it’s basically the occasional bubbles that pop up.  There is some very light head on the pour, but you get a lot of great lacing and sticky residue.

There is a very big hop aroma on the nose.  This manages to dominate the majority of the aroma profile.  Some other lighter flavors that are mixed in are citrus and grapefruit notes.  There is a little bit of light malts that come through, but it led me to believe that this beer wouldn’t feature many malts in the flavor of the beer.  Overall, the smell seemed very crisp and clean with some light grassy and earthy notes.  There is a bit of a lingering fruit nature to it too.

There were many different factors that had me scared I was about to feel like I was sucking on a hop with my first sip, but I got a really well-balanced imperial IPA instead.  The beer starts with some very nice floral hops that have some very light pine as well.  Some big citrus, pineapple, and grapefruit flavors come in and combine with some lightly sweetened malts and fruit notes.  The hops are still working through this portion; however, the ending amps up the hops and malts once more.  This helps to smooth out the ending with only a little bit of light hop pine dominance.

The mouthfeel has a lot of ample carbonation at the start and moves into some light syrupy nature.  This beer uses pale malt, munich, and honey malts that give the appearance of being extremely light, but they really manage to balance out the big alpha acids found in the columbus and mt. hood hops.  The beer manages to be quite crisp and clean throughout.

I like the deceptive nature of this beer.  The beer seems to suggest at every turn that the malts won’t be big enough to challenge the big hops; however, in the end, they are more than enough to do the job.  If you want to delve into a beer that tips the hop scales, but is still rather drinkable, you can’t go wrong with this one.  It was a great beer that made me more than happy.  I may need to order another bottle.

Teacher Grade: A


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