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APR/MAY 2005 | REVIEWS | BLIND BEER TASTINGS

CBN Double IPA Blind Tasting

CBN Blind Tasting Panel
• Jay R. Brooks, Tasting Panel Director, Cranky Oldster, CBN
• Bob Coleman, Reporter, CBN
• Tom Dalldorf, Editor/Publisher, CBN
• Vic Kralj, Owner, The Bistro, Hayward, Calif.
• Paul Marshall, Beer Judge
• Special thanks to Mike Long, BTP Tasting coordinator/head steward

DOUBLE IPA
Imperial or Double IPA is one of the newest beer styles and continues to be a favorite among big-beer lovers. These beers were first recognized officially at the 2003 Great American Beer Festival. Double IPAs are, of course, very big beers with intense hop character. They have IBUs ranging from around 65 to 100 (or more) and are strong in alcohol (averaging 8–10.5% abv), with fruity esters and big malt character. Similar to barley wines in several respects, they are nonetheless now considered a unique style and, unlike their older cousin, should be less vinous, have less caramel present and have no discernible diacetyl. But the main distinction of these beers is more pronounced hopping — intense but never harsh — balanced by complex malt and alcohol flavors.

Deuce Imperial IPA
El Toro Brewing Co., California


Great hop nose with rich herbal notes. Dark amber color with a thick, tan head. Rich malt flavors with good balance and body. About midway through, some serious hop bittering kicks in and lingers through a nice, long finish.

Denogginizer Double IPA
Drake's Brewing Co., California


Light nose of clean hop aromas. Dark amber color. Creamy, big palate blast and well balanced. A big hop monster with rich, toasty malt character.

Dreadnought Imperial IPA
Three Floyd's Brewing Co., Indiana


Great herbal hop nose and dark amber-orange color. Great mouthfeel with luscious, creamy sweet malt and a sharp hop bite that finishes big and long. A real beauty.

Hercules Double IPA
Great Divide Brewing Co., Colorado

Strong herbal hop nose. Dark amber color. Creamy, rich malt flavor and big hop character with hints of nuts. Nice warming qualities and a lingering finish.

Pliny The Elder
Russian River Brewing Co., California


Rich herbal aromas with alpha hop notes. Dark amber color. Creamy and rich with a seeming contradiction of softness and a full palate of complex flavors that all work in concert like a Charles Ives symphony. Great balance and a long, lingering finish.

Pliny The Younger
Russian River Brewing Co., California


Sweet malt nose with light hop aromas. Orange color with a huge white head. A wow! Rich, creamy hops and big malt flavors. Hints of citrus and peppery hop spice abound through a long, lingering finish.

White Knuckle Double IPA
Marin Brewing Co., California


Big alpha hop aromas with hints of grapefruit and herbs. Dark amber color. Perfectly balanced with sweet, rich malt and big hop bitterness that has you pleasantly puckering up. Creamy throughout with a clean finish.

Devil Dancer Triple IPA
Founder's Brewing Co., Michigan


Herbal and grass aromas with hints of pineapple. Light brown color. Creamy, rich malt balanced by a big hop bite and nice warming qualities. A long, malty finish that turns pleasantly bitter as it fades on the tongue.

Dorado Double IPA
Ballast Point Brewing Co., California


Hop nose with citrus aromas. Golden-amber color. Sweet, creamy malt flavor and a big hop bite with nice, refined balance and a hoppy, lingering finish.

Exponential Hoppiness
Alpine Beer Co., California


Rich, biscuity malt nose with herbal hop aromas. Golden-orange color. Creamy, rich flavors with pepper notes and a very long, lingering finish.

Imperial IPA
Breckenridge Brewing Co., Colorado


Rich malt aromas with hints of grapefruit. Golden-amber color. Big, puckering hop character, surprisingly well-balanced and a long, lingering bitter finish.

IPA Maximus
Lagunitas Brewing Co., California


Light, biscuity nose with herbal aromas. Dark amber color. Creamy and tart with big, rich hop character and a welcome malt presence that balances it all nicely.

Pure Hoppiness
Alpine Beer Co., California


Light, hoppy nose and dark golden color with a thick, tan head. Creamy flavors and a soft palate with nicely balancing hop character and a clean finish.

Sleighor Double IPA
Reaper Ale, California


Light citrus and spicy nose. Brown color and a thick, tan head. Smooth, with sweet malt, big hop bittering, good balance and a clean finish.

Alpha Avalanche
Schooner's Grille & Brewery, California


Herbal hop nose and dark amber color. Big hop presence up front with medium malt richness mid-taste and a clean finish.

Captain Ron's Double IPA
Brew It Up! Personal Brewery & Grill, California


Big malt aromas and amber-brown color. Uncomplicated hop monster with alcohol evident and a long, lingering bitter finish.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA
Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Delaware

Herbal nose with grassy notes. Clear amber color. Strong, complex and very rich flavors with sweet malt character and a long finish.

Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Delaware


Spicy citrus hop aromas and dark amber color. Rich mouthfeel, very sweet malt flavors and spicy-hot hop character.

Double IPA
Stoudt's Brewing Co., Pennsylvania


Hop nose with herbal notes. Golden-amber color. Creamy flavors with a rich, fat malt base and high alpha bittering. Warms you nicely through a long, lingering bitter finish.

Fred
Hair Of The Dog Brewing Co., Oregon


Rich herbal nose with roasted malt and an unmistakable hint of Belgian-style yeast. Big roasted-malt blast with lovely creamy, sweet notes, with big hops overpowered by the complex, rich malt flavors in this unique, almost Belgianesque, double IPA. It’s not really what we’d consider a double IPA, but the brewery submitted it to us for this tasting, and we struggled with how to score it. Its uniqueness in the field produced lower scores, since comparison is all but impossible. Despite that, it’s an excellent, wonderful beer in its own right and would easily have scored higher among its peers — if it had any.

Grant's Hopzilla IPA
Yakima Brewing & Malting Co., Washington


Hop nose of citrus and herbs. Cloudy golden-amber color. Rich herbal flavors and a sharp hop bite of hot, peppery spices and a long, lingering finish.

Imperial IPA
Diamond Knot Brewery, Washington


An early champion of big, hoppy beers, this version features a caramel and roast-coffee nose and a cloudy dark amber color. Creamy, with huge hops on a big malt base that boasts a long, lingering finish.

Imperial IPA
Sly Fox Brewing Co., Pennsylvania

Modest herbal hop nose. Amber color and a tan head. Creamy, with rich malt and good bittering and a long, lingering finish.

Kelley Bros. Double Back
Kelley Bros. Brewing Co., California


Sweet malt nose with soft hop notes. Amber-brown color. Rich, full flavors and big hop presence that predominates throughout to the long, lingering bitter finish.

Laurelwood Double IPA
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, Oregon


Lemony citrus hop nose and golden-yellow color. Creamy, sweet malt flavors that give way to tart hoppiness and a long, lingering finish.

Maharaja Imperial IPA
Avery Brewing Co., Colorado


Sweet malt nose with hints of fruit and herb aromas. Dark amber color. Clean, full malt flavors and excellent balance. Tart herbal hops and a long, lingering finish.

Racer X
Bear Republic Brewing Co., California


Big hoppy nose and dark amber color. Sharp hop bite with mellow, sweet malt but low carbonation. Still quite drinkable and tasty, however. This sample was a draft drawn less than hour before our tasting. Previous bottled samples scored much higher.

Moylander Double IPA Ale
Moylan's Brewing Co., California


Light hop nose, dark amber color and a rich, tan head. Creamy with rich, sweet malt flavors and nice hop character. There’s also a hint of chocolate notes and a clean, mild finish.

Rogue Imperial India Pale Ale
Rogue Ales, Oregon


Light hop nose, dark amber color and a thick, tan head. Light flavors overall with good malt character and some big hop bittering through a long, lingering finish.

Ruination IPA
Stone Brewing Co., California


Herbal hop nose and dark amber color. Tart with big, bitter hop character, low malt flavors and a clean finish.

Slipknot Imperial IPA
Full Sail Brewing Co., Oregon


Modest hop nose with herb and bread notes. Bright amber-orange color. Hop-forward with creamy and sweet malt flavors and a clean, rich, lingering finish.

TRI-PA (Double IPA)
Beermann’s Brewing Co., California


Sweet, lemony herbal nose, bright golden color and a rich, white head. Creamy, with a tart hop bite and a bitter finish that lingers for a short time and then quickly fades.

West Coast IPA
Green Flash Brewing Co., California


Spicy hop aromas and dark amber color. A huge hop bomb with rich herbal notes and a great mouthfeel, but lacking balance.

Legend Double IPA
Legend Brewing Co., Virginia


Sweet and sour nose. Dark amber color. Creamy, with a sharp hop bite, sour mash flavors and a bitter finish.

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