Posts Tagged With: dogfish head

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

75 Minute IPA Tasting Notes:

  • Appearance: Clear gold with huge fluffy head, excellent lace.
  • Aroma/Flavor: Aromatic hops, very floral with touches of citrus fruit. Sweet.
  • Mouthfeel: Soft carbonation,  very drinkable.
  • Overall: Even better than on draft, a must try.

Rating: A+

For the first time ever Dogfish Head has released their fabled 75 Minute IPA in bottles. Previously, this was a brewpub exclusive (though a regular one). Once a week a single cask was tapped and ran until it was gone (usually within a day). The cask version – sometimes referred to as Johnny Cask – was a special blend of 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPA’s, and then finished and carbonated with maple syrup. Past beer events and festivals were able to occasionally procure a keg of “75 Minute IPA” which at the time was only the blend sans the maple. As such, Dogfish Head purists would scorn the 75 Minute kegs in favor of the more unique Johnny Cask. I was delighted that the bottled version would follow the Johnny Cask blueprint of using the maple syrup addition.

This is also one of the first Dogfish Head beers to use their new logoed 750ml bottles (the old ones had no logo and were shaped more like a bottle of champagne).

As a homebrewer I suppose that I preferred the old bottles, but as a fan of the brewery I am delighted with this new touch. The bottle is also slightly smaller at the base which ought to make these  easier to transport.

I have made the pilgrimage to visit Dogfish Head twice now, and both times the very first beer I ordered at the pub was the Johnny Cask. As such I have some experience with how this beer ought to taste, so let’s see how the new bottled version compares!

The most striking thing about this beer is the carbonation. Even with a gentle pour I was rewarded with 3 fingers of soft pillowy head. The white foam floats weightlessly atop a clear golden brew, and the retention is epic – I literally had to wait close to five minutes before drinking lest I don a foam mustache. Sticky thick lace gathers around my Duvel tulip beautifully. Yeah – the maple syrup is working its wonders on the carbonation here.

It is important to be aware that this beer is bottle conditioned – meaning that there will be some yeast sediment at the bottle of the bottle. So pour carefully, and leave the last ounce or two of beer in the bottle to prevent all of that yeast from spilling into your glass.

The aroma is definitely a blend of 60 and 90 Minute – you get the assertive citric punch that 90 Minute garners, as well as the more subtle and balanced malt-driven aspects of 60 Minute. With the addition of dry-hopping, this all Cascade brew is really rich in complexity. For those who don’t brew beer you may not realize that the timing of when hops are added during the boil of a beer will impact three elements: bitterness, flavor, and aroma. The earlier hops are added the more bitterness they will impart. Towards the middle of the boil flavor becomes the predominant quality the hops bring to the table. Finally, the hops added during the last minutes will impart mostly aroma. It is the skillful science of knowing just when to add your hops that make your favorite IPA’s so great. The philosophy at Dogfish Head is that if hops are added in small amounts throughout every moment of the boil, you’ll extract every possible nuance that the hops are able to impart. And, while it may not be entirely evident to some, I truly feel that the Dogfish Head IPA’s exhibit complexity that few, if any, other beers can match.

So, when you dig into the aroma of 75 Minute IPA you begin to notice all of this wonderful complexity. Very floral – the hops have imparted a bouquet of soft and delicate sweet honeysuckle and clover honey. The beer is awash with citrus notes as well. Faint sweet grapefruit and tangerine are predominant, as is a much more subtle lemon aspect. The malt has a crackery white bread aroma to it. Definitely a wonderful beer to just stick your whole nose into the glass and savor the aroma.

The flavor is every bit as wonderful as the aroma is. Floral hops dance over the palate along side a bitterness that I can only describe as juicy and balanced. Sweetness is deliciously evident, and it is terribly difficult to pinpoint the source. I truly feel that the hops are adding some amount of the notion of sweetness, but most of it ought to be derived from the malts. The maple syrup is also a possible contributor, though most of it ought to have fermented out during the bottle conditioning phase. In any case, combined with the soft creamy carbonation, 75 Minute IPA is proving to be a delightful beer to enjoy.

Overall I am sincerely impressed. I actually want to say that this is even better than I remembered it at the brewery (though I do feel that cask beers lose out somewhat in the aroma department given the large lack of carbonation to help carry it to the nose and over the palate). My biggest complaint, well, my only complaint, is that this is sold in 750ml bottles. I was really anticipating this being sold as a 4 pack when it was announced last year that it would be bottled. And while $7.99 is the cheapest 750ml bottle that Dogfish Head sells, I do feel that it ought to be slightly cheaper. In any case – a truly excellent beer and well worth the effort to find one (or three). Well done Dogfish Head.

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Sierra Nevada & Dogfish Head – Life and Limb

Two years ago when Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head breweries teamed up for the collaborative beer Life and Limb, the beer literally flew off the shelves. There was an unspoken hysteria, and an apparent lack of planning for the demand the beer would incite. As such, I distinctly remember hearing stories where a store was allocated 2 bottles for sale (and then promptly either kept those bottles for themselves, or charged people $50 to buy the $12 beer. I believe that Ohio was given something on the order of 4 cases for the entire state (a mere 48 bottles). I had hoped to try it on tap at Winking Lizard, but the keg blew in under an hour and I missed out.

Much to the joy (and chagrin) of many in the craft beer scene, the two brewers teamed up again to brew batch two of this beer. Only this time, they made a lot of it. Panic stricken when I heard reports that the beer was reaching shelves across the country this summer, I started asking around about where to buy some in Columbus. A friend offered to pick up a couple bottles for me while he was at a bottle shop carrying the beer. I later found some myself, and bought two more bottles. Then, I saw it on tap, and ordered it a few times. What does this all say? Well, first off, they did a wonderful job of meeting demand. Secondly, the beer is just damn good.

I regret that I am blogging about the beer months after the release, however, I fully expect this to become an annual release going forward. And maybe, just maybe, if you get lucky, you may still stumble across a bottle of this at a lesser traveled bottle shop of liquor store. If you happen to find some, buy it. The price is excellent – $10.99 for the 750ml size bottle (same as a bottle of wine).

So, what is Life and Limb?

“LIFE-This beer is naturally carbonated to enhance complexity  refinement, and shelf-life; the family of yeast cells in every bottle working in vibrant unison.

LIMB-The two syrups used in making this beer, (Maple and  Birch) contribute to its unique and earthy flavor and symbolize the collaboration between Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head.”

The beer is 10.2% abv, and a style that’s a bit of an oddball. Slightly stout, slightly strong ale, and mostly a combination of those two styles plus a half dozen others. Maple syrup from Vermont and Birch syrup from Alaska mingle with the combined house yeast strains from both breweries to create something truly unique.

The Review:

I wanted to pour this into a Sierra Nevada or Dogfish Head glass, so I selected the globe I have from Dogfish Head that I received with a glass of their Zeno saison earlier this year.

The cork was easy to remove, and the pour showcases a dark caramel colored beer with amazing clarity collecting into a deep molasses brown color in the bowl of the glass. The head is easily controlled, and I decided to keep this one shorter. the foam is airy and a light balsa wood color. A short cap of tight bubbles is always present, down to the last sip.

The aroma showcases all of the ingredients. There is an initial alcohol bite to the beer, and an interestingly fruity aroma I must attribute to the yeast used. Then comes the aroma of molasses and sweet dark Belgian-kilned malts. The birch is very woody and dry, while the maple – though more subtle – adds a bit of sweetness to the brew. There’s a nice nuttiness to the aroma as well, akin to toasty candied pecans.

I love how all of the aromatic elements come together in the flavor. The brew is sweet and woody. Though no wood was used in this version of the beer, one could easily be fooled. I wish it were though, as Dogfish Head makes some of the best wood-aged beers around (Burton Baton, Palo Santo Marron, and Wrath of Pecant). Sticky and drier than one might expect given the sugars used in the brewing process, Life and Limb is a tasty treat. The bottle recommends sharing it with friends and family. A good bet given the high abv. However, this is the third bottle I have savored alone, and while maybe a tad guilty, I am happy to have spent so much time to intimately enjoy what this beer has to offer.

There’s a website dedicated to this beer with a little more info and some cool pictures from the original brew day in 2009. Check out: Life-Limb.com

Below is a video (also on Life-Limb.com) where Sam Calagione from dogfish Head and Ken Grossman from Sierra Nevada discuss the beer.

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