Thursday, April 12, 2007


I’ve got no quarrel with those of you have a different palate than I do. You folks who like alternate beers than me, you’re still OK. What I do have a beef with is the exaltation of extreme beers that taste like garbage, simply because they’re BIG and DARING and OUTRAGEOUS. This is a faux-controversy in the beer world, the whole extreme vs. non-extreme thing, but truth simply must be spoken to power. Take THREE FLOYDS’ DREADNAGHT Imperial IPA. Clocking in with a whopping 93 score on Beer Advocate, the BA cognescenti have seen fit to rate this one the 7th best beer in the entire world. Now me, I call it one of the worst craft beers I’ve ever tasted, with a disappointment factor of 93/100. It hurts, man, it hurts, because Kevin over at KevBrews, well he’s a fan of this one, as everyone else seems to be, and he lovingly packaged up this 22-oz. bomber for me in bubble wrap & such, and sent it all the way to California just so I could enjoy it at home and join the chorus of hosannas poured from every direction over this thing.

But I shan’t. DREADNAUGHT is so over-the-top with its hopping, its alcohol, and its kitchen-sink approach to flavor (More mango! More apricot! More tastes of indeterminate origin! More cowbell!) that the result is this sweet, sticky, and barely drinkable mess. I almost cried as I poured nearly half of the bomber down the drain, knowing that this could have had a nice home in the belly of a Beer Advocate who would see all the wonderful things about it that I simply can’t. And it’s not that I don’t dig weird-ass, complex, high-alcohol beers – when they’re good. FIRESTONE WALKER’s “10”, say. Moylan's HOPSICKLE. Or ARROGANT BASTARD, even. But not Dreadnaught Imperial IPA. I gave it a 3.5/10 and switched to organic nonfat milk for the rest of the night.


KevBrews said...

To clarify, I haven't actually tried it either, although I have a bottle of it in the fridge and may be inspired to try it tonight to see if I agree or disagree.

But it is so highly sought after around these parts that it seems like something I should try. And that I should send along.

Ethan Prater said...

Funny - like Jay, I'm an SF Bay Area guy loving the beer scene here and just getting into trading with folks from other regions.

And like Jay, I just got a nicely packed bomber of Dreadnaught (which retails for the astronomical price of $9.99, I'm told) in a trade.

And not quite unlike Jay, I also found it to be just too much, of nearly everything. But reviewed it relatively high on BA, because to me it was more drinkable than say, any syrupy sticky kitchen sink beer from Stone (including Arrogant Bastard).

But I don't usually love the DIPA style in the first place. However, I've found some nice dryness and balance recently in Marin's White Knuckle and Lagunitas Farmhouse's Hop Stoopid. What's even better, White Knuckle is $5, and Hop Stoopid only $3...

Jay said...

Ethan, thanks for the comment. I happen to love the Double IPA style - Hopsickle (a triple, I guess), Drake's Hop Salad, the Marin White Knuckle you mentioned, Lagunitas Maximus, Pliny The Elder etc etc. This was NOTHING like those. A total syrup bomb that tasted strange (and no, it was definitely not oxidized, just too "xtreme").

KevBrews said...

Okay, just finished my sample from the fridge. I can see why you don't like this, but I can also see why some do. It's a real hybrid between the sweet fullness and citrus hop explosion of a hopslam or a racer 5 and the spicy hop flavor I associate with Hopsickle. I can't say that I love it--there are some odd flavors here (including a syrupy flavor), although I don't hate it, either. It's certainly not in my top 10, although I'd rate it more of a middling.

KevBrews said...

Jay--you've really caused a stir over at Stan's blog:

Anonymous said...

FWIW...this beer has also turned significantly sweeter in the bottle over the last couple of years.

Agreed that dry DIPAs are where it's at...but I would see if you can find Dreadnaught on tap (or acquire a growler) before writing it off.


Anonymous said...

To dismiss the high ratings of Dreadnaught and similar beers on BA & RB as artificially inflated because the beers are "BIG and DARING and OUTRAGEOUS" is shortsighted. When hundreds of people on these sites have rated a beer such as this highly, it's likely due to the substance of the beer and not due to hype or due to the fact that the beer has more malt/hops/alcohol/etc. than the others. There are many big and outrageous beers that are justifiably poorly rated on BA & RB. When your rating of a beer falls so outside of the norm, you might consider that it's just not fit for your palate and not that the beer is "garbage". It's fine to rate it as you see fit, but it's somewhat insulting to imply that those who like this beer do so because of something other than its quality.

Jay said...

Anonymous, you make a fine point; please note that my post is written with my tongue at least partially implanted in my cheek. I flat-out didn't like this beer, and I'm certain of all the folks that DO like it, most genuinely enjoy it, while there may be others who suffer from a bit of a herd mentality. Even with my strange palate, it's hard to imagine this one as the 7th best beer on the planet, let alone in the Top 500.

Ethan Prater said...

To me Hopsickle (which I like and respect, but don't love)is more like an "Imperial Pale Ale" than a Triple IPA.

Hopsickle's proportions seem to be more APA-like - very high on hops relative to malt, even though the absolute amount of both is multiplied about eleven times over a typical APA.

Whereas IPAs have a larger proportion of malt to hops, and then DIPAs seem to keep that proportion, just increasing the absolute amounts.

Anyway, all that said, I don't dislike Dreadnaught as much as Jay does (but I don't like it, either). And I don't love Hopsickle as much as he does (but I do like it).

I am delighted to see someone comment on syrupy texture, though, something that matters a lot to me but doesn't seem to bother the "more of everything is better" BA herd.