It took a couple of months of building up the bravery, but I finally took the wraps off the bottle of DOGFISH HEAD 120-MINUTE IPA that my good buddy KG mailed over. He told me he couldn’t finish his because it made his stomach hurt. Others have said it’s too overpowering, so hoppy it makes your eyes water. Still others have fallen down meekly in the face of a beer comprised of 21% (!!!) alcohol. Here’s what I think.
I think 120-MINUTE IPA deserves a few plaudits, with the caveat that I’ll probably never drink it again. First, to make a beer this high in ABV and still render it moderately drinkable is an achievement in & of itself. The general sweetness (almost to the point of being syrupy) reminds one of a barleywine, albeit one that has more hops that man thought possible even five years ago. Second, it did not “destroy” my tongue – after gingerly sipping it for a while and finding it lacking, all my internal workings started to adjust and recalibrate, and all of a sudden I found myself saying, “Hey, I can drink this!”. Its deep orange color gave off the unmistakable smell of hops, as well as the grapefruit aromas that often accompany them. I even finished it, but I won’t say it was a particularly revelatory experience. I also knew there was no way I could enjoy another beer after this one, both from an ABV standpoint and the fact that I’d likely not even taste the next one.
So why should anyone even care? Fair enough. This beer is an experiment in envelope-pushing, and not something that is really set up for enjoyment. I suspect that DOGFISH HEAD concocted it as a publicity move more than anything else, and the fact that they made it tolerable – well, right on fellas. I’m even willing to go as high as 6.5/10 on this one – but do you need to beg, borrow and steal for a bottle or a glass? No my friends, you most certainly do not. Save your shekels for a HOPSICKLE instead – a triple-IPA bargain even at twice the price.