Friday, July 20, 2007

DOGFISH HEAD’S “120 MINUTE IPA” – BE STILL MY TONGUE

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.

8 comments:

Dale said...

I've enjoyed a couple of the 60 Minuters this summer and have a 90 minute one in the fridge chilling as I type this. I'm working my way up. The thought of the 120 one kinda scares me though. I'm all about hoppy beer but this one just seems out of hand.

tedo said...

Jay great post. I think you hit the nail on the head. When I first tasted a 120 late last year I had the same thought. I appreciate it for what it was, an envelope pushing beer, thats too over the top to truly enjoy as just a beer.

KevBrews said...

I'm sitting on a bottle, too, waiting for a time to open it. But I view this much in the way I would a high ABV Belgian 750 ml--as something to be shared with a friend. I think I'd be on the floor is I tried to drink the whole thing, but I've split a bottle several ways and found that to be a pleasant experience.

Kyle said...

I am the "KG" referenced in the post above. I did share the first 120 I had, which was fine; unfortunately, we then shared a second one - that's when the stomach ache ensued. Plus I believe I had some hop devils; I'm not smart enough to actually session with "session" beers.

However, I did split another 120 with a guy the other day on the way to an event that I wasn't really wanting to attend sober. That half a bottle was a pretty good way to get my drunk started, I must say. So, I guess I can and have drank this beer more than once in my life. I also guess the maturation process ended for me a good 20 years ago, unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Well at least you got lucky that there was some hops. I aged mine about a year or so and compared to a fresh one it was just a sweet syrupy mess.

Rick Sellers said...

This is to IPAs what SA Triple Bock is to... bock? Man, just too much. I am wondering how much I admire the envelope pushing beers of the US when the only real envelope they push is the ABV. Contrast this beer with Hopsickle or Super Duper Dog and you just wonder why. Good review, you were a bit more kind than I was when I tried it.

Anonymous said...

PERFECT IN EVERY WAY!

Anonymous said...

60 minute IPA is great. A classic.

90 minute IPA is, incredibly, even better.

120 minute IPA is one of the worst beers I've ever tasted. It's like a bad vodka saturated with sugar, or a bathtub-quality, syrupy, hop schnapps. If someone had forgotten to clean the bathtub first.

Some people actually like it, though.