I had purchased a 4 pack of this from Hy-vee ages ago. Luckily RIBCO got to a keg of their beer, so we made it our all to get there in time to try it. Thanks to Neil (and John for night for #2) for entertaining us at the bar while we tried a pint of it. Did this following a trip to Blue Cat Brew Pub earlier this week to try their own Weiss Dobbel Bock.
Appearance: Clear, representing a lighter amber with a touch of brown/red. The head is minimal, induced by a medium visible carbonation, as the head dissipates.
Aroma: At the nose, this beer says caramel and biscuit sweetness, all grain. After several whiffs, a citrus hop character emerges which is unique to an IPA. Alcohol is apparent at the nose. I smell dark fruit as well as grapes in the aroma, leaving a tartness to mingle with the caramel malt. Hops take a back stage to this category.
Taste: Diacetyls reminiscent of raisin and grapes are my first impression aside from the strong bitter alcoholic finish. Nevertheless, the malt profile of this beer withstands the retaliatory reply from the piney tropical hops. I find that the initial sweetness is also contributed by a caramel malt flavor which overtakes, and is realized over the zesty/orange and grapefruit undertone from the hops. As the two clash, they create a symposium of uniquely distinct flavor paralleled by few. The barley profile is heavy. Warming alcohol is a noticeable donation to the initial and progressed taste in this beer. Some grassiness to the palate leaving a resinous bitter aftertaste, that the alcohol only induces.
Mouthfeel: From the sweetness, it may be drawn that the attenuation of the yeast left more unfermented sugars than usual, which would explain the rich malt character in the taste and texture. This ultimately contributes to a heavier body and a tackier mouthfeel. Medium-high Carbonation helps loosen the body up but also melds well, exposing more of the hops in the finish.
Overall Impression: The harmony between the flavors and sensations of this beer are delicate, but pack a punch in the flavor. The malt sweetness dominates, but the hops easily reply in a slightly lesser manner. But its the alcohol that prevails (is this a battle or something!?) This is one of the best Dogfish Head beers I've had. I'll look to get the 60 and the 120 sometime soon.