Tag Archive: Dogfish Head


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Birra Del Borgo: Dogfish Head: My Antonia (Italy: Imperial Pils: 7.5% ABV)

Visual: Yellow to gold. Large custard sudded yellowed head.

Nose: Custard. Peach and hops. Very good hoppiness of a clinging style. Light toffee.

Body: Bitter but not too heavy. Apricot. Very smooth creamy texture. Custard. Cinnamon. Granite rough touch very occasionally. Tangerine.

Finish: Creamy. Moderate bitterness. Cinnamon. Hops. Peach and grapefruit.

Conclusion: I love the words continually hopped. I’ve never seen a beer with those words attached that turned out to be a bad beer. Guess it helps that I normally see them linked with Dogfish Head beers.  Normally I see them linked with IPA’s, here linked to an Imperial Pils it ends up with a beer that pretty much destroys any expectations of the style that I had.

Now, that does mean as an example of the style it may not be the best. As a beer however? Damn!

It is smooth, creamy, lots of apricot fruitiness and with solid but not extreme bitterness. I can really see the dogfish head influence stamped over the hop style. It is very much like a lager take on their 90 minute IPA. I’ve yet to get a full grip of the Birra Del Borgo style, but this matches the quality I have seen from them so far.

It is an easy drinking Imperial Pils,  IPA like beer then. As you would expect it is lighter than an IPA and with dominance of a few key flavours rather than a larger range, but with good bitterness and well defined aroma and flavour.

Tastes almost Belgium yeast IPA style in smoothness. It has that creamy full texture to it that I would associate with that style. There is very little bad to say about this beer. Maybe not what you expect from a pils, maybe a half way point between pils and IPA and if you prefer either style a pure example would do that better.  However, sod it, this is lovely.

It is eminently drinkable, well hopped and flavoursome with good texture. You may prefer more pure styled beers at the top of their style but I can’t see anyone being disappointed with this delicious beer.

Background: After the last Birra Del Borgo I had, their collaboration with Brewdog, I decided I really should try more of their stuff to get a feel fro their brewery. So I did, another collaboration. One day I must try a beer they just made themselves. From the look of it there are two versions of this beer, the dogfish head and the Birra Del Borgo. This is the Birra Del Borgo. This beer was drunk at Brewdog Bristol after a long discussion with the staff on exactly which beer I should try next. So blame them. Honest. I love Dogfish head beers but they are very hard to get over in the UK these days as they are concentration on supplying the USA. Not seen the Dogfish Head version anywhere. I wonder if any of the booze dancers have given it a review? (Edit: Answer: Yes, Yes they do)

Dogfish Head: Festina Peche (USA: Berliner Weisse: 4.5% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy dark lemon meringue colour, frothy bubbles on the pout but it doesn’t last.

Nose: Quite sour, wood touch, but its more acidic touches calls to the smell of cider. Peach is very carefully interwoven with meringue and cream as the sourness subsided. Aniseed and liquorice are momentarily noticeable.

Body: Apples and peaches. Sour but quite dry. White wine and grapes with a lemon sherbet back.

Finish: Cream and strawberries. Pears. Peach. Light drying feel from acidity. White wine, some woodiness. Cinnamon

Conclusion: Refreshingly sharp, a berliner weisse beer of this type needs to walk the razors edge between its sourness and the sweetness of the fruit.

This take from dogfish head is surprisingly creamy and fruity with the sourness as a refreshing back.   Really sparkling in the mouth, and it reminds me why I think of the berliner as the lambic of Germany.

It reminds me of a lemon curd meringue with its sour and crisp sweetness intertwined, though of course in this case peach is the fruit flavour of choice.

Quality craftsmanship for a summer refresher with bite, very nice.

Background: Standard Berliner Weisse beers are very sharp and refreshing like the lambics, a fact I found out when I drank my first ever one of the style without realizing I had a tooth cavity, a pain experience that thankfully did not put me off the style.   Often syrup is added to the beer to offset the sharpness, though this particular take from the early extreme brewers of Dogfish Head is already fruited up to take off the edge.

Dogfish Head: Worldwide Stout (USA: Imperial Stout: 18% ABV)

(2009 bottling, drunk 2010)

Visual: Opaque dark brown black, shimmers of red if you hold a thin layer to the light. Despite my best attempts I could not tease a head out of the beer on the pour, getting merely a wet brown fizz for my troubles.  However a good swirl could raise a coffee brown froth of short life.  The swirl leaves a thin brown film across the glass

Nose: Huge liquorice, bitter coffee and chalk. Dry roasted peanuts and nuts roasting on an open fire. Sharp yet strangely musty. Sour under ripe cherries. Tiny milk chocolate and laden with raw coffee powder. Some light vanilla fudge. Predominant barley. Quite dusty.

Body: So very smooth, chocolate and black cherry, surprisingly sweet as can be. Red cherries come out as well.  Brandy liquors, sweetened porridge oats, toffee, roasted barley and oatmeal biscuits. Bourbon sweetness, chocolate gateaux. There is definitely a feel that the alcohol is not quite hidden.  Grapes.

Finish: Bitter chocolate and milk, followed by chocolate chip cookies and cookie dough. Milky coffee, raisins and whipped chocolate cream. Sour black cherries, finally dry coffee remains as the other flavours evaporate.

Conclusion:   I really thought Dogfish Head had finally let me down with this one.  The initial aroma, whilst powerful, hints at a very middle of the road bitter charred stout. I imagined disappointment awaited me ahead.

Imagine my surprise then on first tentative sip as a massive sweet chocolate and oakcake body of immense weight came through – writhing with bitter chocolate, cookie dough sweetness and blasting my expectations to smithereens.

The sour touch at the end mixes with the bitterness and sweetness, again twisting the expectations brought on by the super sweet body.

A twisty turny complex Imperial Stout that surprises at every step.  Very nice.

Dogfish Head: 120 Minute IPA (USA: IIPA/Barley Wine: 18% ABV)

(Bottled 2009, drunk 2010)

Visual: Intense ruddy red with a surprising sturdy head of bubbles considering the ABV. Clear and bright. Washing up suds look to the bubbles left on the glass after a swirl.

Nose: Lime, mass of dry hops and wheat, lots of wheat. Light floral aroma. Wood shavings. Tiny hint of jiff lemon. As it warms in you hand you get barley and syrup sweetness, slight musty mothballs, then into cloying cream. It really plays with the range as it warms.

Body: Strawberries, insane sweetness, jam tarts. Thick textured. Grapefruit and hops. Lots of cloying cream, passion fruit, custard. Light lemon meringue. Toffee.

Finish: Hops and light bitterness mixed with hardboiled fruit sweet residue. Resin and lemon.

Conclusion: Calls itself an IPA, listed on ratebeer as a Barley Wine, and feels very much a mix of the two. Massively sweet, strawberry jam in huge doses mixes with wonderful grapefruit touches. It is a brilliant range, with a great but not overpowering hop character. This is an odd mix of intense flavours and yet together it works as a relaxing beer that sooths you to rest.

I have an amazing amount of time for this, its not your standard IPA – the balance between sweet and hops makes it eminently drinkable for a long time ,where each element by itself would have worn out its welcome. In fact only the high ABV holds you back on this.

Feels like the refinement and explosion of the varied American IPA styles that are then all condensed into one bottle.

Fantastic.

Dogfish Head: 60 Minute IPA (USA: IPA: 6% ABV)

Visual: Solid burnished amber with a strident layer of bubbled head.

Nose: Aromatic floral hoppiness – the lightest of earthy spices, turmeric. Subtle wood. Freshly cut harvest. Rose petals. Little touch of acid freshness pops up to reawaken the aroma.

Body: Hops, slight chalk. Rye crackers. Wholemeal bread. Wheat germ. Dough, sultanas. Honey. Strawberry. Slight cream after a while.

Finish: Hops, lemon cake, chalk, Decent bitterness, slight charring. Dry malt.

Conclusion: A robust IPA with a wonderful mellow aroma. Very subtle in its dealings. The body is rounded with light touches and influences rather than brute force. There is subtle sweetness that only come through about half way through the drink – this a beer that measures itself for the long run rather than giving up all its charms at once.

A dry IPA with a decent session character, if not ABV. Very well put together for a lighter yet still robust IPA. It won’t shift the place Punk IPA holds in my heart, but I could happily drink both in the same session.

Dogfish head: Midas Touch (USA: Tradition Ale: 9% ABV)

Visual: Just slightly hazy orange gold. A call to golden barley and a fizzy head that quickly dissipates to nothing.

Nose: White wine, grapes, barley and honey. Rich sweet and potent. Seems to power out of the glass. Orange. An almost mead like nose. Dry dusty sugar.

Body: So very sweet, treacle grapes and wild fields. Fizzy with a bitter back. Slight herbs. Definite rich honey. The bitter back is dry and harsh.

Finish: Mead honey, some remaining burnt feel. Comparatively simple. Sugared pasty and a dry end leaving a slight rough texture.

Conclusion: A small laugh was raised after finishing the tasting notes as I read the beers bottle. Nigh every main flavour found was listed right there on its front – barley, honey, white grapes and saffron. – Unbelievably it seems the beer makers were not speaking bullshit for once.

It seems almost like a roman celebration mixed with pagan solstice of a beer if that makes any sense at all. Almost a mead beer and tastily so – somewhat too fizzy but still tasty. Also the flavour become less welcome in the final third, though this means it works better as a beer for sharing.

A small batch for experiencing with friends is just the thing for finding anew what can be done when you experiment with beer.

Top notch? No. Decent and innovative, most definitely

As a final comment it must be said the nose on this beer is up with the old school Innis and gunn IPA.

Dogfish Head: 90 Minute IPA (USA:IIPA: 9% ABV)

Visual: A dark searing amber with a resolute long lasting frothy head and a thin rippling of bubbles.

Nose: Lovely malt and apricot with cream and planed wood alongside roasting fire and hops. Amazingly enticing.

Body: Warm and sweet, treacle toffee and apricot crumble. Boiled sweets. A thick rich smooth mouthfeel and a light rippling of hops. Peaches in syrup and stewed apples.

Finish: Bitter, hoppy yet with a touch of syrup. Toasted marshmallow feel and a touch of its burnt edge.

Conclusion: A fantastic sweet delicious IPA. Its hop nature is present but understated. A veritable cornucopia of dessert fruit expressions. This is a fine IPA and the slightly muted hops makes it one that will appeal to a wide range of beer drinkers including those often put off by the harsher IPA edge.

So how does it rate against the Punk IPA? This has a wider range of flavours than Punk but the Punk still wins on the bite of IPA. For now I will throw out the controversial opinion of staying with Punk IPA for the edge, but I won’t complain if I have to have a few more of each for a recount.

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