Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Floyds (FFF) Dreadnaught

Posted by: Stonecipher
Jan. 28, 2011
The first time I tried the Dreadnaught from Three Floyds I was not impressed.  I split a bomber with a friend at our local beer bar and my expectations were very high.  I had been drinking a little bit before hand and I was more focused on the conversation than the beer, so I know it didn’t really get a fair shake from me.  So let’s see how this goes.  By the way, in the picture, you will notice, my local pint glass – it was specially selected to house this local beer.  So, without further ado, here is my review of Three Floyds Dreadnaught Double IPA:
APPEARANCE:  The Dreadnaught poured a very pale, almost straw-like color and had a pretty, but fairly thin, maybe a quarter of an inch, head resting on top.  The bubbles were almost uniformly tiny, but as it is sitting here and the head is fading away a few larger bubbles have randomly appeared.  Very pretty, full and foamy lacing lines both the left and right side of the glass, but not the side I am drinking from or the opposite side.  I noticed the same thing with the Hopslam and I am now wondering if this is a typical characteristic of a Double IPA.
SMELL:  It smells a lot like the Hopslam I reviewed last time, only less intense.  Honey and caramel are the most noticeable aromatic qualities.  Three Floyds claims on the bottle that the beer “has an opening salvo of mango, peach and citrus hop aromas”, and while the citrus and mango are noticeable, my nose was incapable of finding any peach.  Interesting, but the lack of peach didn’t upset me to much.
TASTE:  A very complex beer.  The first sip begins with a complete departure from the nose when a hoppy and bitter flavor attacks the palate.  The honey, caramel and pine from the nose, however, are not far behind as they show up briefly mid-sip.  As the sweetness fades away the pine flavor remains, but it becomes bitterer.  Yep, that is the correct word, bitterer, which seems unusual, just like the bitter pine flavor at the end of this sip.  The aftertaste is very bitter and tastes almost like someone just dragged a hop across the tongue. 
MOUTHFEEL:  Just like the taste, the mouthfeel of the Dreadnaught is very complex as well.  At first it seems like be very thin and flat, without a whole lot of carbonation, but at the very end of the sip it not only tastes like someone dragged a hop cone across the tongue, but it also feels that way.  The beer seems to bite at the end.  Interesting and pretty cool feel, it is certainly not the typical mouthfeel. 
OVERALL:  I am very happy I gave this beer a second try.  The first time the conditions were not right and I wasn’t in a situation where I could focus on and appreciate its complexity.  Also, maybe I had a bad bottle, who knows?  The point is, this is a very finely crafted, complex and unique beer.  Three Floyds should be congratulated for every beer they brew, but the Dreadnaught is special even by their high standards.  That said, this is a beer for professionals, unlike the Hopslam, this is not the beer you give to someone to introduce them to the style.  Dreadnaught is only for the grownups at the table. 
DRAWBACKS:  Part of what I liked about this beer was the roller coaster ride it took the palate on, but at the same time, some of the transitions were a little too abrupt.  To cram in as much complexity as they did in this beer, I suppose it requires some quick changes though.  Other nitpicky issues – the color was not very appetizing, the nose could have been slightly more intense and I would have liked more sparkle at the front of the sip. 
SOUND:  This one is a no-brianer.  I was talking to a friend of mine last night who knows how to play Stevie Wonder’s Superstition on the drums and we were discussing just how complex it is on many levels.  If the Three Floyds was a musician it would be Stevie Wonder and the Dreadnaught would be Superstition. 

OK, I wanted to save the stats for last on this one, since I was kind of writing “live” and didn’t want to ruin the “how did it turn out?” surprise for everyone, so here you go:
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: 100
Brewery Location: Munster, Indiana
Style: Double IPA
Beer Advocate Average Rating: A/4.39 – Outstanding
My Beer Advocate Rating: A-/4.2 – Excellent
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 1212/8th
Brewery Description: Three Floyds Brewing Company


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