Monday, June 6, 2011

Review #17 - Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale

Posted by: Tyler Rippeteau

June 5, 2011

Again, nothing notable about the acquisition of this beer so I’ll skip a long-winded intro on this one.  On a separate note, while we wait for the final three beers from The List to come in, be on the lookout for the announcement of our next project here at 20 Beers in 20 Nights.

ABV: 11.5%
IBUs: 85
Brewery Location: Frederick, Maryland
Style: American Double/Imperial India Pale Ale
Average Beer Advocate Rating: B+/4
My Beer Advocate Rating: B/3.55
Current Number of Reviews/Rank in the Top 20 on Beer Advocate: 849/17th
Brewery Description: Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale
Bottled On: Vintage 11FF (June 2011)

APPEARANCE:  (3.5 out of 5) The Double Dog Double Pale Ale pours a deep, reddish copper.  A thin, but tenacious and barely off-white head tops the glass and then just sits…and sits…and sits and stays.  Not what you would expect from the beer with a wild-eyed dog on the label.  But really, the head retention was quite nice.  I would have rated the Flying Dog higher if it were not for the near-complete lack of lacing. 

SMELL:  (4 out of 5) This was an unusual beer for me in the smell department.  I can generally tell the strength of the aroma before my nose reaches the glass, but with this offering from Flying Dog my nose was well into the glass before it hit me, and oddly enough, it hit me hard.  When I got nothing on the way in I expected the smell to be weak, but it most certainly was not.  Just well contained in the pint glass I guess.  Probably more of a product of the environment than anything else, but I digress.  The aroma is sweet and malty with a very familiar, but faint smell of wet wood.  It gives creates a very comforting feel.  Again, odd for the rebellious attitude Flying Dog seeks to portray.

TASTE:  (3.5 out of 5) Yep.  That’s certainly 11.5%.  Clocking in as the beer with the highest ABV reviewed on The List so far, the alcohol is very noticeable right off the bat.  It is accompanied, however, by a sweet, strong malty presence before it eventually gives way to a straight-up bitter finish.  The aftertaste is exceptionally dry and the hop character seems quite grassy.  What may be most noticeable, however, is its complete lack of citrus flavors.  Most of the other Double IPAs on the list are loaded with grapefruit and orange, this is most certainly not.  What may be tougher to notice, but is certainly there however, is a subtle note of peat, generally found in scotch, but not something I have ever noticed in a beer before. 

MOUTHFEEL:  (3 out of 5) The Double Dog is fairly oily, but again, just as was the case with the previous review of Victory’s Hop Wallop, this Flying Dog has a rare, dry mouthcoating feel.  That said the high alcohol and hop content make this dry coating less harsh than its Keystone State counterpart. 

OVERALL:  (3.5 out of 5) The Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale is just as complex as its name is.  There is a lot going on in this beer and while it does all balance out in the end, it takes your palate on a wild ride beforehand.  Four words could be used to describe this beer: All over the place.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but not necessarily a good one either.

DRAWBACKS:  The lack of focus here was my biggest issue.  I do appreciate Flying Dog’s willingness to experiment and take some risks, but one of the risks in a beer like this is that it can confuse the palate and turn people off.  With all of that said, this is still a good beer and an even better one if you are a DIPA fanatic wanting to break the mold a bit.

SOUND:  I’ve already used some crazy Miles Davis stuff to describe a beer in the past, and I think this one may fall into that category as well.  However, the notes of peat really did make me think of a scotch and it may be more appropriate to be sipping this from a snifter and listening to some Sinatra, even if that would drive the Flying Dog guys nuts.

As a final note, the story of Flying Dog is one of the more unique out there in the craft beer world.  It is worth a visit to their site

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