Rosabi is an Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head with, as the name suggests, wasabi as the off-centered ingredient. It starts with a big sticky head that hangs around for a bit. The nose has a bit of pine, grain, and citrus, and wasabi hits your nostrils faintly right at the end as the other scents are fading. The middle is a big chewy Imperial Pale Ale, with citrus and honey, fading to pine and rind in the finish. The coup de grâce, however, right at the tail end, is strong wasabi. It’s not particularly hot, but that unmistakably pungent flavor is in full force and it strengthens as the beer warms. The body is medium to heavy, and the alcohol is 8.0 ABV, so it lives up to the “Imperial” billing quite well. It’s a bit of a oddity, and certainly not an every day beer, but it’s worth a try, especially for those of you who love wasabi as much as I do.
I give it a 3.9 out of 5.
Lest the poor quality of my photography deceive you, let me assure you that yes, this is yet another pink (or at least pink-ish) beer. After a string of malt-forward reviews, we’re back to an IPA today. An unusual IPA, as one has grown to expect from the off-centered folks at the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. In this specific case, it’s another beer/wine hybrid, as this is Dogfish Head’s signature 60 Minute IPA but it has been brewed with the addition of Syrah grape must. The nose is piney with a bit of yeast. The middle is tart, and the grapes have a significant presence. Citrus also comes to the fore here, predominately grapefruit. The finish is more of the same. There is a bit of citrus sugar and grape sweetening it up, and some rind and pine bitterness balancing it out. For all the sweetness, the finish is also quite dry. This is a not an every day brew, but it’s definitely a fun interpretation of the IPA and well executed.
I give it a 4 out of 5.
We are coming to the last few winter seasonals for the year, and today we have Piercing Pils from Dogfish Head. Now, a Pilsner is a bit of an unusual choice for a winter seasonal, and Pilsner isn’t one of my favorite styles in any case, but I’m keeping an open mind. Dogfish Head calls this both a Perry-Pils hybrid, and a Czech-style Pilsner, and to those ends it has been brewed with pear juice, White Pear Tea, and spice Saaz hops. The result is delicious. The head is long lasting and creamy. The nose is light and smells faintly of apple, pear, and ground wheat. The middle is superbly balanced between sweet pears and bitter herbs, both of which fade into a toasty finish that also adds a bit of lemon. The body is light and crisp, and the alcohol is a moderate 6.0% ABV. This is a really fantastic beer, and I’d be happy to drink quite a lot of it. Pity it’s a seasonal.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
We have another Dogfish Head brew on offer this weekend, and this time it’s Kvasir, from their line of Ancient Ales, beer brewed with ingredients and processes that go back to the earliest days of brewing. Kvasir is a re-creation of an early Scandinavian beer-like beverage and the flavors are provided by ingredients including lingonberry, cranberry, honey, birch syrup, and herbs. This is a wheat beer, so the malt influence is mild and gives the ale a grainy backbone. You smell the berries in the nose along with a strong dose of funky Belgian-esque yeast. The cranberries really come through in the middle with some bright, tart fruit. The finish is really well balanced between some lingering sugar from the honey and syrup and bitter herbs. The body is medium to heavy and the alcohol (10% ABV) is well hidden by the bold flavors here. The fruit is so forward that you almost forget you’re drinking an alcoholic beverage. The target audience for this beer is, I’d say, those who enjoy the Belgian fruit-based beers like Gueuzes, or lambics in general. This is an excellent execution on an old-world, pre-hop style beer.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
American Beauty is an occasionally brewed Imperial Pale Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. As with virtually all Dogfish Head recipes, this one comes with an off-centered twist, and in this case the ingredient is organic granola in homage to the Grateful Dead. The head is creamy. The nose is yeasty, with some caramel and a slight hint of orange. The middle is mostly balanced, with a bit more malt than hop. The flavors in the middle are caramel and orange, with a bit of rind and honey. There is some alcohol in the finish (and there should be, at 9.0% ABV) and a lingering sugar. The sugar right at the end is all that strikes me from the granola addition. It’s quite a nice beer, but not particularly special.
I give it a 4.0 out of 5.
Positive Contact is another of Dogfish Head’s occasional musically inspired collaborations, this one with Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030. It’s a hybrid wheat ale and cider with spices that aren’t typical with either, such as cayenne pepper and fresh cilantro. With that variety of inputs, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but the result is excellent. All the components show well, and none are overpowering. The nose is distinctly Belgian yeast, with some apple notes in there. The middle is bready with quite pronounced wheat characteristics that are balanced by strong apple flavors that are moderately, but not excessively sweet, and also not quite as complex as they might be. The wheat comes back powerfully to give it a drying finish, and this is where the spices start to come though as well, adding peppery and herbal notes before fading back to apple. This reminds me most of a pre-hop spice beer, and is refreshingly unusual. It’s a medium bodied beer, and pretty big on the alcohol at 9.0% ABV, but you’d never know it because it hides it well. My bottom line is that this is an excellent off-centered ale.
I give it 4.5 out of 5.
Immort Ale from Dogfish Head is a great big (11% ABV) oak-aged ale of indeterminate style. It uses English and Belgian yeast, so it’s somewhere between an English Strong Ale and a Belgian Strong Pale Ale. The notes off the nose are of honey, vanilla, and cherries. The middle is spicy with pepper, vanilla, and apricot, and a tiny hint of smoke from the peat-smoked barley. In the finish you taste the sugar from the maple syrup, and faint hints of the oak and just a little more peat. There’s no bitterness in this beer at all, and only the tiniest bit of acidity and booziness that you often get with oak-aged ales. This is a richer, and more subtle brew. This would be an excellent introduction to oak-aged beers for those who aren’t familiar, and fine winter treat for anyone.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
75 Minute IPA is an occasionally brewed mixture of Dogfish Head’s famous 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs, with some maple syrup thrown in for uniqueness, and bottle conditioned. The head is creamy and hangs around for quite a long time. The nose is deliciously Dogfish Head IPA, with notes of pine and orange. The middle is silky smooth on the tongue and very well balanced between a piney hop bite and the sugary sweet maple syrup. The finish is smooth and mellow, with orange the predominant flavor. This is a really outstanding beer that will likely appeal to both IPA fans, and to those who don’t appreciate the bitterness of a standard IPA. Really, really nice.
I give it a 4.7 out of 5.
Dogfish Head being Dogfish Head, Indian Brown Ale is not a typical true-to-the-style brown ale, but a hybrid American Brown Ale, Scotch Ale, and of course, India Pale Ale. The result is a rich, malty brew heavy with the flavors of chocolate, caramel, coffee and scent of baked bread with a dry hopped bite at the end for us IPA aficionados. In the past, I’ve tended to prefer hoppy beers to malty beer, so it’s taken me a while to really appreciate what a fine brew Dogfish Head has developed in Indian Brown Ale. This is a great beer for those who don’t care for the bitterness of IPAs, but with just a hint to remind those those of us who do that we haven’t been forgotten.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.
Palo Santo Marron is a big, heavy beer more suited to a cold winter’s night that a hot summer eve, but I had one in the fridge, so reviewed in the summer it will be. It’s called as a “malt beverage” rather than a beer due to FDA labelling requirements, but’s in fact it’s a big huge brown ale aged in Palo Santo wood, from whence its name is derived. Given the heaviness, the aging, and its 12% ABV, it is far more similar to a oak-aged imperial stout or porter than a traditional brown ale. The nose is heavy with chocolate and musty wood…It’s rich and full and gives you a hint of what’s to come. The middle has massive amounts of flavor. There’s chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, coffee, and burnt toast. The finish has maple syrup, loads of vanilla, more coffee, a hint of cherry, and plenty of heat from the alcohol. This is a big, bold beer that’s a wonder winter warmer, and good enough to be worth grabbing regardless of the time of year.
I give it a 4.8 out of 5.