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041315_00

Dirt Wolf Beer Review

It’s been awhile and a lot has happened over the past few months but more on that another time. Today I have Dirt Wolf from Victory Brewing Company. This bad boy rocks in at 8.7% ABV and falls under a double IPA classification.

Dirt Wolf
Victory Brewing Company’s Dirt Wolf

Dirt Wolf pours orange with a thin white head. A strong citrus and grapefruit hop aroma hits you right in the face. This isn’t a subtle beer, it means business. There is a slight pine but it is edged out by the other hop smells. There are some biscuit and malt aromas that you can find as the beer warms and/or you become used to the hop smell. The big take away from this one is hops. The hops are fresh, bright, and round. I love the smell of this beer.

On the first taste I was surprised that a mild malt flavor with light biscuit and bread lead the way. It was quickly followed by strong citrus hops and a round hop flavor from front to back. The hops don’t punch but build and bite, which is a really nice way of building an interesting hop flavor.  The hops end on a spicy note. I wouldn’t call the ending grassy, but it approaches that field. The most outstanding part of this beer, other than the hops, is that there isn’t any heat to speak of. The beer comes off feeling very balanced and drinkable. For better or worse, that’s what this thing does.

Really, really nice DIPA. Very clean and full flavored. Hops are solid and malt supports the hops. No heat anywhere to be found. Hops are bright, clean, and fully flavored. Outstanding DIPA

01-15-00

Beer Review #312 American Beauty

01-15-01Dogfish Head always seems to have a new beer out with some type of gimmick attached. Their beers can be hit or miss for me, especially when it comes to their “special release” beers. I haven’t been in love with some of their past releases but for some reason, when I see a new bottle on the store shelves, I go for it. In this case, American Beauty called to me. It has great bottle art and a quick read of the label really made me want to try this one out. It says, “an imperial pale ale with granola and all-American hops.” I really can’t say that I’ve ever had a beer with granola, so I bought it. It came in at a hefty $17.99, but at 9% ABV I didn’t feel too terrible (but I did feel a little terrible).

The beer pours a wonderful orange color and comes with a thick off-white head. It is perfectly clear and as you can see by the images in this review, it looks really cool with lights behind it and a short F-Stop. The nose starts with a nice hit of hops. They are mainly citrus but some sticky pine hides out in there as well. I got a few sweet malt notes, but the hops are the main star on this one. I also didn’t get any granola, which isn’t surprising I guess.

On the first sip I was hit by a complex array of flavors. It starts with a soft sweetness that rounds out nicely and leads into a tropical hop taste. Along with the sweetness are some of the normal malt flavors of oats and biscuits. As the transition from sweetness to fruity hops starts, there is a punch of candy that I really liked. The hops are super tropical and have a load of citrus that gives way to pine hops at the end. This beer struck me as being earthy and hoppy. There are some really nice malt flavors that meld into the hops but the piney finish really cleans everything up and gives a great showcase for various hop flavors.

I liked this one. I wish it was a bit on the cheaper side but I can live with it. This beer was a sipper for me while I listened to the fireplace crackle. You can say what you want about Dogfish Head but this beer is solid all of the way around. It’s not my favorite imperial IPA, but it does a good job of living up to what it says. (more…)

08-09-02

Beer Review #307 Single Hop Citra Imperial IPA

08-09-04It’s been a long time since I reviewed a Flying Dog Brewery beer. I’ve been in a real hop mood lately (as you can probably tell from recent reviews) and when I came across this beer at the store, I grabbed immediately. Citra is one of my favorite hop varietals and Imperial IPA screams “Drink Me!” This beer also comes in at a drink and fall asleep(™) 10% ABV.

This Imperial IPA pours a light orange and has a nice white head. It is perfectly clear and looks great with light passing through it. The nose is full of rich hops. Citra is clearly the hop at play in this beer. If you ever want to find out what a particular hop smells and tastes like, finding a single hop style of beer is the way to go. Homebrewing makes this task a bit easier. Citra has notes of citrus (duh), grapefruit, and other tropical fruits. The hops are bright and round. I really love everything about how this beer smells. Even more impressive than the fresh hop aroma is the lack of any trace of alcohol.

On a first tasting a slight malt sweetness with light caramel can be found. After that the flood gates of hops open and the hop flavors flow in fast and wonderfully. All of the flavors mentioned in the aroma are present in the flavor of this beer. The hops are solidly biting and slightly grassy. This beer leaves your mouth while making your inhale a bit to counteract the bitterness. The body on this beer is nice and creamy as well which helps the sipper crowd out there.

This is an excellent example of how a brewery can showcase an ingredient. If you don’t know what Citra is or what it tastes like, this beer will give you an education. Everything from the aroma to the flavor is covered with Citra. It’s truly a wonderful beer that I will be drinking often. (more…)

Beer Review #257 Doublewide IPA

12-30-03For my last beer review of the year I decided to go after a big imperial IPA. Doublewide IPA from Boulevard Brewing Company rocks in at 8.5% ABV. The bottle says, “Relax. It’s twister proof.” A long time ago I was a meteorology major (my wife actually is a meteorologist) and tornadoes have a special place in our house. They scare the hell out of me and also fascinate me to no end. The bottle art on this beer is interesting to say the least. It’s a bit of a departure from their other Smokestack Series labels.

Doublewide IPA pours a nice clear orange color and has a white soapy head. For a high alcohol beer the head lasts a long time and never fully fades into the beer. The nose is packed with hops. Citrus and pine ring out of this one along with a little heat. I didn’t get any malt flavor, the hops really overpower everything else.

Unlike what the nose promises, there is a good amount of malt sweetness on the first taste. A really solid punch of hops comes in after that and cleans out any sweetness that was there. The hop flavors are very much like what the nose said they would be. The hops are clean and crisp and do not get muddled in with anything else going on in the beer. I didn’t get any heat in the beer, even as it warmed.

I really dig this beer. It’s super hoppy but very drinkable. Unlike some imperial IPAs that are loaded with hops and nothing else, this beer maintains a surprising balance. I really like this one and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the mood for some hops. (more…)

Beer Review #238 Hoptimum

Recently I have really been in the mood for IPAs. I brewed a Belgian IPA a month ago and I am brewing an American IPA this weekend. But before these beers were ready, I had to satisfy my need desire for a solid IPA. In comes Hoptimum from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. I didn’t know anything about this beer when I grabbed it other then the fact that I loved the bottle art (I’m such a sucker for good bottle art). When I got home I got around to reading the label and I was met with a “whole cone imperial IPA. 100 IBUs. 10.4% ABV.” Well that sounds like something that might fix my desire for a solid IPA.

Hoptimum pours a nice orange color with a medium thick white head. It looks like an IPA and the head stuck around longer then I would have thought with the high ABV percentage. The nose is packed with hops. This thing screams hops. In my opinion a lot of Sierra Nevada hop odors tend to be on the piney side and this beer is no exception. I also picked up a slight twinge of heat.

The taste is just raw, intense hops. I didn’t really get anything in the malt world, but just piney, delicious hops. This beer certainly hit the mark for a guy who wanted a solid IPA. I wouldn’t want a newcomer to craft beer to even sniff this one, but for me, it was perfect. (more…)