The Dead Liver Society #8 – Dogfish Head: 120 Minute IPA
Hello again folks, JAY here with a very special review. Today I am reviewing Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute India Pale Ale, the world’s strongest IPA. Coming in at a rocking 15-22% abv (alcohol by volume, I think this bottle is more towards the 15-18% range which is the lowest abv for this beer in quite some time) depending on the batch, this IPA will get you feeling right with just one 12 oz bottle. That bottle with come at a price however, as just one (1) bottle will cost you anywhere from $9 to $15 depending on how much the store you’re buying it from wants to rip you off. I’ve had this plenty of times before a (even on tap at their brewpub), but each batch of this beer is different. So just for today, I’m going to do things a little differently. I’m just going to write my thoughts on the beer as they pop into my head so you can get my raw opinions. It is now 7:50 EST, so lets see how far I can get before I start writing every other word with typos.
Beer Name: 120 Minute IPA
Brewery: Dogfish Head
Type: Imperial India Pale Ale/Carbonated Bourbon
First off is the artwork on the bottle. Just a simple hop cone on what almost feels like parchment paper. It’s an elegant design for a beer that doesn’t need anything fancy on the label. There’s no abv on this bottle, which is unlike DFH. I’m almost willing to say that is because they themselves can’t properly control how much alcohol is in this beer. It’s a beer that is very difficult to make and maintaining such high alcohol levels must be an insane task to handle. The coolest part of the packaging is the cap, a neon green colored cap with a dogfish ‘hazard’ logo on it, just to make sure you know what you’re getting into (other beers that have this cap include the World Wide Stout, a monster of a beer with 18% abv).
Pouring the beer out at 7:56 EST, the first thing you notice is the great amber color the beer has. There’s very little in terms of a head here, but what is here sticks around for quite a bit. There’s a little carbonation but it doesn’t look to be anything Sprite-like. Smelling it out of the glass, the first thing that hits you is alcohol. Holy crap, this just smells like alcohol. There’s some hop aroma but it’s completely overpowered by the alcohol. Let’s see how this bad boy tastes.
7:59 EST now, and here goes my first sip. This is quite different than I remember. There is a LOT of alcohol, which is to be expected, but there are also nice notes of caramelized sugar to help take the edge off. It feels like a beer, but tastes like a very well made bourbon. As for hops, well, there in the back and they stay on your tongue after you’ve swallowed your sip. Taking a few more sips the hops definitely start to come out more. West Coast IPA this is not, this is definitely more on the maltier side of things. Of course it could always be hoppier, but then the gimmick of being the strongest IPA in the world just wouldn’t be possible. You need an insane amount of sugar to hit these high alcohol levels, as hops alone can’t get you there. As I’m drinking this, what is also quite nice about this beer is that it definitely becomes easier the drink the more you get into it. There’s also plenty of nice lacing to go along with your drinking experience. There’s a nice thick layer of bubbles just sticking to the glass right now and it’s great looking.
8:06 EST, and man I’m already feeling it. The drinking experience definitely gets better with a little buzz on, and now I’m starting to get some great citrus flavors from the hops. They may have lowered the alcohol a bit from when I first had it, but DFH has definitely come away with a much better beer because of it. What was once a novelty beer I think is now a beer that you can have and enjoy for more than just the alcohol. The price won’t help things, but trust me you should definitely try this. Split the price with a friend and you can’t go wrong.
This may not be a worldbeater, but this latest batch I think is close. And still, the gimmick is a great one. Why wouldn’t you want to try one of the strongest beers in the world? It is now 8:12 EST, and I am feeling quite good. Get this beer folks, you won’t be disappointed. Think I’m going to lay down now…………
JAY SAYS 4.5 OUT OF 5 BURPS
Dogfish Head has turned this beer from a gimmick to a winner on its own merits. Try this if you haven’t yet.
Don’t be an asshole. Don’t drink and drive!