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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA - Laughing Dog Brewing

Not Rated.
Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

631 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 631
Reviews: 303
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.94%
Wants: 20
Gots: 42 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing visit their website
Idaho, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bitterthebetter on 02-14-2009

A true hop bomb brewed plenty of Columbus and Mt Hood hops for a piney hop character. Premium Pale, Honey and Munich malt make this beer a little less malty but packing plenty of hop punch.

127 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 631 | Reviews: 303
Reviews by Joshpu:
Photo of Joshpu
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a duvel glass.

A: Poured a hazy golden orange with an off-white four finger head. Good amount of carbonation. Wow, the head hangs around forever.

S: Has a piney hop and grassy smell. A floral smell with maybe a spice.

T: Wow very different... It has this spicy grassy kind of taste. Very piney hop/spicy bitter taste.

M: Medium bodied, it's pretty easy to drink, pretty crisp and dry. It does feel pretty well carbonated.

O: Overall it's an okay beer, it's definitely different so it has that going for it. I'm sure they have loyal followers or people that like this taste, but its just not really my style. It just has this weird sort of grassy/spicy flavor to it. Maybe I got an old one, but there's no date so I would have no clue.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.38/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I gotta say I have been really impressed with pretty much all the Laughing Dog line of beers,I think more impressed than most here on BA have been.Starts off with a perfect pour,I dont put a 5 down much but the pour here is worthy,a burnt orange infused medium golden with a perfect creamy white crown that leaves one big continuous ring of soap scum-like lace as it settles into a creamy mass.Resinous and citric hops dominate the nose along with some sugary sweet notes,the good thing here is the hops dominate,not overly sweet.The palate isnt to sweet like way to many of the style,the hops citric in character are the main event here,citrus and pine overtop of a sweet alcohol base,again the sweet alcohol base is underneath the big hops.I really like this beer,it is what the style should be more about in my humble opinion.

Photo of RoyalT
3.25/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a beautiful ale. It is clear, dull orange in color, with a massive off-white head.

Smell – There’s a wonderful mix of strong orange, light lemon, and a bit of fresh pine to this nose. The malts are light and sweetish, laced with caramel and a bit of spice.

Taste – The hops find there way to the taste but the lack of malt flavor makes this a one-sided lightweight.

Mouthfeel – This was the ale’s weak point. It is incredibly light for the style. I wouldn’t call it light-bodied but it’s not far off. There’s some annoying bitterness that would be OK with a bigger malt sweetness but again the malts are completely absent. The carbonation is flat which again is OK for a big, thick, DIPA but here makes it somewhat boring in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This ale is actually quite smooth so went down well but I definitely won’t buy again.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy gold pour with forgettable head (that's what she said)with a good amount of visible carbonation. The smell is as per typical, hop heavy, mostly of fruit. The taste is good but a bit refined for an advertised "big beer". THere is nothing wrong with this beer except for its advertising. If you are an Imeperial IPA or American-Double, you ahve to come harder than this. This brew only suffers from an identity issue. The body is good and smooth on the pallet, I would qualify this effort as definately drinkable, just a bit misslabeled.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #34 (Nov 2009):

Boasting over 120 IBUs.

Head retention is not a problem and the haze is a given. Hops, malt and yeast battle it out in the nostril ... win given to the hops by style default, with orangey tobacco notes and a doughy-biscuit maltiness underneath. Toasted grain jumps out and sticks to the taste buds. Hop bitterness is there with a slight peppering of flavor middle to end. Earthy with a mint leaf note in the finish.

Crazy ... crazy flavors here. Not the most together DIPA, but it does end up landing on its feet with a good balance of malt base and hop suppression. The choppy, craggy hoppiness will be appreciated by veteran hopheads.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.54/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

In a snifter this beer was an amber color with a small tan head. There was a little bit of lace.

Aroma was pine and citrus, with a little bit of caramel.

Taste followed form. Predominately pine, some grapefruit. Tiny bit of caramel.

A hop bomb. Malt very much in the background.

I'd try this again.

Photo of merlin48
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber pours a hazy amber body with a small, but sturdy, bone head that lasts several minutes and leaves patchy lace.

Aroma is surprisingly subdued. Hints of pine, grapefruit, and lemon peel. Just a faint note of toasted caramel.

Medium body and carbonation with an earthy and grainy presence.

Taste is skewed toward an earthy hop bitterness. Dry and grainy pale malt base serves up very little sweetness and is unable to balance the in your face hop bitterness. Hops are dry and grassy, hints of grapefruit and pine, but citrus rind is the overwhelming sensation and it's bitter and heavyhanded. Some alcohol is picked up, surprising for the relatively low content, and adds a peppery note that doesn't blend in. Finishes with a lasting earthy and rind bitterness.

Lots of heavyhanded hop bitterness in this one. I just don't care a lot for these unbalanced hop bombs

Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle, $8.60 at Spirit Haus in Amherst, Ma. No freshness info to be found.

Pours a slighlty lighter amber then expected for the style. Dense and nice looking head, puffy and retentive, off white, slowly goes to merainge then a collar and leaves copious amounts of super fine low sheets and upper window panes of lace. Nice looking beer.

Bright nose of orange peel and citric and earthy hops.

Bold, fresh tasting and flavorful DIPA. Plenty of gooey hop notes, resiny, citric, bright and freshly flavorful.

Carbonation on the calm side, not prickly at all in the mouth.

Final pours brings out some cloudy and clumpy yeasties into the glass.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Go get some if available in your area, or if you make it to Amherst sometime soon. I'll hopefully pick up a few more bottles next time I'm in town.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a yellow-orange color with a large white head. The aroma has a lot of orange citrus and pine notes, as well as a little bit of biscuit malt. The flavor is similar. I get a lot of orange and bitter resin notes from the hops, as well as a good bit of alcohol. The level of bitterness is about medium. I get a medium mouthfeel and the carbonation level is medium as well.

Photo of Kraken
3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 9/19/09

I have been sitting on this for about two months now, not a good thing to do with IPAs. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a standard shaker glass. Moderate pour fails to call forth much of a head, lacing is sub-standard at best. Color is a perfectly clear, slightly copper tinged amber.

Nose- Some sweet caramel notes, a tinge of citrus zest. Not as much as I would have expected. Sniffing the opened bottle offers up and entirely different, more concentrated nose.

Pallate- Seems to shine in this department. Very heavy on the caramels. Concentrated orange, lemon and grapefruits. The hops are more spicy then floral. Bitter yet well balanced. Alcohol is well hidden. Moderate bitterness in the close coupled with a buttery smooth finish.

Mouthfeel- Oily, a bit dry, perhaps a little under carbonated.

Drinkability- Very drinkable for an imperial IPA. Although might question its status as imperial.

Photo of far333
3.62/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazed apricot color with an unexpected three finger head that lingered long and made me have to wait to dig in.

Aroma of tangerine and orange rind hops, and some honey malt.

Flavor of honey malt and citrus hops upfront, but the flavor is pushed around by carbonation bubbles and tingles. Hops move to the forefront, grapefruit rind and pine. ABV adds some warmth. Firm hop bitterness lingers.

Tingly mouthfeel, highly carbonated, a bit too much. Tasty beer, but could be more complex and better balanced from both a flavor and mouthfeel perspective.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on bottle and on tap, doesn't lose anything either way. Good light orange appearance, ample head. Aroma was sweet and hoppy, good touch.

Taste, super hoppy, a hop forward dipa that isn't overcome by sweetness, malt or alcohol. Orange and maybe pine, pineapple to a much lesser degree. Certainly has a great deal of bitterness, but when coupled with a great deal of hop mouthfeel, we're in happy beerandraiderfan territory. Bitter, hoppy, dry, that's how I like 'em.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a pale copper hue with a bright white head forming thick, this beer is awesome..fine intricate lacing forms nicely with hints of sugar hops and alcohol in the nose...the Alpha dog has come to play...fiery notes of hop juice and malt sugar come with a green bitterness, I'm loving the hops. The flavor is beautiful with big citric, earthy hop flavor and bitterness with a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied has me burping with a touch of alcohol and carbonation, very classic feel...the body has some resinous hop oils coating the palate. Overall a very aggressive DIPA that enjoyed, I think it's safe to say that I like Laughing Dog's beers.

Photo of chinchill
3.97/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

undated 22 oz. bomber served in pint glass

A light pour resulted in a bit of foam rising up and over the rim with only about 2 inches of liquid. Not surprising, since removing the cap produced a rising foam that had to be poured immediately to prevent spillage. Medium/light amber beer was hazy with visible carbonation and a gigantic but not dense off-white sudsy head that has extraordinary durability. Super head reappeared on 2nd and 3rd pours.

Piney hops with a nice caramel malt backbone. Hints of vanilla and citrus.

Taste follows aroma, by and large, with an fine crisp finish and a long-lasting hoppy aftertaste.

M - full with a noticeable bite from the hops and carbonation

Photo of degerbah
3.36/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale yellow that is almost transparent. Very little head at all and what little there is dies away quickly without any lacing at all. The aroma is hoppy, but not nearly as hoppy as I would have thought given the style. The taste is overpoweringly hoppy. The hop flavor is more of a fruity tasting hop that sticks on the tongue for a long time after each sip. the mouthfeel is slightly gritty, whish isn't unusual for a DIPA. Not at all my favorite DIPA. I think its a little too harsh for wasy drinkability and the aftertaste sticks in my mouth so long that I don't really want to take another sip.

Photo of biboergosum
3.87/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Nice to be able to finally try this one, after it being 'out of season' when I was at the brewery a few years back.

This beer pours a mildly hazy, medium golden straw hue, with two fingers of puffy, rocky, off-white head, which leaves a solid array of cobweb lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of musty grapefruit and orange rind, wet pine, bready, meaty caramel malt, further floral, spicy hops, and a soft twinge of warming alcohol. The taste is bitter, indistinct citrus pith, green pine needles, clammy caramel malt, a hint of burnt toffee, wild grass and fallow hay, black pepper dust, more subtle vegetal spice, and a very tame, suggestive boozy note.

The bubbles are averagely peppy, and duly supportive, the body a decently solid medium weight, and generally smooth, the pent-up hoppiness poking through here and there. It finishes barely off-dry, the mulchy and fruity hops more or less overwhelming the fading malt.

An approachable enough DIPA, the reigned in hop bitterness well wrought through the grassy analogue it assumes. Good, but overall a bit different than your standard (ly awesome) west coast hop and malt bombs, which is perhaps a welcome change, believe it or not. Worth a try, at the very least.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Laughing Dog- Alpha Dog

A- Golden copper brown with a small filmy head. Good lacing on my pint glass.
S- Good thick caramel malt with piney hops and citrus, grapefruit and orange.
T- Thick caramel malt with sweet citrus and earthy green pine hops.
M- Thick sweet malt with an oily bitter pine/ citrus hop finish.

Overall- Solid tasty DIPA. Easily drinkable and cremy!

Photo of jmz62565
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear golden/orange honey with a large tan foamy head that leaves great lacing and lasts. The smell is strong with bread yeast and citrus hops. The taste has a bitter hop harshness to it with bread yeast,citrus hops,alcohol,and pine hops. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing well. My first beer from Laughing Dog, and it was a very good brew.Cheers

Photo of Magpie14
4.5/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a radiant light honey color with golden and bright reddish-yellow tints. Snow white head with huge thick pieces and chunks of whipped topping. Also, the head maintained a strong presence for sometime. Also a large number of bubbles rising to the top, very active. Lacing was a picture in itself...

S: huge bright hops! I am catching mostly whiffs of green pines, floral, earthy, and maybe some cannabis. Does have sizable hints of honey and sweet rich caramel, smells sweet

T: hops are a dirty earthiness with noble pines, grapefruits, floral fodder, and spiciness all around. This has minimal malt distribution, but I do catch a very light biscuity character. Otherwise, a hop popper! The sweet caramel edge is another hidden agenda but does help move things along as a sweet herbal hopped character.
This is one of the more bitter Double IPA's I have had. Hop character is heavy and has a unusual tastiness. The finish at the back bites and snaps the taste buds. What is the IBU on this bad boy? Another thing, alcohol is not even a concern at almost 9%, very well done

M: finishes bitter and has a mild profile that is gentle. For the strong hop profile this guy is not overly sweet and sticky, which is kind of nice. The flavors are raw and powerful with a mild and somewhat polished finish

D: only complaint is that the profile is sometimes lacking balance. However, I find myself enjoying this brew none-the-less! It is a stretch to say that this beer is "too hoppy," not sure if that is possible for a hop lover, like myself. This one caught me off guard...great! The flavor combination just rubs me the right way

Photo of cokes
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep golden bodied with just a touch of smog. The head is off-white, moderate in size and ebbs backs towards the liquid fairly fast, though it leaves the glass painted with lace.
The nose brings glazed donuts, toasted bagels, raw honey, and gobs of pine jelly, burnt cannabis, along with hop-derived apricot, and melons.
Across the lips, it brings an even-tempered malt blanket of honeyed grahams, toast, and caramel. Fruitiness eddies in the middle, bringing tangerines, honeydew melons, apricots, pineapples, peaches, white grapefruits, and pears. The 120+ IBUs of bitterness is supplied by the glowing pine traits that round things up, complimented by smoky marijuana notes as well. It's not as puckeringly bitter or loud as the stats might suggest, but its a hop bomb, and a fairly nuanced one.
Medium+ in body, though seeming a notch lighter with its slowly persistent, perky bubble.
It's kinda scary drinkable, given its specs. I wouldn't scour the world for it, and it's not an all-time favorite, but I'd drink this again, anytime. And hopefully soon.

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Above average DIPA, bomber obtained in trade. A substantive bitterness bit yet not too bitter. Lemon-grapefruit. Big soapy head on light yellow. Good hoppy aroma, perhaps the best part of it. Full mouthfeel. Good drinkability, but may not be as the first beer of the night.

Photo of tdm168
4.21/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - bright orange with a big, tall, soft, pure white head that has great retention

S - sugary sweet malt, bread, batter, grapefruit

T - sugary malts, bread, faint cake batter, piney, bitter, some grapefruit

M - medium to full bodied, warming alcohol, well carbonated

This is a really nice DIPA. I'm impressed by the balance between sweet malts and and pungent hops. There is an intense bitterness here and the alcohol can be detected slightly, but the flavor profile is good enough that nothing seems to slow down my sipping. I really enjoyed this beer.

Photo of BeardedRiker
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's Valentine's Day and my being a single man, I knew the one thing that would satisfy me: a good beer. I have never seen Laughing Dog beers before and after checking BA, I saw that their beers have good reviews. This beer is a decent price too, at about $6. So, here we go with my first Laughing Dog beer.

The slowly-forming head gets thick and creamy, allowing for some to rise above the top of the glass, so there's some good retention. It's off-white and some stays on the surface after fizzing out. There is some fair lacing. The boozy concoction underneath is an amber-ish-orange color and clear. This is a very good-looking beer, and who wouldn't want something good-looking for Valentine's Day?

This smells delicious. Bright orange, peach, and slight tropical citrus combine with a nice, almost rye-ish spiciness. I've decided the spice is piney. The hops, while very citrusy, are also grassy. Malts bring a sort of brick oven-cooked breadiness. Yeast It's also a bit warm, most likely from the 8.5% ABV. I'm catching myself smelling this over and over. This smells different than most IIPAs/DIPAs I've had. It has a deep pine woods sort of smell.

I see some here complain that this is too hoppy of a beer. I don't agree. While it is certainly hoppy, it's complex enough to be balanced (for an IIPA). Much of what's in the smell comes through in the taste. The hops are strong, bitter, acidy, and bring out tropical fruitiness, heavy pine spice and resiny sweetness. There's plenty of malt and yeast to make this a deep and complex beer. That pine forest characteristic comes in and reduces the bitterness though the bitterness definitely sticks around. Let's get one thing straight. This is definitely hoppy but it doesn't have an insane bitterness. It's more of an earthy hoppiness that encompasses more of the smell and flavor rather than just being bitter. I find this IIPA exceptional in the truest sense of the word. Many IIPAs/DIPAs are pretty "clean" in their flavors. The Alpha Dog is not so much. It belongs in the woods!

This has a more heavy body than most beers of the style and I like that. Often IIPAs have more hops and more overall flavor. The Alpha Dog brings more body to the table, thanks to its malts and yeast. In the beginning the hops bring a strong dryness that's combated by the fruity and piney sweetness that lingers on and makes it slick. After drinking there's a bitter hop dryness that stays with you. The body is medium-high but there's some good medium carbonation that keeps it alive.

I'll be honest, this might not be one of my favorite IIPAs, but its characteristics are so different from most others that I'm finding it very interesting. I like it when I like a beer but then am surprised by it at the same time. That's why I say it's exceptional. I look forward to trying more Laughing Dog beers in the future.

Photo of ElGordo
4.42/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a bright golden orange hue, topped by a thin layer of stark white head. Sharp aroma of bitter, citrusy hops, offset very slightly by a hint of mild biscuit malt. Notes of grapefruit and pine are prevalent.
Palate is aggressively hoppy up front, with a decidedly piny note on the tip of the tongue. A flash of biscuity malt comes through before the swallow, only to be lost in a huge wave of grapefruity hops that lasts long after the beer is down the hatch.
Body is maybe a little thin for an imperial IPA, and kind of belies the nearly 9% strength of this number. While not the most complex beer around, if you've looking for a good dose of hops, this more than does the trick. Quite possibly the hoppiest beer available for less than four bucks. Good work.

Photo of cjgator3
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours an amber color with a nice off-white head with good lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is some malt with a good amount of resinous citrusy hops.  Very nice fresh resinous hop aroma with this IPA, can't wait to taste it.

T- The taste like the aroma has some malt up front but the hops are what shine in this beer. There is a lot of really flavorful hops (tons of grapefruit flavor) in this one creating a nice lingering bitterness. 

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this beer from Laughing Dog. This one definitely packs a punch from the hops, good beer that is definitely worth a try.

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
84 out of 100 based on 631 ratings.