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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.
very good

306 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 306
Hads: 644
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 19.84%
Wants: 21
Gots: 47 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alpha Dog Imperial IPA Alström Bros
Reviews: 306 | Hads: 644
Photo of jrallen34
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Rochefort glass...Tons of carbonation on this, gushers everywhere. A dark honey gold with a light tope head of about three fingers. Very good retention and lacing, especially for an ipa...Aroma is too light, mostly grapefruit, acid, and light pine on the back. Too light for an imperial...Taste is light citrus to start with a pine resin finish, but its light and pretty to drink, not for a hop head despite being an imperial.

A decent imperial ipa but nothing more.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

Appearance: orangish brown with 2 finger white head

Smell: sweet malts, hops,

taste: roasted malt backbone, with a hop front end

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, smooth

Drinkability: Glad I got to try it wish it was better then average.



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Photo of DefenCorps
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Grabbed this at State Line last week based on Robert's recommendation. As an aside, I find it a little sad that we can get beers from Idaho in MD but not stuff from Sly Fox.

A: A clear amber body with good clarity and a gorgeous 3-finger thick eggshell-white head that sticks around a while, leaving some really pretty lace. Great stuff

S: Plenty of sharp pine and grapefruit pith on the nose, with a mild caramel sweetness present. Mild biscuit-like malt is present and the combination of the hop and malt aroma is pretty good. Definitely herbal, with a mild minty aroma. Solid. As it warms up, alcohol is apparent on the nose, which is perplexing given the low ABV

T: Average. Opens with a sharp pine bitterness blended with a caramel sweetness. I doubt it's because the beer is old, because the hops definitely are fresh. The balance leans strongly towards the bittering hops, with reduced flavor hops, and plenty of malt, viz., not my idea of a great DIPA. Finishes dry with an overwhelming bitterness.

M: Medium-light with crisp carbonation. The bitterness is a bit overwhelming, and not in a good way. Moderately resiny on the palate.

D: This is not my idea of a great DIPA, but it achieves what it aspires to be - bitter and sweet. One glass is enough for me.

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Photo of ccrida
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a nonic, Alpha Dog is dusty burnt gold with a large, dense, barley off-white head with super long last that leaves heavy hunks of foamy lace. I like a paler IPA, and the head is ridiculous, like a bottle conditioned Belgian, so fine, tight and rocky!

Smell is strong hops, piney, but there is a woody like earthiness that really reminds me of thick hop stems of something, herbal as well.

Taste is strait up weird. First impression was, oddly enough, peanut butter. Subsequent sips confirm that as the initial flavor, but it further brings a resinous (albeit very woody) hop flavor, just a unusual flavor profile from the clearly strong hops. I just don't know what to make of this, it's strait up nutty - and I don't just mean the taste. There's a firm bitterness, some (almost burnt) toast malt, and pretty abrupt finish, with a sweeter hop aftertaste. All over the place! But unique for sure. While it wasn't served fridge temp, it had been in one about 2 hrs prior to serving and still felt pretty cold. But as it warmed up, more 'traditional' pine resin hop notes came out, as did a balancing sweetness. But these were really more hints of normalcy, which this was always far from being!

Mouthfeel is super oily, teeth coating, and medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, even if this is the most bizarre DIPA I've ever had. I really dig the over the top hop flavors without an indulgent ABV as is sometimes found in other west coast hop bomb versions of the style. I'd love to know what kind of hops this used, a crazy DIPA for sure! Will I buy it again? Probably, to send to friends just to show them what this bad boy is all about! One of those 'have to try' DIPAs if you love the style, as I do, even if not the best. While I didn't love the first sip, by the last, I was digging it, and had to bump it up a 1/2 point. Also, a good value. Better served on the warmer side. I've always preferred hoppy beers colder, but this is the 2nd big DIPA I've had in a row that has challenged that notion...

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a rather average, though appealing, clear amber with a very thick, fluffy, frothy and persistent white head that leaves some serious lacing. Aroma is strong and hoppy with a firm overtone of grapefruit and a hint of sweet orange. Flavor is fairly hoppy with an evergreen hint but just a little bitterness, as well as a strong citrus tone and some malty underpinnings. Edgy texture is rough and fizzy so it dances on the tongue and all the way down. This is indeed an "alpha dog" among Imperial IPAs!

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Photo of Durge
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This shows a light copper color with a pretty big frothy off-white head and good lacing. The aroma is a relatively mild piney hops and grassy malt, sort of a cardboard quality as I have identified in many brews before, not necessarily a problem. The flavor is malt heavy with the pine/herbal hop background. It's grassy and earthy, mildly carbonated with a solid body feel that is easy enough to drink for the style. It has an odd hop expression that gathers at the back of your mouth, not a bad thing but a bit different. Kind of a burnt cedar quality, not in my wheelhouse, hard to describe. But it is by no means a bad brew. Not the best dipa I've had but a pretty good quality beer that may slide into a barleywine in some minds.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.83/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a very clear, light copper/dark gold color with a very fine-bubbled white head. Very sticky lace and the retention is nice.

Juicy tropical and citric hops jump out right away. Not quite as vibrant and big as some of the finest of the DIPA ilk, but plenty nice. Malts and what I am assuming is yeast flash some caramel apple backdrop with a distinct hazelnut aspect. Interesting.

The light color of this beer disguises a fairly decent malt backdrop...has almost an earthy, maris otter feel to it. The hop flavor is a bit tamer than I would prefer, although it does drop lots of resin throughout the sip. Bitterness is pretty big on the back end and lingers long. Pretty good DIPA here, not quite top tier, but Id like to drink it again and quite a deal at 4.99 a bomber...too bad there is not a freshness date on the bottle.

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Photo of drpimento
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Great little bro to the DD. I let this warm a bit out of the fridge. Poured with a very nice, cream colored, foamy, super frothy, head that slowly subsided and loads of lace. Color is a hazy amber with a couple of hard to find tiny bubble trails. Aroma is yeast, hop, wet grain, fruit, grass. Taste is like nose; not sweet, quite bitter, low carbonic tang. Body is good; carbonation subdued, and overall a bit soft. Finish is like flavor, fairly long and resiny.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a golden orange color with a one finger head of creamy looking white foam. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a good level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is big of an earthy and grassy hop smell with a rather strong showing of a bready aroma. Along with these hop and bready smells, comes some lighter hop notes of a grapefruit citrus accompanied by some sweeter aromas of tangerine and a hint of a tropical fruit smell of pineapple and mango.

Taste – The taste begins with a rather bready taste mixed with a decent showing of some grapefruit and earthy hop. A little bit of a pineapple, tangerine, and mango are upfront as well, with these flavors losing intensity as the taste moves on further to the end. Along with the loss of the tropical fruit, comes some herbal and more earthy hop tastes. This all results in a more dry and dankly hopped taste, and with a hint of a warming alcohol that comes at the end, one is left with a rather dank and crisp taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thinner side with a carbonation level that is rather average. While for a 2xIPA I usually like a bit more thickness and less carbonation, for the drier and more dank taste profile, the thinness and more light nature of the body were actually rather complimenting.

Overall- A rather nice more dankly hopped Imperial IPA. This was a rather enjoyable brew overall.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from bottle into a Delerium Tremens snifter. Pours a nice golden yellow with a two finger massively frothy off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, hop, and citrus. The flavor followed the nose with malt, hop, and citrus. It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall this was a nice IIPA with a very nice hop and malt backbone that blended well together and kept the brew nice and balanced. I would really love to have this one on tap to compare and see if this balance is preserved. Glad this one is readily available in my area currently.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, orange citrus to a light pine. In the taste, sweet orange citrus to a pine dryness, again, tastes just like the smell. A small hop bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry orange citrus like aftertaste. Nice mix of orange citrus to pine and hides the ABV, a very nice beer.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.54/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears slightly hazy, orangish golden color. thin white head that disipates to a frothy covering. strong aroma of piney hops. slight citrus.

taste doesn't have much malt, hops dominate - earthy pine is the stand out flavor. thin to medium body, with medium to high carbonation.

overall - just average for the style, needs more malt to back up the aggressive hopping in my opinion.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.25/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of Pencible
3.94/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a nearly clear gold with a bit of white head. It smelled like grapefruit and pineapple and orange, with some caramel. It tasted like grapefruit and apricot, with some orange and copper hops and caramel malt. It was watery with a bit of carbonation, and had a bitter aftertaste. Overall this had a pretty nice, clean flavor along with good body. It hid the alcohol well, so it was pretty easy to drink. However, it could use a bit more malt sweetness to balance the intense bitter hops. It was still enjoyable, but it smelled better than it tasted, and didn't leave a lasting impression.

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Photo of Rutager
4.11/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours an appealing hazy straw colour. Nice white, one finger head that lasts a while leaving some chunky lacing.

Smell. Cirtus peels and piney hops with some bready yeast.

Taste. Oily, bitter white grapefruit and a little orange. A little toasty light malt. Bitterness lasts and lasts. Real nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium carbonation.

Drinkability. A pretty good drinker. Could use another glass from this bomber ;-)

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Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber courtesy of SirChugaLot poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear light golden amber with a big fluffy white head that leaves sheets of lacing and settles in as a small cap after a few minutes.

The aroma is very sweet with lots of light citrus hop aromas, especially oranges and grapefruits. There are some caramel malts as well as a bit more pine hops as it warms.

The taste follows the aroma but has a bit more aggressive hop bitterness than in the aroma. The opening flavors are the citrus hops which give way to the sweetness of the caramel malt base, which makes more than just an appearance. The finish has a solid pine hop bitterness that lingers for a while.

The mouthfeel is sticky with hops and has a nice soft carbonation that helps carry the light to medium body.

This is another solid DIPA from the West Coast and, while not the hoppiest or most complex, the bomber went way, way too fast. Very good.

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Photo of FLima
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber color with a two finger thick head with medium retention but leaving lots of laces.
Different aroma mixing earthy notes with resin pined hops, condiments and hints of citrus and non-sweet mangos.
Interesting flavor of bold peppery yeasts, grapefruit, resin, honey and pine. All on a malty base with slightly toasted grains and a hint of smoked. Although it has 127 IBUs, it does not punch you right away in your face, but its bitterness level keep accumulating in your tasting buds, resulting in a dry aftertaste with a prolonged bitterness that does not go away.
Full body, a bit viscous and with low carbonation. 8% ABV is timid versus its flavors and mouth feel.
Superior brew for who likes intense experiences. Very unique and bold DIPA, kind of mutating a Dead Guy Ale into a DIPA. Spicy, hoppy, flavorful, creative, westy and relatively balanced, what else to ask? This is a treaty recommended for pros and hopheads. As Jim said, the west is the best.

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Photo of gtermi
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: his beer pours a very nice golden orange body with a thick white that slowly fades and leaves a lot of lace on the glass.

S: A VERY strong amount of hops and sweet malt. I am getting a nice amount of pine and a little bit of fruitiness.

T: There is a nice hop flavor, but it's not too overpowering. I am getting a sweetness from the malt and the hops are coming as piny and even a little peppery.

M: This has a nice fully body and has a strong amount of crispness all over the tongue and down my throat.

O: This is a pretty solid beer, but would never go out of my way to buy this. I would for sure say try it though if you haven't had it.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a partially hazy medium orange color with a 1 inch white head that sticks to the sides of the glass like cotton candy, not much in the way of carbonation.

S - Spicy biscuity malt, citrus, some pine, a little floral character.

T - Hops hit the tongue early on and remains throughout, building in bitterness all the way to the end. Biscuity and toasty caramel malt lays a nice base, some spicy and floral character as well. The hop bitterness is somewhat resiny and there is some pine bitterness mixed in. The bitterness has some crisp bite to it, no pun intended.

M - Solid medium body, slick on the tongue, long lingering semi-dry grapefruit and pine finish.

O - Laughing Dog did a nice job with this beer, I'd buy this one again and it's worth checking out, especially if you're a hop head. The 8.7% seems just right, just enough, but not too much.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear pale orange body beneath a one-inch head of moderately dense white foam; good retention and some sporadic lacing. Good, not great looking beer.

S: Mildly spicy, orangey hops dominate, with a hint of caramel malt in the background. Straightforward and pleasant.

T: Less spicy than the nose, with the hop profile drifting more towards grapefruit and pine. Still plenty of sweet caramel malt to keep things balanced before the bitter, astringent finish swoops in. Nice, if a touch less hoppy than I might like.

M: Solid medium body with a restrained amount of fine, soft carbonation. Quite pleasant.

D: The finish and aftertaste a touch too astringent for my taste (especially since the up-front hop presence isn't nearly enough to justify off-the-chart puckering), but the balance within each sip keeps me coming back for more. Not bad.

Notes: I picked this one up on a whim (and since I'd never had a beer from Idaho before), and was pretty pleasantly surprised. While far from spectacular, it's a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable DIPA, and one that I wouldn't mind having again.


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Photo of cokes
4.05/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.99/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A pretty clear copper colored ale with a slim layer of head.

A bright smelling beer. Lemon, grapefruit and prickly pear.

Smooth tasting, malty beginning gives way to a dull bitterness that hits the back of the mouth. The malt is in the body of the taste, not sweet but balanced nicely with the hops..

Smooth texture, almost creamy, medium body, low carbonation.

A great beer.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good DIPA. A reliable brew for the style.

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Image of a canine in the dark looking straight to the viewer with pack behind. No description other than generic front label and brand identity. Lacks date of bottling, neither shows IBUs or °Plato, nor Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Medium amber body with a medium bubbly head. Medium to short retention with good lacing and a surface memory of the foam.

S - Hoppy, light and fresh scent with a predominant citrus note, tangerine and pine.

T - Hoppy profile with the predominant tangerine-citrus range following the smell and a good malt counterbalance lifting up the hops.

M - Medium body, nicely carbonated, with a pleasing crispness.

D - Good DIPA drinkability, feels enjoyable and has a good DIPA range and finish.

Notes: Nothing much remarkable of the brew other than its marked tangerine nose, but it is a good and pleasing DIPA, albeit a bit generic for the style.

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 306 ratings.