Alpha Dog Imperial IPA - Laughing Dog Brewing

Not Rated.
Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

305 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 305
Hads: 637
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 8.44%
Wants: 20
Gots: 46 | 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
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Reviews: 305 | Hads: 637
Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled 6/4/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some good spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge grapefruit, orange zest, pine, lemon zest, grass, floral, pineapple, caramel, honey, earth, and herbal spiciness. Excellent aromas with great balance, hop complexity, and strength; very enjoyable. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, pine, floral, grass, pineapple, lemon zest, honey, and herbal spiciness. Good amount of piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pineapple, pine, floral, honey, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a while. Excellent balance of hop flavor complexity, with a good malt backbone and no cloying flavors at all; very clean hoppy flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly slick and sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding DIPA! Great hop flavor balance and complexity; with a nice crisp body and well balanced malt backbone. Very smooth to sip on as well. One of the best DIPAs I have ever had for sure. Incredibly enjoyable stuff. (1,260 characters)

Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden amber color with nice white head and lots of sticky lacing along sides of glass.

Nice tagarine and lemon smell.

Taste of honey and orange with some lemon rind presence. Nice hoppy bitter finish. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of nice carbonation.

Overall this was a very nice IPA. Will definitely buy this again. (351 characters)

Photo of IPApadawan
4.57/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes great, very hoppy and robust. I had it for my first time about a couple of months ago. I cannot get enough of this beer. I would highly recommend drinking it. It goes down smooth but it has a certain bite for the after taste. The price is on the high side, but for someone like me, I'm willing to dish out some serious coin to try new beers. (348 characters)

Photo of DM1293
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong notes of malt and pine hops, a bit oily and a bit floral. A citrus-grapefruit taste cuts in and helps round the beer out, but this needs some better balance. On the whole, its still a pretty good DIPA, but its a bit wild on the notes. If that doesn't bother you, give it a shot. But if you like focus or balance to your DIPA's, go elsewhere. (348 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a bright, slightly hazy golden color with a small white cap, that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S: Pine needles, orange peel and a whiff of caramel

T: Pine needles up front with an immediate IBU presence, light booze coupled with orange peel and some some light flowers. Caramel present from start to finish. Finish is a a bit dry and bitter

M: Medium body with good carbonation, IBUs hit the palate hard. Pine and citrus cling to the palate along with caramel and honey, a bit sloppy on the end

O: Not to bad, a good rep for the style, not something I would go for again but not bad but I would question the 127IBU's (638 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (406 characters)

Photo of harrymel
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ABV 8.5%. Bottled 15MAR12

Pours golden with an etched surface of whites. Brilliant clarity. Nose with resin, grapefruit, pine, chewable vitamins, sweet honey malt and a hint of lemon. Bitter with good dry malt flavor and a ton of hop character. Plenty of west coast here: weed, grass and pine. Medium bodied with moderate carb and a wet finish. Nice beer. (356 characters)

Photo of BackStallion
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very near transparent amber with a baby wrist of head.

S - A powerful aroma that surrounds the nose with hops and charges right in full force, leaving one temporarily stunned.

T - At first taste the hops are readily apparent but it soon transforms into a powerful fruity blend with a finish that grabs you by the balls with its teeth, applies a half rotation in the counter-clockwise direction, and refuses to let go.

M - moderate

O - Once the cap is removed from this beer it is too late. Seemingly out of nowhere, hops charge at you and relentlessly assault your senses until all is finished. While most beers would feel it sensible to back off at some point, Alpha Dog refuses to stop until the bitter end. Some may describe this daring combination of hops as idiotic, but this beer sends a message: it is not one to be fucked with. (843 characters)

Photo of cragus
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650mL bottle into snifter
A - Pours a clear amber with a finger of white head.
S - Citrusy hops, grapefruit, pineapple, and pine.
T - Up front bitterness with a herbal piney tang; a note of grapefruit is also present in the beer.
M - Moderate body with a medium amount of carbonation and a long finish. An astringent character is noticeable.
O - A decent IPA; however, it lacks in overall complexity and cohesiveness. There are plenty of hops there, but I don't feel like its the right mix of hops, malt, etc. I would get it again, but it would not be my first choice. In short, it's good, but it doesn't feel like the recipe is quite as refined as it could be. (661 characters)

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, the beer poured a almost clear orange gold, and produces a nice two finger high white creamy head. Good retention and good lacing.
The smell is a complex mixture of fruity hops and pine, with malt and caramel in the back.
The taste is likewise, with the fruit and pine hops up front, backed by a nice malt backbone. Nice balanced aftertaste, not sweet nor bitter. A true balance.
This is a exceptional beer and a must try! (448 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received a bottle as an Easter gift. 22-oz bomber poured into a large snifter. Laughing Dog's website says this was brewed with Columbus and Mt. Hood hops and with Pale, Honey, and Munich malts. 8% ABV and 127 IBUs.

A: Pours a tad cloudy golden orange with nice carbonation and a decent frothy white head.

S: Smells even with the malts & hops. Hops smell mostly piney and the malts give a honey-like sweet underlying character. Has a bit doughy like character. A little too sweet to be an Imperial IPA, but I really don't know how old the bottle is or what the handling condition was.

T: Starts sweet with the honey-like flavors mostly dominating, then a rush of piney hops. Can tell this one was well hopped. Has a sort of pine sap-like kick to it towards the middle and end which is pretty prominent. Some pepper or spicy notes as well. Alcohol is well hidden, but I get a swift kick of ethyl alcohol notes at the tail end.

M: Quite bitter. I was skeptic of the 127 IBUs but they sure seem like they're there (if there really is a measure of >100 IBUs). Feels medium full. Seems somewhat sweet due to the heavy dose of hops added.

O: A nice IPA. Hops take the showcase here. Would like to have this one fresh to really gauge the "imperial" aspect, though. For today's standards, an imperial at 8.5% ABV is somewhat tame. Nonetheless, a quality brew from a brewery I never heard of until now. Will give some of their other beers a try. Besides, I am a dog lover and am having this one in celebration of my dog's recent 1-year old birthday. Cheers! (1,560 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with nice lacing and retention on a cloudy golden with orange hue body.

S: aroma is overall a little light. mild malt with pine and citrus.

T: strong malt presence up front with the earthy, pine and grassy hops rounding out the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the hop character is really nice for this one. Simple but the flavors mix well. (391 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top of a slightly hazy, dark golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - Light caramel malt, spicy hops and some pine.

T - Caramel and sweet toffee up front with some pine. More pine and spicy hops in the middle with dry toasted grain character. Finishes with some harsh bitterness and more dry malt.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - The hop character falls a little flat in the nose and delivers an unflattering sharp, harsh bitterness. The dry, grainy character exacerbates the harsh bitterness by creating a husky finish without any sweetness. (647 characters)

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: cloudy amber head is thing but body is obviously bubbly with a 1/4' white head.

Smell: You know it smells real good, but it is light. Light floral.

Taste: Comes off bitter, but not as impressing as some other imperial IPAs. Hints of wood, but impressively creamy...reminds you a little of an octoberfest/marzen style that would compliment a steak with the best of them.

Mouth: Med-heavy carbonation, tingles your mouth with flavor.

Overall: I would definitely buy this again, it is a little different and it's after taste is good enough to say "gimmme a little more". I hope you all enjoy, Salud! (644 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (383 characters)

Photo of vic21234
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. No bottled on date info stamped on the bottle.

A- Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger and a halfs worth of head. The head dissipates into a bubbly film along the top with some lacing along the sides of the glass. Looks good.

S- Really reminds me of a DFH IPA, maybe like a 90 minute. Smells rather sweet and malty. Not much hop aroma except for some slight pine notes. Not a bad thing necessarily, but not the smell I want from an IPA.

T- Starts off rather bitter with a hit of the piney resin hop presence. Afterwards just seems overly malty with not much else going on.

M- Bitter, dry, leaves more to be desired from a DIPA.

Not a bad beer, but I don't think I'll be buying this again. There are many better DIPAS around here on the shelf. (787 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Light copper orange, grape juice. 1/2 inch head with some decent lacing.

Smell - Hops, lots of caramel malts, some spices. A little pine and grapefruit. Not overly hop strong aroma.

Taste - Strong caramel malts up front. Hops are very bitter, but are actually a little hidden behind the malts. Spices add some peppery and bold flavors. Alcohol is present, and adds some warmth. Some sugar sweetness comes in during the finish.

Mouthfeel - Strong hops and bold malts coat tounge. Alcohol along with some spices warm tounge also. Palette gets remaining hops and malts. Aftertaste is dry, bitter and alcohol influenced.

Overall - More of a malt monster then expected. Its not balanced very well, seems like malts overpower the hops too much and doesnt let the hops give there full effect. Its still tasty but nothing special id ever buy again. (886 characters)

Photo of Nugganooch
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Notes from 03/17/12
Bomber to pint glass

A: The Dog pours a dark murky rusted orange color producing just a thin khaki tan head. Low retention factor with some splotches of lace here and there. Carb seems low as well.

S: Overall I found the aromas to be rather subdued and malt forward with lots of caramel toffee notes. Some pine and citrus aromas, faint as they are.

T: Flavor comes in big on the malted caramels with the hops riding back seat and window down. Juicy yet with some orange citrus and pine notes. Lower bitterness level for a DIPA. Alcohol seems well masked. The flavors are not really complementing one another here. Not the take on a DIPA I particularly enjoy.

M: A bit heavier in body with a somewhat chalky mouthfeel. Not a lot of resinous hoppy linger and finish is wetter than expected.

D: More of a malt forward DIPA that comes off a bit chewy. Some moments of hop juiciness but the flavors did not really come together all that well for me.
Alpha Dog…more like a submissive lil puppy. Was not impressed. I would pass on this one. (1,063 characters)

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer makes a huge fluffy off white head and ends up clear dark orange-copper. A bit dark, but the clarity is nice.

Smell is very malty, kind of like bread, with only a hint of floral hops.

Taste has tons of hop. All earthy bitterness from start to finish, with a little malt in the middle to balance.

It has a lighter medium body, carbonation is on par, needs a little more kick and viscosity though.

I was worried by the aroma, as in, not much hop, fortunately, the taste has plenty of bitter hops, but that's all. Not much complexity, but an above average beer, but not by much.

DOA (593 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
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. (659 characters)

Photo of Strix
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky yellow-orange, nice head.

Citrus in the smell, also malty and bready.

Pretty piney, along with an alcoholic maltiness. Not bad at first, heading towards grassy and even buttery as it warmed.

Mouthfeel on target.

Passable but not a standout in the field. (263 characters)

Photo of Kendo
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber (split two ways with a friend) into a Duvel tulip. Body is orangey-amber with a 2-finger khaki-colored head. Leaves good lacing.

S: Very nice. Fresh, juicy citrus - mainly grapefruit - and a touch of pine.

T: Nice caramel malt foundation. Followed by good citrusy hops - oranges and grapefruit. Then finishes with heat felt in the belly, but not really noted in the taste. Piney, dry hoppy bitterness coats the palate - a moisture-sucking dry, hoppy bitterness.

M: Slightly slick in feel. Medium in heft.

O: Good stuff. My half of the bomber was gone way too quickly. (598 characters)

Photo of kornkid8600
2.33/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Good color, clear and unfiltered, head dissipates quickly.

S: Pine/citrus smells, a breadiness comes through, alcohol as well. Not a good sign.

T: Lots of high bittering hops, the malt body not much of the citrus smell I was getting. A lot of alcohol when swallowed and a long lasting bitterness. Again, not good.

M: Body was fine, not too thin not too thick just about right.

O: All in all, the beer has a few things done right, but those are insignificant compared to the most important thing to me, and that is TASTE. Taste is awful, I thought it was unbalanced, way too much alcohol, not enough sweetness to counteract the ridiculous amount of bittering hops used.

Beyond the bittering hops, not much flavor/aroma as it sohuld have had. There was a sllight breadiness I just don't like in my beer in the smell and the taste I'm not sure if it was my bottle or if that was intended but I dislike that quality.

Besides that, I thought there was almost a fusal alcohol quality about this beer and it was just undrinkable. Poured my glass down the drain because it was a poorly made beer overall.

Overall, one of the worst DIPAs I've had and I love the DIPA style but at $8 for a bomber, I felt robbed. (1,217 characters)

Photo of HardTarget
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Bright amber yellow glass with a bit of haze. Holds a solid white head and leaves lacing and tide marks on the glass.

Smell: Fresh cut grass, citric and earthy bitter on a base of malt. Hops are fresh and a bit floral, very inviting.

Taste: Lots of hop flavor but only a mild bitter. Deep flavor that doesn't get heavy. Really good job here finding balance while showing off some great hop tastes. Doesn't get acidic or tea like, just fresh squeezed hop juice.

Mouthfeel: A bit gassy to start but quickly boiled off to a fairly limp glass. Oily texture in a medium body.

Overall: Tasty beer. Some mild irritants like the carbonation and chill haze hold me back from really showing some love in the scores. Still, wouldn't mind having this again and am glad to see it on Texas shelves. (801 characters)

Photo of BeardedRiker
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
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. (2,863 characters)

Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.