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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA - Laughing Dog Brewing

Not Rated.
Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

614 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 614
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.94%
Wants: 21
Gots: 37 | 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:
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 added by: bitterthebetter on 02-14-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 614 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
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.


Photo of Clydesdale
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy, glowing orange-golden color. The modestly tall, white head has a creamy, frothy texture and solid retention. Some soapy lacing sticks to the top of the glass.

S: Some light sugar cookie-ish maltiness in the nose. A tropical/citric hop nose with some mild floral hints. Orange oil, grapefruit, and pineapple notes.

T: A pedestrian pale malt backbone provides some mildly sweet, cookie-like flavor. Nothing to get in the way of a big load of hops. Bitterness is quite firm and assertive, with big doses of citric (grapefruit) and floral flavor. Again, there are mild tropical/pineapple notes.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is medium, with a pleasant, appropriate level of effervescence. A dry, slightly warming finish.

D: This is a solid DIPA, but therein lies the problem. DIPAs aren't supposed to be solid; they're supposed to blow you away in some respect, and this beer doesn't. It is still a tasty beer, but it doesn't have the depth or personality of many of its brethren.

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 dmamiano
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. This one showed a big, sticky, fluffy white head that hung all the way through and laced superbly.
Smell was pure hoppy goodness. Floral, piney and earthy. Bready malts also hitting the nostrils.
Taste was a big assault of hops.
Not traditional citrusy hops, but more floral with strong meminders of pine resin.
Good balance too....malts held there own.

Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of five bottles that would go down on new years to celebrate. My brother in law wanted something hoppy to start and I saw this one sitting in the fridge so we grabbed it. Served cold and split in two pint glasses, this one was consumed on 12/31/2009.

The pour was very nice, rich amber in color with a huge cascading white head that just would not quite no matter what. Really nicely done I have to admit. Even after a few minutes it was still going strong with rich lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Aroma was a hop bomb, cirus filling the air from the first moment and really giving you a nose full. Even warming could not cut through the grapefruit and biting sharp hop notes. Nice medium body was well carbonated and allowed the flavor to really absorb along the palate. First taste is sharp, huge notes of sticky pine and grapefruit rip the tongue but mellow out a bit behind a biscuit like mi palate. Some nice notes of grain plugging through in here I have to say before a smack of hops dries the palate and leaves a bit of a hot boozy note on its way down.

Overall very typical for the style without many flaws at all to note. I would have no issue trying it again.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz bottle into a plastic cup. Emerges slighlty hazy, I am assuming from the hops, and is topped by a large, stark white head that is quite dense and foamy. Tons of lacing leaves the glass nearly opaque with sticky proteins.

Aroma is quite hoppy and fruity. Mostly citrus hops hit the nose but a tone of earthiness is also present. Perhaps a bit too much fruitiness but nothing to complain about too much. Just a touch of maltiness in the nose: this one is all about hops.

Really solid flavor. A bit of sweetness on the tongue hits immediately and is followed by a really nice and fresh hop flavor. The bitterness kicks in toward the finish and is quite stout. More of the strawberry like fruitness in the middle.

Medium bodied and slightly chewy. A touch oily. Bitter. I didnt know what to expect from this one as I purchased this on a whim, but I really enjoyed this one. A really solid DIPA that is really easy to drink.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a hazed, dim, darkened yellow body with a frothy, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Zesty aroma of grated lemon and grapefruit peels all the way down to the bitter pith with some additional spicy, piney notes to it. Very vague malt hints that, along with the yellow hue, imply this'll be a light malt, hop-forward brew. Let me strap in for an onslaught of IBU's.

Taste: We quickly pass by the meager, slackened maltiness with mild tastes of pale malt with light toasty hints and launches straight into the staunchly bitter load of hops. Cutting tastes of lemon and grapefruit along with a dose of pine assault the tongue and lay upon it a strong bitterness. Touch of warming alcohol, but mainly this beer is a big load of bitterness from beginning through to the finish and beyond.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Whew. Well, this is definitely one for the hopheads out there, as the brewery seems to have kept the malts fairly light to ensue the drinker doesn't miss one iota of hoppy bitterness.

Photo of CHADMC3
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a fluffy white head and orange hues. The head patiently gives way to a sticky lacing that clings to the inside of the glass throughout the beer.

Big pine and floral hop aromas, faint yeast, citrus zest, perhaps lemon or grapefruit, and there is something sweet in there as well.

Lots of citrus in the flavor, followed by the floral hop punch with pine notes as well. There is also a sweet, almost honey-like quality to this beer as well. The malty sweetness I am sensing really does not kick in until the beer approaches room temp, also the pine notes become woodier at this point as well.

Medium in body, generous in carbonation, slightly drying, with a pleasant hop smack to the palate.

This is a good beer in the style, possibly lacking a little bit of the malt to offset the hops that the higher rated Impy IPAs possess, but good nonetheless. Easy to drink for certain and packed with flavor, perhaps even aggressive on the hop onslaught.

Photo of FickleBeast
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter.

Pour is cloudy amber with one finger of foam that leaves behind nice lace. I leave the last of the yeast in the bottle - obviously bottle conditioned.

Aroma is citrus hops with crystal malts

There is a nice hop flavor in the taste, but the malty sweetness seems to steal the show a bit here. The bitterness is mild - I prefer my DIPAs a bit more tongue curling.

Carbonation is low, and there is a lot of sweetness in this brew, giving it a nice viscosity.

I wonder how old this bottle is... maybe the hops have subsided a bit? Overall, pretty good and drinkable - just a little to malty is preventing a higher score.

Photo of russpowell
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed bronze/amber with 3+ fingers of fluffy pearl head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Citrussy hops & a bit of breadyness, plus some leafy hops once warm

T: Bready with grapefruitty & earthy hops, plus some caramel up front, along with slight astringency. Grape fruit & leafy hops along with some dryness as this warms. Finishes strong with grapefruit,

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, slightly syruppy up front, but thins out as it warms, fairly good balance. Starts warming me nicely about 2/3rds through the bottle

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style. Enjoyable enough but not one I'd seek out again if have the choices I do now. Maybe better fresh, no freshness date on my bomber, so how the hell would I know???

Photo of mpl2
2.85/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Like just about everyone else, this was probably my first Vandal beer. I was given a 22 ounce bomber as a gift which was poured into an over-sized snifter.

A: Encouraging medium amber that grew a little more opaque as it it warmed. A solid fingers worth of head quickly retreated but retained some solid lacing until the final moments.

S: After reading a handful of reviews pre-pour, I was surprised not to pick up the pine aroma that most reviewers found. I thought it was straight, almost overpowering, grapefruit pith. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in this not only because of how overwhelming the citrus was, but I was also looking forward to something a bit different (i.e., the piney notes). I honestly couldn't pick out the malt sweetness until this DIPA was much warmer.

T: Tasted just like it smelled. It was if i was eating the pith of a freshly peeled grapefruit, except maybe with just a hint of the juniper side of "pine". The intense bitter completely hid the alcohol and by the time I finished my glass I fealt the 8.65% abv far more than I had tasted it.

M: The medium body was a tad oily though an overall smooth drink.

D. Decent enough, but I really didn't care for it as much as a few of my other hophead friends. I think it encompassed all the wrong parts of a grapefruit- too much pith. I also think it could have used just a tad bit more biscuit in their somewhere. I wouldn't seek this one out, but I wouldn't refuse a free one either.

Photo of PDXHops
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber, poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazy orange copper with a finger of off-white head. Decent retention and lacing.

Fills the nose up with substantial pine, a touch of grapefruit and a nice snappy graininess in the background. Tastes pretty much as advertised, with assertive, resiny, puckering pine right off the bat, joined mid-swallow by a bit of grapefruit, a touch of baked bread and some crisp, biscuity malt. Dries out in a hurry after the swallow, leaving lots of sticky pine behind to think about. Quite 'aggressive' tasting, with little sweetness to stand up to the pine onslaught.

Overall impression: Those who think dig only citrus-dominant examples of the style might look elsewhere, but this is a nice piney DIPA.

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

A: This beer pours a murky copper color with a 2-3 finger of creamy rocky head. Head retains relatively well, leaving thick sticky lacing all over the glass.

S: Nose is sharp pine and grapefruit hops, and a touch caramel malt sweetness present.

T: Taste starts with a quick burst of bitter pine hops, some caramel malt sweetness slips in evening this beer out, touch of biscuit, finishes with a nice citrus bite to it.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, slightly creamy up front, sticky finish.

D: This is the first offering that I have had from this brewery, well done, highly drinkable, looking forward to trying other offerings.

Photo of Lunch
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz. bottle into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout snifter at around 45 degrees (11/12/09).

A: Pours a hazy golden orange with a nice two finger head with decent retention and lacing.

S: A very nice bouquet of pine, with a delicious nectary scent and a hint of sweet malt. Great smell.

T: First of all I must say that unfortunately the wonderful characteristics of the smell do not correlate to the taste. Don't get me wrong, this is by no means a bad beer at all, but the smell had so much promise. Anyway, a strong hop bitterness (almost ashy) and a very slight sweet malt are all that I could really detect. Relatively dry finish with a good bite of pine.

M: Medium-bodied with average carbonation. Nothing really stands out to me.

D: Even with a 8.7% abv. this beer is quite drinkable. Flavors are very moderate and the bouquet will keep you coming back for more (and wondering where the nectar flavors went).

Overall this beer is a nice American DIPA with an outstanding scent and a decidedly average yet pleasant flavor. This segment of beer just happens to be populated with many great beers for this to really make a name for itself. Worth a look.

Photo of smanders
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a big, brown bomber (with no printed expiration date or ABV%) into a British pint glass.

Appearance - a hazy, dark peach color. Firm head and not-too-bad lacing.

Smell - might be some hops in there! More pine than citrus, although I catch a hint of sweetness too.

Taste - BitterFest! Even some Hopheads may run from this one. It all will depend on what kind of hops you prefer.

Being a big citrus hops fan (Pliny, A Little Sumpin'), I thought Alpha Dog could have been a little more balanced. Nevertheless, it's better than a lager.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.33/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This might be my first Idaho beer. Pours a nice gold color with a foamy white IPA head. Aroma is solid, kind of piney, some honey mixed in, a very thick smell, not very citrusy. Reminds me a lot of some East Coast IPAs. Some Tylenol like bitterness shows through. This brew is VERY bitter, big-time hops, enough you might label this a hop-bomb. Still very smooth with little in the way of alcohol, only the bitterness gives this away as a DIPA and not an IPA.

Very tasty and very bitter. A top of the line DIPA here.

Photo of krisandajt
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A tasty extra courtesy of gibby...

Appearance: A rough pour gives me a clear, bronze colored brew with a huge 2+ inches of thick fluffy white head. Head doesn't stick around as long as I would like, but there is some nice rings of soapy lacing.

Smell: A somewhat subdued hoppy bitterness. I was hoping for a bit more here, but certainly not bad by any stretch.

Taste: A robust, complex hoppiness that is a mix of pine and citrus, with no one flavor really standing out.

Mouthfeel: Nice medium body, good overall texture, smooth drinking.

Drinkability: A very decent IPA. It has a nice hoppy bite, good mouthfeel and is smooth going down. There are better IPA's out there, but I certainly wouldn't turn this one down if it was available.

Photo of ppoitras
4.35/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Oliver's in Albany, NY. Or maybe it was from Julio's in Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big ol' 3 1/2" beige head over the clear golden brew. Head takes forever to fall, leaving a high butte of dense foam in the center, with tons of chunky lace coating the glass. Aroma is solid with the pine and citrus. Taste starts moderately sweet, then pine with a note of citrus are the rest of the story. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is dangerously good. This is one of the more approachable, balanced DIPAs I have had. Check it out.

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

Bottle shared by alexsdad06.

Poured a hazy copper color with an average frothy white head that mostly diminished with good lacing. Moderate to heavy earthy citrus aroma. Medium body with a slick texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy bittersweet flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet finish of moderate to long duration.

This is a very good beer and my expectations where met.

Photo of far333
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
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 emerge077
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured the bomber into a 22 oz. glass. Swiss cheese dimpled foam pushed above the rim and stood there for a bit. It had a smooth meringue sheen with plenty of rocky crags, leaving coating rings of lace.

Soft fruity, woody nose. Candied orange and muted hops.

Very smooth for a DIPA, not brash or boozy... if there was such a thing as an English DIPA, this might qualify. Not mild mannered, just a bit restrained yet eloquent. Grapefruit rind backed by plenty of bitter pine. Firmly bitter finish. Some leafy herbal traces, a gentle hop flavor. Feeling a bit of the warmth halfway through the glass, but it never interferes with the flavors. Pretty balanced and citrus forward, medium bodied and sippable. Not bad, best beer i've had from Idaho...

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.88/5  rDev +4%
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 nickd717
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade as an extra from to JohnGalt1 - thanks, Toby! Shared at a BA tasting.

A - Cloudy golden color with a creamy white head and some lacing.

S - Lots of citrus hops on the aroma, orange lemon, with a little sweet pale malt.

T - Sweet pale malt, slight apple notes, and rough citrus hops as well as some pine/resin. This is good, but had the misfortune of directly following Town Hall Fresh Hop 2009, which will blow away just about anything.

M - Palate is just slightly astringent with alcohol detectable and medium-full body. Good IIPA overall.

D - Pretty high. Did not overwhelm despite the supposed 127 IBUs.

Photo of smcolw
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Over the rim, five finger pour. Settles slowly. Great dome head. Leaves a ring of lace on the brim that resembles salt on a tequila glass. Crystal clear, light amber color.

Lots of citrusy (grapefruit) hop aroma. Subtle sweetness to the brew.

Excellent malt start that quickly gives way to a hop bomb. The flavor is strong enough to cover any high alcohol elements. The aftertaste is all hop pellet bitterness, lasting forever (well, at least five minutes)! If I were to look for a complaint, it would be the pedestrian body, almost thin.

A wonderful IIPA, which is my favorite style. Hop lovers rejoice.

Photo of pinotboy007
3.7/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Slightly cloudy amber with an amazing, globular, dense styrofoam, Duvel-like whipped head and tons of lace. Impressive by any standard; beautiful.

S - Pine, malt and (believe it or not) sweet cucumber.

T - Very hoppy Pine and grassy citrus with some malt on the back end mingled with some bitter hops and a bit of burnt straw. Finishes mostly dry and a bit of sourness that's slightly medicinal. This would overwhelm most any food.

M - Slightly astringent but with a bit of creamy carbonation. Refreshing nonetheless.

D - The ABV is high and the bittering hops a bit over the top, but it nonetheless will appeal to hop-heads.

Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
85 out of 100 based on 614 ratings.