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

Thanks goes out to JohnGalt1 for this brew.

Pours a very nice cloudy orange/yellow color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger plus off-white creamy head, with lots of nice sticky lacing to follow. The nose is hoppy, with some malts, citrus and pines. The taste is slightly sweet, hoppy, slight malts, very nice touch of citrus/pines. Medium body, a tasty/chewy/bitter brew. Very drinkable, I'm really enjoying this brew.

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

Snagged up a bomber... thought what the hell, never have had anything from this brewer.. why not try one that is my favorite style!

- Fluffy white head, major lacing in my pint mug. Rather clear golden brown color.. pretty simple but with great lacing and head.

- Smell is rather light and mild.. but contains a bit of sweet caramel malt, piny hops w/ a touch of bitterness... and alcohol.

- Really smooth but a little much of alcohol present. Otherwise very sweet and has a great blast of bitter hops with a bit of pine, and citrus.. not much is floral at all.

- Bitter, slightly drying.. parched.

- Overall a pleasant DIPA.. but doesn't stand out too much from others... I find it hard to be an "A" DIPA w/ stuff like Hercules, HopSlam, and Pliny out there....

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

Poured from a 22oz brown bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $5.49.

A: Slightly hazy orange amber with 2-finger off-white sticky head with good retention and lacing.

S: Serious piney hops with lesser touches of orange and grapefruit with little bits of crystal malt poking through

T: Huge hops firepower with citrus and pinesap hops flavors layered throughout. Floral notes also break through, with crystal malts doing much of the counterpoint lifting, without much success.

M: Very sticky with tons of alpha acids. Mouth-coating with the best DIPAs. Low carbonation as expected. Heavy pine aftertaste.

D: A really good DIPA with a really good price tag. I'll be back for another dose of hoppy goodness.

Photo of clayrock81
3.53/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy gold cider body with a frothy two-finger offwhite head. Some minor roasted malt smells along with citric and grapefruit in the aroma, albeit very mellow. Taste is more of the same as the beer is smooth but watery, and as I drink it is a tad sweet and has some minor citric and grape notes in it with a minor dry backbite with a touch of woodiness. More like a pale ale, yet alone a DIPA. Not a bad beer at all but not what I am looking for in this style.

Photo of Pencible
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
3.18/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into nonic.

Dull and hazy amber hue with a one finger stone khaki head that very slowly settles to a thick cap.

A moderate amount of pineapple is in the background, with touches of citrus.

Sharp grapefruit flavors on top of a somewhat stale malt flavor. The malts carry a bit of a toasty flavor, and a touch of burnt caramel. Full bodied.

An okay IPA, but there seems to be too many off flavors. Not sure if it was long shelf life, or yeast out of control (I'm leaning toward the latter).

Photo of timtim
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice looking slightly hazy apricot color with long lasting head and lots of chunky lace. the smell of caramel and grapefruity, piney hops filled the air as soon as i started pouring. it's a really nice smelling beer with quite a powerful nose. that beign said, the beer was very good, but not remarkable. pine, citrus, herb/grass... all the typical dipa things going on along with caramelly malt in the background. lucious body. very silky with a long bitter finish and the 8%abv (right where i like 'em to be) is hidden very well. another great beer to cure the hop jones in ya, but also one i won't really hunt for.

Photo of Nickls
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Really hazy marigold color; poured with a half-finger of slightly off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Pretty standard for a DIPA.

S - Citrus hop aromas; some grassiness as well; decent amount of sweetness from the malt as well

T - Hop bitterness is the order of the day here; citrus comes through; bit of alcohol; everything is good until toward the end there's some astringency.

M - Medium, a bit oily; substantial carbonation

D - Just above average for me against the style. The hops are very aggressive, which doesn't necessarily bother me, it's the touch of astringency toward the end.

Overall, pretty aggressive brew, and decent enough. Needs some cleaning up, then it would be a great hop bomb. Worth a look.

Photo of mtrentm
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a golden copper color with slight haze. Has a big pillowy beige head that disipates slowly leaving behind nice sticky lacing.

S: Starts out with sweet citrus and pine aromas followed by a nice spicy smell of hops.

T: The tast of this DIPA is pretty intune with the aroma. Sweet flavors of grapefruit and other citrus fruits followed by some slight pine flavors and finishing with a bitterness that's slightly sweet.

M: This is a medium/full-bodied DIPA with nice prickly carbonation that finishes very smooth.

D: This is a very drinkable DIPA especially for the price @ $3.99 I will be drinking more of this for sure!

Photo of beerthulhu
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a bright but hazy tangerine orange with a 2 finger foamy and pillowy off white head that pitted to a rocky structure and stuck around for a solid 5+ minutes. Frumpy, it left a thick foamy coating along the glass walls. Visible carbonation started off strong with macro bubbles quickly and rapidly ascending, only to settle to a soft and subtle micro bubble display that was sporadic and quickly trailed off. The lustrious lacing and huge foamy and well retaining head earns extra consideration here.

S: The nose delivered a standard west coast hopping that was grassy and piney with dry grapefruit that was quickly detected even upon opening the bottle and from the pour. However after the initial showing, the aroma quickly died out to a whimper with a lighter then expected offering, most likely due to the quickly dying carbonation. Decent enough for an ipa, yet was underpowered for an imperial labeling I thought. Not much malting contribution or hoppiness to hold my attention long earning this an average at best rating.

T: The flavor does deliver the hoppiness that the nose lacked being moderatly bitter with pine needles, grapefruit skins and a dry floral lacing. After the swallow the grapefruit hopping is evident nicely coating the tongue with some dried orange grinds. A nice level of bitterness but came off rather one dimensional and hard to justify a good rating here when compared to other staples within the style. Lacked a transition of flavor and finished pretty much as it started.

M: perhaps one of its stronger points, a nice medium fullness, fairly thick and somewhat syrupy from the malting with little or no carbonation being detected. A dry lingering bitterness is left as its calling card for the finale and fade.

D: Ok drinkability, easy enough to drink, but hard to justify as a really good beer here. Bitter at first it does get progressively easier to down but once again one that can get just as easily lost amongst the better examples per style. A bomber is sufficient here, cant say I would go beyond revisiting this as there is little incentive to draw me back. After a strong start appearance wise it only goes downhill from there. Worth a check out for a bomber at best for fans of style.

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

From a 22 oz. brown bomber. Pours out a hazed marmalade hue, tight chunky cream-coloured head that retains well and leaves thick chunky gashes of lacing in its wake.

Aroma possesses light tangerine, peach yogurt, floral notes, wet grassy hops, toasted malt in the background.

Decent biscuity toasted malt up front in the flavour, quickly followed by sweet mandarin, spruce needles, finishing with bitter spring greens, fruity yet astringent aftertaste. Lingering puckering herbal aftertaste.

Smooth, velvety, somewhat light mouthfeel, although with enough body not to detract from the experience, it actually enhances the overall drinkability.

Quite palatable and approachable for a DIPA. Of course it's not balanced, but there's enough subtlety and depth to the hops that this doesn't become a one trick pony, and in fact makes more than one of these an enjoyable affair before the abv% catches up and lets you know that less is sometimes better and that moderation is the key.

Photo of theghost3
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper with a 3-finger fluffy, golden-white head. Medium lacing.

Smells of herbal, pine & grapfruit hops along with some breadiness. The taste...hopbomb. Very bitter floral/herbal hops at first with some grapfruit at the end. Caramel is present as well. Mouthfeel is acidic, crisp, and slightly sticky.

This is a drinkable DIPA, but the 8.7 abv will sneak up on you. It's a good balance between the smoothness of Hopslam & the bitterness of Stone Ruination.

Photo of olmatty
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a huge, sudsy, white head with strong lacing and good head retention. Beer is a clear, deep golden color.

Smell- Biscuity malts, spicy hops, strong, but not overwhelming.

Taste- Big malt presence, and an even bigger hop blast to overwhelm. Hops are mostly piney.

Mouthfeel- Big and chunky with hops.

Drinkability- Lovely and huge hop presence, but limited drinkability because of this intensity.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. A gift courtesy of ramnuts, who sends me too much beer. Thanks Frank!

A: Pours a golden amber color with light copper edges against the light. Has a frothy off-white head that retains pretty well at a fingers' thickness, and deposits nice lacing down the glass.

S: Lots of floral and pine hops, although citrus (grapefruit, lemon) is in there as well. Some bread and caramel malt is evident.

T: Surprisingly balanced for an IIPA. Toasted and caramel malt have equal play against a complicated hop profile that is predominantly floral and citrus (unlike the smell), with a lower pine component.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly low carbonation that makes it slick/oily and sticky, with a long-lasting bitterness (I don't particularly care for this aspect).

D: This is a damn good beer. I'm told it runs a very affordable price, too. High marks in my book just for that. If only I could get it here.

Photo of dborginis
4.28/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden color. Just what I expected for a DIPA. At first the hop bitterness is offensive, but with a few sips it got more bearable and tasty. Smell is a nice balance of malt and hop. A taste of this malt too, but the hops pretty much dominate. Aftertaste isn't so good, but surprisingly light and drinkable.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Zathrus13.

Pours a golden amber in color. There's a very nice two inches of head that forms on the pour and takes it's sweet ass time receding enough for me to finish the pour.
Smell is very floral, piney hops. There's a bit of a citrusy note as well. Taste is quite balanced. More pine hops, but everything is kept under control. Very good and easy drinking IPA. You never notice the ABV in this beer. So smooth and good, it was gone before I even realized it. Solid offering.

Photo of Durge
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

Photo of Gavage
3.5/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a fluffy 2" head. Thick lacing develops during the session.

Smell: grapefruit is a bit overpowering here, and the pine is in the background.

Taste: caramel, pine, and a huge grapefruit tone that creates a bit of an unbalanced beer for me. The bitterness is sharp and biting.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late. Super long aftertaste as the grapefruit flavors seems to stick around the mouth for a long time.

Drinkability: I found this to be a bit unbalanced and quite biting. The bomber was more than enough for me in a session.

Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle:

Pours hazed golden with a creamy white head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is loaded with pine - sappy, resiny with lemon/orange citrus.

The taste is of hops - leafy, resiny, piney then citric. A caramel/toffee backing supports it. Finishes with a bitter bite.

It is velvety, though with a sharp tingle.

Although powerful, it still is very drinkable. A deliciously hoppy DIPA!

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

poured into a tulip glass

appearance-light amber colr 1/2 inch head relatively good lacing

smell-very floral with some citrus notes

taste-somewhat citrusy with some hops on the back end

mouthfeel- good

drinkability-could probably drink a few of these

overall- pretty good DIPA but not the best

Photo of gford217
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of Hophead101
3.93/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 4.11.09 at Brass Rail Beverage in Campbelltown (while my son was at a birthday party).

poured a great golden yellow color. the head was thick and foamy. there was also a consistent intermittent flow of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass throughout the enjoyment of this beer. There was also a nice thin layer of tiny foamy bubbles/head on top of the beer the entire time which was nice. The beer also produces a superb lacing from the top of the glass down to the bottom in a beautifully random pattern. smell of this beer was good, but not as strong as I would have expected for a double IPA. definite citrus in the nose, some bready malt undertones and lots of hop resin.

This is quite a tasty beer. A hop head's delight. very hoppy in the entire taste, very back of the mouth bittery hop taste. slightly buttery in the mouthfeel w/ a crispness toward the end, primarily from the bitter hop taste. quite a nice beer.

Photo of GJ40
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle purchased at Pike Street Beer & Wine in Seattle. No noticeable "brewed on" date which almost dissuaded me.

A - A beautiful golden color with the slightest haze and a moderate white head. Lots of lacing.

S - First all piney and then some citrusy hops emerge.

T - This was opposite the smell. First all citrusy then piney hops emerge. A complex combination of rich hop flavors, toasted malt, alcohol and a piney hop bitterness.

M - A moderate level of carbonation yet very smooth and silky. The bubbles don't interfere at all. In fact, they seem to sep aside at just the right moment.

D - A very pleasant and enjoyable beer. I tried a couple of other Laughing Dog brews before (also from Pike Street Beer & Wine in Seattle) and they were horrible. Someone told me they had contamination issues with an outside bottler. This beer certainly helped to redeem their name in my book.

Photo of scottoale
4.25/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22oz. brown bomber pours an amber-gold ale with a finger of white frothy foam. Good carbonation is evident as is the thick sticky lace that clings to the glass. Bright and lively looking brew.

Rich malt with earthy hops fill nose. An interesting meld of two main ingredients, almost seamless.

Rich grainy malt with very little sweetness, overlapped with earthy leafy hoppiness give this brew a very unique flavor with a matching balance. It's like a 50-50 malt to hop ratio, with a strong bitter finish. Very pleasant flavor and well executed. Medium body with some slick to fluffiness mouthfeel due to the carbonation and ? Can't quite put my finger on the oily slickness within. Long bitter aftertaste that bites the tongue a bit.

Quite drinkable with the alcohol subdued in all aspects smell and taste wise. This is a nice change of pace for this style, one I would like to see more of. I must thank travisd13 for making this possible...a very fine extra indeed!

Photo of ccrida
4.15/5  rDev +11.3%
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...

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