Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My AleRobert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,836 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,836
Reviews: 577
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 13.49%
Wants: 123
Gots: 354 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jsanford on 03-15-2011

Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse and 10% ABV. It's dry-hopped with 100% Centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. Can you tell we're stoked for this mighty musical centennial?

To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the Centennial hops (and as a shoutout to Robert Johnson's mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson), we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool.

58 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,836 | Reviews: 577
Reviews by the Alström Bros:
Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a bottled on date.

Color: Brass, clear w/ a beautiful froth on top.

Smell: Herbal, lemon from rind to juice, buttery ghost, bready, sweet, golden raisins and light broth.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Super smooth, fuller body. Fierce alcohol, solid malt foundation, lemon theatrics. Peel talks to grain, alcohol humbly on its own ... warming everything, toasty but not hot. Citric and mint hops, fresh hay maltiness. Lemon lingers and so does the grain and alcohol.

Overall: Hellhound has a lot to say but only whispers a little bit with every sip, lots of sips to take so I'm pretty sure I got the whole gist of it.

More User Reviews:
Photo of SunDevilBeer
1.85/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap late summer '11 at the advice of an enthusiastic barkeep.

Preciously served in a DFH snifter. Looks deep bright orange on the pour. Oooh this looks nice.

But my hopes were dampered upon smelling this beer. Was expecting to encounter a nice citrusy hop bomb, but instead smelled some dirty, earthy off concoction. Yuck.

Took a hard first sip and found myself recoiling. Very unpleasant musty taste, the malt & hops are fighting each other in this beer. Lots of unpleasant hot alcohol flavors too.

Took a break and drank some water after the first taste just to re-gain my bearings. Took another sip and it was just as disjointed as the first.

Struggled through a few more sips then pushed the glass toward the barkeep. Told him I hated his suggested beer and thankfully he took it off the tab.

Photo of oberon
3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I remeber as a teenager getting into the blues and Robert Johnson's persona and legend really stood out in the early 90's,glad to see DFH make a brew to honor him,even if it wasnt that great.Poured into an imperial nonic a deep copper color with a nice sticky 1/2 finger white head.A mix of alcohol,biscuit,and lemon pith in the nose,the alcohol played a big role here,you can tell its a beast before even taking a sip.Sweet and alcoholic at the start with some bscuit malt,the citric hop profile is nice but a little muted because of the alcohol/sweetness.Its a sipper and isnt a real bad beer,but the big alcohol seems to dominate the beer a little in my opinion.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.53/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful hazy yellow to golden pour with great, active carbonation. The head is sturdy and bright white, eventually settling into a thin layer of foam. The aromas of hops and citrus are very upfront. Not really picking up the Lemon, as advertised. Taste-- there's the lemon! Hard hitting bitterness engulf the mouth and hammers the tongue...nice. The hop finish is strong and lingers nicely, not acidic. The hop flavor does not linger on the front of the tongue, making the flavor a little less full than I'd like. The heat from the alcohol reaches the back of the throat after the first couple of sips. As the foamy lace makes its way to the bottom of the glass, my mouth won't stop watering. The citrus, hop, and alcohol coalition is brutal (in a good way). The body is medium and only slightly slick after half a glass. Overall the mouthfeel is pleasant if you can stop focusing on the beating the back of your pallet is taking. I really like this AIPA and wil have another and another (not all tonite).

Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Robert Johnson's HellHound Ale, 10% alcohol brewed with lemon. Imperial IPA style. Served in a Chimay goblet.

A- Pours a bright orange fluid with firey red edges in the sunlight, quarter inch head falls to a thin frothy head leaving mild sticky lacing on the glass.

S- Smells of flowers at full bloom, summer grass, and light lemon scents are dominate factor on the smell.

T-M- Taste is a very strong lemony zest with fresh cut grass and a dominate yeasty malt flavor. Mouthfeel is slightly mild with smooth carbonation that dances over the buds adding to drinkablity.

O- Good beer for the taste but the price could be better.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2011 1
750 ml bottle in a snifter.

Cherry amber color, slight haze. Medium-sized off white head.

Lots of citrus in the aroma: mostly lemon and lemon zest, but also orange and tangerine. Some sweet malt. A hint of alcohol.

Taste followed aroma. A lot of citrus, with citrus hops. Sweet malt. Alcohol not detectable; would never know it was 10% ABV.

Nice balance.

Dangerously drinkable.

Photo of warnerry
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours orange-brown with a bit of noticeable sediment. One finger of off-white head fades pretty quickly to a collar but leaves some lacing behind.

S - Lemon rind and juice dominate the aroma, though some pine hops do come through. A bit of malt also present, and some sweet florals as well.

T - Bitter up front with both pine and lemon bitterness. Lots of lemon, again rind and pulp. A little one note, but I'm enjoying it. I can taste and feel some malt, but can't put specific flavors to it. Some noticeable alcohol in the taste.

M - Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Finishes bitter but not clean.

O - Overall probably not worthy of Robert Johnson, but a pretty good beer. Has bitterness in spades, but missing a more balanced flavor profile. Glad I tried it, but not sorry this is a one-off.

Photo of marvin213
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Translucent but cloudy, a heady foam caps the liquid. It's like orange marmalade with marshmallows on top. Heavy hop lacing cakes the glass.

It smells of balanced IPA with a hint of lemon zing. If I had a lemon, I'd throw one in for more influence--turns this into a helluva shandy!

Good, relatively heavy malt bill w/ more lemon influence as it warms. I'd say Squall's better, but it's fun 2 enjoy. :-) L8er.

Photo of Beaver13
3.14/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle. Pours a hazy golden amber with a medium creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is some caramel and crystal malt with tropical fruits, bubble gum and piney hops and notes of tobacco.

The flavor is caramel malts and bubble gum with a little tropical fruit. The finish is charred strong bitterness from the hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, an OK DIPA. I don't really care for the flavors. It's kind of similar to the Robert Johnson that I listened to while drinking - I was expecting more.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Shared the bottle with my wife.

Poured into my New Belgium chalice.

The beer is orange amber with a sticky white head. The head laces but doesn't stick.

The aroma is bold hops with a mix of malt. The nose is very earthy with an almost spicy alcohol at the end.

The taste has a match to the aroma but the alcohol is more subdued that I thought. The taste is sweet malty with a big earthy hop. As the carbonation subsides a nice bitter finish.

Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap and mighty fresh at the Birdsall House in Peekskill, NY.

Poured lightly hazed orangy amber, slight tan head and ample lace left behind.

Hopped up citric nose (suprise), with grapefruit, some lime and oranges coming to mind.

Densly flavorful offering from DFH.

In the mouth, pepper spice, lime, grapefruit, blaanced by the sweetness of some honey, vanilla and bready/toasty malts. Loving this one.

Happy to enjoy several of these on tap, looking forward to tracking down and enjoying a few bottles as well.

Go get some and enjoy, especially for the double IPA lovers out there....you know who you are..

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to djrn2 for sending me a few of these bottles.

The beer pours a yellow-orange color with a white head. The aroma is full of orange and lemon hop notes with some bread and biscuit malt mixed in. A very fruity smelling aroma.

The flavor is also very nice. I get a lot of orange notes from the hops, as well as a lot of sugary candy sweetness. The toffee and biscuit malt are also present and there is a strong lemon flavor right as you are swallowing the beer. Low to medium bitterness.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a nice ruby amber brown with a small white head. Nose is spicy, malty and lemony, but the lemon is not up front.

Taste is very spicy, a bit malty and creamy. There's a good chewy sharp finish on it that's fresh and light. Quite solid.

Photo of jondeelee
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hellhound opens not with an aroma that would be expected of a beer brewed with lemons, but one that would be more expected in a good IPA: fully of lovely hop-based notes, including grapefruit, pine, lemon zest, and sugary rosewater. These lie atop an equally well-crafted bed of malt aromas, bringing biscuit, toast crust, brown sugar, and Grape Nuts cereal-like tones to the nose. In fact, the only real lemon presence in here seems to come from the hops, with the aforementioned lemon zest that is typical of many hop varieties. That is to say: had I not known this was an ale brewed with lemons, I never would have guessed it by smell alone. This is not necessarily criticism, for the nose is quite delicious, and the ingredients seemingly well-balanced.

On the tongue, the beer also seems more like a hoppy IPA than anything else, opening with a bitter hop blast full of grapefruit rind, pine sap, lemon rind, anise, eucalyptus, and peppery hop flowers. The only evidence of lemon is, again, apparently from the hops, though I don't doubt that the actual lemons add a far greater lemon rind sensation than would have been otherwise present. Bitterness is high--perhaps because of the lemons--clocking in at, according to Dogfish Head's website, "100 IBUs in the brewhouse," but only listing on the same website as 58 IBUs in the bottle. This leaves a distinct stinging sensation on the tongue and soft palate, made more intense by the peppery spices emanating from the hop oils. An excellent malt-based bed does lie underneath the hops, bringing sticky orange and apricot liqueur notes, as well as toast and biscuit. The beer does get a bit alcoholic if held on the tongue long enough, the 10% ABV overpowering the sugars and giving the beer a strong vodka kick. The aftertaste is mainly hops, continuing their bitter citrus rind assault on the tongue, and lingers for a long time. Mouthfeel is a sugar-sticky medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is good beer, though again, it's not immediately apparent that it was brewed with lemons. For some this might be disappointing, as Dogfish Head is one of the few breweries I would trust with this task. The optimist could respond to this by saying that the lemons simply blend so well into the brew as to be simply another delicious layer, not calling unnecessary attention to themselves, but advancing the beer as a whole. Either way, the brew is certainly delicious, though at the same time pushing peppery-sugary-bitter-alcoholic boundaries to levels that might turn off many. I doubt, however, that hopheads will have much to complain about.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy tawny golden yellow, light brownish in color. Good head on the pour and moderate head retention. Effervescent carbonation. Aroma is grapefruit hop, apricots, and a definite lemon presence. Very smooth mouthfeel. I would never guess that this was 10%. The grapefruit flavored hops are on the front of the palate. There's just a hint of lemon in the flavor but it doesn't arrive until the aftertaste.

Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Amber with a slight haze under a 1” finely bubbled dirty white foam collar that grips the glass producing lines of lace.
S: Flowery, spicy lemon, white bread.
T: Lemon rind bitterness form the head mixes with lemon in the body blending in with malt, light biscuit and caramel flavors that gradually dry out.
M: Medium carbonation and body.
O: A big, bitter, alcoholic DIPA that shows suprising balance and drinkability.

Photo of ehammond1
2.47/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle

Thanks for sharing, DarthKostrizer!

Clear, glowing gold and orange with a thick, persistent, and soapy eggshell-colored head. This beer leaves spiderwebs and spots of lacing down the glass. Pretty.

Biting lemon flesh and rind sting the nose along with a mild aroma of soapy detergent. Not particularly pleasant and actually difficult to smell for any length, because the lemon scent is physically stinging--akin to a cleaning product.

The flavor follows the nose, unfortunately. The stinging, biting lemon flesh and rind is dominant, along with an unpleasant chemical or soapy flavor. There's perhaps a bit of pine hop presence, but it's somewhat unwelcome in this beer because it makes me think even more of particular cleaning products.

Medium bodied with far too much carbonation. In a better tasting beer, this would merely distract from the flavor. In this instance, it basically makes this one undrinkable.

I will not drink this beer again; though it had some redeeming elements, the poorer parts of this beer were too much to overcome.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat hazy copper golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big three finger off white head with decent retention. Leaves a lot of creamy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A bright and juicy hop forward aroma with big hints of citrus fruits. Upfront scent of citrus hops with hints of orange peel, grapefruit, lemons, tangerine, mango, pineapple, apricot, and melon. Earthy and herbal hop scent with hints of grass and pine resin. Backing presence of sweet malt with hints of caramel, grains, cracker, and biscuit. Also some hints of honey sweetness. A very good juicy IPA aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very juicy and zesty hop forward taste with big notes of citrus fruits. Big upfront mix of hops. Citrus notes of grapefruit, orange peel, lemons, tangerine, pineapple, mango, melon, and apricot. Earthy hop notes of grass. Herbal hop notes of pine resin. Subtle sweet notes of honey. Backing presence of sweet bready malt with notes of caramel, cracker, grains, and biscuit. Very ripe and hoppy but not overwhelmingly bitter. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very juicy and fairly oily but nicely smooth. Finishes dry. Alcohol heat is there but tame.

Overall: A very good West Coast style imperial IPA. Good citrusy bite. Great name and bottle for a blues legend and the beer lives up to it.

Photo of Mantooth
3.3/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Terrapin Brewery pint glass.

A: Crystal clear amber, no haze and a monster sea foam head with light lacing.

S: Citrus, lemon, grass, spices.

T: Odd - booze, malt, hops and loads of lemon.

M: Heavily carbonated & a little oily.

O: I'm not sure what this one is supposed to be all about. It's boozy & full of lemon and an odd group of spices. I'm glad I picked up a bottle but I certainly won't be looking to have this again.

Photo of Soonami
4.23/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head's Hellhound on my Ale is another one of their interesting experimental beers, celebrating the centennial of Robert Johnson's birth by using only Centennial hops and using dried lemon slices post-boil to accentuate the citrusy hops. The beer is lemon colored with a great amount of billowy white foam with great cling. The beer is not quite crystal clear but very bright. The lemon peel and orange zest from hops dominate the nose with just a hint of bread. The beer is very smoothly bitter, not harsh at all for over 100 IBU! The flavor is very citrusy like lemongrass or kaffir lime leaf, with a burst of juicy lemon in the finish. It's great how the flavors are layered where they hit at different points. The lemon is also more present as the beer warms and the carbonation is lessened. The mouthfeel is just right with a good bit of creaminess with just enough prickly carbonation to keep it light. Alcohol is very well hidden, and imperceptible to me.

This is a very interesting and tasty beer. A little pricey at $11 for a 750 ml, but well worth it to try and at 10%, it packs a solid punch.

Photo of BranfordBound
3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle marked 2011 - 1, into a Delirium Tremens snifter/tulip.

Pours a standard amber color, translucent, with a fluffy two finger head that leaves good lacing.

Aromas of light hops, is this really a DIPA? Sweet malts equal hops.

Pretty balanced in the flavor department, although much more pronounced than the aroma alluded to. Sweet caramel and vinuous malts in the beginning. Hops come in after with some considerable bitterness, strong citrus, with touches of pine and resin. I feel as if the lemon flesh gave this beer that dry, uber tartness that hits at the end. Finishes with hop aftertaste and alcohol heat.

Heavy-Medium bodied, OK carbonation, wet mouthfeel.

I feel like DFH tried a little too hard with the "100" theme. 100 IBU's, 10.0% ABV, 100% Centennial hops yadda yadda yadda. They could have made an amazing citrusy DIPA if they just focused on fruity hops and the lemon flesh rather than striving for something just because of the number 100. Overall it was a decent beer, just could have been much better.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper/orange pour, looks vibrant, nice head. Good lemon, orange hop aroma. Leans citrus, almost no pine traces picked up.

Taste, big, bitter, hoppy, lemony. I knew DFH could make a beer that seemed hoppy on the west coast without it being overly sweet. Hides 10% exceptionally well. Already starting to think this is one of the best DFH beers ever. Good metallic taste in the mouthfeel, just a contribution to the big time hops and citrus. Big carbonation keeps it lively and relatively light feeling body wise.

Drank at Bruery Provisions, bottle bought there also, and was consumed in early summer, when it was fresh.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly clouded copper orange hazed hue with a bright full thicket of khaki tan head bubbling above the rim of my Dogfish Head chalice. Nose if full of lemon bright notes chalk full of bitter rind with hints of spice hanging out as well. Grapefruit nose comes strnog with Centennial hop additions the same hop found in my favorite Two Hearted Ale. Flavor brings on a boozey hit of alcohol at 10 percent it's really not well hidden and the astringency of the booze and bitterness of the lemonpeel kind of potentiate each aspects of harshness. The smell is much better than the actual flavor I like the 100th birthday, 10.0 SRM, 100% Centennial hops, 10.0 percent abv scheme their using but this isn't a DIPA like 90 minute used to be when it was first released back in early 2000s. Mouthfeel is pure bitterness, slash spice dryness with a disgustingly sweet malt profile lacking hop flavors to mix it up, plus an astringent lemonpeel character outweights the whole experience. Medium bodied evenly carbonated not so much unpleasant as I just don't think lemonpeel is meant to be in any variety of my beloved IPA. Overall character is their as crazy Sam's DFH and crew can churn out something like you've never tasted but is it better than any of their past efforts of good solid drinkable DIPA, of course not.

Photo of OStrungT
4.48/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a slightly cloudy orangish golden color, with a thick, fluffy off white head. the head fades very slowly, leaving a massive curtain of lace.

This beer has a citrusy aroma. I detect lemons, grapefruit, and a mild orange aroma. I pretty much only detect fruity hop aromas.

This beer tastes like it smells. Lemon and grapefruit up front with some orange in the back. It has a mild grassy flavor also.

This beer is crisp and refreshing. The alcohol makes an apprarance on the way down. Although well hidden in the aroma and flavor, it warms the throat on its way down. Carbonation is high, fitting the style well.

This beer wouldnt make a great session beer. It is high in alcohol, and aggressive. It isnt a bad beer, but the flavor would become cloying after a few pints.

Overall: Thanks to inlimbo77 for once again hooking me up with some great beer from Dogfish Head. I always love a chance to try something from them. I liked this beer. The lemon was a pleasent change. Well worth trying.

Photo of mocktm
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't wait to rip into this one. Bottle with a *kick-ass* logo into pint glass. Hoping this one lives up to the hype, but even if it doesn't, the bottle will still look cool next to the Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.

Pours a solid bright orange hue with a significant white foamy head. Maybe I poured too aggressively, but I got around three fingers worth. Good retention and serious sticky lace. The ideal IPA appearance.

Smells just as any to be taken seriously IPA should. Serious grass and pine, alongside some orange, lemon and grapefruit. Real citrusy sweet, almost like lemonade.

No wonder they advertise the IBU index on this thing. Hop bitterness right off the bat that leaves a lasting impression. Malt sweetness acts to balance it out, but the hops still steal the show. Slight warming alcohol sensation, but the 10% ABV is pretty well masked for the most part. I was expecting a bit more citrus presence given the nose, but still, pretty damn good stuff.

Medium bodied with carbonation to spare. Slick mouthfeel with a dangerous drinkability for a high ABV brew. Well done.

Overall, a very well done DIPA, but given the price point (around $14 around here), I probably won't buy another any time soon. There are just too many comparable DIPAs to chose from for much less. However, this is certainly worth a try, and I'm curious to see what music icon DFH chooses to honor next.

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Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 1,836 ratings.