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DogZilla Black IPA | Laughing Dog Brewing

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DogZilla Black IPADogZilla Black IPA

Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing
Idaho, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
True to its IPA roots Dogzilla has a massive hop presence that is Piney and Citrusy. A malty backbone, along with the dark malt gives it a bit of a roasty finish. Brewed with Simcoe and Cascade Hops, Pale Malt, Munich, and Black Barley.

69 IBU

Added by SurlyDuff on 08-02-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 284 | Ratings: 512
Photo of bkilpatr
2.39/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass. 02/04/09.

Pours a deep mahogany brown color with a thin half-finger tan head. The head quickly dropped to a thin layer, decent retention and lacing. Aroma is very strange. Toffee, caramel, toasted malt, and tobacco. Very earthy, but nothing about it says "IPA".

Taste starts similar to the aroma. Roasted malt, toffee, rye, and tobacco are the primary flavors. The taste finishes with herbal and slightly piny hops. Faint bitterness in the finish. Interesting taste, but again, nothing about it is very IPA-like. The hop presence and bitterness are both very mild.

Feel is medium bodied and heavy with low-ish carbonation. The finish is fairly dry. And the aftertaste isn't entirely pleasant. Drinkability is not good, given the unusual tastes and poor aftertaste.

Overall, I'm not very impressed with this beer. For a black IPA, it seems to be missing the IPA part. It's just a mess. Try if you like, but don't go out of your way to get it.

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Photo of brewbucker
1.4/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Well at least it looked good. Poured black with a large light tan head. Aroma was bad and the taste was even worse. Sour (in a bad way) plastic, mild vomit. I would have not even rated it if I thought this was an isolated case but by looking at some of the other ratings I am sure there is a problem with this beer in general. Down the drain. What a shame.

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Photo of akorsak
2.33/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle 3 of the almost frozen 7. The slushiness is gone.

A: The black IPA is appropriately named, showing off a dark red color that is black from afar. A small head doesn't lace.

S: The nose is a blend of coffee and caramel malts, particularly caramel with a syrupy sweetness. The sweetness of the malts overwhelms the citrus hop component.

T: The syrupy sweetness mixes a dull listless hop bitterness. The result is a odd. The hops have a fresh green element, maybe even a touch vegetal. Coffee flavors appear as well, but quickly run into the wall of bitterness. An interesting premise that doesn't gel.

M: The mouthfeel is unpleasant. Syrups malts remind me of extract and the hops are just plain bitter with no depth. I was really anxious to try this one...

D: ...but I can't bring myself to finish it. Just shy of a drain pour.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
2.68/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A soft pour produces a three-finger thick, lightly browned, full tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, but there is a burnt amber hue to its blackness. When held up to the light the beer shows a brilliantly clear, bright ruby hue. The aroma has a candied citrus character to it as well as ample lychee notes and a sort of amp'd up juicy-fruit like note. The finish has some roasted grain character to it that has a toasted grain husk like character. This beer has a surprisingly fruity note to it, it is quite a bit different than in any other hoppy beer I have had; interesting, but I am not sure if I am entirely enjoying it.

Wow, very carbonated, the beer foams up as it hits my tongue. Quite soon this dry beer picks up a definite tartness and the finish has a lingering, burnt, almost fermented cabbage note to it that is just bad. The dark malt is a bit more noticeable than it is in the flavor, while the hop character provides a fair amount of bitterness as well as a citrus character that melds with the sourness found in this beer. This has an ample hop character just like one would want in an IPA and the dark malt adds a nice roastiness to the finish, but the sourness really warps the hop flavor here; it sort of reminds me of eating a tart, not quite ripe Meyer Lemon. Really though, this is just an infected mess. Hopefully Laughing Dog can clean up their bottling process as I wouldn't mind having an un-infected go at this.

Purchased: Liquid Solutions

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Photo of kirok1999
3.7/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to unclejedi for the room and board payment. Much appreciated.
Pours a very dark black with just a wispy head and almost no lacing. I've had stouts that weren't close to this dark.
Smells very sweet, some candied fruit and toasted malts.
The rick toasted malts dominate the taste. There's quite a bit of hops too but the darkness of the malt takes over the whole thing. This is really pushing the boundary of how much malt you can put in a DIPA and still call it a DIPA. There's a lingering, burnt/sweet aftertaste.
Dense and rich in the mouth with mild carbonation.
Don't know how long I could drink this one. I really wouldn't want to drink it at all if I was in the mood for a DIPA.

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Photo of tpd975
3.97/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the man we call SeaBass for this one.

A: Pours a murky brown hue with a small wispy head. I got the bottom of the bottle and noted little flakes of hops floating about. No lace noted.

S: Tons of hops right from the start. You name it they are there. Resinous pine, bold citrus and green grass.

T: Light toasted malt up front then the hops. The start is somewhat sweet and resiny, with the finish being on the citric grassy side.

M: Medium in body, smooth.

D: I really liked this one. More black IPA's need to be made.

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Photo of hwwty4
2.56/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to the ultra generous BA Jtrockchalk for this one.

This is only my second experience with a black IPA, the first being the wonderful Stone 11th. This is a beer I had wanted to try for a while.

Poured a 22oz bomber into my New Belgium globe. This beer pours more of the color of a English black tea then a true black. From the pour, a nice 2 inch head, that was remarkably light for the color of the beer, came forth but left no lacing. The aroma is interesting. There really is just a slight hint of citrusy hops, with an odd aroma that I can really describe as frozen yogurt. The taste doesn't really remind me of an IPA. There really is not hop presence except in the bitterness of it. The malt adds more body then flavor also. The one really defining attribute of the flavor profile is a strong bitterness at that finishes. Its way to bitter and comes across as medicinal, like sucking on an aspirin. It's just not a flattering trait in a beer. The flavor of this beer is really off putting for me. The medicinal qualities are just to much. I definitely wont be seeking this beer out again.

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Photo of RJLarse
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I bought a bomber of Dogzilla at a grocery store. Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown almost black color and is early opaque. There is a soft red/brown hue when held up to the light. Rich tan head is very resilient and laces the glass nicely.

The smell is a sweet malted gain scent underneath a mild bitter scent. Not the piney aroma of an IPA but rather a burned coffee aroma.

Taste is a caramel sweetness under a bitterness that creates a metalic medicinal taste that is not very appealing. Bitter coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and dry.

Not very drinkable and certainly not sessionable. I would expect something with this type of drinkability to have a higher ABV, and a little alcohol heat couldn't hurt the flavor either. I'll probably pass on the Dogzilla in the future.

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Photo of madtappers
3.36/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've only tried one other Black IPA before and this beer is right up there with the Stone version.

Pours deep black color with brown head. Lots of hop aroma, both to the noise as you drink and on the tongue.

Very well made IPA with a touch of porter or stout to it.

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Photo of dk009
1.5/5  rDev -56%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I wont go through the details but if you are looking for an IPA do not drink this beer. It may sound novel, but Black IPA is a retarded name for this, its not an IPA whatsoever. No hop flavor in the taste, not even close. Im pissed I paid 4.30 for this. Ridiculous. Look elsewhere fellow hopheads, please.

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Photo of Mauerhan
3.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

picked this up from the powerball week 4 drawing. a black ipa. now i gotta try this.

pours a dark redish brown with a one and a half finger creamy head that stays thick and leaves decent amount of lacing.

smell is ok. a moderate amount of hops. mostly dark malts.

taste has a bit of an off flavor to it. some hop bitterness. biscuits. and a bit of a sour twinge at the end. gets better as it warms but still has something up with it that i cant explain.

mouth is light. thin.

its not that i cant drink this beer. its just that i really am not pulled back to it like some others. i would probably have to nurse this for a while. worth a shot if you want to try something different. just dont expect something phenomenal.

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Photo of RustyDiamond
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got in a trade from the one and only, JohnGalt1. Cherry cola brown with a smallish cream colored head. Loud aroma of popcorn, candy corn, herbal hops.
Very odd first sip...dry pungent hop taste coupled with a somewhat smoky malt flavor. Definitely hoppy yet a little messy tasting and difficult to translate into words. Strange herbal hoppy finish and a tad spicy at the same time.
I scored this a little better than average, because I applaud their effort. But this isn't something I would seek out again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.11/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ruddy chestnut with bright orange and amber highlights. This Black IPA looks like a brown ale, but adding enough black malt to make it opaque would have been too much for the style. The good-sized crown is the color of a coffee milkshake. It has a whipped-sticky texture and is beginning to lay down a pretty impressive array of lace.

The aroma isn't a standout by any means. It smells like there's just enough of the dark malt to take the bright edge off the Cascade and Simcoe hops. The result is a beer that smells neither black malty nor especially hoppy. It's also a bit vegetal. Let's hope the flavor is better and more distinctive.

Even though I haven't had too many black India pale ales, I have a pretty good idea what makes a good one. The darker malts should be appreciated, but shouldn't overpower the primacy of the hops. In other words, they shouldn't taste like hoppy porters. Although Dogzilla succeeds in that sense, it still isn't successful beer.

Problems include more bitterness than good hop flavor and a garlic-like undercurrent that I don't remember tasting in Laughing Dog beer before. The huge blast of bitterness (68 IBUs seems low) makes a valiant effort to obliterate the nastiness, but doesn't quite get it done. On second thought, calling it 'nastiness' was probably too harsh.

The flavor profile is a clashing melange of dark caramel, spent coffee grounds, grapefruit and orange peel, fermented pine sap, crushed aspirin and garlic. While the beer doesn't taste as bad as that description, it isn't exiting the pint glass very quickly. Drinking it with food would probably help, but good beer should be able to stand on its own.

The mouthfeel is acceptable for an IPA. It's at least medium for the style and is appropriately carbonated. There might even be a hint of creaminess on the back end.

Unfortunately, Laughing Dog DogZilla comes nowhere near the promise of its name and label. I don't care if craft breweries come up with Green IPAs, Purple IPAs or Turquoise IPAs, as long as they're good IPAs. This one doesn't cut the mustard.

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Photo of zeff80
3.89/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a dark, dark brown color with a small, tan, creamy, bubbly head. It left intricate patterns of sticky lace on the sides of the glass.

S - It smelled strongly of pine, citrus and floral notes. Also, a burnt toast malty aroma.

T - It tasted of pine, toasted malt, caramel, vanilla and spice. The roasted malt began to build as the beer warmed up.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a unique and delicious IPA. It almost tastes like a strong Baltic Porter mixed with a West Coast IPA. Very cool and different.

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Photo of bbothen
3.45/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at Portland St Markey in Klamath Falls, Or.

Pours a dark cola like color with a thick & frothy tan colored head.

Smells of faint citric hops, tangerine, piney, grassy, prominent roasted malt aroma is fairly strong. On par with the hops I'd say. Smells nice.

Roasted & toasted flavors step up front, bready bisquity maltiness, citric & earthy hoppiness, a slight smoky or charred flavor, faint bitter chocolate. Interesting flavors.

Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, above described flavors linger.

Drinks okay. Not sessionable for me. Would have this again. Interesting.

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Photo of orcasteve
4.27/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a thin redish black color with a small white head that disapers to a light lacing around the entire rim. the sent of hops rushes out at you at the crack of the cap. this is one of the best smelling ipa's ever. the taste is bitter all the way through, hints of coffiee and biscuts, caremel, yard trimings, sweet tobaco and strong alchoal. this is a beer i will seek out agan for sure

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Photo of GJ40
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle purchased at Pike Street Beer & Wine in Seattle.

A - A deep brown ale with some light making it through the edges of the glass. Appears to be clear. A huge tan head.

S - Sweet with floral hops and a touch of roasted malt.

T - A combination of roasted malt and floral / fruity hops. But it's got a sour / tart taste (almost like a Rodenbach) that took away from the experience. This is the second Laughing Dog that I've tried and I was disappointed with both.

M - A bit on this thin side. Good carbonation.

D - Not a terrible beer but not a good one either. I'll bet they're good on tap but based on my experiences, the bottles seem to be off.

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Photo of henrysunset
2.61/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

16oz pour at Brouwers in Fremont.

dark as hell with a decent head of tan midsize bubbles.

smell is sweet, sharp and a little sour, not too hoppy.

taste is a little wild, a bit like a sharp sour flavor from a beer that has turned. it isn't very bitter, and it isn't very dark.

it is really smooth, and has a nice darker aftertaste. the aftertaste exceeds the taste, but the drinkability is low. (I can only hope this is a bad keg or a dirty line.)

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Photo of Vancer
3.11/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

An interesting black IPA, pours a deep mahogany brown, darn close to black, in the ol' Corsendonk tulip glass. Plenty of tan head that leaves sticky laces all the way down.

A cutting pine needle and citrus in the aroma. But the quaff puts me off a bit, too much woody resin in the finish and aftertaste. I luv a good IPA, but the harshness of this one doesn't set well. I didn't taste any smoke as previous reviewers, and certainly don't think this is an "A" beer.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up in Bonner's Ferry, Idaho. Came in a brown 22 oz. bomber. Pours out a dark opaque, but turns a rich mahogany when held to direct light. Tall tan head with the texture and consistency of pancake batter that recedes to a chunky bubbly cap. Thin strands of lacing.

Creamy molasses, almond, banana bread and some bubblegum up front on the nose, along with a piney citrus presence from the hops.

Roasted woody and smoky malts at first, more wood smoke in the middle, in fact smoky all the way throughout. Hops tame and balance the intense malts, and start to star on the finish but can't seem to completely hog the spotlight.

Light and smooth mouthfeel, some carbonation kick on the finish along with some soapy notes.

A curious IPA and a nice twist with the dark malts, it's like smoked porter versus India Pale Ale on this one, some sort of hybrid like the name Dogzilla tends to imply, and it works.

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Photo of Hollenbeck2
3.26/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

bought this beer in a 22 oz bottle, the label sold me, this is the first black IPA I have tried.

the appearance is like that of a german black beer, solid pitch darkness. the head is almost like a porter, thick and creamy.

the taste is like a schwartzbier, but with a definite bitter finish, almost too bitter but great.

the taste has a lot of chocolate to me, smoky feel and a bite at the end that lingers.

overall pretty good, not a session beer, this one went down slow.

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Photo of Chelsea1905
4.32/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought in a 22oz bomber.

This thing pours almost like a porter in colour,with a slightly tanned head. Looks almost like canned guiness.

This thing smells like fruit, almost in a dried apricot way.

Taste hits hard with the fruit up front, and then has a mild sugary caramel finish. However, it was almost as if the more I drank of this, the more the darker hues took over

Nice in the mouth, not too gassy small amounts of carbonation

Drinks well, a little filling mainly due to the dark colour and caramel ending making it feel more like a porter

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Photo of Beerzebub
4.2/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in a big wine glass at 59 F/ 15 C.

Dark reddish brown color, a good finger of beige head, substantial lace.

Smells like citrusy, spicy, earthy hops, with some malt like oatmeal cookies and black coffee. Oddly cohesive, and good.

Tastes hoppy and tart, very much like grapefruit juice. The acidity is surprising, and it really works. Plenty of grapefruity hop flavor, but the bitterness is quite moderate. The acidity seems to substitute for bitterness. Some coffeelike roastiness, seamlessly integrated. Lingering tart grapefruit.

Flirts uncomfortably with fizziness and wateriness, but fine carbonation, some acidic tingle, and a touch of slick oiliness make for a good texture overall. Quite refreshing and drinkable.

Good interesting beer. Acidity from the dark malts works well with the hops.

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Photo of woemad
4.03/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A year ago - or maybe two - a "Black IPA" could be found briefly in select watering holes in the Spokane area. I didn't get a chance to try it, but knew others who did and they were unstinting in their condemnation. I don't know if that was this beer, or an early R&D version of it. Having a soft spot for LD's beers, I decided to pick one up and try it for myself.

Bomber purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $3.99. Poured a dark cola color that took on a slightly ruby-ish hue when held up to the light. A creamy, tan head formed at the top that stuck around for a little while and left lots of lace.

Hoppy in the nose, as one would expect from anything that's called an IPA. There's also a roastiness that would normally be more at home in one of the more robust brown ales available. There's also a mild, brown sugary sweetness and even a faint sour cherry scent. Unusual, to say the least, in an intriguing sort of way.

Grapefruity hops impact the palate, followed closely behind by roasted malts and a mild brown sugary sweetness. In the background is a faint, slightly sour fruit flavor, and the taste fades out with a mild dryness.

Slightly slick, yet dry mouthfeel. Medium bodied.

An unusual tasting beer, but I enjoyed it. I'm not sure I'd want to session it, but one bomber hit the spot after getting off work today, and I'll definitely have it again. If my friends tried this version of this beer and didn't like it, I have to respectfully disagree with them. If this is a re-worked version of what they drank, then I'd say the fine tuning was worth it.

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Photo of erikm25
4.35/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a midnight chestnut (almost charcoal) brown with even darker crimson highlights. Massively creamy and billowing walnut tinted head. Great retention and equally impressive lacing. If I just saw this sitting in the glass there is no way I would guess IPA.

S: Aromas are sweet and sharp at the outset. Dark cherries, grapefruit, sweet plums, and citrus coated pine. There are heavier caramel and nutty aromas after a few more intakes. Overall this ends up being balanced nicely between roasted and sweet.

T: Tastes of dark fruits and toasted peppered chocolate. Hoppy but a with a thicker malty caramel flavor shining through. A nice lingering bitter hops taste with a blast of coffee at the finish. The hoppy citrus zest with the traces of roasted pecan chocolate balance together perfectly. The alcohol is not noticeable. I would guess the ABV is somewhere between 6% and 7.5%.

M: Mouth feel is medium to full bodied with good carbonation.

D: Well the very fact that they pay homage to the Blue Öyster Cult tune Godzilla (from their '77 album Spectres) on the bottle is a good sign. Plus, this does go well while jamming BOC and probably while watching the cinematic masterpiece The Stöned Age. I thought this beer was unique, innovative, and delicious. Highly recommended to everyone.

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DogZilla Black IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.41 out of 5 based on 512 ratings.
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