The Dogfather | Laughing Dog Brewing

very good
242 Reviews
The DogfatherThe Dogfather

Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing
Idaho, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
The Dogfather is one of the biggest brews we have made. Weighing in at a hefty 11% percent, the Dogfather has 7 malts and 4 different hops giving it a complex flavor profile.

71 IBU

Added by JohnGalt1 on 11-07-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 572
Photo of Sammy
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I liked this RIS even though it was not a thick RIS. In fact, its mouthfeel was average, and overcarbonated. It was balanced, good complexity of malts and quite drinkable malted coffee.Good roasted aroma and flavour.The chocolate liquor was there, and was in the secondary. Dark brown colour with moderate head.

 311 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
2.52/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pitch black color with a 2 inch chocolate milk colored head that fades to a small cap. Good rings of lace on the drink down. Wow, this smells kind of bad. Dirty feet, coffee, chocolate, and funk. Hmm, I think something is wrong with this bottle. Taste is thankfully not as bad as the smell but it's still gross. Funky feet up front that mellows into a coffee/chocolate flavor after each sip. Decent carbonation with a medium body in the mouth. Overall, I think this is a bad bottle. Stouts should not taste or smell like dirty feet. I will probably buy another bottle to see if I get the same problems.

 610 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

i like this take on the now extremely popular enormous stout that every brewery in the country seems to be making. while many of them all seem the same, this one adds something new to the conversation. its got a more interesting malt bill than so many, intensely dark roast but lightened and smoothed out by what must be a little wheat. its also got a ton of body, but an awesome dryness to the finish, almost chalky in texture, like crumbly bitter bakers chocolate but finishing a little faster. its neat to have such a big dark beer to that on the palate, so few do. its also very bubbly, well carbonated for the style, i find that uplifting about it, and even though its 11% abv, it appears much lighter and more delicate than others due to these mouthfeel attributes. notes of coffee and burning tobacco are present in the finish, and just a slight oaty sweetness that is recognizable. my first beer (i think) from these guys, and its impressive. i know there is a bourbon barrel edition out there, but i cant imagine that improving this much. it may add sweetness and roll over the textural delicacy that exists in this one, but we will have to get one and see!

 1,166 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour is pitch black with a tan colored head with a pretty good lacing all over the glass. The smell is very sweet and roasted. Kind of a mix of vanilla and coffee. The taste is very sweet with a dominant bitterness to it. There is a little bit of sweet vanilla up front but changes to a burnt coffee flavor. The mouthfeel is smooth and dry. Overall I still I like this beer and would drink it again.

 403 characters

Photo of metter98
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high tan head that quickly dissipated, leaving some bubbles on the surface and a ring around the edge of the glass.
S: The smell is sweet and has notes of chocolate, dark fruits, molasses and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has flavors of chocolate, dark fruits, licorice, molasses and roasted malts. There is a slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some notes of dryness in the finish.
O: The beer tastes somewhat strong, but nowhere in the level of 11% abv. For this reason, it’s not too difficult to drink.

 711 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A strongly roasted and cocoa flavored Imperial Stout. But a mild house flavor astringency hurts the flavor and feel a bit.

The beer pours a lavish black beer with lightly browned foam that forms, lasts, and laces extremely well. An onyx-like sheen makes me think that the beer is clear but the mere color keeps any light from impeeding.

Intense cocoa, espresso, and roasted breads/toast dominate the aroma. With a background note of tartness (berries and under-rippened fruit) can be esters or signal mild astringency or contamination.

Flavors of deeply roated malt, malted milk, heavy toast, espresso coffee, and bittersweet chocolated dominate just as much in flavor as they do in aroma- maybe moreso. Bitterness arrives from hop sources as well as roast, but there's another bitter sensation that weaves into and out of astringent sensations. Lighly boozy alcohols add sweetness, complexity, and maybe some bitterness to the stout beer.

Thick, robust, and lucious to start, this beer is creamy, heavy, and has the halmark feel of a true delicacy. the beer keeps its weight and fullness very well. But when the beer turns to dryness, the astringent feel digs into the mouth a bit too much and nearly kills the finish.

The Dogfather is a tremendous Stout and is surely a joy to drink by any dark beer fan. But there's that house astringency that finds its way into this beer and offers the only critical error.

 1,416 characters

Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours pitch black, with a frothy mocha head that leaves some streaky lacing behind

Smell: Big chocolate aromatics with some woody tones, as well

Taste: Chocolate, up front, with a bit of fruity tartness that sneaks in at mid-palate; oak and dark fruit elements arrive, after the swallow; in the finish, the bittering impact from the hops finally arrive

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Other than the mouthfeel (which is a bit thin for an Imperial Stout), this is a pretty darn good example of the style

 552 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a thick, brown head of foam with ruby highlights. It left sticky, intricate patches of lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate, roasted malt and mild floral notes. There were some notes of citrus.

T - It tasted of bitter dark chocolate with sweet roasted malt flavors. There was also a bitter, piney hop bite.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied brew with a dry finish.

D - This is a very good Imperial Stout. Another solid brew from Laughing Dog.

 508 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've been waiting to try this one for a while, and finally feel like cracking it as I will probably have to battle with my basement flooding tonight.

A: 2 finger head rises up of dark chalky color and thick, the beer itself is pitch black and looks semi thick. The head leaves a slight lacing.

N: Tons of coffee, and lots of roast. Some dark malts, chocolate, sweet malts, a little dark fruit, slight booze, a slight chocolate milk.

T: Semi thick and lucsious with tons of roast and chocolate, sweet malts, coffee, some dark charred malts, a bitterness that comes from that roasted charred malts and some earthy hop flavors. It also seems to have quite a bit of a salty taste, weird, which is accompanied by lots of soy sauce. Chewy malts, slight licorice, and slight oatmeal round off the taste. It's pretty sweet too and hides the booze well, but the very salty and sweet tastes really take away from it.

M: Pretty thick, a little smooth and creamy, good carbonation.

F: Pretty bitter on the finish with all that charred roasted malts and some earthy hops. That salty soy sauce overpowers the finish and really takes away from it. Some lingering coffee, roast, and chocolate. If it wasn't for that salty soy sauce taste it would be a really good beer.

 1,258 characters

Photo of chinchill
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to my daughter for this 650 mL bomber. Served in a Unibroue snifter.

A: Pours with a huge, rapidly rising tan head ... even on the 2nd pour many minutes later -- be prepared. The liquid is viscous, opaque and black. As the towering head settles, the glass remained well coated with sticky lace, while the head became even more dense and creamy.

Aroma: The nose is dominated by dark roasted grains, but marred (IMO) by a boozy overtone. Just now checking the ABV on this one - so the booziness is to be expected, I suppose. Some sweet chocolate, vanilla, burnt nuts, and a hint of spicy hops.

T: Intense dark roasted malt flavor, with faint burnt elements. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and vanilla, with some hop spiciness coming through in the finish and aftertaste. Excellent sweet/bitter balance, leaning towards bitter after being sweet up front. ABV is partially hidden.

M: very full body, and creamy, despite a medium level of carbonation. An inevitable warming from the high ABV.

O: a fine imperial stout, worth seeking out.
(revised with a less appealing 22 oz bottle in December 2016).

 1,108 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a thick, black body with a brief, tan-hued head.

Smell: Roasty, earthy aroma deliver cutting notes of bitter chocolate, dark fruits, black licorice, dried herbs, and even some alcohol.

Taste: Initial roastiness that's fairly sharp soothed with a taste of dark chocolate ice cream topping. Slight prune fruitiness. Minor puff of smoke. Herbaceous, earthy hops with a medium-plus bitterness. Hint of licorice. A slight astringency creeps in, along with some boozy qualities. Finishes roasty with a fair amount of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Woof! Worth a try. While it's not the most genuinely satisfying Imperial Stout to cross my glass, it's still fairly decent.

 762 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"He should be careful. It's dangerous to be an honest dog."

--Michael Collieone in 'The Dogfather'

Black Forest cake beneath an expansive crown of caramel colored foam that has a thickly creamy texture and plenty of persistence. No highlights are seen, even with sunshine behind the glass. Whatever else it has going for it, this one looks the part.

The nose is beautifully black malty, with bittersweet chocolate slightly more prominent than roasted coffee beans. A whiff of hops are appreciated too, though they're overpowered by malt. As it should be. A lack of bourbon barrel influence keeps the score from being higher.

Given the double-digit ABV, this is a pretty well-mannered pooch. Learning how to bury the bone... uh... the alcohol in obedience school definitely paid off. Dogfather is a malt bomb, as expected, but there's also a surprising amount of hoppiness. 71 IBUs in an American double stout is nothing to bark at. Duuude, are we done with the lame dog jokes yet?

The flavor profile is an excellent combination of malt, hops and bourbon. The list includes equal parts dark chocolate and black coffee, citrus zest, pine sap, caramelized sugar and vanilla. Whatever percentage of the final beer was aged in bourbon barrels was just right in the grand scheme of things. The bourbon is an accent rather than a major contributor.

Warming opens things up nicely and makes the flavors deeper and richer. It also mellows out the alcohol a little, although it was never harsh or hot to begin with. The mouthfeel, which started out only light-medium for the style, begins to fill out and creamify by the middle of the bomber. Even more malt would be great.

This bittersweet brute is my favorite Laughing Dog beer to date (Devil Dog is good too). It's pretty much everything that an American double stout should be... plus bourbon whiskey. If The Dogfather is offered, don't you dare refuse. Two paws up!

 1,917 characters

Photo of russpowell
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 1+ finger of mocha colored head. Nice oily sheen to this, great head retention & decent lacing

S: Dark chocolate, plus dark fruit & boozeyness once warm

T: Dark chocolate, coffee & powdery dryness up front. Dark fruittyness (cherries especially), oaky dryness & herbal hops are all there once warm. Finishes with semi-sweet chcolate, sour cherry, coffee, & carob

MF: Medium bodied, a bit too dry, semi-oily with slight carbonation, nice warming feeling

Drinks easy for the ABV & style, but not exactly a great Imp stout, but would satisfy my needs if seeking one out. Worth a try, but a lower echelon example of the style to me...

 672 characters

Photo of billab914
2.74/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Portsmouth tulip. Poured black in color with half of the glass filling with a dark tan foamy head. The head retention was very good and it left some thick sheets of lacing as I drank it.

The aroma shows more hoppyness then most imperial stouts. The hops come through with an earthy, slightly spicy flavor. There is a pretty bold bitter roastedness that comes through as well. The flavors just don't seem to mesh well for me in the nose, they seem more like competing flavors instead of balancing ones.

The taste shows a strong burnt, smoky, roasted characteristic. It has a strange dry almost salty like flavor that comes through that really doesn't fit at all. A moderate chocolate flavor tries to come through a bit but is overshadowed unfortunately. I'm getting a decent amount of earthy hops to it as well. It feels like it's just so extreme on the roasted and bitter flavor that it overshadows everything else.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side but carbonation feels a bit too high for the style for my preference. Drinkability isn't that good for me, it just seemed all over the place with flavors and they just didn't mesh well together. The roasted, dry, bitterness was just too extreme and needed balancing. Unfortunately I just didn't care for this one at all.

 1,312 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huge tan head that is five-fingers thick in a 20oz glass. Still two-fingers thick after four minutes. Nice spidery lace on the glass. So dark that even sunlight cannot penetrate.

Lots of chocolate and cream aroma. Light chalkiness with a malted milk ball smell. On the third sniff, I detect a high level of alcohol.

Nice chocolate ice cream flavor on the initial taste. Thinner than expected. Some complexity in that there is two different bitter taste. Burnt (black patent) malt is one element. The other is notable hop which shows up primarily in the swallow and aftertaste.

 579 characters

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appears a pitch jet black body pours thick and simply glugs out of the bottle as I pour into my Stone Russian Imperial Stout chalice. Thicket of mocha tan head almost overflowing out of the glass, beautiful thick bands of lace form on the sides as it begins to fade away. I love the label as corny as it is, the Dogfather Imperial Stout with fake bullet holes with a Godfather logo redone with a pair of dogbones.

Aroma has layers of deep cocoa notes, creamy dark chocolate with big herbal hops shining through. World class imperial stout hints of anise dark big malt layers minimal booze tickles the nares, but as a whole this is one impressive big beer thus far. As it warms big whiffs of cookie dough fill the air, I'm not sure I've ever experienced that before.

Flavor has depth with cocoa, dark chocolate and hints of espresso beans with such a strong dark roasted malt bitterness. Interweaving with hints of cream and sugar, big fruit undertones mild soy sauce with a touch of anise and alcohol although evident doesn't slow down the drinkability at all. Herbal hop bitterness noted in the back end, big chewy beer I love it.

Mouthfeel, you could definitely drizzle this as a topping on ice cream, or eat it with a spoon full bodied imperial stout. Again it's been awhile since I've had a beer like this, big chewy mouthfeel with a slow bubbled carbonation that handles the big boy just fine dark roasts and herbal hops leave behind a welcoming dryness after all the sweetness fades away.

Drinkability was bar none one of the easiest to consume imperial stouts of all time, enjoyable and way to easy to get down. By chance the only other beer I've had from Idaho was out of Idaho Springs Brownstone Brewery and it was their Russian Imperial Stout that was brought to me in a growler from a friend doing business out west.

 1,832 characters

Photo of stakem
2.51/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Note: Infection warning! I am hesitant to even add this review but people need to be aware of the potential risk with some batches of this brew. Multiple attempts at contacting the brewery have gone without a reply or acknowledgement of a potential issue.

Review from notes taken on 11/20/10.

The bomber was uncapped and immediately revealed a slow gusher that had foam rising up and out of the bottle neck. After 6 ounces were poured out, the foam continued to rise up and out of the bottle. The brew sits in my snifter with a mountain of head atop it that is a 5:1 ratio of head to beer. It appears a dark brown color with a ring of lighter brown around the edges. Lacing effect hangs all over the glass in a webbing where the head previously touched.

The smell of the brew is lactic, tart, sour and twangy. There is an evident amount of alcohol and faint dark roasty malt that hardly imparts any scent of grain and sweetness when compared to the sour notes in this nose.

The taste mirrors the aroma. Sour with a hoppy bitteness of citrus and pine that is lightly resinous. Bitter dark grains provide a secondary level of bitterness to this brew that is grainy with alcohol. Beyond that minor moment of feeling like I was drinking a stout in comes the off taste of twang and lactic sourness. A very minor note of chocolate emerges but at this point I am fighting to find more stout qualites to this brew.

Medium bodied brew that includes a grainy burnt feel and excessive amount of high carbonation. It is at times interesting with fruity lactic qualities but overall not that enjoyable, it is a mess.

 1,609 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black with a two finger mocha head that leaves mad lace on the way down my gullet. Smells of chocolate, licorice, Hershey's syrup, and some dark dried fruits. Tastes of chocolate and roasted malts. Taste has a slight lactose type sweetness to it. Lingering roast and dried fruit in the finish. Hops make a bit of an appearance but this is roasted malts more than anything. 11% alcohol is hidden well. Thick body, creamy coating mouthfeel. Ample carbonation. Great Imperial Stout from a brewery I never heard of until now. I wish I had bought more than one of these!

 579 characters

Photo of vfgccp
1.9/5  rDev -50.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A - Beautiful looking stout. Midniht black with a creamy cap of mocha colored head. Great retention and lace.

S - Super sweet vanilla creme brûlée and cranberry cocktail. Definitely off balance.

T - Way too sweet. Caramel sugar overwhelms the profile. Leather and a tart cranberry pull through on the backend.

M - Medium frame with an overly syrupy feel to it.

O - Cloying sweetness overruns this brew.

 408 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to piclee for this 22 oz. bottle!

Pours opaque black with a rich brown head that slowly descends. Great retention and nice lacing for style/abv.

The smell is of chocolate, dark bread (pumpernickel), some dark fruits, earthy/herbal spicing, some peppery/fruity alcohol, and a hint of licorice/anise (and grape?)

The taste is of chocolate with herbal bitterness and some anise, and a bit of grape as it progresses. Spicy/peppery alcohol is there.

It has a full body with some creaminess. Not syrupy or sticky, but alcohol is hot and wipes away some of the character.

It has a nice bitterish balance, and is enjoyable, but it is certainly a sipper. Drinks pretty well, though, considering strength.

 707 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into my Dogfish Head snifter glass.

A real good foamy cocoa light brown head, falls slowly upon a dark walnut brown/red body. Very nice creamy lacing and spotted lacing.

Nose is an interesting sense of grape skin, grappa like. Hop sense perhaps hard to say, but a faint roast character. Very unique nose. Mix of fruit and spirit. Dry tobacco as well.

On taste a very creamy mouthfeel mixing with a good bitterness. Palate has nice roast and char, with a bitter hop. Creamy finish on the palate and almost chewy.

Overall quite solid and enjoyable. Distinct one and quite enjoyable with no sense of boozy heat either. Good job Laughing Dog.

 665 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, the beer is black and the consistency looks thick. The beer has a good, thick, chocolate colored head consisting of dense bubbles that take increased time to finish the cascade. Dark fruit and malty smels initially with some port wine notes, also. The flavor is mocha, with baseline of milk chocolate and some bitterness to balance everything. Beer is round, creamy and smooth, leaving a nice lace on the glass. There's a creamy finish with some bitter coffee flavors in the aftertaste. Fairly light for an imperial stout, making it an easy drink.

 587 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: black in color with a one inch head. A few spots of lace paint the glass.

Smell: roasted malt sweetness, some soft chocolate, a floral bitterness, and a bit of alcohol was pleasant on the nose.

Taste: follows the nose as roasted malt, soft chocolate, prunes, licorice, a floral bitterness, and alcohol are most noticeable. Some earthy qualities are detectable too.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Smooth throughout. Long aftertaste here.

Drinkability: a very slow sipping beer, and this one bottle is more than enough in a session. Nice flavors and worth a try.

 579 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Review from 12/2010 notes. Two year old properly aged bottle. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours dark, dark brown, nearly black with a two finger light brown head with good retention, leaving lots of lacing. Very attractive pour. Dark and toasty malt, chocolate and coffee flavors. Thick and creamy body. Finishes with a strong coffee component, but lingering dark malts and a bit of hops. Nicely done. I will have to try this one fresh too.

 451 characters

Photo of aasher
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a midnight, slightly viscous black with a light, light khaki head. There are basically only two aromas present, oak and malt. The taste is pretty solid. It tasted roasted, malty and has almost like a milk stout sweetness to it. It's definitely different (I'm pretty sure the bottle is from 2009) and the alcohol isn't present in the taste at all. It looks heavier than it drinks. It's not as chewy as you'd expect. It's very drinkable considering the alcohol content. I must say I enjoyed the Dogfather, I can't wait to try my Bourbon Barrel Aged version.

 562 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
The Dogfather from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.86 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.