The Dogfather | Laughing Dog Brewing

very good
243 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

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Reviews: 243 | Ratings: 575
Photo of xabyss
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black with a hefty helping of dark tan head that dissipates at a moderate rate. Looks like a stout, basically.

S: First thing I notice is the plentiful booziness. Lots of heavily roasted malts verging on burnt with layers of chocolates and dark fruits. Quite a bit of cocoa-ish sweetness in the mix as well.

T: Not as much heat as the nose, but it's there. Sip opens with some milk chocolate and dark fruits, grows somewhat sweeter midsip with cocoa and roasted malts, and finishes with burnt coffee and some fairly well-integrated alcohol heat. Still less than the ABV would suggest.

M: Pretty thin for the style. Medium bodied with subdued carbonation and a hefty warming sensation that impedes large gulps.

O: With a label like that, I had to try it. I'm not disappointed. Is it the best stout I've had recently? Not by a long shot. I agree with another review that said the mouthfeel was the biggest letdown. If it were a bit creamier, I'd likely pick it up again. As is, I probably won't, but glad to have tried it.

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

Pours a pitch black color with a large, espresso-brown colored head that goes down slowly. This is a good-looking beer! Scent is quite inviting. Great malt profile with some roasted grain aromas. Somewhat hoppy for an imperial stout, but it is Laughing Dog. Roasted coffee with mellow hoppiness. Light chocolate aromas as well. Taste is just as it smells. At first you pick up the hoppiness...lovely hop profile balanced out by roasted malt and chocolate flavors. There are some great roasty and coffee flavors. Finishes with more hoppiness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy. Drinkability is fairly high, especially for such high ABV. Overall, this is a solid imperial stout. A little hoppy for this style, but it work. A lot better than some of the other hoppy imperial stouts out there.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my first Laughing Dog beer and, fortunately, the experience was positive. This is a pleasantly hefty beer. Charred characteristics abound, with a noticeable sweetness by way of chocolate. Feel was appropriately thick and syrupy. Also of note is the surprising lacing at the beginning which I don't normally see on beers of this strength. I'm definitely going to try another beer from this brewer.

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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).

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Photo of MikieV
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife picked up several of these on clearance over a year ago. My initial impression was about a 7.5 of 10. But after aging for a year or more... I give it a solid 8.5 of 10

Pours a deep near black with a thick rust color head.

Smells very sweet of roasty dark fruits. The chocolates and coffee that were present when fresh are long gone.

Tastes like dark fruits. Super smooth with a thick mouth feel. Slight metallic taste, but not overpowering. Even though I am a lightweight, I think the 11% alcohol may have increased.

I have aged Bell's Expedition Stout with excellent results, and this one will go in with the Bell's. It isn't easy aging them, as temptation makes yo want to break them out early, but it is worth the wait!

If you find this, pick out the oldest, dustiest bottle on the shelf. It's pretty darn good!

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Photo of brystmar
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Al hooks up the tick.

Black body, plenty of tan head, sticky lace on the sides. Fantastic aroma showcases caramel, toffee, roasted malt, coffee, chocolate. Wow, definitely didn't expect that.

Taste underwhelms. Plain and simple, this is a slightly above-average imperial stout. The complexity from the nose is gone, replaced by mild boozy warmth and more roast. Hard to believe this is so mediocre given the awesome nose.

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Photo of martyl1000
4.26/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into tulip glasses looks quite tasty, though not the darkest beer I've seen (that title goes to Dark Horse Reserve Special Black Ale, which is absolutely Crayola black, not a hint of brown). The head is nice and creamy, if without substantial mass, dissipating almost immediately.

The aroma is nearly great, but for an odd savoriness that's distracting -- a bacon-y or cheese-y heaviness that makes one briefly suspect there's something wrong with the brew.

That savoriness carries onto the palate, which is unfortunate only for the most fleeting of shrink-back moments. It's the kind of curious roundness on the back of the tongue that I can imagine being a virtue for some, though it's a drawback for me.

A cream-and-coffee sweetness anchors the stiff hop bitterness to the floor and makes any off-the-cuff estimate of IBU's impossible.

Definitely not in the same league as Founders Imperial Stout or Southen Tier Jahva/Mokha. But certainly not as weak as other reviewers say below.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color that is not quite black. A one finger, creamy, mocha colored head sits on top for quite some time. It is obviously carbonated, yet it appears somewhat still.

S: Lots of roasted malts, a big kick of sweet chocolate and some dark fruits. Some sweet vanilla and cocoa come through as well. There is a bite of alcoholic burn towards the finish.

T: Sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee beans, and burnt malts make up the taste. The alcohol is very well hidden here. Those sweet dark fruits and vanilla are there again towards the end.

M: This is far too thin for an imperial stout. There might be a bit too much carbonation and it finishes very sweet and wet.

O: I enjoyed this imperial stout quite a bit. The feel was the biggest let down, but other aspects were spot on.

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

Poured at a good temperature with a medium sized tan, foamy, head that slowly settles and plenty of lace. Color is an absolutely opaque black brown. Aroma is a molasses, malt, roast, coffee, cocoa, licorice. Flavors very similar; a little sweet on top followed by massive bitterness. Body is big but with some bitter highpoints. Good carbonation. Finish is long, boozy, and for the occasional hit. Great beer.

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

The next beer I chose because someone named John recommended it at Total Wine. I had seen this beer before and it was intriguing. It was a high gravity imperial stout, which I thought my wife would like because it had a lab on the label. However, this beer impressed my in two ways, the subtlety and the control. This beer is incredibly dry and crisp. I know this goes into another style that deserves its own rant, but in general the American v. European thing holds again. American Stouts tend to be bigger, sweeter, and hoppier versus European which are drier and toastier. Classic Examples? American: Old Rasputin, Left Hand Milk Stout (My Favorite), Young’s Double Chocolate Stout, etc. European: Guinness, Lion Stout, Sam Smith’s Old Brewery Stout. This subtlety means the beer was dry in a way that most imperial weren’t; it was not overly sweetened or hopped so the balance was perfect. The control comes in the flavors. It was just a roasty stout, think of a better Guinness. They were able to control the urge to add chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut, caramel, i.e. make it a dessert, for which I was surprised and grateful.

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Photo of DM1293
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like most stouts, I really can't differentiate all the more complex nuances in the background (the dark fruits). And like most stouts, the notes that you want are there, from dark chocolate to bitter coffee roastyness. There is also a nice solid malt taste, and it emphasizes the coffee bitterness to round out the sweetness.

Compared to the two other Double Stouts I've had, this one is less bitter-strong but also not the most flavorful-smooth. Its inbetween the two.

Its very drinkable, fairly well-balanced, and I might pick it up again (if only because its got a HUGE ABV for its drinkability).

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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.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There is some reddish brown in the pour, but the beer ends up black, with no light penetration, except the edges. A medium sized late forming mocha head dissipates fast, but is retained well by the constant lively bubbles provided by the carbonation, and leaves some lacing.

Smells chocolatey, roasted malts, and a very faint hop presence.

Taste is very close. Plenty of chocolate, sweeter roasted malts, and a nice bitter coffee finish.

Feels almost perfect, velvety smooth, full bodied, yet extremely easy to drink. ABV is well hidden, not bad for the huge 11%.

A very nice beer, nothing special, flavor profile is routine, but well done. Texture is where it's at. Even the wife liked the beer.


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Photo of YouSkeete
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a pitch black with a large, frothy mocha colored head. Fades into beautiful lacing around the edges eventually. Big boozy molasses aroma with tones of smoked wood, charcoal, bittersweet chocolate, and malts that follow in order. Initial sip is an awkward mishmash of sour apples, burnt charcoal, extra-bitter coffee beans and creamy molasses. Bitterness lingers while the sweetness and malty character fades almost immediately; wine-like sourness follows throughout as well. Dry, smoky, and still bitter all the way through to the aftertaste. The heaviness of the overall fermented fruit flavor is making me think this bottle is outdated but there's no exp. If this is not outdated, i'm very surprised by my peers' reviews... Not impressed with this one whatsoever.

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Photo of Gosox8787
2.55/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle that is chilled before drinking. Poured into my Kate the Great tulip glass. No labelling as to when this was bottled, but I know I got it about six months ago.

Appearance: Pours a large, foamy light brown head that fills the glass pretty quickly. Pours a pretty dark brown to black in color.

Aroma: Starts off with a lot of dark chocolate and some hops in the background. Really interesting pine notes from the hops, but there's where it gets a bit weird. There's a pretty noticable cherry sourness that gives off a weird sour note that really clashes.

Taste: The really odd cherry sour notes are not as hidden here. They clash pretty badly with the strong char and ash notes. Any chocolate or molasses notes are completely overtaken by the weird interplay of the char and sour. It's not so offensively bad I cannot stand it, but its not good either. Definitely contemplating pouring about half this down the drain as it's not really improving as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Really thin for a stout, but the carbonation is ample and helps a little.

Overall, not something I want to revisit particularly. I've looked through some other reviews and it appears my experience is not too uncommon. Not the most pleasant drinking experience. Interesting to try, but definitely one and done.

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Photo of Ruds
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter, first serving chilled from the fridge for an hour, second having warmed a little.

Pours a jet black colour with a good thick dirty coffee coloured head.

Roasted malt and chocolate on the nose, coffee to a lesser extent and a little hop in the backbone.

Roasted malts at the fore on the palate along with bitter chocolate and alcohol. Too much alcohol and not as well balanced as I had hoped!

Medium carbonation and full bodied.

Overall a good imperial stout but let down by having too much of an alochol hit. Yes - it's 10.85% but I've had plenty of Imperial Stout's around this ABV mark that have been better balanced and disguised the alcohol flavour somewhat better.

I would try again though!

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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.

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Photo of bnes09
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark brown, almost pitch black. Towering tannish head forms than turns a whitish color as it covers the glass in creamy lacing.

Highly malty aroma with mildly roasted characters.

Some roasted flavors reminiscent of coffee. Very malty. Hops are assertive but not overpowering with an herbal character. Tart aftertaste which is a bit off. Complex but lacks balance.

Thick body. Descent carbonation. Drying alcohol presence. Texture is coarse and grainy with a syrupy stickiness.

Just ok.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark black/ trace of tan. Nice creamy, thick 2 inch head and lots of lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, Chocolate, hops, carmael, coffee, spices, smokey, and some booze.

Taste - Sweet malts, some hops, and dark fruits with some booze is the starting flavor. This beer is sweet, malty and has plenty of chocolate and coffee. Sweet dark fruits along with the hops add some citric notes to each sip. Also plenty of smokey flavors, and the booze is present in each sip.

Mouthfeel - Its thick, and a big beer. Tounge gets the malt/hop kick, along with plenty of chocolate and coffee. PAlette gets sweet fruits, malts and some booze. Aftertaste is sweet, malty and boozy.

Overall - A nice big beer, thats really smooth and easy to drink. More sweet and hoppy then most double stouts. Nice hop, sweet citric fruit flavor that adds more flavors to a already big beer. This has been my favorite laughing dog so far, a nice beer, really enjoyable to drink.

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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.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, almost black body with a half inch of cinnamon colored head.

Smells of roasted malt and a little smokey.

Roasted malt, light coffee, and a strange sour taste to it. The aftertaste has a bit of sweet tarts to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. It's very smooth for an 11% abv.

Overall, it's an ok stout. The aftertaste didn't sit well with me, but on the plus side it drank well for such a high abv.

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Photo of Suds
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 ounce bottle, this beer is an utterly black liquid with a thin tan head. The smell is great...fruit (ripe berries, plums), highly roasted malts, a background of earthy hops, and alcohol. It's a little astringent and harsh in its taste. There is some charcoal and booze in the flavor...highly roasted, nearly burnt grains. Lots of intense flavors. It's a thick, very smooth beer. It could be better, but this is a fine stout.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.27/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 23 Oct 2010. Served in the 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter.

Big huge tight dark brown head. I mean really big. Big. Head. Opaque dark dark brown in color. Dark. Brown. Moderate carbonation. Smells like coffee soap. Hell, I dunno, that's what A wrote. Also some buckwheat. I'm glad she know what that smells like. I sure don't. Boozy, chocolate and coffee. Roasty, almost burnt. Medium body. Warming ethanol. Finish and aftertaste are lingering dark roasted bitter coffee. Touch of licorice.

A liked this one a little better than I did. But overall kind of disappointed that I traded for it. At least, I think I traded for it. I should keep better track of my trades.

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Photo of Murrhey
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bomber into a pint glass. Reviewed from notes.

A- Finger and a half thick tan head. Black in color. Dark and opaque.

S- Red wine, caramel and chocolate. Definitely boozy as well.

T- Bitter linger but really a wonderful flavor. Rich, chocolately and velvety.

M- Thick, smooth and well carbonated.

O- This beer was wonderful and decadent. One sip had flavors dancing around on my tongue. Nice job Laughing Dog.

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Photo of dbossman
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a thick, foamy on inch chocolate hue; lacing is great

S: Strong roasted malts; chocolates, coffee and dark fruits--raisins, plums, prunes, grapes; this is dark and roasty and awesome smelling

T: Rich roasted malts; coffee and chocolates--lots of dark unsweetened chocolates and dark fruits--fairly bitter with some lingering dark fruits

F: A touch thin for a big stout though still fairly creamy

O: A nice big, creamy, malty beer; good stuff

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The Dogfather from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.86 out of 5 based on 575 ratings.
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