Alpha Dog Imperial IPA | Laughing Dog Brewing

very good
308 Reviews
Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Laughing Dog Brewing
Idaho, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A true hop bomb brewed plenty of Columbus and Mt Hood hops for a piney hop character. Premium Pale, Honey and Munich malt make this beer a little less malty but packing plenty of hop punch.

127 IBU

Added by bitterthebetter on 02-14-2009

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Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 665
Photo of CharlesBarkley
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As I write this let me note that I’m smiling, and have been for the last 10 minutes. Upon opening, i heard a laughter. A laughter so inexplicable that I did a 360 in my Espia nylon office chair to confront the culprit. It was then that I looked down at the golden rivers and smiled. Not only did my balls tingle mid pour into my chalice, but i felt a sudden connection between myself in this captivating presence. I stand here today, a mere mortal, who has witnessed something extraordinary.

I sunk my upper lip into the chalice and gently leaned back just as far enough so that it flushed through my mouth like a tranquil river. The laughter I was hearing began to intensify as I became fully aware of what was happening; magic. Magic to the point where i had no control over my mind, no control over my bowels, and most importantly no control over my soul. I’m writing this not as a recommendation, but as a demand. Drink up, hear the laughter…hear the laughter…

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Photo of Metal_N_Brew
4.94/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

App: Burnt Honey gold color, decent-fast fading head.

Smell: A lot of dankness. Hops abound with a slight scent of fresh honey.

Taste: Follows the nose almost exactly to a 'T'. I say almost because the taste is more influenced by the hops and malt character is diminished only a little bit.

Mouthfeel: This is high hop territory. The Mouthfeel in this IPA is real rough and strong, but rewarding and interesting if you like or love IPAs.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
4.6/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a clear golden copper, with a crisp, clean white head

rich rich hoppy aroma, grapefruit upfront with lemon, resiny pine, sturdy floral notes, spicy hops, and a slight caramel malt aroma

bursting with hops, lemon upfront, followed by solid pine, resin, crunchy herbal notes, florals, slight grapefruit, and a nice biscuity malt body

super big and bold with the hops, with a plethora of solid flavors, long, hoppy, glorious finish it just keeps going with more of the spicy hops rounding out the fresh herbal style finish that just makes you want more and more

a truly fantastic IPA. I love big bold hoppy mothers and this one fits the bill extremely well. Solid hoppy notes with just a slight hint of malt at the base. Super smooth for the 8.7 % ABV but its medium body keeps it from feeling super heavy or over the top. An absolute steal at $3.99, I can't wait to get many many many more of this excellent beer. If you like hops, get at least two bottles, and if you don't then leave it alone because you wont like it

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Photo of IPApadawan
4.57/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tastes great, very hoppy and robust. I had it for my first time about a couple of months ago. I cannot get enough of this beer. I would highly recommend drinking it. It goes down smooth but it has a certain bite for the after taste. The price is on the high side, but for someone like me, I'm willing to dish out some serious coin to try new beers.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours brilliant amber with a light copper tint under a 2” white rocky foam cap that leaves thick hanging lace.
S: Fruit, resin and pine on the nose with malt in the background.
T: A hop driven palate has a creamy malt entrance that gives way to juicy grapefruit and grapefruit rind bitterness with traces of melon.
F: Creamy medium to medium full body and medium carbonation.
O: A big bitter elixir that one might take to cure malaria or general boredom.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears a pale copper hue with a bright white head forming thick, this beer is awesome..fine intricate lacing forms nicely with hints of sugar hops and alcohol in the nose...the Alpha dog has come to play...fiery notes of hop juice and malt sugar come with a green bitterness, I'm loving the hops. The flavor is beautiful with big citric, earthy hop flavor and bitterness with a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied has me burping with a touch of alcohol and carbonation, very classic feel...the body has some resinous hop oils coating the palate. Overall a very aggressive DIPA that enjoyed, I think it's safe to say that I like Laughing Dog's beers.

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Photo of Magpie14
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a radiant light honey color with golden and bright reddish-yellow tints. Snow white head with huge thick pieces and chunks of whipped topping. Also, the head maintained a strong presence for sometime. Also a large number of bubbles rising to the top, very active. Lacing was a picture in itself...

S: huge bright hops! I am catching mostly whiffs of green pines, floral, earthy, and maybe some cannabis. Does have sizable hints of honey and sweet rich caramel, smells sweet

T: hops are a dirty earthiness with noble pines, grapefruits, floral fodder, and spiciness all around. This has minimal malt distribution, but I do catch a very light biscuity character. Otherwise, a hop popper! The sweet caramel edge is another hidden agenda but does help move things along as a sweet herbal hopped character.
This is one of the more bitter Double IPA's I have had. Hop character is heavy and has a unusual tastiness. The finish at the back bites and snaps the taste buds. What is the IBU on this bad boy? Another thing, alcohol is not even a concern at almost 9%, very well done

M: finishes bitter and has a mild profile that is gentle. For the strong hop profile this guy is not overly sweet and sticky, which is kind of nice. The flavors are raw and powerful with a mild and somewhat polished finish

D: only complaint is that the profile is sometimes lacking balance. However, I find myself enjoying this brew none-the-less! It is a stretch to say that this beer is "too hoppy," not sure if that is possible for a hop lover, like myself. This one caught me off guard...great! The flavor combination just rubs me the right way

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Photo of Big_V
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Wow! Can't believe I slept on this great brew. Glad I tried it finally. The hops explode in my mouth. Juicy,hoppy, and smooth. Everything you expect in a great IPA. Will buy again.

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.47/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Laughing Dog- Alpha Dog

A- Golden copper brown with a small filmy head. Good lacing on my pint glass.
S- Good thick caramel malt with piney hops and citrus, grapefruit and orange.
T- Thick caramel malt with sweet citrus and earthy green pine hops.
M- Thick sweet malt with an oily bitter pine/ citrus hop finish.

Overall- Solid tasty DIPA. Easily drinkable and cremy!

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Photo of ElGordo
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a pint glass. Body is a bright golden orange hue, topped by a thin layer of stark white head. Sharp aroma of bitter, citrusy hops, offset very slightly by a hint of mild biscuit malt. Notes of grapefruit and pine are prevalent.
Palate is aggressively hoppy up front, with a decidedly piny note on the tip of the tongue. A flash of biscuity malt comes through before the swallow, only to be lost in a huge wave of grapefruity hops that lasts long after the beer is down the hatch.
Body is maybe a little thin for an imperial IPA, and kind of belies the nearly 9% strength of this number. While not the most complex beer around, if you've looking for a good dose of hops, this more than does the trick. Quite possibly the hoppiest beer available for less than four bucks. Good work.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, orange citrus to a light pine. In the taste, sweet orange citrus to a pine dryness, again, tastes just like the smell. A small hop bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry orange citrus like aftertaste. Nice mix of orange citrus to pine and hides the ABV, a very nice beer.

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Photo of BryanCarey
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Laughing Dog Alpha Dog IPA pours to an orange/tan color with a good amount of foam that settles down but holds its own and leaves lacing as you consume. There is a slight haze to the body of this beer and its aroma combines scents of citrus, pineapple, caramel, and a dab of lemon.

Moving to the taste, Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA continues to impress, with flavors of toasted malt, pine, and caramel up front, which quickly transition to tastes of citrus and hoppy sensations that run from earthy to grassy to citrus. The beer is more bitter than sweet, but not overly bitter in taste thanks to the balancing contributions from the malts. There is some alcohol in the finish as well, and the earthy/citrus flavor lingers in the aftertaste for some time.

Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA is a beer made for the hophead in all of us and it is the hop component that most will remember best. It is designed to appeal to that part of our inner self that normally likes to play it safe, but doesn’t mind going out on the edge every now and then for a rousing and unforgettable experience. It is definitely a beer with personality and its taste experience makes Alpha Dog Imperial IPA and experience few other beers can match.

Among the many things I like about this beer are its ability to both intimidate and intrigue. Looking at a fact sheet is enough to make anyone apprehensive. When was the last time you sampled a beer with 127 IBU? It’s an extreme level, and it makes you wonder what the liquid in that bottle will taste like. However, once you sample it, you realize that the bark was louder than expected. Laughing Dog managed to include enough contributions from the sweet malt to keep the flavor from moving too far toward the bitter end of the spectrum. You end up with a beer that, while certainly bitter, is actually more balanced than the numbers indicate with a complex array of flavors that include pine, fruit, earthy notes, caramel, and more.

Not everyone can handle hanging with the Alpha Dog, but I recommend sampling this beer if you get the chance. It’s a bold, flavorful brew with many great surprises and a reasonably balanced taste for a product with such an extreme IBU rating. Try it for yourself, if you dare.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to screamforme for this one... What an extra!

Pours out a beautiful golden color and quickly forms a thick dense white frothy head... Sorta hazy...lookin hoppy...

Man, this is surprisingly pungent.. I had a Pliny the Elder a few nights ago and this is smelling like that... Deep and oily and hoppy and sticky..2 for 2 so far...

Wow...this is just super delicious... Oh, its uber hoppy and sticky and juicy but doesn't burn and get all sweet and muddled like a lot of DIPAs....its damn delicious is what it is... I got this as an extra in a trade for some Hop Henge Experimental and this is looking like a star in its own right...

I've had two brews from these guys and both of em have cleaned my clock.. I mean really blown me away... Amazing brew that I was sad to see disappear...

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a gorgeous light golden orange, Hazy, with a hefty, pillowy white head that clings to the sides of my snifter, nice streams of bubbles. Leaves excellent lacing behind. Absolutely beautiful looking Double IPA.

Smells extremely piney like a hike through a coniferous forest. Very bright and hoppy smell. Lots of sweet malts are detectable.

The pine really carries through in the taste, nice and sweet too, a little bit of honey in the taste. I can taste a little bit of alcohol, but nothing abrasive, this is extremely smooth, Very flavorful without overwhelming bitterness. I'd consider this a decently malty DIPA, but it's so well balanced by the rich floral-pine flavors of the hops.

medium, nearing full bodied, moderate carbonation. Nice and mellow feel.

Outstandingly drinkable, smooth, well balanced, and delicious. What more could you ask for.

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Photo of oberon
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I gotta say I have been really impressed with pretty much all the Laughing Dog line of beers,I think more impressed than most here on BA have been.Starts off with a perfect pour,I dont put a 5 down much but the pour here is worthy,a burnt orange infused medium golden with a perfect creamy white crown that leaves one big continuous ring of soap scum-like lace as it settles into a creamy mass.Resinous and citric hops dominate the nose along with some sugary sweet notes,the good thing here is the hops dominate,not overly sweet.The palate isnt to sweet like way to many of the style,the hops citric in character are the main event here,citrus and pine overtop of a sweet alcohol base,again the sweet alcohol base is underneath the big hops.I really like this beer,it is what the style should be more about in my humble opinion.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Yellow grapefruit color with a nice haze and a solid, filmy head that leaves rings of lace

S- Bitter and tropical with a sweetness that is swept away by an alcohol twang.

T- Toasty biscuits and orange candy. An of course alcohol

M&D- Silky feeling in the mouth with carbonation that makes the flavor pop and soak into your tongue.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.36/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I obtained this at the magnificent Neil St. Piccadilly after it came highly recommended from JD the manager, Sam the sports maven and Doug the all-around good guy. Excellent call. Two fingers of white froth top a hazy copper-amber body with golden yellow trim. The lacing on the trusty Duvel tulip is so decorative that I cannot help but ponder if fate intervened to deliver such a scenic appearance this winter season. Excellent head duration to boot, with the dollop of foam in the middle arranged like a hurricane taking shape; stellar looking beer.

Good DIPA smells, not great, with plenty of lemon and orange rinds, grapefruit, grassy notes, and bits of caramel and biscuit hops peering around the hopped-up aromas.

Ah, this taste, soooo good. Grapefruit, tangerine, and the aforementioned rinds for zest make Alpha Dog a Hop Dog. Hop lovers will surely enjoy this, and malty notes bleed through this hop monster especially as it warms a bit. Nice caramel and toffee taste.

I like the mouthfeel...but I do think that it feels a bit thin. The resiny and somewhat gritty texture are pretty good, but for all the bold hop-driven taste, I expected the mouthfeel to be a bit bolder. This to me is where the malt makes its presence felt, and adds a distinct characteristic.

On the whole, Alpha Dog is sincerely tremendous beer that I will grab as soon as iy is available. A big, brash, brawny, hopped-up DIPA, this big dog loudly barks out the hops early and often.


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Photo of woemad
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber that came into my possession due to the largesse of Chelsea1905. Thanks, Scott! I think he picked it up at Jim's Homebrew - I've yet to see it at Huckleberry's, but then again I haven't been up there in a week or so. I notice that there's a different dog on the bottle. Perhaps Ben the Lab has become jaded. Maybe a dozen or so label appearances have gone to his head and his agent demanded too much coin for this bottle.

Poured a honey-ish color, with a thick, creamy bone-white head that left lots of lace on the sides of a Boundary Bay pintglass.

Big, spicy, piney hops to this one, with some caramel maltiness huddling in the background. Definitely seems like a "West Coast" scent to this one.

The hop taste is HUGE in this beer. Piney and bitter, with the citrusy aspects reduced to the role of supporting player. Speaking of supporting player, the malts - if in a movie - would be delivering maybe one line aboout the weather, then dashing off-screen, and they are not missed once they provide the unspectacular job of providing background. Definitely a scorcher of an IPA, and while not the most perfectly balanced IPA I've had, it can still run with the big dogs (perhaps an unfortunate pun)and it's very tasty.

Body is a little thin for a DIPA, but that's not exactly a detriment in my book, as I personally find many to be overly provided for in that department. Not quite as oily in the mouthfeel department as some I've had, but not to an important degree - it merely means that if you drink this with food, you might be able to taste that food!

Drinkable if you like big hop flavors (guilty). A little too bold to session, if you can even contemplate sessioning something with an abv of nearly 9%. For the price (according to the tag, this was $4.61 - those goofy Jim's prices...), this is a pretty tasty DIPA bomber. Not as expensive as Ruination (the last DIPA that really flipped my wig) and relatively local, I'll be definitely buying this when I come across it. The word on the "street" (a ridiculously, er, "urban" term for a place as whitebread as Spokane) has it that this will become THE Laughing Dog DIPA from here on out. While I came to enjoy Devil Dog (personally I think DD could be re-packaged as a barleywine with little to no modifications, but that's just me), I think I prefer this when it comes to the DIPA style, and look forward to consuming more of this beer in the future.

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Photo of IndolentReader
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a 22 oz bomber of this on sale for $6.99. I served it in a reformed, oversized wine glass, which definitely helped open up the aroma of very, very fresh hops. The mouthfeel was thick and flavorful. I enjoyed tasting this beer - it's just hops in your face (or mouth in this case).

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Photo of leaddog
4.34/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours an amber/copper with two fingers of frothy white head.

Smell - Citrusy and piney hops, tropical fruits, malts (caramalt), lemon, grapefruit.

Taste - Strong citrus/pine hops, citrus and tropical fruits, and caramel malts. Excellent high level of bitterness that carries citrus/pine qualities throughout to the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall - An enjoyable and well-executed Imperial IPA by Laughing Dog. All qualities and characteristics of this style is met head on. This is a hophead's dream. One of the better Imperial IPAs that I've sampled recently.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I didn't plan on reviewing any beers tonight.. but oh well.. 22 picked up today at the COOP... was gonna share with the bro.. but his palate is shot... poured into my SA shaped glass..

1" foamy head has great retention and a ton of lace.. the brew is hazy honey gold.

Thick citrus rind and pine dominate the nose... smells very dry.. not much in the way of malts.. pithy.

Flavor has about as much hoppy presence as a brewer can pack into a liquid.. a hop delivery device for sure.. grapefruit zest and pine are alll throughout this one.. malts are there to provide a good balance.. but that is it!! oily hoppiness.. not out of whack... but I am questioning (in a good way).

The body is lite/medium for the style with some very smooth carbonation.. very dry and very "West Coast".

The only complaint that I can even remotely come up with is that the hops seem sorta one dimensional.. I would like to see more/different hops used at different times in the very late kettle and in the fermenter.

The Alpha Dog is phenomenal.. and should be considered anytime someone wants a IBU fix.. I just think a touch more thought could bring it into the top 100 realm.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a superbly bright golden orange hue with stellar clarity. A generous pour yields a frothy white two-finger head that has some impressive retention, finally falling to a chunky foamy cap that stays to the end, leaving behind some nice cakey lacing.

aroma of green hops. pine and herbal up front with a hint of citrus. More leafy green pine hops dominate the aroma... like pine trees shoved up my nose.

pine all the way, with the help of a fruity boost from some citrus hops. grapefruit pith, grapefruit juice, and a hint of floral hops mix in with the pine. This one is definitely hopcentric - the malt barely makes it through. which is alright. I suppose it's to be expected from 127 IBUs. the hop profile is extremely well balanced and enjoyable - not as overwhelming as I had worried.

mouthfeel is clean. maybe a bit light/thin for an imperial, but it only makes it more drinkable. rich without being heavy or chewy - dangerously smooth. carbonation is spot on - full and creamy without feeling fizzy or bubbly. An amazingly clean lasting bitterness carries the flavors for what seems like an eternity.

I have to say I'm pretty impressed with this one. It seems as if Laughing Dog has gotten things figured out. After a few mediocre/off brews in the past, the last few have impressed, and this one is no different. Maybe not the most complex hop bomb in the world, but it's incredibly drinkable and an all-around solid imperial. When you add in the relatively low price for a 22, I can think of a good reason not to buy this one, especially if hops are your thing.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Oliver's in Albany, NY. Or maybe it was from Julio's in Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big ol' 3 1/2" beige head over the clear golden brew. Head takes forever to fall, leaving a high butte of dense foam in the center, with tons of chunky lace coating the glass. Aroma is solid with the pine and citrus. Taste starts moderately sweet, then pine with a note of citrus are the rest of the story. Mouthfeel is smooth, and drinkability is dangerously good. This is one of the more approachable, balanced DIPAs I have had. Check it out.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled 6/4/2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Some good spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of huge grapefruit, orange zest, pine, lemon zest, grass, floral, pineapple, caramel, honey, earth, and herbal spiciness. Excellent aromas with great balance, hop complexity, and strength; very enjoyable. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, pine, floral, grass, pineapple, lemon zest, honey, and herbal spiciness. Good amount of piney bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pineapple, pine, floral, honey, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a while. Excellent balance of hop flavor complexity, with a good malt backbone and no cloying flavors at all; very clean hoppy flavors. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly slick and sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding DIPA! Great hop flavor balance and complexity; with a nice crisp body and well balanced malt backbone. Very smooth to sip on as well. One of the best DIPAs I have ever had for sure. Incredibly enjoyable stuff.

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Photo of Kendo
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the bomber (split two ways with a friend) into a Duvel tulip. Body is orangey-amber with a 2-finger khaki-colored head. Leaves good lacing.

S: Very nice. Fresh, juicy citrus - mainly grapefruit - and a touch of pine.

T: Nice caramel malt foundation. Followed by good citrusy hops - oranges and grapefruit. Then finishes with heat felt in the belly, but not really noted in the taste. Piney, dry hoppy bitterness coats the palate - a moisture-sucking dry, hoppy bitterness.

M: Slightly slick in feel. Medium in heft.

O: Good stuff. My half of the bomber was gone way too quickly.

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 665 ratings.
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