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: 667
Photo of timtim
4.17/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

nice looking slightly hazy apricot color with long lasting head and lots of chunky lace. the smell of caramel and grapefruity, piney hops filled the air as soon as i started pouring. it's a really nice smelling beer with quite a powerful nose. that beign said, the beer was very good, but not remarkable. pine, citrus, herb/grass... all the typical dipa things going on along with caramelly malt in the background. lucious body. very silky with a long bitter finish and the 8%abv (right where i like 'em to be) is hidden very well. another great beer to cure the hop jones in ya, but also one i won't really hunt for.

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Photo of rhunter7
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Look- Amber, burnt orange in appearence, the head is big, tad excessive, and white. 5/5
Smells- Pine smell, citrus. I like 4.5
Taste- very hoppy, citrusy, slight malt, kind of sweet, a peppery aspect from alcohol. 4/5
Feel- Thick, heavy, eh... Not a big fan... 3.25
Overall- I like it a lot, scores a 4.25... Very flavorful, bold, hoppy. However it's a bit too heavy for this time of the year. I drank the whole 24oz bottle. I'd probably rate it higher after a long run in sub zero temps, but it's hot out. Worth trying. I'll try it again in December.

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Photo of ccrida
4.16/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber poured into a nonic, Alpha Dog is dusty burnt gold with a large, dense, barley off-white head with super long last that leaves heavy hunks of foamy lace. I like a paler IPA, and the head is ridiculous, like a bottle conditioned Belgian, so fine, tight and rocky!

Smell is strong hops, piney, but there is a woody like earthiness that really reminds me of thick hop stems of something, herbal as well.

Taste is strait up weird. First impression was, oddly enough, peanut butter. Subsequent sips confirm that as the initial flavor, but it further brings a resinous (albeit very woody) hop flavor, just a unusual flavor profile from the clearly strong hops. I just don't know what to make of this, it's strait up nutty - and I don't just mean the taste. There's a firm bitterness, some (almost burnt) toast malt, and pretty abrupt finish, with a sweeter hop aftertaste. All over the place! But unique for sure. While it wasn't served fridge temp, it had been in one about 2 hrs prior to serving and still felt pretty cold. But as it warmed up, more 'traditional' pine resin hop notes came out, as did a balancing sweetness. But these were really more hints of normalcy, which this was always far from being!

Mouthfeel is super oily, teeth coating, and medium bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, even if this is the most bizarre DIPA I've ever had. I really dig the over the top hop flavors without an indulgent ABV as is sometimes found in other west coast hop bomb versions of the style. I'd love to know what kind of hops this used, a crazy DIPA for sure! Will I buy it again? Probably, to send to friends just to show them what this bad boy is all about! One of those 'have to try' DIPAs if you love the style, as I do, even if not the best. While I didn't love the first sip, by the last, I was digging it, and had to bump it up a 1/2 point. Also, a good value. Better served on the warmer side. I've always preferred hoppy beers colder, but this is the 2nd big DIPA I've had in a row that has challenged that notion...

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Photo of cswhitehorse
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Alpha Dog poured a autumn orange color with a massive foam head and some sweet lacing. Head retention was real nice. A good looking beer.

The aroma was super piney and aggressive with the nose. The taste was dominated by the hop abrasiveness. It had a good malt backbone and the 8.7 abv was pretty well hidden. It left a semi dry mouth feel and will satisfy any hop head. Overall it is probably the best beer to date from Laughing Dog that I have tried.

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Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle, $8.60 at Spirit Haus in Amherst, Ma. No freshness info to be found.

Pours a slighlty lighter amber then expected for the style. Dense and nice looking head, puffy and retentive, off white, slowly goes to merainge then a collar and leaves copious amounts of super fine low sheets and upper window panes of lace. Nice looking beer.

Bright nose of orange peel and citric and earthy hops.

Bold, fresh tasting and flavorful DIPA. Plenty of gooey hop notes, resiny, citric, bright and freshly flavorful.

Carbonation on the calm side, not prickly at all in the mouth.

Final pours brings out some cloudy and clumpy yeasties into the glass.

Thoroughly enjoyed this one. Go get some if available in your area, or if you make it to Amherst sometime soon. I'll hopefully pick up a few more bottles next time I'm in town.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from notes a couple months back
A - slightly hazy dark golden, solid head retention and outstanding full sheet lacing down the glass
S - earthy piney resin, light orange zest, biscuit and caramel underneath
T - very much like the nose with resin and citrus hoppiness dominating early and maltiness of toast and caramel holding its own, not necessarily balanced but big flavours fighting to make themselves known
M - creamy smooth carbonation, medium body, slightly resiny with a solid bitter finish
O - was a bit on the downside of tipsy when I took this down and made some notes, but was extremely pleased with the purchase and hope that this makes its way to western Canada in the near future

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Photo of ghebel
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours mildly cloudy, gold/ orange color with a super head. Lots of carbonation constantly bubbling to the surface. Foam is slightly off-white, fluffy and persistent. When is does finally dissipate, it leaves massive lacing on the glass.

S - Hops dominate - citrus and floral. Caramel malt follows.

T - Strong hop profile with a noticeable bitterness. Malt is in there somewhere, but definitely takes a second seat to the hops. A fleeting sweetness tries to come through before the bitterness hits the taste buds. Alcohol in the end - present, but not overpowering.

M- Bitterness followed by carbonation sting on the tongue. Leaves a tart sensation and lingering bitterness in the mouth. Moderate body. Warms the throat.

D - Drinkable, but as with any double the ABV keeps me from drinking lots. The bitterness will numb the tongue to tasting other beers.

Overall - This is maybe too thin in the malt department for a double, but I really like it. I love the hop forward approach and the aggressive carbonation. The combination works for me.

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Photo of HopDiggityDawg
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this bottle up because I was looking for a new DIPA to try and the price was right. I got home and I was less than enthusiastic after reading the reviews on ba. I opened the bomber and got a good whif of a hop bomb. The appearance and lacing were also very good. The taste was not the most complex but it worked very well. A lot of piney, citrus hops with a nice understated backing of malt and the alchohol was very understated as well. The more I drank, the more I appreciated this brew. A very nice surprise for a brew I just happened to run across. I will buy again.

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Photo of beer2day
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep gold with a billowing 2-finger quarter-floating head. Thick clusters of carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass. Excellent head retention and thick, almost creamy lacing. Very nice.

Understated citrus nose, but with more complex fruit than expected. Weak grapefruit, but also getting grapes, cherries, and even lemon. Interesting.

Teasingly sweet hit, but quickly gives way to hops. Very dry, arid finish. The hop burn is subtler than most, but lasts a very long time.

Body is a nice combination of cream with a slight bit of fizz.

Surprisingly easy to drink. I'm a big fan of dry-finishing IPA's, so this one is hard to put down.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz bottle into a plastic cup. Emerges slighlty hazy, I am assuming from the hops, and is topped by a large, stark white head that is quite dense and foamy. Tons of lacing leaves the glass nearly opaque with sticky proteins.

Aroma is quite hoppy and fruity. Mostly citrus hops hit the nose but a tone of earthiness is also present. Perhaps a bit too much fruitiness but nothing to complain about too much. Just a touch of maltiness in the nose: this one is all about hops.

Really solid flavor. A bit of sweetness on the tongue hits immediately and is followed by a really nice and fresh hop flavor. The bitterness kicks in toward the finish and is quite stout. More of the strawberry like fruitness in the middle.

Medium bodied and slightly chewy. A touch oily. Bitter. I didnt know what to expect from this one as I purchased this on a whim, but I really enjoyed this one. A really solid DIPA that is really easy to drink.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of fruity citrus, floral hops and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with a strong hops bitterness that is quickly followed by sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and provides a good balance. The after-taste is sweet and slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style, even though there are better 2IPA's out there, this is still a very solid beer that is worth drinking for a long time.

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Photo of jwc215
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle:

Pours hazed golden with a creamy white head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is loaded with pine - sappy, resiny with lemon/orange citrus.

The taste is of hops - leafy, resiny, piney then citric. A caramel/toffee backing supports it. Finishes with a bitter bite.

It is velvety, though with a sharp tingle.

Although powerful, it still is very drinkable. A deliciously hoppy DIPA!

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Photo of jlindros
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice fizzy 1.5 finger head rises up in my tulip glass and leaves a nice lacing as it slowly fades, over a very hazy orange peach color.

N: Nice bright hops. Lots of pine, citrus, chewy hops, earthy spicy hops, a little tangerine and grapefruit, a very slight sweet malt can be smelled behind the hops, but a nice hop profile so far.

T: A nice Imp IPA. A slightly sweet malt and chewy malt flavor hits first actually. Pretty much no boozy qualities except just a hint so it hides pretty well. A slight sweet taste with a little crystal and perhaps munich malt. Not too bitter but a nice bitterness with some pine, lots of citrus, a little juicy hops, not as much as the nose overall but there. A little chewy hop presence as well.

M: Decent body with good carbonation.

F: A strong bitterness rises quickly after the swallow and hits with a slightly sharp bitterness. The hops really come out on the finish again, as they did on the nose. Some pine, lots of earthy spicy hops, little citrus, etc. It dries off quite a bit as well, which, as usual, is accentuated by the bitterness. A little juicy hop fruit quality at the beginning of the finish as well. A loooong bitterness too.

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Photo of zeff80
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a two-finger, tan head of thick foam. It left sheets of soapy lace.

S - This one has powerful pine and citrus aromas. The was a mild burnt toast maltiness.

T - Tons of pine flavor kick this one off. There is a nice burnt toast maltiness with a warm alcohol heat.

M - It was crisp and very sharp with a dry finish. A medium to full-bodied beer.

D - This is another good IPA from Laughing Dog. Not as potent as I expected but it still good.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer served on draft at a local beer bar. Beer is clear and yellow to dark yellow. Forms a thin white head that falls away leaving a lot of lacing on the glass. Carbonation is moderate to low.

I can smell it from across the table. Sweet and citrus hops. Smells great and its quite aggressive.

Medium to full bodied with minimal sweetness. Good citrus hop flavors. Bitterness is good and grows the more you drink. Mouthfeel is good, this is not one of those IPAs that is too sweet but its pushing my limits on sweetness overall. It could get away with slightly less body and more bitterness. Overall its pretty good.

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Photo of cpolking
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light copper in color with a half inch of foamy head. The aroma is hop forward, of tropical fruit and flowers. The taste is intense yet surprisingly light for an imperial IPA. It is hoppy and tracks the aromas, breezy and tropical. It finishes intensely and bracingly bitter.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.12/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a pint glass. Hazy light yellow body, with a one-finger white head. Decent lacing and retention.

The aroma is predominantly zesty hops featuring lemon and other citrus notes. Sweet malt aroma in the background.

Good hop flavor following the aroma. The oily hop flavors do give some bitterness with a grapefruit taste.

Medium to light mouthfeel in body. Very drinkable; not hot on the alcohol side at all. A little sweeter than the Devil Dog variety but a solid offering overall.

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Photo of Rutager
4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours an appealing hazy straw colour. Nice white, one finger head that lasts a while leaving some chunky lacing.

Smell. Cirtus peels and piney hops with some bready yeast.

Taste. Oily, bitter white grapefruit and a little orange. A little toasty light malt. Bitterness lasts and lasts. Real nice.

Mouthfeel. Medium body with medium carbonation.

Drinkability. A pretty good drinker. Could use another glass from this bomber ;-)

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear golden color with a frothy white head that leaves impressive lacing. The aroma is mostly piney and citrusy hops, along with some biscuity malt, caramel, fruity esters, and some alcohol. The flavor is similar with big citrus and piney hops upfront, as well as some biscuit and caramel, fruity esters, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is short of thick and drinkability is really good for the style. A solid if uninteresting DIPA, very drinkable but short on complexity.

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Photo of GJ40
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle purchased at Pike Street Beer & Wine in Seattle. No noticeable "brewed on" date which almost dissuaded me.

A - A beautiful golden color with the slightest haze and a moderate white head. Lots of lacing.

S - First all piney and then some citrusy hops emerge.

T - This was opposite the smell. First all citrusy then piney hops emerge. A complex combination of rich hop flavors, toasted malt, alcohol and a piney hop bitterness.

M - A moderate level of carbonation yet very smooth and silky. The bubbles don't interfere at all. In fact, they seem to sep aside at just the right moment.

D - A very pleasant and enjoyable beer. I tried a couple of other Laughing Dog brews before (also from Pike Street Beer & Wine in Seattle) and they were horrible. Someone told me they had contamination issues with an outside bottler. This beer certainly helped to redeem their name in my book.

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Photo of mtrentm
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a golden copper color with slight haze. Has a big pillowy beige head that disipates slowly leaving behind nice sticky lacing.

S: Starts out with sweet citrus and pine aromas followed by a nice spicy smell of hops.

T: The tast of this DIPA is pretty intune with the aroma. Sweet flavors of grapefruit and other citrus fruits followed by some slight pine flavors and finishing with a bitterness that's slightly sweet.

M: This is a medium/full-bodied DIPA with nice prickly carbonation that finishes very smooth.

D: This is a very drinkable DIPA especially for the price @ $3.99 I will be drinking more of this for sure!

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Photo of Murrhey
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a standard pressure-cap bomber into a pint glass. No best-by date. I purchased it several weeks ago. It might be past the best date.

A- One-finger white head. Thick and sticky looking head. Cloudy amber color. Pretty low clarity. Nice looking DIPA.

S- Floral and honeyed. Nice smelling. Floral and sweet but with a definite alpha hop oil twinge.

T- Not a very aggressive DIPA, quite subtle and extremely well balanced. Honey and floral.

M- Medium bodied and semi-viscous.

O- Surprisingly good. Like really good. I was worried about drinking it too late and not getting the best out of it. I enjoy Laughing Dog quite a bit, and this does not disappoint.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite rounded and malty for a double IPA, but quite a pleasant beer. Pours a slightly hazy orange amber with a very nice head that is quite creamy and leaves some lacing. Smells creamy and with lots of bitter orange and finishes with sweet malt. Also quite creamy in the mouth with big bitter orange and grapefruit flavors, fairly firm malt, and a lingering bitterness. A little light spiciness on the finish. I think the creaminess helps to tame the hops to a degree and integrate them nicely with the malt. Really pretty enjoyable.

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Photo of kaufmaal
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one exploded out of the bottle, beer everywhere, lost about 1/3 of the bomber. Hazy golden color, starch-white very sizable head, good lacing. Smells like ripe bananas in a funky pine forest where sourdough is proofing. Earthy mineral taste, more pine resin, sweet orange rind and oil - lots going on. There's a farmhouse-ale mustiness to the whole thing that's quite fantastic; a bitterness that reminds me of chewing Tylenol. No noticeable alcohol flavor. Too much carbonation for me.

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Photo of FLima
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Amber color with a two finger thick head with medium retention but leaving lots of laces.
Different aroma mixing earthy notes with resin pined hops, condiments and hints of citrus and non-sweet mangos.
Interesting flavor of bold peppery yeasts, grapefruit, resin, honey and pine. All on a malty base with slightly toasted grains and a hint of smoked. Although it has 127 IBUs, it does not punch you right away in your face, but its bitterness level keep accumulating in your tasting buds, resulting in a dry aftertaste with a prolonged bitterness that does not go away.
Full body, a bit viscous and with low carbonation. 8% ABV is timid versus its flavors and mouth feel.
Superior brew for who likes intense experiences. Very unique and bold DIPA, kind of mutating a Dead Guy Ale into a DIPA. Spicy, hoppy, flavorful, creative, westy and relatively balanced, what else to ask? This is a treaty recommended for pros and hopheads. As Jim said, the west is the best.

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 667 ratings.
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