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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 667
Photo of bmwats
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650 ml bottle into a tulip.

A: Dark golden hue. Pours about a half finger, foamy, white head. Dissipates slowly leaving a blanket of foam on the surface. Full, uneven lacing.

S: Hops, malt, oregano, and honey, with an indistinct flowery note.

T: Very hoppy, with just the slightest sweet tinge. Very bitter flavor of what I think stainless steel might taste like... but not in a bad way.

M: Light but full flavor. Hoppy bitterness introduces itself by punching you in the face, and then stands over you and taunts. Dry finish.

D: The hop-power will dictate a slow sipping experience.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Nice body, solid head, and good lacing. Nose is strong combo of hops, Italian spice, and a little sweetness. Floral. Flavor is all hops. Overall, this is a good quaff.

 798 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - uncapped and started to rush the neck of the bottle. Minor spillage, when I finally got a good pour into the glass (from the sink), this put up five full fingers of foam. Wow, that's bubbly. It recedes, leaving a labyrinth of lace patterning on the Duvel goblet. The beer itself is a clouded, dirty tangerine color. Maintains a cake in the middle for the majority of the bomber.

Aroma - loads of citrus. Pineapple, mango and orange on the sweet side, grapefruit rind providing some snap. Excellent resilience too.

Taste - caramel malts, a bit on the thin side but they're alright. Great complexity of hop flavor. Lots of sweet side flavor, a boozy mango and pink grapefruit. The bitterness hits at the swallow and is pretty intense. Some medicinal effect, but there's enough going on here to balance that out somewhat. Some warmth on the finish, kind of a hot bitterness.

Mouthfeel - properly heavier than average, good smoothness, mellow carbonation despite the immense head at the start.

Drinkability - hop head liquid, this is. Enjoyable enough but awfully bitter to keep on my short list. And yet I keep buying more imperial IPA's, hmmm...

 1,160 characters

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.

 336 characters

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.

 1,260 characters

Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours golden amber color with nice white head and lots of sticky lacing along sides of glass.

Nice tagarine and lemon smell.

Taste of honey and orange with some lemon rind presence. Nice hoppy bitter finish. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with lots of nice carbonation.

Overall this was a very nice IPA. Will definitely buy this again.

 351 characters

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.

 348 characters

Photo of DM1293
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Strong notes of malt and pine hops, a bit oily and a bit floral. A citrus-grapefruit taste cuts in and helps round the beer out, but this needs some better balance. On the whole, its still a pretty good DIPA, but its a bit wild on the notes. If that doesn't bother you, give it a shot. But if you like focus or balance to your DIPA's, go elsewhere.

 348 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a bright, slightly hazy golden color with a small white cap, that retains well and leaves good lacing.

S: Pine needles, orange peel and a whiff of caramel

T: Pine needles up front with an immediate IBU presence, light booze coupled with orange peel and some some light flowers. Caramel present from start to finish. Finish is a a bit dry and bitter

M: Medium body with good carbonation, IBUs hit the palate hard. Pine and citrus cling to the palate along with caramel and honey, a bit sloppy on the end

O: Not to bad, a good rep for the style, not something I would go for again but not bad but I would question the 127IBU's

 638 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. A pretty clear copper colored ale with a slim layer of head.

A bright smelling beer. Lemon, grapefruit and prickly pear.

Smooth tasting, malty beginning gives way to a dull bitterness that hits the back of the mouth. The malt is in the body of the taste, not sweet but balanced nicely with the hops..

Smooth texture, almost creamy, medium body, low carbonation.

A great beer.

 406 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.47/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ABV 8.5%. Bottled 15MAR12

Pours golden with an etched surface of whites. Brilliant clarity. Nose with resin, grapefruit, pine, chewable vitamins, sweet honey malt and a hint of lemon. Bitter with good dry malt flavor and a ton of hop character. Plenty of west coast here: weed, grass and pine. Medium bodied with moderate carb and a wet finish. Nice beer.

 356 characters

Photo of BackStallion
4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Very near transparent amber with a baby wrist of head.

S - A powerful aroma that surrounds the nose with hops and charges right in full force, leaving one temporarily stunned.

T - At first taste the hops are readily apparent but it soon transforms into a powerful fruity blend with a finish that grabs you by the balls with its teeth, applies a half rotation in the counter-clockwise direction, and refuses to let go.

M - moderate

O - Once the cap is removed from this beer it is too late. Seemingly out of nowhere, hops charge at you and relentlessly assault your senses until all is finished. While most beers would feel it sensible to back off at some point, Alpha Dog refuses to stop until the bitter end. Some may describe this daring combination of hops as idiotic, but this beer sends a message: it is not one to be fucked with.

 843 characters

Photo of cragus
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650mL bottle into snifter
A - Pours a clear amber with a finger of white head.
S - Citrusy hops, grapefruit, pineapple, and pine.
T - Up front bitterness with a herbal piney tang; a note of grapefruit is also present in the beer.
M - Moderate body with a medium amount of carbonation and a long finish. An astringent character is noticeable.
O - A decent IPA; however, it lacks in overall complexity and cohesiveness. There are plenty of hops there, but I don't feel like its the right mix of hops, malt, etc. I would get it again, but it would not be my first choice. In short, it's good, but it doesn't feel like the recipe is quite as refined as it could be.

 661 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass, the beer poured a almost clear orange gold, and produces a nice two finger high white creamy head. Good retention and good lacing.
The smell is a complex mixture of fruity hops and pine, with malt and caramel in the back.
The taste is likewise, with the fruit and pine hops up front, backed by a nice malt backbone. Nice balanced aftertaste, not sweet nor bitter. A true balance.
This is a exceptional beer and a must try!

 448 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received a bottle as an Easter gift. 22-oz bomber poured into a large snifter. Laughing Dog's website says this was brewed with Columbus and Mt. Hood hops and with Pale, Honey, and Munich malts. 8% ABV and 127 IBUs.

A: Pours a tad cloudy golden orange with nice carbonation and a decent frothy white head.

S: Smells even with the malts & hops. Hops smell mostly piney and the malts give a honey-like sweet underlying character. Has a bit doughy like character. A little too sweet to be an Imperial IPA, but I really don't know how old the bottle is or what the handling condition was.

T: Starts sweet with the honey-like flavors mostly dominating, then a rush of piney hops. Can tell this one was well hopped. Has a sort of pine sap-like kick to it towards the middle and end which is pretty prominent. Some pepper or spicy notes as well. Alcohol is well hidden, but I get a swift kick of ethyl alcohol notes at the tail end.

M: Quite bitter. I was skeptic of the 127 IBUs but they sure seem like they're there (if there really is a measure of >100 IBUs). Feels medium full. Seems somewhat sweet due to the heavy dose of hops added.

O: A nice IPA. Hops take the showcase here. Would like to have this one fresh to really gauge the "imperial" aspect, though. For today's standards, an imperial at 8.5% ABV is somewhat tame. Nonetheless, a quality brew from a brewery I never heard of until now. Will give some of their other beers a try. Besides, I am a dog lover and am having this one in celebration of my dog's recent 1-year old birthday. Cheers!

 1,560 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with nice lacing and retention on a cloudy golden with orange hue body.

S: aroma is overall a little light. mild malt with pine and citrus.

T: strong malt presence up front with the earthy, pine and grassy hops rounding out the finish.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: the hop character is really nice for this one. Simple but the flavors mix well.

 391 characters

Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with two fingers of white foam on top of a slightly hazy, dark golden body. The head settles slowly and leaves nice lace.

S - Light caramel malt, spicy hops and some pine.

T - Caramel and sweet toffee up front with some pine. More pine and spicy hops in the middle with dry toasted grain character. Finishes with some harsh bitterness and more dry malt.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - The hop character falls a little flat in the nose and delivers an unflattering sharp, harsh bitterness. The dry, grainy character exacerbates the harsh bitterness by creating a husky finish without any sweetness.

 647 characters

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: cloudy amber head is thing but body is obviously bubbly with a 1/4' white head.

Smell: You know it smells real good, but it is light. Light floral.

Taste: Comes off bitter, but not as impressing as some other imperial IPAs. Hints of wood, but impressively creamy...reminds you a little of an octoberfest/marzen style that would compliment a steak with the best of them.

Mouth: Med-heavy carbonation, tingles your mouth with flavor.

Overall: I would definitely buy this again, it is a little different and it's after taste is good enough to say "gimmme a little more". I hope you all enjoy, Salud!

 644 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a yellow-orange color with a large white head. The aroma has a lot of orange citrus and pine notes, as well as a little bit of biscuit malt. The flavor is similar. I get a lot of orange and bitter resin notes from the hops, as well as a good bit of alcohol. The level of bitterness is about medium. I get a medium mouthfeel and the carbonation level is medium as well.

 383 characters

Photo of vic21234
3.16/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a snifter. No bottled on date info stamped on the bottle.

A- Pours a cloudy amber color with a finger and a halfs worth of head. The head dissipates into a bubbly film along the top with some lacing along the sides of the glass. Looks good.

S- Really reminds me of a DFH IPA, maybe like a 90 minute. Smells rather sweet and malty. Not much hop aroma except for some slight pine notes. Not a bad thing necessarily, but not the smell I want from an IPA.

T- Starts off rather bitter with a hit of the piney resin hop presence. Afterwards just seems overly malty with not much else going on.

M- Bitter, dry, leaves more to be desired from a DIPA.

Not a bad beer, but I don't think I'll be buying this again. There are many better DIPAS around here on the shelf.

 787 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
3.53/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Light copper orange, grape juice. 1/2 inch head with some decent lacing.

Smell - Hops, lots of caramel malts, some spices. A little pine and grapefruit. Not overly hop strong aroma.

Taste - Strong caramel malts up front. Hops are very bitter, but are actually a little hidden behind the malts. Spices add some peppery and bold flavors. Alcohol is present, and adds some warmth. Some sugar sweetness comes in during the finish.

Mouthfeel - Strong hops and bold malts coat tounge. Alcohol along with some spices warm tounge also. Palette gets remaining hops and malts. Aftertaste is dry, bitter and alcohol influenced.

Overall - More of a malt monster then expected. Its not balanced very well, seems like malts overpower the hops too much and doesnt let the hops give there full effect. Its still tasty but nothing special id ever buy again.

 886 characters

Photo of Nugganooch
3.12/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Notes from 03/17/12
Bomber to pint glass

A: The Dog pours a dark murky rusted orange color producing just a thin khaki tan head. Low retention factor with some splotches of lace here and there. Carb seems low as well.

S: Overall I found the aromas to be rather subdued and malt forward with lots of caramel toffee notes. Some pine and citrus aromas, faint as they are.

T: Flavor comes in big on the malted caramels with the hops riding back seat and window down. Juicy yet with some orange citrus and pine notes. Lower bitterness level for a DIPA. Alcohol seems well masked. The flavors are not really complementing one another here. Not the take on a DIPA I particularly enjoy.

M: A bit heavier in body with a somewhat chalky mouthfeel. Not a lot of resinous hoppy linger and finish is wetter than expected.

D: More of a malt forward DIPA that comes off a bit chewy. Some moments of hop juiciness but the flavors did not really come together all that well for me.
Alpha Dog…more like a submissive lil puppy. Was not impressed. I would pass on this one.

 1,063 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer makes a huge fluffy off white head and ends up clear dark orange-copper. A bit dark, but the clarity is nice.

Smell is very malty, kind of like bread, with only a hint of floral hops.

Taste has tons of hop. All earthy bitterness from start to finish, with a little malt in the middle to balance.

It has a lighter medium body, carbonation is on par, needs a little more kick and viscosity though.

I was worried by the aroma, as in, not much hop, fortunately, the taste has plenty of bitter hops, but that's all. Not much complexity, but an above average beer, but not by much.


 593 characters

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.

 659 characters

Photo of Strix
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Murky yellow-orange, nice head.

Citrus in the smell, also malty and bready.

Pretty piney, along with an alcoholic maltiness. Not bad at first, heading towards grassy and even buttery as it warmed.

Mouthfeel on target.

Passable but not a standout in the field.

 263 characters

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.

 598 characters

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

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.