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 Rafael_Mindu
1.41/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

I won't take it as general to this beer, and probably you that are reading this don't have too...
But my first bottle was in some way contaminated...
It smells like horse's shit and the taste goes the same way down =(
The smell remember me a little of some brett, but smelling it again, I know that there was something is wrong, I don't know.
And no!!! The sour's fans won't like it too, I'm pretty sure about that.

I'm looking forward for another bottle and try it again, but right now, I'm very disappointed with this beer.

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Photo of tdm168
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - bright orange with a big, tall, soft, pure white head that has great retention

S - sugary sweet malt, bread, batter, grapefruit

T - sugary malts, bread, faint cake batter, piney, bitter, some grapefruit

M - medium to full bodied, warming alcohol, well carbonated

This is a really nice DIPA. I'm impressed by the balance between sweet malts and and pungent hops. There is an intense bitterness here and the alcohol can be detected slightly, but the flavor profile is good enough that nothing seems to slow down my sipping. I really enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a balloon glass.

Look: Peach, lighter caramel color. Foamy white head leaves a film, good foamy lacing.

Aroma: Spicy, resin, faint sweetness, bitter citrus. Very boozy.

Taste: Something immediately off, kind of musty. Very sharp bitterness that covers up any malt sweetness. Sharp lemon juice finish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly dry.

Overall: Just something in the taste profile that puts it off.

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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 lordofthewiens
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

In a snifter this beer was an amber color with a small tan head. There was a little bit of lace.

Aroma was pine and citrus, with a little bit of caramel.

Taste followed form. Predominately pine, some grapefruit. Tiny bit of caramel.

A hop bomb. Malt very much in the background.

I'd try this again.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

I see this beer all the time at Total Wine & More, but have never bought it. Nothing from Laughing Dog has impressed me. But as I was reading this, and seeing how bitter is was going to be, I started to get excited. IBU stands for international bittering units, and this beer has an IBU of 127. That is REALLY high, considering most double/imperial India pale ales are around 100. The Palate Wrecker from Green Flash is 136 (some say 137 depending on the year) and that will pretty much destroy your palate. Regardless, 127 is enough to get me excited!

This is the only beer on the list from Laughing Dog Brewing. Let's hope the author picked a good offering from them. Bottoms up, people!

In the Glass: I would wait until the head goes down before I started reviewing this, but that might take 20 minutes! I did a hard pour on this bottle, and the head is a few inches tall. The suds are just sticking to the side of the glass like glue, too. Nothing beats an IPA with a thick sticky head! (So many things I say on this blog could be taken the wrong way… but trust me, always about the enjoyment of the beer.)

Nose: Today is April 1st, 2013. This beer was bottled on April 8th, 2012. The ABV is big enough this beer should have aged well, but I would love to try this fresh. Nothing beats a fresh IPA. For a beer with 127 IBU, I expected the aroma to be a little more powerful. Don't get me wrong, it still has a great aroma. But it isn't the hops that I was expecting. I will say, for the ABV and the size of this beer, $4.99 is a good value regardless of the flavor. Speaking of the flavor, let's drink!

Flavor: There are the hops I was expecting. They aren't overwhelming, but they are abundant. The flavor profile actually changes a few times over the course of a drink. At first, the hops are balanced and boring, but then toward the back of the palate the piney dryness kicks in and as you swallow it becomes almost grapefruit sweet. Then, as you continue to swallow, the hops begin to taste like pine cones. The dryness is really nice, leaving me begging for another sip. If you said, "Is that a double IPA?" I am not sure I would be able to tell you… again, not as powerful as I expected. I bet Sheryl hates it. She isn't into hops like me!

Mouthfeel: At first, it's boring. There isn't much going on at all. Then, as it slides across your palate, it begins to open up. As you do swallow, the flavor really explodes and a nice thin layer of bubbles leave your palate excited for a second (or third) drink. I swished the beer around, and the flavor, especially those sweet grapefruit notes, REALLY come out. That is actually a much better flavor. If you are drinking this, I highly recommend swishing it around in your mouth a little bit. You're welcome!

Aftertaste: The aftertaste is piney at first, but then it begins to turn a nice drying bittersweet flavor that I like in an IPA. I still wouldn't call this a double IPA, but I wouldn't call Hop Stoopid a DIPA, either. That beer has an IBU of 103, and it tastes like a boring pale ale. One of the only beers that brewing company makes that I dislike.

This is a good beer, don't get me wrong. But this is NOT a typical DIPA in my book. I asked Jazz if he has had this, and he didn't care for it. I am picky when it comes to barleywines… but I am REALLY pick when it comes to an IPA. But hey, I can't like them all. Where is the fun in that? Cheers, people!

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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 biboergosum
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Nice to be able to finally try this one, after it being 'out of season' when I was at the brewery a few years back.

This beer pours a mildly hazy, medium golden straw hue, with two fingers of puffy, rocky, off-white head, which leaves a solid array of cobweb lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of musty grapefruit and orange rind, wet pine, bready, meaty caramel malt, further floral, spicy hops, and a soft twinge of warming alcohol. The taste is bitter, indistinct citrus pith, green pine needles, clammy caramel malt, a hint of burnt toffee, wild grass and fallow hay, black pepper dust, more subtle vegetal spice, and a very tame, suggestive boozy note.

The bubbles are averagely peppy, and duly supportive, the body a decently solid medium weight, and generally smooth, the pent-up hoppiness poking through here and there. It finishes barely off-dry, the mulchy and fruity hops more or less overwhelming the fading malt.

An approachable enough DIPA, the reigned in hop bitterness well wrought through the grassy analogue it assumes. Good, but overall a bit different than your standard (ly awesome) west coast hop and malt bombs, which is perhaps a welcome change, believe it or not. Worth a try, at the very least.

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Photo of RoamingGnome
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Alpha Dog Imperial IPA

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into an English dimpled pint. Served chilled.

A) Pale amber in appearance this beer had a nice frothy 2 finger head. Nice retention, slowly settling to a dusting. Nice lacing...

S) Lemongrass and some pepper, slightly floral, not really piney. A bit of farmhouse funk. Not bad, but not what I expected either.

T) Again, a bit grassy, seemed to have some citrus rind to it. Definitely some lemon. There was some spiciness to this beer. A bit of yeast too. The alcohol stayed fairly well hidden, becoming only slightly noticeable with some warmth. This reminded me of Saisons I've drank in the past. This one is plenty bitter, definitely not sweet, and a bit funky.

M) Medium bodied. This felt pretty well carbonated. Really pretty smooth, and easy drinking, despite a good jolt of zest. Finishes slightly dry and bitter.

O) An interesting take on an Imperial IPA. This was quite creative, and not what I expected at all. Not bad, but also not something I could see myself seeking out on a regular basis. Worth a try....

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

Poured from a bottle into a duvel glass.

A: Poured a hazy golden orange with an off-white four finger head. Good amount of carbonation. Wow, the head hangs around forever.

S: Has a piney hop and grassy smell. A floral smell with maybe a spice.

T: Wow very different... It has this spicy grassy kind of taste. Very piney hop/spicy bitter taste.

M: Medium bodied, it's pretty easy to drink, pretty crisp and dry. It does feel pretty well carbonated.

O: Overall it's an okay beer, it's definitely different so it has that going for it. I'm sure they have loyal followers or people that like this taste, but its just not really my style. It just has this weird sort of grassy/spicy flavor to it. Maybe I got an old one, but there's no date so I would have no clue.

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Photo of vitALEity
2.61/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

First thing about this beer is the ridiculous frothy, head. Like 4 inches in a 16oz. tulip. The head does not ever dissipate. Seriously, after 10 minutes its still there. Smell is grass, some orange, sweet breads, plastic. There is a lot of plastic on the nose to this one. Very little pine or citrus the way I like my IIPA's to smell. Mouthfeel is fine, mild carbonation. Too me, it tastes more sweet then bitter. It has 120 or something IBU so I would have expected a lot more bitter. The bitter hits you on the middle-back of the tongue but its not overwhelming at all. there is something just not balanced about this flavor, hard to describe. Doesnt taste like any other IIPA Ive had (Ive had hundreds). Anyway, meh.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I poured this bomber into a tulip style glass. This dog is hazy, orange in coloring. The foam was about two-and-a-half fingers. The sticky foam led to some decent lacing on the glass.

The nose on this beer is very interesting. I get a decent dose of some unusual spice. I don't know what that is. There is also some flowery hops in there.

I'm a little mixed on the flavor. It is different, but not unpleasant. This reminds me more of the Saison Du Buff collaboration between Stone, Victory, and DFH. The hop presence is good, but the spicyness comes through really strong. The balance is a little off.

The mouthfeel is a little challenging with the amount of bitterness involved. This dog is definitely challenging to drink.

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Photo of hoppyserpent
1.7/5  rDev -55.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.75

This was one of the three worst tasting beers that I have had so I hope I simply quaffed a bottle from a bad batch. Starting off, the golden color and generous head were quite nice, but the "off" aroma had me wondering if I had dead rats in the walls. I took a swig and then another. The mouthfeel was silky, but the taste had a tinge of spoiled meat. I'm a hop nut and bitterness was not the issue. I also like a wide variety of brews from stout to Belgian to wheat. This was something else entirely and completely off putting to me. At least in this bottle, the hints of pine others have noted were more like eating a terpentine-laden pine cone. No exageration.

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Photo of metter98
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy yellowish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high dense beige head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a short head covering the surface along with a coating of bubbles running down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of pine resin hops in the nose along with some notes of citrus hops and caramel malts.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but a little more rounded out between pine resin hops and caramel malts. There are some hints of citrus and a moderate to strong amount of bitterness, the latter of which lingers through the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. The hops lend a little bit of dryness to the finish.
O: This beer has a good balance between the malts and hops, making it rather drinkable for a bitterness of 127 IBUs. The alcohol is also very well hidden from the taste.

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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 TheBrewo
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a beer of bright goldenrod. It holds a three finger head of chunky, cakey off-white bubbles. This shows fantastic retention, leaving equally as thick, spidery lacing down the sides of the glass. Carbonation is medium, and the bubbles rise slowly to the top. There is big haze and fat chunks of sediment with the dregs of the bottle. The nose shows soured pale malts alongside sweeter, rich caramel varietals for a nice blend. There is a drying toast to the malts. The hops are bright and piney, with additional sweetness of acetaldehyde green appleness. Booze comes out, especially with warmth, and adds additional sweetness and fruitiness of plum and fig. Warmth also unveils a biting vinyl plastic quality. Our first impression is that the flavoring is nice, but the booze, as in the nose, comes strong from the start. As we sip, earthy and citric hops mix with pale toasty malts and booze. There is sweetness of raw honey, which also adds a depth to the earthiness, and gives grit and mineral. The peak hits with sweet notes of fermented strawberries and light plastics, bringing us to the finish where fusel booze burns the buds of the continued pale sourness and piney, hoppy bite. That plastic quality continues, adding to the bittering, puckering bite of the alcohol. The aftertaste breathes of piney and soapy hops, raw honey, mineral, fusel vodka fumes, light caramels, and black pepper. The body is medium to full and carbonation is average. There is an oily coating around the mouth, with eventual astringent bite and dryness from the booziness. Each sip gives nice slurp, smack, cream, and froth. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, what we enjoyed about this brew was the flavoring. Despite the big booziness throughout there was a nice balance between strong bitterness of hops and the subtle hints of caramel malts sweetness through the finish. The aroma really blossomed with warmth, with a deep blend and nice sweetness. This is a tasty, refreshing offering.

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Photo of tone77
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a dark golden color with a 1 inch head. Smell is hoppy, some tropical fruits. Taste is really bitter, quite a hop bomb. a touch of fruits, loads of hop bitterness, a bit unbalanced for my liking. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a decent beer.

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Photo of atjefft
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to Pint Glass

A: Light orange with a 1.5 finger head. Small bits of lace all the way down the glass

S: Floral and oranges with a subtle bready notes

T: Sweetness up front. Strong pungent bitterness that lingers long and some orangey hop flavor

M: nice heavy mouthfeel for an IPA, great carbination. Honestly this is probably the aspect of this beer that it does better than other IPA's

O: Good-to-great beer, Bitterness lives up to the style. Nice orangey hop notes. Mouthfeel is excellent. Wouldn't mind drinking another given the opportunity.

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Photo of xabyss
4.31/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pale orange with two fingers' worth of fluffy white head that sticks around for a while. A steady stream of tiny carbonation bubbles rises from the bottom of the glass. A more-than-decent amount of lace remains as the head recedes.

S: Highly citrusy with a hint of bitteness and some grassy hops. Decidedly not a hop bomb on the nose and a pretty mild aroma overall, but what's there is not bad.

T: Bitterer than the nose suggests and way more hoppy. Sharp citrus on the tip of the tongue, slight caramel malts mid sip and loads of hoppy bitterness in the finish. Not much to remind me of the 8.5% ABV save for a hint at the tail end. I'm pleasantly surprised in this department. Tasty stuff!

M: Oh so smooth, creamy, medium-bodied with subtle carbonation. Goes down dangerously easy. Just about perfect for the style.

O: I had mixed expectations for this beer, but it ended up being much tastier than anticipated. It's one of the better DIPAs I've had in a while.

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Photo of ckollias
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this bomber bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Pours a slightly orange hue with a medium 2-finger white head that slowly dissipates into wispy lace leaving a nice trail down the glass.

S: Hoppy grapefruit aroma with hints of pine and citrus..

T: Extremely bitter hoppy beer but mixed well with some toasted malts. Pine is present in the background and finishes on the dry side of hoppy.

M: Very strong and boozy. Heavy body and medium carbonation.

O: A solid imperial IPA. Interesting mix of the Columbus and Mount hood hops. Good – but not my favorite.

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

A: his beer pours a very nice golden orange body with a thick white that slowly fades and leaves a lot of lace on the glass.

S: A VERY strong amount of hops and sweet malt. I am getting a nice amount of pine and a little bit of fruitiness.

T: There is a nice hop flavor, but it's not too overpowering. I am getting a sweetness from the malt and the hops are coming as piny and even a little peppery.

M: This has a nice fully body and has a strong amount of crispness all over the tongue and down my throat.

O: This is a pretty solid beer, but would never go out of my way to buy this. I would for sure say try it though if you haven't had it.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into s snifter

This beer pours clear orange with a small white head, nice alcohol legs. Aroma is quite floral and somewhat boozy. The taste mostly matches the smell but the hops add a nice citrus quality. Very middle of the country hop profile. The malt backbone is sweet and sugary. The beer is quite bitter but the bitterness to hop flavor is about what you may expect. This beer seems a bit more intense in terms of feel and taste then the 8% leads me to believe. The feel is nice and the beer has an extremely dry aftertaste. Overall this is a decent DIPA but nothing worth seeking out.

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Photo of KajII
3.66/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

[Suggested Glassware: Tulip Glass]

The pour was a cloudy medium orange with a large (2-3 finger) white cottony head that receded slowly, down to a few fluffy puddles and a medium collar with good sticky spotty lacing.

The aroma was on the mild side with a light grain malt, pine hops and an earthy yeast and had notes of caramel, honey and citrus (grapefruit and orange).

The taste was a malty bitter-sweet with hints of honey and caramel from the onset, but quickly became intensely hoppy with a strong citrus peel taste and a nice grapefruit presence at the end. The flavor lasted an average time proceeding the swallow, with a bold hoppy citrus taste left lying on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was light in body and dry in texture with a decent moderate to strong carbonation.

Overall not as bitter as I expected. Although it was nice and hoppy with a mild caramel sweetness mixed in, to put it simply it is a great Double IPA...

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Photo of RoyalT
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This is a beautiful ale. It is clear, dull orange in color, with a massive off-white head.

Smell – There’s a wonderful mix of strong orange, light lemon, and a bit of fresh pine to this nose. The malts are light and sweetish, laced with caramel and a bit of spice.

Taste – The hops find there way to the taste but the lack of malt flavor makes this a one-sided lightweight.

Mouthfeel – This was the ale’s weak point. It is incredibly light for the style. I wouldn’t call it light-bodied but it’s not far off. There’s some annoying bitterness that would be OK with a bigger malt sweetness but again the malts are completely absent. The carbonation is flat which again is OK for a big, thick, DIPA but here makes it somewhat boring in between the cheeks.

Drinkability – This ale is actually quite smooth so went down well but I definitely won’t buy again.

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