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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA | Laughing Dog Brewing

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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: 664
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 Nickls
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Really hazy marigold color; poured with a half-finger of slightly off-white head. Good retention and lacing. Pretty standard for a DIPA.

S - Citrus hop aromas; some grassiness as well; decent amount of sweetness from the malt as well

T - Hop bitterness is the order of the day here; citrus comes through; bit of alcohol; everything is good until toward the end there's some astringency.

M - Medium, a bit oily; substantial carbonation

D - Just above average for me against the style. The hops are very aggressive, which doesn't necessarily bother me, it's the touch of astringency toward the end.

Overall, pretty aggressive brew, and decent enough. Needs some cleaning up, then it would be a great hop bomb. Worth a look.

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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 beerthulhu
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a bright but hazy tangerine orange with a 2 finger foamy and pillowy off white head that pitted to a rocky structure and stuck around for a solid 5+ minutes. Frumpy, it left a thick foamy coating along the glass walls. Visible carbonation started off strong with macro bubbles quickly and rapidly ascending, only to settle to a soft and subtle micro bubble display that was sporadic and quickly trailed off. The lustrious lacing and huge foamy and well retaining head earns extra consideration here.

S: The nose delivered a standard west coast hopping that was grassy and piney with dry grapefruit that was quickly detected even upon opening the bottle and from the pour. However after the initial showing, the aroma quickly died out to a whimper with a lighter then expected offering, most likely due to the quickly dying carbonation. Decent enough for an ipa, yet was underpowered for an imperial labeling I thought. Not much malting contribution or hoppiness to hold my attention long earning this an average at best rating.

T: The flavor does deliver the hoppiness that the nose lacked being moderatly bitter with pine needles, grapefruit skins and a dry floral lacing. After the swallow the grapefruit hopping is evident nicely coating the tongue with some dried orange grinds. A nice level of bitterness but came off rather one dimensional and hard to justify a good rating here when compared to other staples within the style. Lacked a transition of flavor and finished pretty much as it started.

M: perhaps one of its stronger points, a nice medium fullness, fairly thick and somewhat syrupy from the malting with little or no carbonation being detected. A dry lingering bitterness is left as its calling card for the finale and fade.

D: Ok drinkability, easy enough to drink, but hard to justify as a really good beer here. Bitter at first it does get progressively easier to down but once again one that can get just as easily lost amongst the better examples per style. A bomber is sufficient here, cant say I would go beyond revisiting this as there is little incentive to draw me back. After a strong start appearance wise it only goes downhill from there. Worth a check out for a bomber at best for fans of style.

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

From a 22 oz. brown bomber. Pours out a hazed marmalade hue, tight chunky cream-coloured head that retains well and leaves thick chunky gashes of lacing in its wake.

Aroma possesses light tangerine, peach yogurt, floral notes, wet grassy hops, toasted malt in the background.

Decent biscuity toasted malt up front in the flavour, quickly followed by sweet mandarin, spruce needles, finishing with bitter spring greens, fruity yet astringent aftertaste. Lingering puckering herbal aftertaste.

Smooth, velvety, somewhat light mouthfeel, although with enough body not to detract from the experience, it actually enhances the overall drinkability.

Quite palatable and approachable for a DIPA. Of course it's not balanced, but there's enough subtlety and depth to the hops that this doesn't become a one trick pony, and in fact makes more than one of these an enjoyable affair before the abv% catches up and lets you know that less is sometimes better and that moderation is the key.

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Photo of theghost3
4.27/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper with a 3-finger fluffy, golden-white head. Medium lacing.

Smells of herbal, pine & grapfruit hops along with some breadiness. The taste...hopbomb. Very bitter floral/herbal hops at first with some grapfruit at the end. Caramel is present as well. Mouthfeel is acidic, crisp, and slightly sticky.

This is a drinkable DIPA, but the 8.7 abv will sneak up on you. It's a good balance between the smoothness of Hopslam & the bitterness of Stone Ruination.

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Photo of olmatty
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a huge, sudsy, white head with strong lacing and good head retention. Beer is a clear, deep golden color.

Smell- Biscuity malts, spicy hops, strong, but not overwhelming.

Taste- Big malt presence, and an even bigger hop blast to overwhelm. Hops are mostly piney.

Mouthfeel- Big and chunky with hops.

Drinkability- Lovely and huge hop presence, but limited drinkability because of this intensity.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bomber into a glass. A gift courtesy of ramnuts, who sends me too much beer. Thanks Frank!

A: Pours a golden amber color with light copper edges against the light. Has a frothy off-white head that retains pretty well at a fingers' thickness, and deposits nice lacing down the glass.

S: Lots of floral and pine hops, although citrus (grapefruit, lemon) is in there as well. Some bread and caramel malt is evident.

T: Surprisingly balanced for an IIPA. Toasted and caramel malt have equal play against a complicated hop profile that is predominantly floral and citrus (unlike the smell), with a lower pine component.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly low carbonation that makes it slick/oily and sticky, with a long-lasting bitterness (I don't particularly care for this aspect).

D: This is a damn good beer. I'm told it runs a very affordable price, too. High marks in my book just for that. If only I could get it here.

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Photo of dborginis
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden color. Just what I expected for a DIPA. At first the hop bitterness is offensive, but with a few sips it got more bearable and tasty. Smell is a nice balance of malt and hop. A taste of this malt too, but the hops pretty much dominate. Aftertaste isn't so good, but surprisingly light and drinkable.

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

Bottle courtesy of Zathrus13.

Pours a golden amber in color. There's a very nice two inches of head that forms on the pour and takes it's sweet ass time receding enough for me to finish the pour.
Smell is very floral, piney hops. There's a bit of a citrusy note as well. Taste is quite balanced. More pine hops, but everything is kept under control. Very good and easy drinking IPA. You never notice the ABV in this beer. So smooth and good, it was gone before I even realized it. Solid offering.

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Photo of Durge
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This shows a light copper color with a pretty big frothy off-white head and good lacing. The aroma is a relatively mild piney hops and grassy malt, sort of a cardboard quality as I have identified in many brews before, not necessarily a problem. The flavor is malt heavy with the pine/herbal hop background. It's grassy and earthy, mildly carbonated with a solid body feel that is easy enough to drink for the style. It has an odd hop expression that gathers at the back of your mouth, not a bad thing but a bit different. Kind of a burnt cedar quality, not in my wheelhouse, hard to describe. But it is by no means a bad brew. Not the best dipa I've had but a pretty good quality beer that may slide into a barleywine in some minds.

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Photo of Gavage
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: hazy orange in color with a fluffy 2" head. Thick lacing develops during the session.

Smell: grapefruit is a bit overpowering here, and the pine is in the background.

Taste: caramel, pine, and a huge grapefruit tone that creates a bit of an unbalanced beer for me. The bitterness is sharp and biting.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late. Super long aftertaste as the grapefruit flavors seems to stick around the mouth for a long time.

Drinkability: I found this to be a bit unbalanced and quite biting. The bomber was more than enough for me in a session.

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

poured into a tulip glass

appearance-light amber colr 1/2 inch head relatively good lacing

smell-very floral with some citrus notes

taste-somewhat citrusy with some hops on the back end

mouthfeel- good

drinkability-could probably drink a few of these

overall- pretty good DIPA but not the best

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Photo of gford217
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber courtesy of SirChugaLot poured into a tulip.

Pours a clear light golden amber with a big fluffy white head that leaves sheets of lacing and settles in as a small cap after a few minutes.

The aroma is very sweet with lots of light citrus hop aromas, especially oranges and grapefruits. There are some caramel malts as well as a bit more pine hops as it warms.

The taste follows the aroma but has a bit more aggressive hop bitterness than in the aroma. The opening flavors are the citrus hops which give way to the sweetness of the caramel malt base, which makes more than just an appearance. The finish has a solid pine hop bitterness that lingers for a while.

The mouthfeel is sticky with hops and has a nice soft carbonation that helps carry the light to medium body.

This is another solid DIPA from the West Coast and, while not the hoppiest or most complex, the bomber went way, way too fast. Very good.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 4.11.09 at Brass Rail Beverage in Campbelltown (while my son was at a birthday party).

poured a great golden yellow color. the head was thick and foamy. there was also a consistent intermittent flow of tiny bubbles rising up from the bottom of the glass throughout the enjoyment of this beer. There was also a nice thin layer of tiny foamy bubbles/head on top of the beer the entire time which was nice. The beer also produces a superb lacing from the top of the glass down to the bottom in a beautifully random pattern. smell of this beer was good, but not as strong as I would have expected for a double IPA. definite citrus in the nose, some bready malt undertones and lots of hop resin.

This is quite a tasty beer. A hop head's delight. very hoppy in the entire taste, very back of the mouth bittery hop taste. slightly buttery in the mouthfeel w/ a crispness toward the end, primarily from the bitter hop taste. quite a nice beer.

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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 scottoale
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22oz. brown bomber pours an amber-gold ale with a finger of white frothy foam. Good carbonation is evident as is the thick sticky lace that clings to the glass. Bright and lively looking brew.

Rich malt with earthy hops fill nose. An interesting meld of two main ingredients, almost seamless.

Rich grainy malt with very little sweetness, overlapped with earthy leafy hoppiness give this brew a very unique flavor with a matching balance. It's like a 50-50 malt to hop ratio, with a strong bitter finish. Very pleasant flavor and well executed. Medium body with some slick to fluffiness mouthfeel due to the carbonation and ? Can't quite put my finger on the oily slickness within. Long bitter aftertaste that bites the tongue a bit.

Quite drinkable with the alcohol subdued in all aspects smell and taste wise. This is a nice change of pace for this style, one I would like to see more of. I must thank travisd13 for making this possible...a very fine extra indeed!

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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 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 erikm25
4.24/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my Stone tulip. This is golden orange with crispy tangerine highlighting. Head is about two fingers of snowy white bubbles. Retention is very solid. Lacing clings in ring like patterns all around the glass. I wasn't overly impressed with the appearance but I quickly learned the old adage about judging a book by its cover.

S: This has massive and juicy aromas. Fresh pineapples, peaches, and lemon zest bubblegum. Strong hints of grapefruit and pine tar with sugar honey sweetness. I really enjoyed the smell of this beer. There were hints of pine but definitely a great mix of citrus fruits thrown in.

T: Strong grapefruit tastes balanced against very subtle caramel malts. Overall, this one delivers on the hops and leaves a solid bittering aftertaste. Pineapples and oranges. A slight lemon taste that pierces the tongue. Even with the heavy hops it drinks smoothly and enjoyably. Rounds out nicely with some peppered spiciness. Caution, as this drinks like a breeze.

M: Medium, bordering on full, mouth feel. This one is sticky and juicy with hops bitterness. Great carbonation.

D: This is a solid imperial IPA. Easily drinkable and for the price it is a bargain. May go toe to toe with my fall back, Ruination. Highly recommended for fans of a strong hoppy beer. Hopefully, this gets into six packs but in the meantime pick up a bomber or grab it on tap. Laughing Dog should be very proud of what they have put together here.

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

Serving Temperature, 50 degrees. Serving Glassware, 12 ounce tulip.

Pours, orange and clear with a strong almost whipped egg white foamy head, that dissipates into a strong tattered lace.
The nose is earthy with grapefruit and a dash of pine.
Swallowing this I get the carmel malts and a sticky quality that is slightly musty with grass tones and some grapefruit.
Overall a medium mouthfeel and man do I suddenly have a craving for fish and chips with some tartar and dill.


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Photo of ffejherb
2.95/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at The POPE on 3/6/09 during Philly Beer Week.

A - Slightly hazy golden body with a wispy film for a head that gave way to a thin ring of retention that left virtually no lacing.

S - Fruity nose with lots of fleshy and citrusy fruits with sweet caramel malt. However, there is a pungent cat box character amidst all the sweetness and hop bitterness.

T - Flavor is very sweet initially with a fruit character and sweet malt base featuring caramel notes. Unfortunately, an unpleasant cat box aspect rears its ugly head and dominates the flavor in the middle, and then segues into an aggressive hop bitterness suggesting pine and resin.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and subtle carbonation resulting in a sticky mouthfeel overall. Finishes with an assertive hop bitterness on the palate.

D - I would have enjoyed this much more if not for the cat urine aspect. Not sure if it was the tap line or just the beer. Remove the feline influence from this brew and you would have a pretty solid DIPA. While some might enjoy this very pungent hop profile, it definitely rubbed me the wrong way.

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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 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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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
3.79 out of 5 based on 664 ratings.
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