Alpha Dog Imperial IPA | Laughing Dog Brewing

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPAAlpha Dog Imperial IPA
676 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 676 |  Reviews: 311
Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass:

A - Light golden color with a thick head and pleasant lacing.

S - Pungent smells of citrus hoppiness.

T - Nice bitterness that I would expect of this style but not overwhelming. The malt is evident but takes a back seat. Complex citrus & piney tastes.

M - Medium bodied and good carbonation.

D - I really liked this one but then I am a big fan of bitterness so if you dont like really bitter....beware.

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Photo of bgjohnston
3.68/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light orange with bright white head. Low to medium carbonation. Sticks to the side of the glass, and a swirl revives the foam pretty well as you progress.

Either I am having a bad nose day, or the flavor on the first taste just overwhemed it. I catch only a bit of pine in the aroma. However, there's a lot more of that where it came from, and from the very first sip, it is a strong pine and grapefruit rind flavor.

It is quite smooth and enjoyable to drink, despite the strong bitterness. In the end, though, I have had others that were more flavorful for the same style and ABV. Still a nice brew.

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Photo of Florida9
3.48/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy peach in color with a large, rocky, and somewhat sticky, head. Good retention and excellent lacing.

S: Grapefruit and pine mixed with a little sweet malt.

T: A light dry malt with a heavy bitterness that becomes astringent
over time. Pine.

M: Medium in body with appropriate carbonation. Heavy bitterness.

D: A decent brew, but not one I'll be returning to. The bitterness is overdone and this is little in the way of hop flavor (or malt backbone) to support it.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.12/5  rDev +10.5%
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 brewcrew76
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden orange with a thin white head and a few strands of sticky lacing.

S - Pine and floral hops with some lemon and grapefruit. Some crystal malt in the background.

T - Bready with some caramel, citrus and grapefruit hops with some astringency. Slight honey like sweetness.

M - Medium body with a drying lingering grapefruit.

D - Decent DIPA.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a beautiful crystal clear copper, with 2 fingers of eggshell-white frothy head. There is a rich and creamy look to the retention, which leaves thick lacing behind. The aroma has a good bit of sticky tropical fruit sweetness to it, along with floral hops, light spice, and a whiff of stiff toasted grains prop up the underside of the flavors in the nose.

Bitterness is biting in the taste with spice and resins, but is balanced out by a lot of tangy sweetness from the tropical fruit notes. Once again, that thick graininess rears its head, giving this an undercurrent of gritty malts. Finishes very spicy with a deep lingering dryness to it. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with more of a mellow creaminess to the carbonation that then sits on top of a much more beefy and lower carbonated feel underneath. Pretty good in the drinkibility department for a 9% beer.

This came off much more sweet and fruity than the more spicy aggressiveness and beefier feel of the Devil Dog (with which I had back to back with this). I think that even more sweetness from the malts would have been welcome here as those that were present came off as a bit too flat and grainy. Still lots of aggressive hops and juiciness to this and the drinkibility was pretty darn good for such a big beer. Worth a look.

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Photo of ghebel
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
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 eternaljester81
3.81/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the most readily available DIPAs in my area, as I can get it at my favorite grocery store. That alone makes it a standby brew, not forgetting that it's a nice beer regardless.

A - An aggressive pour yields an inch-thick, fluffy white head, that quickly subdues into a clingy film. Lacing is moderate and lasting; not thick, but more like clouds on a sunny, spring day. The actual color of the liquid is a hazy, barely translucent orange, which is quite beautiful when held near light.

S - The scent is rather surprising (compared to similar brews), given the hop-forward taste, as it's overly earthy/herbaly, and not much else. I spent time as a youth tending to horses, and there's much in the nose of this beer that reminds of those experiences.

T - Bitter, pithy hops...I could leave it at that. There is some slight, sugary malt in the middle, along with some alcohol-heat in the finish, but they are overtaken by the hops. For a self-proclaimed "hophead", this is quite the tasty beer. However, for those seeking balance, the malt is really in a handicapped fight, with the odds stacked against 'em.

M - The mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but still slick from the hops. A stronger malt presence would have certainly aided this category, but would have also drastically altered the taste. For a strongly hop-forward beer, the mouthfeel is just about right.

D - The drinkability of Alpha Dog is completely dependent upon your opinion of bittering hops - although I highly doubt those who don't like hops would spend time with a DIPA. For those who love hops (like me), this is a highly drinkable beer, with a dangerously hidden ABV. However, those seeking balance may find this brew to be a bit much.

The availability, coupled with the wonderful hop character of Alpha Dog, makes this a regular standby in my beer rotation. Maybe it's not the best DIPA, but it's quite enjoyable, nonetheless.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is a pale hazy gold with a touch of orange. The head is thick, foamy, impressive, with great retention and lacing.

The smell is somewhat modest and definitely hop forward, but not strong in the least bit. It citric with light white grapes.

The taste is flavorful, but again is bashful. I really wish that it was more aggressive because the flavor is good, but I had to search for it. Good foral and citrus hop profile. I again pick up the white fruit but now I'm thinking apple.

Mouthfeel was a little thin, but is crisp and fresh.

It drinks about right for the abv, and is an enjoyable beer. I wish it was more assertive because that's all that's holding it back from being a really impressive DIPA. The best way I can sum it up is that it kept me on the edge of my palate, cheering for it to break through, but it couldn't quite finish.

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Photo of scratchchance
3.71/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a light head and nice laceing. It has a deep golden colour.
Aroma is light for an Imperial with a slight, fresh hop aroma with citrus notes.
On the front is a light bitterness which is very crsip transitioning to a bitter hop bite. Nice but not overly hopped. Citrus and grapefruit come to the front.
Mouth feel is malty, which is to be expected from an Imperial and is very balanced with the citrus flavour, not overly malty.
There is a lasting bitterness but at the same time crisp aftertaste. Overall a very drinkable IIPA

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Photo of billyb14
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy pale-orange color with 2 finger head and good retention. Average carbonation.

Pleasant orange-like smell. Some caramel and spiceyness.

Some toasted malt at first but it quickly gets out of the way for the big hop debut. In your face bitterness here. I get a mix of citrus/piney flavors. The finish isn't too dry, more like oily.

Medium bodies and little on high on carbonation. Overall a good, but not great DIPA.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good DIPA. A reliable brew for the style.

Presentation: 22 oz bottle. Image of a canine in the dark looking straight to the viewer with pack behind. No description other than generic front label and brand identity. Lacks date of bottling, neither shows IBUs or °Plato, nor Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Medium amber body with a medium bubbly head. Medium to short retention with good lacing and a surface memory of the foam.

S - Hoppy, light and fresh scent with a predominant citrus note, tangerine and pine.

T - Hoppy profile with the predominant tangerine-citrus range following the smell and a good malt counterbalance lifting up the hops.

M - Medium body, nicely carbonated, with a pleasing crispness.

D - Good DIPA drinkability, feels enjoyable and has a good DIPA range and finish.

Notes: Nothing much remarkable of the brew other than its marked tangerine nose, but it is a good and pleasing DIPA, albeit a bit generic for the style.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

A: Clear pale orange body beneath a one-inch head of moderately dense white foam; good retention and some sporadic lacing. Good, not great looking beer.

S: Mildly spicy, orangey hops dominate, with a hint of caramel malt in the background. Straightforward and pleasant.

T: Less spicy than the nose, with the hop profile drifting more towards grapefruit and pine. Still plenty of sweet caramel malt to keep things balanced before the bitter, astringent finish swoops in. Nice, if a touch less hoppy than I might like.

M: Solid medium body with a restrained amount of fine, soft carbonation. Quite pleasant.

D: The finish and aftertaste a touch too astringent for my taste (especially since the up-front hop presence isn't nearly enough to justify off-the-chart puckering), but the balance within each sip keeps me coming back for more. Not bad.

Notes: I picked this one up on a whim (and since I'd never had a beer from Idaho before), and was pretty pleasantly surprised. While far from spectacular, it's a perfectly serviceable and enjoyable DIPA, and one that I wouldn't mind having again.


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Photo of Clydesdale
3.75/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy, glowing orange-golden color. The modestly tall, white head has a creamy, frothy texture and solid retention. Some soapy lacing sticks to the top of the glass.

S: Some light sugar cookie-ish maltiness in the nose. A tropical/citric hop nose with some mild floral hints. Orange oil, grapefruit, and pineapple notes.

T: A pedestrian pale malt backbone provides some mildly sweet, cookie-like flavor. Nothing to get in the way of a big load of hops. Bitterness is quite firm and assertive, with big doses of citric (grapefruit) and floral flavor. Again, there are mild tropical/pineapple notes.

M: Medium bodied. Carbonation is medium, with a pleasant, appropriate level of effervescence. A dry, slightly warming finish.

D: This is a solid DIPA, but therein lies the problem. DIPAs aren't supposed to be solid; they're supposed to blow you away in some respect, and this beer doesn't. It is still a tasty beer, but it doesn't have the depth or personality of many of its brethren.

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Photo of Dewey0603
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear golden/orange honey with a large tan foamy head that leaves great lacing and lasts. The smell is strong with bread yeast and citrus hops. The taste has a bitter hop harshness to it with bread yeast,citrus hops,alcohol,and pine hops. The m/f is medium with all the flavors mixing well. My first beer from Laughing Dog, and it was a very good brew.Cheers

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Photo of dmamiano
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a standard pint glass. This one showed a big, sticky, fluffy white head that hung all the way through and laced superbly.
Smell was pure hoppy goodness. Floral, piney and earthy. Bready malts also hitting the nostrils.
Taste was a big assault of hops.
Not traditional citrusy hops, but more floral with strong meminders of pine resin.
Good balance too....malts held there own.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.03/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first of five bottles that would go down on new years to celebrate. My brother in law wanted something hoppy to start and I saw this one sitting in the fridge so we grabbed it. Served cold and split in two pint glasses, this one was consumed on 12/31/2009.

The pour was very nice, rich amber in color with a huge cascading white head that just would not quite no matter what. Really nicely done I have to admit. Even after a few minutes it was still going strong with rich lacing up and down the sides of the glass. Aroma was a hop bomb, cirus filling the air from the first moment and really giving you a nose full. Even warming could not cut through the grapefruit and biting sharp hop notes. Nice medium body was well carbonated and allowed the flavor to really absorb along the palate. First taste is sharp, huge notes of sticky pine and grapefruit rip the tongue but mellow out a bit behind a biscuit like mi palate. Some nice notes of grain plugging through in here I have to say before a smack of hops dries the palate and leaves a bit of a hot boozy note on its way down.

Overall very typical for the style without many flaws at all to note. I would have no issue trying it again.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
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 ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours out a hazed, dim, darkened yellow body with a frothy, bubbly, white head.

Smell: Zesty aroma of grated lemon and grapefruit peels all the way down to the bitter pith with some additional spicy, piney notes to it. Very vague malt hints that, along with the yellow hue, imply this'll be a light malt, hop-forward brew. Let me strap in for an onslaught of IBU's.

Taste: We quickly pass by the meager, slackened maltiness with mild tastes of pale malt with light toasty hints and launches straight into the staunchly bitter load of hops. Cutting tastes of lemon and grapefruit along with a dose of pine assault the tongue and lay upon it a strong bitterness. Touch of warming alcohol, but mainly this beer is a big load of bitterness from beginning through to the finish and beyond.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: Whew. Well, this is definitely one for the hopheads out there, as the brewery seems to have kept the malts fairly light to ensue the drinker doesn't miss one iota of hoppy bitterness.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a fluffy white head and orange hues. The head patiently gives way to a sticky lacing that clings to the inside of the glass throughout the beer.

Big pine and floral hop aromas, faint yeast, citrus zest, perhaps lemon or grapefruit, and there is something sweet in there as well.

Lots of citrus in the flavor, followed by the floral hop punch with pine notes as well. There is also a sweet, almost honey-like quality to this beer as well. The malty sweetness I am sensing really does not kick in until the beer approaches room temp, also the pine notes become woodier at this point as well.

Medium in body, generous in carbonation, slightly drying, with a pleasant hop smack to the palate.

This is a good beer in the style, possibly lacking a little bit of the malt to offset the hops that the higher rated Impy IPAs possess, but good nonetheless. Easy to drink for certain and packed with flavor, perhaps even aggressive on the hop onslaught.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a DFH snifter.

Pour is cloudy amber with one finger of foam that leaves behind nice lace. I leave the last of the yeast in the bottle - obviously bottle conditioned.

Aroma is citrus hops with crystal malts

There is a nice hop flavor in the taste, but the malty sweetness seems to steal the show a bit here. The bitterness is mild - I prefer my DIPAs a bit more tongue curling.

Carbonation is low, and there is a lot of sweetness in this brew, giving it a nice viscosity.

I wonder how old this bottle is... maybe the hops have subsided a bit? Overall, pretty good and drinkable - just a little to malty is preventing a higher score.

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Photo of russpowell
3.66/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lightly hazed bronze/amber with 3+ fingers of fluffy pearl head. Very good lacing & head retention

S: Citrussy hops & a bit of breadyness, plus some leafy hops once warm

T: Bready with grapefruitty & earthy hops, plus some caramel up front, along with slight astringency. Grape fruit & leafy hops along with some dryness as this warms. Finishes strong with grapefruit,

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, slightly syruppy up front, but thins out as it warms, fairly good balance. Starts warming me nicely about 2/3rds through the bottle

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV & style. Enjoyable enough but not one I'd seek out again if have the choices I do now. Maybe better fresh, no freshness date on my bomber, so how the hell would I know???

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Photo of mpl2
2.89/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Like just about everyone else, this was probably my first Vandal beer. I was given a 22 ounce bomber as a gift which was poured into an over-sized snifter.

A: Encouraging medium amber that grew a little more opaque as it it warmed. A solid fingers worth of head quickly retreated but retained some solid lacing until the final moments.

S: After reading a handful of reviews pre-pour, I was surprised not to pick up the pine aroma that most reviewers found. I thought it was straight, almost overpowering, grapefruit pith. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in this not only because of how overwhelming the citrus was, but I was also looking forward to something a bit different (i.e., the piney notes). I honestly couldn't pick out the malt sweetness until this DIPA was much warmer.

T: Tasted just like it smelled. It was if i was eating the pith of a freshly peeled grapefruit, except maybe with just a hint of the juniper side of "pine". The intense bitter completely hid the alcohol and by the time I finished my glass I fealt the 8.65% abv far more than I had tasted it.

M: The medium body was a tad oily though an overall smooth drink.

D. Decent enough, but I really didn't care for it as much as a few of my other hophead friends. I think it encompassed all the wrong parts of a grapefruit- too much pith. I also think it could have used just a tad bit more biscuit in their somewhere. I wouldn't seek this one out, but I wouldn't refuse a free one either.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.02/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber, poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazy orange copper with a finger of off-white head. Decent retention and lacing.

Fills the nose up with substantial pine, a touch of grapefruit and a nice snappy graininess in the background. Tastes pretty much as advertised, with assertive, resiny, puckering pine right off the bat, joined mid-swallow by a bit of grapefruit, a touch of baked bread and some crisp, biscuity malt. Dries out in a hurry after the swallow, leaving lots of sticky pine behind to think about. Quite 'aggressive' tasting, with little sweetness to stand up to the pine onslaught.

Overall impression: Those who think dig only citrus-dominant examples of the style might look elsewhere, but this is a nice piney DIPA.

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Photo of Jayli
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a murky copper color with a 2-3 finger of creamy rocky head. Head retains relatively well, leaving thick sticky lacing all over the glass.

S: Nose is sharp pine and grapefruit hops, and a touch caramel malt sweetness present.

T: Taste starts with a quick burst of bitter pine hops, some caramel malt sweetness slips in evening this beer out, touch of biscuit, finishes with a nice citrus bite to it.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, slightly creamy up front, sticky finish.

D: This is the first offering that I have had from this brewery, well done, highly drinkable, looking forward to trying other offerings.

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Alpha Dog Imperial IPA from Laughing Dog Brewing
Beer rating: 3.73 out of 5 with 676 ratings