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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 kornkid8600
2.33/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A: Good color, clear and unfiltered, head dissipates quickly.

S: Pine/citrus smells, a breadiness comes through, alcohol as well. Not a good sign.

T: Lots of high bittering hops, the malt body not much of the citrus smell I was getting. A lot of alcohol when swallowed and a long lasting bitterness. Again, not good.

M: Body was fine, not too thin not too thick just about right.

O: All in all, the beer has a few things done right, but those are insignificant compared to the most important thing to me, and that is TASTE. Taste is awful, I thought it was unbalanced, way too much alcohol, not enough sweetness to counteract the ridiculous amount of bittering hops used.

Beyond the bittering hops, not much flavor/aroma as it sohuld have had. There was a sllight breadiness I just don't like in my beer in the smell and the taste I'm not sure if it was my bottle or if that was intended but I dislike that quality.

Besides that, I thought there was almost a fusal alcohol quality about this beer and it was just undrinkable. Poured my glass down the drain because it was a poorly made beer overall.

Overall, one of the worst DIPAs I've had and I love the DIPA style but at $8 for a bomber, I felt robbed.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Bright amber yellow glass with a bit of haze. Holds a solid white head and leaves lacing and tide marks on the glass.

Smell: Fresh cut grass, citric and earthy bitter on a base of malt. Hops are fresh and a bit floral, very inviting.

Taste: Lots of hop flavor but only a mild bitter. Deep flavor that doesn't get heavy. Really good job here finding balance while showing off some great hop tastes. Doesn't get acidic or tea like, just fresh squeezed hop juice.

Mouthfeel: A bit gassy to start but quickly boiled off to a fairly limp glass. Oily texture in a medium body.

Overall: Tasty beer. Some mild irritants like the carbonation and chill haze hold me back from really showing some love in the scores. Still, wouldn't mind having this again and am glad to see it on Texas shelves.

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

It's Valentine's Day and my being a single man, I knew the one thing that would satisfy me: a good beer. I have never seen Laughing Dog beers before and after checking BA, I saw that their beers have good reviews. This beer is a decent price too, at about $6. So, here we go with my first Laughing Dog beer.

The slowly-forming head gets thick and creamy, allowing for some to rise above the top of the glass, so there's some good retention. It's off-white and some stays on the surface after fizzing out. There is some fair lacing. The boozy concoction underneath is an amber-ish-orange color and clear. This is a very good-looking beer, and who wouldn't want something good-looking for Valentine's Day?

This smells delicious. Bright orange, peach, and slight tropical citrus combine with a nice, almost rye-ish spiciness. I've decided the spice is piney. The hops, while very citrusy, are also grassy. Malts bring a sort of brick oven-cooked breadiness. Yeast It's also a bit warm, most likely from the 8.5% ABV. I'm catching myself smelling this over and over. This smells different than most IIPAs/DIPAs I've had. It has a deep pine woods sort of smell.

I see some here complain that this is too hoppy of a beer. I don't agree. While it is certainly hoppy, it's complex enough to be balanced (for an IIPA). Much of what's in the smell comes through in the taste. The hops are strong, bitter, acidy, and bring out tropical fruitiness, heavy pine spice and resiny sweetness. There's plenty of malt and yeast to make this a deep and complex beer. That pine forest characteristic comes in and reduces the bitterness though the bitterness definitely sticks around. Let's get one thing straight. This is definitely hoppy but it doesn't have an insane bitterness. It's more of an earthy hoppiness that encompasses more of the smell and flavor rather than just being bitter. I find this IIPA exceptional in the truest sense of the word. Many IIPAs/DIPAs are pretty "clean" in their flavors. The Alpha Dog is not so much. It belongs in the woods!

This has a more heavy body than most beers of the style and I like that. Often IIPAs have more hops and more overall flavor. The Alpha Dog brings more body to the table, thanks to its malts and yeast. In the beginning the hops bring a strong dryness that's combated by the fruity and piney sweetness that lingers on and makes it slick. After drinking there's a bitter hop dryness that stays with you. The body is medium-high but there's some good medium carbonation that keeps it alive.

I'll be honest, this might not be one of my favorite IIPAs, but its characteristics are so different from most others that I'm finding it very interesting. I like it when I like a beer but then am surprised by it at the same time. That's why I say it's exceptional. I look forward to trying more Laughing Dog beers in the future.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a very clear, light copper/dark gold color with a very fine-bubbled white head. Very sticky lace and the retention is nice.

Juicy tropical and citric hops jump out right away. Not quite as vibrant and big as some of the finest of the DIPA ilk, but plenty nice. Malts and what I am assuming is yeast flash some caramel apple backdrop with a distinct hazelnut aspect. Interesting.

The light color of this beer disguises a fairly decent malt backdrop...has almost an earthy, maris otter feel to it. The hop flavor is a bit tamer than I would prefer, although it does drop lots of resin throughout the sip. Bitterness is pretty big on the back end and lingers long. Pretty good DIPA here, not quite top tier, but Id like to drink it again and quite a deal at 4.99 a bomber...too bad there is not a freshness date on the bottle.

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Photo of LukeD23
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden tangerine with a beautiful creamy white head that lingers. The aroma is intriguing wih notes of chamomile line and fresh cut grass. Flavors come through harsh with a hard bitterness backing the split pea, orange and pineapple rind. Mouthfeel is spot on I'm my opinion for a dipa with good medium body and a bone dry finish. Overall I like this beer and would order it again. Good not great

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, no date.

appears slightly hazy, orangish golden color. thin white head that disipates to a frothy covering. strong aroma of piney hops. slight citrus.

taste doesn't have much malt, hops dominate - earthy pine is the stand out flavor. thin to medium body, with medium to high carbonation.

overall - just average for the style, needs more malt to back up the aggressive hopping in my opinion.

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Photo of bogus564
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 fl oz, poured into a pint glass.

I have to work both days this upcoming weekend, so I can't get stewed tonight; I can enjoy one beer, though. Hopefully, I'll enjoy this, since I haven't had this before. Enough blather, let's get to it...

A: So far, so good - it looks just like an IPA. It's cloudy golden amber in color, with a thick head the color of an orange rind that doesn't hold for very long. I'll admit it; I might be intrigued.

S: Even better, it smells like an IPA. You can smell the hops, with a very nice citrus note. There's grapefruit, and there's a dark fruit, kind of pruny (but light). I'm ready for a drink.

T: Okay, I'm more than mildly impressed. It's very, very hoppy. All that I smelled earlier is confirmed, but the hops are clearly the Carmelo Anthony of this beer; they're not sharing the ball with anybody! I like the grapefruit in the second chair; I just wish they'd pumped up the volume on that characteristic. But that's just nitpicking, folks; I like it.

M: Good, almost very good. Light-bodied, well-carbonated, decent on the palate, but a finish that gives you a big ol' case of BITTER BEER FACE!

O: Pretty good beer. If I didn't have to get up early for work tomorrow, I'd have another one. It was great with my chicken parm sub. Cheers.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

OK, I think I have reached my hop limit with this beer. And Perhaps, that was the goal here. But this beer is so bitter that the aftertaste destroys the experience. The only way to put out the fire is to drink more. But eventually one reaches the end of the bottle and must face the relentless bitterness. With a name like Alphadog, I guess I should have not expected less.

Pours a hazy dark golden orange color with a 1.5 finger frothy white head. Good retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves chunks of lace behind. Very earthy hop aroma with a strong pine and floral presence. There might be a small grainy component to the aroma as well. Texture is medium-full with average carbonation. Huge resinous, sticky pine needle flavor that dominates lingering over the sweeter notes. Lingering finish. If you love hops for hops sake, this is your beer. For a more balance brew, look elsewhere.

Note: this is my favorite style. But I think that this beer is on the fringes of the category.

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

Poured out of a 220z bottl, light murky golden-amber tone. Head is medium, nice carbonation as well as a substantial amount of carbonation.
Smell is almost yeast-like followed by a wave of citrus hoppiness. Orange, hint yuzu, a tart character almost reminescent of funky yeast. A nice slightly sweet malty backbone provideds a solid backdrop for the citric flavors to meld. I get a nice hint of pepper on the finsh. Overall not mindblowing but well put together.
Tangerine, black pepper, peppercorn, nice lingering spiciness, orange lemon, a tingling nice tartness, all come together to create a really good DIPA.
Nice spiciness on the finish I really appreciate, not becoming sticky-hoppy sweet in the least. This is nalo one of the most yeast-upfront DIPA's ive had.
Quite tasty, never have tried a beer from Laughing dog, don't what I've been waiting on now.

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Photo of nitro0292
3.3/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden yellow. Ample sticky white head leaves solid lacing.

Smell is hops and yeast, almost smells like Brett. The yeast actually dominates.

Taste is not as yeasty as the smell implies. No real malt presence, but bitter American hops fight with the yeast to balance each other. Bitterness and yeast bite linger in the aftertaste. Meh.

Mouthfeel is fine, not overly carbonated, not syrupy or too thin.

Not sure what is going on with the yeast in this brew. Is this bottle conditioned? There is no bottle date, so I don't know if this taste is due to fading hops, too much yeast or just the way my palate tastes the blend of hops.

I want to like this...but I don't think I would get this again.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange-ish to yellow color with a white head. In the aroma, orange citrus to a light pine. In the taste, sweet orange citrus to a pine dryness, again, tastes just like the smell. A small hop bite and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a small dry orange citrus like aftertaste. Nice mix of orange citrus to pine and hides the ABV, a very nice beer.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.36/5  rDev +15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I obtained this at the magnificent Neil St. Piccadilly after it came highly recommended from JD the manager, Sam the sports maven and Doug the all-around good guy. Excellent call. Two fingers of white froth top a hazy copper-amber body with golden yellow trim. The lacing on the trusty Duvel tulip is so decorative that I cannot help but ponder if fate intervened to deliver such a scenic appearance this winter season. Excellent head duration to boot, with the dollop of foam in the middle arranged like a hurricane taking shape; stellar looking beer.

Good DIPA smells, not great, with plenty of lemon and orange rinds, grapefruit, grassy notes, and bits of caramel and biscuit hops peering around the hopped-up aromas.

Ah, this taste, soooo good. Grapefruit, tangerine, and the aforementioned rinds for zest make Alpha Dog a Hop Dog. Hop lovers will surely enjoy this, and malty notes bleed through this hop monster especially as it warms a bit. Nice caramel and toffee taste.

I like the mouthfeel...but I do think that it feels a bit thin. The resiny and somewhat gritty texture are pretty good, but for all the bold hop-driven taste, I expected the mouthfeel to be a bit bolder. This to me is where the malt makes its presence felt, and adds a distinct characteristic.

On the whole, Alpha Dog is sincerely tremendous beer that I will grab as soon as iy is available. A big, brash, brawny, hopped-up DIPA, this big dog loudly barks out the hops early and often.


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

ALERT: Pour this with EXTREME care. When I poured this from the 22oz. bottle, it foamed like a Belgian on steroids! I had a glass full of foam with about 1/8 of an inch of beer at the bottom, it took over 10 minutes for the head to subside to the point where I could finish pouring. It turns out to have a cloudy apricot hue with the head settling into a rocky, pillowy lace. There are a couple of strings of bubbles rising upwards, but the carbonation seems low-key. The aroma is a strong blast of grapefruit-y, piney hops. 1st sip is a massive blast of hops...dry, citrus, pine flavored hops. There's also a slight hint of lemon rind. Malt flavors are pretty much non-existent. Carbonation is modest, leaving a pleasant sparkle on the tongue. The alcohol is pretty well hidden, or it may just be beaten into submission by all the hops. Overall, while i'm more malt-centric, I can see where this beer would be a hop head's delight!

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Photo of corby112
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark golden orange color with a 1.5 finger frothy white head. Good retention, slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves chunks of lace behind.

Very earthy hop aroma with a strong piny presence. Slightly floral with faint citrus peel and pale malts. A bit one dimensional in the nose.

Chewy full body with a blast of extremely dry and bitter hops. Huge resinous, sticky pine needle flavor that dominates lingering over the sweetner notes and malt backbone into a bone dry finish. Subtle citrus, mostly grapefruit along with some caramel, toffee and biscuit. Not bad but could use more balance.

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Photo of david18
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I recently submitted a review on a draft version I had. It's two reviews below.

I was more disappointed with the bottle version. I found it to be somewhat out of balance and very strong tasting, especially considering the relatively low abv for a double ipa.

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Photo of drpimento
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Great little bro to the DD. I let this warm a bit out of the fridge. Poured with a very nice, cream colored, foamy, super frothy, head that slowly subsided and loads of lace. Color is a hazy amber with a couple of hard to find tiny bubble trails. Aroma is yeast, hop, wet grain, fruit, grass. Taste is like nose; not sweet, quite bitter, low carbonic tang. Body is good; carbonation subdued, and overall a bit soft. Finish is like flavor, fairly long and resiny.

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Photo of KOrtega
3.29/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a tulip glass (served at 57F)

A-Beer pours a hazy golden orange. Head starts off rocky and white then settles to a more frothy/creamy consistency as the head settles (which it settles fairly quickly). Only a small amount of lacing.

S-Citrus, acidic (grapefruit) aroma with subtle grassy and malt notes.

T-Starts off citrus/sourish with some salty hints. Through the finish the beer becomes more salty and bitter. There is also bitter citrus on the finish.

M-The beer stuck in the palate and lasted quite nicely. Not light but definitely not heavy.

O-I love Imperial IPAs, just not this one. I like, but not love, this one. The nose is fairly subtle with the beer, but the taste definitely is a good punch. The appearance is very appealing and would be intrigued if I saw this poured up at the bar. The lasting mellow bitter flavor makes this a nice, slow drink.

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Photo of KevinBrewer
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Gold-tinged amber (almost straight orange) with a rocky white head that lasts forever, leaving plenty of lacing down the glass.

N- Caramel and honey coated biscuit layered with pine, herbs, and flowers. Lots of fresh leafy hop goodness with a subtle tart fruitiness to it.

T- Surprisingly dry going from the smell. Crisp dry biscuity malt with the faintest of caramel sweetness. Leafy, piney hops dance on top of the malt while a grassy bitterness clings to the tongue. There's a little citrus rind in the bitterness, and some juicy citrus accents that balance the bitterness. Also some tart fruit in the hops. Long, dry bitter finish with citrus rind, grass, pine, and some lingering grain. Also some heat on the finish.

M- Medium-light bodied, slick and sticky, moderate carbonation, with a dry, bitter finish.

D- Overall, a pretty aggressive dry IIPA. Definitely worth a shot, but not for the faint of heart.

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Photo of plaid75
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at The Lark, East Northport, NY.

Poured a medium copper hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured an upfront sweet earthy malt followed by a strong herbal hop.

The taste consisted of an earthy sweetness cut ny a brawny piney herbal hop spice.

The mouthfeel Was typical of the style.

Overall a good malt driven ale.

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Photo of HosP
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured 22 oz beer into snifter.

A- Golden orange in color. Very hazy with lots of carbonation bubbles. White fluffy head with sticky lace left on glass.

S- Big fruit, citrus hop aroma throughout the nose. Smells like juicy hops.

T- Follows the nose, lots of hop flavors up front until the end. Grapefruit, citrus mostly at the beginning. Some piney flavors come in towards the end. Some dull bitterness at the end sticks with you.

M- Medium body, lots of carbonation. Bitterness stays with you.

O- Solid DIPA. Nothing overly great, but still good. The more I drank though did have a slightly weird after taste.

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Photo of UnderPressure
2.16/5  rDev -43%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Beer foamed up a lot. 70% head after pouring down the side of a 12oz mug. Hazy orange/yellow. Yeast at the bottom of the bottle. The head will not go away! 5 minutes later, I'm finally getting to drink. Lacing all over the place.
Roasted/burnt sugary smell. Not a great hop aroma to speak of.
Strong malt flavor a roasted/burnt taste. Somewhat hard to describe. It's reminiscent of subpar homebrew. Small amount of hop flavor, but I'm mainly getting a lot of bitterness in the hop department. That bitterness sticks around, too. I'm guessing the IBUs are really high
Relatively thin, yet smooth mouthfeel. Way too fizzy for my taste (and this style). Especially considering the amount of carbonation already lost.
Overall, I'm really not impressed. The over-carbonation is obviously a flaw. The roasted/burnt taste may be intentional, but it's not my thing. I bought this beer because I love the Rye IPA from this brewer. But, I will not be buying this one again.

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Photo of robhunta
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - clear crisp dark yellow/light orange. a very nice inch of fluffy head, sticks around for a good time.

S - Not overly aromatic. I get sweet citroussy, fruity hops.

T - Starts with extreme hops flavor/bitterness. Middle has sweet citrousy, fruity flavors. Finishes with strong hops bitterness again.

M - light, crisp, dry.

O - overall this is a good imperial IPA, a classic example of the style, but nothing legendary, not meant to put down the beer. It is good and well executed.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice DIPA from Laughing Dog. Darker, slightly cloudy amber with a big white head. Rich malts, yeast, bread in the nose with a very noticeable, light citrus hop scent. Definite hop oil presence.

Nice, lightly bitter hoppy taste. Creamy malts hide in the background. Bread, light toffee, citrus, mild grassiness. Nice, smooth finish with light carbonation. The flavours are well blended and even though this hoppy, it still has a good malt profile.

Even at 8.7%, still a nice beer. Quite enjoyable.

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

Deep golden bodied with just a touch of smog. The head is off-white, moderate in size and ebbs backs towards the liquid fairly fast, though it leaves the glass painted with lace.
The nose brings glazed donuts, toasted bagels, raw honey, and gobs of pine jelly, burnt cannabis, along with hop-derived apricot, and melons.
Across the lips, it brings an even-tempered malt blanket of honeyed grahams, toast, and caramel. Fruitiness eddies in the middle, bringing tangerines, honeydew melons, apricots, pineapples, peaches, white grapefruits, and pears. The 120+ IBUs of bitterness is supplied by the glowing pine traits that round things up, complimented by smoky marijuana notes as well. It's not as puckeringly bitter or loud as the stats might suggest, but its a hop bomb, and a fairly nuanced one.
Medium+ in body, though seeming a notch lighter with its slowly persistent, perky bubble.
It's kinda scary drinkable, given its specs. I wouldn't scour the world for it, and it's not an all-time favorite, but I'd drink this again, anytime. And hopefully soon.

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Photo of Trueant1
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Great pour. Thick white head. Lots of smooth lacing. Lots of small bubbles. Orange/brown color.
Average smell for the style. Apricots, pine, sweet malts, and spice. I love IPA's that fill the room when you open. this does not.
Good taste. Very bitter, but expected for this style. Sweet malts with citrus/apricots trying to peer out of the bitter hops. Bitter hops win. Lots of fine carbonation that goes very well with this brew. Seems too watery to me for an imperial.
A good offering from the east coast!

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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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