Hop Henge Experimental IPA | Deschutes Brewery

841 Reviews
Hop Henge Experimental IPAHop Henge Experimental IPA

Brewed by:
Deschutes Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is their new version of Hop Henge Imperial IPA, the hops have been modified as of 1/2009.

Available: January to April
Alc. by Vol.: 8.5 - 9.0% range
IBUs: 95

Added by SurlyDuff on 01-21-2009

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Reviews: 841 | Ratings: 2,481
Photo of LilSebastianJr
2.33/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Disclaimer: bottle said it was Best By 4/7/15, 4 days from now. Maybe, like myself, it was better in its youth....

Not impressed. Is it hoppy? Yes. But of course it is, it's an IPA. The high abv seems derived form lesser malts, or perhaps malt extract. It is cloying, which is in direct competition with the big hops.

About those hops.... the profile of the hops seems a little muddled. It doesn't really seem to know what it wants to be.

Again, perhaps it was the age. I bought it from a carry out that sells home brew supplies and has one of the best local selections of beer (and best of all you have to walk into the cooler to but piss water.... I mean bud products, they are not even in sight in the store), so they probably took great care of the beer.

Paid a lot to be disappointed. Finishing it now just for the sheer abv and not waste the cash I spent on it.

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Photo of RJLarse
2.54/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This one was on tap at Elk Public House in Spokane. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a brown/copper color and is slightly hazy. A thick foamy egg shell white head forms and is very resilient and sticky.

The smell is very piney with even a bit of turpentine aroma.

The taste is biting and bitter. Very little malt character. Over the top on hop. Bitterness is overpowering.

Mouth feel is a little thick, heavy and cloying, followed by a sting. Some heat feel from the alcohol.

Not real drinkable beer. The hop bitterness is overdone, and the alcohol makes it less than sessionable. It wouldn't be much of a thirst quencher either. I'll probably pass this one up if I see it again.

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Photo of Reaper16
2.87/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. bomber served into a New Belgium globe glass

Hop Henge pours out pretty dark. The body looks like a burnt sienna Crayola crayon. When held to light the beer looks lighter, more orange. The head is about one finger in size; a really tight cap of beige foam. It is definitely beige; much more brown than just "off-white."

Orange is the primary aroma. Lots and lots of juicy orange. There is, interestingly, a cooling aroma; a smell of, well, mint. I can tell you this much -- Orangemint should be a flavor of Orbitz gum. Traces of caramel, flashes of grapefruit. Mostly orange and mint -- a unique enough aroma combination that the novelty doesn't wear off.

The taste has no such intriguing novelty. There is a fresh orange flavor to this beer, fresh enough to include the flavor of the orange rind. That distinctly fruitskin kind of bitterness is not very appetizing. It builds up on the palate until it begins to taste a little bit like bile. There are some spicy, herbal hop flavors and a noticeable alcohol presence as the beer warms. Oh yeah, its damn malty, too. I feel that this beer, while strongly flavored, isn't very well-crafted. The flavors aren't integrated well together. Messy.

Medium-bodied with average carbonation; the beer is nothing to speak of on the mouthfeel front. Drinkability suffers for me because of the discord felt on the tongue. If you find that you like the flavor then you would be able to enjoy the bomber without problems. If you find the flavors wanting, like me, then the whole bomber will be a chore.

I didn't expect this from a brewery of the reputation of Deschutes. This "Experimental IPA" recipe needs major tweaks if it wants to be anything other than a flawed experiment.

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Photo of klewis
2.87/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Crosling for this one.

A: Pours a reddish copper with a small bubbly head that quickly disappears. A few specks of lacing.

S: Vegetal with lots of pine and a bit of solvent from the alcohol.

T: A big but brief hop flavor is quickly overtaken by an overwhelming bitterness. Very strongly unbalanced.

M: Thick and heavy with an intense dryness. Fairly light carbonation.

D: After a few sips, my palate is already tired from this one. This one is drinkable, but it needs some work, or at least a long period in the cellar.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.88/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper in color. Slight hoppy smell in the nose. This has a huge malt backbone to support the hops. Quite possibly the maltiest IIPA that I've had. Very bready and bittering in the flavor. Decent, but I prefer more Citrusy and juicy flavors.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.89/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Best by 06.16.11
Consumed 05.05.11 in an imperial nonic.

Looks like a standard IPA/DIPA-- an orangey amber color. Off-white head of 1.5 fingers. Decent retention but weak lacing.

Smells pretty good--some sweet malts with citrusy hops... Pretty standard fair here. The taste gets a bit odd to me... What's with the spearmint? Holy hell it's everywhere. This minty (and a little bubble gummy) flavor DOMINATES like Jordan in the 90s.
It is quite off-putting. A soapy bitterness sets in on the finish which is surprisingly dry.

The body is good... Medium full with an oily feel that sticks to my teeth.
Overall-- the beer would be fine if it didn't have these wierd off flavors... I'm not a fan of this at allright now.

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Photo of weeare138
2.95/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Tomdecapolis for sharing this...
Appears a hazed light gold with a small, creamy cap that fades into a mild film with a small collar of fluff. Streaky remnants and spots are left around the glass.
Smell is decent enough...containing notes of citrus, herbs, light pine, caramel, and candy.
Taste is overly bitter and mouth puckering with absolutely zero balance going on here with the absence of a malt backbone. Lots of yeast and hops highlight with citrus and herbs standing out.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, yeasty, gritty, lip smacking of bitterness.

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Photo of ccrida
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

09 Update (scored changed for this review):

Bomber poured into a Meantime snifter, Hop Henge Experimental IPA is a dull bronze with a white head that leaves heavy lace. The bottle is from batch 1, at 80 IBUs. Batch 2 I guess is 87, and bitterness is not something I found this one to be lacking, so I'm glad I got the 'smaller' version!

Smell is strong and sweet, big citrus hops that I really love, some brown sugar.

Taste is not as sweet, there's a strong bite of fusel alcohol that cuts through the hops, with a bitter finish. I know they retooled the hops for this years version but it's still to bitter for my taste, I definitely prefer IPAs with more hop flavor then bitterness, which this one doesn't have. This beer is to hot and not my bag at all.

Mouthfeel is oily, medium bodied.

Drinkability is low, I heard good things about this year's version and thought it might be worthy a revisit, but I'm still not digging it.


Poured in an imperial pint glass, the Hop Henge is bronze colored with a thick tan head, which rescinded to a small, lingering top coat that left a pretty, sticky lace. The aroma is really nice and bright, lot of cascade and piney NW hops, a little brown sugar, but also really stong fusel alcohol. The taste is not nearly so pleasant. Initially there's a nice sweet, bready malt flavor, but it's quickly overrun by exxxtreme bittering hops and omnipresent fusels. Whoa, thats harsh, the aftertaste feels like I just took a shot of rubbing alcohol. And at only 8.1% ABV, pretty amerteurish...maybe their ferm. temps ran away from them or something, what ever it was, I'm far from impressed. The mouthfeel is really pretty nice, creamy and not to thick, with a light carbonation that is easily roused. The drinkablilty was very low for me because I just didn't like it at all. It was so bitter and boozy though that it managed to numb my senses, and by the second half of the bomber I was able to pick up some steam, though I was really just to get it over with.

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Photo of opwog
3.02/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Now watching: DVR of Ted Kennedy's speach at the DNC

Thanks to HB Liquor Warehouse for this bottle.

A- Clear, dark amber color with a two inch head with an average pour into a 20oz glass. Head almost immediately turned from smooth to rather lumpy and then down to a level disc.
S- More malt than hops and something odd, almost like wet leather.
T- Does not taste like an almost 9% beer. Also doesn't really taste like an Imperial IPA or even an IPA. More like a roasty, orangey Pale Ale.
M- Hops come through more in the mouthfeel than anywhere else, as it bites slightly on the sides of the tongue and the back of the throat. Solid carbonation.
D- drinks like a friend's decent home brew.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 4/9/11

Best by 6/16/11

Shared by Spider889

Darker amber color with copper hints. Nice clarity. Poured just under one finger head. Dissipates quickly to a film an collection of bubbles off to the side. Decent amount of drippy lace.

Hits the nose in a strange progression: nips of booze; dense, slick hops, candied malt hints; bread and overtones of mustiness. Hop profile smells a bit odd - herbal, floral and vegetal; almost tomato-like. Smells like it might be astringent.

Tastes better than the nose lets on. Namely, that tomato notion is nowhere to be found. It's plenty bitter; not astringent, per se. However, it does become more so as it warms. Slick, oily hops. Herbal and a bit vegetal. Toasty, bready malts with hints of caramel.

Medium-full body. As mentioned above, it's rather slick. Some booziness is present but not over the top. Carbonation is tilted toward the lower side.

Overall impression - it's pretty decent but the hop profile seems odd.

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Photo of Philousa
3.1/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Imbibed on tap at Good Karma, SJ on 2/7/2012.

Pours a golden amber, clear, with little head. Good lacing after a couple swirls. I think they over-poured it. Very floral, nectary aroma with some pine hops. Sweet grain malt. Very inviting, not too hoppy, well balanced. Bready, a little sweet in flavor. Turns bitter, lingers, but not as bitter as the ABV would suggest. A little too syrupy overall, but balanced MF. Syrupness comes with multiple sips.

This was one that wore on me. Some open up with multiple sips, but I felt like this one's shelf life expired the more I drank it. What started out as interesting and inviting became stale and syrupy. Don't know if I'd get a pint of this again.

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Photo of route66pubs
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch #3, 2009

Pours an amber color with a thick white head. Head retains very well along the side of the glass. Somewhat surprised by the color ... perhaps not as hoppy as expected?

Aroma seems quite lacking. This is definitely no hop bomb. Slight citrus-y scent there, but nothing noticeable. (Am I stuffed up and don't know it?)

Crispiness with a good deal of oatmeal (?) like front leads to a bitter, indefinable crispness at the back. Slight orange taste at the very back of the mouth.

Perfect IPA mouthfeel. This one has the crispness and bite, especially at the back of the mouth, that you would expect from a rich IPA such as this.

It's seeming lack of hops and bitterness, combined with its perfect dryness, leave me wanting more ... much more ... of this beer. Is there such a thing as an 8.75%ABV IPA session beer? I don't think so, but if there was, this would be it.

Hop Henge is not the standard West Coast, overly-hopped, in-your-face IPA I'm used to drinking. But it is quite an extensive, easy-to-enjoy brew. Its aromas and flavors are not going to get in the way of simply enjoying this brew on a hot summer's day (or a relatively cool, almost-summer's-day such as today). Definitely something I'd look for again!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.12/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

My second beer in Mia's Lounge, Flagstaff and yet another hoppy US brew.

Deep amber body, a slight haze within, cream coloured head, thin from the start, a collar very quickly.

Citrus hop aroma, some malted biscuits hidden at the back, but mostly hops with added hops.

The hops impart a true bitterness that the malted biscuits (from the small) can't cope with and the beer just becomes 'yet another hoppy beer', one of too many I came across during my road trip to the US. The alcohol comes through towards the end of the taste, but otherwise it could have been almost any IPA based beer I came apon.

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Photo of Chaz33187
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the The Loft on the LMU Campus
a- golden yellowy
s- virtually no noticable smell, it lacks the piny/ citrus or even malty aroma of a typical ipa
t- a violent smash of pure hoppiness, it isn't friendly at all, again, there is an absence of citrus or piny charm. The alchohol isn't disguised much either. Bitterness follows
m- very carbonated. bubbles harshly in your mouth
o- unique because it has pure hop taste, but lacks the well rounded ipa flavor, it's like drinking unsweetened soymilk.

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Photo of bitterthebetter
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a rich golden amber in color, darker than most IPAs

aromas of pine and citrus hops, malt, bread

on the palate the beer is super smooth without too much hop aggression. subtle pine dominates the hops and sweet malt balances it out in the end.

decent body, no trace of the alcohol, and the finish is nice

a very smooth IPA with a finish that lingers long after the sip, but the beer is never too aggressive or upfront.

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Photo of cmannes
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1pt 6oz Bottle poured into a Surly Stein

Appearance: Beautiful Golden Color, white frothy head, good lacing.

Aroma: Pine, citrus, crisp, very light.

Taste: Hops up front, bitter finish. Hint of the alcohol with the end as well. Citrus is there, but very faint.

Mouthfeel: Thin, but not syrupy. Very low carbonation.

Overall: I was expecting more. But honestly, while it's not bad. It's not that exciting either.

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Photo of sevenarts
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear golden orange, fluffy off-white head, modest lacing.

S: An earthy malt sweetness, some caramel, mingled with citrus and pine hops.

T/M: Somewhat evenly divided between sweet malts and hops, with lots of pine especially gliding atop the caramel malts up front. The bitterness mostly hits in the lingering aftertaste, which is sometimes a bit off and unpleasant, the one spot this really loses points. Some warming alcohol on the way down.

O: Not a bad double IPA, though nothing about it really stands out too much. Decent balance, decent flavor, a bit too much of an aftertaste.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle purchased at Bob's Bar in Columbus, OH.

This was unknowingly purchased a month past its best by date (3/13/14) so take this review with a grain of salt, and know that this beer does not hold up well with time.

Pours a dark peach color, with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing down the glass.

Smells include honey, bitter grapefruit, and alcohol.

The hop flavor has faded a lot here, replaced by the typical honey-ish sweetness. The diminished hop flavors have also allowed the alcohol burn to be more present. What hop character is left is of the bitter grapefuit variety. Possibly some pine in there.

Medium bodied, sweet and sticky mouthfeel, low carbonation.

Would like to try this again much fresher.

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Photo of CliffBrake
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to breaks808 for the bottle, dated best by April 25.

Slightly hazy orange-amber color with a small head that retains a slick of foam and leaves a nearly solid, thin curtain of lace.

Light caramel nose. I am trying to imagine some citrusy hops in the nose, but it is difficult to be sure I can smell it or not.

Toast and caramel dominate the flavor with a light citrus and spice hops flavor that leads to a barely bitter finish. A honey-like sweetness is prominent.

Medium to heavy body with an oily, mouthcoating feel. Slightly juicy but without the fruit flavors to go with it.

More like a barleywine than what I expect from a DIPA, especially one from the west coast. But even as a barleywine, it is a bit heavy and one-noted on the caramel malt.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a clear amber color with a half an inch of off-white head that recedes into a film on top of the brew. A little lacing down the glass as I drink.

S: Caramel malt and pine hops dominate the scent, with a slight floral bouquet. I feel like there's a little citrus floating around, but it's very mild.

T: A great balance of pine hop bitterness and a secondary caramel malt sweetness. The mid-taste is defined by floral hops with lingering sugars and a slight citric hop component (grapefruit), with the finish and aftertaste let the pine, resin, and floral hops take center stage, leaving a sticky bitter feeling.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation. Well masked ABV and a very sticky presence.

D: It's a good IPA, but not great. I prefer my IPAs to lean toward a crisp citrus flavor, so part of my reaction is just bias talking. I liked the beer but I don't feel compelled to seek out a second bomber of it.

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Photo of kflorence
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a clear copper in color with a fair amount of sticky head that dissipates to a thin film. Plenty of lacing as you drink. Carbonation looks to be mild. Looks like a typical double IPA.

S: Apple, watermelon and apricot with a sweet toffee backbone. Overall, a pretty high, malt-forward astringent note with slight alcohol presence.

T: Bitter and fruity up front, fills in with sweet candy malts towards the middle (with the distinctive Deschutes malty flavor) and finishes bitter once again with the hops finally coming through. Grapefruit rinds are the predominant flavor left in the mouth after swallowing. Oddly, I felt this was overly bitter but didn't feel like it had much of a hop presence.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lots of chewiness and almost a bit syrupy. Quite lively on the tongue.

O: Honestly, not my cup of tea. Overall this was overly bitter and acidic, not very palatable and certainly not sessionable. I'm generally a fan of IPAs and Deschutes brews, but I'm a bit disappointed with this one. Then again, at 10.9% ABV you won't care by the time you finish the bottle.

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Photo of badbeer
3.26/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber colored with a white head that had decent retention. Some sulfur in the aroma and floral; hops were a bit catty. Watery, but sweet malt eventually comes in, as well as sap, lemon, and some grainy flavors. Medium body and medium carbonation. Fairly drinkable, though I don't think I'd order another.

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Photo of Tripphop
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best before 3/29/11

Pours a deep gold with orange tint, frothy head that clings nicely. Aromas are muted, nice piney hops but a cardboardy smell. Flavor is nice, but the malt profile seems stale, hops are present and has a nice level of bitterness, but the cardboard comes back in the finish. A solid Deschutes offering but not my favorite.

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Photo of Chambic
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

02.02.10 at City Beer

A: non-descript medium tawny color

S: sweet, like corn; can't really tell what else there is

T: lots of malt and is very sweet, with hops mostly at the finish

M: very nice, very smooth

D: okay, not bad, but not my favorite

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rocks in funny formations? Pours a hazy copper to amber color with a slight orange hue. A soft white head with limited retention and lacing.

The nose is more malty with some under lining hop notes. The malt has a sweet almost sugary aroma. Some minor caramel and kettle notes. A hint of bready as well. The hops are present but expecting more for style. More of a earthy meets floral thing. Some minor yeast notes but pretty clean.

The taste is more along the lines of a double IPA. The hops come out more and balance the sweet malt. More of an east coast IPA to me. There is a more floral and citrus notes that come out but finishes with chalky earth taste that is off. The malt has a sweet taste with some minor kettle notes, but limited overall. Some alcohol notes that are boarder line fusel. Some minor esters but not bad.

The mouthfeel is between moderate and full with a sweet finish. Not under attenuated just sweet. Overall would have liked to see more hops in the nose and finish, but you can't win them all.

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Hop Henge Experimental IPA from Deschutes Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,481 ratings.
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