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: 2,478
Photo of Docer
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Wow, the malt liquor of IPA's!

Great sessional..


- Great amber/copper color... nice tiny-bubbled eggshell colored head... creamy like coolwhip.. great lacing all over the glass. It's like watching continents drift.

- For me I smell more caramel malts right up front (which is needed to get the sugars for strength). Sweet honey. The usual awesome floral hops from this brewer.

- The taste is much like the smell... malty. Smooth creamy caramel malt with a spicy hop/alc. burn. Taste more hop when belched.

- Leaves the mouth nice and parched as it should/would. Sweet aftertaste with a bitter hop bite long after the end.

- Rather easy to drink, mild carbonation.

A little more time eating the sugars, and sh!tt!n' out the burn.. this would be a barley wine. A tad sweet for my taste. Between this, and a ruination.. I'd go w/ the ruination. Imagine hop trip set out in the sun like a sun-tea... after a few kegs settled down to a jar... you've got this. It is great!

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Photo of dfitch81
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposedly the hops in this year's Hop Henge have been "tweaked." Somehow I never tried this beer before, so I can't provide any comparison between this version and that which went before.

I can, however, say that this is one kick ass hop-bomb of an Imperial IPA. Hop Henge v2.0 pours a rich clear amber with a pleasing puffy head; thick, sticky lacing marks my progress as the precious hoppy elixir disappears from my glass. Quite a looker. Put your nose anywhere near this stuff and you will know immediately that there are some muthaf***in' HOPS in this beer and that they are charge here. Seriously - the hop aroma that rises off this stuff is as strong as the actual hop taste in some IPAs

So how does it taste? Well, it is every bit as hoppy as the smell not-so-subtly suggested it would be. The hops impress mightily: so grapefruity and piney and GOOD. But once you're done savoring the intensity and fullness of the hops, you'll notice that the malt hasn't been neglected. Hop Henge packs in its hops without teetering out of balance - one of this brew's most outstanding characteristics. Mouthfeel is a bit on the thick side compared to many beers of this style, but in the end that actually works really well for this beer.

The only real problem I can find with this beer is that at 8.75% ABV I can't drink as much of it as I want to. Bottom line: if you see this, buy it and enjoy one of the best of the best.

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Photo of Jason
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

So they tweaked the hops on this years version, I am glad they were able to brew it again. Pours a dark orange amber color with a healthy crowning of off white lace. Smells of blood oranges, hemp seeds, papaya and faint evergreen which comes mostly from the hops. Clean bite in the breath of bitter hops and slightly, but very clean, solvent alcohol. Smooth with a deep creamy malt body. Hop bitterness pops but leave a few spots for the malt to come through. Slight caramel and toasted biscuit maltiness pairs well with the fruity esters. Clean warming alcohol throughout. Finishes hoppy and quite bitter but nothing that destroys the taste buds.

Spot on for the style, what ever they tweaked it still stands comparable to the previous version. Love the beer ... make it year round please.

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Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. brown bomber with a bottling code: 021 09 0841 E. It pours an orange coppery color with good clarity and visually mild carbonation. A nearly two-finger off-white, beige sticky head sits on top and clings to the glass as you drink.

Sweet citrusy nose with some caramel, grapefruit and pine leading the way. Not as hoppy in the nose as I was expecting, but plenty hoppy just the same.

Nice floral fruitiness to start, like honey and orange blossom, then comes the hoppiness of grapefruit and refreshing pine, followed by a bitter hop finish. Very nice hop riddled flavor. It's got some big body thats produces some more sticky head with a few swirls and brings more floral notes to the nose. Good full mouthfeel with the alcohol hiding deep within, along with the subtle (not too subtle) carbonation, giving this brew fine drinkability qualities.

Very nice job on the hops in this one, a pleasure to drink and then some.

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Photo of monkeylovebeer
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For my money, Bend, Oregon's Deschutes Brewery can do no wrong. Every time I weigh the pros and cons of pitching everything and moving north, being closer to the House that Cinder Cone built is always at the top of the plus column. I think that somehow those crafty Oregonians are aware of this and every year they drop this hop bomb to ensure that crazy ideas like that are pushed to the back of my mind by urgent messages from my tongue, screaming, "Damn, this is tasty! Have another one!" Somehow, nothing ever gets done.

Well, this year, we're foiled yet again. 2009's Hop Henge is labeled an "experimental" IPA which is a little disconcerting, but upon first pour, whatever they are doing up there (as long as no animals or aging hop heads were harmed) is aces with me.

Hop Henge pours with an incredibly tenacious head, like the meringue my great aunt Alice used to whip up for her lemon pies. The brew itself is a beautiful honey-colored nectar that throws off serious hop resin notes with a little grapefruit and cannabis thrown in for good measure.

Once this brew hits the tongue, it's all over but the spielin'. The pounds of Centennial and Cascade hops are perfectly balanced to make this one of the smoothest-drinking hop bombs I've yet tried. Now, where's my Oregon map?

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Photo of PDXHops
4.97/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Note: This is Batch 1.

Kicking off Superbowl Sunday in style w/this 22 ounce bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip.

Great dense, 2 finger head on top of an amber body. The head veeery slowly reduces but never disappears. Visibly active carbonation in the glass. Lacing is sticky and plentiful.

The usual DIPA suspects of piney and grapefruit smells (and in great abundance), but much more complex. A kind of smoky/cannibis element somewhere in there, along with plentiful sweet caramel and floral aromas. This stuff smells incredible- I'm not doing it justice. I was enjoying the smell so much I sniffed and swirled for a good 2 minutes.

Very complex in the mouth. Big citrusy (orange and tangerine, not just grapefruit) and, to a lesser degree, pine/cedar hop flavors smack you right off the bat, but there's a lot going on here. Some caramel and honey try to keep the bitterness somewhat in check, but are slapped aside with disdain. Some earthy flavors, and a tiny bit of that smoky element from the aroma seems to carry over into the mouth. Taste is awesome. Incredible hoppiness- resiny, sticky, gritty, oily, scratchy, hot damn. Again, I'm not doing this beer justice.

Medium body and carbonation. A bit of sweetness and a helluva lot of lingering bitterness in the finish. Leaves the throat practically burning and begging for another sip. Drinkability/enjoyability is dangerously high at this ABV.

Overall impression: Great stuff from Deschutes here. Incredible DIPA.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 picked up at the Coop yesterday... don't remember the price, but I'm sure it was in the $6 range.. poured into my shaped SA glass.

Easy 2 finger meringue like head is taking forever to die back... the brew is a perfectly clear honey amber.. tons of lace.. really just an amazing amount of lace and the head is a foamy beast that just refuses to actually settle down.

Nose is everything expected in a DIPA.. citrus.. pine.. and a nice smack of floral hops.. caramel maltiness is present but is waay in the background.

Flavor is not as bitter as I remember.. but is very heavily balanced toward the hop flavor side.. grassy and citric with again more floral overones.. much more than the aroma. oily. grapefruit oily... lemony.. again some caramel but not even close to being a player, it's much more of a hop delivery device.. finish is sorta dry with a lip smacking oily tongue coating hoppiness.. body is perfect and so is the carbonation..

Pretty much reminds me of last years. but with a bunch more grapefruit zest and a pleasant albeit unexpected yet appreciated floral note..

Very very good.. I would love to find out the story on the changes.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pale orange-brown, slight haze, huge pillow of tight-beaded foam, great head retention, lacey

Aroma: Braeburn apples, caramel, manuka honey, alcohol; dense pine, citrus, herbal hoppiness like sticking your head into a hop sack

Flavor: thick malt smack heavily laced with resinous, piney hop flavor; background of plain bar soap, yeast nutrients, paper, and buttermilk; finishes dryish with a raspy grapefruit rind bitterness

Mouthfeel: full body, gentle carbonation, astringent, alcohol warmth

Other comments: Interesting. This is definitely a "monument to hops" in so much as it's loaded down with them. There's also a strange background flavor that I cannot describe, but it's not necessarily a good flavor. I wonder how this beer would do with 6-12 months on it.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a beautiful crystal clear golden amber with an incredible cream colored head that grew to two-plus-fingers and lingered for a good while before falling to a thin cap that stuck with the brew, leaving stunning and varied lacing to the bottom. a steady stream of bubbles keeps the cap in place.

aroma is incredibly complex hops. sweet caramel malt with grapefruit, pine, and even a bit of floral and earthy hops. Smells delicious. Green, fresh, earthy hops with a bit of caramel malt and honey to smooth it all out.

Taste follows aroma with a earthy, fresh, citrusy hop kick. Bitter, but more like citrus pith than pine. Delicious! A touch of pepper and a touch of unidentifiable funk make their way in to the mix. The malt backbone remains strong despite the hops assault, grounding everything with a caramel malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is richly creamy. There's a definite numbing oily bitterness, but ample fine carbonation helps rinse it away leaving a smooth richness of hop flavor on the tongue. Slightly numbing, slightly sweet, slightly slick, and incredibly drinkable. A touch on the thin side given the abv/ibu, but not necessarily a bad thing.

Drinkability is incredibly high for the style. I could easily have a few of these. I'm not feeling overwhelmed with hops, despite the 95 IBUs. Deliciously incredible. A truly beautiful orchestration of hops. I feel an addiction coming on.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was very excited to find this one today. I didn't know it was coming out so early and last years version was one of the best IIPAs I've had.

Pours a beautiful copper red color with a slight haze to it. The head is thick, sticky, and lingers for a good long time. Lacing is all over the glass.

Aroma is huge hoppy goodness with all the great west coast hop characteristics. Lots of pine and grapefruit with a nice sweet citrus smell as well.

Flavor is super hoppy and very bitter. 95 IBUs is nothing to sneeze at. Sweet at first but turning quickly bitter towards the end, this one is intense. The bitterness has a woodsy earthy character that is really unusual. Overall the beer leans almost towards a barleywine in the sweet fruity character but the hops are so big it could only be an imperial IPA.

Mouthfeel is good for the style but the bitterness and alcohol are starting to take a toll on the back of my throat. It's burning to a degree.

Drinkability is suffering but not because it isn't a quality beer. The aroma and taste are great but it starts to wear after a while.

I'm torn with this beer. I want to like it fresh because the aroma is great and the hops are huge but it almost seems to need a few weeks to mellow out.

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Photo of kraven
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the moment I opened this bottle I knew this was going to be good, the smell oh my god the smell, heavenly.

Taste was even better, like other reviews have said, a wonderful balance of malts, and lots of hops.

I am a UK native living in the USA. We English invent things but some other country always picks up the ball and runs with it, god bless Bend Oregan USA :)

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Photo of Magpie14
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 22oz bomber
A: my pour was a bit to rigorous and gave way to a huge bubbly cream colored top. Head retention very admirable and lacing was filmy, dense, and intricately random in placement. Color was a lovely harvest of copper, orange, and reds and some bubbles festering around in the glass

S: various hops scents that all contain a some what earthy edge. Mostly citrus and floral grassy smells, very green and fresh smelling. Softer sweet notes mostly of caramel

T: so far so good, this beer has a very nice profile. Hops are the main focus and the malts do give reasonable support. Hops have a strong fresh presence and light oily finish. They consist of piney, floral, and tea leaf goodness. Subtle citrus hop characteristics exist as well, maybe a few halved oranges or grapefruits sprinkled with sugar. I also get a bite of timid pepper in the mix. Pale malts have a light foot hold and help entertain the sweeter side with caramel notes...not undermining the hops however

M: considering how things have been shaping up the body is right on par. On the tongue it is soft and presents a nice feel, light carbonation, and mild oily finish. Body is a good push over to mild

D: I can hit this sucker all night. Another great brew from Deschutes! Good things from this brewery and an all around solid drinker, a good hoppy showing

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with shigadeyo.

Pours a clear dark copper with a large frothy off-white head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Heavy complex hoppy citrus and alcohol aroma. Medium body with a slick texture. Heavy hoppy bittersweet flavor with a good bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

Very good brew to share with a freind.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is basically a continuation of the yearly Hop Henge double IPA, but the formula (recipe) has been modifed a lot, and it's no longer called an IIPA, but an Experimental IPA. I've heard that this one is actually brewed with some lactobacillicus too...strange.

Pours a thick looking amber, crystal clear.

Aroma is hardcore hops and lots of them. Some sweet caramel in there, but it's basically a hop bomb. 95IBU and it's apparent.

Taste is heavy resin hop oil, massive sticky tooth-coating, cheek-numbing hops.

Sweetness there from the malt needed to bring up the abv, but it grasps on to hold the balance together. THis one is for the true hophead, anyone else will shudder in bitter bitter agony. Finish on this one is kind of smokey, which is interesting.

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours hazy golden to brongze color with light tan head that retains relatively well.

Nose is grapefruity, perhaps some miscellaneous citrus.

Huge hops but also large malt component in the flavor profile. Less hoppy and candied with age (11 months on my bottles). It's coming around to an almost barleywine like character.

Rather easy drinking for a DIPA.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample at Tenaya Creek in Las Vegas. The beer pours a clear orange-amber color with a wispy white head that diminishes quickly. Spotty lacing on the glass. Earthy malt, fruit and hops in the nose. Medium-bodied and moderately bitter with fresh fruity hops, malt and caramel flavors. The finish is hoppy with lingering citrus and earthy malt aftertaste. Above average overall.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Experimental for sure as the beer surely favors flavor of citrusy hops over bitterness with extreme reliance on late addition and dry-hopping of hops for extreme flavor and aroma.

The typical hazy golden-straw color held a froathy and long-lasting foamstand throughout the session with even and intricate patterns of lace. A very handsome beer!

Poured into a tulip, the beer releases an immense burst of orange, grapefruit, mangos, appricots, and spicy alcohol aromas. Both mouthwatering and appetizing out of the gate.

Flavors bring the same intense hop flavors that the nose promised with a definate emphasis on the all those citrusy notes. A follow of estery mangos, peaches, appriots, and almost pineapple all offer a continuation of the citrusy qualities that the hops deliver initially. The hop and yeast derived fruitiness are supported by a firm, sweet malt pillow that offers just enough extra confectioner's sweetness to keep the hops from complete domination. Slight peppery phenols compliment the sweetness and add intensity to the spicy alcohol to come.

Surprisingly, not as full or as richly textured as many bigger IPA's, but certainly deserving of it's characterization. Alcohols provide thinning, warming, and spiciness without bringing attention to the heat or impact. Bitterness definately does more than just balance the malts, but give a refreshing lemon or grapefruit zest and acidic cleansing deep into the finish.

This is a well balanced and intensely hoppy beer that relies on it's flavorful balance of hops and malts instead of trying to wow you with IBU's, thickness, or alcohol content- simply well done in recipe formulation and brewing execution!

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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 magictrokini
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Massive IIPA. Pours orange-gold with a pillowy whyite head and thick lacing. Fresh, floral hops with a lot of mango and pineapple. Somewhat syrupy mouthfeel. Hop-bomb of pineapple, grapefruit, more mango, and resin. Definite biscuit back with more sugar flavor than caramel. Loved it.

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Photo of Chelsea1905
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought at Jim's Home Brew, 22oz bomber.

Poured wonderful, a really nice bburnt orange, with a caramel head that seemed full at first, but after settling went a bit porous, but sticky!

Smells like burnt caramel up front, some spice, and then malty and very faint hops in the background.

Tasted confused at first, citrus, orange spicy and caramel hits at the top end of the tasting, then tthe caramel and malt follow up. A second or so after taking a mouthful, they all seem to settle and give you a nice warm malty finish. Not really what I was expecting from an Imperial IPA, but a nice beer nonetheless.

Mouthfeel was not as effervescent as I was expecting, but sticky, leaves a bit of a coating in the mouth, but not in a bad way.

Sticky, and alcoholic, so can drink the bomber easily.

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Photo of MrBendo
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful pour; clear deep orange with a large creamy head. Aroma of wet pine needles, earth and orange laden spices. Big malt backbone that screams 'not another California IIPA'.

Fairly big body with a spicy end. I prefer my IPA's to be more in the California style, but this is a nice break that seems to fit into the (fall) season a bit more. Thanks, Toby.

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Photo of John_M
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Horsebrass the other night.

The beer pours the expected orange peach color with exceptional head retention and good lacing. On the nose I get a good deal of hoppy citrus, coupled with some interesting cherry and apple. On the palate this beer is just stunning. It's incredibly well balanced and has a lightness on the palate that is just lovely. The beer has the expected orange citrus from the huge hop bill, but Deschutes somehow seems to have blended in just the right amount of malt to give the beer some really nice fruit flavors of cherry, orange, apple and melon. The beer is at most medium bodied and the abv. is so well disguised that it's dangerous. I could easily see myself knocking back several pints of this if I wasn't careful, which would be very unwise given the abv.

Have not had this beer in some time and have to wonder if Deschutes has tweaked the recipe. Granted I've only had it out of the bottle prior to this, but I do not recall this beer previously tasting this good. The current version is exceptional.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.6/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I bought a bottle for ~$4.50 at Lee's in Vegas. This beer was clear and colored copper like a used penny. The smell is strong with loads of malt along with the hops, making this more of an American barleywine than a DIPA. Tastes a lot like Bigfoot, very very hoppy but thickly sweet with malts. It was OK but honestly I prefer DIPA's that have less of a malt presence than this.

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Photo of riored4v
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10/28/08

Poured into a pint glass. Off-white, 2 finger thick, rocky head. Clear copper in color. Good lacing.

Smell is slightly spicey, floral and citrusy. Nice sweetness as well.

Taste has a fair amount of spiceness from hops. Nice citrus presence as well. Good sweet malt backbone. Caramel. Slight resin taste and good bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is sticky. Medium in body and medium carbonation.

Drinkability is good although the stickiness makes it seem bigger than it is.

Overall its a good Imperial IPA. Not the best i've had but it is a nice change from the citrus dominated IPA's.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Beeradvocate Magazine March 07.

Hop Henge IPA's big brother, "Imperial," has been released from its shackles. Centennial, Cascade and Northern Brewer hops are the catalysts for a bitter onslaught. A rating of 95 IBUs is the result of about three pounds of hops per barrel (31 gallons).

Chestnut in color with good clarity and small bubbles in advance. Full-looking head drops a sticking trim on the glass and has commendable retention. Deep herbal, spearmint, blond tobacco and citric-accented aroma from the hops. Creamy, semi-smooth mouthfeel with a dense medium body. Tangerine fruitiness moves on to a citric rind flavor, and the full-on hop bitterness sets in. The 8.1 percent ABV is a bit hidden but warms up the mouth after several sips. Bready, dry malt backbone holds strong even though a ceaseless bitterness barrels over it. Finishes with a dry, herbal character.

Deschutes really knows how to throw down. They may as well stop playing around and make this a year-round brew. Let's go the meat-and-potatoes route for this one; a pot of Hell's Fire Stew is fitting.

Check out http://beeradvocate.com/cookbook/recipe/8

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Hop Henge Experimental IPA from Deschutes Brewery
4.1 out of 5 based on 2,478 ratings.
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