Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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American Pale Ale (APA)
3.65 | pDev: 13.7%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Notes: An Imperial Pale Ale brewed with wasabi.
Reviews: 78 | Ratings: 567 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Fluteswell:
Photo of Fluteswell
4/5  rDev +9.6%

More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
2.01/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing label art and branded brass-colour pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local H-E-B grocery and served cold into a snifter at low altitude in Austin, Texas.

Reviewed live as an "imperial pale ale" per the label. 8.00% ABV. Expectations are below average given the brewery (and style).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 2 fingers wide. Off-white colour. Fairly frothy. Has a nice smooth even consistency and a soft appearance. A light coating of lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is above average - about 3-4 minutes. Creaminess and thickness is decent.

BODY: Vibrant gold colour with orange hues. Translucent and transparent. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible. Clean.

It's a good overall appearance for a pale ale; the vibrance in particular is nice. Appears very well-carbonated. While it's not unique or special, I'm looking forward to trying it.

AROMA: Generic floral hop character. Hints of faint diacetyl/buttery off-character. Pale malts. Munich malts. Caramalt.

Dogfish Head's hoppy brews are often criticized for their sweetness; this is shaping up to be anything but an exception. It's mind-boggling a beer touted as an "imperial pale ale" (not even an IPA) could somehow still be overmalted.

I don't find anything of interest in terms of hop character: no citrus, no pine, no nectar, no oils, no herbal notes...all it has is that boring floral hop character.

I find none of the red rice or wasabi mentioned on the label, nor is there even a nasal spiciness that would indicate the presence of wasabi or horseradish.

Alcohol presence is poorly disguised considering the mere 8% ABV. No yeasty notes are detectable.

It's an underwhelming aroma, but doesn't offend. Average in strength. My biggest issue is the bland hop profile, which suggests quite an insipid pale ale indeed.

TASTE: I do pick up on the wasabi note in the first act and early second act, and boy does it just plain not work in this flavour profile. It's not spicy (both in terms of heat on the palate and in the horseradish-y nasal sense), but it does have a weird herbal feel to it. There's an odd herbal note on the finish as well - could be the red rice, could be the wasabi. Either way, those notes do not belong in a pale ale, and do not work.

The foundation is doughy and raw, and is littered with unwelcome vegetable notes. Hopwise, all we get is boring floral hop notes. Pale malts, Munich malts, caramalt. It's a biteen grassy. It's got some creamy notes, which don't work well in a pale ale in my opinion - or at least not in this one.

I'm straining for positive feedback here: the beer hides its ABV better than the aroma suggests. It's not the spicy sinus-annihilating trainwreck it could have been given its premise.

I can't stay positive very long...this is a mess of a brew, with plenty of off-notes and little else. Even if you subtracted the off-character, there'd still be an overly sweet pale malt base with a bland hop profile. It has more cohesion than it ought to considering how much the flavours the clash with the malt base, but no one could genuinely call this a balanced brew. There's no interesting subtlety here, and the beer flat-out fails at providing a satisfying drinking experience. I'm definitely not liking this one.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, buttery, medium-bodied, moderately thick, and a bit too heavy on the palate. Unrefreshing. Fairly soft. Overly creamy for the style.

This texture is not a good companion to the taste, but I'm glad it's not bitingly crisp or overcarbonated. Overall presence on the palate is subpar, largely due to the problematic buttery feel.

OVERALL: I'll finish this with effort, but the buttery feel, diacetyl off-notes, and horribly misguided vegetable notes make this very hard to recommend. I expected a subpar beer given the brewery, but this is so far off the mark it's hard to believe it even made it to market. More usage of gimmicky ingredients masquerading as experimental boundary-pushing brewing. This reminds me why there's often a long period of time between my reviews of Dogfish Head beers; how can you not be turned off when they're putting out beers like this at the prices they do?

High D-

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

We pop a 750mL, pouring into our Great Lakes pints. It appears a beautiful auburn grapefruit coloring, supporting a two finger head of creamy, full oatmeal colored bubbles, showing excellent retention into cakey sheets of lacing and a resistant film across the top of the liquid. A thick, persistent haze dims clarity, and tiny hunks of sediment are found throughout. Carbonation appears to be light. The aroma gives heavy malty sugariness of caramel, pale, and rye maltiness, buttery diacetyls, pesto saltiness, steel, cereal grain, syrupy and floury flapjack sweetness, nectary hoppiness, light molasses, cinnamon and white pepper spiciness, tomato soup, raw cauliflower, floral rose, and finally with warmth, on the back, we appreciate a subtle wasabi twang. The flavoring gives vegetal, metallic, and softly spicy wasabi from the very front of the very first sip. Following through is a blend of buttered popcorn Jelly Bellies, heavy but dusty caramel malty roast, dry pale and amber grain and grit, dried metallic straw, grassy and soapy hoppiness, peppery booze, vegetal poblano peppers, fermented strawberries and rhubarb, mineral water, melted brown sugar, old paper towel, hollow ethanol, Magic Marker phenols, and chemical chlorine. The body is quite full, and the carbonation is medium, but soft. Each sip gives nice slurp, smack, cream, and froth, with a wet finishing pop. The mouth is left warmed somewhat neutral, but somehow both cooled and spiced, with a bit of a dry touch to the far back of the palate. The abv is appropriate, but on the high end stylistically, and the beer drinks back only okay.

Overall, this was an interesting beer. The wasabi is surely there as an additive, but I’m not entirely confident we would pick up on it if it weren’t plastered all over the bottle and in its name. Heat is mild and circumstantial; it doesn’t come close to being robust of frontal. The latter would have been nicer. It’s funny, actually, the best things about this beer are its supporting elements, such as appearance and feel. This is a gorgeous beer, in both color and head, while the feel is somewhat thick and hearty for the style. Unfortunately, none of this makes up for drinkability, which remains burdensome and novelty-driven for something labeled as a “pale ale”. We will always have a special place in our hearts for Dogfish Head, but it saddens us to see how poorly some of their beers can compete against some of the more edgy but excellently executed contenders that push the boundaries for their styles or ingredients respectively.

 2,591 characters

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3/5  rDev -17.8%

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2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

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3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

750ml capped bottle at fridge temp poured into a large mug, leaving about an inch and a half behind and any sediment it contained. Bottled on 5/23/2014.

Pours slightly hazy amber/bronze with a medium sized off white head that sustains itself nicely with a significant amount of active carbonation. Smell is hay, mild yeast, something vegetative.

Taste is malty with a nice, slightly hidden bitter backbone and just the slightest hint of wasabi (which I wouldn't have detected or named if it wasn't printed on the label).

Mouthfeel is thick and a little chewy. Overall, it's not bad.

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2.75/5  rDev -24.7%

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3/5  rDev -17.8%

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4.25/5  rDev +16.4%

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3/5  rDev -17.8%

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3.5/5  rDev -4.1%

Rosabi from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 567 ratings