Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
576 Reviews
Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My AleRobert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse and 10% ABV. It's dry-hopped with 100% Centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. Can you tell we're stoked for this mighty musical centennial?

To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the Centennial hops (and as a shoutout to Robert Johnson's mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson), we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool.

58 IBU

Added by jsanford on 03-15-2011

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Reviews: 576 | Ratings: 1,868
Photo of PDXHops
1.32/5  rDev -65.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

750 ml bottle, split approximately equally between myself and the kitchen sink. I poured it into an oversized snifter, the perfect vessel for contemplating a most puzzling nose. The dominant aroma seems to be that yellow stuff I use to mop the kitchen floor. Not bad looking, though, hazy apricot/amber with a nice cap of frothy foam and some scattered lacing.

I'm not a huge fan of drainpouring unless I just can't choke a beer down, and that's the state I find myself in here. On the positive side, it's quite bitter and there's a nice fresh hoppy taste, so perhaps a decent DIPA lurks underneath here somewhere. Way underneath. The yellow stuff has been joined by pine sol. It's excruciatingly sweet and shockingly boozy. Quite memorable, though!

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Photo of Uglylilpup
1.8/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I was really looking forward to drinking this beer--I loved Dogfish Head's Positive Contact. With this one, I ended up pouring it down the sink. The lemon flavor was so strong it was like drinking Pledge. I couldn't even get through half a glass. Alas.

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Photo of SunDevilBeer
1.85/5  rDev -51.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had this on tap late summer '11 at the advice of an enthusiastic barkeep.

Preciously served in a DFH snifter. Looks deep bright orange on the pour. Oooh this looks nice.

But my hopes were dampered upon smelling this beer. Was expecting to encounter a nice citrusy hop bomb, but instead smelled some dirty, earthy off concoction. Yuck.

Took a hard first sip and found myself recoiling. Very unpleasant musty taste, the malt & hops are fighting each other in this beer. Lots of unpleasant hot alcohol flavors too.

Took a break and drank some water after the first taste just to re-gain my bearings. Took another sip and it was just as disjointed as the first.

Struggled through a few more sips then pushed the glass toward the barkeep. Told him I hated his suggested beer and thankfully he took it off the tab.

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Photo of stonermouse
2.21/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bomber into a standard pint glass.

Shared a bottle with my brother, and had high hopes...

Appearance is nice- pale yellow with a tinge of orange. Slightly more pale than I was expecting, but decent nonetheless. Head was pillow-soft and persistent, and (spoiler alert) is ultimately the best part of this brew.

For all the flavors and potency I expected, the aroma is pretty mild. A little maltiness and a touch of nonspecific citrus, but lacks umph.

First sip is hot with booze, along with every subsequent sip, I suppose. Believe it or not, this is actually boozier than I expect a 10% brew to be. And not a smooth booziness- more like a $5 vodka flavor. Not good.

Other flavors are present and can be teased out with some effort. Mostly lemons, but not sweet, refreshing lemon flavor. More like rotten-rind lemon flavor. The citrus doesn't seem to be coming from the hops, as there isn't much bitterness, dryness, or any other hop characteristics to be found. There is a touch of sweet orange, perhaps from the malts. But this is at least secondary, and doesn't really help the cause.

Mouthfeel is actually pretty decent, due mostly to the aforementioned pillowy head. There's a nice, smooth denseness to the brew. Too bad the flavors were almost-wretched.

Whoa, very disappointing. Before we cracked this, I quipped, "I hope this isn't just a boozed-up 90-minute." Now, I wish that was the case. There were two of us, and we drain-poured half the bottle. The label is cool, so I'll keep the bottle, but it wasn't worth even close to what we paid for this poorly-executed mess.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.24/5  rDev -41.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Bottle picked up at Rick's in Alexandria. Really looking forward to this one. Served in a Dogfish thin pint.

Pours a lightly-hazy peach-apricot color with a good white head and some nice sticky lacing on the way down. The nose carries some light notes of citrus plus a pretty hefty amount of booze. Quite a bit of bready malt in the background as well. The taste is basically a malty mess. There is no real lemon character and the hops are an afterthought. The taste is overrun by a strong alcohol character. Other than that, bready malt and a bit of sweetness. Feel is completely boozed-up and lacks really any bitterness. Not impressive.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.28/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic pint glass in me friend's gaff in low altitude Orange, California. Reviewed live.

Served a bit warmer than refrigerator cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues were anticipated.

A: Pours a 2.5 finger head of fluffy white foam, light cream, good thickness, and great retention for the ABV. Colour is a dark copper. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Hops - mainly bittering, light caramelized malts, clean malts, and some cream. A mild strength aroma. Not particularly appealing either.

T: Hops - floral more than bittering. Very pleasant fruit esters - I assume passion fruit but lemon comes through. Certainly pleasantly citrusy. Light caramelized malt alongside clean bright malts. The hop bitterness is well disguised. Rings artificial, even a bit syrupy. Not particularly well balanced. Built decently. Very simple compared to how the label describes it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with not enough coarseness to bring out the flavours. Inadequately carbonated. Doesn't complement the flavours hardly at all.

Dr: Hides its ABV really well. Drinkable but boring and simple. I wouldn't get it again. Not at all worth the price. Another gimmick from Dogfish Head. The taste is quite artificial.

High D+

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Photo of MrVonzipper
2.29/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear caramel color. With a yellowy eggshell head. With good retention. And great lacing. 

Major lemon rind. Citrus but not hop citrus. A little soapy. Lemony Potpourri.

Major lemon flavor too. Pretty cleansery. Tastes like a lemon soapy cleaner. Not good at all.

Very High carbonation.

Overall it started ok at the pour and then just toll a turn for the worse. As a DFH fan I am extremely disappointed by this abomination. I don't think any of us in the bottleshare finished it. Drainpour, bad bottle?

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Photo of largadeer
2.36/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pale golden amber with a slight haze. The head rises a couple of inches and then slowly settles to a thin crust. Smells pretty boozy, like rubbing alcohol. Some fairly pleasant hop notes as well, floral and perfumey, backed by grainy, malty sweetness. Little bit of fruitiness, with lemon being subtle on the nose. The palate is even more boozy than the aroma; it actually burns going down. Lemon is noticeable, more bitter than sour. A lot of the hop flavor is covered up by harsh alcohol and bitterness, though there's a hint of that signature centennial floral character. Malt is barely noticed after a while, as the abrasive finish sticks to the tongue more and more. Pretty mediocre stuff overall, verging on bad - the nose is decent but beyond that it has little going for it.

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Photo of ehammond1
2.47/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2


Thanks for sharing, DarthKostrizer!

Clear, glowing gold and orange with a thick, persistent, and soapy eggshell-colored head. This beer leaves spiderwebs and spots of lacing down the glass. Pretty.

Biting lemon flesh and rind sting the nose along with a mild aroma of soapy detergent. Not particularly pleasant and actually difficult to smell for any length, because the lemon scent is physically stinging--akin to a cleaning product.

The flavor follows the nose, unfortunately. The stinging, biting lemon flesh and rind is dominant, along with an unpleasant chemical or soapy flavor. There's perhaps a bit of pine hop presence, but it's somewhat unwelcome in this beer because it makes me think even more of particular cleaning products.

Medium bodied with far too much carbonation. In a better tasting beer, this would merely distract from the flavor. In this instance, it basically makes this one undrinkable.

I will not drink this beer again; though it had some redeeming elements, the poorer parts of this beer were too much to overcome.

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Photo of Weidman26
2.47/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

And another failed attempt by dogfish head.
To be perfectly fair I have quite enjoyed many of dogfish heads amazing beer and that may weigh more heavily in my evaluation as I attempt to review a beer on pure objective criteria and not optimism towards the potentials of the advertised beer.

1. It is a fine looking beer although little head in an imperial/double ipa I find a bit odd. I expect a little bit. Very translucent maize color with a sunray flitter throughout the liquid. Wheat field on a sunny day color.

2. Smells...flat. The expectation with the beer and style is crisp hop infusing into the nostril and instead is a mixture of household chemicals and lemon and grassy hops. In addition the taste is difficult to come to hence the flat predecessor to this diction. It takes several concerted efforts to obsorbe even these stimulations. At first glance(sniff) it's mostly sterile chemicals.

3. Hop sprayed lemon pledge. Truly. That's what this beer imposter contends to be. Good rivals(though it's not my thing) might be to spray lemon pledge into a
bag and inhale,

4. Disappointment. Lemon infused double ipa!!!! Excitement? I'm in!!!! All for it in concept, alas, the delivery is ...see aforementioned debauchery.

Please dfh return to something of quality or dare I say it...try a good imperial stout, maybe barrel age it? Or....a wild ale? Barrel age that too?

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Photo of Wadsey
2.53/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Hard poured in a New Belgium tulip.

A: Deep gold, clear and effervescent. Head is short-lived, which is not too surprising, given the high abv. Splotchy lacing.

S: Surprisingly malty in nose: caramel, biscuits and crackers. Grapefruit peels and lemons. Some alcohol is evident.

T: In quick succession: sweet malt, grapefruit or orange peel and then lemon peels. A blend of lemon peels, alcohol, and bitterness hold onto the palate for a while. A fairly weedy finish. As I work my way to the bottom of the glass, I keep thinking of lemon dishwashing soap.

M: Medium body with medium carbonation. Smooth and somewhat creamy. Definitely warming.

O: Hellhound On My Ale certainly looks good on paper; after all, lemons should work well with citrus hops, right? The label is also a clever bit of prose, revealing the sort of over-thinking I've come to expect from DFH. The beer itself, unfortunately, does not deliver, and I'm quickly realizing that drinking the rest of the bottle will be a chore.

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Photo of kevinv
2.56/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into a snifter. I picked this bottle up from Rick's Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, VA.

A - Pours a slightly hazy orange/light copper-ish color with about 1 finger of creamy off white head. Decent head retention and some nice sticky lacing. Looks about average.

S - The nose is largely bready malts with a caramel sweetness. I get an insignificant amount of lemon zest. Earthy/musty hops notes. Pretty heavy on the alcohol.

T - The taste seems to be largely a mixture of bready malts and alcohol. There's only a light presence of lemon, similar to the smell. The hops are definitely in the background and don't balance well with the malt. Surprisingly un-bitter. Drying finish.

M - The mouthfeel was about average. Medium body with a moderate carbonation.

O - Overall, this one didn't work for me and was quite a letdown. Definitely a slow sipper.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
2.61/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from bomber into a dimpled mug. Pours hazy amber with a moderate off-white head. The head mostly remains and leaves a moderate amount of lace throughout the session. The nose has moderate citric notes from the Centennial, along with toasty malts, some lemon zest, earth and pepper. The flavor is somewhat flattish bitter with a slight sweet balance. There are pine and grapefruit accents, some toasty malts, and the lemon peels are not well-pronounced like the description suggests which was very disappointing. On the palate, it is medium-full in body with a smooth, milky texture and soft carbonation. This was a very disappointing one-dimensional beer. There are many low priced beers that taste way better than this one for spring/summer drinking. Such a shame as I was really looking forward to this one from DFH. This is a gimmicky beer. Take all this with a grain of salt, however.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.65/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a dark amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of citrus and hops with weird unrefined grainy notes that are not too pleasant. Taste is a weird mix with off-balance notes of citrus and bitter hops with unrefined notes of grain and the actual lemon notes don’t really bring any additional refinement to this beer. Body is quite full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This appears to be another one of Dogfish head experiment where they don’t know where to stop.

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Photo of ummswimmin
2.68/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had this beer in a small, snifter style goblet. The coloring was a coppery/orange color with a slight amount of haze.

On the pour there was minimal head, just a halo. From this there was no lacing.

I get tons of lemon in each drink. This isn't a pleasant lemon.

There was strong alcohol notes, but there was no feet on the glass. There was also no heat from the alcohol.

On top of all that, this was a bitter bomb in my mouth. I picked up bitter from the beginning to the end of each drink.

I really didn't care for this beer, and I am a fan of Dogfish Head. Oh well, you can't hit home runs every time you come to base.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
2.69/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Orange in color with a great 1 inch head and good retention and great circular lacing

Smell: Lemons and more lemons

Taste: Wow that's a punch in the mouth with lemon. Even with a couple months in the cellar this beer is still a lemon bomb. It reminds me of lemon pine sol almost undrinkable. Shared with 3 friends and I dumped my 1/4 out

Mouthfeel: Medium body with high carbonation and dry

Overall: This beer is a god damn mess just like most dogfish head beers.

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Photo of vacax
2.7/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a copper color with a well enough head. Aroma definitely contains citrusy hops, plus the lemon is evident and a good dose of malt. The flavor is immediately sweet then the hop goodness kicks in on the midpalate and it finishes sticky with the lemon twang leaving a bad medicinal note, something like a cough drop. Besides being typically overly malty for Dogfish Head, the bready alcoholic lemon finish just ruins this for me. Mouthfeel is fine in regards to viscosity and carbonation but the bad finish generally drags it down. Overall this is quite a mediocre brew.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
2.71/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle generously shared by obrienmrkt. Thank you Sean.

Pours yellow orange with a nice consistent white crown that lasts a right good amount of time.

Smells of lemon rind and doughy breakfast biscuits. Not nearly as bright as expected.

Egads, this beer is all over the place. Tartness up front leads to lemon across the middle and a bracing almost medicinal bitterness that hammers the tongue and lingers and creeps into the throat. Pungent and sharp in a harsh way, this beer could use some refinement. Not really my bag.

Mouthfeel is full, bitter, and jarring. Like a lemon pine sol shake injected with sweet, sweet steroids.

Overall, a messy, albeit well intentioned, tribute to a master.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.73/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured in a pint glass from a 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger white head with a very long retention. Clear orangeish color with brilliant clarity. Some spotty lacing.

S- Floral hops with sweetness. Warm but very subtle.

T- Hoppy and hides the booze well. Some alcoholic tastes.

M- Very thin mouthfeel. Surprisingly not dry finish.

O- Meh. Not a fan of this DIPA.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.76/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark honey color with a fair sized white head. Delicate white mesh of lace left by glass bottom retention.

Aroma is a lil' acidic pineapple, lil' peach ring, lil' hop spice and even a little biscuit - but not much of anything. Underwhelming.

Aroma is a sign of the disappointment to come. Taste is flaky pastry crust malt and maybe some hops? There may be some lemon zest but I think that's just trying hard. Not as hot as many reviews would have led me to believe.

For a beer that promises hops and lemons it delivers on neither.

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Photo of prg1976
2.78/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber color with a fizzy white head. Not much lacing or retention.

Smell is sweet, citrus, and alcohol.

Taste just like Squall with a hint of lemon. Not much going on, not very hoppy, just a faded out DIPA with lemon. I'm disappointed in this one.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, pretty sweet with the faint lemony background.

Overall, not impressed. When I read about this one, it sounded amazing, but then I get this...blah! Not bad, just not worthy of such hype.

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Photo of Robtobfest
2.81/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I had high hopes for this one.
Appearance was pretty. Has some great head retention wit the aggressive pour. Golden in color.

Smell, what where is the lemon, heavy citrus element that this should have. All I smell is alcohol.

Taste is all booze. I am so dissapointed with this! It reminds me of my dissapointment with Hoptimum. Over the top booze overpowers everything else.

Overall, not only would I not seek this out, but i'd run away from it. The only good thing about this beer is the artwork on the bottle. Heard the original recipe had this coming in much loer in ABV. Should have stuck with that.

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Photo of corby112
2.82/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Draft at The Pour House in Westmont, NJ.

Pours a cloudy and very dark golden orange color with tangerine edges and a one finger off-white head that quickly settles into a thin ring.  Minimal spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy, floral hop aroma with lots of resinous pine countered by sweet citrus and a strong malt backbone.  Grassy and dank notes follows by lemon juice and  citrus peel.  Carmael malt backbone with some toffee and biscuit character.   Malts are too strong for my liking, overpowering the citrus and hop notes.

Medium bodied and fuller than expected with tight carbonation and a dry, earthy hop presence that provides prominent bitterness which lingers over the citrus notes and caramel malt backbone into a dry finish.  Dank, earthy notes followed by lemon juice, citrus peel orange and grapefruit.  Although there is some citrus sweetness, there's  not enough for my taste.  Really dry and bitter and the malts are too strog for me as well.  Lots of caramel sweetness, nut and toffee.  Abv is very well masked but I'm not a big fan of this combination of flavors.  Some peppery spice as well, maybe coriander or clove but this is very one dimensional and boring.

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Photo of Trilogy31
2.84/5  rDev -26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear medium amber brown with two fingers of fluffy eggshell white head leaving thick curtains of lace on the glass. Nose has up front caramel malts, grassy/light floral notes along with some resinous pine - i really cant pick out any citrus here. The taste and mouthfeel is rather flimsy with some noticeable alcohol (though not coming through as heat) along with being astrigent but not overly bitter (not the best description i know). Outside of some sweet malt and earthy forest i really struggle to find much else. Kind of like the chocolate in theobroma i cant find the lemons in hellhound.

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Photo of bmo56
2.86/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The bottle alone drove me to buy the last one at the store I work at, but that not why your here, you're reading this to see if its any good, and in all honesty i think its OK, its definitely not Natty Ice, but then it's not delicious Palo Santo either. Orange in color and with about two fingers of head and good lacing it looks rather good. The smell is definite an ale but with a little dough to it. Mouthful to me felt like an ale smooth with some carbonation, but taste is what i found to the most disappointing part of Hellhound after i swallowed my first sip it was all fine and good, then it tasted like a just drank a shot of citrus vodka and that made me not so much sad , just really disappointed in it. I'm not saying to give it a try just lower your expectations of it.

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Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,868 ratings.
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