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: 1,869
Photo of JackMcAwesome
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm giving this one fours across the board. Let me tell you why...

The bottle is a 750ml with a pretty awesome label. It's THE GREAT Robert Johnson with his guitar bookended with some creepy trees, and behind Mr. Johnson is the hell hound that is on his trail. I'll be keeping this one and putting it on the shelf.

It pours an extremely hazy, gold. It gives a pretty solid one finger head with a moderately aggressive pour. The lacing so far seems paramount.

Smell: My first though was it smelled exactly like Pledge. I felt like I had just cleaned a table or something. That wasn't good, so I dug deeper as the brew warmed up. It could be that I have wood on my mind now, but their is a woody texture to it. So, we have lemon and wood. There's another spice there though, that I can't quite put my finger on just yet. It might be something as simple as pepper.

Taste: Definitely a pepper kick. Like ground black pepper. The lemon is there as well, and it still kind of reminds me of Pledge. As terrible as that might sound, I'm taking it as something unique, and although a DIPA, I'm really liking how it isn't a typical DIPA combo. There's also a dry grass flavor to it, and this is all balanced pretty well with a sweet malt finish. Which again, with the lemon/alcohol start, makes for a pretty unique finish, at least to me.

Feel: The alcohol is present, in the sense of it's warmth and effects. Hidden nicely though. It's fairly carbonated, making this fairly light feeling. Very nice drink for a warm evening.

Overall: Although not perfect by a long shot, this was just awesome to drink. The 10% got the buzz going, it had enough of a hop kick to give it an awesome bitter level, the lemon was a very unique addition making this a very specific beer. I'm currently listening to the absolutely perfect Robert Johnson as I review this, and it's making the whole experience surreal. Listen to Robert Johnson. Drink this beer. And let it all envelop you. Nothing has compared to it so far. If it didn't trigger the Pledge connotations, this would have been straight across fives from me. I'm not sure what they could do to fix that, but with everything else being perfect, I'll take it. I want more!

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours like unpasteurized cider, nice and cloudy with a solid, long lasting, off-white/light tan head. Nice lace.
Smell is piney with a light herbal hop behind, some malt, faint spice note. Good balance.
Taste is solid DIPA, herbal/pine hops, malt, light citrus, light spice. Very nice, well balanced.
Medium plus bodied, light effervescence. Warming, faint amount of drying at the end. A solid, delicious. I want more.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - pours a turbid yellow-orange. Lots of bead action, and lots of manila colored, sticky foam.

Aroma - caramel, biscuity malt, dark citrusy fruit, and after a few seconds, sweet lemon. Nice combo of aromas and while it fades a bit after setup, it's all still there.

Taste - pithy orange and grapefruit counter a chewy malty base. Sweet, heavy-handed grain offset by two-year old hops which obviousky no longer come across with the 100 IBU punch they packed in 2011. No matter, the hops are delicious, the lemon provides a nice extra layer on the aftertaste. The finish goes to a dry, lemon peel and hop bitterness end.

Mouthfeel - full-bodied, fluffy with considerable heaviness in both weight and oiliness.

Overall - a fine tribute beer to RJ. If I had another, I'd be sure to share with my buds, but this is Bogartski night.

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Photo of Matthew_Taylor
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A specialty ale from Dogfish Head, a brewery that I expect near-perfection from.

Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale (a long, long name) pours a cloudy, rich amber. The beer has little to no transparency. The head when poured is a cloudy white, foamy, and measures about a quarter inch.

Smell is a bit hoppy, with hints of sweetness and lemon rind. The nose dissipates quickly, having little effect on the taste.

Taste is lacking here, with a hoppy flavor that borders on overboard, and very little effect from the lemon. Mouthfeel is consistent with other Dogfish entries, but is affected by the lacking taste. A good sample, but not the excellence I've come to expect from Dogfish.

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Photo of prdrums77
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is the first beer for which I have managed to write a review. I poured it from a 1-pint and 9.4 fl. oz. bottle into an English Pub glass and put on some of the obviously apropos Robert Johnson.

A: The brew had a bigger head than I was expecting, and it retained at a nice level after it slowly settled. There was a thin 1-inch piece of debris, which I presume came out of the bottle and floated up with the head. I was unable to identify it, but it looked like a blade of grass or something of that sort.

S: I got a nice and strong lemon/hop smell as soon as I opened the bottle. As I poured, the scent diversified to a combination of citrus and herbal notes. The scent is typical for a DIPA, but has is a bit more interesting because of the sweeter, fruitier aroma.

T: It has a strong grapefruit/lemon zest flavor up front and an intense hop presence throughout. The flavor is indicative of the liberal hopping described on the bottle. There is a little bit of heat from the alcohol at the end, but it is surprisingly subtle.

M: It feels a bit thicker than the average DIPA, but it is pleasant, and I do not have any complaints w/r/t mouthfeel.

O: I liked this brew a lot. The flavor was complex, the pour was very attractive, and it was a unique foray into the style. It fit nicely into what I have come to expect from a Dogfish Head IPA.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.47/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a year+-old bomber a deep amber with some sediment.

Nose is ripe with citrus hops. Maybe a touch of lemon, but it's subtle.

Taste is nicely bitter and hoppy, with a tinge of detectable sour lemon. Not bad, but definitely underwhelming for the 10% ABV (not too obvious) and relatively high price for this bottle (around $15). Wouldn't revisit again, unless I knew it was quite fresh.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hazy tawny golden yellow, light brownish in color. Good head on the pour and moderate head retention. Effervescent carbonation. Aroma is grapefruit hop, apricots, and a definite lemon presence. Very smooth mouthfeel. I would never guess that this was 10%. The grapefruit flavored hops are on the front of the palate. There's just a hint of lemon in the flavor but it doesn't arrive until the aftertaste.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into my Duvel Tulip, two to three fingers white head.

Smell is a hoppy citrus, very floral.

Taste is deceivingly smooth. Pretty bitter, not much citrus zest to speak of. Lots of hop presence.

Bit of a chalky after taste. Big, big mouthfeel.

Interesting, but not worth the price.

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Photo of Ankur
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this beer at discounted price at local store ($9 ish). Pours neat and with almost no head. Very subtle lemon on nose, but definitely you can taste lemon. Well balanced on overall mouthfeel. Hops and alcohol in the aftertaste.

Definitely worth trying once.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a creamy, thick off-white head. The head retention is fantastic, and as the head settles, an enormous amount of creamy off-white lace is present on the sides of the glass.

S: Aromas of caramel, cream, and brown sugar are most noticeable on the first sniff, with traces of white pepper, lemon, and alcohol in the background. As the beer settles a bit, aromas of lemon, bitter orange, pine, spruce, juniper berry, and grapefruit become more noticeable.

T: Notes of lemon, bitter orange, kumquat, pine, spruce, juniper berry, peppermint, grapefruit, white pepper, heavy cream, caramel, brown sugar, and biscuit assault the palate. The finish is prickly, resinous, and laden with hoppy flavors of lemon, grapefruit, juniper berry, and pine, with just a hint of malty caramel and biscuit flavors to balance things out before peppery, prickly alcohol takes hold.

M: Medium-to-full in body, but leaning considerably closer to the latter than to the former. This ale is decidedly off-dry and sticky. Carbonation is firm. Alcohol presence is relatively restrained for the style, but does become more intense on the finish. Still, it is neither harsh nor unpleasant. I would dare say this is one of the more drinkable DIPAs I've had in the past year.

O: Even though Dogfish Head has produced plenty of IPAs and DIPAs, I'm really liking this one. I'm not quite sure it's on the level of Burton Baton, Squall, 90 Minute, or 120 Minute, but it is a very solid, likable example of the style. With this ale, the chances are that if you enjoy Dogfish Head's other DIPAs, then you will also like this one.

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Photo of atr2605
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-pours a yellow copper color with a slightly tan head with good retention
S-lots of lemon and citrus, bit of a rubbing alcohol smell when first poured
T-more lemon with some pine and resin followed by malt and a bit of roasted flavor in the finish
M-medium bodied
O-I didn't really care for this beer, but I still thought it was very well crafted

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a lightly hazed golden-orange colored brew with a one finger white head. The head persists fairly well fading over time to leave a good level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is very citrusy with lots of grapefruit and orange peel. Along with these more bitter citrus smells are notes of some light caramel sweetness as well as hints of bready malts, some candied like sugar aromas, as well as a little bit of an herbal hop smell.

Taste – The taste begins slightly sweeter with caramel and a sugared orange peel taste. While it starts sweeter there is certainly a presence of some nice grapefruit and herbal hop flavors upfront. As the taste advances the sugar dries some while some malt flavors of biscuit and a bit of a bready taste come to the tongue. All the while the bitter hoppiness of the brew gets stronger with an alcohol taste working its way onto the tongue. More grapefruit and lemon hop with a nice dose of an herbal hop taste mix with the malt and caramel to in the end leave a moderately citrus, bitter, but somewhat smoother taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the brew was on the medium to slightly lower side in terms of thickness for a brew of 10 % abv with a carbonation level that was just above normal. The two characteristics of the brew gave it a more crisp feel and helped make very drinkable.

Overall – A smoother and rather easy drinking hopped brew with nice transitions between a sweetness upfront to a nice citrus hop base mixed with a little bit of boozy flavors and a decent malt backbone in the end. Quite tasty and rather easy drinking even at 10 % abv.

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Photo of WesWes
4.16/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy amber color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet pale and crystal malt scent along with a light bready character. The hop aroma is well pronounced and provides piney hop presence. The lemon zest is faint at best, but does add some extra complexity. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth, malty flavor that's sweet up front and finishes warm and bread-like. It's hoppy, but more balanced than anything else. The lemon flavor shows up in the finish and plays well off the hops. The mouthfeel is fine. It's a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This a terrific beer and an excellent tribute to Robert Johnson. I'm not sure he would like it, but I do.

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Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

deep hazy brass, with some slight sediment. thin head, strong active carbonation that stays the distance. smell is a shotgun blast of pure, dry centennial hops. taste, again, magnificent centennial hops, with a lemon rind shot in the arm. bitter rind oil aftertaste. this beer always makes me imagine a marriage of founders centennial ipa and a basket of lemons. also, the bottle art is awesome. love it.

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Photo of crudalerealtygro
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours a hazy golden color bordering on light amber, with a 2 finger white head, steady lacing and a good amount of visible carbonation

S-Lemon is detectable as well as a slight grapefruit and possibly mango? Also a bready/ malty scent

T- The alcohol is noted both in front and in back. Again, maltiness comes through more than you'd expect. Grapefruit plays out over any lemon in my opinion. The bitterness and high alcohol content is noted more than anything, to its detriment

M-Carbonation abounds. Dry, slightly bitter and heavy on the alcohol

O- A bit dissapointing based on Dogfishhead's description. A quality pour but not something I would actively seek out.

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Photo of mikem0487
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into DFH ale glass

A- Was poured pretty roughly into the glass giving it a huge dense three finger off white head. Leaves nice lacing as it slowly recedes back to the beer. The body is burnt orange with a nice haziness to it.

S-Citrus forward beer for sure. You pick up the lemon but definitely get mango and grapefruit as the overall nose character. Cane sugar is in there as well. Malts are minimal masked by the huge citrus aroma.

T-Malty up front with the rest of the palate being dosed with the hops. Has a nice balance throughout but finishes heavily bitter with the alcohol lingering in the aftertaste. Grapefruit and lemon are the main characters. The malt bill does a nice job to counteract the hops and definitely get those cara malts adding a whole grain bread crust taste.

M-A chewy medium bodied brew. Low on the carbonation which might be good for this beer with such a high IBU.

O-Very enjoyable beer overall. The alcohol comes in at the finish which does not leave the most pleasant aftertaste. Other than that a great beer that I am happy I tried and will pick up again.

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Photo of JaredM
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Orange/tangerine look and hazy. Very little carbonation and a bit less of a finger of off white/eggshell head. Great look.

S: Citrus & orange peel forward and getting a bit of the lemon in there too that Dogfish emphasized. Hoppy but not overly hoppy on the smell. Picking up some sweetness from the malts. As it warms up the lemons are becoming more pronounced. Lemon peel.

T: Wow not what I was expecting at all. The hops take a back seat to the malts in this case. This does not taste like it smells at all. I can taste (and feel) all 10.0% of this beer and for me it detracts from the beer. Very malty and lacking in hops. Some bitterness at the end.

M: Medium bodied, good mouthfeel.

O: As a guitar player I was excited for this beer but was disappointed. From their description, the look, and the smell it was presented as a West Coast IPA. I was expecting way more presence from the hops especially considering its 100 IBUs. The 10.0% alcohol on this is real noticeable but maybe they wanted it this way ("Hellhound" theme?). I applaud DF for their experimentation but I'm not sure that this came out as well as some of us would have hoped.

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Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a rocky head two fingers tall; splotchy lacing leaves a hellhound of a trail for my ale

Smell: The Centennial hops provide great aromatics here, with a lemon twist; citrus hop dominant, with lemon pith, though there is quite a bit of sugary malt underneath

Taste: Despite the very appealing aromatics, the malts jut forward in the taste profile, bringing a sugary base that is followed by the hoppy bitterness in the mid-palate; the hops are lemony and minty with the lemons adding an extra boost to the bitterness; after the swallow, the 100 IBUs linger though the sweetness does compete

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: I wish there weren't quite so much malt flavor in this and, in addition, a blend of hops might have been a better idea than 100% Centennial; still, this is a decent enough DIPA and I am enjoying the Robert Johnson tunes that I am listening to while I am contemplating the brew

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Photo of SlothB77
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25.4 oz bomber into glass

A: Light copper, orange. Two fingers of cumulonimbus clouds. Soapy.

S: Lemony, orange and sour. Candied fruit.

T: Lemon and orange, sour. Candied fruit and honey. Thick and syrupy. Very pleasant bitter, hoppy finish.

M: Medium-heavy bodied, medium carbonation, medium-high acidity.

O: A very drinkable sour.

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Photo of Jimmys
2.94/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

750mL bottle into tulip. bottled Jan. 2011. kept in cellaring conditions past 2 years. *disclaimer, I bought two of these bottles when Hellhound first came out. I found it too hot and messy fresh, hence me putting one away.

A: hazed. a bright orange/bronze hue. head is slightly off-white and bubbly. retention is good with a thick lace left behind.

S: unfortunately the aroma is a bit oxidized. a minor bit of alcohol heat. sweet. biscuits and a minor caramel.

T: while this brew has mellowed a bit, it is still moderately big. oxidation is there. caramel and a slight lemon tartness. sweet more than bitter at this point. lingering malt flavor.

M: moderate, border lining smooth, carb, medium body in my opinion.

D: and the verdict is...neither. fresh is a bit too raw, aged is a bit to beat up. this brewery makes much better hoppy brews. pass.

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Photo of cvm4
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a light amber with a golden hue and has a two finger eggshell head.

S - Sweet orange juice with a lemon drop kick. Light malts, hops & breadiness on the back side.

T - Really nondescript at first with just light malts & honey but that develops into a good amount of hop bite with lemon & bitterness in the end.

M - Medium high carbonation, not a heavy body or cloying. Body is almost too light for the style & abv.

O - Well done overall and not overly malted like how I find most DFH beers.

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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 NiceTaps
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into my Alchemist IPA glass.

A- Slightly hazy copper--orange color with a flufy off-white head. Thare are plenty of bubbles and nice rings of lace.

S- A malty-sweet booze blast with a lemony herbal kick.

T- Citrus hops, boozey malt, lemony.

M- Lots of body, thick and chewy. Booze, hops, lemony citrus finish.

O- How can I go wrong with a brew that honors The great Robert Johnson ( not to mention Blind Lemon Jefferson)? Well, except for the signature DFH booziness, I can't !!! I would not sell my soul for this, but I'd recommend it.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a tulip
A: Pours a deep orange color with a solid two-finger head that slowly settles and a fair amount of carbonation
S: Very citrusy, a combination of lemon, orange and grapefruit. Herbal under the citrus, and bready under the herbs. Layered.
T: Herbal, with some citrus tones and bread again. Balanced, decent but not impressing me
M: Medium-bodied, crisp, balanced
O: Not over-the-top in any way, just a bold, balanced beer. Given the label I expected a bit more citrus which really only showed itself in a big way on the nose. Solid overall but nothing groundbreaking

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium orange with a certain visceral thickness that shows a swirl of bubbles. Nice off white head, some lacing.

Nice herbal hop aroma, with some toasted malt.

Bitter and hoppy up front, with more bitter than actual hop. Green-leaf bitterness, brown bread crust, some citric notes, a little acid, some alcohol, though it is well hidden. Finishes bitter and a bit malty.

Medium bodied. Some chew to it.

Aggressive beer with a good transitional range of flavors. Big bottle at 10% will take its toll on you. Glad I tried it; wish I shared it.

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Robert Johnson's Hellhound On My Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,869 ratings.
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