I didn't want to post this in the homebrew forum, because I'm not researching information for the purpose of applying it to making these kinds of beer myself. Although, I suppose homebrewers themselves might be able to pass on the best quality of opinion. There's a quality in certain DIPAs (and IPAs, alike) that I think we all revere. I'll speak only for myself to say that the Imperial IPAs that I've enjoyed and rated highest all have this rich, oily hop flavor; but, with moderate to almost mild bitterness levels (relative to style). Everyone has their preference as to which hops might be used, and I think we can all agree that freshness and quality are key; but it's the intensity of the flavor, sans the crippling bitterness, that creates that perfect balance. How is this achieved? Is it just an art of balance? Pliny has it. Enjoy By has it. Heady Topper is the top example in the style for this very reason. But, I've had others that nail it down. A local beer (for me), Helltown Idle Hands IPA, is a great example of what I'm talking about (for any of you Western PA BAs out there). More come to mind; Three Floyds Dreadnaught, Drake's Hopocalypse, and Lagunitas Sucks is almost there. For Lagunitas, I'd say their DayTime IPA best characterizes this. What I don't entirely understand is the concept of bittering hops vs. aromatic hops in the flavor sense. Now, there are other DIPAs that I enjoy that have a more pronounced bitterness to them. Hopslam, for one, and it's still a great beer. Double Crooked Tree, Gandhi-Bot, Lake Erie Monster, Hoptimum, etc. Where does this extra bitterness come from? How does the hop schedule of producing, say Palate Wrecker, differ from the hop schedule of Pliny or Heady (obviously, secrets of the head brewer)? It can't just be the freshness of the hops, as even some young bottles of a quality Harvest IPA, such as the one brewed by Founders, still has a nice zap of hop bitterness that slightly exceeds the overall balance. Are these gooey, fruity hops that we taste in a fresh can of Heady of the bittering variety or the aromatic variety? How do aromatic hops translate in the flavor of a beer? Is it the ratio of aromatic vs. bittering during the boil? Does dry-hopping or hop-backing come into play? Question to the homebrewers out there, what produces the best result for you? Sorry for the long thread, but I'm just really curious to learn about the artful craft of some of these beers. Opine below, please. And, if you know the intense flavor/low bitterness balance that I speak of, list other examples of IPAs that fit this description. Thanks for reading, and cheers!