Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA 2013 review

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA#IPADay comes but once a year and the only IPA I had in my fridge that day (August 1st) was a 6-month old bottle of Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA. This is an India Pale Ale that was created from a blending of Dogfish Head's 90 Minute IPA and their 60 Minute IPA, then bottle conditioned with maple syrup added and then dry hopped with Cascade hops. While this bottle may be close to its expiration date I decided I could wait no longer to open this one and toast to the style on this designated day for hoppy beers.

This particular beer was bottled on January 25, 2013 according to the marking on the bottle. Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA is rated at 7.5% ABV and most likely around 90 IBUs. For you calorie counters, a glass of this will set you back about 225 calories. Bottles this big frequently come with a cork and cage, but this one was simply capped with their trademark pinkish Dogfish Head icon.

Apparently they brew this beer only once a year as they list this as an "occasional rarity". I was worried that this beer might have lost some of it's freshness. IPA's tend to be best when fresh and not 6 months after the fact. Still, I was wanting to see why others had ranked this beer as one of the best in the world.

Appearance: Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA opened with just the slightest of a hiss and it made me wonder if this beer had lost most of its carbonation. There was a bit of yeast sediment resting at the bottom of the bottle, so I at least knew it had bottle conditioned for a bit. The beer poured out a medium golden, copper color with a big billowy off-white head. There seemed to be enough carbonation after-all. The beer had a semi-sticky lacing along the side of the glass. The coldness of the beer left just a hint of a haze in the beer. The first pouring out of this bottle did not drop any sediment into the glass.

Aroma: Based on what I read from the label, I was expecting a sweeter than usual aroma due to the maple syrup as well as a big hit of hops. This beer was "aggressively" dry hopped before bottling, however, due to an additional 7 months in the bottle I expected the hop nose to be subdued quite a bit. What the aroma turned out to be was a bit different. I did get quite a bit of citrus and pine in the nose, but I could not for the life of me pick up any maple syrup in the aroma. This may be due to having most all of the sugars fermented out in the bottle conditioning. Even the hops seemed to have faded due to time.

75 Minute IPA close-upTaste: Admittedly, my first impressions of this beer was that this beer had lost some of its crispness and freshness from being in the bottle a bit too long. What I wanted was a lot of hop bitterness offset by sweet malts and maple. What I got was a bitter brew that didn't have much sweetness at all and with a hop sense that seemed scaled back a bit. Time, it seems, must have toned down this beer. At least that's what I sensed initially during the first half glass.

I'm not one who likes to judge a beer from just a half a glass, rather I withhold judgment until I've had a full serving and sometimes more in the case of a bomber bottle. 75 Minute IPA had a smooth mouthfeel and a medium body, slightly creamy. There was some citrus in the taste, and a bit of bitterness, although not extreme or over-the-top like some IPAs. This is a toned down IPA, not as bold as some. There was a bit of lemon or grapefruit there too and a hint of caramel. The sweetness in this brew, primarily from the malts was hidden and only comes out later in the session as the beer starts to warm a bit. Still, the maple syrup was hidden almost entirely. This brew went down easy for an IPA. It mellows out as the session proceeded. This is not an overpowering IPA and won't ruin your palette. Also, the alcohol took a back seat here and didn't give off much heat.

Overall: I strongly believe the best time to have sampled this beer would have been shortly after its release and not 7 months after the fact. The Cascade hops had been toned down tremendously and the crispness had fallen off noticeably. What a shame. I normally am really impressed with a Dogfish Head beer. So, I won't blame the brewer for that. Rather, it's my fault for not buying this beer fresh. Still, I enjoyed drinking the entire big bottle myself with no difficulty. The various beer ranking site gave this beer top marks, stating this was one of the best beers around. That may well be when it was fresh, but 7 months after bottling this had become just another above average IPA. It was decent, but wasn't outstanding. I'll have to revisit this beer next year in late January or early February when the 2014 batch is released. Lesson learned - drink IPA's as fresh as you can for the best experience!

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store.

Related articles:
- Dogfish Head World Wide Stout review. (2009)
- Dogfish Head Festina Pêche review. (2009)
- Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA review. (2008)

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