Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Flying Dog Brewery Double Dog Pale Ale

Good evening all. Tonight's beer is Double Dog Pale Ale, an American Strong Ale from Flying Dog Brewery (Maryland, USA). Flying Dog Brewery has been featured on this blog before, and was probably one of the first "craft" breweries that I got into, so I always look forward to their offerings to some extent. I'm also a big fan of the American Strong Ale beer style, and whilst its not strictly a true style but more of a blanket term used to categorise the uncategorisable, the offerings within it are so similar to Barleywines and even DIPAs that I'll always be a supporter. Review after the pic....

Double Dog (11.5% ABV) pours an amber colour with a centimetre of white head that dissipates to a patchy covering over the surface of the beer. The aroma is fairly standard for this beer style, with plenty of  caramelised sweetness from the malt, some resinous hop character, a real awareness of the alcohol and a herbal quality in the background that I can't quite find the words to describe. The hops and the malty sweetness are the most instantly detectable, combining to create a piney/sickly sweet aroma that almost completely covers up the alcohol. The boozy character starts to permeate through this after the initial burst has subsided, accompanied by the oily vegetative/herbal background aroma. Tasting the beer delivers a lot more of the alcohol and the hop-derived bitterness, with the malty sweetness taking a backseat. Some resinous/piney hop character is also present, but the alcohol- almost reminiscent of acetone- bombards the palette both during drinking and in the finish. Definitely a sipper, the alcohol hit me like a sledgehammer based on my reviewing drinking pace! Unfortunately, without either the hops imparting more than just bitterness, or the malty sweetness acting as a counter to the alcoholic burn, the beer can come across as unbalanced and one-dimensional. The mouthfeel is quite thick and the beer is well carbonated, which fortunately does compliment the amplified flavours on display. Overall, this is quite an unusual beer in that the aromas are more balanced than the flavours, making the overall experience rather one sided. If the taste built upon the perceived aromas it would be a much better beer, but as it stands it's a bit too harsh for my liking and so I wouldn't get it again. Offerings like Stone's "Double Bastard" or "Arrogant Bastard Ale" are much better examples of the style. 

Until next time....

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