Hop Heaven

I’ve just got my hands on something I’ve been looking for, off and on, for a couple of years now: a bottle of Dogfish Head 120 Minute India Pale Ale.

In case you aren’t familiar with this beermaker (and if you enjoy beer you ought to be), Dogfish Head is an edgy little brewery down in Delaware that specializes in unusual and “extreme” beers. They make, among other things, a series of India Pale Ales that increase in strength, and bitterness, according to the duration of the hop-infusion. The most conventional of the lot is their 60-minute version; it is excellent, and at 6% alcohol by volume (ABV), it is strong, but not unusually so. (India Pale Ales were developed as a way of shipping beer from Britain to India without it spoiling during the long, hot trip; the extra hops and alcohol had a preservative effect.)

Next comes the 90-minute version, which is simply outstanding: a bright corona of hops surrounding a rich, malty base, and a warming 9% ABV.

But the king of the hill is the 120, which is brewed only a few times a year, and which I have never been able to track down, until tonight. This is most certainly an “extreme” beer; it costs anywhere from 8 to 10 dollars for a 12-ounce bottle, and its ABV is a (literally) staggering 21%, about the equivalent of a fortified wine such as a port or a strong sherry. (For comparison, Budweiser is about 5% ABV).

I am about to drink this monster. There will be no further posting tonight.

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7 Comments

  1. Cheers!

    Posted December 27, 2008 at 11:51 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    ° hic… °

    thanks!

    Posted December 27, 2008 at 11:55 pm | Permalink
  3. Guess we won’t be hearing from you for a while.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted December 28, 2008 at 12:44 am | Permalink
  4. chris g says

    I am a hoppy beer addict. I had that Dogfish beer in NYC recently. I was impressed. It is really expensive here on the West Coast. There are some good choices for fresh, hoppy beers out here that don’t cost as much as Dogfish.

    Hops are a relative of Cannabis. Supposedly, the British brewers came up with the hoppy IPA beer recipe to survive the long journey around Africa to make it to their troops in INdia. One ship crashed right off shore in England and the fresh, overhopped beer that was destined for India made it into a local pub. The rest is history.

    Posted December 28, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  5. Malcolm says

    Well, that 120 was quite something, I must say. One would think that at that ABV, and with such an absurd amount of hops, it would be quite undrinkable – but it was anything but.

    Rather dangerous, actually; you cound knock back a couple of those before you knew what was going on, which would be the equivalent of eight or so normal beers.

    Posted December 28, 2008 at 10:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Charles says

    Wow. Belated comment here, but as a fellow beer lover and fan of IPAs, I have to say that sounds absolutely amazing. No chance of ever getting it here in Korea, but next time I’m Stateside I am definitely going to have to track down a bottle of Dogfish.

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 4:51 am | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Hi Charles,

    Yes, indeed you should. There’s a shop near me that would ship you some, if it is legal to ship beer to Korea.

    The real winner is the 90-minute; the 120 is really more of a novelty item.

    Happy New Year!

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 3:10 pm | Permalink