Beer Review: Founders Double Trouble & Doom

I’m coupling these two reviews into one post because Doom is just Double Trouble… after spending 4 months in bourbon barrels. Double Trouble is Founders standard double IPA that is released in mass during May and June while Doom is only available now… if you can still find it. I was lucky enough to score a bottle before everywhere in town sold out thanks to the assistance of my sister-in-law. Sadly I don’t think you’ll be able to find anymore Doom around town but you can look this up again next year and find Double Trouble wherever better brews whenever the weather is cold.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Double Trouble
Style: Double IPA
ABV: 9.4%
IBU: 86
Calories: ~280

Absolutely beautiful rich golden color with a snow white head topping.

Pungent aromas packing citrus into every nose hair.

Woah, super bitter kick in the palate. After that initial wave of bitterness comes grapefruit hops and a slight malty body that doesn’t come close to balancing things out.

Medium body with loads of carbonation, a slight bit of alcohol, and a lingering slickness.

This definitely lives up to the name Double Trouble and the style double IPA. With all the IPAs, and various sub-categories of IPA, out there this doesn’t come close to being one of my favorites. But it is an enjoyable brew, just not one I’d be in any kind of rush to have again. If you go crazy for citrus hop bitterness then you’ll go crazy for this. Love the label on this brew but it kinda blows that there’s no back story to it on the bottle. It just has the name, style, IBU, and ABV, oh and of course the gov’t warning.

Brewery: Founders
Beer: Doom
Style: Barrel Aged Double IPA
ABV: 10%
Calories: ~400

Comes out a slightly deeper golden hue then Double Trouble did with a LOT more of that same fizzy pure-white head.

Very slight bitter aroma mixes with bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and some citrus hops.

Surprisingly hoppy taste, I expected the citrus and bitterness to be much more subdued after 4 months in a barrel. All that mixes delicately with sweet caramel and vanilla backed by a solid amount of bourbon. Resulting in a very balanced flavor.

Medium body and mild carbonation come together for a mediocre mouth feel experience.

I have a feeling that many people will find this to be a great beer I, however, do not. It’s a good beer, and an interesting beer, but we don’t need to bourbon barrel age EVERYTHING just as we don’t need to hop the crap out of everything. Also $15 for a 750 ml is $5 more then I’m really interesting in paying for something less then spectacular. Call me cheap if you want but the value is rarely there at that price. All that said I’d still encourage folks to try this once, just get a bottle to split with 2 or 3 friends next year or this year if you get lucky!

Edit: Turns out I misunderstood the rarity of Doom. As part of Founder’s Backstage Series we may never see this beer again. Sorry if I got people excited. I know O’Bryan’s in Loveland had some as of Saturday (4/27) and folks are trading them online, so if you’re really interested don’t give up hope!

Beer Review: Upland Double Dragonfly

Upland is a small regional brewery hailing from just over in Bloomington, Indiana. Upland came to the Cincinnati area last fall, without too huge of a splash on the scene. I’d had their brews before on trips to Indianapolis, they have a small tap room north of downtown, but never got around to having more since. One reason is that I enjoyed their Dragonfly IPA and pined after their Double Dragonfly double IPA, but was never able to find it… until now:

Continue reading “Beer Review: Upland Double Dragonfly”

Beer Review: Columbus Brewing Company Bodhi

Looking for a great, highly rated, draft only, IPA that you can only get in one city? Skip the plane ticket to Cali or Vermont and drive on up to Columbus instead! When I say this is highly rated I mean a 98 on both Rate Beer and Beer Advocate plus on Beer Advocate’s list of top Double IPAs this comes in at #20 making it the “best” DIPA in Ohio!

The Columbus Brewing Company has been making their double IPA, Bodhi, for a few years now and have kept it on draft only and rarely distribute those kegs outside of the Columbus area. Luckily it’s relatively easy to score in Columbus and quite a few places offer growler fills of it. My wonderful wife had a work conference in Columbus this weekend and was kind enough to pick up a growler of this for me!

Bodhi (pronounced bow-dee) is a sanskrit word from Buddhism which is roughly translated as enlightenment or awakening. Lets see if it’s hops awaken by taste buds to the same level of love that others give this beer.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Columbus Brewing Company Bodhi”

Beer Review: Bell’s Hopslam

The Midwest is not historically known for it’s IPAs but that is changing quickly. The west coast has been knocking out bitter IPAs for more than a decade, recently Heady Topper has started to put the (north) east coast on the map. As for the midwest we’ve got a few serious contenders leading the way in Fat Head’s Head Hunter and Bell’s Hopslam among others. I prefer the Hopslam because it’s much more flavorful to Fat Head’s bitterness. Hopslam is a seasonal release with a somewhat small foot print, luckily Ohio and northern Kentucky are well within that footprint!

Here’s what Bell’s has to say about it

Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style.

Continue reading “Beer Review: Bell’s Hopslam”

Cincinnati’s own Triple Digit and Blank Slate team up on Determination Double Belgian IPA

Per their press release (they say it better than I would):

Triple Digit Brewing Company will be releasing its third boutique, high gravity beer,
DETERMINATION, a collaboration with Blank Slate Brewing Company. This Belgian Golden
Strong Ale is infused with an enormous amount of American and New Zealand Hops that give this
unique beer it’s citrusy and white wine character. Determination Showcases the combination of the
phenolics of a Belgian and the hop profile of a IPA.

Determination will be available in 22 oz bottles and draft throughout the Greater Cincinnati and
Northern Kentucky area. The official draft release will by on Monday, September 24 at the Hyde Park
Cock and Bull located at 2645 Erie Ave, with more draft release and bottle sales soon to follow.

Appearance – Golden Hue
Hops – Chinook, Centennial, Magnum, Citra, Nelson Sauvin
Malt – Pils, 2-Row, Wheat
Yeast – Belgian Ale
O.G. – 24.1 Plato (1.100 gravity)
IBU- 50
ABV- 9%

In addition to the official draft release, both Triple Digit and Blank Slate (and their respective brewers) will be at Marty’s Hops and Vines for a tap takeover and to shoot the breeze.

Beer Review: Stone Ruination IPA

Brewery: Stone
Beer: Ruination IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
Alcohol by Volume: 7.7%

Pours a great color that I want to call sunset brown. Those yellow/golden/orange hues of sunset mixed with with a light brown color. Topped off with loads of tiny bubbles that forms like Voltron into an ample head.

That’s a hell of a smell. Very intense hop armoas getting up in your face with lots of pine, citrus, and some alcohol.

The taste isn’t as “ruinous” as described, again according to the Stone book the blurb on the bottle was written at a time when it was one of the more bitter beers on the planet, now though it doesn’t seem nearly as extreme. Don’t get me wrong it’s very aggressive and up front with lots of bitterness and bite. But it’s also balanced out (very slightly) by some bread malts. Oh and all those bitter hops come with more citrus flavor. Not to be forgotten there is significant alcohol warmth which I find quite pleasant.

Mouth feel packs a medium body and mild carbonation, not too much to write about here.

And now I begin to see the reason for the name Ruination, my palate feels trashed from this long and intense after taste. This is definitely something to end a night on because ANYTHING else will taste off. Per Stone’s book (review pending by the way) this beer was the first bottled (not first overall) Double IPA. I’m not sure how verifiable that is but it seems likely as it came out in 2002 and wither it’s first or second it’s still pretty cool to have an early beer from a now relatively common style. All that said I don’t really think this is an amazing beer and I’m in no rush to drink it again. I can see it as a nice reality check for what extreme beers can be or maybe as a nice shock to the system after drinking a string of lagers.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This beer was sent to me for free by Stone. To our readers, and any breweries interested in sending me stuff, giving me free beer impacts the review in only 1 way. That way is that I WILL review the beer and I WILL write a blog post about it. Giving me free beer does not guarantee you a favorable review or that I will tell everyone to go buy it or anything like that.

Beer Review: Pliny The Elder

One of the legendary beers of our times, Pliny The (Mother Fucking) Elder. Let’s start with this…

Ratebeer: 100
Beer Advocate: 100 from The Brothers and average of 100 from 2,673 readers
Untappd: 4.62% from 7,360 ratings
2004 Great American Beer Festival – Bronze Medal Double IPA – Pliny the Elder
2005 Great American Beer Festival – Gold Medal Double IPA – Pliny the Elder
2006 World Beer Cup – Gold Medal Double IPA – Pliny the Elder
2006 Great American Beer Festival – Gold Medal Double IPA – Pliny the Elder
Zymurgy #1 American beer of 2012

Next up for our Ohio friends you can’t buy this here. Might be able to get some in PA, or travel to CA, or make a trade like I did. So lets find out what I think…

Brewery: Russian River
Beer: Pliny The Elder
Stlye: Double/Imperial IPA
Alcohol By Volume: 8%

Great Golden orange copper color that reminds me of a beautiful sunset. The head comes up a nice bubbly white.

Smells aggressively hoppy, with some hints of pine and raisins. I’m also getting an earthy whiff like fresh cut grass and a small hint of the 8% alcohol. Very enjoyable smell creating lots of anticipation!

This is one of the most complex hop profiles I’ve had, not intense just complex. The taste is actually very very smooth. But it’s not all hops, there are some bready malts, either pear or something like it.

Uhm, starting to feel that 8% a bit.

It’s a creamy medium bodied mouth feel, with… not carbonation, but crispness.

Overall it’s a good beer, a damn good beer. “Best beer in America” I dunno about that, there is a lot of beer out there. Without a doubt this is one of the better beers that I’ve had. I’m trying to work away from my #/5 rating system, if you want that you can go to ratebeer or beer advocate, but if I was to give it a # I might have to rethink my system. Giving this a 5 feels like a disservice, but maximums have to exist for a reason I guess…

Bottom line here is try it if you can. Just so you know what’s out there and what so many people think is so amazing. Also, that 8% seems low to me after finishing the pint I feel like it’s closer to around 9 or 10%. As a small aside I gave the wife a sip and she made a “meh” face with a shoulder shurg. She’s a cider drinker not a fan of beer at all, but she couldn’t pass on trying “the best beer in America.”

I want more…