A little back story: I purchased one 12-oz bottle of this elixir, known far and wide for being a) hard to find, b) highly alcoholic, and c) rated "world class" by the brothers behind Beer Advocate, many months ago at a bodega in Park Slope when I was still living there. One single bottle cost $9.99, a fee so exorbitant that the bodega purveyor did a double take when he rung it up. When I brought this bottle home, I decided immediately I would save it for a finish line treat upon the conclusion of the Rehoboth Beach Marathon, which was run in the very state where this beer was born. Given the high alcohol content and the fact that I'm a bad driver to begin with, "finish line" became "back in New York," as soon as it became clear that I'd be driving to and from Delaware for race weekend. But since I was in the area, I did make a pit stop at the Dogfish Head Brewery, clad in my post-marathon finest.
|I look like Golfer Barbie|
It was a sort of cold and dreary day, but the area outside the brewery seemed pretty cool, with shuffleboard courts and this weird human-sized birdhouse thing...
I called ahead and unfortunately all the tours for the day were completely booked (I tried to pull a "don't you know who I am?" but shockingly, they did not...). Still, I went into the brewery store and selected a couple of beers and a pint glass to bring home for the highly anticipated tasting ahead of me.
Fast forward many cramped hours behind the wheel and one stop on the Jersey Turnpike for Nathan's Hot Dog Nuggets (judge all you want, those things are amazing), and I was back in my apartment and ready to get down to business.
I poured a pint glass and prepared myself to be amazed. And I was, but not for the reasons I was hoping.
The above image cuts off my notes, but they read, in their entirety:
"I was eagerly anticipating a big, bitter hop. This tastes like a Christmas tree went into a cotton candy maker. And then was steeped in a bottle of rum."
Truly, I thought this was awful. Cloyingly sweet, way too piney, totally overrated. True story: I didn't even finish it. The awkward combination of super-sweet malt and piney hops notwithstanding, this was undrinkable for how alcoholic it tasted. If I wanted to drink liquor, I'd drink liquor. The taste and potency of this was on par with something you'd mix in an empty Poland Spring bottle from every bottle in your parents' liquor cabinet and drink in a bathroom stall at a high school basketball game. You know what I'm talking about, don't pretend you don't. It tastes much more like a barley wine (which I hate) than a double IPA.
At first I thought perhaps the fact that I was drinking a months-old bottle may have had something to do with it, but Dogfish Head even recommends aging it before drinking, and it was kept refrigerated from the day it was purchased to the day I drank it. Incidently, I also came down with food poisoning the night I drank it. Coincidence?! Probably, but I'm still never drinking this beer again.
In conclusion, Dogfish Head makes several delicious beers, and the 120 Minute IPA is not one of them. My perennial favorite is the 60 Minute IPA. But even if you're looking for an American Double IPA, go for their Burton Baton, which packs a wallop at 10% ABV and is actually worth drinking.