Beer, Cider, & Sake

Imperial Pale Ale Blind Tasting Championships

TombstoneShadow | Oct 19, 201411:21 AM     8

I have a long-running tasting series on "everyday" pale ales, beers of lower to medium ABV that are more suitable for "everyday drinking" but not as ambitious as the imperials and double-imperials:

Back to the more grandiose brews, earlier this year I conducted a blind tasting event of several higher-ABV IPAs: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/966401

Odell Myrcennary was the winner of that tasting.

Now that the cooler weather is coming it's time to conduct some new tastings in this high-ABV "Imperial" Pale Ale category.

First up are the following brews:


These were tasted single-blind: I knew the identities of the 3 beers, but not which was in which glass. Actual tasting notes follow:

BEER 1: Rich texture... caramel notes are not particularly well developed > a bittersweet initial impression with a slight bitter secondary note that fades.

BEER 2: Sweeter, more complex than 1. Lingering sweetness... nearing stickiness.

Re-tasting 1: unpleasantly mroe bitter by comparison to 2. Re-tasting 2: definitely preferred over Beer 1, but perhaps the wow factor isn't quite there.

BEER 3: Rich... not as singularly sweet as 2 initially, but has more overall richness and depth... almost a "sipping" beer. In comparison to Beer 3, Beer 2 has this annoying astringent note that gets in the way of an otherwise interesting brew.

BEER 3 is the clear winner on the initial round of tasting. Would also note the beers on this round were about 20 minutes out of the fridge before pouring... so cool, but not chilled.

RE-TASTING, ROUND 2 (Closer to room temp, with more oxygenation)

BEER 3: Very rich, pleasant, balanced in the mid-bittersweet range leaning to soft caramel flavors. Beautiful texture.

BEER 2: Brighter than 3, lemony-sweet... just lacks 3's class and complexity. NOTE: tasted a bit later, Beer 2 improves to nearly rival #3... as if it needed time to "decant" and get rid of that astringent quality. However, 3 still rules.

BEER 1: Just bitter. Not poorly made, but quite singular & unremarkable in comparison to 2 and 3.

FINAL WINNER: Beer 3. A great luscious brew that will move on in this tasting series.

Revealing the beers:
BEER 1: Victory Dirt Wolf
BEER 2: Dogfish Burton Baton
BEER 3: Dogfish 90-minute (The Winner)

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie
Food and Cooking

19 Great Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pie

by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | When the usual pie lineup feels boring and uninspired for your dessert repertoire, you've got to make...

How to Bake Three Amazing Pies in One Morning

How to Bake Three Amazing Pies in One Morning

by Jordana Cohen | Thanksgiving is prime time for pies, but it's hard to choose—and not just between pumpkin and pecan...

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving

by Kristin Donnelly | The best way to cook a stress-free dinner is to think ahead, which is why we've created this comprehensive...

How to Make Thanksgiving for One (or Two)

How to Make Thanksgiving for One (or Two)

by Amanda Balagur | Thanksgiving for one (or two) can be just as festive as any big to-do. The key is scaling back but...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.