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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:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/971398

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:

DOGFISH HEAD BURTON BATON
DOGFISH HEAD 90-MINUTE IPA
VICTORY DIRT WOLF

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)

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