Today I'm tasting Dogfish Head's middle IPA sibling, Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA (aptly named for the 90 minute boil that makes this IPA the hop monster it is).
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA poured a reddish-orange color into the glass and was thick enough that the small carbonation trails seemed to move in slow motion to the to of the spotty, thin white head. The nose had the big nectarine and tropical fruit notes of newer style big IPAs.
Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA opened with a fruity and floral entrance on stone fruit and aromatic hops, but as a somewhat cloying sweetness that started in the background became more prominent the ale darkened and took on a burnt sugar taste. The ale faded in a thick, sticky medicinal linger with a bit more alcohol heat than the 9% ABV merited.
For such a highly coveted and revered ale, Dogfish Head Imperial IPA doesn't really hold up to the newer breweries' attempts at a well balanced, super-hopped imperial IPA. It is a bit too unrefined and medicinal to draw a non-beer drinker in, and the rough around the edges aesthetic is oddly out of place with the rest of their superb line.
Edit and Addendum- I should point out this bottle was purchased at a grocery store, and while still "in date" it was likely several months old. Having tried a fresh bottle recently, none of my above complaints were apparent. A little research revealed this ale has a particularly finicky shelf life, so those of us on the West Coast would do ourselves a favor to buy from a reputable bottle shop to reduce the chance of getting a bottle more than a month or so after bottling.