This bottle of Laughing Dog's Alpha Dog Imperial IPA has been in my fridge for quite some time. By that I mean, at least a year. Actually, probably a lot longer than that. But recently I've begun opening up some larger format bottles that had been my "rainy day" stash. Since we here on the east coast have experienced a pretty darn rainy summer (August has been NJ's wettest month on record. Ever.), I suppose it's okay to bust out some of those rainy day beers.
Let's start at the beginning. The aroma is pure hops, showcasing a piney nose. Caught somewhere between bright and dank, the hops deliver bitterness with a lingering, resiny pungency. I think I'm sensing a vanilla-ish roundness to the body, though neither vanilla nor oak seem to be involved in the aging process. Maybe I just have a magic fridge. Anyway, a slight alcohol warmth is present in the swallow, and then reappears in the gullet as a nice glow.
But with all these complexities and bold flavors, Alpha Dog is quite drinkable. 8% abv is no joke, and boozy warmth does factor into the drinking of this big poochie. But if you had to split this 22oz bottle with a friend, it would result in a serious second-guessing. Dude, I totally should have gotten another one of these! Nah, take the bottle for you and you alone. Then treat yourself to several small pours into a round-bottomed glass. Somewhere between fridge-chilled and room temperature is that magic sip.
Keep in mind that my bottle was aged for quite some time, so your experience may be markedly different. Overall, though, I'd say that Laughing Dog Alpha Dog Imperial IPA is totally worth buying. Ever heard of Laughing Dog Cream Ale and Pale Ale? Well, I've reviewed these Laughing Dog brews before, and you can check them out here:
Honestly, they weren't the absolute best brews I've ever had, but they were fairly well-crafted and worth a look-see. Alpha Dog is the best offering I've had from Laughing Dog to date. I think I have a few more stashed away for that proverbial "rainy day," however, and 'round these parts, that could very well mean tomorrow. Cheers!
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