Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

So on Friday I discovered a wonderful little place called Binny’s Beverage Depot. I have long known of it’s existence, but never paid it a visit before, out of fear that I would not be able to leave without having spent hundreds of hours and dollars that I did not have to waste. I was given an unexpected $20, though, and decided I would take my half ($10 went to the wife’s Starbucks addiction) and go buy some beer. I have been buying most of my beer at Dominick’s when we do our grocery shopping just out of convenience, but inspired by an internet discussion with a brewmaster friend of mine I decided to seek out something a little more expensive higher in quality.

My intent was to pickup some Three Floyds Gumballhead, which I have heard good things about. After arriving at Binny’s (and after I was done staggering like Fred Sanford in front of the massive Wall-O-Beer) it became quickly apparent that I would not be purchasing what I had driven the 10 minutes for. Gumballhead is only available by the bottle (32 ouncer, IIRC), but it was close to $10 per. While I am willing to bet that it is worth it, when I only have $10 to spend on beer for the entire month, common sense begs me to pick up more than a single serving.

Still on a mission for quality, I began perusing the 6 packs for something that I could enjoy during more than one sitting. Immediately jumping out at me was the Dogfish Head beers. I was familiar with the name, not only because it is peculiar and memorable, but I recalled reading about it the Dogfish Head Brewery in Charlie Papazian’sThe Complete Joy of Home Brewing,” and I also recalled seeing a book written by the Dogfish Brewmaster Sam Calagione on high gravity and specialty brewing in my William’s Home Brewing catalog.

Foolishly I did not recheck the list of recommended wheat beers that were mentioned by my friend before I left the house, and since the wheat beer section of the Wall-O-Beer looked to me like an indecipherable jumble of long eastern European names (all of which contained umlauts), I decided I would not risk buying the Germanic equivalent of Blue Moon (I believe Blue Moon tastes like hot dog water) and go with a brewery I specifically remembered hearing good things about.

So the Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA seemed like a good choice. I like bold, flavorful and floral beers, but because it was hot and I was going to be consuming this beer after an Italian beef and giardineria pizza, I still wanted something more than just a palate cleanser.

I know most of my friends (the only people who read this blog) are not particular about their beer and may not be familiar with how beer is made, so I will give a very brief and somewhat informed background on what IPA is. Now, I could very easily just google IPA and give you a 100% accurate description, but because I am tired of flipping between Firefox tabs, I will try to give you a background per the best of my memory, so some/most/all of the following information can be/might be/probably is wrong.

IPA (India Pale Ale) is a style of beer that born out of necessity. Back in the days when Great Britain t0t4lly pwned India and traveling by large boat for months at a time was all the rage, the Brits needed to create a beer that was high enough in alcohol content and acidity that it would not spoil on the long sojourns from the UK to the blazing heat of India. So one day some brewer increased the alcohol and hop contents of his regular old pale ale and IPA was born. The increased alcohol inhibits microbial intervention and the increased hopping (more on hops later) helps inhibit bacterial growth, both of which prevent spoilage and souring. The resulting beer is light in color but bold in flavor and aroma and a distinctive floral bitterness.

Hops are a flower added during the brewing process that effect the flavor, aroma and acidity of the finished product. Typical brewing calls for an amount of hops to go into the wort (wort = beer prior to fermentation) at the start of the boil. These hops are where the flavor and acidity come from. Then another amount of hops is added to the wort for the last 10-15 minutes of the boil. These hops are strictly to enhance the aroma of the finished beer. Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA is continuously hopped, which means all of the hops are added at the beginning of the boil and kept in throughout. The continuous hopping methold extracts the boldest and most flavorful characters from the hops and imparts a distinctive bitterness to the finished beer.

That ends my very brief and uneducated beer lesson. If Mr. Mason from Flossmoor Station reads this, my guess is that he will chastise and correct me, both of which I would be appreciative of.

This beer is somewhere between a dark golden and copper color. The aroma and head retention are both marginal, but the flavor is intense and features a strong citrus and pine character. I prefer bitter to sweet, so I don’t find this beer to be overly bitter at all, but if you are the type of person who drinks nothing but High Life, you may very will disagree with me. With a rating of 60, it is on the higher end of the scale of International Bitterness Units, but it is not a cloying bitterness, and I think it is a beer that will pair well with food, particularly spicy stuff. I know it went well with my pizza.

As for the Dogfish Head claim that this is a session beer, I would not go that far, personally. The 6% ABV is a bit high, and this is a thicker brew that will linger on your the back of your tongue if you do not cleanse your palate with food or water. I am sure there are plenty of blokes who could handle 2 or 3 hours of pounding back this IPA, but I am not one of them. I prefer my session beers to be crisper and more refreshing…and cheaper.

I enjoy this beer and recommend it, although it is not an all day every day beer. I treat beers like this like wine or hard liquor. One at a time. During or perhaps after a dinner. To unwind after a long day at work while you loaf on the couch and watch the game. It is a beer to be savored, not chugged.

Enjoy. More reviews to come as my budget allows. I am sure I will be anxious to get some good beer after I finish the High Life Light in my fridge.


About Anthony

Husband of one, father of one. Two cats, one dog, a bike, and some fishing poles. I do nothing well.
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6 Responses to Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA

  1. brewer a says:

    Far from chastisement, I would say that this is a remarkably above average beer related post. If I was to gauge your beer education from this alone, I would say that you were a pro-sumer opposed to the typical bud/miller/coors consumer of beer. But, since you asked me to, here are a few things to point out.

    Gumballhead is now a 6 pack beer instead of the 22oz bomber variety. I was just at Floyds over the weekend and their brewer in charge of packaging told me that they aren’t going to be bottling it in bombers anymore. If you can find gumballhead it should be about $7.99-$9.99 a sixer depending on your retailer.

    A hoppy beer is a good choice for a palate cleanser, especially with a greasy pizza or fatty Italian sandwich. The hoppy bitterness can really cut through the heavy flavors and help pull the fattiness away from your tongue.

    I would say that your approximate I.P.A. genesis story is pretty accurate. Both higher alcohol levels and higher hopping levels can help preserve beer. A higher alcohol level makes it harder for bacteria and other spoilage critters to grow. Hops also act as a preservative, both of which you pointed out. But in context, English I.P.A.’s, even today, can be 3-4% a.b.v. Most American varieties are going to be higher, in the 5-7% range because everything in the American craft beer scene seems to need to be bigger,stronger, and faster.

    One point about kettle hops. The hops that you add at the beginning of the boil are your bittering hops. The reason being is that the acids and essential oils in the hops (which are in the Cannabaceae family (dude cannabis)) are very difficult to break down and dissolve into solution. A long boil, usually 90 minutes, is used to make your sweet wort bitter. Those same acids and oils can impart aroma as well, but they are very volatile. If you want a hoppy aroma in your beer you need to add them at the very end of the boil, or “dry hop” your beer in the fermenter, by adding hops after the wort is cooled and is busily fermenting away.

    Although I don’t know if for a fact, I think the reason 60 minute and 90 minute from DFH are called that is that they have some schmuck brewer standing over the kettle continuously adding hops for 60 or 90 minutes rather than one to three charges at a specific point in the boil which is standard practice. You can’t really take hops out of the kettle once you add them, unless you have them in some kinds of a bag or something and it isn’t very practical, especially since most brewers use pelletized hops. Once they are added they dissolved and you can’t really take them out again until you whirlpool your kettle and collect all of the trub, which you try not to get into your fermenter.

    I also agree that 60 minute is not a session beer especially since session beers are often generally considered to be 4.5% a.b.v. or lower. , a beer and whiskey writer, has a big campaign for session beers.

    Overall I would say that you did an excellent job Anthony, and that if I had to give you a grade it would be an A. Without even coming to beer school I think you are at the head of the class.

  2. brewer a says:

    stupid HTML coding

    That should say “Lew Bryson, a beer and whiskey writer, has a big campaign for session beers.”

  3. Anthony says:

    I am definitely not ever for any reason purchase Bud, Miller or Coors products. I don’t often buy “craft” beers though, mainly because of the availability, intimidation and price. When I am buying beer for home it is usually Pilsner Urquell, Goose Island, Guinness or other “high end” commercial brews. The only reason I have High Life Light in the fridge is because it was leftover from a party and I need it to hold me over until I can afford to buy my own again.

    Thank you for the help, friend. I always just assume brewers use whole hops because that is what Jim Koch is seen inhaling in that Sam Adams commercial, so I assumed it just meant a large dosage of leafy whole hops that boil down like a pot of collards. Now that I actually think back to what I read in Complete Joy of Home Brewing, pelletized hops are probably a lot more affordable and convenient.

    Sorry I could not make it out to beer school. I would really like to, but I just don’t have the time or money to drive out to the city for leisurely reasons. Plus I hate to ditch the wife with the baby after I am gone all day at work.

    If you ever hold a class out here in the burbs I would probably be able to attend. I have a lot of friends who I would like to get knowledged about beer.

  4. Anthony says:

    That is the worst first sentence of all time. Wish the comments had a preview feature.

  5. Patrick says:

    I think it’s a good sentence.

  6. Steve says:

    Beer. Yum.

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