Tuesday, 20 April 2010

IPA challenge bout four: Brewdog Hardcore IPA Vs Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA

The latest bout in the IPA challenge is a clash between two heavy weights: Brewdog Hardcore IPA and Dogfishhead IPA, both weighing in at 9% ABV. Both lacking stamina (stingy little bottles), the fight has all the makings of being short and brutal.

Hardcore opens with a stinging jab and a taste like sucking on lemons but without making your eyes burn.

The Dogfish head has a darker copper colour, and with a bigger body. The famously continuously hopped beer is made to taste sweet in comparison to the hardcore hop monster from brewdog.

Styles make fights and though on paper these are both double IPA, when they get in the ring they're fighting with completely different styles. The bruiser from Brewdog has an unbalanced style with stinging hops constantly jabbing you in the face but not much in the way of body. Less reachy than Hardcore the Dogfish head's bigger body clinches to your tongue with a barley wine like sweetness.

Despite having all the makings of a classic fight, like with Calzaghe Vs Hopkins the clash of styles seems to bring out the worst in each other. After a sip of Hardcore the 90 minute IPA seems cloyingly sweet, but when you switch back the Hardcore tastes overpoweringly bitter.

At the end of a very negative round the judges are not impressed, with me thinking the 90 minute edges it and the lovely Lisa giving it to Hardcore. As we're the only two judges it's looking like a draw, but we can't progress with our knockout tournament if we allow that. So the only option is to call for another round. Sadly a rummage in the beer cupboard reveals I haven't got any more Dogfish head and won't have until my mum goes back to Delaware. So when the bell goes for round two 90 minute IPA remains on its stool and it's a win for Hardcore by TKO. Not a very satisfying result, and I'm sure 90 minute IPA will be eager for a re-match.


  1. I don't like Dogfishhead for the reasons you've described. All their beers taste like syrup to me. The hell with 'em.

  2. At the Flying Dog event in Leeds a rather posh Yorkshireman (oxymoron?!) relayed to his peers that he found 'all these American beers far too sweet'. He's not wrong to a point, the good American beers from those breweries are the ones with something beyond the syrupy texture and sugar-cane taste.

  3. You can by DFH in the UK now so no need to wait for a re-match. It's nothing like Hardcore though so a tough fight. The Hardcore is better than the old one - that one must have be knocking around for a while?!

  4. Yes - you must try the new Hardcore (9.2%), which has a much fuller malt body to it. I reviewed it thusly:

    '...the formal unveiling of the tweaked Hardcore IPA, itself lifted in ABV to 9.2% from 9.0%. It is a splendid beer and this reboot surely wins it the accolade of the most delicious US double-IPA-style beer brewed in the UK. The hops remain warming and multi-layered but the malt balance is notably thicker (the beer is darker than its ancestor) and has a solid working relationship with the booze to usher the intense bitterness through without the drinker wishing to give up and swig some water by way of respite.'

    Totally agree with Montague on Dogfishhead.

  5. I still haven't finished the extensive stocks of Brewdog beers I bought for 50p a bottle from Sainsbury's after their last beer competition which is why I'm still on the old version of Hardcore.

    I thought 90 minute IPA was great when I had it on its own. I like to bit of body to very hoppy beers otherwise I find them too unbalanced. Shame it doesn't mix well with the (old) Hardcore really.