Beer Review 0040: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Yes, there have been several Dogfish Head reviews as of late. I do tend to keep a large stock of it, because it is so good…

90 Minute IPA, an Imperial IPA made by Dogfish Head, was the first beer the company made that was continually-hopped. Also in the continually-hopped series: 60 Minute (which I reviewed here), 120 Minute, and the rare 75 Minute.

What we’re looking at with this beer is a 90 minute boil with 90 or more additions of hops, which gives the beer a pungent but not crushing hop flavor. Remember, when things are added at the beginning of the boil they’re for flavor, and the end of the boil is for aromatics.

I have repeatedly been told, although I have no independent or verifiable numbers, that this is the most popular craft beer in the United States. While I lack the data, I can tell you this: everywhere I go, this beer is always available in limited quantities. It doesn’t stay on the shelf very long, so I would tend to believe it might just be the most popular craft brew in this country.

In keeping with the minute theme, the ABV (alcohol by volume) on this drink is 9%, with 90 IBUs (International Bittering Units).

Drink up! (x 90).

Releasing this from bottle revealed an orangeish-tea colored beer with an average sized but very creamy head that slowly diminished to a thick collar resting upon the liquid. The beer was hazy with no particles or sediment and the lacing was excellent, forming large curtain-like sheets on my glass.

Two words accurately describe the aromatics: amazing and complex. Right overtop of the glass, the first aroma is that of malts, roasted coffee to be exact, with a chocolate backbone; then you’re hit with the hops, which feature fruit and herbs, and hints of flowers and pine. The hops and malts are in perfect balance, a harmony that plays off each other to full effect, and 90 Minute seems extremely fresh (this bottle was brewed on July 14, 2011) and potently fragrant — I could smell this deliciousness across the room, where it took on an apple note. Very complex and extraordinarily balanced, there’s simply nothing to argue with here, and I gave a perfect score in this category.

This perfect balance continues on the palate, where the drinker is rewarded with a crispy coffee and dark chocolate, roasted, which finishes hoppy with grapefruit and plenty of pine. The finish is long lasting and bittersweet, quite drying in the mouth with an overall thin and creamy texture. Tasty!

In my opinion, 90 Minute is a fine example of a classic American Imperial IPA, and I have rated it as such. This becomes the fifth beer to rate as a classic on my point scale, and the second Dogfish Head beer to do so. This company reliably produces quality beers, and if you have not tried any of their concoctions, please do yourself the favor and track this one down. You will not be disappointed. A world class balance of flavor, 90 Minute IPA is a beer you have to be careful with. Yes, it’s 9% ABV, but it drinks like its been your favorite libation for many years. An old friend, if you will.

This may be the one and only time something “most popular” is definitely something good.

Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, 97 points. Price: $9.99 US for four pack.

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