Beer Review 0345: Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA

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Three Floyds Brewing Company hails from Munster, Indiana, and their reputation is pretty stellar amongst beer drinkers. In a recent beer trade with Dave (Untappd user OnWisconsin), I jumped at the chance to get a couple of their brews, which are not available here in North Carolina…and just about everywhere else in the United States. Three Floyds have very small distribution at the moment.

Founded in 1996 by Mike Floyd and his sons Nick and Simon, their goal was to breathe life into the then mundane craft beer scene by producing beers that were simply not normal. As popularity increased, the Munster location was created, and upgrade after upgrade took place. Bottling cranked up in 2002, a brewpub was created in 2005…with that being said, Three Floyds are still very small, even when compared to breweries like Dogfish Head, Bell’s, and Great Lakes.

Dreadnaught is an Imperial IPA that sees release year-round in bomber size bottles. Coming in at 9.5% ABV (alcohol by volume), the hops used pack a wallop of 99 IBUs (International Bitterness Units). Three Floyds keeps the varieties of hops and malts used in their brews close to the chest, so nothing to report there.

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Pouring from the bottle kicked up an average size, bright white creamy head, which lasted atop a golden-orange beer. The liquid was translucent but had a slightly hazy body that got more cloudy the further I made it down the bottle. I noticed lots of carbonation bubbles zooming to the top; the lacing on Dreadnaught was picture-perfect, leaving the non-sipping side of my glass coated in a thin, sticky film.

On the nose, there’s lots of fruity hops on the initial sniff; plenty of grapefruit, lemon, apricot, and peach. Add in some pine and earthiness and you’ve got a classic hop profile mixing with a super fruity one. But the malt backbone is here in spades: sweet caramel, grain, and some bready malt. When mixed with the dehydrated fruit aspect, this becomes a delight for the nose and makes you want to dig right in.

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Not what I was expecting on the initial sip, but a pleasant surprise…while being a hop bomb, these are gentle hops that don’t shock the tongue, but allow the palate to warm up to them. Graceful grapefruit, plenty of peaches, and mango warm you up for a slap of pine and introduction to the substantial malt body. Easy, sugary but not syrupy caramel and a bit of sweet bread make this into — literally — a hop candy bar. Finishes with a mild bitterness thanks to grapefruit and pine, but also with waves of sweetness, which lasts long after the bitterness subsides.

Dreadnaught is an incredible beer not only for the insane drinkability, but also the smoothness of the flavors. Big, hoppy beer can be jarring sometimes, but this isn’t whatsoever. Medium-bodied, with a medium, slightly gritty and drying mouthfeel, there is only really one foul thing I can find with this brew: no date on the bottle! Come on Three Floyds; I really expected you guys would be putting dates on the bottle. The only way I could see resident hopheads not digging this is if they only like mega-bitter, harsh IPAs. Dreadnaught would be hard to pass up if I had everyday access to it, especially if I knew it was ultra fresh.

Three Floyds Dreadnaught Imperial IPA, 97 points. Price: $10.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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