Beer Review 0376: Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Dogfish Head’s (Milton, Delaware) latest creation, Sixty-One, was created by Sam Calagione mixing something or other together with one of his successful year-round beers.
We’re not saying that is a bad thing; obviously, we haven’t had the beer yet, which is the point of this review. But most Dogfish beers seem to come about this way, and some of them are hits…while some, quite frankly, are misses. See Te Henket, the 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) beer brewed with chamomile, Za’atar, and dom-palm fruit. Feel free to look those last two up on Wikipedia, because I had to. Stick an $11.99 price tag on that sucker and you’ve got yourself a mess of a beer, which I rated 71 points.
Moving forward…they can’t all be hits. A new year-round offering for 2013, Sixty-One is Dogfish’s 60 Minute IPA (my rating: 95 points) blended with syrah grape must from California. Midas Touch, anyone? (my Midas Touch rating: 83 points)
Perhaps just as interesting as the beer is the label, which was painted by Mr. Calagione himself. Mixing green pigment with beer and red pigment with wine, he came up with the label, and used melted chocolate for the brown colors. Sixty-One comes in at 6.5% ABV.
The pour made an average size, off-white colored head, creamy and sudsy in texture, and with a lasting quality. The beer itself was amber/red in color, with a brilliantly clear body, and no particles or sediment. Lacing was very good, leaving thin but creamy solid sheets on the non-sipping side of my glass.
On the nose, there’s an odd combination of grassy, herbal hops that mix with a touch of jammy grape. Couple that with an almost boozy note, and you’ve got more of a separation than a blend. By that, I mean I could distinctly pick out the wine and beer aspects of this drink moreso than the aromas blending together to make something new or unique. As it warmed, I noticed some of the more classic 60 Minute IPA aromas coming out, like a hint of grapefruit and some grain.
Tasting, and the palate is presented with some watery grape and mild grapefruit up front, with an herbal, tea-like middle that really brings out the vinous syrah grape must, leading to a finish of dry grape, earthy hops and grainy malt backbone. Like the nose, if you allow it to warm, you start to get more of the classic 60 Minute profile, especially on the finish; the solid malts and earthy, grapefruit hops. I found Sixty-One to be light-bodied, with a thin, foamy mouthfeel.
Like all Dogfish beers, this one is interesting, but it doesn’t do much for me. This isn’t really an IPA, and honestly, I expected a lot more flavor than what’s here. This surely is like mixing some wine with a 60 Minute IPA, and I’m disappointed by that. I could do that myself in my own kitchen!
Dogfish Head Sixty-One IPA, 75 points. Price: $2.49 US for one twelve ounce bottle.