Beer Review 0390: Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA

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The story of Ballast Point (San Diego, California) begins with home brew. While in college, Jack White started to like beer, and wanted more from the drink than you can find in the grocery store. So he brewed his own, and he got good at it; but he also found that getting his hands on equipment and ingredients were hard.

Mr. White decided to open his own home brew shop, the Home Brew Mart, in San Diego in 1992. Not only did the store provide a one-stop for making beer, it also opened up communication between other home brewers — and Jack made a friend in Yuseff Cherney. These two men would start a brewery at the back of the shop, later destined to become Ballast Point Brewing.

Ballast Point officially began operations in 1996, but got big enough to move out of the Home Brew Mart and into a dedicated facility in 2004. Combining the love of beer and fishing, White and Cherney decided to name all of their creations after fish. Today’s brew, Dorado, is named after Mahi-Mahi (Dorado is the Spanish name).

Dorado Double IPA employs three doses of hops in the beer — mash hopping, kettle hopping, and dry hopping. Ballast Point don’t list the hop bill; hell, there isn’t even any information about Dorado on their website. This beer has only been released twice, and is a limited offering. The ABV (alcohol by volume) is 10%.

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The beer poured an average size, soapy and dense head, which quickly faded atop a golden-orange beer. The body was slightly hazy, but there were no particles or sediment floating about. Dorado’s color was extremely nice when held to the light and outside in normal lighting. Lacing was good, leaving patchy places of thin sheeting.

The nose presented a classic and typical west coast IPA; grapefruit and pine are the major players, along with undertones of citrus, especially lemon and lime. There is appropriate malt backing in the form of some sweet caramel. That sweetness really takes over the aromatic, providing candied hops. The pine notes give this IPA it’s astringency and the alcohol is completely hidden.

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Tasting, there is mild grapefruit and orange peel before opening up to some pine, slightly dank and resinous. The sweetness kicks in here, with the caramel outdoing the pine for a brief time, along with some herbal tea lemon. On the finish, we’ve got soapy pine that is heavily bitter, drying out the mouth and making another sip extremely palatable. Dorado is medium-bodied, with a medium, foamy mouthfeel.

What we have here is a solid, very drinkable IPA from Ballast Point that has a simple but well done flavor profile. I found the dryness on the finish to be a bit much when approaching the bottom of the bottle, but that’s up to personal preference. The alcohol can creep up, too, but it is generally well masked and more of a feeling than a taste. Ballast Point should look into doing this year-round in 12 ounce bottles — I think they’d have a winner.

Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA, 90 points. Price: $12.99 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.

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