Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA: The dreaded triple alpha dog dare.

Next up, Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA:

Reserving my right to take a Children of the Corn angle on this review.

This beer seems to have received a lukewarm response from some. Whenever I see this with a big name beer (with 112 IBUs) that otherwise flies off the shelf, it gets me curious. I guess I’m a hype whore.

I think I have only encountered the elusive “Triple IPA” twice: Pliny the Younger back in ’06 and Moylan’s Triple Hopsickle. Actually, I don’t even know if it’s a recognized style. It’s single defining characteristic seems to be its righteous indignation begotten by you thinking you’re worth its time. That, and after you drink one you can’t taste anything for a couple hours. But a hophead and his money are easily parted. So, let’s do this thing.

It pours rust with a dense off-white head that recedes slowly and leaves a little lacing. It smells like an epic battle is about to be waged on your palate between rich citrus and resinous pine hops, sweet caramel and toasty malt, and alcohol.

But like sumo, there will be no winners. Only dirty, shameful regret.

It starts out somewhat amicably. It’s pretty sweet and malty with a rich, citrusy, resinous, oily hop character. And although it’s extremely bitter, it’s not unbearable. Then apparently my tastebuds returned from their lunchbreak. The sweetness becomes a little oppressive, the booze gets violent, and bitterness a little unnecessarily harsh. At one point the sweet, bitter, and alcohol hint at hop-flavored cough syrup. It’s way low on carbonation (perhaps that would have provided some quarter). And this thing is so dang big that United Airlines would make it purchase an extra seat.

An epic battle for my palate’s heart? No. Less like Ali vs. Frazier. More like AC Slater vs. Zack Morris.

“You made me look like a jerk at the Max.”
“Well that’s what you are.”
Oh dang!

The Haybag: I think you’re being a little harsh. It’s not bad. It’s just not quite worth the pricetag and difficulty to procure.

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Founders Blushing Monk – Keepin’ raspberries trill up in here.

Next up, Founders Blushing Monk:

In search of some Funky Buddha beers, I headed to Churchkey (the poorly lit, well-stocked über beer bar in DC that has more than its fair share of ironic mustaches and short, cropped bangs). Unfortunately, they had drained all but one keg the night before for a SAVOR event. So my change of plans included this little fella’.

Founders describes this as a Belgian Raspberry Ale. I don’t know what that means or what the base beer is, but I do know it has a shitload of raspberries and is pretty strong at 9.2% ABV.

I had it on tap, and it looks like a vigorously poured, super-dark grape juice with a little pink head. It smells like what I believe raspberry cough syrup could smell like if pharmaceutical chemists weren’t such dicks: sticky, sweet, syrupy raspberry puree. With the first sip, it appears this will be a raspberry juicebox affair, like Founders is all slinging their wares preschool snack-time style. Then the carbonation quickly kicks in to tone things down, and I’m all:

Awww, that was a cute and sweet little number…

Then, shit got trill:

Suddenly you realize the moderate carbonation’s benevolent mercy as the tartness kicks in. I have seen people say this isn’t that tart. Perhaps my sour beer receptors are not jaded enough (although I do like kumquats and crazy-sour lemonade). And while it’s not exactly salivary gland twisting and automotive-screwdriver-to-the-jaw tart, I thought it was significant.

Things cool down for a split-second, and I notice some teeth-drying from the tannins and a slight red wine-like quality. Then a new sourness kicks in at the finish, except this time without any comforting carbonation. I like it, though, in a sick sort of way.

I think this was my favorite beer of the afternoon. I may have to rethink my unfavorable stance on fruit beers…especially 9.2% ABV fruit beers. And I may be seeking out some more sour stuff.

P.S. Thanks to Marshall for covering AOTD for me, while I went and got my Friday afternoon drink on.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout: Exposing the Ohio River Valley’s Jungian Thing

Next up, Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout:

Both vying for my attention.

This elusive beer is named for the Jungian shadow of the Ohio River Valley: Kentucky. No, not because it has meth in it. It has something sublimely beautiful that the finger-pointing projectors from immediately north of the Ohio River don’t have: Bourbon.

Is it Northern Kentucky or Southern Cincinnati? Your airport is there. Own it, Cincy!

KBS, as the kids call it, is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. And there aren’t many beers with more hype and that are harder to find…strike that…There aren’t many non-Founders beers with more hype and that are harder to find than KBS. But is it worth the hype and effort? After failing to get it at a local beer store (it sold out over the phone in about 6 minutes), we got it on draft at Rustico’s Hump Day Hat Trick (3 new highfalutin’ beers tapped every Wednesday at 6pm). 

It is the darkest brown you can conceive, nearly impenetrable, thick, and oily like puberty in the jungle. My first smell is chocolatey chocolate. After I pick myself back up off the floor, my second whiff brings some supporting coffee, not-at-all-overpowering bourbon, and a hint of oak. My first sip, I am struck how harmoniously smooth it is. Everything from the smell is there. And even though the bourbon, vanilla, and oak come out to play a little more rambunctiously in the taste, they never get so rowdy so as to upset the unflappably smooth chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is big and divine.

At 11.2 percent ABV, this thing should be hotter than a four-balled tomcat, but the bourbon never overwhelmed. The only thing that might make Bell’s Black Note Stout a hair better is that Black Note’s slight, flirty hop character added a layer of complexity…but even that is a trivial nit. So, was it worth the hype and effort? Yes. I would say if you ever have an opportunity to get it, do so.

The Haybag: I concede that this beer is excellent. It does not, however, change my general opposition to the miscegenation of bourbon and beer.