The More You Know…About BEER!: DIPAs!

July 24, 2009

Editor’s Note: Ant’s back! And he’s bringin’ a triple header this week. Happy mid-summer…ish weekend!

First off, I need to apologize for not posting the last two Fridays. Long story short, I had a run with a crazy roommate and had to move to another apartment in which my internet wasn’t set up until July 4th. Anyways, I hope everyone has been drinking good beer. A brewmaster once told me “You know, consumers these days don’t get enough credit. Especially those that choose to purchase craft beers. They know what they want, they know what carries quality, and they don’t need commercials telling them what to drink.” I totally agree. You like what you like. It’s okay to say you don’t like a certain beer…maybe that style isn’t right for you. Or maybe that beer just sucks. Everyone is born with taste buds, but not everyone has the same taste buds. Some people prefer malt flavors, some people prefer hoppiness, and some people prefer whack flavors produced by yeasts. Either way, no one should dictate what’s better other than you. They may educate you, but in the end its you who decides. If MGD is your favorite, it’s your favorite. If you love hop bombs like Stone’s Double Arrogant Bastard, awesome. Then again, the message carried behind the brewery or beer sometimes reflect your own way of life. If you’re a fisherman, you may like Ballast Point. If you love quality, you may drink AleSmith. If you enjoy funny commercials, Bud Lite may be your weapon of choice.

Instead of one beer, I’ll be reviewing three local San Diego beers of the same style. Double IPAs (DIPAs), also known as Imperial IPAs, are the hoppiest tasting beers and usually contains the most hops out of all the beer styles. BTW, the word “Imperial” originated from the style Russian Imperial Stout since this beer style was made specifically to withstand lengthy exports from Britain to the Russian Royal Court. Like the India Pale Ale, higher grain bill led to higher alcohol output (alcohol acts as a sort of preservative) and thus an increase in hops to balance out maltiness. So why do I mention this style? Modern breweries use the word “Imperial” to mention its alcoholic strength (Imperial Stouts average 8% ABV+ as opposed to regular Stouts which are 4% ABV). At the same time, some breweries feel “Double” is more adequate (yet, not all “Double” beers are double in strength or in any content). I’m not too sure myself, but DIPAs tend to be a summer seasonal beer. Although, I do feel that hoppy beers tend to quench my thirst more than malty beers. DIPAs are a recent American innovation by craft breweries to satisfy the needs of hop aficionados. I feel like the point of this style is intensity and a showcase for hops.

I originally had a lot to say about these beers, but I figured I’d spare the beer style technicalities and just give you my “Cliff’s Notes” style review.


Left to right: Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA, AleSmith YuleSmith, Pizza Port Hop 15 Ale

Category 14C: Imperial IPA

Ballast Point Dorado DIPA – (purchased from BevMo!)
22 fl. oz (650mL)
9.1% ABV
Bottle Description:
On a quest to make delicious beers, our brewers have continually sought out creative new ways to accentuate the delightfully aromatic and flavorful qualities of hops. Hopheads rejoice! Dorado Double IPA takes hops to a new level. Mash Hopping, First Wort Hopping, Kettle Hopping, and Dry Hopping, create an award winning beer that embodies San Diego’s reputation for making world class IPAs. Our bottled Robust Series gives all beer lovers an opportunity to try out most rare beers, previously available only on draft at select tap houses. Enjoy! Get the Point!

○ Aroma – light grapefruit (medium intensity); fruity esters, light sweet honey malt flavors (11/12)
○ Appearance – gold, hazy, almost no head, off-white head color (2/3)
○ Flavor – light hop flavors, taste the citrus/orange hops, honey and caramel malt flavors, a little hot (alcoholic) (17/20)
○ Mouthfeel – medium full bodied, medium high carbonation (5/5)
○ Overall – good introduction into the Double IPAs series (8/10)
Total – 43/50 — A- (Recommended). If you’re new to this style, definitely try this one first. Its moderate to moderately high hop flavors makes this a great example to test the waters of DIPAs.

AleSmith YuleSmith – (purchased from AleSmith Brewing Company)
22 fl. oz (650mL)
9.5% ABV
Commercial Description:
During the summer, YuleSmith is transformed into a big, hoppy, Double IPA. The enormous load of hops requires a substantial malt background to create just the right balance for a Double IPA. Lighter in color, summer YuleSmith is available around the 4th of July and is packaged in a red, white, and blue bottle.
○ Aroma – hoppy, pine, citrus, grapefruit (strong), low fruity esters, no malt aromas (11/12)
○ Appearance – blonde gold, hazy, fluffy white head, strongest head retention (3/3)
○ Flavor – most hop flavors, hop explosion, a little grassy, bready/biscuity malt flavors, slight apricot flavor (18/20)
○ Mouthfeel – medium full bodied, soft medium carbonation (5/5)
○ Overall – best hop flavor in terms of double IPA (9/10)
Total – 46/50 — A (Highly Recommended). Definitely the hoppiest and most complex hop bouquet of the beers sampled today. If your looking for all the flavors found in hops, you’ve found the pot of gold.

Pizza Port Hop 15 Ale -(purchased from BevMo!)
22 fl. oz (650mL)
10.0% ABV
Bottle Description:
Our beer oozes all the hop goodness you would expect to find in a Double IPA. In your nose, you will experience a citric hop quality which is balanced by a slight malt sweetness, the essence of a great Double IPA is hops and as such the beer finishes with a pronounced spicy hop bite. Thankfully, for all of us hop-heads, we have decided to brew this beer more than once a year. Look for Hop 17 to make an appearance from time to time when space permits us to brew this, one of our favorite ales.
○ Aroma – musty aroma, fruity (light), some papery/cardboard aroma (oxidation?) (8/12)
○ Appearance – orange gold, hazy, light off white head (3/3)
○ Flavor – hoppy with strong caramelized malt flavors, slight oxidation, slight sherry notes, hop bitterness noticed but low hop flavors (15/20)
○ Mouthfeel – full bodied, medium carbonation (5/5)
○ Overall – must be an old bottle, hop flavors are off (6/10)
Total – 37/50 — B (Average). I hate to say it, but this bottle kinda sucks. It must have been sitting on the shelves too long considering all the negative oxidation flavors I encountered. I probably will give it another try since it placed Bronze in the DIPA category at GABF 2008.

* From now on, I will be giving each total score a grade so its more clear how I feel about the certain beer.






Highly Recommended















Excellent Homebrew






Not Recommended


Following the Golden Rule is Not Enough

July 21, 2009

How often do you find yourself completely unable to communicate with someone? You’re trying to make a point, get something done, but interaction with the other person is about the same as interaction with a brick wall. No matter what, you can’t see eye to eye, even though individually, you each think you are “right.”

We all remember our first days of school, when the first rule we learned was the “Golden Rule” which sounds a bit like “Treat others the way you would like to be treated.” This may work like a charm for children who are each still developing their own behavioral styles and treating peers with or without respect is a lot more black and white.

As you find yourself in your twenties and beyond, the reality that treating others “right” and “wrong” is not so black and white anymore. You can both be treating each other “right” and still find yourselves butting heads. I will be first to admit that I’ve found myself in many frustrating situations, because I feel that I am making perfect sense and I’m interacting with someone who thinks the same of him or herself.. but we are not in agreement with each other. Unless you live in complete isolation or under a rock.. you have most likely found yourself in these situations. This is when it is very valuable to realize that the Platinum Rule® should really be the rule to follow. The platinum rule reads, “Treat others the way they would like to be treated.” I am all in favor of somehow incorporating this rule in college courses..

At first look, it may sound like this rule is advising you to “give in” to the other person. However, this is not the case. This rule involves a deeper understanding of different behavior styles that people possess, and how to work with those styles. For example, say you have a strong, dominating personality. If you are interacting with someone, “Bob” who is a little more reserved, would you really treat him or her the same way you would treat someone like yourself? Probably not. You would likely end up stepping all over “Bob” and over time, “Bob” would not appreciate it and probably harbor negative feelings towards you. This concept seems simple, but I bet it isn’t something you actively think about. Most of us, by habit, just think about what we think is right, without realizing that different types of people will have a different reaction to our actions as we would. And we just spend the entire time, irritated and thinking to ourselves, “Why is _____ just not understanding??!!!! I can’t make myself any clearer!” I’ve been there, numerous times and I am willing to bet you have experienced this as well. I will dig deeper at some different behavioral styles at a later time, but the next time you find yourself frustrated with someone, I very strongly urge you to think about the “Platinum Rule” and then think about what you can do differently to remove the brick wall between the two of you.


The Platinum Rule® is a registered trademark of Dr. Tony Alessandra. Used with permission. All other rights are reserved in all media.

Carnival of Blogs: July 12th – July 18th

July 18, 2009

This week in random news!

Bill Gates wants to build a better beer keg. Maybe it’ll hold Kool-Aid too.

Mood Literally Affects How We See The World – Don’t worry, be happy.

CA Fights Against Poor Health and Bulging Waistlines

July 15, 2009

As results of America’s Fattest Cities are being released, California is taking action to fight against climbing to the top spot.  It’s being reported that an alarming 44.4% of children in Mississippi, America’s “fattest state” are obese.  When I read that, I wondered how such a shocking statistic was possible for a single state.  I suppose CA leaders asked themselves the same thing too, because as of July 1, three new diet laws are in effect in California.

Starting July 1, all restaurants will be required disclose nutritional information in either indoor or outdoor menus, or in the form of a brochure that will be offered to customers.  In 2011, restaurants will be required to disclose nutritional information in all three forms.

Starting July 1, the current ban on trans fat has been extended to include food offered in school vending machines and by vendors on school.  Trans fat has already been banned in school cafeterias.

Lastly, while soda has already been banned at elementary and junior high schools, the new legislation also includes a soda ban on high schools.  The new restriction on drinks also restricts schools from selling drinks with added sweeteners, and whole milk.  This will hopefully encourage students to gravitate towards healthier choices and live an overall healthier life.

Whether or not this new legislation will make a true difference is still up for debate.  In some ways, I think those who make poor diet choices may still continue the same lifestyle, and students can still easily access their favorite trans-fat laced snacks and unhealthy drinks outside of school.  However, there are also plenty others who will think twice when the nutritional information is laid out in front of them, and students who have become used to drinking and eating healthier due to restrictions on campus will naturally carry the same healthier habits outside of school.  In any case, it is important to make sure that California stays away from becoming one of America’s “fattest states” and hopefully this legislation helps the cause.


Sick Days or Vacation Days?

July 9, 2009


I came down with a *mild* case of food poisoning this week. Mild, meaning I was more or less useless for only one day as opposed to several days. One thing I didn’t realize growing up is that when people say they have food poisoning they usually just assume it’s something bad they ate because they can’t imagine what else could leave their stomach in such agony. And in pretty much all of my food poisoning cases I’ve been reasonably certain that I could pinpoint just which piece of dietary death led me to it.

The question I’m posing here is this:

How many of you guys actually use sick days because you’re sick?

This question is moot to those of you who have separate vacation and sick days. My sick days and vacation days are all lumped together in the form of PTO, or Paid Time Off. As a result, I hate using my PTO when I’m sick because that’s really just one less vacation day that I get that year. If it’s just a cold or a cough, I’ll try to tough it out, but if it gets much worse than sometimes I just suck it up and take the day off. In case you’re wondering, I went to work every day this week, but I was very close to leaving half way through Wednesday.

So do you actually use sick days when you’re sick, or do you power through them so you can have one more day of vacationing freedom? Or do you have some other sort of ingenious scheme to balance these things out?

Carnival of Blogs: June 28th – July 4th

July 6, 2009

Happy Indepence Day Ladies and Gents! Time for another exciting round of What Random Stuff Do We Find Interesting (belatedly)?

Another study proves, damn near indisputably, that people are irrational when it comes to money.

Farewell to Silent Swiss Banks – The credit crisis is changing everything, hopefully for the better

Does Information Want To Be Free Or Expensive?

July 1, 2009

If you’re a budding entrepeneur or writer, or you just like knowing about random things going on in the world, then this one’s for you.

Malcolm Gladwell, of Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers fame has written an article in The New Yorker (online) in which he discusses whether information wants to be free or expensive. He also busts the chops of Wired editor Chris Anderson. Gladwell addresses the increasing marginalization of newspapers, and their future in a society that is getting (and seems to desperately want) its information more and more quickly. How do you change a business model that used to rely on a monopoly of information and attention? Good question. No one has answers, and no one is happy.

Newspapers are beginning to realize the importance of distributing their information through the World Wide Web, but the web is full of people just dying to share everything and anything they know (or hear) out there. There is just too much information! The classic laws of supply and demand dictate that since the supply of information is at an all-time glut, that information should be really cheap, right? But wait, getting legitimate news information is anything but cheap. And herein lies the crux of the newspapers’ problem. Getting reliable and credible news is not cheap, but people think it should be since there’s so much news/information floating around the interwebs, so they don’t want to pay for it.

The fundamental discussion revolves around Stewart Brand’s oft-quoted “Information wants to be free.” pronouncement. Brand also mentioned, in the same breath, that information wants to be expensive, since what you do with it can make it exceedingly valuable.

If you get through Gladwell’s article, you can go ahead and read Chris Anderson’s response too. It’s a fascinating bit of back and forth that contains some important ideas to keep in mind if you want to be a journalist, writer, blogger or any kind of entrepeneur that deals in information (that’s a lot of companies, btw).


P.S. Happy Canada Day =)