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


UCSD Libraries 6th Annual Summer Reading Contest

April 24, 2009

Sun God

For those of you in the San Diego area who have a love for reading I present to you UCSD’s 6th Annual Summer Reading Contest. It’s a good way to be part of a community of readers both online and in real life if you like (they have a luncheon at the end of every contest).

The contest is all about submitting reviews for books you’ve read as long as the UCSD libraries own a copy of it. And if being part of yet another online social group weren’t incentive enough for you, they give you gifts prizes for submitting reviews. There are a variety of contest-wide prizes like Most Humorous Review, and then individual prizes for submitting one, five, ten(?) reviews.

If you don’t want to go in alone or don’t think you’ll have the motivation to keep up, you can join as a team! Grab a few of your friends that like to read (or you think should read more) and sign up together. You’ll all win prizes even if only one person reads/reviews!

The contest starts on May 1st and runs through July 31st, so go sign up!

– RT