American craft beer drinkers are in the middle of a deep love affair with hops, but tell even the most dedicated fan that you are doing round after round after round of double India pale ale (DIPA) reviews and expect to receive an “oof” in response.
As the name suggests, double IPAs, sometimes called imperial IPAs, or the even further boundary pushing triple IPAs, turn the dial up on all of the ingredients, the alcohol content and the international bittering units (IBUs).
Mapping the progression by style, the average pale ale typically clocks in IBUs in the 30 to 40 range. Standard IPAs are in the 50s to 70s. Double IPAs push the number to 100, where the scale ends. Alcohol by volume (abv) starts in the 7% range and can go well into the teens.
Hops can be a wonderful masking agent against some of the fusel alcohol aromas that come from higher abvs, so when imbibing, pacing out the drinks is paramount.
In some cases, however, the warming alcohol notes can be a pleasing attribute the style, especially when it boosts up aromas like pineapple, grapefruit and resinous pine.
Much the in same way that all of the other hoppy styles of beer have undergone a transformation in recent years, the double is no exception. There are New England-style Double IPAs that exist where hops are added during fermentation to impart a more aromatic and juicy profile In contrast, the West Coast styles add hops to the boil to impart flavor and bitterness.
It is clear that many breweries fall into one of the two camps of old school vs. new school. But there are some that combine the two with fantastic results. By using new era hops like Citra and Mosaic which impart citrus and tropical fruit flavors along with more traditional varieties like Cascade, these hybrid beers are juicy at the start, but have a smack of bitterness on the end that excite the palate.
These beers are often so extreme that they exude a “go big or go home” sensibility.
Port Mongo Double IPA; $14/16oz 4 pack, 98 points. This offers a lively combination of key flavors in a manageable high alcohol package. Clear and bronze in color, it has a classic biscuit malt backbone and threads of pine hops that evolve to a pleasing herbal bitterness that emerges midpalate and eventually gives way to a soft clementine finish.
Pure Project Double Dust Double India Pale Ale; $23/ 16oz 4 pack, 97 points. This is brewed with a ridiculous amount of juicy hops, throttled by a high alcohol content. Hazy yellow with a big, pillowy head, it offers swirls of citrus zest and fermented pineapple in the glass, with orange rind and more tropical fruit flavors adding to the mix. This is an IPA for when you throw your cares to the wind and go all in on haze.
SweetWater Trainwreck Hazy Double IPA; $12/ 12oz 6 pack, 97 points. Brewed with extracted terpenes, this IPA is working to bridge the gap between beer and cannabis, and it does so quite well. Dank aromas of pungent pine needles, it has a soft body that carries a sweet candied citrus flavor, with a prick of bitterness converging on the dry finish. There is a lot to unpack in this beer and emptying a glass is a fun mental exercise herbal, oily aromas.
Drowned Lands Spring Terra Double IPA; $20/16oz 4 pack, 97 points. Pale and bright straw in color, this offers pleasing aromas of lemon curd and spun confectioner’s sugar. Sip after sip, it comes across as light and airy despite the amped up alcohol. It’s like a warm ray of sunlight that lands on an otherwise nippy spring day.
Parish Ghost in the Machine Ale; $14/12oz 4 pack, 97 points. It takes some time for this hazy, pineapple-juice cocktail of a beer to truly reveal itself. It is bursting with fruit notes of mango and papaya, layered with orange peel and tangerine on the earthy wheat body. The hop bitterness grows as the glass empties, but it is such a slow process that the nature of the hops never overpowers.
Mad Fritz The Eagle’s Nest Double India Pale Ale; $32/750ml, 96 points. This starts with an assertive orange hop profile that is given a rustic flair thanks to French oak aging. The citrus flavors follow through to the palate, weaving in some sticky sap notes and just a hint of bitterness on the end. Its alcohol content is well hidden among its sweet malt backbone.
Stone Viking Space Probe Double IPA; $19/12oz 6 pack, 96 points. There seems to be a fascination with the heavens by brewers these days, and this beer is right in trend. Starting with aromas of coconut and guava, these tones mingle on the juicy palate, with a spicy pineapple zing on the finish.
Tröegs Nimble Giant; $14/16oz 4 pack, 96 points. Clear and golden in color, at first this beer reveals itself to be light and refreshing, but then the alcohol content kicks in. It offers flavors of orange, tangerine and a slight dusting of plum, with a light bitterness on an otherwise dry finish. This annual release from the brewery is just right to start and end a proper evening of beer drinking.
Wallenpaupack Lake Haze #10 Hazy Double IPA; $18/16oz 4 pack, 96 points. Brewed with Sultana, Sabro and Trident hops, this kicks off with aromas of lime and orange zest. It has a soft and pillowy body, with subtle layers of tropical fruit, coconut and vanilla. A cold can of this is downright refreshing on a boiling hot day.
Reuben’s Triple Crush Hazy India Pale Ale; $20/16oz 4 pack, 96 points. This is smooth and tangy in tart lime and lychee tones, with a hints of passion fruit and orange popping up. All these tones shine on their own and are spokes that connect to a light-colored yellow hazy body with a full mouthfeel.