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Beer Reviews

Double Crooked Tree I.P.A

Dark Horse Brewing Co.
Marshall, MI

Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 13.6%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

Pair With:
It’s really hard to talk about Double Crooked Tree, Dark Horse’s monstrously huge imperial IPA, without comparing it to Founders’ deliciously evil (evilly delicious?) Devil Dancer. The stats are so close—98 IBUs and 13.6 percent ABV for Double Crooked Tree versus 112 IBUs and 13 percent ABV for Devil Dancer—and Dark Horse’s home, Marshall, Michigan, is so close to Founders in Grand Rapids—barely more than an hour’s drive away—that it’s almost like the Dark Horse folks are inviting a comparison.

The ’Tree pours a bright amber, much lighter than I anticipated for a double, with tons of sediment; this might be the most sedimented beer I’ve seen outside of homebrew. The head snaps, crackles, and pops inside a relatively thick bed of tiny bubbles. The instant beer strikes glass, a powerful wave of hop aroma comes a-wafting out with scents of fruit and pine. An extremely bright bouquet that I’m guessing has Centennial and/or Cascade in the mix.

As expected, the first sip is a hop-smack in the mouth: giant-ass hop bitterness in the front and the back. In the middle there’s a big malt presence that tries valiantly to achieve some sort of balance amid that deluge of hops, but ultimately fails. Helping to tone things down is some breadiness from all that sediment floating around. This is all behind a surprisingly soft mouthfeel for a beer so damn big. This softness only increases as the beer warms, and I have to admit I didn’t detect any of that whopping 13 percent ABV even down to the last sip.

My only dilemma is whether to give this a three- or four-mug rating. It really can’t hold up to the Devil Dancer, whose massive malt body is almost as intense as the wickedly potent bitterness. Yeah, it’s unfair to compare it so closely to a competitor, but this comparison just illustrates to me that the Double Crooked Tree is a little overhopped, even for an imperial IPA. Drinkable? Yes. Recommended? Hell yeah. It isn’t up there with some of the elites in the genre, that’s all. But I would not hesitate to grab another four pack when I see one.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on December 27, 2007.
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