Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Double Dog Double Pale Ale

Flying Dog Brewery
Denver, CO

Style: Imperial/Double IPA
ABV: 10.5%

Nigel’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
Some of you out there may think that the life of us site contributors here at is nothing but glitz and glamour. You probably think our overwhelming popularity has allowed us to reach the pinnacle of the social hierarchy, passing such notable Midwestern luminaries as Madonna, Prince, Oprah Winfrey, and Tom Wopat. Midnight cruises on Lake Michigan in private yachts, VIP access to the Playboy Mansion, season tickets at Wrigley Field (OK, some perks aren’t necessarily all that great), and tax exempt status in Illinois, one of the Dakotas, six counties in Minnesota, and Flint, Michigan: it’s good to be a Beer Dork, right?

Not so, my friends. We Beer Dorks toil in relative anonymity, drinking good beer (which we have to pay for), writing about it for our site (on our own time), attending various local and national beer functions (without proper credentials), and receiving absolutely nothing in return, besides nasty e-mails from the site Führer, Eddie Glick. It’s only for you, dear readers, that Nigel stays up until 3 a.m. trying to finish a review thanks to another massive case of writer’s block, which may or may not have been brought on by a mild case of craft beer intoxication. While Mr. Glick occasionally teases us with the idea of making some money off of this fine web site, we all know that’s not going to happen, especially considering his initial business plan included selling autographed thongs with his ugly mug on them. I look forward to the day that us “less important” Beer Dorks are finally able to unite the proletariat and overthrow our bourgeois overlord, thus creating a utopian Beer Dork society filled with unlimited riches and good beer. But I digress.

Alas, my many hours of toil may have finally paid off. A few weeks back, Nigel reviewed Flying Dog Brewery’s Horn Dog Barley Wine Style Ale, giving it a solid four-mug rating. Lo and behold, Nigel received an e-mail from the folks at Flying Dog, thanking him for his kind review and offering him a free sample of Double Dog Double Pale Ale, an Imperial IPA and third in the “Canis Major” series of specialty brews, which includes Double Dog, Horn Dog, and the fabulous Gonzo Imperial Porter. Thinking this was too good to be true, I sent a reply and sure enough, a week later a four-pack of Double Dog arrived on my doorstep. It’s good to know someone appreciates Nigel enough to reward his many, many hours of hard work spreading the word about good beer, and nice to know that Flying Dog doesn’t hold a grudge against Nigel for calling some of their hometown sports heroes uh … not attractive (I believe I said they resembled the horses depicted on the side of their helmets).

While this was an exciting development, it did create a bit of a dilemma for yours truly. While I certainly appreciated the gesture, and am very grateful to Flying Dog for reading our little web site and giving us a nice pat on the back, I didn’t want to seem biased when writing my review for Double Dog. I had to make sure I kept my objectivity in order to make a review that is a true estimation of what I actually thought about the beer. While it would be tempting to ease any potential criticism so as to not offend the people who supplied it to me free of cost, that’s not what us Beer Dorks are all about. If a beer sucks, it sucks, and it’s gonna get the patented Nigel thrashing that it deserves (read: Summer Shandy and Apple Spice, among others). If the beer is average, I’m gonna let my disappointment be known, as I have very high standards when it comes to the king of all beer styles, the Imperial IPA. I can’t let Flying Dog’s generosity get in the way of what I do best, which is give a fair, accurate assessment of what I think about a particular beer, while putting a patented spin on it.

After waiting a few days, I was finally ready to try the Double Dog, and I soon realized my potential “moral dilemma” was not going to be an issue. Damn, this is some good stuff! Not the best double IPA I’ve ever had, but excellent nonetheless. As we know Nigel has never met a heavily hopped brew he didn’t like, and Double Dog has hops up the ying-yang, along with a well-balanced sweetness. I’m giving it a four-mug rating, but this is awfully close to five. I’d easily rank it ahead of Horn Dog, but not quite as good as Gonzo, though that’s by no means criticism.

Double Dog pours very foamy, with a thick white head that slowly dissipates, leaving a surprisingly lively lace throughout the drink. A cloudy, deep copper color, Double Dog maintains a picturesque sparkling orange haze throughout, a constant reminder that you’re drinking a finely crafted, ballsy IPA. The aroma is both powerful and pleasant, especially if you’re a hophead extraordinaire like Nigel. Hops galore, along with very noticeable citrus tones and a surprising tinge of sweet malt. The taste resembles the aroma. Hops blow you away right off the bat, but other flavors quickly come cascading through. The bitter, floral hoppiness is offset by grapefruit-dominated tartness and a surprisingly large amount of sweet, caramel malt. This is one of the sweeter double IPAs you’ll find, and, when combined with the boatload of hops, it does an excellent job of hiding the overpowering 10.5 percent ABV. Double Dog goes down fairly smooth, is well-balanced and medium-bodied, and has a strong, hoppy aftertaste. While the alcohol is well hidden by the bittersweet flavors, it’s still a brew that will blow you away if you aren’t careful.

So, sip carefully, friends, and enjoy another fantastic offering from Flying Dog’s Canis Major Series. Nigel certainly enjoyed his, and must commend Flying Dog for creating another quality brew, despite the fact that probably makes me sound like a total shill for their brewery. Trust me, I’m no shill, but Double Dog is an excellent brew, and any hophead looking for a nice, sweet DIPA should give it a shot.


Reviewed by Nigel Tanner on September 10, 2007.
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