The Badass Tap: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Ahhhh, Dogfish Head. One of my favorite breweries and one that, arguably, has been a major influence on the American craft beer scene in its relatively short (15 years and counting) lifespan.
Founded in 1995 by Sam Calagione, DFH has leaned heavily towards the extreme and experimental side of the brewing business, as well as making some very fine stock beers. Indian Brown Ale and 60 Minute IPA are two bottles that are often in my fridge at home. A handful of their more special brews are in my "cellar," aging gracefully.
90 Minute Imperial IPA is not to be found there*. I know there are some folks who like to age their 90 Minute for a year or more but I'm not one of them. IPAs and other hoppy beers are generally not good for cellaring because the hop flavor fades over time. However, 90 Minute is an unusually sweet IPA with a strong malt presence and can therefore be aged with good results.
It gets its name from the unconventional way it's brewed.
The first stage in brewing a beer is to mix crushed barley malt with hot water. This is strained and the resulting "wort" is boiled for (usually) between one and two hours. Hops are introduced during the boil but they have to be added at different times for different results. The longer they're cooked the more flavor is lost and bitterness extracted so brewers add them in three stages. Bittering hops go in first and can boil for 60 minutes or more. Peak flavor is gained after boiling the hops for 15-20 minutes, but only 5-10 minutes to infuse the maximum hop aroma into the beer, so in a typical 90-minute boil the brewmaster would add the bittering hops after 30 minutes, the flavoring hops after about 70 minutes and the aroma hops 5-10 minutes before the end.
Throwing convention to the four winds, Dogfish Head 90 Minute is hopped continuously for... well, 90 minutes. It results in an intensely flavored beer with a deep, but not overpowering, bitterness. To provide balance the malt content is heavier than with many other IPAs, which is what gives 90 Minute its characteristic sweetness. It's also dry-hopped with a device that DFH calls "Me So Hoppy" for even more flavor (we'll talk about dry-hopping another time). At 9% ABV it's not what you'd call a session beer. Leastways, I wouldn't.
We'll be serving it in a tulip glass like the one pictured above for maximum enjoyment of the gorgeous aroma.
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson
*Disclaimer: I have, on one or two occasions, discovered a six-month old bottle of 90 Minute at the back of my fridge and found it to be quite delicious.