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12 Beers for the New Year: Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Day 9 of 12. Today’s beer is Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.  This review comes at a good time, as I will be traveling to Dogfish Head Brewery a week from today! I’ve never been there, but heard great reviews, and I’m very excited to travel there next week.

Hopefully I have successfully distracted you from the fact that this beer somewhat breaks the “rules” of my numbers reviews. Indeed, I did search for a beer that had the number “9” or word “nine” in the title, but I could not find any. (Note: one of my astute readers pointed out that I could have purchased a Magic Hat #9, and at one point I had that beer in my hand but decided against it. I like being difficult sometimes, ask my wife.)

So, instead, I bent the rules and decided to review Dogfish Head “NINEty”Minute, which just so happens to also be 9% alcohol by volume, and NINEty IBUs. Fair enough?

Released in April of 2001, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (henceforth abbreviated as DFH90) was the first “continually hopped” beer that Dogfish Head brewed.

Here is a “quick sip” video from DFH founder Sam Calagione explaining the hopping process utilized for DFH90.

And here is a picture of my DFH90.


Dogfish Head 90
ABV: 9.0%
Style: American Double /Imperial IPA

I’ve had a lot of IPAs. I would say that IPA is my favorite style of beer. And maybe it’s just the hype surrounding DFH and what they’ve become to the craft beer scene- nothing short of groundbreaking and trend-setting. But I believe that DFH90 is one of the most interesting IPAs I’ve ever drank.


Why is DFH90 so interesting? First off: aroma. For a beer at 90 IBU, which is on the upper limit of human bitterness detection, you can’t really smell a great deal of hops in the aroma. Usually, a beer of this hoppiness smells very… something. Whether that something be piney, citrus, earthy, woody. But DFH90 doesn’t really smell hoppy.

Next up on why DFH90 is so interesting: taste. I thought to myself, “If this beer doesn’t smell hoppy, I’m guessing it tastes hoppy.” And I was surprised again. This beer doesn’t smell nor taste hoppy. Well… not as hoppy as some other popular beers in the same style. Maybe this beer was hoppy to me back in 2009. The hops are definitely present, but well blended by exceptionally sweet malt.

Another interesting fact: Where is the 9% alcohol by volume? I just finished my beer, and I’m definitely feeling that 9%, but I didn’t really taste it. In my drinking opinion, the sign of a well-made high alcohol beer is one in which you don’t notice the alcohol content until you’re finished drinking the beer.

In present day beer, where many high-hopped, high-flavored, high-aroma double IPAs are rulers, DFH90 is king. This beer hearkens to a time when hop compatibility was more important than hop noticeability.

For some people, myself included, DFH90 still holds true to the ways in which it’s interesting.

This is Day 9 of 12 Beers for the New Year. To see the other reviews, click here:
Day 8: 8 Wired Hopwired IPA
Day 7: Rogue Farms 7 Hop IPA
Day 6: Sixpoint Brewery: Global Warmer
Day 5: Upright Brewing Five
Day 4: Dark Horse 4 Elf
Day 3: Ommegang Three Philosophers
Day 2: Two Roads Road 2 Ruin
Day 1: Brooklyn Local 1


About Buffalo Beer Biochemist

Born and raised in Western New York. Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Professor of Microbiology and Chemistry. And lover of beer.

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