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A Double IPA (DIPA) Blind Tasting

by pj on May 31st, 2012

On May 30th Luke hosted a tasting of Double IPAs at his apartment, which we could trash since he was moving to a new house in 2 days. Jason, Jaro and Daniel all joined in. Kelly generously handled the pouring and record-keeping, while Paulina kept baby Elisa company.

The beers we tasted (in order) were:

The Brew Kettle – White Rajah (actually just an IPA, not a DIPA. Also, the bottle was a few months old.)
Oskar Blues – Deviant Dale’s IPA
Three Floyds – Blackheart (an English-style DIPA aged briefly in charred oak barrels)
Healy Homebrews – Star Destroyer (my attempt at cloning Three Floyds – Dreadnaught)
The Alchemist – Heady Topper (#4 beer in the world at the time on BeerAdvocate)
Three Floyds – Dreadnaught (#44 beer in the world at the time on BeerAdvocate)
Great Lakes Brewing – Lake Erie Monster

Here is a summary of the results:

  1. Heady Topper pretty clearly came out on top. It was easily identifiable as being very cloudy and full of hop aroma. It was the most unique beer of the bunch.
  2. My homebrew clone of Dreadnaught (1) was incorrectly identified by 2 out of 3 people (including me) as the real Dreadnaught, and (2) was preferred to Dreanaught by 4 out of 5 tasters. The real Dreadnaught was actually accused of having some ‘off’ flavors, which may be due to bad brewing practice or bad bottle storage.
  3. Overall, I think we were pretty good at identifying the beers, especially given that they are fairly similar. Almost all errors were either (1) confusing Star Destroyer with Dreadnaught or (2) having literally no information about what Deviant Dale’s IPA was supposed to taste like.
  4. Doing a blind taste testing like this is a lot of fun.

Note: We actually scored the beers on a scale from 1-133. The scores reported below are normalized to a 1-100 scale.

The Scores

BEER

Avg Score

(Rank)

PJ

(Rank)

Luke

(Rank)

Jason

(Rank)

Jaro

(Rank)

Daniel

(Rank)

The Alchemist

Heady Topper

82.6

(1)

97

(1)

98

(1)

58

(5)

71

(1)

89

(1)

Healy Homebrews

Star Destroyer

76.4

(2)

92

(2)

92

(2)

68

(1)

56

(T4)

74

(6)

Great Lakes Brewing

Lake Erie Monster

76.2

(3)

89

(3)

86

(4)

65

(2)

56

(T4)

84

(2)

Three Floyds

Dreadnaught

73.7

(4)

86

(4)

79

(6)

64

(3)

56

(T4)

83

(T3)

Three Floyds

Blackheart

73.4

(5)

79

(6)

89

(3)

56

(6)

60

(3)

83

(T3)

Oskar Blues

Deviant Dale’s IPA

68.1

(6)

84

(5)

83

(5)

53

(7)

45

(7)

75

(5)

The Brew Kettle

White Rajah

67.5

(7)

69

(7)

77

(7)

60

(4)

64

(2)

Did Not

Drink

Our Guesses of the Beers

BEER

PJ

Luke

Jason

The Brew Kettle

White Rajah

White

Rajah

White

Rajah

White

Rajah

Oskar Blues

Deviant Dale’s IPA

(No Guess)

Blackheart

Dreadnaught

Three Floyds

Blackheart

Blackheart

Deviant

Dale’s IPA

Blackheart

Healy Homebrews

Star Destroyer

Dreadnaught

Dreadnaught

Deviant

Dale’s IPA

The Alchemist

Heady Topper

Heady

Topper

Heady

Topper

Heady

Topper

Three Floyds

Dreadnaught

Star

Destroyer

Star

Destroyer

Star

Destroyer

Great Lakes Brewing

Lake Erie Monster

Deviant

Dale’s IPA

Lake Erie

Monster

Lake Erie

Monster

Comments

BEER

PJ

Luke

Jason

Jaro

Daniel

The Brew Kettle

White Rajah

Too bitter. Not enough hop aroma/flavor. Old?

Like a Pils

Bitter at the end. Very light.

Oskar Blues

Deviant Dale’s IPA

Orange, lemon, citrus.

Dry. Bitter. ESB. Cloudy.

Grapefruit

Amazon

Three Floyds

Blackheart

Floral. Wood.

Clear. No aroma.

Too grapefruity

Healy Homebrews

Star Destroyer

Fruity & alcoholic.

“I like this beer a lot”

Fruity. Port.

“I like the smell”

The Alchemist

Heady Topper

Tons of aroma.

Grapefruit. Orange.

Grapefruit. Light. Cloudy.

Passion fruit

Three Floyds

Dreadnaught

Ammonia (‘cat pee’) smell. Huge.

Tastes almost skunky, nice. Could drink a
lot.

Clear. Moderately bitter.

Great Lakes Brewing

Lake Erie Monster

White wine.

Light & crisp.

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