Alley Kat Brewing Co. Onyx Dragon – American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU

Alley Kat Brewing Co. Onyx Dragon American Double / Imperial IPA at 7.5% ABV | 75+ IBU (C$8.39 at Okotoks Co-Op, 650 ml, packaged on 1-Aug-2018, acquired 1-Sep-2018, reviewed 3-Sep-2018)

Appearance: clear pale amber with one fat finger of fluffy pale ivory head, excellent retention and heavy soapy lacing. (5/5) Aroma: bready caramel, pepper, herbal, Perth & grass, faint pine & citrus. (7/10) Taste: moderate sweet & spice, high bitter. (7/10) Palate: medium slightly oily body, moderate carbonation, off dry mildly spicy warming and lingering bitter finish. (4/5)

Given the name, someone unfamiliar with the series might be forgiven for expecting a Black IPA. Of course, this being the fourteenth in the series I’ve tried, I had no such erroneous expectation. I was rather hoping this would continue the upward trend established by the past few examples, but that would become exponentially more difficult to do, so I’m not overly surprised it doesn’t. I really am starting to think they really are hitting the bottom of the barrel with regards to hop selection, given they’re up to more than 20 of these things now, maybe 30. In any case, Bravo hops, at 14-17% alpha acid, are really more of a bittering hop than an aroma one, and it shows here: although it’s cleanly implemented, it tends more earthy than citrus, pine, or floral. This would be a great DIPA if it were, say, ten years ago, or even five, but the state of the art has moved on. That said, it’s solid, well-done, and fairly accessible for such an aggressive beast, so I have no real complaints here – but it’s not really all that interesting. (15/20)

7.5/10 #ryansbooze

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