I was very lucky to be able to grab a bottle of this from my bottle shop. I think it was the last one they had.
Let’s see what the website, dogfish.com, has to say about this effort.
2011 marks the 100th birthday of Mississippi Delta bluesman Robert Johnson who, according to legend, sold his soul down at the crossroads in a midnight bargain and changed music forever. Working again with our friends at Sony Legacy (yup, the same folks we did our Miles Davis-inspired Bitches Brew with), Dogfish Head pays tribute to this blues legend by gettin the hellhounds off his trail and into this finely-crafted ale.
Hellhound is a super-hoppy ale that hits 100 IBUs in the brewhouse, 10.0 ABV, 10.0 SRM in color, and dry-hopped with 100% centennial hops at a rate of 100 kilos per 100 barrel brew-length. Can you tell we at Dogfish are stoked for this mighty musical centennial? To accentuate and magnify the citrusy notes of the centennial hops (and as a shout out to Robert Johnsons mentor Blind Lemon Jefferson) we add dried lemon peel and flesh to the whirlpool.
The blues are falling down like hail.
The Hellhound comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it has a very stout 10.0% ABV.
The beer poured a pristine, clear, deep, golden/orange color. A very billowy, soft, semi-creamy, slightly rocky, off white head was formed from a relatively easy pour. The retention time was more than adequate and the lacing was thick and sticky. A thin ring circled the top of the liquid for the duration of the drink. This beer looked wonderful in the tulip glass I must say. Just look at that color!!!
The nose brought forth a wonderful burst of grapefruit citrus along with a significant hint of orange peel and a subtle, yet well harmonized, lemon zest. Some alcohol notes came through once the beer warmed a touch and they were accompanied by some toasted biscuits, caramel malts and earthy hops. Very nice bouquet on this one I thought.
A compelling hop presence was noticed from the first sip. I wouldn’t say it was quite a “hop bomb”, yet plenty was found. Rushes of bitterness from the grapefruit and lemon citrus along with a slight acidity from further additions of ripe oranges. They all seemed relatively congruent and well proportioned with one another. A light earthiness and a prevalent alcohol waft were noticed after the first quaff, but they quickly settled as the beer opened up a bit. Bready malts coincided with some sweet caramel and hints of pine. I even noticed some minute touches of spice toward the back end. This Hellhound was very complex and chocked full of flavor.
The mouthfeel was medium bodied, very smooth, chewy and dry. It started with a convincing burn, but as soon as the palate adjusted, it gave way to a very welcome and trustworthy warmth that remained throughout the drink. The palate was completely drenched with flavor after each sip too.
Truth be told…. I really liked this beer. It totally set well with me on this cool night. It’s safe to say that I want another bottle!!! The ease of drinkability was great. I found myself taking huge gulps to let the warmth fill my chest and belly. Watch out though!!! 10.0% ABV will sneak up on you in a hurry!!! Some have given this brew mixed reviews, but I thought it was very, very good. I hope that you guys have had the opportunity to try this beer. It’s well worth the higher than normal price tag. If you haven’t, and you happen upon a bottle, please pick it up. I’m sure it’s better when fresh, but having a bottle with a bit of age may still provide enough punch to illicit a good showing.
Thanks for reading and commenting guys. I, truly, appreciate all of the support. Until next time.
Score: 4.4 out of 5