Dancing With the Devil in the Pale Moonlight
A Review of Devil Dancer by Founders Brewing Co.
Posted on 4/24/2012 by Chops
In the vast world of better beer, the mere mention of any given style can cause you to salivate in anticipation, perk up with curiosity, roll your eyes in dismissal, or even recoil in fear. Once you have made your rounds within the style arena, you tend to know what to expect from particular styles. But every now and then you come across a beer that leaves you speechless. Be it a brand new style, or a combination of styles, or even a bold interpretation. I was recently rendered speechless when I came across the Devil Dancer Triple IPA from the Founders Brewing Company. First of all, it's a Founders brew, so I know it's going to be a high quality ass kicker. Secondly, a Triple IPA? Sweet mercy this is going to be painful.

As a side note, I found Devil Dancer as part of a recent tap takeover at my favorite local beer store. Founders was hosting the event to celebrate the release of their highly coveted KBS specialty brew. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a tap takeover, it's when a brewery comes into a bar and takes over all available taps to promote their brand. The event is especially awesome when a renowned brewery like Founders takes the reigns. Hold on for dear life because it's going to be a bumpy ride.

In the glass, Devil Dancer has a bright hazy copper coloration with an orange hue. It comes with a frothy white head that dissipates at a normal pace. The aroma consisted of a thick caramel malt base with plenty of hop aggression and a menacing boozy layer. The dominant note is a pungent citrus that fills the area around the glass. It smells very strong and very aggressive. Going into that first sip, I couldn't help but take a deep breath and prepare for punishment.

The aggressiveness hits you like a freight train right off the bat. Devil Dancer is relentlessly bitter, but you quickly notice that the hop profile is in a fight to the death with the malty sweetness. They battle for dominance throughout the flavor train with the hops coming out on top most of the time. Oddly enough, the hops do not mask other flavors, which was a nice surprise. You can clearly taste the fiery qualities as it warms, which includes a charred peppery woody character.

I need to devote a separate paragraph to the mouthfeel because there's a lot to discuss. We often talk about an alcohol ''burn'' used to describe the warm feeling of alcohol, but in this case, the alcohol actually burns your tongue. Couple it with the thick sweetness of the malt and you get an odd balance of creamy and crisp sensations. Devil Dancer drinks like a brew-liquor hybrid. It's an obligate sipper that is hard to get through. It's very harsh, but still very flavorful. Consequently, the finish is very dry much like a bourbon or brandy and leaves a thin yet intensely bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Founders' Devil Dancer Triple IPA is a relentless assault on the senses. It took me a while to get through it, but it was well worth the experience. Consequently, I can only recommend this beer to those with well-honed imperial palates, and even there it might be too aggressive. Seasoned hop heads will adore this beer as yet another maniacal Founders creation. For me, Devil Dancer has joined the ranks of monstrous bitter bombs usually reserved for Stone or Mikkeller. It should also be noted that these beers are not bitter for bitter's sake (an unfortunate trend in better beer). There is method to the madness and the quality is superb. All I ask is that you please proceed with caution.

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Devil Dancer by Founders Brewing Co.
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