A Review of Single Hop Imperial IPA: El Dorado by Flying Dog Brewing Co.
As I have said many times here at BrewChief, if you ever want to understand what hops bring to the beer table, then explore a single hop series of beers. The concept is simple: brew a series of beers with all the same ingredients, save one. I'll give you three guesses as to what that ingredient is, but you'll only need one. Rhymes with mops. Part of shops. Starts hopscotch. Yup, you guessed it: yeast. Kidding of course, I refer to those glorious little cones of bitterness: the hops. One of my favorite single hop series of beers comes from Flying Dog, a brewery very well known for their taste bud tingling nectar. I recently acquired this year's version of their El Dorado Single Hop Imperial IPA. Was it as delicious as I remembered? Only one way to find out.
Here's my review of last year's version as a reference: Click Here
As a side note, the El Dorado hop variety was developed by CLS Farms in the Moxee Valley of Washington State. They were formally released in the fall of 2010. El Dorado hops are known for their high alpha acid content and tropical fruit flavors. Fun fact: El Dorado is Spanish for ''the gilded one''.
In the glass, this beer has a semi-hazy golden coloration. It comes with a big fluffy white head that has really nice retention. On the nose is where those El Dorado hops will hook you. I was greeted by big bursts of orange peel, sweet peppers, pineapple, and a dusting of spices. Resting underneath is a solid sweet candied malt, namely caramel. A deletable introduction for what I can only assume is an equally deletable flavor.
Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this beer is the mouthfeel. It's incredibly smooth for such a big imperial (10% ABV). It has a solid medium body with only a moderate alcohol warming. Don't get me wrong though, this is still an aggressive beer, just softly accessible for the style and strength. Most of the aromatic traits translate into flavor notes. I found orange rind, sweet peppers, faint pine, a spicy bitterness, an herbal flare, and an array of tropical fruits, notably pineapple. The beer finishes dry and exits with a mixed aftertaste of spices, bitterness, and citrus.
Overall, Flying Dog's El Dorado Single Hop Imperial IPA is just as delicious as I remembered. It's a great example of a finely crafted Imperial IPA complete with big well-balanced flavors. It's one of the very few examples of the style that I can recommend to most beer fans. Hop heads and seasoned drinkers alike will love this beer's bold tropical appeal. On that same note, even general craft beer fans can get in on this sweet and savory action (proceeding with caution of course). But as always with big imperials, I have to warn novices against taking the plunge. Luckily Flying Dog offers an array of tasty palate honers to bring you up to speed (the Raging Bitch Belgian IPA is especially delicious). Once again I tip my drinking hat to Flying Dog and their delicious line of Single Hop Imperial IPAs. I always look forward to them and they never disappoint. Cheers!