Tasting: August 21, 2012
Dogfish Head Heaven & Hell
A “Black & Tan” is the Americanized version of a “Half & Half” — or the practice of topping off an ale with a Guinness (or another type of stout). It’s a phrase that most people wrongfully attribute to Ireland – but be warned asking for a “Black & Tan” in an Irish pub is an insult. A “Black & Tan” in Ireland refers to a nickname given to a police/military group sent Ireland by the English. Anyway, the United States version is usually a Guinness poured over a Bass Ale (the Irish over the English). The all Irish version substitutes a Harp Ale for the Bass. I got a kick out of some of the variations…
Headless Horseman – stout over pumpkin ale
Ghetto Tan – stout poured over Pabst Blue Ribbon (also regionally known as a Black & Blue)
Dennis Rodman – stout poured over a blonde Ale
Snoop Dogg – stout poured over St. Ides
The list of beer combinations is endless. Leinenkugel’s even asked their customers to submit recipes using their beer on their website. It seems a common web theme is the mixture of chocolate stout with cherry or berry flavored ales i.e. Young’s Chocolate or Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat or Leinenkugel’s Berry. I also read a thread that said that Troegs and Dogfish Head brewers experiment with mixing beers all the time. Not surprising as Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton is a mix of 90 Minute IPA and Old Ale.
One popular web-lore mixture called “Heaven & Hell” caught my attention. It’s a mix of Dogfish Head’s behemoth Worldwide Stout (WWS) poured over their titanic 120 Minute IPA. I think I want to give that a try. I also read about someone creating a 105 minute ale by mixing Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute and 90 Minute IPA. So, with bottles of Worldwide, 120 and 90, I’m off to the lab to experiment.
I poured 6 ounces of 120 minute into my oversized brandy glass. I tried to float 6 ounces of the WWS on the top to give that layered effect but it failed. I read elsewhere that it’s impossible. It’s just a cola brown with no head. Quick note, I gave WWS an 80 and 120 an 82/bottle and 86/tap. Both were way too boozy, so I kind of expect the same here. Smells way too boozy and you are immediately hit with mega booze and ethers. Once you get past that you do see the major influences. WWS brings in the heavy roasted grains, while the 120 layers in oily hop resin and whiskey flavors. I get additional dark fruit of raisin, prune along with some chocolate. If you like these two boozy beers, you’ll love this concoction. If you wondered who would win in a flavor battle between 120 and WWS – put your money on WWS. For me, the booziness shouldn’t be the predominant flavor. I’ll put it at 84 points.
Next up is my blend of 120 and 90 minute. I’ll call it 100 minute since my proportions are 8 ounces of 90 and 4 ounces of 120. I figured the massive 120 would overpower here — but it didn’t. It still has the bright fruit of the 90 over the dank oily hop flavor of the 120. It is weird and unique – but delicious. 89 points. It somewhat resembles Founders Devil Dancer.