What in the world is a triple IPA? The line between the single and the double is often blurred these days; adding in a triple distinction makes the designations even murkier. In essence, it’s a beer that’s been hopped to the high heavens and then just slightly tamed with a massive malt bill that produces a double digit ABV number. It’s the beer equivalent of sticking a tyrannosaurus in a pen. Sure, those electric wires will hold it back for awhile, but it’s never really tamed. And God help us all should those defenses ever fall.
The style is quite rare, owing to the gargantuan amount of ingredients required to produce it. Using that many hops and grains escalates costs quickly. Lucky for those of us in the Midwest, and increasingly, across the country, Founders rolls out its own triple IPA every June. Devil Dancer’s menacing reddish amber belies the Satanic attack contained within the liquid. The aroma assaults the nose with a massive combination of pine, citrus, resin and malts. Flavors of toffee and caramel come first as the sticky, syrupy liquid oozes over your tongue, followed by an intense hit of pine hops.
As big as it is, a whopping 12% ABV with 112 IBUs, it hides the alcohol bite surprisingly well and actually leaves your palate relatively intact. It’s sublimely balanced for such a huge beer and it’s incredibly complex. This is no one-trick pony. Dance with the devil if you dare.