It’s not often you come across an Imperial IPA that really stands out from the rest. The majority of IPAs are focused on pungent hoppiness and bitterness throughout the initial taste followed by a maltier after effect. Countless breweries craft beers with so many hop varieties, the hop taste almost gets lost in the palate overload and too many unique flavors are blended together. Each ingredient has to tell a story, and that story gets muddled if there is a confusion of flavors. That’s not the case with this brew. Founders Brewing Co. DOOM is an IPA for the ages, definitely breaking the IPA mold.
First a bit of history on this beer. Founders also makes a double IPA called Double Trouble using Summit hops for bittering and a blend of Simcoe and Amarillo for flavor. In order to craft DOOM, Founders ages Double Trouble in bourbon barrels for up to 4 months, bottling the ale in a 24.6 oz bottle.
I poured this beer at about 42 degrees fahrenheit and was immediately overtaken with the sweet smell of bourbon and a hint of hop. The pour is very mellow and has an orangish hue, with emerald, gold and blonde tones. Clarity is not as prominent compared to fresh beers but this is likely due to the bourbon barrel aging process adding a bit of cloudiness to the appearance. Head is very faint, likely due to the high alcohol content, roughly 1/2 inch but quickly disappears. When you put the beer up to light, no sediment is visible.
The initial fragrance has strong yet sweet scents of the bourbon and is quickly followed by a mellow after hint of hops. The hop smell is comparable to a hoppy red ale or even a single IPA that is not wet hopped. I like the transition of bourbon to IPA taste, and it reminds me of a barrel aged stout/imperial IPA black and tan. Bourbon is very sweet throughout the swig but IPA aftertaste is present.
As far as mouth feel is concerned, it’s a little tricky. The bourbon sticks to the tongue and throat throughout the drink, but the IPA qualities make the mouthfeel very full, bold and clean as an IPA should be. Aftertaste is very coarse and dry, similar to a red wine or barleywine.
Overall, this beer was quite a surprise. I was a bit leery at first as hops and bourbon don’t seem like likely partners in crime, but Founders hit this one out of the park. This beer can best be enjoyed on a chilly spring night with a relaxing cigar.
– Nick Jacobs