I had a new email message, it was from BeerMenus and it told me of a new beer that was just delivered to Cardinal out in Joliet. I hit the road early Saturday afternoon and entered the store. There on the shelf, behind the register was a bottle of Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL, the beer I had come for. But there was only one bottle up there.
I went over to the shelves and scanned for any other unfamiliar or possibly new beers for the evening’s review. Nothing caught my fancy. The top shelf of the first unit had a yellow tag taped to edge. It showed the price of the beer and it was a grouping of another 8 Dissenter 750ml bottles. I checked the label. The beer was an India Pale Lager, a style of beer I didn’t remember having.
I grabbed two bottles and paid the man and left the store with satisfied that I was able to pay in cash. The credit card could have stayed home, but ya never know. I’ll go into debt for beer in a millisecond if the beer is good, new or unique.
Back home the bottles spent a half-hour in the freezer and four hours in the fridge. It wasn’t an ale and I knew cold temps were important.
Some research into the beer and the style was in order. Founders introduced the beer last month. There is no set-in-stone formal definition of the India Pale Lager style of beer from either the BJCP or the Brewers Association. It’s a master brewer’s idea to take an Old Style (pfft!) of beer and doctor it up with more and/or different ingredients. The Black IPA falls into this same style limbo.
I may be wrong, but it could very well be that Sam Adams Double Agent was the first IPL to hit the mass market. They thought it may have a taste that would like across all palates so they made it a year round beer. Feel free to prove me wrong. I’m no expert and certainly no historian.
With temps in the low 50s out in the garage, and no gumption to start a wood fire, I resolved to stay in the house where the wife turned the furnace on for the first time this year. Yep. It’s come to that. We’ll see about next week.
I grabbed a nicely chilled 750 and the Sam Adams Perfect Pint and settled into the big, comfy chair in front of the big screen iMac and I wondered what I was in store for. Here we go.
The beer poured a rather pale yellow and brought up a nice two-finger head of pure white. Carbonation was vigorous composed of many micro-bubbles in the warm glass. The aroma had a hint of light hops and a tad bit of sweetness.
The first sip was surprisingly delicious. It had a great medium mouthfeel, a slightly biscuity malt base and a nice crispness at the swallow. The hop aroma was present in the glass at every sip. Hard to say which strains were in the beer but, I’d venture to say that there were a bit of Citra or Mosaic and maybe some Centennial or Cascade.
With each sip, I was pleased at what Founders have done to a lager to make it taste almost like a pale ale. The beer was very enjoyable cold, straight out of the fridge. Delicious and refreshing. Lagers don’t usually have this great mouthfeel.
I must confess that I was hard pressed to discern a difference in the general taste of this Founders beer versus a gold ol’ pale ale such as Dale’s Pale Ale. I know the yeasts used in the two styles are different, but I’d like to try IPLs a little more often that I had. Dissenter had a bit more malt character which made it that much better.
I can understand how the brewery can come out with one of these special releases, but this is one of those beers that should be sold in a 4-pack of 12-ouncers instead of the 750s they presently come in. Yes, it’s a limited or one-time release. But somewhere down the line, some brewery will add an IPL to their year-round list, with a higher ABV and grab all the gold.
Sam Adams makes Double Agent IPL but it comes in at 5% alcohol, whereas Dissenter is the Sumo so far, weighing in at 8.7%. The sandbagging may come in later.
Brewing a lager is no easy task. Refrigeration in varying steps during fermentation is critical and a lengthy cold store is necessary for the style. Maybe I’m asking for the impossible, cost prohibitive chore of producing these IPLs for the craft beer brewers who don’t have the time, capacity or wherewithal to crank these beers out regularly.
Founders Dissenter is an excellent beer brewed in a style we should all revisit from time to time. Nicely bodied, moderately hopped and quite refreshing, it’s a beer that should be tried once discovered. Delicious. Like revenge, it’s best served cold. Everything you wanted in a pale ale and more.
The SixPackTech summary for Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL:
Who’s on the Dissenter label?
Style: Imperial India Pale Lager – no official style definition.
Read this article about IPLs.
Taste: A great taste experience.
Smoothness: Easy with a slight crispness at the end.
Drinkability: They go down easy but could wind up being trouble in the end.
Bang for the buck: I’d say it was an ok price for the taste that was delivered.
Amount paid: $11.99 per 750ml bottle.
Get it again? Probably more than likely.
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Nice and cold. (sniff) Citrusy. Hmm. (sip) It’s got that citrus bitter but it’s kinda light. (sip) Better than the ones you’ve had in the last couple of weeks. (She seems to be out of her coma from last week.)
Founders Brewery [3:46]