Founders Devil Dancer Triple IPA

August 25 2010 - 3:31 PM

With a name like Devil Dancer, how could they go wrong?  Anyone who has known me for more than a day probably has some idea how much I love Founders Brewing.  Their entire lineup consists of beers that are daring, unique takes on the standard brewing styles – they vary the expected mix on each brew to create something memorable, and of course, great tasting.  Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Red's Rye, Double Trouble, Dirty Bastard, and even the Porter are must-try's if you're a fan of bold, tasty beers.  There is nothing like their Cerise.  I decided to have some sympathy for the Devil Dancer and gave this triple IPA a shot since its Grand Rapids, MI brewing parent never steers me wrong.

Double IPAs are difficult to concoct because the amount of malt needed to tame the abundant hops can be excessively weighty.  The hops risk becoming punishing.  These problems proportionally increase with triple IPAs. Yet I figured that if any brewery could conquer this style, Founders can. 

The Devil Dancer was expectedly overwhelming.  At 12% it is a very weighty, heavy beer loaded with dense malts and huge amounts of hops.  I hadn't been drinking in a while when I first tried this, and the hop flavors literally bit my tongue on first sip. It darn near hurt.  The malts smooth things out just a touch before the punishment arrives.  Hops on the finish bruise the palate, which was not crisp but resembled charcoal.  The overall mouthfeel was dense like drinking cornbread. The beer's elements never really tasted integrated, and I somewhat anticipated being finished with it and moving on to something more negotiable.

I would say this is a unique beer experience and something you'll want to try if you are a fan of the brewery, but I would not go out of my way to drink another of these.  Pleased to meet you, Devil Dancer.