Sierra Nevada Audition/Ballast Point Dorado DIPA Showdown

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Barley growers and maltsters are enjoying the proliferation of high gravity beers; Barleywines, Imperial Reds, Imperial Nut Browns, Russian Imperial Stouts and Imperial, err, Double IPA’s. Hop growers also love these offering because in the quest to balance the sweetness and high alcohol content brewers are using more hops as well.

Sierra Nevada has never been a stranger to these styles with Bigfoot Barleywine and Norwhal Russian Imperial Stout; their Audition Double IPA adds another entry to their storied high-gravity library.

Ballast Point Brewing; from Southern California, offers up its Dorado Double IPA (DIPA); a mash hopped, kettle hopped, dry-hopped entry into their extensive offerings. Dorado, or Mahi Mahi is a muscular and tasty game fish native to the Pacific. Will this beer live up to its namesake?

Audition/Dorado Review

ABV: Audition; 8.9%   Dorado; 10.0%

IBU’s: Audition; 91     Dorado; 90

Method of Pour: Audition; 750ml into shaker pint  Dorado; 22oz into shaker pint

Color: Audition; Bright and clear burnt orange. Firm, rocky head that laced the glass to the bottom .

          Dorado; Clear, faded orange. Head a little thinner than its counterpart, It dissipated sooner, which is to be expected in a beer at 10% ABV.

Nose: Audition: Citrus, pine and malt   Dorado; Pine, malt, alcohol, earthy tones.

Palate: Audition; The orange color translates nicely to an orange flavor, the hops are piney, the alcohol is warming but not hot. Malt is apparent throughout a sweetish finish. Not as dry and clean as the label implies.

Dorado; Citrus but not quite orange, sip it slowly and you get scotch malts without the smoke, piney hops and the alcohol is hotter that the Audition. The earthy aromas translate to hints of Portabello mushroom. This beer seems hoppier than the Audition due to a cleaner, less malty finish.

Bottom Line: While both are well made beers the Ballast Point Dorado offers more complexity on the palate. The scotch-like flavors matched with the heat of the alcohol offer an interesting palate confusion that earns it the extra nod and my rating of 9.2.

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