Dogfish Head, 90 Minute IPA vs. Squall IPA

Going on a bit of a Dogfish Head marathon here, but the Squall IPA just became available here, so I figured now was a good time.

Supposedly, the Squall IPA is an unfiltered, bottle conditioned version of their 90 Minute IPA. So I figured, why not compare the two? Are these two different beers, or is this simply a marketing ploy? Let's find out.

90 Minute IPA
Grade: B

Pours a crystal clear golden brown, almost the color of whiskey. An offwhite head tops this beer, but dissipates into a slightly foamy coating. There are piney, resinous hop notes in the aroma, with definitive malt characters as well. Caramel sweetness and some slight toast from the malts are prevalent, as well as some alcohol character. Mouthfeel is full, with only very slight carbonation tingle and a semi-dry finish. Hops are forward and carry the piney flavors with them from the aroma. Malt kicks in afterward, with Dogfish Head's signature caramel sweetness. Molasses and raisin come in as well, telling me that perhaps this bottle has been sitting for a while. Biscut and roast come to the back of the palate, and a lingering strong bitterness dominates the aftertaste.

Squall IPA
Grade: B+

Pours with a thick, offwhite head that lingers for a long time. Appearance is astoundingly clear, much more clear than I would be looking for in an unfiltered IPA. The color is slightly darker than the 90 Minute. The hops dominate in the aroma, fresh and grassy, with citrus and pine coming through strongly. There are some malt characteristics in the aroma as well, but not nearly as dominating as the 90. Mouthfeel is full, coating the palate and finishing only slightly dryer than it started. The malt sweetness comes through here, however the caramel is given a lighter hand, as well as the roast and biscut. It seem that the sweetness hallmark of Dogfish is unavoidable, however. The molasses and the raisin character I was seeing in the 90 minute isn't here however, and the hop bitterness overall is sudued.

Overall impression? Generally I find the 90 Minute too sweet for my tastes, despite the great hop profile. The new Squall IPA, while just as sweet, has a softer feel to it, with a more balanced character. The bottle conditioning lends a new and interesting dimension to the 90 minute, which I have to say I like better than the original. If I had to choose between the two, I'd go with the Squall.