Lakewood’s Double IPA Is Always Sunny.

Welcome to On Tap! Each week in this recurring feature, we’ll take an in-depth look at one of the many beers now available in the suddenly crowded North Texas brew scene. The goal here is to look at these area beers without our local goggles on and to wonder aloud, “Is this beer good or do I just like it because it’s local?” Should be a fun experiment, no? Cheers to that!

This week, we sipped on Lakewood Brewing Company‘s Troll Toll.

 

Fast Facts on Lakewood Brewing Company’s Troll Toll.
Style: Double IPA.
ABV: 9.6 percent.
International Bitterness Units (IBUs): 116.
Color: Light orange.
Availability: Limited, a one-time brew.

Overview.
Lakewood Brewing is now seven releases deep on its Legendary Series, and this beer represents another foray in to the bigger, wilder and crazier styles of beer. Lakewood has ventured in to mostly European styles with the first six offerings in the series, but Troll Toll represents something different: a huge West Coast-ish style Double IPA. And it’s expensive, due to its massive grain bill and over-the-top hop situation. So, did you bring the toll? Because you gotta pay the troll toll if you want to get in to this bottle’s hole. I very much like Lakewood’s lineup of its flagship beers. Does the Legendary Series represent a sort of test where it can release a small batch, without too much risk, and get feedback from the public? Or is it just something fun to do every now and again? Either way, I’m always game to try them.

Background on Double IPA.
The double IPA style is a cranked up version of the already-hoppy IPA. The grain bill is normally fairly large, making for an elevated ABV. In fact, it’s not out of the ordinary to see a Double IPA with a 10 percent ABV. This beer style is a showcase for hops, notably, new world varieties that contain pine, resinous and citrus characteristics. The yeast situation should be clean, without much off-flavor. Well, even if there was some sort of off flavor in a Double IPA, it’s probably masked by the huge hop bitterness. The term double is arbitrary, as is “imperial” or “extra.” However, American breweries have gathered around the term double to describe this style. Double IPA is not your run-of-the-mill poolside summer sipper. More often than not, brewers will gravitate toward the higher end of the ABV for this style. So get your helmet.

 

Appearance.
Troll Toll pours light orange in color. There’s a very nice layer of head that hangs around for a bit, and lacing persists throughout my first glass. Right when the beer pours, there is a big amount chill haze. I see the beautiful color of the beer, but I can’t see through it. However, after 20 minutes or so into my pour, the beer takes a hard turn towards clarity. And that’s a good thing, because I expect this beer to be a clear beer.

Aroma.
The malt backbone on this beer seems slightly reminiscent of the sweet caramel and toast that you find in a barleywine, except that it’s just a hint of it. And just as I’m about halfway through noticing this malty goodness, I am clobbered over the head with the West Coast hop onslaught. I sense a huge amount of citrus, a huge amount of pine, a bit of bubble gum and a bitter catty finish. The nose is huge on the hops. It’s all about the hoppy action.

Flavor.
Flavor, like the aroma department, is crazy on the hops. Where the aroma is dominated by pine notes, the flavor seems sort of catty first, and pine and citrus second. This beer is so aggressively hopped that it almost gets in the way of the rest of the beer. I am a total hop head, no doubt, but this seems like the beer is pushed so far on bittering that it’s a bit unbalanced. Maybe it’s just me. Are you a hop head? Then you’ll probably appreciate how intensely bitter this beer is. But I’m a little bit turned off by it. The intensity of the hops almost turns in to a sort of spicy sensation. I wish that the beer had a little bit more residual sweetness to, perhaps, balance this bitterness.

 

Mouthfeel.
Troll Toll finishes clean and smooth. The carbonation is moderately high on this beer, and it cranks up the bitter sensation I feel on my tongue. I enjoy the mouthfeel on this beer. Thumbs way up. For a 9.6% percent ABV beer, there is very little sticky left. But as I mentioned in the flavor department, I think it could use a little bit more sweetness.

Overall Impression.
Troll Toll is good for hop lovers. If you want to get in to this bottle’s hole, you better be prepared to get your tongue whipped from the over-the-top hop action. It’s not so good for beer fans who are looking for a balanced, easy drinking beer. This beer is a bit of a slog to get through. And I’m in no way saying that this is a bad beer, however, it’s just, well, a lot. There is a lot going on here, and I’m so palate-wrecked from the bitterness that all I can taste is catty, resinous pine at this point.

Score.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give Lakewood Brewing Troll Toll a 5.5.

 

What’s happening in the area brew scene?
• Friday, August 5. Beer Pong and Challenge Shot at Oak Highlands Brewery.
• Friday, August 5. Brewery Re-Launch Party at Uncle Buck’s Brewery & Steakhouse.
• Saturday, August 6. Local Brews, Local Grooves at House of Blues.
• Saturday, August 6. Community Craft Beer Barge at Eagle Point Marina.
• Saturday, August 6. Fourth Anniversary Party at Cedar Creek Brewery.
• Saturday, August 13. Tip Jar Release Party at Martin House Brewing.
• Sunday, September 4. Labor of Love Homebrew Competition at Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
• Saturday, September 10. Brewfest at Dallas Farmers Market.
• Saturday, October 1. Texas Beer Camp at Long Road Farm.
• Saturday, November 12. Untapped: Dallas at Fair Park.

Previous On Tap Reviews:
Revolver’s Sangre y Miel: 10.
Peticolas’ Royal Scandal: 10.
Community’s Mosaic IPA: 10.
Peticolas’ Velvet Hammer: 10.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Legion: 10.
Community’s Legion: 10.
BrainDead’s Fill in the Blancs: 9.5.
Oak Highlands’ Freaky Deaky: 9.5.
Deep Ellum’s Barrel Aged Four Swords: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Saint Dymphna: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Lost Epic: 9.5.
Community’s Ascension Porter: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Temptress: 9.5.
Lakewood’s Goatman: 9.5.
Community’s Public Ale: 9.5.
Peticolas’ Thrilla in Brazilla: 9.5.
On Rotation’s Jalapeno Saison: 9.
Woodcreek’s Bourbon Barrel Bock: 9.
Lakewood’s Wild Manimal: 9.
Revolver’s Blood & Honey: 9.
Martin House’s Imperial Texan: 9.
Community’s Trinity Tripel: 9.
Peticolas’ Irish Goodbye: 9.
Four Corners’ Block Party Porter: 9.
Cedar Creek’s Belgian Dubbel: 9.
Peticolas’ Ghost Of Alfred Brown: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Easy Peasy IPA: 8.5.
Deep Ellum’s Oak Cliff Coffee Ale: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Rock Ryder: 8.5.
Rahr’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer: 8.5.
Lakewood’s Raspberry Temptress: 8.5.
Texas Ale Project’s Payne Pils: 8.
Noble Rey’s Bridesmaid’s Tears: 8.
Collective Brewing’s Urban Funk House: 8.
Lakewood’s On Call: 8.
Oak Highlands’ Golden Mustache: 8.
903 Brewers’ Crackin’ Up: 8.
Deep Ellum’s Play Date: 8.
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company’s 11th Anniversary Russian Imperial Stout: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Belgian Tripel: 8.
Noble Rey’s SteamPunk: 8.
903 Brewers’ Citra On Top: 8.
Bitter Sisters’ Hissy Fit: 8.
BrainDead’s Gritz: 8.
Community’s Barrel-Aged Inspiration : 8.
Cedar Creek’s Fisticuffs: 8.
Lakewood’s Punkel: 8.
Four Corners’ El Chingon IPA: 8.
Martin House’s Day Break: 8.
Deep Ellum’s GOURDzilla: 8.
Peticolas’ The Duke (Aged 12 Months): 8.
Deep Ellum’s Pale Ale: 8.
Revolver’s Bock: 8.
903 Brewers’ Sasquatch: 8.
Peticolas’ Wintervention: 8.
Armadillo Ale Works’ Brunch Money: 8.
Martin House’s Salsa Verde: 8.
Cedar Creek’s Spinning Mule Robust Porter: 8.
Lakewood’s Holiday Bonus: 8.
Lakewood’s Hop Trapp: 8.
Martin House’s Stars Above: 7.5.
Grapevine’s Prickly Pear Wheat Ale: 7.5.
Bitter Sisters’ Knock Out: 7.5.
Four Corners’ Notorious O.A.T.: 7.5.
Noble Rey Golden Rey With Raspberries and Ginger: 7.5.
On Rotation Saved By The Belma: 7.5.
True Vine’s Unicorn’s Revenge: 7.5.
Deep Ellum’s Hop Seeker: 7.5.
Four Corners’ El Super Bee: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Hopochondria: 7.5.
Three Nations GPA: 7.5.
Martin House’s Rubberneck Red: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Antigoon’s Revenge: 7.5.
Community’s Texas Pils: 7.5.
Lakewood’s Zomer Pils: 7.5.
Cedar Creek’s Dankosaurus: 7.5.
Backcountry’s Double IPA: 7.
Rahr’s Visionary: 7.
Shannon Brewing’s Irish Cream Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Guava Good: 7.
TUPPS Brewery’ Northbound 75: 7.
Rahr & Sons’ Iron Joe: 7.
BrainDead’s I Like Harvey IPA: 7.
Martin House’s Turtle Power: 7.
Collective’s Petite Golden Sour: 7.
Shannon’s Chocolate Stout: 7.
BrainDead’s Red Ale: 7.
Community’s Razzy Raspberry Witbier: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway Blonde Ale: 7.
Bearded Eel’s Purple Unicorn: 7.
Noble Rey’s Off The Leash: 7.
Shannon Brewing Company’s Irish Red: 7.
Texas Ale Project’s Somethin’ Shady: 7.
Deep Ellum IPA: 7.
Cedar Creek’s The Lawn Ranger: 7.
Martin House Brewing Company’s Cellarman’s Reserve IPA (Amarillo).: 7.
Lakewood’s Till & Toil: 7.
903 Brewers’ The Chosen One: 7.
903 Brewers’ Sugar On Top: 7.
Martin House’s Gateway XPA: 7.
Armadillo Ale Work’s Quakertown Stout: 7.
Revolver’s High Brass: 7.
Community’s Pale Ale: 7.
Oak Highlands’ Chump Change: 7.
Martin House’s River House: 7.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Sir William’s Brown Ale: 7.
Community’s Funnel Cake Ale: 7.
Audacity’s Boss Raptor IPA: 7.
Martin House’s The Juice: 6.5.
Collective Brewing Project’s Mom Azacca: 6.5.
Four Corners’ La Lechuza: 6.5.
Revolver’s Ironhead IPA: 6.5.
903 Brewers’ Trot Line: 6.5.
Peticolas’ Operation Collaboration: 6.5.
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Nightwatch: 6.5.
Peticolas’ The Duke: 6.5.
Deep Ellum’s Double Brown Stout : 6.5.
Nine Bands’ Cactus Cat: 6.
Martin House’s Kafkaesque: 6.
TUPPS’ Cotton Mill Gold: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Tweedleyum: 6.
Rabbit Hole’s Off With Your Red: 6.
Cedar Creek’s Elliott’s Phoned Home Pale Ale: 6
Grapevine Craft Brewery’s Lakefire: 6
Armadillo Ale Works’ WunderMelon: 6
Deep Ellum Pale Ale: 6
Martin House’s Hell Below: 5.5.
Lakewood’s La Dame Du Lac: 5.5.
Martin House’s Mind On My Money: 5.
903 Brewers’ The Land Of Milk And Honey: 5.
Deep Ellum’s Numb Comfort: 5.
Four Bullets’ Black Jack Brown: 4.5.
Four Corners Heart O’ Texas: 4.
Audacity’s Sunset Boulevard: 4.
Shannon Brewing Company’s IPA: 4.
Grapevine’s Monarch: 4.
Twin Peaks’ Dirty Blonde: 3.
Franconia Wheat: 3.
Miller Lite: 1.

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