Jun 12, 2015

Devils Backbone Sixteen Point IPA

Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA has been a household staple ever since it arrived on the Virginia beer scene in 2011-2012. While that tasty IPA is readily available these days, it’s bigger sibling, Sixteen Point Imperial IPA, has been much more elusive. And with a rack like that (check out the antlers on the label artwork above) can you blame it? Well, I’ve finally had the opportunity to snag a couple of bottles of this 9.1% ABV brew and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Sixteen Point isn’t just a doubling of everything found in the brewery’s base IPA. Both the hop blend and malt bill are different with this bigger brew. Cascade, Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe hops give all they can to provide a fruity, piney experience while the malts (Cara-Red, Torrified Wheat, Maris Otter Pale and CMC Superior Pils) do their best to balance everything out and create a drinkable brew.


The brew pours a vibrant amber in color with a froth cap of tawny foam.

Devils Backbone Sixteen Point IPA photo


Overall, the aroma is still earthy with pine, grapefruit, grass, tangerine and herbal notes. Light grain and a soft bready presence help even everything out.


As you might expect, the beer is hoppy for sure. Fruity and tropical up front, with an earthy grass underlying trait from start to the long lasting finish. Grapefruit, pineapple and tangerine join pine, a moderate sweetness and a healthy does of hop bitterness. I was curious how many IBUs this beer had — the company’s website just reads “Yes!” The beer is not overwhelming and is deceptively drinkable with only a touch of warmth in the chest after each greedy gulp.


Sixteen Point is an excellent imperial IPA. It’s easily one of the best in the region along with Alewerks Bitter Valentine and DC Braus’ On The Wings of Armageddon. The only problem I see going forward is tracking this mischievous creature to its lair so that I may enjoy it more often.

Rating: 4.25/5

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