Feb 9, 2015

Flying Dog Single Hop HBC-431 Imperial IPA

Flying Dog’s single hop series of imperial IPAs has been pretty damn solid throughout the past couple of years. Each has used the same base recipe, but swapped out the one hop variety that was the focus. So far, all of the varieties selected have been well known — that is, until the latest release which focuses on HBC-431, an experimental hop.

In doing a little online research, it appears as though HBC-431 is at least six years in the making — the offspring of two unknown varieties that has been nurtured by the same man (Gene Probasco) that created the Citra variety. With a pedigree like that, how can this little experimental number not be a winner?

And it is. Flaying Dog’s use of HBC-431 in this single-hop, 10% ABV IPA showcases the plant’s floral and citrusy aroma while allowing it’s tropical and fruity flavors to shine through in the flavor. It’s still not my favorite of the bunch, but it’s still damn good.


The beer pours a golden amber in color with a large stack of off-white, fluffy foam that left behind solid lacing as it dropped.

Flying Dog Single Hop HBC-431 Imperial IPA photo


Melon, tropical fruits, grass, herbal notes, floral scents, lightly peppery/spicy and wonderfully earthy — the beer’s aroma is enticing to say the least.


The hop comes across leafy and earthy first with resinous pine before its floral and citrusy qualities come in smoothly. It’s not quite as tropical as the nose lets on, as more grapefruit and dank (it’s a bit catty) pine show through a bit more. The level of bitterness (70 IBU) hits comfortably with a welcome spiciness. Like the other releases in the series it’s fairly well balanced with good body and mouthfeel. The alcohol is also tempered quite well.

Flying Dog Single Hop HBC-431 Imperial IPA photo


I really enjoyed this beer’s earthy quality. The tropical, floral nose is a treat, but the brew’s flavor is excellent. It’s still not quite as flavorful as the brewery’s Simcoe focused release, but it’s still damn good. I can’t wait to see what Flying Dog and other companies have in store for the newly introduced HBC-431.

Rating: 4/5

This is a review of a promotional sample.

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