Sep 13, 2019

Definitive Vanilla Dome

The whole milkshake IPA thing really isn’t my… thing. It’s not a type of beer that I would personally go out looking for, but I received this can of Definitive Brewing’s Vanilla Dome from a well meaning soul and so here we are.

This 8% ABV imperial IPA from the Portland, Maine company is brewed with lactose, vanilla, raspberries and blackberries. Two of those ingredients are used quite well and, in fact, are a tasty marriage made in beery heaven. The other two, of which there is more than enough for a couple of cans, not so much.

One look at Vanilla Dome and you can tell it’s packed with berry goodness. The raspberries and blackberries present well from start to finish, offering a pleasing, though soft aroma and balanced flavor profile. The aroma, however, is packed with lactose and vanilla — way too much for my personal preferences. Thankfully, that lactose nasal assault isn’t nearly as in-your-face once the IPA hits the tastebuds. It’s still plentiful mind you, but at least it’s not as milky as expected.

I understand the need to be different and have fun in brewing. I’m cool with that. However, when you come across (or are handed) an imperial IPA like Vanilla Dome that has, pretty much, zero hop presence, you can’t really call it an IPA and expect some folks to be happy about it. Label it something else entirely. There are so many other ingredients in a beer like this that it shouldn’t be a problem. If you want to stick with the IPA tag, get some damn hops in there.