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Kvasir - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

92 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 92
Hads: 605
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 30.48%
Wants: 42
Gots: 99 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jonada on 10-22-2013

With the help of biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern, we've re‐created another Ancient Ale, this time from the Nordic climes of Scandinavia.

The recipe for Kvasir was developed with the help of chemical, botanical and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500‐year‐old Danish drinking vessel. The vessel, made of birch bark, was found in the tomb of a leather‐clad woman Dr. Pat says was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. The analysis pointed to the ingredients used in this unique brew: wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup.

The base of Kvasir is a toasty red winter wheat, and the bog-grown berries deliver a pungent tartness. While a handful of hops is used, the earthy, bitter counterpunch to the sweet honey and birch syrup comes from the herbs.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Kvasir Alström Bros
Reviews: 92 | Hads: 605
Photo of avalon07
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. No lacing to speak of.

S: A very fruity aroma (the advertised cranberries), honey, and malt.

T: Tasted of cranberries, a syrupy quality, honey, herbs and malt. This is an odd flavor, but somewhat likeable. It's fruity, but herbal. Not quite as substantial as you might think, but still pretty decent.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: Since this is the first kvass I've ever had, there's no context for it. Still, this is an unusual beer with some great attributes. A typically off the wall Dogfish Head concoction.

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Photo of Gavage
4.36/5  rDev +16.6%

Pours a reddish orange color with a 1" head that slowly falls. The aroma is of cranberry and other fruits. Big fruity flavor as cranberries and other berries create a nice flavor. Mild bitterness overall. Alcohol is well hidden here. Slow sipping but refreshing overall.

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Photo of kellyej
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

A: Little head, color of a darkish tea, fairly clear
S: Flowery, fruity, hint of candy/honey
M: Medium-light body, bubbly
T: Overall a balanced beer. It tasted quite a bit like a hibiscus tea with hints of sweet-tarts and honey.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%

Draft: Poured a reddish color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of berries and herbs is not the most enticing. Taste was also a weird mix between some berries notes, herbs with weird unrefined grainy notes. Body is light with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting experiment but with such low drinkability I think I will avoid in the future.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

On tap at Jose Pistola's, Philly, PA.

Orange-red color, good clarity, a few dishwater-like bubbles on top, but otherwise no head, and very little activity in the glass overall, indicative of low carbonation. In the nose, earthy wood, stale fruit, notes of cough syrup and solventy booze. I actually said *blech* when I took a sip of this. Rotten fruit, cranberry jam, cardboard, decomposing wood, a medicinal and almost vodka like booziness. Really messy, and the almost non-existent carbonation wasn't helping the mouthfeel either, which came off as slick and lifeless. Definitely couldn't drink this one, so I'm glad I only got a sample.

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Photo of A_bit_of_the_Sacrament
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%

At first sip this played like a sour. The more I drank the more it seemed to open up. The cranberry is a bit more prominent than I'd like but I think that the subtle birch flavors play well with the fruit. Good body and quite smooth for how boozy it really is. I'm glad I made the purchase but I think one 25oz bottle will be enough for me.

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Photo of sanhedrin
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not crazy about fruit beers in general but DH is one of the companies that does them well, so I gave this a whirl.

Initial reaction was non-plussed at first sip, but it grew on me more and more. There's a bracing grapefruit-rind-like bitterness on the back end that's really pleasant, and the fruit quite reserved, but there. I kind of wish they'd skipped the cranberries and gone all-lingonberry, as that would've fit the Scandinavian theme better. Herbs are well balanced, hard to place - either dill seed or caraway, maybe both in there. The more I drank the more it seemed to reveal - but most important, in a chilled glass it was just wicked refreshing on a hot August day. Good stuff.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Somewhere between red and brown and gray; not attractive. Weak head. Bright bottle art is appreciated though.

S: Not a ton. Some cranberry and other tart fruit- I guess that's lingonberry? Some sweetness. Mostly I get something like a molding cleaning rag. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say my glass is somehow dirty, even after just coming out of the washer.

T: Wow, the lingonberry really comes through here! For real, cranberry and a hint of cherry, leafy herbs definitely present as well. The honey is restrained, just enough to give a bit of sweetness. I overall like this, but the flavors muddle together and form strange, pleasing, frustratingly indistinguishable notes. Alcohol is well, well hidden. Finish is a chameleon, just like the rest of it, and stays a polite amount of time.

M: Mouth-drying, a little filmy, but light enough to be pretty drinkable.

O: Good, no doubts there. Gimmicky? Yes. A breakthrough beer experiment? No. Repeatable? Yes, for a pretty conservative price. Should you try it? Sure.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Split with duffextracold while watching reruns of Brewmasters (I now know why DFH beers are so pricey - they seemingly dump a stuck batch of beer every other episode).

Coppery pink color with wispy ring retention. Smells like cranberry and bread crust with a metallic copper element. Cranberry juice dominates the flavor profile with a little wheat bread and pollen must. I don't get much honey or birch syrup (never having had birch syrup I don't know that I would be able to identify it if it was obvious) but having brewed with cranberries before I'm assuming it's balance out the acidic tartness of the cranberry/lingonberry which is mild. Lingonberry is pretty much viking cranberry right?

I don't care for this beer in the sense of it being tasty and pleasing to drink. I love this beer in the sense that DFH allows me to take a journey back to fermented beverage history. Thanks for brewing.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

As a man of Swedish heritage I must say I was intrigued and excited by this beer. It poured as any darker ale with little to set it apart. The nose was nice with tinges of spice and malt. The flavor is what set this apart as it was reminiscent of a Christmas beer with nutmeg, spicy cinnamon, barley malt, tea leaves, prune, date and then a tangy cranberry finish. The feel was a tad thin when it comes to the overall style. I enjoyed this immensely, perhaps a touch jaded by the history, but it had great flavor.

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Photo of barczar
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear reddish with a frothy khaki head that dissipates to a layer of foam.

Aroma is reminiscent of cough syrup, with sweetness countering soft cranberry notes.

Flavor is a bit more bitter, with cranberry at the forefront. Acidity balanced the alcohol fairly well.

Body is a tad light, with carbonation a touch high, and noted alcohol warmth.

High in alcohol, but the tartness counters well. Probably one of the better big beers from Dogfish.

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Photo of SebD
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes

Appearance: It has a nice dark brownish amber color to it. It has a nice off-white/light pink head that dies down moderately and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of sweet berries (mainly cranberries), slight herbal notes, some tartness and sweet honey.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some cranberries upfront, a slight herbal quality, slight tartness, sweet honey and some bready malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of QueerBeer
2.91/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a rich, clear cranberry with a one-finger, off-white head that quickly dissipates. Only aroma I could get was faintly honey; not liking honey, this isn't a perk. Tastes mostly like carbonated cranberry juice with a bit of honey and a touch of cough syrup. Not for me.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 10/11/2013. Pours slightly hazy orange copper color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tart berries, cranberry juice, strawberry, pear, apple, red grape, honey, toast, bread, light pepper, light woodiness, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of yeast ester, fruit, spice, and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of tart berries, cranberry juice, strawberry, pear, apple, red grape, honey, toast, bread, light pepper, light woodiness, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart berries, cranberry juice, pear, apple, red grape, honey, toast, bread, light pepper, herbal, light woodiness, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of yeast ester, fruit, malt, and spice flavors; with a great malt/fruit flavor balance and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth and lightly slick/syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice fruit/spiced ancient ale style. All around good balance and complexity and balance of yeast, ester, fruit, spice, and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of athomasPSU
4.08/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Color is an amber red with an off white to cream colored head. Head shows carbonation with tons of tiny bubbles.
Smells of tart berries, fruits, and like a fruity red wine.
Tastes of juice, tart cranberries, lots of honey and spices come through.
It feels like a medium body but also lighter with lots of carbonation.

Overall, this beer surprised me. I expected a lambic tasting beer that would be sour. It has a great balance of tart and sweetness that makes it so delicious. I definitely recommend trying it.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Amber hued with good clarity. A quarter inch head of off white foam covers the majority of the beer. Brussels lacing. Aroma of cranberries and faint lingonberries. The body is surprisingly light but a bit sticky. The flavor is slightly tart cranberries balanced with a bit of sweet honey. You can also sense a light malt base

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Photo of SHODriver
3.84/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: poured into a tulip to a reddish orange with a finger of off white head that fades to a small pool and collar around the edge of the glass
S: smells like grape jelly with a lot of berry notes. very sweet
T: taste is berries with a bit of tartness and honey sweetness. the tartness and the sweetness do battle on the taste buds for dominance. swallow is more berry flavor with a bit more tartness and some herbal notes
M: fairly full in the mouth with slightly prickly carbonation. finish is slightly drying
O: Overall a very solid beer. It has good flavors and definitely isn't your run of the mill fruit beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a three finger white head that fades quickly leaving no lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Light fruity nose and flavor is tart fruit, some sweetness, high ABV is hidden. Take out the hops and it would be close to a wine. Pricey at $14.00 for a 750ml bottle from Tullys Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is crystal clear light reddish amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that gradually died down and left a thin head covering the surface and a thick collar around the edge of the glass.
S: moderate aromas of tart berries are present in the nose—which I presume are mostly from the cranberries and lingonberries.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that there are also notes of honey and this contributes slight amount of sweetness.
M: It feels just about medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I thought that this beer would be quite tart with the cranberries and lingonberries, but the honey helps to balance things off and even adds a bit of sweetness.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear ruby, one finger white head that tries to leave some lacing.

S-Good deal of cranberries, some honey as well. Some grassy earthy notes as well.

T-A good balance between the cranberries and the honey. But beyond that not much else. Slight grass but very little.

M-Lighter, not much carbonation.

O-Not much besides cranberries and honey. Would have like more subtly or flavors.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.11/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I picked this up at Wegman's in the cooler, poured chilled in a goblet and wine glass, shared with my wife.

The color is dark red like a sunset with mild hazed appearance with thick off white head with fine bead the settles to a ring with spotty lace that sticks. The smell is very fruity with cranberry evident in the nose with slight herbal aroma and light sweet accent with mild alcohol ester. The feel is full with slight spice and sweet middle and tangy fruity texture with light tinge of astringency and semi warming lingering alcohol with semi dry finish.

The taste is interesting with fruity cranberry providing a juicy slight tangy taste with an herbal flavor and mild sweetness of the honey and birch syrup noticeable on the palate with a sweet/sour complimentary taste. The yeast adds a light hint of dryness with the alcohol as it finishes with some fruit there after the swallow. Overall I really enjoyed this Ancient ale - it is kind of straddling the line between mulled wine and beer with the birch syrup and hone making for a smooth 10% ale - I recommend this for those who like historic beers

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Photo of snaotheus
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into a pair of large snifters. Bottled on 10/11/2013 08:24. Poured completely (so sediment will be included) at fridge temp, 41 F.

Now, after a little interruption (being bitten by a three year old), I shall resume my beer experience.

Pours a little cloudy brownish-orange with a medium sized head. Head fades fast. Medium amount of very slow, fine carbonation. Smell is fruity. Berries, cranberries. Smells more like juice than beer. Maybe a slight hint of yeast.

Taste is tart, very strong cranberry flavor, slight berry profile. Some lemony sourness. More like a juice than a beer again. Not bad.

Mouthfeel is fairly thin, a little watery. Fairly flat or still. Overall...more a juice than a beer. But not bad. Maybe something to surprise a friend who believes all beer tastes the same.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The next evolution in beer comes from the old revolution in beer as Dogfish Head resurrects a taste of days gone bye in Scandanavia with a potent ale that employs cranberry, honey, lingonberry, myric gale and birch syrups to achieve such tangy, fruity and thinly sweet taste.

The ale simply sells itself because once poured, the ale is bright and beautiful as it catches the eye with glowing mauve, ruby and pink tones. Its streaming carbonation seems to dance to the top of the glass where it forms a creamy meringue of a head. Its persistent retention and collared lace reinforce the notion of an ale done well.

Tangy fruit and berries rise to greet the nose immediately- overtones of cranberry and honey give a highly floral character that seems more of mead than of ale. Yet a backing of tangy red wheat, thin bread and wine-like acidity decorates the periphery of aroma as the first sip beckons.

Thin honey and rose wine-type sweetnesses greet the early palate, accompanied by wheat, grain and light bread. But the middle comes calling with a strong fruit presence- cranberries, tart green apples, white grapes and kiwi. Its all that tangy and acidic fruit that creates the balance for the beer's honey taste, especially in the absence of hop complexity or balance. Finishing with the elegance of honeywine and fruit, its spiciness and crispness is best described from wine perspectives than of ale.

Racy and tangy even early, the beer's sweetness seems to latch onto the palate with more of a fructose sugary feel than that of creamy or bready malt. As those sugars are slow to fade, they saturate the taste buds with a sense of fruit sweetness that is only cut by the beer's wine-like acidity and peppery alcohol. Its late warmth attests to a peppery notion while fruit extends into aftertaste.

The enjoyable beer would be most appreciated with summer salads, feta cheese, cheesecake or bitter greens. That's because as a stand-alone taste there seems to be something amiss. Food and good company would provide answers.

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Photo of microbrewlover
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brew pours a clear copper color with a small fluffy white head remnants of which remain on the brew until the end. There is moderate lacing and heavy carbonation.

The smell is heavy with berries wet hay. Some sweet malt and light spice is present but the berries dominate.

This brew is tart and sweet. Lots of dominate berry flavor. The berries dominate from beginning to end. There is a sweet malt backbone with just enough hops to keep the whole thing from being too sweet.

The feel is thin but the tartness and carbonation make the mouth pucker. There is a slight dryness to the brew but no aftertaste.

Overall this is a well balanced fruit beer. Not too sweet like most fruit beers. This strikes the right balance and I could see myself having a couple of these on a hot summer day. The fact that it is based on an ancient Scandinavian brew is a plus for me since I am a history buff.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
4.06/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprisingly clear dark orange with an off white head. Cranberries on the nose, super tart and sugary sweet. The beer feels Smooth and balanced at first. It then takes on a dry tartness and hits you with the cranberry, which is the beers most dominant flavor. A very malty and plain backbone but rather pleasant and puts off no off flavors. The honey is somewhat there but this beer is mostly about the cranberry. A touch of alcohol in the taste but rather well balanced. ITs sweet at first and dry and tart later. A decent fruit beer and worth checking out.

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Kvasir from Dogfish Head Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.