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Immort Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
1,155 Reviews
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Immort AleImmort Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
For this beer, we use maple syrup from Red Brook Farm -- Sam's family farm in Western Massachusetts, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries and vanilla.

Immort is fermented with a blend of English and Belgian yeasts, then aged in the big oak tanks at the brewery.

The sweet and earthy flavors meld magnificently in the Immort Ale. But be warned, the ABV is 11%, so after one or two you may start feeling immortal (even though we promise you won't be).

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,155 | Ratings: 2,626
Photo of chaduvel
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This little monster pours out like thick cherry syrup with no head, only some thin lacing of bubbles on the top and lots of bubbles sticking to sides of the chalice. Aroma is strong and of vanilla, fresh cut oak and maple syrup. Flavors match the aromas perfectly with a rich vanilla flavor followed by an oak barrel flavor and a maple syrup sweetness. Smooth and flavorful, not any hops to speak of but there is a nice malt backbone. Amazingly smooth and drinkable for 11% abv. Nice work Dogfish Head.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy reddish golden colour with almost no head but decent lacing. Very strong smell of caramel and smelled a bit like butter to me. Very strong taste....very. Everything about this beer is quite good. Appearance; looks inviting. Smell; smells wonderful, you can't wait to get into it. Taste and mouthfeel; both great. Drinkability however.... One of these is all I could really handle inside about 30 minutes or so. Quite powerful and very heavy. This stuff, if you pay attention and are looking for it, almost has a light syrupy texture. A wonderful brew that should most definately be enjoied in moderation.

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Photo of Bachus
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Green label with blurb about the beer on a 12oz brown bottle. Major descriptor is "Vast in Character."

Hard pour reveals a dark ruby copper colour with a thin off white head and nice lacing.

Smells rich, complex, caramel sugars, maple, vanilla, ripe cherry, fragrant tones. Alcohol is warming and pleasant--not overdone.

Taste is sweet, syrupy malt flavor of maple and vanilla. Some pleasant peppery and bitter flavors on the back of the tongue.

A pleasant, complex ale that is very nice for sipping. Overall, an outstanding brew.

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Photo of bigbubba
4.34/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A great tasting strong ale. Very high in alcohol but extremely easy to drink. It is very sweet with lots of malt evident. It has a hazy amber appearance and thin head, but the taste more than made up for it. It may not be my preferred style of beer but it sure cheered up a cold winter day.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
4.68/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled Dec 2003.The hop aroma of grapefruit and pineapple assualted me as I opened the bottle. It poured a light brown, just slightly hazy, with a fizzy, short-lived head like any barleywine. The taste is, how to say it... just like a heavy Belgian except that it's not a Belgian: "Thick," even "chewy" comes to mind. The maple is very apparent, with vanilla as kind of a backup. Only then did I notice the big toasted malt leaving its sticky mark on my lips. The fruity hop aroma doesn't translate in tasting, instead it just shows as a tingle on the tongue. The alcohol gives it a brandy character, and starts to make me lightheaded in the first few sips (Have to remember that this is not the strongest beer in DfH's arsenal, either). Exceptionally smooth. Then a slight taste of bubble gum toward the end.
And this is still a "raw" bottle. I got a second bottle, but may have to share it with the club so they can all get a better idea. Guess that means I should seek out more to celler for myself.

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Photo of Elemental
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice brown slightly amber orange color with very little head.

Smell: very sweet smelling, malty, and kind of fruity and light pleasant vanilla aroma

Taste: A little too sweet but has a great blend of flavors that is different on each taste. Not very bitter but slightly astrigent (has a bit of an alcohol taste at the end). There is also a nice maple syrupy taste as well.

Overall: a good beer, with lots of flavor and aroma. Worth checking out!

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Photo of Loki
4.64/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle with Package In dates.

Appearance: Deep, clear ruby color with a very thin, wispy head and tiny streams of carbonation.

Smell: Complex array of barley, vanilla, lemon, charred oak, and peat. A bevy of scents fill the nasal cavity, I think a more discerning nose could further disect theses scents.

Taste: Wonderfully sweet and tangy, starting with roasted barley that leads to a lemon square sweet tanginess that gives way to a smooth, creamy vanilla cream and finishes with a cleansing of charred oak and hints of peat. Fantastic and a wonderful pair with a sweet desert.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy, while still finishing cleanly without any harsh tones.

Drinkability: Would be higher except for the alcohol is deceiving and a little too sweet for everyday consumption, but a true treat and a beer, or wine, lovers delight!

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not one of Dogfish Head's more stellar offerings, but still pretty good. It poured a light cloudy amber, with a beige head that fades fast. Aroma of malt, maple, and vanilla. Tastes were malt, orange, vanilla, maple, banana. With an 11% ABV, this could stand to be cellared for a bit, as the flavors are not blended, but separate, jarring notes.

Mouthfeel was smooth, with light tangy carbonation. The finish was malt and lemon.

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Photo of AragornUnplugged
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a beautiful deep orange. Created a nice, 1 inch head which lasted for the first few sips. Complex aroma features some fruitiness, some maple and light oak, which holds true in flavor as well, although difficult to fully pin down. High alcohol level is not hidden in the medium body, but still easy to drink. Malt and oak become a much stronger factor as the beer warms up a bit. Good beer, but for me, there can be only one!

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Photo of babyhobbes
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is yet another good beer from DFH. Pours a maple-y color with lacing but no real head. This smells strongly of alcohol but also of fruit. It's smell is reminiscent of a port. (Good beer smell not so good smell for port.) The taste is sweet and full of alcohol. There is more carbonation than I expected and it is a little thick in the mouth. I can't liken this mouthfeel to anything but it is pleasant. This is a very drinkable beer, the only drawback in my opinion is that the alcohol content is not masked much at all.

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Photo of jed
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Sampled from a bottle cellared for about one year. Poured into a brandy sniffer.

Appearance: Pours a dark, hazy copper. Quickly receding, one finger head. Small amounts of lacing.

Smell: Astringent alcohol is immediately obvious. Strong presence of oak and maple, along with green raisins (or some other fruit?), small hint of vanilla. Nicely complex.

Taste: The smoked peat malt dominates the head, along with hints of oak. Syrupy sweetness from the maple and vanilla develops. The alcohol is much more subdued than in a fresh sample (where the beer is almost undrinkable), but still obviously present. Alcohol isn't overpowering though, especially given that it's an 11% beer. Small hop presence in the finish along with a little bit of spicyness. Nicely complex.

Mouthfeel: Slightly high carbonation and syrupy character combine for an interesting mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmmm. I bought a six pack of this and have tried it at six month intervals — a year seems like the minimum. Fresh, the alcohol dominates and the beer is extremely unpleasant. Right now it's an interesting sipping beer, although there's still a very strong, port-like alcohol flavor.

Another interesting beer from DFH, although one that certainly needs to be cellared. I'll let my last bottle go for another year and then update the review, but I imagine it will only get better. This is different from any of the other barleywines I've sampled, but certainly worth a try.


1/22/05 - Two year update: Sadly, this beer has become increasingly acidic with aging, perhaps due to a problem with the cellaring. The oak flavor is now predominant, bringing to mind some of the Rodenbach beers, while the mouthfeel has become essentially flat. One year seems to be the best point for cellaring Immort Ale.

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Photo of merlin48
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm often overwhelmed by DFH offerings, and such is the case with this one. Pours a hazy amber, the color of iced tea, with no head but considerable lacing. Immense aromas hit the nose. Plums and lilacs begin the assault, followed by maple and vanilla syrup and a touch of smokiness. Alcohol is also picked up. Mouthfeel is exceptional. Tart and "melt in your mouth" kind of creamy chewy, but there is a slight alcohol bite. Taste is maple syrupy with a big hops presence. Hard hitting alcohol, but I didn't note the oak mentioned on the label. This is a very complex ale, as most DFHs are, but the complexities don't mask the big abv as well as their 120 Minute IPA, IMHO. Finishes bitter and syrupy. I think the Dogfish Head 120 Minute is a more well balanced and drinkable ale, even at nearly twice the abv. Still, this ale is an adventure.

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Photo of bostonstoutman
2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I'm a fan of this brewery; their creativity is usually delightful to my tastebuds. I can't find much to like in the Immort Ale however. Alcohol is present immediately, not only in the taste, but in the smell. I bought a six-pack last summer and cellared three until now (December.) The six months have not helped to mellow this beer significantly, I still find it unbalanced. Overwhelming floral, spicey, maple, vanilla presence in the nose and taste. I think Dogfishhead sometimes tries to pack too much into a beer, though they should be credited for challenging the norm. I would not want to drink more than one of these beers at a time. By no means a traditional Barleywine, if it can even be categorized as one.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$16 a six pack. I was entering new territory. Poured copper colored, with a good head (maybe I handled it too harsh?) I was prepared to tasteit. Maple, vanilla and malt. The brewer did a supurb job blending the three. Well balanced, but more of a "dessert" beer. Not the thing to have with pizza.

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Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange with very little head. Aroma is sweet, maple syrup, apples and vanilla. Flavor is quite complex, the maple is there but also sour apples, sweet malt and champagne yeast. Very crisp and effervescent. Overall not my favorite in this style but still a decent product from a great brewery.

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Photo of counselor
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

DFH rarely dissapoints (IMHO) and this beer keeps the faith. Pours a reddish brown with a thin head (11% ABV!?!) that quickly dissapeared. The beer smelled more like a barleywine: alcohol and sugary sweet. The taste followed suit with sweet and dry thick malty flavors of vanilla, molasses & nutmeg. As the beer passed my gullet, I could barely notice the alcohol hidden in the background. (Though after polishing off two rather quickly, I can assure you it is there). The beer had a dry, crisp, nutty, spicey finish that makes for a great christmas beer for some adventurous, unsuspecting in-laws - I will test it out!

Another great offerring from DFH

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Photo of hijinx
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh my head! Guess I should've come to beer advocate first for the alcohol content on this one before I downed the whole six pack. What can I say? It was cold out and this tastes good! I've been working my way through the Dogfish brews to try them all and this has to be my favorite. I typically favor esb's, however this ale is strong enough to feed my fancy. Appearance is dark and chocolaty with scents of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. Goes down very easy and is a great dinner or dessert beer. It was 17 degrees last night and it vertainly kept me warm. Fans of vanilla or chocolate beers will definately enjoy this one.

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Photo of mkobes
4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very good and flavorful brew. Really enjoyable. I have had it on many occasions and it is still one of my favorites. Malty. Dark in color. Has some vanilla notes to it. Aged in a oak cask. Strong in alcohol content. THis is a beer that warms you up when its cold out. good beer to drink in the winter.

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Photo of faernt
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Today I bought a fresh six. I drank a fresh one and later moved into my reserve to try one that was two years old. The fresh sample was dark gold and the aged sample was almost copper. The fresh sample was sweet and a little hoppy. The aged sample was sweet and moving into port tastes. I found the aged sample almost "English" and look forward to revisiting that vintage again next fall.
I think this beer is very "cellarable". It takes a long time to come together. The sample I was drinking that was aged was dated at 10.21.01 into my cellar. I believe I cellared it shortly after it was released.


I opened a 10. 03 edition. It is quite balanced and drinkable. The head is slight and sufficient. The sweetness is paired to bitterness with a slight tartness present to keep it interesting. It has a lingering effect on my taste buds. It's juicy. I regret it's my last one. I'll have to reload.

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Photo of Crosling
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a beautiful looking beer. The color was like a subdued sunrise. The head retention was poor and shrunk to a very thin layer of spots floating on top of the glass. The spots first shaped a wolf with big ears, then a giraffe and then it morphed into a hyena. Needless to say, there was no lace to speak of.

My nose was stuffed up last night so it was hard to pick out the aromas but I tried and succeeded. The nose captured some caramel, sugar, light fruits, wood and tons of alcohol. A nice nose.

Pretty flavorful brew as well. A slight smokiness hidden within this depths of this brew from the use of smoked barley. As well as some maple, vanilla and some light fruits. Alcohol was not very alarming considering it's 11%.

Very Impressed with Dogfish Head at this point!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I pour the brew from a 12 oz bottle into my glass and notice only a very small head develops. The foam that is there is very creamy in appearance.
Color is a rich amber shade with a slightly red tint and with a faint haziness.
Aroma definitely gives off some alcohol scent and maybe some bourbony oaky scents as well.
First sip, wow this is a thick beer! I actually notice the heavy body of the brew prior to any flavors. Let me try that again. Mild carbonation and strong alcohol warming all the way down my throat. Very nice on a cold day like today.
The alcohol is strong in this brew and covers most of the other flavors in the beer. I get hints of vanilla and definitely strong malt sweetness. It leaves an interesting syrupy feeling on my gums that tastes very sweet. Also notice grainy wooden flavors almost like chewing on a toothpick for too long, but fits very nice in this beer.
The finish is similar to a dark red wine and leaves little in my mouth. Dont think I could have more than 2 or 3 of these and still appreciate any of the flavors. But I recommend it for winter nites in front of the fire place or after dinner.

This is an extremely complex brew and I am cellaring some that I will come back to in a year. It will be great to compare with these notes.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.28/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nearly clear, reddish copper with a minimal off-white head that falls quickly to a thin film. Lace is nearly nonexistent. Alcohol dominates the nose, although I can appreciate sweet dark fruit as well.

As far as the flavor profile... again, alcohol overwhelms the palate. Next most prominent is a slightly sweet metallic graininess. I'm nearly unable to finish this. However, to be fair, it is improving a little as it warms (I started it out at about 50 degrees). At least now the flavor has a fighting chance against the alcohol. The mouthfeel is nicely smooth, but the taste comes close to ruining the entire experience.

I've seen Immort Ale described as a barleywine, but also as a strong/old ale. To me, it tastes like a 'brandy wine', like the brewers poured some brandy into the beer before bottling. I think I'll cellar one for a few years to see if that helps to mellow it out a little.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This single bottle has been in my cellar for about a year now and I have been waiting to try it. Light amber in color with little to no head. Very sweet and spicy in terms of smell. Hints of apple, pears, malt and hops come through.

The taste is nothing like I expected. Apple and smoked malt are the flavors that hit me. Very smooth. I can't believe how smooth this is. I can't taste the 11% at all. Port and sherry notes come through as well. Very much an after dinner drink, for me anyway.

If you can get this, do so. I want to get more and put it in the cellar for another year.

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Photo of BillyBrew
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another Dogfish Head brew is lost on me. I drank this beer after having it for at least one year (survived two moves). I do not think this altered the taste negatively.

Apple-cider looking, a raw brown, deep-haze colour. Very thin head that kept a full glaze and leaving rings throughout.

Apple cider nose with an alcohol punch. Woody with faint vanilla notes entwined throuhgout. Poingnance comes from alcohol, not the hops. Different nose, but not neccessarily good to me.

Barleywin-like alcohol bite. Burning-alchomalt conjures in my mind. Woody (mahogany, according to the label) and mild vanilla flavours (adds to alchol?). I do not taste the 'maple.' The sugar/alcohol tastes are blurred to me.

Very full and slick body. Alcohol burn is interesting. Oddly, no aftertaste and finishes dry.

A glorified barleywine? This brew misses me. Overdone. I can understand the aspects of this brew, but it is not for me. Maybe a deep-winter brew.


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Photo of beergeek279
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is copper, with a ring of whitish head. The smell is sweet malt. The taste is sweet, with maple dominating on top of the old ale taste, and the alcohol is very present, and maybe takes away from the beer a bit. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy. Drinkability-wise, too sweet and alcoholic to have more than one or two.

Hmm...not bad, and as odd a take on a common style as I'd expect from Dogfish Head. There are definitely better old ales out there, but maybe I'd have this one again as a winter warmer.

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Immort Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,155 ratings.