Immort Ale - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Immort AleImmort Ale

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very good

2,350 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,350
Reviews: 1,108
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 15.4%
Wants: 141
Gots: 318 | FT: 12
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  11.00% ABV

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

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,350 | Reviews: 1,108 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sacfly
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean, reddish brown. Thin tan head of tiny bubbles. Aroma is decidedly Belgian in nature. Bubblegum, vanilla, malty sweetness.

First sip yields a somewhat musty vanilla/woody flavor. Not quite musty… the flavor is more like raw wood. Not burnt or burning wood. Rich, full mouth feel.

A very interesting and different offering from DFH. Compare this to other American and Belgian strong darks and it stands out well. The alcohol content is there, but no hops to speak of. You will notice the Belgian yeast in this one.

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very unique flavor for an American barleywine. Poured a dirty, murky brown in color. Filmy, island like foam on top that kind of drifted around the glass before it disappeared. Nose is malty and vanilla. Flavor is complex. Malts give way to sugars. I noticed the telltale American barleywine hops, bu they are more of a scenery for this beer. I want to say I picked up something like Belgian sugars. Also molasses, vanilla, old wet wood, and just a slight rum taint. Slight smokeyniss going on. Also picked up some cherries and plums. Heavy full flavor that does not quite stick to the cheeks. Very drinkable but it kind of just sits in the belly and after a bit it might get uncomfortable.

Photo of weeare138
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears a bright cherrywood color with a thin white cap. No lacing was left behind as expected.
Smell is of bold, rich malt with some red cherry aromas, along with some bourbon oak aging and vanilla and caramel coming through.
Taste is of the same beautiful aromas coming about with a syrupy richness.
Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety with low levels of carbonation.
Drinkability is nice and cool but man, this one will creep. Nice taste, not so nice abv.

Photo of Beertracker
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Immort Ale's name may be a funny play on words, but the beer is serious enough. This beer is definitely one that could "sneak up" on you in a hurry, so my suggestion is to enjoy cautiously. This immortal beer is best served @ cellar tempatures (55-60F) from a large brandy snifter or wine bolla. Immort Ale pours up silky & smooth with medium carbonation. The creamish head offsets the deep burnt-orange color very nicely. The nose offers a rich & slightly vinous complexity as it warms with hints of bourbon vanilla, maple syrup, and oak. The flavor is bold, warming, yet smooth & refined. The maltiness is chewy with some lingering sweetness, but it dries out towards the finish thanks to a touch of bitterness, alcohol warming, and some oakiness.

This is an extremely well balanced strong, full bodied brew that offers a plethora of rich & creamy characters to the beer lover. Definitely "track" this one down and keep a few bottles handy for the cold months ahead. Enjoy Immort Ale's life prolongating effects in perfect solitude or shared with the young at heart. Suggested after-dinner pairings include buttery shortbread cookies, crumbed coffee cake, and toffee chip vanilla ice cream.

CHEERS! Beertracker

Photo of rajendra82
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the generous package sent by BA mentor, this Dogfish Head Import Ale came in a 12 oz. brown bottle without a bottled on, or a freshness date. The color was classic barleywine chestnut red, and appearance still and headless. The body looked mostly clear, with only a slight haze. The aroma was mostly sweet and malty with a wisp of smoke. The woody smoke that the aroma only hinted at was quite intensely present in the taste. This complimented the sweet and nutty malt, and peppery hops quite nicely. The body was thinner than the typical barleywine with high strength, which I believe to be the result of maple syrup usage. Quite drinkable and refreshing if you can get past the flavors typically absent from beers.

Photo of HopHeadKen
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a sixer of this, just because it was from DFH and I had never tried it before. I had no pre-conceived idea as to what style it might be . . .What is it, I thought.

The bottle did not offer much 'PFFffttt' when the cap was removed; and a brisk pour only offered a small amount of thin ivory head which quickly disappeared. Not even a ring around the edge of my pint glass, nor any lacing.

The color is a rich hazy bronze copper red, a nice color.

The smell is sweet and fruity malt with no perceptible hop aroma.

First taste is rich carmel plum or cherry; I am thinking, this must be a Belgian ?
Imagine my suprise to find it listed as a barleywine !

Plums - carmel - vanilla sweetness throughout.

Nice mouthfeel with a hint of crispness that can't be from carbonation (maybe alcohol ?)

This is very nice, I am glad that I have 5 more to go !

By the way, I don't really perceive much alcohol; until maybe 15 to 30 minutes later !

Photo of arizcards
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a couple of bottles back in July from Papago BC.

Poured a coppery red color with little to no head. Nose is interesting, big overtones of vanilla. Taste is growing on me as it warms, very sweet with hints of vanilla. Mouthfeel is very smooth, almost a creamy quality to it. Overall drinkability is pretty good. The high ABV is well masked but the sweetness is a bit much.

Photo of burnstar
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky dark red/brown into my goblet. There is a very small reddish head that dissappears very quickly. Smells very sweet. Definitely a lot of fruit smells in here- cherries especially. I also detect a bit of woodiness and vanilla. I really wish I had a proper snifter to swirl this around a bit more but the goblet does for now. Taste is very sweet and a little citrusy. There are some wild fruit flavors (black cherry, raspberries), oakiness, and some a big vanilla taste. Tastes better and better as I drink it an nicely compliments the raspberry cheesecake I'm drinking it with. Finish is very light alcohol and just a touch of roast malt bitterness that lingers for a little while. Definitely covers up the 11% ABV VERY well. Has a heavy and syrupy mouthfeel with some nice carbonation to balance it . And, while this is delicious, I wouldn't want to drink more than a pint of this at a time. Maybe a couple over a long winter evening would be nice. All in all, a very unique and good beer.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip, this beer is an amber, maple syrup type of color. There is a three quarter inch, creamy, beige head.

The nose is of brown sugar laden bourbon. This smells like a dessert. The taste contains slightly oaky vanilla, but its overall character is of bourbon. This is on the sweet side of the scale. It is definitely not an American Barley Wine. I'm not sure what it is, but I like it.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, but nicely carbonated for such an ABV%. Drinkability would be moderately limited for me simply because I would not want to session these flavors. But two bottles would set me right after a hard night's work. I am starting to really appreciate the carbonation combined with the thickness and ABV% of this beer.

Photo of BrewMaster
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 25 oz crystal sniffer. The beer is a cloudy orange to red color with sediment. A fluffy off-white head develops on the surface. The beer requires some swirling to really bring a lively and creamy head to the top. the head is thick and leaves nice, sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Massive brown sugar and toffee scents in the nose of this one. There is some dry sour fruit aroma along with a malty base topped with a light alochol smell.

Taste: Caramel, toffee, and an alcohol warmth all over the ending. There is a very slight roasty character to the malt. The malt flavor is a woody with a burnt and smoky character that tastes much stronger as the beer warms. This beer is earthy and sweet with a taste of maple and grape molasses. The ber finsishes with a tangy green olive flavor. Not hop bitterness to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Dry and sandy but still smooth. It leaves a sweet glaze on the inside of my mouth.

Drinkability: This is a well balanced 11% surrounded by a woody and sweet beer.

Photo of phishgator
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2004

I love the uniqueness of this brew. The vanilla and oak show through. The mouthfeel is a little too sticky and slick. Alcohol is ever so present. The aroma of vanilla and a slight smokiness give the sense of sipping a brandy. A one of a kind brew. Even a little raisin fruitiness is in the flavor profile.

Photo of grassrootsVT
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A young version from a 12oz bottle [or, i assume it is i did not age it.] It pours a deep orange amber with no rememberance of head retention. Smells of oak, vanilla, sweet a scotch... it is light and playful with tones of alcohol laced into the aroma. Tastes of sweet maple vanilla, sort of like the burton baton with its oakiness. A great lingering body that is very full and doubt, for an evening of slow sipping. Some minor tones of 'harshness' are apparent - hop bitterness perhaps? or merely the intense alcohol... all well brought together by the malty profile.

Photo of HardTarget
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle Inspection: Notes maple, vanilla and oak

Aroma: Candy sweet malt with a slightly smoky edge. Very straight forward smell in my book, and enjoyable.

Appearance: Amber glass without a trace of head. Looks completely still.

Flavor: Hint of medicinal flavor on first sip, but that fades quickly. It’s very sweet with the vanilla bean and a touch of the oak coming out. Very rich, very sweet, I’m guessing the slight smoky note is the maple.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body that seems a bit too thin for this monster. No carbonation and a drying alcoholic finish.

Overall Impression: One to sip by the fireplace slowly. Monster flavor, heavy handed alcohol, rich and full. I’m thinking snifter. I would have guessed English Barleywine for style, I didn’t really get the hops.

Thanks to Pegasus for sharing this gem.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Session 06/01/07, Release 2007
Although I expected a heavy, fresh, barleywine-ish brew with strong alcohols, intense barley malt flavor and sweetness and agression; I did not expect all of the new smokiness that I experienced in the aroma and flavors. It dominated all of the caramel, vanilla, fruity, and syrupy flavors. Nearly to rauchbier proportions, the heaviness of the brew and the peat (scotch whisky) flavors, though complex and bold, compromise the beer too much. Age should be kind, however the beer is way too immature for drinking in the near future.

Session 07/ 01/05, Release 2004, Rating 4.5
This one is a treat. Looks golden, copper, bronze, colors change as they refract in the light. Dainty dense white head that fades into the alcoholic lace and coating. Smells mildly sweet with deep fruits of dates and figs. other sweetness abounds with honey, brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Tastes oily sweet with vanilla, caramel, and those dark fruits. The flavors are compounded with finess flavors of wood, mild hops, and alcohol. Full, round body being cut by the alcohol makes this beer go down easily. Finishes is warm and sweet. Hop flavors detected. Aftertaste is oily and refined and cloying sweet. Alcohol dries the palate. Not as bitter as most American Barleywines. Borrows English flavors in finess and maturity. Another gem by Dogfish Head.

Photo of AlexJ
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Once poured, this barleywine is a glowing amber color wih a brief head of eggshell that leaves spots of clumpy lace.

The aroma is rich and filled with sweet nuances of scorched caramel, toffee, molasses, sugar cookies, and is deepened by a note of peat smoked oak.

If the nose is rich, then the flavor is a millionaire. Creamy sweet malt flavors of caramel, and scorched brown sugar colide with clover honey, bourbon barrel vanilla, cinnamon cookies, sticky fruit preserves, and a beautiful smokey charred oak barrel note. There is a gentle bite of spicey hops in the finish.

The body is huge with a thick, creamy, and oliy mouthfeel and very lite carbonation. A perfect after-dinner sipper. This needs to be served with creme brule and fresh berries.

This really reminds me more of an Old Ale than a barleywine due to it's malt-forward profile, complex caramel sweetness, subtle hopping, and rich mouthfeel.

Photo of mmmbeer
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Review #100 - figured a barleywine would be appropriate. 12 oz. with no bottling date and a blurb about the beer on the front label. Served slightly chilled in a snifter. Pours a ruby/brown color with a bit of sediment and a 1/4 inch head that leaves no lacing. The first aromas I noted were fruity (dark fruits, apples?), but they are followed (and overpowered) by oak, caramel, smoke, and vanilla, with bubblegum showing up from time to time. The first sip reveals the flavors noted on the front label - maple, oak, and vanilla - along with caramel, a sugary sweetness and the same fruity notes. It has some faint hops and tobacco hiding in the background and a wonderful mouthfeel that is full, thick, and smooth. This is a big, malty beer with a low level of hops that kinda makes me think of a dopplebock or a Belgian. The oak is nice, though it's a little too pronounced for my liking; however, they get points for originality and not being afraid of experimentation.

Photo of ILiveOffHops
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Immort Ale is definitely one of the most unique barleywines I've ever had.

Appearance...The bottle pours a nice amber-red-ruby color into my chalice. Looks like a nice peaceful beer....just wait for the onslaught of flavors.

Smell....The aroma is nice and smooth. No real strong alcohol smell, which is appealing.

Taste...Bittersweet is all I can say. The maple and oak flavors are very evident, along with a slight sweet natural flavor (which I assume must be the vanilla). Tastes strong, but not in an offensive alcoholic strong. After holding it over my tongue, it does bring on some alcoholic heat. I have to say, the flavors in this beer are unparalleled to anything else I've ever had. Very different....and did I mention bittersweet!??!?!

Mouthfeel...Medium-almost full bodied and then surprisingly creamy. I like.

Drinkability...I really enjoy drinking this. After a whole bottle, it is a lot of wood flavor for my taste buds, but I still enjoy it. I could have a couple in one sitting, but no more than that. Even still a very drinkable barleywine.

mmm....wood chips in my beer

Photo of gimmehead
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours ruby brown, very thin off-white head and spotty lacing. The color is amazing, almost like a dusty jewel. Lots of sour oak tanins in the nose mingled with sweet caramel malts, some alcohol and a faint whiff of smoke. Lots of tanins in the flavor as well; vanilla with citric hop undertones. There is a good mix of raisiny sweetness that contrasts and complements that sour oak flavor. Spectacular. As the beer warms it gains an awesome sugary sweetness that hides the alcohol and makes it hugely drinkable. Very full, smooth velvety mouthfeel.
This beer is vastly complex. The sour oakiness mingling with the sweetness in a complex dance of flavors, capped by a warming alcohol glow. The box says that this beer is meant to be cellared and I fully intend to do so. It also goes well with a pipe or sweeter cigar. A fantastic beer.

Photo of aquatonex
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very good example of the style.

Pours a dark mahogany brown with minimal head. Not a lot of carbonation. Very good lacing throughout. Aromas are dominated by raisins, maybe even a little dried apple along with some heavy alcohol. Taste follows suit with a lot of raisiny sweetness and alcohol astringency. The raisins are so powerful that there's a lot of that raisny aftertaste also present. A very strong brew that is good for sipping, ideally with cheese I would gather.

Photo of pentathlete
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

DFH=assertive, I know of no other way to put it. Love them or hate them, their beers have character, loads of character. Iconic. This aptly named barleywine is no exception.

The Immort Ale pours a lovely ruby brown into the snifter, no head to speak of. The smell is burnt sandalwood and maybe a touch of malt. Taste is a hammer blow of tree resin, sugar, and malty goodness. The mouthfeel is thinned somewhat due to the alcohol presence. This beer is a baby and it needs some time to mature. I can't wait to try one of these in a year or two. I might look for an older edition now to trade. Even this young, it is still a decent sipper, but with DFH, it can take a few sips to get used to.

Photo of santoslhalper
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Pours a mellow brown with a thin, quickly dissapating head.

Smell: The smell is a strong mix of hops and alcohol, with not as much malt sweetness as I had hoped. It's still compelling and complex.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is a smooth, sweet mix of complex malty notes and strong alcohol. The taste is perfectly complex, wonderfully balanced, and tasty as all hell. The mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, and lucious.

Drinkability and Overall: While it's not quite as glorious as I remember, this is still a downright killer barleywine. It just tastes so brilliant and goes down even better. I love it.

Photo of edchicma
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a whiskey colored copper with minimal head. Smell is malt, oak, vanilla undertones. Oak flavor, chewy malt presence, bsicuit -like quality. Very interesting blend...some apple nores too. Reminds me a tad of Ephemere green apple by Unibroue, but witha definite alcohol kick. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, rich and smooth...a bit like aged quality whiskey. For an 11 abv this is extremely drinkable. A very respectable brew.

Photo of bditty187
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, peachy-coppery-amber-bronze in hue; there is plenty going on with the liquid. The head was off white in color; at the apex the foam was one finger in height. Head retention was fair; it faded quickly to a soapy cap and then a thick collar (almost naked in the middle). There wasn’t much subsequent lacing, just a few specks here and there, as to be expected for a beer of this sort. Overall, this beer looks very attractive in my glass.

The nose is woody but not in a sophisticated way. I smell mulch and earth. There is some faint grape in the mix. Am I standing in a field of grapes? Upwind it seems, as the aromas are weak. When I work at the bouquet I detect vanilla and raw alcohol. The finish is spicy, peppery, and muddy… I’m unclear as the direction of this beer. Where is the maltiness? I would think a beer this big would have a pronounced malt backbone; I get a hint of caramel sweetness. Overall the nose is acceptable, there is some complexity but the potency is so weak and the aromas don’t really melt into one clear voice. I can’t call it inviting. Apathetic.

The palate is wonderful! It is a damn shame the taste couldn’t translate into a nose that said something. Oh well. I love what I taste. Upfront are thick, chewy malts with dark fruits, mainly raisins and dates. The fruit is lightly splashed in vanilla liquor that has been aged in oak vats. In the middle, a delicate maple syrup/woody flavor enters. The beer turns warmer as well. Raw. The malt is still muddled but it is roughly caramely. At the finish a tickle of bitterness emerges, the vanilla returns as does some fruit, this time it is cherries, peaches, and apples. The aftertaste is hot like brandy infused with vanilla aged in oak/maple cask. The palate is very intricate. I love beer like this; it hits so many right notes. I wish the hops were a tad more pronounced because this beer is a tickle too sweet. Still it is hard to complain, as this beer is very unique. Lovely.

Almost full in body, the carbonation is low but very fitting for this beer. The mouthfeel is relax and it subtlety suggests this beer needs to be sipped. This is an excellent nightcap.

This is a tasty beast. Sure, it is sweet and it does have vanilla in the mix; while most of the time those are not positive attributes with me, they do work well in Immort Ale. It all works! This is a great beer by DFH. I need to thank mentor for the bottle, what a wonderful gift. Thanks! I recommend this beer highly!

Photo of stegmakk
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful copper with very little light tan head. Not much lacing.
Aroma Wow. Caramel roasty malt with a NICE smokey and woodsy hint in there.
Taste. Even better. All of the flavors come together harshly yet satisfyingly mixed. Way too complex, but vanilla, smokey wood, sweet caramel, and dare I say more that I couldnt identify.
Mouthfeel was average.
Drinkability was amazing. The purely unique flavor kept me going to the fridge. I finished 3 of the 4 pack immediately before I realized what I was doing.
While this is listed as a barley wine, this isnt like any other barley wine I have tried. I picked it up just because it was a DFH I havent tried yet. When I tasted it I thought the classification would be a smoke or rauch beer based on the taste.

Photo of asabreed
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snagged a 4-pack for around $10, as I've been wanting to try this for a while. Even though it's better for Winter, I'm drinking it now, and I won't let it affect my ratings.

Appearance: Dark, hazy orange color. Thin head that quickly dissipates, though the lacing is sticky as all hell and it making some cool patterns on the inside of my wine glass.

Smell: Here's the thing with the smell. The components are there, but the mishmash doesn't go together well. The woodiness and sugars are apparent, also slight vanilla. But I feel letting this sit will surely contribute to allowing the aromas to form better in the bottle. Still, it's nice, but unbalanced, and it could be amazing if they could come through better.

Taste: Comes across much better than the aromas. Initially oak woodiness slides into sweetness: slight toffee, candi sugar, maple, vanilla, raisins. The oak is complimentary. I've never tasted a beer like this, or a barley wine for that matter. Totally can't wait to see what it does in the cellar, as I'm planning on buying another 4-pack to store, in addition to what becomes left of these.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, luscious (the bottle doesn't lie), silky and utterly smooth. It's very sweet, so it can become a bit cloying at times, though sipping on it and having smaller sips eliminates any unbearable sweetness. Not a lot of carbonation, but enough to reveal itself as a beer and not a flavorful liqueur.

Drinkability: For cold evenings, sipping, reading, relaxing. A good after-work beer in one dose and certainly not a session.

As stated before, I can't wait to see what this does -- tons of potential is there for this to be absolutely amazing in a year or two, even most beers that I've said that about in the past. Certainly pick one up to try if you can; this is a pretty stellar and singular beer.

Immort Ale from Dogfish Head Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 2,350 ratings.