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Black & Blue - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Black & BlueBlack & Blue

Educational use only; do not reuse.

519 Reviews
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Reviews: 519
Hads: 1,578
Avg: 3.68
pDev: 26.9%
Wants: 117
Gots: 263 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ggaughan on 08-23-2006

Black & Blue is a Belgian-style golden ale fermented with blackberries and blueberries. Because we dose Black & Blue with real berries -- rather than artificial flavoring -- the fruit comes through in the flavor, not just the aroma.

The pureed berries are added as the beer leaves the brewhouse. In fermentation, the yeast -- the same one we use in Red & White and Pangaea -- feeds on sugars from the barley and the berries, giving Black & Blue a unique complexity and a high ABV.

25 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 519 | Hads: 1,578
Photo of RickS95
3.04/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

The look is nothing out of the ordinary with a very dark, burnt orange color. The head never really gets going from the pour. However, with an aggressive swirl, a thin white head can be seen. Moderate retention leaves a spotty lace.

It smells like it should with blackberry and blueberry dominating the nose. Blueberries dominate any dish they're in and this is no exception. On the plus side, it smells like the real thing and not some artificial flavoring.

Wow...can you say berries? I like the taste of blueberries, but this beer is bordering on over the top. The Belgian yeast and carbonation propel the fruity taste beyond just normal blueberry flavor. Near the finish is a spot of alcohol that attempts to tame the onslaught of blueberry taste, providing the only instance of balance in this most one-sided beer.

Sweet and then tart with crisp carbonation the whole way. Like the taste, the high ABV tries to temper the tartness but it really can't as the blueberry phenols impart a strong acidic quality that doesn't mix well with the carbonation.

Fortunately this isn't a crappy beer that's just made with some fruit juice. Some thought and quality ingredients (i.e. real fruit) went into this. That said, it's just not a great beer.

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Photo of Hsolorz1
4.57/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Beautiful darker Belgian-style golden ale. Real blackberries and blueberries add a subtle taste and tang to the beer giving it a wonderful (but not overpowering) fruitiness and complexity. Leans towards Terrible Beer by Unibroue.

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Photo of Secondfiddle7
3.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A little bit boozy. Hey it's 10% ABV. No doubt, the fruit purée comes through loud and clear. There is a clear blackberry and blueberry taste. The big bottle is shareable. Pairs well with roast duck or roasted vegetables. Ages well. I've kept a bottle downstairs for a year or two and it smooths as it ages. Doesn't need to be ice cold, goes down real well at just below room temp.

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Photo of Boto
4.06/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle: this one pours a hazy Ruby tinged Amber color. Just a wisp of an off White head. Good nose. A bit musty. Red wine grape notes. Light Candi sugar, other fruits, malts. The taste is very good. Malty, a slight funkiness, touch of red wine flavors. Some blackberry also. Unique and good.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
3.91/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Pours incredibly dark orange or copper. Two fingers of off-white head.

S - definitely blueberry and blackberry. No Belgian yeast to find

T - Definitely tastes like genuine blue/black berries and not artificial flavoring. I mean, it tastes as advertised.

F - Good carbonation and a light feel. 10%? Really? I never would have guessed.

O - It doesn't deliver on the Belgian base, but if you wanted blackberries and blueberries, then this is it. Just be weary of that ABV; it will sneak up on you.

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Photo of jooler
3.82/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Good tart smell. Taste is initially of blackberries then the funkiness kicks in. It is pretty good, but the issues are bad after taste and no carbonation.

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Photo of JackRWatkins
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

750 ml in a st. bernardus glass
A:pours a light kriek like color, little to no head
S: mostly berry, pretty up front and delivers as promised
T: berry berry berry, the belgian yeast comes through at the end of a sip but the fruit is up front, a bit tart
M: surprisingly thick given that it vaguely resembles a rosé in color, a tad oily but not in a bad way just not an expected one
O: only my 3rd dogfish head beer, it's interesting but not incredible, not something I could have often and not sure I would buy it again but I would not turn it down

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Photo of Antg8989
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I was really expecting to be blow away by this; and again high expectations do not yield the greatest results. This is not a bad beer by any means. But it certainly is not great. Pours a deep amber with a red/orange hint. The head sticks around for a little bit. The aroma is more of blackberries than blueberries. It's got a very tart taste which certainly lingers for some time. It feels tingly and champagne like. Would I buy it again? No. Is it a must try? Not really - unless you want to try all that Dogfish Head has to offer. It's alright, but not worth the $15.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.84/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy red color with a thick foamy head. Head retention is decent. Lacing is good. Sweet blackberry aroma. BlackBerry taste up front with blueberry at the end. Belgium yeast. Decent beer but a little on the fruity side. Light to medium bodied with low carbonation.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass. Bottled on 03/07/15.

Appearance: Pours deep amber with a lot of bubbles. Solid two fingers of white head with a slight pinkish hint. Leaves a lot of lacing.

Smell: A very fruity and fairly sweet Belgian style aroma with a big scent of blackberries and blueberries. Belgian yeast with hints of funk, pepper, and clove. Big juicy scent of real blackberry and blueberry. Also some fruit hints of banana, apple, pear, and fig. Bready hints of wheat, straw, biscuit, and cracker. Sweet hints of sugar as well. A very solid juicy aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a fruity and sweet Belgian style taste with a big presence of blackberries and blueberries. Belgian yeast with some funk and spice notes of clove and pepper. Fruity notes of blackberry and blueberry juice. Belgian style fruit notes of banana, pear, apple, raisin, and fig. Sweet notes of sugar. Malt notes of biscuit, wheat, straw, and cracker. Hops are very light. Starts sweet and finishes fairly dry. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Juicy and slightly sticky with a drying finish. Alcohol is masked very well.

Overall: A very solid twist on a big Belgian style ale. Good taste of real berries that blend well with the Belgian spice and fruit notes.

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Photo of Vultr_of_cultr
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Something wasn't quite right about this one...positioned somewhere between a fruit ale and a lambic, it didn't really seem to pull off being either of those styles very well. Bold fruit taste, but somewhat light. The fruit beer lover may find something to appreciate about it.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.54/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Black & Blue a couple weeks ago for $12.99 at The Lager Mill. I've been meaning to try this one for a while and it sounds a little interesting, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 750ml Bottle into a Teku.

A- The label looks ok, it's well done and it's a little eye catching. It poured a red orange color that took on more of a red color when held to the light and it had a little over two fingers worth of creamy tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I like the color.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the Belgian yeast being the first to show up it imparts some typical banana and clove like aromas that are followed by a light herbal aroma. Up next comes a light malty aroma that's followed by the berries which impart a nice and natural berry aroma. This beer has a pretty nice aroma, but I think the yeast could be toned down just a little and I wouldn't mind a little more malty aromas.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with yeast still being the first to show up and it imparts the same aspects that it did in the aroma and it's the flavor that sticks out the most in this beer. Up next comes a slight herbal aspect that goes into the malts which show up a little more than they did in the aroma. On the finish comes the berries which are little lighter than they were in the aroma and they impart the same aspect with no bitterness and a little bit of sweetness taking it's place and it had a very yeast forward aftertaste. This is a nice tasting beer, but I wish the berries showed up more.

M- Smooth, crisp, slightly sticky, medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a decent beer and I thought it was a decent example of the style, but I think it's much more of a Belgian style Strong Ale than a fruit beer since the yeast is the most dominating aspect and the berries don't show up till the end and they aren't that assertive. This beer has ok drinkability, one glass is enough for me, I don't have the urge to drink more than that, but i think I'll be able to drink the full bottle. What I like the most about this beer was the appearance, this is one good looking beer. What I like the least about this beer was the balance, I need more berries and less yeast. I don't think I would buy this beer again, but I wouldn't turn down a glass. I can't say I would highly recommend it, but it's worth a try if you really like Belgian Style Strong Ales. All in all this beer wasn't bad, but it wasn't too impressive and it comes close to falling right in the middle. It's not a favorite from this brewery and it's pretty close to being average for the style. I appreciate the effort, but I think a little work on the balance would do wonders for this beer, better luck next time.

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Photo of Johnd8
4.32/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Did a vertical between a new 2015, and a bottle shop shelf dusty from 2014 bought a month ago; It was not exposed to sun light, just fluorescent light and room temps.
Other then what is likely slight recipe and fruit differences, the 2014 only had a couple of not offensive flavor differences. It was more berry forward and a bit rounder in flavor

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Photo of Sandalwood
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown color, with a huge three finger off white foamy head. There is a lot of carbonation and a soapy lacing. The odor is fruity, dark berries, spices, clove, woods, orange peel. The taste is very raspberry, berry, apple, sweet, barely any alcohol, peach, orange, spices, clove, crisp up front, barely any bitterness, a little sour throughout.

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Photo of kkleu357
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

On tap. Looked dark in the glass. Could have been purple. Spicy aroma. Tons of blueberry taste. I’m not too much into these styles of beers, although this one was decent. Does hide the 10% ABV pretty well.

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Photo of ARoman
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

750 mL bottle poured into a shaker. The aroma is as advertised -blueberries and blackberries - with a coriander and clove hint. The beer is a clear, dark blueberry-purple hue with a thin, pink, fuzzy soap head that has okay retention and a light lace (extra points for unique coloring). The thick oily beer is a medium high sweet and medium bitter bitter mix with a light sour. There’s an abundant, light fizz carbonation to help the medium full body go down. The flavor strikes as a blueberry and blackberry muffin with a peppery clove spice. It finishes crisp and peppery with grass, bread, and tart berries. The aftertaste is clean and astringent with just a hint of spice and tart berries.

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Photo of EMV
4.21/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at champs in State College, PA - poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a deep reddish mahogany color with a generous white head.

S: Fruits and berries, blackberry, blueberry, and maybe a hint of sour cherry. Mild spicyness as well... cloves and cinnamon.

T/F: Tastes very much the way it smells. Fruity and refreshing. Not too sweet with a slight tartness at the finish reminding me of cherry (although the dominant flavors are definitely blueberry and blackberry). Very smooth and moderately carbonated.

O: I don't usually go in for the fruit beers but since it was Dogfish head I gave it a go and was not disappointed. Very refreshing and crisp, and great to drink as we're entering the summer months. I'd have it again.

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Photo of Gear54
4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

From a bomber to a snifter

Pour is ruby red with 2 fingers of thick white foam. Foam fades quickly with tight lace. Medium carbonation

Smell is all berries. Blackberry and blueberry mostly. Smell is almost like grandmas preserves! Very nice!

Taste follows nose well. All fruit with little bitterness. Very tart like tart cherries and blackberries. Nice complement to the nose of the beer.

Feel is nice and light. Surprising for the high abv. No boozyness at all to the taste. Very smooth and refreshing. Absolutely brilliant for a strong beer. Feel might be the best part of this beer.

Overall this is great. No surprise dogfish hits another home run.

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Photo of jopezu
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

violet-tan orange, paper thin head. terrific carbonation. nose and taste; saisony funk, banana and candy sweet berry. i've had 2 bombers of this stuff - one with a very light berry flavor, and the second where it was dominant to the point of artificially oversweet. not sure what to make of this one.

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Photo of StretchZep
4.44/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Has a nice fruity smell. Pours a rich red/ amber color. Massive head with lots of lacing. Tons of carbonation. Just the right amount of fruity sweetness. Has a nice bite in the mouth and finishes extremely smooth and malty. There is a 10abv warming as it goes down the esophagus. I love it!!!

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Photo of JackieTH
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish hued gold beer kicked up foam. Smells very fruity certainly of blueberries and blackberries sweet and a bit tart in odor akin to a natural mixed berry jam. Taste is more on the tart side with a bit of sweetness around the edges. Definitely getting the 'real' blueberries and raspberries. The Belgian elements of this beer stays well under the radar and the only presence is a subtle crackers malt. Medium body. Overall this is enjoyable. I don't find it too sweet and I get the real berry taste, it's not seeming cloying or sugary. I'd revisit this beer occasionally.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.14/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Served in a snifter, appears a deep purple/red with decent clarity and sticky white head. Aroma feature Belgian esters paired with mild indiscernible berry character. Some tannic like red wine notes come through as well. Taste again feature mild berry with a mellow tartness. The fruit has a syrupy flavor and clashes with the base beer. Notes of a Belgian pale are present, not a whole lot of character. Overall, this beer is kind of blah, the fruit character comes across as syrupy and almost medicinal while the base beer is rather mom descript. Mouthfeel is highly carbed and somewhat heavy on the feel. Overall, would not come back to this one.

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Photo of npachl
2.53/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.75

I can get into the fruity beers (see New Glarus Serendipity), but this guy just lacks great flavor and feel. Dollars are better spent on other D-Fish beers.

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Photo of Wilshade
4.11/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belgian Style Golden Ale
ABV: 10%
Glassware: Tulip

Appearance: A beautiful translucent amber with a thick, creamy, off white head with substantial staying power. (Yes, I was careful with my pour.) Very active effervescence in the head and body.

Smell: Berries and more berries. Very pleasant.

Taste: Definitely tasting the berries with some floral hints. Very flavorful and surprisingly well balanced. Slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouth feel: Tingly on the tongue, but smooth on the whole palette.

Overall: Pretty beer with a nice bouquet and a distinct berry taste. High ABV is very well hidden. .

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Photo of cjgiant
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a rose to amber in color, with a fair amount of clarity. Light pink head billows on the pour, receding eventually to thin surface, medium edge head. Lacing is significant.
Nose is Belgian yeast, banana-y esters, mainly. As the beer warms, there is a flower blossom scent that comes on. Some whiffs I get some berry, but not all and not strong. Others times there is a strange mix of tart and funk that has a wet cardboard note to it.

Taste starts like a Belgian pale or saison, dry with light carbonation, and an earthy, lightly herbal taste. Little banana, but that is replaced with blackberry tartness - lightly combined with a sweeter blueberry taste. These flavors are nicely represented, but they combine with the farmhouse taste (yeast funkiness?) in a slightly odd way. This becomes less noticeable at warmer temps. Feel also improves at a certain temp, carbonation is fine throughout, but the palate is treated to a smooth beer as the carbonation fades a tad later in the pour.

A decent offering, but the combination of Belgian yeast with the berries created a slightly too weird taste to get a better score from me.

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Black & Blue from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 519 ratings.