Black & Blue - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Black & BlueBlack & Blue

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BA SCORE
83
good

510 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 510
Hads: 1,558
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 14.09%
Wants: 110
Gots: 245 | FT: 7
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: 510 | Hads: 1,558
Photo of douceman
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I think I got hyped up for this beer thinking it would be something really great. I love blueberry beers and I love Dogfish, so I thought it would be a great combo. So when I opened the bottle, I didn't think the smell was great, but they don't all smell great so that was whatever. The pour was good and the appearance was a good hardy beer. When it came to tasting I think it was just something that I didn't expect, so I didn't love it. Wasn't bad, but I'm not sure if I'll buy again soon. Mouthfeel was actually nice. Overall I gave it a 3 because it just wasn't for me. (574 characters)

Photo of seedyone
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

08/07/13 On tap. Just a taste. Not quite the fruitiness I'd hoped for. All in all a good tasting brew but I was expecting to be gob smacked and that didn't happen. I guess that's what I get for hyping myself up. This is one those that may just fare better from a bottle. Worth a second chance. (293 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A - Pretty, lightly hazy light pekoe orange tea. Nice large near white head slow to leave. Tons of fine bubbled lace.

S - First thing I smell is the fruit and booze. Frankly, it reminds me a little of a mixed berry cider I made, which is not a good sign. Malt present but fainter.

T - Sweetness from the malt and the fruit battling it out, a little cloying.

M - Thick, sweetish, not very good balance.

D - A nice one to try as very different, but I don't know if I will get much past the first few sips. (507 characters)

Photo of far333
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Clear copper colored with a ruby tightly bubbled head that slowly recedes to a fine cap.

A low aroma of yeastiness and fruit, but tough to discern the type of fruit without knowing.

Yeasty flavors upfront, phenolic and footy, hints of fruit come through, would like a bit more. Tough to discern berries, seems mostly blueberry emerging. Spicy bite in the finish. Yeast dominates too much for me, which detracts from the ex-berry-ence. (436 characters)

Photo of trankin6
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Found in a discount bin of bombers at local store and was delighted to find this nice fruit beer! pours a beautiful reddish-peachy color with thin pinkish head. the blackberries come in heavy on smell with tinges of that sourish belgian yeast. nice strong flavor of the golden ale base plays under those real berries and extra notes of dates, licorice, granny smith apple on the back. as other reviews note, all the layers mask some of the booziness nicely! (457 characters)

Photo of travolta
3.89/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: A beautiful copper strawberry color. Quickly dissipating head, good lacing. A foamy and light pink head. Unfiltered!

Nose: Cherry and raspberry jam. Honey and cotton candy.

Taste: A nice alcohol bite right up front with cherry, raspberry, blood orange, candied apple, grape and lemon. Some tea leaves and cloves, perhaps?

Notes: This is a fun beer to start off your tasting with. If you sit back and concentrate, you can find many layers here. (458 characters)

Photo of glass_house
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle poured into a tall footed tulip

Medium copper with amber highlights. Two fingers of fluffy white head that leaves a thin cap with moderate lacing. I'm getting more blueberries than anything else in the aroma (big surprise). A bit of tart fermented cherry and raspberry with very subtle caramel and honey.

Mouthfeel is medium. Carbonation is crisp but not overwhelming--seems to complement the body well. The taste is a bit grainy with a medley of fruits coming through--orange, lemon, blueberry, and blackberry mostly. I get a little bit of white peppery spice just before a fairly dry finish and a lingering blueberry flavor. I felt the alcohol was noticeable, but perhaps not as much as you'd expect for a 10% abv brew.

Overall, this was good, not great. I'm glad I tried it, and it was an intersting change of pace. Maybe some age would help, as other reviews seem to suggest. Did not live up to my expectations, but it wasn't bad either. If you're looking for a big fruit beer with natural flavors and some wine-like qualities this should be right up your alley. (1,083 characters)

Photo of Agent1
4.67/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I will be opening an aged 750 ml bottle of Black & Blue from 2007. This was a limited edition release, and this particular bottle has been aging for the past seven years. It definitely changes with each bottle and it surprises me every time. I plan on opening the remaining 750s every 6 months until there are gone (only 2 bottles left after this one). This is my third bottle.

Appearance - A rich, deep orange. Dark copper with bright white head. Great lacing, but thin head. Great carbonation and the bubbles remain very, very active. That being said, there is not a huge amount of head on this beer, but overall, it looks sexy.

Smell - Cherries and raspberry jam. Red wine and grape on the nose. Honey and cotton candy. Fermented fruits, which is pretty obvious because, quite literally, that is what this is. Quite sweet. Makes the mouth water in anticipation.

Taste - Lots of astringent tannins. A very stinging alcohol bite which is so shocking, sour, yet rewarding to the tongue. Big, bold fruits here: candied apple, grape peel, fermented cherries raspberries, blackberries, blood orange, strawberries and lemon (most likely a flavor given off from the fermented fruit -- almost sour). Great choice of yeast (definitely a high gravity yeast at work here, otherwise it wouldn't allow this beer to age this good -- possibly Belgian?). Extremely complex. Lots of other subtle layers such as cloves, coriander, tea leaves, brown sugar and rich barley. Very sour...nearing a lambic, but not quite. This is the closest beer I've had to mimic traits of red wine due to its acidity.

Mouthfeel - Very full bodied. Great carbonation with a thick, sticky, syrupy mouthfeel -- almost similar to cough syrup, but in the most pleasant way. This activates all areas of the mouth. Being slightly sour from the fermented fruits and sugars, this delivers a heavy, hard hitting, gustatory orgasm.

Overall - More like wine than beer at this stage. This is aging really well, and I'm willing to bet I wouldn't like this beer freshly bottled nearly as much as I do now. I'm sure it would be a solid beer, but I can see it being super sweet, jammy and heavy on the fresh fruits used. This is becoming darker in color and richer in malts, sugars and fruits. Very, very tasty and complex. (2,276 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fruity fruity fruity! Not that you should have expected anything less from a beer proclaiming to be made from blackberries and blueberries. Pours an interesting redish amber with a clingy thin white head. Smell is a lot of fermented funk, sour citrus, mild malt, and hints of blueberry. Taste is yeast, but opposite of the smell, i get mostly blackberry on the palate. Mildly sweet, a touch of sour. Leaves you with some fresh fruit on the aftertaste. Feel is great: easy, almost TOO easy to drink. You would swear this is more like 4 or 5%, certainly not 10. Nice boozey warmth once it gets down in the gullet. The alcohol can sneak up because it's so easy to drink. I downed a bomber inside of 30 minutes and definitely felt it shortly after. Good beer, preferred Red & White (if they can really be compared). (811 characters)

Photo of charlzm
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed September 10th, 2013 at Blue Dog Beer Tavern, Sherman Oaks, CA.

Beer is presented in a Chimay chalice. Color is a deep amber/orange with a fine, creamy one-finger head. Not a lot of lacing or sheeting, though.

Aroma is nearly all berries with a slight metallic tinge.

Flavor starts with a little caramel malt. Then, the berries invade. That's it. End of flavor. Virtually no bitterness. Berries linger on the palate after each swallow.

Mouthfeel is lively, with some sharpness and bite due to good carbonation. Slightly thick, bordering on chewy.

This is more like fruit juice with beer in it than beer with fruit in it. Still, that's probably what was intended, so it's hard to knock a beer for being what it is. Glad I tried it but I'm in no hurry to have it again. (781 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

unfairly underappreciated. this is a great beer, well made and fun. it looks pinkish and foamy, with a nice richness and good bubbling. smells like a Belgian blond, but has some great germal elements. malty with a fruity element, the blueberries stronger than the black berries in smell and taste, almost tart. the malt meshes amazingly well with the berries, a cool combo and definitely something different. yeasty, but the carbonation is huge, and so is the body, better and better as it warms up. love the fruit here, like no other. and the alcohol content is entirely invisible. how in gods name is this thing over 10% abv? just feels like a session beer. overall a great mix of fruit flavor and taste, nose of baby feet a little, but a real high quality brew here. (769 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a nice clean deep copper/amber pour with 2 fingers of foamy white head which left behind a decent amount of lacing. aroma of raspberries, blueberries, caramel, lots of malt and fruit! this is a very malt heavy flavor with tart hints of berry then a blast of honey/caramel and subtle berry on the end. very sweet, almost like a tripel.
full body with a creamy mouthfeel and modest amount of carbonation.

this is a 2012 bottle, so it's last year's batch.. i have to say there's not much of a difference in the year this has been cellared. (537 characters)

Photo of Jree261
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance-Raspberry red to brown ale brown but not quite an amber with a white foam that has a maroon tint.

Smell-The blackberry and blueberry fruit is definitely dominant.

Taste-The fruit is much more subtle than something like a framboise that will leave a medicine after taste and a coated tongue.

Mouthfeel-Medium to full body of a lighter ale with good length on the finish.

Overall-Not bad. Definitely need the subtlety that this beer provides to be able to drink the fruit stuff. The Dogfish people don't typically let me down though. (546 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

tap

Pours a berry amber color, basically transparent, with white sudsy lacing.

Smells of tart mixed berries. Maybe a hint of malt in there.

Flavor is of mixed berries, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry, with maybe a bit of cherry sweetness. More tart than sweet overall. A whisper of hop.

Medium body with a fizzy carbonation on the tongue.

If you like fruit beers, then you will love this. It's one of the most "natural" tasting fruit beers I've had, no corn syrup sweetness here. Personally, I enjoy the occasional sweet fruit beer so I enjoy this one. However, if you don't like those types of beers, there is obviously no reason for you to waste your time here. (675 characters)

Photo of Bauzen
3.47/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Amber/copper in color.

Smells as tart as it tastes - sharp, obnoxious, fruit kicking your ass and overpowering any aspect of beer that might be beneath the berries.

Mouthfeel is best described as taking a bunch of tart blackberries, shoving them in your mouth and having nothing to wash them down with for an hour.

My friend brought me a bottle of this stuff - and I wish I'd have known to age it. Seems like the only positive reviews come from vintage bottles - mine was certainly not a vintage. Assuming the fruit mellows out, I can imagine this being a nice beer... I strongly suggest letting it sit if you want a more enjoyable experience. (646 characters)

Photo of tipfortap
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

5 words to describe it: Tart, Red Wine, Effervescent, Jam, Bread

Paired it with: n/a

Should have paired it with: Sweet grilled cheese— maybe brie and jam? Grilled pork, Fried Chicken (and other picnic foods.)

Drink it if you like: Lambics, Kirs/Kir Royals, Fruit beers, Pinot Noir, Sangria

A few other thoughts: Because of the fruit sugars and fermentation process, this guy takes on characteristics of red wine, which makes for something super interesting and not too sweet. It would be awesome to take a 750mL bottle on a summer picnic.

Watch out, though, for the ABV— a very well-disguised 10%. (606 characters)

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter.

A: Clear red with two-finger, creamy, foamy, white head that lasted several minutes and left a nice film. Great lacing.

S: Big whiff of black rasberry. Subtle notes of alcohol.

T: Light to moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Tart berries and a hint of orange. Has a cider like quality to it. Really good.

M: Light to medium bodied with fizzy carbonation. Crisp and slightly astringent.

O: I am usually not a huge fan of fruit ales, but this was pretty good. Even better if you like berries. The flavors were not at all overpowering. Nice to sip. (578 characters)

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled in 2012A. Pours moderately cloudy orange copper color with a nice 2 finger dense and fluffy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lasts. Nice soapy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big tart raspberry, blueberry, grape, raisin, clove, light molasses, red wine, and earthy yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with a good balance of yeast esters with the big authentic fruit notes; with a nice malt/spicy ester balance as well. Taste of tart raspberry, blueberry, grape, raisin, clove, light molasses, bread, red wine, and earthy yeast spiciness. Fair amount of fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of tart raspberry, dark fruits, clove, light molasses, bread, red wine, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of fruit flavors; with a good balance of malt/yeast spiciness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and full bodied; with a slick and moderately syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice imperial Belgian fruit beer. Nice complexity of fruit flavors and balance of spicy yeast esters; and very smooth to sip on for a 10% brew. A very enjoyable offering. (1,380 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.61/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Broke out a bottle with bottled on date of 2010. Poured into a large tulip glass.

Pours a somewhat cloudy amber with orange highlights. Small lacing on the top with a little lacing. Can see some sediment floating around but that's expected give the bottled on date.

Smells very pleasing. Just like a fruity wine would produce nice aromatics, this one delivers in the same vein. I get the berries but a good dose of orange & coriander. Also some jelly/jam and strawberries. Some alcohol notes in the nose, but well under control.

T: A heavy dose of orange, berry fruit, some lemon, and a red wine like presence. It's a little hard to straight pick out the black & blue berries as neither completely dominate the flavor (or aroma) profile. Has some nice hop bitterness at the tail end, but hop character is unnoticeable.

M: Feels about medium. It has a really nice thirst quenching quality to it. Would be great on a hot summer day.

O: This one is really hard to nail down as it takes on the wine -esque attributes while still maintaining the craft beer style. Almost seems like a red-wine sangria. Seriously.

I'm really impressed with what this is. This one blows away barriers as to what to expect of craft beer. I know this has been out there for some time and I'm pretty sure I've tried it before as I've had most DFH offerings being in Philly. Not sure if the age has anything to do with it, but I really am enjoying this. Wow! A great beer. (1,454 characters)

Photo of Jonada
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 bottle served in a Russian River stemmed glass

Appearance: Amber orange color with about 2 fingers of an off white head. Lots of visible carbonation streaming throughout.

Smell: Berries, and lots of them. Blueberry, raspberry, strawberry jam with some booze present as well. The berry aromas all seem natural as opposed to artificial. There's a hint of breadiness in the aroma, but other than that I'm not really picking up anything from the base beer.

Taste: Lightly sweet with a slight tartness upfront. Lots of red berry jam flavors with raspberry being the most prominent. Some breadiness and grain come through in the middle, as well as some spicy yeast. Blueberry is most prominent in the finish, with both blueberry flesh and skin being noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Carbonation wasn't as intense as I was expecting given the appearance (which is a good thing). As for drinkability, this goes down extremely smooth with the alcohol being masked very well (FWIW, this bottle has about a year of age on it)

Overall: This is one big ass fruit beer, and it's a good one. Dangerously drinkable and not as sweet as you would expect a 10% DFH fruit beer to be. I'm looking forward to trying a bottle of the 2013 batch when it's released. (1,284 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, and berry aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors. (531 characters)

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.31/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured this Fruit Beer from a bottle into a pint glass. This ale poured a blueish/purplish color, produced a thick white head, retention was average and lacing was minimal. The aroma of this ale consisted of malted barley and sour fruit juice. This is a full bodied beer, 10% ABV. - Thankfully, I had the St. Charles Whisker Biscuit to assist me with this. A sweet malted grainy cereal base that gives way to tart fruits (blueberry and black raspberry) - it is actually a nice balance between sweet and tart- The issue I have with many fruit beers is that they are all sweet from start to finish- This ale does a great job to balancing the sweetness from the malted grain with the tartness of the berries. Another note here is how easy to drink this is- This is a big beer but very easy to drink. Don't be ashamed to grab this fruit beer and share this with a friend. (867 characters)

Photo of VALIS666
2.45/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I am not a fan of fruit flavored beer except for hints of the flavors, and this beer is like a fruit flavored wall of Marshall amps cranked up to 11. Dogfish Head makes some wonderful beers, they're one of my favorite brewers, but this is aggressive and obnoxious. The smell is nice -- mixed berries, I especially smell raspberry, but the taste is borderline unbearable. Tastes almost closer to a wine cooler than a beer it's so sweet and fruity. So unpleasant I poured about $7 worth of its 13 dollar bottle down the drain. (524 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Delirium snifter on 12/4/12

Bottled in 2012B

The appearance of the beer is a sharp copper and rust with a two and a half finger head of fluffy, rose-hinted foam. The head dissipates slowly, leaving webs of lace along the way. Wispy retention and good lace overall.

The aroma has an abundance of the black raspberry; a lot more that the blueberry puree. I don't know if it's the fact that this has black raspberry instead of red raspberry, but this has a cleaner, more natural raspberry aroma than most beers I've come across that use the fruit. As it warms and opens up, blueberry adds a modest layer and the raspberry seems jammy in view of the dusty and toasted grains.

The flavor is a more compact representation of the aroma. It packs a fair amount of flavor, but it's more focused and less inclined to wander. Raspberry is at the fore, but is starts right off with a jam note, though it isn't nearly as sugary as I'd expect from a DFH beer of 10% abv. The grain center is well-proportioned with the fruit additions. Blueberry has a bit more at state here, mostly on the finish. Again, I'm shocked at how sweet this is not.

While the sweetness isn't out of control, this critter does not want for sugar. That said, the sugars inform the feel more than the flavor. The body is a heavy medium with some sticky sugars. Hints of alcohol are woven in as well, though it is impressive that this isn't overly boozy either. Carbonation is appropriately balanced with the body.

This is the first time trying this beer; this is a good thing because I likely would have spent a lot of money on it over the past several years. (1,638 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a reddish brown in color with yellow highlights and a nice finger of bubbly head that let plenty of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of berry character upfront in the aroma such as blackberries and blueberries with quite od bit of sweetness I am guessing is coming from the malts, it had a little grain coming through and juice like tones.

T: the blueberries and blackberries were just as potent on the palate alongside lots of grain flavor, semi sweet notes, juice qualities to it which makes me think they didn't put real fruit but also had a little grape character.

M: the brew was medium to light in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, fruity, grainy, slightly musty and crisp finish.

O: pretty decent fruit forward beer that just wasn't my cup of tea. It still was worth trying though. (833 characters)

Black & Blue from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 510 ratings.