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Black & Blue - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Black & BlueBlack & Blue

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,422 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,422
Reviews: 487
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 15.85%
Wants: 90
Gots: 179 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Fruit / Vegetable Beer |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: ggaughan on 08-23-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,422 | Reviews: 487 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of luvND
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

P: 25oz capped bottle with French looking dude on label
A: Great fluffy white head with good retention
S: Tart berry, cant really say blue or rasp or whatever, also some apple and pear, and a little bready
T: Really nice, not nearly as tart as I expected (although I recently had a Festina Peche, so the sour meter was set pretty high from that). Berry/fruit comes through nicely with good bready malt backbone, no hops to speak of, alcohol is detectable but certainly not what youd expect at 10%. Pleasant fruity lingering aftertaste
M: Nice, a little sticky
D: One big bottle is plenty of this one
Notes: Nice beer, much less tart than I expected. Not a big fruit beer lover, but this was a good brew from a great brewery.

luvND, Jun 23, 2008
Photo of GJ40
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 750ml bottle in a Dogfish Head snifter glass.

A - Red with a haze and particles floating throughout. A thick head with a reddish tint.

S - Fruity and sweet. A bit like a Flemish red but not as tart.

T - Slightly sweet with a mild sourness / tartness and some alcohol presence. I love Flemish reds ands this has a hint of that but also adds a sweetness to balance that aspect. I liked this beer more and more as it went on.

M - Good consistency with a moderate carbonation.

D - Good, smooth and easy to drink.

I've loved DFH for some time now but I've hesitated to try their more creative brews. This was a step in that direction. And while I prefer hops to anything else, they really show some depth in their beers.

GJ40, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of treyrab
2.68/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 1 pint, 9.6oz bottle

A: Very hazy amber color that does not look appetizing at first. Barely no head on this one

S: Smell of tart berries, mostly blueberries and raspberries, or blackberries and some minor hops and grains

T: The lack of carbonation really destroyed this one. Perhaps it was a bad batch, but the flavor was not very good. Very berry flavors and odd malt flavors

M,D: The mouthfeel and drinkability were low on this one

Overall, I would give this one more try, but it was not very good due to its odd malt taste and lack of carbonation.


treyrab, Jun 15, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml split with the lady love, while i pack for south africas

appearance: pours into a snifter, bright amber body with a light beige froth and little retention...this one glows with fruity tones

smell: a nice sugary-tart nose, raspberry puree, blueberry and other berries, cane sugar, sweet tarts

taste: sweet tarts, mostly raspberry puree, blue and blackberries, sugary sweet and lightly astringent. better than reviews indicate and the lady enjoys it

mouthfeel: light and tart

drinkability: easy street for the abv

dirtylou, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of CWiggins
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I missed out on trying this brew last year because I decided to "come back [to Sam's Quik Stop] in a day or two and pick one up." Needless to say, the supply was depleted when returned two days later. This year I was not to be denied, so I purchased a bottle upon our first encounter just a month ago. I debated aging the bottle for a while, but what would be the point when I haven't tasted any version yet? Here goes.

It pours a dark amber into my Dogfish snifter, with a lean white head that lasts all of twenty seconds. The aroma is of, no kidding, berries and alcohol, but the combination seems to emit a tomato-like essence that reminds me of canned tomatoes like my mother use to put up. Very interesting, and a little off-putting. Intense flavors of rich, ripe fruit (mainly raspberries) push through the malts and sweeten the tongue in the center of the taste experience. One detects more malts and alcohol at the finish; hops are barely present, if at all. It's certainly not overly fizzy, and the body is medium. Overall, it's a nice brew, but the sweet, fruity flavors may make it difficult to pair with food. Actually, now that I've said that, this beer may be akin to a French-style rosé wine, so a nice pairing may not be out of the question. Bon appetite!

CWiggins, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of ph2001
2.45/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

25.6 oz bottle in pint glass

thick hazy redcolor. finger of head that settles down into a thin layer. mild smell of sweet and sour berries, purple grapes.

sweet berry flavors over a strong bitterness. finsihes with a bite similar to cherry flavored cough syrup. there is a sour bitterness in the aftertaste. the 10% is hidden well. interesting, but not my thing i suppose. generaly unpleasant flavors to me.

ph2001, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of weasbri
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Orange color, just a tinge of pink creeping in, good off-white head that really disappears quickly. Fruity aroma, light malt maybe. Not much there.
I kept expecting the taste to reflect the berries (blue and rasp), but didn't really get there. I get the sweet and bitter flavors of some berry in there, but most prominently malt with decent hop bitterness.
It's not that it's a bad beer per se, it's just that I was expecting it to be fruitier. In its defense, the fruitiness did increase somewhat as it warmed, but it's still just not quite what I was looking for.

weasbri, Jun 02, 2008
Photo of RomanW70
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Julian's, Providence. Really liked this one. Pours reddish gold with no head. Arome is of sweet berries with a wine finish. I thought the fruits were really well integrated with a very nice vineous quality. Some warming alcohol on the finish. I also thought the bottle version was a little too sweet, but this doesn't seem to be the case on tap.

RomanW70, May 31, 2008
Photo of dstc
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a warm, golden brown/ruby color. Off-white head that falls leaving little or no lace.

Smells sweet and full of berries.

Yep, tastes sweet and full of berries. As it warms it gets even sweeter, too much so.

Smooth in the mouth with very light carbonation and a slight alcohol bite.

Sorry hippk9 but my wife bought the last two bottles of Red & White (which I love too) in Ft. Myers. She also got me this bottle of Black & Blue to try. Not as impressed. A little too sweet and berry-like for me. Pleasant but the big bottle was almost too much.

dstc, May 31, 2008
Photo of wagenvolks
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split a bomber with the gf, mine into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a bright, copper-ruby body that turns peach in the light. Small, white yeast particles float throught the clear body. Carbonation level is quite impressive, despite the poorly retained, peachy white head that recedes to a foamy collar. I'll blame it on the ABV... Aroma has a little bit of fruit, but not nearly enough. It's more of a belgian-esque malty aroma with some light grasses and hops.

The flavor decently blends cidery-sour notes, spicy hops, pale malts, and some fruity bitterness provided by a hint of raspberry. A champagne-like bubbliness coats the palate, as Black & Blue finishes dry and sweet. I've gotta commend DFH on masking the alcohol, as its barely noticable. Verdict: Not a great beer, the price certainly drops the drinkability down a bit, but it was enjoyable.

wagenvolks, May 26, 2008
Photo of Tilley4
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shared a bottle with the wifey this evening. Poured into a couple of champagne flutes...

This glows in the glass, a warm golden with a hint of ruby...

Very pleasant aroma of sweet roasted malts, the biting sweetness of the raspberries and blueberries, but not a hint of alcohol...sort of yeasty as well which reminds me of a Belgian....there are also quite a few vinous qualities present...as it warms a little, it gets much more vinous...

I wasn't quite sure about this after the first sip. It seemed way too malty and not fruity enough... However, the tart fruits soon appeared and this became very Belgian and wine-like...it is a very tasty brew that both the wife and I liked quite a bit..not nearly as tart as the Raspberry Tart but reminds me a lot of it...

The 11% will spank that ass if you aren't careful. Its nowhere to be found in the aroma or taste and before I knew it, I was singing along to Stayin Alive on the TV set... Well done, DFH!

Tilley4, May 26, 2008
Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Beautiful peach/ruby body with a thin white head. A perfect mix of orange, red and pink.

s: Slightly funky, wonderfully fruity. Berries abound.

t: Fruity with a musky, bitter bite in the finish. Not as much tartness as I had anticipated. Seems like a pretty mellow belgian ale with a nice berry layer thrown on top.

m: Very active on the tongue, feels almost like a seltzer.

d: Hard to believe its so strong. The berry sweetness is balanced out brilliantly by the musky bite in the finish. The fruit is more subtle than I had expected, but I am happy with the result. Won't pay $14 for another bottle, but I'm glad I tried it.

BradLikesBrew, May 26, 2008
Photo of Padron4KM
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 ml bottle, 2008 stamped on the neck.
Hazy orange with a pinkish hue.
Aroma is sour bread with loads of fruit in the background.
Flavor starts with some yeasty notes, then the fruit sets in. Blueberries dominate for me with the blackberries fading in and out, going back and forth from sweet to tart.
Finish starts out dry, but by the end of the second glass it is starting to get a NutraSweet like character to it.
Bottle is probably best shared with a couple friends.

Padron4KM, May 25, 2008
Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into 8oz snifter.

Strawberry red hue with a light tan head that fizzles to a thin rim along the glass.

Light grain with an abundance of alcohol. Some blueberry is in there. Mild phenols.

The blueberries and raspberries don't make it in much. Most of the flavor to me is the high alcohol. Some phenols are in there too. The flavor reminds me of a Belgian Ale, not sure if that was the intent or not. The finish is the lingering alcohol and berry flavors.

This beer would make a good crossover for anybody who likes wine. Fruit flavors with the right amount of alcohol to make it familiar. I think the phenols may throw them off a little. I felt this one was a bit acerbic for my tastes.

BeerSox, May 10, 2008
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Served in a snifter glass. Light amber in color. Bubbly.

S. A very interesting nose! Berries and hops and some other sweet elements sifting in the background.

T. Ultra sweet and the berry flavor overpowers the hops.

M. Light and takes a few sips to coat the palate. Very sweet aftertaste.

D. Very good session beer, but I would rather have something else for extended periods of drinking.

Stinkypuss, May 10, 2008
Photo of Goliath
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a brownish color with ruby hues. One inch of light tan head sits on top with decent retention and some lacing.

The aroma is subtle. A general berry fruitiness and not much else.

Taste is ok. A slightly bitter berry flavor, and some spices. The 10% ABV is hidden alright in this beer, better than the Red and White at least.

Mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied with a nice carbonation.

Drinkability is moderate to low. High alcohol taste slows consumption, but other flavors are nice.

Goliath, May 05, 2008
Photo of Patrick999
4.43/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottling. Haven't broken out the snifter in a while; this seems like a good candidate for it.

Pours into the snifter a sparkling goldish-amber. Head bubbles up and largely dissipates, though I can see it trying to replenish itself. This is, however, a minimally hopped 10% ABV beer, so it's not getting too far.

Cool, I can really smell the berries. I can smell a hint of sour musty wheat, almost as if this is some kind of "imperial lambic." Swirl it enough and a bit of alcohol muscles through and makes itself known. Oh yeah, extra points for smelling of real berries, not artificial flavoring.

Now this is fruit beer. Minimally sweet, there's a natural tart raspberry and blueberry pulp dominating. I understand why this beer is expensive - these days, real raspberries and blueberries aren't cheap, and it must have taken boatloads of them to make this beer. But back to the taste...beyond the obvious fruit, I sense a subtle wheat backing and *some* hop twang, though not much. Alcohol is absolutely nowhere. The big story here is the tart berry presence, as it should be. It's not quite a lambic, not quite a Belgian Strong Dark. I think this falls somewhere between the two, edging closer to lambic territory with the tart character. If you were afraid of this being too sweet, fear not.

It has a nice feel. Not at all syrupy and cloying as a 10% fruit beer probably could be.

Drinkability I would have to rate as very good. Like the Red & White, it doesn't drink at all like the strong beer that it is. Good job Sam.

Patrick999, May 02, 2008
Photo of bonkers
4.05/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

split a 26 ounce bottle with a friend, split into pint glasses
A-pours a light red color with a thin head
S-very sweet with fruit notes
t-sweet right from the start, but it is well balanced with hints of berries
m&d-very drinkable, not overly sweet, nice carbonation, not very filling
Overall-A very good fruit beer. This is well balanced and a fun beer.

bonkers, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of rodrot
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, dark red color with a small light tan head that dissipates after a couple of minutes. Aroma was very winey and fruity, with lots of berries in the nose. I could also pick up a slight whiff of malts as well. Taste was quite sweet up front, I can definitely taste blueberry, and some warming alcohol. The finish was a combination of sweet and sour with some mouth puckering fruitiness mixed in. Drinkability was surprisingly good for a beer(wine?) of this strength. Despite having my doubts, I liked this beer. Give this brewery credit once again for experimenting and coming up with recipes that push the envelope of what beer can be.

rodrot, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of ojiikun
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the clearly stamped 2008 Feb vintage as a fith. Pops and pours wiht nearly no hiss or head, but only just. A small amount in a rather big wineglass gives a red, red colour with peach-tinged edges. What little head we have is off-orange. Crystal-clear body after a 30-second chill haze cleared itself.

Smell is floral with tons of berries and lots of non-malt sugars. Blueberries, of course, and something like white tea. Vinous. Rose hips. As it warms, a few caramel-ey malts come out.

Taste is quite tart, a little sweet, and still very floral. Some nice, dry farm-ey yeast notes, as well. Citrus peel finish. Odd funk in the middle that I can't quite place. Booze hides pretty well.

Mouthfeel is a little uninteresting. A little sticky, a little thin, not much carbonation when cold, improves a bit as it warms.

I'm just not sure about this one. It's a fantastically original recipe, but I'm not sure the execution is as spot-on as it could be. I wish the boys from Milton had taken this more down the route of the Fort and made it more of a wine. I figure some age might also improve things considerably.

ojiikun, Apr 26, 2008
Photo of Portertime
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a hearty brew with a nice ABV. Poured a dark sunset red color no black nor blue though. Smells like sour raspberries and blueberries with a kiss of oak. Tastes of ripe and sour raspberries and blueberries. I little tart for my taste. I enjoyed this one chilled in a bubbler.

Portertime, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of NCSUdo
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle, bottled 2008

A: Deep copper, ruby hued, under a slightly small head. No blue, which was a good surprise. Some OK lace and retention.

S: Smells sweet, fruity, a little bit of blueberry and raspberry comes through, malt backbone is there as well. Could be a little bigger.

T: Very sweet, a little sour, malty, fruity, fruit really comes out in the taste. A bit of warming and drying alcohol. Juicy. Maybe the tad bit too sweet, but I enjoy some sweetness.

M/D: Medium to full bodied, high carbonation, a bit sticky. Pretty good drinkability. A good dessert beer for sure.

NCSUdo, Apr 22, 2008
Photo of hellcatsjg
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark reddish orange with a nice off white head that may have a tint of red in it. Bit of lacing as you go.

Smell: Sour raspberry and malt with a bit of vanilla and maybe a bit of oak.

Taste: Sour raspberry up front gives way to a malt flavor with a hint of blueberry. The vanilla and oak from the nose are present in the aftertaste. The sour flavors linger throught the sip.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and medium carbonation. Taste of nice sweet and sour fruits linger after the swallow.

Drinkability: Very good fruit beer, with nice bit of complexity and sweetness. High ABV could be daunting to some. My main worry about this beer is the $14 price tag. Would buy again, but not for that price.

hellcatsjg, Apr 21, 2008
Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Red-capped big bottle into a Duvel tulip. 10% ABV on the label. 2008 B for the bottling date.

Appearance: Peach-colored with hints of amber, and an off-white head that leaves a lot of sparse lacing in rounds without a lot of clumping or anything.

Smell: Lots of interesting things going on here. Initial lambic sourness, sour fruits, yeast, some candi sugar, some blueberry aromas that thankfully don't smell like extract, and some mild medicinal phenols. Almost like a fruit beer meets a saison meets a lambic, in a great way, with tons of stuff to take in as it warms.

Taste: Awesome sourness of the fruits coupled with mild medicinal phenols, yeast, earthiness, along with some sweeter flavors such as vanilla and banana, with a semi-sweet, yet semi-dry, and obviously hard to explain, finish, leaving earthiness, mild phenols, sour fruit, and banana, coupled with pie-filling sweetness. Very bizarre and singular and pretty awesome overall.

Mouthfeel: At first I thought it was a bit watery, and I think it is, which it almost needs to be... if there were more carbonation, the subtlety of the sourness, fruit, and phenols wouldn't come through as well. And it still remains medium-bodied, even on the lighter side, and hugely coating without seeming that way, if that makes sense.

Drinkability: I'm surprised that this isn't rated higher, as I was kind of blown away, and this is coming from someone who isn't the biggest fan of fruit beers. But this is wonderfully sour (but in a mild and not overbearing way in the least), complex, and it doesn't seem like alcohol's present at all, even as it warms. Yes, at the around $12 price tag, this is a treat, but I enjoyed it a lot, and I'm not sure I've had a beer quite like it before. DFH lately is hitting all the right notes for me... keep it up.

asabreed, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of jwc215
2.8/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized wine glass:

Pours (no, not black and blue) a reddish orange with a thin white head that recedes. Interesting color.

The smell is of blueberry and raspberry. Mild. Smells something like a fruity wine cooler.

The taste is of blueberry juice and some raspberry. Both of which are syrupy and mild. A caramelish sweetness is there, as well. For as sweet as it could be, fortunately it is not. There is some balance to it, but not more flavor. Ho-hum finish, if there is a finish at all.

Light-bodied, with an initial effervescence that fades.

To its defense, the alcohol is pretty well-covered, with it adding just a touch of dryness. It went down pretty somewhat quickly, but I wonder if it was the search for more flavor that made it so "drinkable". The problem with this beer is more in the "lacking" than anything "off". Drinkable enough to try - but not to get again.

jwc215, Apr 17, 2008
Black & Blue from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,422 ratings.