Black & Blue - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Black & BlueBlack & Blue

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BA SCORE
83
good

1,552 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,552
Reviews: 523
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 15.53%
Wants: 110
Gots: 241 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,552 | Reviews: 523
Photo of Jree261
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Photo of Cylinsier
3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of Bauzen
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Photo of tipfortap
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
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%.

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of jwhancher
4.61/5  rDev +25.6%
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.

Photo of Jonada
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
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.

Photo of GossageBrewery
4.31/5  rDev +17.4%
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.

Photo of VALIS666
2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
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.

Photo of Ryan011235
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of Gobzilla
4/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a clear dark red color with a huge head and lots of lacing.

Smell – Raspberries and blueberries are in the nose, which I give a lot of credit for (these are often hard to small in fruit beers). Kind of a sweet scent, with bit of yeast.

Taste – I can also taste the raspberries and blueberries, which is very good. But the beer itself is neither sweet nor sour, but slightly bitter, which doesn’t complement the berry flavor well.

Mouthfeel – Nice carbonation, and very easy drinking for a 10%abv. I cannot taste or feel the alcohol.

Drinkability – I like the berry flavor, but the slight bitterness takes away somewhat from overall drinkability.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a brandy snifter. "Bottled in 2012A 10:04."

A: Light frothy head. Cranberry-coloured ale which is rather translucent.

S: Grainy and plain.

T: Interesting and excellent! At the beginning, it's got the pleasant, yeasty graininess of a Belgian Pale Ale, but then tart raspberry kicks in and makes it puckery and interesting. I can see the blueberries too, especially in the sweeter endtaste. The maintaste is sweet, malty, and fruity (surprise).

M: Smooth and lightly spicy.

O: I like it. It's good -- maybe not great -- but very good. Recommended. I may not have it again, but I'm glad I had this one. I do like Dogfish Head, very much.

Photo of KajII
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Suggested Glassware: Flute]

The pour was a clear reddish peach with a huge pale pink fizzy head that dissipated rather quickly and produced some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was of a sweet caramel malt and a funky Belgian yeast with notes of Blackberry, Blueberry and had a mellow wine presence.

The taste was sweetly acidic throughout with a strong berry presence and a nice bitter sourness along with a mild alcohol warming sensation towards the finish. The flavor hung around for a good long while with the bitter-sweet fruity taste mellowing as time went on.

Mouthfeel was light in body with a strong dry texture and a good strong lively carbonation.

Overall a very unique tasting brew, with just enough sweet and sour to mellow the harsh bitterness and allow for the fruity esters to prevail...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews

Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a semi-hazy golden hue with definite blue notes that darken it up a little bit. Small head that retains and laces very well.

S- Semi-sweet berry scents are prominent. Hints of boozy undertones in there too. Slight hints of Belgian yeast give a semi-bitter scent profile.

T- Starts of semi-sweet, then the Belgian yeast flavor profile takes over. Slight bitterness transfers into a more bitter, biting alcohol flavors. Blueberry flavor intermingles the whole way.

M- Thick and sticky on the palate. Too heavy in the ABV department for the style. Low levels of carbonation.

Overall, this is too boozy to be enjoyed over long periods of time. With a ABV turned down a few notches, this would be a very solid beer, but the smell and flavor profiles tend to take over.

Photo of Oakenator
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is slightly purple from golden - to be expected. Good lacing on the glass but head disappated quickly. Smell is more blackberry heavy than blueberry. Taste is consistent with the smell. Slightly boozy taste but the ABV tips that off. Great for a nightcap.

Photo of thain709
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Served with a ruby body that had some clarity to it as well as some slow carbonation bubbles...the head was white and thin to begin with and fell to hardly visible ring

S - This one is full of fruity notes...lots of berries going on...slightly tart and juicy blackberries and blueberries...there is also a slight wine characteristic to the nose

T - The beer is also full of fruity notes from start to finish...the berries really stand out on the palate...the blackberries provide a sweet, deeper flavor while the blueberries lend a little bit of a tartness while also being sweet...there is a quick presence of the yeast strain, but it doesn't provide a spiciness which is nice...I didn't get any alcohol in the finish, which was also nice

M - Medium bodied...slight tingly carbonation, sweet, slightly tart and dry

O - Dogfish did a nice job with this one...I didn't find the alcohol presence, but I'm sure an entire bomber would do me in...great berry flavors with a small supporting cast in the background

Photo of stephenjmoore
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours pink and settles into the glass as a clay red color. Virtually no head from the beginning, just some white bubbles on the top.

S- Smells like a wine or a sparkling cider. Blueberries and blackberries are noticeable, along with a musty aroma.

T- Berries are really all that come through, along with the slightest light malt presence.

M- High carbonation level allows this to drink like a sparkling cider.

O- If the goal was for a berry-based sparkling cider-like beer, they nailed it. This tastes nothing like a traditional beer, but is good for what it is.

Photo of circus_cat
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Used a DFH snifter.

A: Pours an opaque red color (closer to amber when held up to the light). I got about two fingers of a soapy bright white head which quickly disappeared to just a sliver.

S: The berries are very loud. I get a tart natural blackberry blueberry smell followed by some breadiness.

T: It tastes a lot like it smells except you realllly get booze on the taste. It kind of burns going down.

M: Very effervescent on the tongue with a clean finish. Again, you get that alcohol feel.

Edit: I feel like I didn't do this beer justice in the review or the score, so I adjusted the score accordingly. Like many people on B.A., I'm not the biggest veggie/fruit beer fan and sometimes my reviews will reflect that bias (sidenote, dudes, please stop saying that fruit beers are "girly." I'm a woman and it makes me feel really unwelcome in the craft beer enthusiast community when gender is used as a benchmark for how good or bad beer is). This beer accomplished exactly what it is meant for. It's a good seasonal beer and you can tell they used real berries instead of fake flavoring. Would I rather have a robust porter or an IPA? Sure. But if I were looking for a fruit beer with some actual complexity, this is a really excellent one.

Photo of confer
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It looks like port with an off-white ring around it.
The smell is ale-like with a sweet berry background.
The taste is nothing but the berry blend with small alcohol burn included.
Very light in the feel, champagne-like.
I like a good fruit beer and this one fits the bell for me. More wine tasting than beer tasting, but a good sipper.

Photo of scottfrie
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pour looks a couple shades lighter than cranberry juice with a finger of off-white foam on top. Head slowly faded onto a fuzzy film that lasted the whole beer through. Clinging patches of lace present.
S: Huge notes of raspberry puree fill my nose. I get a hint of tartness, a splash of red apples, and maybe the suggestion of blueberries. This beer is also pretty boozy smelling, with volatile alcohol vapors coming though noticeably. Touch of yeast or bready malt smell from the base beer as well.
T: Again, booze is almost the first thing I notice. Raspberry dominates the fruit, but blueberries are more noticeable than the nose. Apple, bread crust, yeast, and caramel, and wood are also present. I get a hint of chocolate in the aftertaste as well. Interesting flavors, definitely not a straight forward rasp/blueberry fruit beer. The base Belgian golden ale are still noticeable to some degree.
M: Medium-full body, bubbly carbonation on the palate but disappears quickly, with a thick, viscous, and greasy mouthfeel. Finish is thankfully not too wet. For being such a big beer I am surprised that the mouth isn't hot. Other than the viscosity I'm not getting any hint of alcohol. Credit where credit is due.
O: If this was about 5% less abv and was crisp and dry, I would drink this beer regularly. As it is now, this is a big, boozy, fruit influenced golden ale that is worth checking out, but not my favorite drinking beer.

Photo of drabmuh
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the brewpub in Rehoboth beach, beer is reddish and clear with almost no head, no lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, strong, cherries, mild Belgian yeast.

Beer is thick and sweet, strong with a lot of cherry flavors. Very strong, very in my face. It is a little harsh but finishes fine, lingering fruitiness. Very sweet.

Photo of zaphodchak
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reddish amber body, fine white trace of head.

Musty, dry blueberry and trace cocoa... quite nice on the nose.

Big flavor, blue/blackberry. Not super sweet nor tart, but faintly dry. Really quite nice, and you wouldn't necessarily guess this was 10%.

Thick with a bit of fluff.

Nice bold fruit beer-- not sugary, not too dry or sour, gets the flavor well.

Black & Blue from Dogfish Head Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 1,552 ratings.