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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,003 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,003
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.06%
Wants: 198
Gots: 240 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Chile Beer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Theobroma is a celebration of chocolate, the food of the gods.

This Ancient Ale is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras that revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions.

The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1,200 B.C. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head's Theobroma (translated into "food of the gods") is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

It's light in color, not what you expect from your typical chocolate beer (not that you'd be surpised that we'd do something unexpected with this beer!).


(Beer added by: slvrmon82 on 03-21-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,003 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Mr. Goodbar's. Golden body. Expected hotter peppers but it was muted, more cinammon and cloves. Little head. More like a roobis tea with flavouring addd to a beer. So-so drinkability. Not for everyone. Average mouthfeel. Might be better on cask.

Sammy, Sep 20, 2011
Photo of djrn2
2.5/5  rDev -35.1%

djrn2, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

zestar, Jun 13, 2013
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy tangering with a white head. Lots of sweetness in the aroma--sweet malt, some breads, honey, spices, and a bit of chocolate. The taste is very similar with a lot of sweetness balanced out by quite a bit of spiciness. Both the flavors are fairly extreme but balance well. Some cocoa in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium and quite carbonated; the spices linger on the tongue and create a dryness after the swallow. Fairly complex.

Thorpe429, Oct 04, 2009
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev +3.9%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured a clear light golden yellow in color with only a few bubbles floating on the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is evident from the rising bubbles.
S: There is a moderate amount of sweetness in the nose, which has light aromas of honey and grapes.
T: Like the smell, flavors of honey and grapes dominate the overall taste. There are some hints of chili peppers and cocoa in the finish.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a touch of carbonation. The finish has a very mild amount of dryness and a bit of heat from the chili peppers.
D: Although the alcohol is masked rather well from the taste, this beer still tastes strong and is one that needs to be sipped given its amount of cloying sweetness.

metter98, Aug 26, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a rocky head; average retention and a few squiggles of lace here and there

Smell: Clearly meadlike, with plenty of honey, and the cocoa powder is also discernable

Taste: Sweet, graham cracker malt and vanilla, up front, with a growing honey character; by mid-palate, the malted milk and ancho chile flavors arrive in force; cannot detect the nutmeggy annatto flavor other than through the power of suggestion; after the swallow, the chile and chocolate flavors persist and blend with the honey; memorably hot finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; rather creamy; with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting how the hotness of the chile takes on the role of the bitterness of the hops in modern beers; worth a try but not sure I would want to re-visit very often

brentk56, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.7/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sunny Sunkist tangerine with light showers of fine yeast. With cocoa powder and cocoa nibs as ingredients, I was expecting the beer to be much darker. The ecru-ivory colored cap is on the crackly side and isn't very sticky. A few sorry scraps of melty foam are all that make it to the glass.

The nose is different in a way that is hard to put into words. It's fruity and spicy, although none of the rather unconventional ingredients are appreciated per se. I'm probably talking myself into smelling the cocoa powder. In the end, the aroma isn't very interesting, which is the one thing that I thought this ale would have going for it.

The story behind Theobroma's inspiration and creation is available at the top of this page, so I won't recount it here. Suffice it to say that this is another one of those Dogfish Head historically-accurate brews that could have done anything from succeed admirably to fail miserably. It does neither, but it comes disappointingly closer to the latter.

Carob (or malted milk) is the first flavor that engages the taste buds. It's quite an odd vibe coming from such a lightly colored beverage. Honey contributes a light sweetness without adding much flavor. Ancho chile adds a modest amount of heat and possibly a little earthy flavor as well. Annatto is supposed to be slightly sweet and peppery, but then how would one know with honey and chile peppers in the house?

In the end, the flavors never really come together into a unified whole and simply aren't interesting enough to make me want to keep on keepin' on. Historical interest aside, this simply isn't very good beer. On a positive note, almost no alcohol is appreciated on the palate. The central nervous system is another matter entirely.

The mouthfeel is no great shakes either. It's medium in heft, is somewhat slick, and lacks bubbles, which leads to a lack of volume and a shortage of creaminess. It looks like 'look', also known as appearance, is the highlight.

Theobroma is not one of Dogfish Head's better efforts. I appreciate that Sam likes to push the envelope (and I applaud him for it), but good beer has to be the end result or nothing else matters. For my money, Chateau Jiahu is the much better 'ancient civilization pottery fragment residue recreation' beer.

BuckeyeNation, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of BEERchitect
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is more like a 'kitchen sink' beer than a chili beer. It's got all the crap that the ancients could think of, including a little bit of malt. The beer has a bright copper-amber hue at first, but poured a hazy rusty hue toward the end of the bomber. Head formation was fair, as well as retention and lacing. Rich aromas of honey, chocolate, toffee, and molassas fills the nose along with herbal and perfumy notes. Flavors strongly favor the honey and mask a lot of the malt base. Very sweet to taste with a powerful underlying taste of cocoa, almonds, pecans, and cashews. Again, hints of corriander, orange peel, cherries, cumin, and a flowery note give the beer a lot of complexity. Flavors of the chilis gain intensity and are noticed going into the finish. The beer's weight favors the honey as well, but allowing a soft malt blend to substantiate the beer. Quite warming from mid-palate on from a blend of the chilis and alcohol. The heat never offends but does give the beer a little something extra. The chilis also seem to balance the sweetness with the low hop (if any) additions. A very nice experimental beer. I'll have to see how this one ages out.

BEERchitect, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle: Poured a light golden color ale with a medium pure white foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of Chiles and staled grain is not as interesting as I had expected. Taste is more geared toward Chiles then anything else and chocolate notes are very hard to distinguish. Body is about average with OK carbonation and no sign of alcohol. I kind of understand the experience but I am not sure why someone would want to drink this more then once.

Phyl21ca, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +3.9%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +29.9%

GRG1313, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark as night, with nothing, not a drop of anything coming through the other side of this beast. The delicate and evil reverse cascade of the deep chocolate colored head just sealed the deal as it rose up to nearly an inch it stays, never settling more then a couple of inches

The aroma was heavenly. Rich cocoa layered upon warm roasted coffee with touches of chili and sice are what comes across at first. Warming though brings out all the subtleties and richness that I would have come to expect. Cinnamon and vanilla and fighting it out to provide a hint of sweetness and character. Each sip seemingly more complex then the one before. It is literally just a bath in warm, malty flavors

mikesgroove, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -22.1%

ygtbsm94, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is a light golden amber sort of color with a short lived white head.

S: For a chile beer with so many special ingredients, I don't get much out of the nose. Some light fruitiness, almost melon-like, with some corn, perhaps. I don't really pick up any chile or cocoa, etc.

T: The flavor is similarly lackluster. A definite sweetness that is somewhat like apple juice. The chile flavor is mild at best, and the cocoa is barely noticeable.

M: The body is on the lighter side of medium with a lively carbonation. Probably the best thing about this beer.

D: I suppose I'm glad this beer wasn't horrendously bad like it certainly could have been. But, it wasn't really any good either.

womencantsail, Sep 03, 2010
Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE

A: thin head and no lacing really on a clear bright golden with slight copper hue body.

S: caramel malts, toffee and cocoa.

T: The cocoa and honey notes are excellent and mesh very well. There is a light chili spiciness throughout greatest in the finish. Sour citrus notes as well.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: a very interesting beer which changes quite a bit as it is enjoyed. One of the better ones of the series.

kylehay2004, Jul 28, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When I first picked up this beer and read the description of it on the label I assumed it was going to be a dark beer. Turns out I was completely wrong and it poured out as a really vibrant orange color. I can only assume that this beer has more surprises in store for me. The smell of the beer had some earthy chocolate aromas coming off of it. I wasn't able to pick up much Chili pepper on the nose though. The taste of the beer gives off that same bitter earth chocolate note with just a hint of the pepper in the background. It's a very subtle chili beer, not one of those that is undrinkable because it's like drinking fire. The mouthfeel of this brew has a good thickness to it much like DfH's big bottles. Overall I really enjoy this beer quite a bit, I don;t buy it too often but I feel like I want to have it again sometime soon.

Knapp85, Aug 16, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, lightly effervescent, golden-orange body with a smallish, white head.

Smell: Coarsely chopped chile peppers smothered in an overkill amount of honey. Other notes of fragrant, over-toasted seeds, a winelike fruitiness, and last (as well as regrettably least) is cocoa. I'm sure the chocolate will wholly redeem itself in the flavor.

Taste: Spicy, heat-bringing chilies mixed with with a large enough jug of honey to make even Pooh-bear blush. Sip after sip it's never more than slightly sweet. Sadly, there's only a distant, vague, possibly even imagined hint of cocoa. The vaguely nutty annatto is, at times, slight or effusive. I'm over here biting my lip in anticipation of a cocoa return, but it's looking bleak. Meager amount of bitterness. Splash of white wine. Fleeting hint of undercooked waffles and fruit just before hitting the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Slightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: These droll historical renditions peak my interest every time and always make for a ripping good time. Chateau Jiahu was mighty fun. Didn't we have one hell of a time with Midas Touch? Though, it is true I was ready to behave like a petulant child for want of more chocolate.

ChainGangGuy, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3/5  rDev -22.1%

westcoastbeerlvr, Mar 03, 2013
Photo of oberon
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have been wanting to try this beer for awhile,I picked it up today and well...I wish I hadnt spent the money I did for it.Poured a clear golden with no head what so ever,it looked flat.Aromas are fruity with a light shot of spice,not like ancho's though,more heat than expected.Very light chocolate on the palate with the alcohol showing thru,the chile comes thru in the aftertaste.Eh not what I thought it would be,the spicey burbs are the best thing about this beer in my mind.

oberon, Aug 22, 2010
Photo of JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

JAHMUR, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Food of the gods, indeed. It pours a clear copper topped by a few piles of large tan-green bubbles. It's not really foam, just several rows of tangential bubbles. The nose comprises mandarin oranges, chile peppers, greens, wet hay, and a dash of cayenne. The taste is much the same, though with more citrus notes and a touch of that cocoa they put in there. A nice tiny flash o' heat comes creeping up from the bottom, but serves only as a tease. The body is fairly light, with a light carbonation and a humid finish. Overall, possibly the best chile beer on the market (though that ain't sayin' too much).

TMoney2591, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev +3.9%

SocalKicks, Jul 27, 2013
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Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,003 ratings.