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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,094 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,094
Reviews: 767
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 226
Gots: 280 | 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:
Beer added by: slvrmon82 on 03-21-2008

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,094 | Reviews: 767 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Spider889
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I had this last year in a bottle and I swear I loved it. Either my palate has gotten a lot more discerning in that time, or bottle conditioning does this beer a world of good. Either way, this time around, on tap, I was nonplussed to say the least.

Absolutely no head, no lacing, no visible carbonation at all. Maybe they had a bad keg? The color was that of cloudy home made apple cider.

The smell was barely on the radar considering all of the exciting ingredients. You do get some traditional Belgian yeast smells that are masked by orange, peppery notes, cardamom, and cinnamon.

The taste is strongly peppery, there's a mild spiciness that comes through by the end of the glass. Lots of cinnamon, pepper, dried chocolate, and sweet clove.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, but then again there was absolutely no carbonation here. The alcohol warms on the way down as do the chiles leave a faint burning in the back of the throat and side of the tongue.

I'll give this one another try to make my final verdict, but unless I'm at the Brewery in DE I'll restrict my next tasting to a bottle.

Photo of lovindahops
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ready to have another DFH seasonal brew. I'm expecting a definite novelty from this

A- pours a light amber appearance with a very dominant head that disappears in about 30 seconds. A very clear, yet normal brew

S- it's quite light, but there is honey, chili peppers, and yeast throughout the brew. Not outstanding, but still there

T- just a crisp and spiced delicious combo. The honey and spices mingle as you get a slight sense of heat as well. It's definitely not the most overwhelming chili beer out there. However, it's not bad in the taste department

M- crisp and clean throughout

D- I knew there would be some point I don't hoot and holla about a dfh brew. There is no question that this brew is geared to capture a historic style. Nevertheless, it does not transition to my most favorite brew. BUT!!! I can really enjoy drinking this, as it goes down quite smooth. I'll grabe a couple of these before they move on to the next brew

Photo of Halcyondays
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, the first time I've seen this beer in the Southland,

A: Pours a translucent burnt orange with a fizzy, bubbly head, some floaties.

S: Some nice malt, hint of chocolate, nothing too substantial.

T: Has a relatively innocuous Belgian amber type malt. The chocolate is nowhere to the forefront as I thought it'd be. Minor notes of chocolate and chiles to the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, a bit fizzy, adequately smooth.

D: Honestly, I thought they'd do more with this. It tastes a bit like a more pallid Pangaea with a bit of chocolate and chile thrown in. Just wanted more, this is the 2nd time I've had this and was underwhelmed both times, but still I give props to DFH for their experimentation.

Photo of Chaney
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this once last year, and totally wasn't what I expected. This is mainly because when I saw it contained ingredients such as: cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and honey, I assumed it would be some type of dessert beer. I have since learned better and here is my new objective review:

A: Little to no head with a clear burnt orange color, which is very similar to annato (one of the primary ingredients).

S: Cocoa and honey are very upfront with a tinge of pepper.

T: I would describe it as a cocoa-laced, "Midas Touch." After about 3-4 sips, I started to notice a bit of spiciness on the tongue. This sensory engagement is something I couldn't get from the smell.

M: Sweetness doesn't linger too long and doesn't coat the mouth.

D: Easily drinkable, almost dangerous considering the 9% ABV. The honey aids considerably in hiding the alcohol, however, the beer gets a bit too peppery for my liking after awhile. I could only enjoy this one in small doses.

This is a nice seasonal from a fantastic brewery. Very complex and engages all of the senses.

Photo of wikk3d
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Like other people have said, you pour it expecting to be a darker color than it actually is. Light amber coloring, settles with a thin bubbly head that dissipates after a moment leaving very little lacing on the glass. Poured into an Allagash Belgian Glass.

Aroma - There's no real strong smell that comes to mind and stands out. It's a little sweet, not hoppy at all. More of a malt sense to it.

Taste - Wow, this beer has a lot of flavor to it. Very sweet with a little bit of spice that comes afterwords. I get a strong honey flavor. There's a lot of spices in the beer but it just doesn't really have anything overpowering besides the sweetness. Very faint cocoa as well. Overall, though, it's a very good brew.

Mouth - This beer is strong in ABV but just doesn't taste like it. The bitterness and hops are hidden very well. Once everything goes away, you get this strong sensation on the back of the tongue, very tangy.

Drinkability - Very good beer that finishes well, and has a lot of great flavor too it. It's overall appearance throws me off because it doesn't pour or smell the way you would think it would. I guess that's just how the ancients did it.

Photo of ArfArfArf
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Rich red, amber overall. Extremely light carbonation.

S - Smell is simple and extremely faint, mostly honey and yeast.

T - As with other reviewers, I was surprised at how clean it was despite the knowledge of many of the ingredients prevalent. Initially, honey and annatto come on very strong, follow-through reveals strong cacao flavors (although, admittedly, a honey to cacao follow up is a very satisfying transition). The cacao's bitterness strongly masks the burn and flavor of the alcohol (to the point that it is virtually non-existant). Chile is almost imperceptible.

M - Crisp, clean. Extremely thin, despite the cacao.

D - Due to the cacao's prevalence at the end of the strong honey flavor the beer starts off almost overwhelmingly like an average honey ale with a complete absence of alcoholic flavors when you get pulled into the cacao. Makes the decent alcohol content negligible to the tongue.

I picked up 3 bottles after purchasing as it makes for both an interesting novelty and it is incredibly drinkable for the alcohol content. I would recommend this if you're feeling adventurous or are an archaeologist looking to spend your Per Diem ;) In my opinion, this beer fills in just fine as a yearly curiosity and is probably something you could have once and then move on from.

Photo of Naugros
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Not the color I expected. Looks like thin caramel. The thin head gets even thinner very quickly, but doesn't disappear entirely. But this beer was not brewed to be pretty.

The first impression I got from smelling the beer was spruce or cedar, definitely something in the evergreen family. The honey is evident and there's a barely discernible burn in the nostrils which is probably from the chilies.

The evergreen taste disappears and is replaced by an earthy flavor that is probably supplied by the the annatto with the anchos helping out. I don't know that I can taste the cocoa, even in its unsweetened form. Yes, it can be described as "earthy", but that is definitely not coming from cocoa. The honey does supply a subtly sweet counter-balance to a slight bitterness.

The feel that is produced by this beer is not one I've come across before. I can't say I'm truly fond of it as it leaves an odd, pine sap like biting sensation on the tip of the tongue. I'm more used to the aftertaste lingering at the back of the throat.

Nothing that I would drink every day, every week or even every month. I'm not certain that I'd try it every year even. Midas Touch continues to be my favorite in the Ancient Ales series from DFH.

Photo of erosier
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: Pours a nice orange-amber color with a medium sized and medium bodied off-white colored head that laces the glass a bit on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet roasted malts, some honey sweetness, mix of spices as well.
T: Tastes of sweet roasted malts, then some spices (mainly chile), followed by some honey and sugar sweetness, a hint of chocolate as well. Really mixed up flavors, but interesting.
M: Lighter feeling than it looked, perfect amount of carbonation, slightly hot feeling from the abv and the chile.
D: OK drinkability, lots of stuff going on here but not bad for sure.

Photo of nboris827
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: poured a nice amber color. Head diminished quickly.

s: honey very prominent on the nose

t: chocolate and honey are apparent upfront. If held in the mouth, chili heat appears, and appears again on the back of the throat later. Nice evening beer to sip while unwinding.

Photo of caddybuyer
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 into a tulip glass

A-Slighly veiled peach with an eggshell head that settles rapidly

S-Not much of a nose for an interesting combination. I'm only picking up some sweet malts, some yeast and honey. Perhaps a bit of cocoa in the background. No spices or anything else detected.

T-Sweet, creamy cocoa hits the palate along with a strong nutty spice I cannot place (annato?). Yeasty, bready and a bit musky, I expected a bit more chile burn but alcohol burn is the only thing that is present.

M-On the heavier side of medium and slighly creamy.

D-Another "glad I tried it" brew from DFH, but this seems to have missed the mark. What should be incredibly complex is simply lackluser. A few years ago at Hershey we saw a lecture on Mayan chocolate beverages, then tasted some chocolate laced with chile and pepper. It was delicious, and that experience is what I was hoping for in this beer but it does not seem to translate well. Don't get me wrong...this is not horrible or undrinkable, it just isn't that great.

Photo of EvilGnome6
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Pours an orange shade of gold with a small white head. Not much carbonation.

S: Smells a bit like a skunky lager and musty, old, sweaty gym socks. Not very appealing.

T: Kind of like it smells. A bit musty and unremarkable. It's not awful but but nothing really stands out. You can kind of detect the heat of chili in the aftertaste. No real hint of the honey or cocoa. I think the special ingredients need to be more bold to make this interesting.

M: Perfectly fine. Light and crisp.

D: Definitely very drinkable for a 9% beer but I wish it had more character.

I wouldn't decline this if somebody offered me a glass but it's definitely not something I would seek out.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
2.68/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

$14 for a 750ml, purchased from Supermarket Liquors in Ft. Collins, CO. Into my DFH Signature glass, split with my girlfriend.

A: Pours a light amber/honey color with a white head, not much retention, and a fair amount of bubbles moving from the nucleation point. A few gobs of lacing here and there. Nothing impressive.

S: Right up front I'm hit with a huge nose of wet dog. Under that are some sweet honey notes and some spicy notes of chili peppers as well. Maybe just a hint of chocolate way in the back, and some booze as well. Maybe a hint of grainy malt. Pretty tame in the nose.

T: Hugely disappointed here, I can taste the honey, and there is just a taste of chocolate, and I'm not getting any spice or pepper notes here at all. So far the only thing on the label coming through is honey. Everything else is practically gone. Tastes similar to Midas Touch. No noticeable hops, but I figured as much. Maybe just a hint of spice comes through but definitely no flavors of Ancho's. Bummer.

M: Fairly light, with a medium body, remarkably dry and just a bit warm and boozey. Meh.

D: I can't say that I like this, the flavors that the bottle advertises are not there and are insanely subtle, or non-existent. I had pretty high hopes for this beer, like i do the other "historic" beers, but once again, I'm a bit disappointed. Price tag is steep, and this just is disappointing.

Photo of mdfb79
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had at a small DC tasting thanks to jslot38. Vintage is 2008, batch 1.

a - Pours an amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of sweet fruits, sugar, and spices.

t - Tastes of spices, candy, and sweet fruity malts.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

d - A decent beer.I thought the chile has faded but it was still good none the less. Would try again.

Photo of philbe311
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A thin fizzy white head quickly and audibly fizzes away leaving a milky way like lacing looking as if someone had sprinkled some powdered sugar atop... A glowing bronzed orange color with a bit of a haze... Quite still with just an occasional stray carbonation bubble floating a drift... Not nearly as dark as I expected given the addition of cocoa nibs...

S - The predominate aroma is honey... Perhaps some subdued orange sweetness... A bit of a spicy kick most likely from the chilies... A some subdued chocolate character from the powdered cocoa...

T - Orange zest... Honey... A vague nuttiness... The chilies have a mild kick and appear at the finish and linger for a little while... The aftertaste is also joined by a slight alcoholic heat...

M - Dense... Medium bodied... I couldn't call it thin, but rather flat even given the moderate fizzy carbonation... A slightly dry finish...

D - An interesting and challenging offering... I'm happy to have tried and think this is a fairly decent brew, but it is not something that I would drink on a regular basis...

This one drinks nice with a year of age on it...

Photo of Daktyls
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a mostly clear amber color with a half a finger's worth of head. Clear enough to view the bubbles rising up from the bottom.

S: There is definitely a spicy aroma present, likely the chilies. Honey and cocoa were detectable as well, not too much else in the way of aroma.

T: Being that this is the first chile beer I've had, I was a little surprised by the initial taste. The chilies in the beer definitely "warm" the taste up a bit, but in this case, do not make it particularly spicy. Just enough to make it noticeable that it's there. Most of the flavor is masked by this warmness, but some of the honey and cocoa are detectable, if ever so faint.

M: Again, the chilies "warm" the taste up a bit giving it a tangy, almost sour feeling. Makes your tongue pucker a little bit like after drinking lemon juice or something.

D: Ah, not for me. Definitely will be a one and done here for this one.

Photo of claspada
2.55/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear golden amber color with an amber/burnt orange flair when held to the light. One finger frothy off white head that quickly fades into a lasting ring with typical high alcohol minimal lacing.
Smell is kinda spicy and peppery with a decent amount of chocolate maltiness, small amounts of chili pepper, and earthy hops. Contradicting smells and aromas make this seem more/less desireable depending on your tastes.
Medium bodied with an unpleasant peppery spice characteristic which is not balanced particularly well by a silky chocolate maltiness. There's also hints of nuttiness, earthy hops, cloying alcohol sweetness, which creates a strong warmth in the finish. Tastes and flavors do not improve as the beer warms. I wish the chocolate and chilies flavors were stronger and that the beer overall was better balanced. Not worth the inflated price tag, if someone allows you to sample theirs, its worth tasting but no need to seek out on your own.

Photo of DaveWhite
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color with a fizzy white head. I would have expected a thin stout color, so the lighter color is very interesting. First sip brings a strong chocolate flavor, very sweet. As the beer travels across the tongue, the beer turns more hot from the peppers. Also, there is an alcohol burn at the end. The smell is oaky, it seems. There is a hint of unsweetened chocolate in it. I'm a big fan of this. An excellent beer, I look forward to picking up another bottle.

Photo of turnstile
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter from a champagne bottle. Pours a light copper with slight haze. I was expecting this one to be much darker, so it's a surprise right off the bat. A small off-white head forms and fizzles out quickly leaving a film on the surface. Carbonation appears minimal.

The scent is boozy with a strong candied cherry and chili aroma in addition to notes of raw cocoa and honey. Sweet malt finishes out the nose. Some smokiness develops as it warms. Overall, the aromas are faint but complex. The alcohol his the palate up front. Starts with some honey sweetness and finishes with the ancho chilies; lingers with some spicy heat on the back of the tongue. For a cocoa-centric beer, the chocolate notes are hard to detect which is the largest disappointment about this brew. It's moderate in terms of body and carbonation, but strong in the booze. In rating the drinkability, I think it's important to take into account that this brew is a take on an ancient recipe. This is the first year I've had this brew, so I'm interested to see how it changes next year if at all.

Photo of Bravo4
2.6/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Duvel glass.

A-Deep golden color with extremely small white head. The head dissipated very quickly and left no lacing. Highly carbonated and opaque.

S- The smell isn't very strong but I definately detect honey and chilies. Upon second sniff, it smells a lot like pineapple. My sense of smell isn't very good though.

T- It almost has a wheaty taste with strong hints of honey and cocoa. It follows up with the flavor and warmth of the chilies. Alcohol is almost undetectable.

M- Very fizzy mouthfeel due to the high carbonation. It's pretty light and slick with some warmth from the chilies and alcohol.

D- I would rate this as decently drinkable if not for the ABV. This one could sneak up on you. The alcohol is almost undetectable. This one ended up making me sick to my stomach by the end of the bottle. I'm sure that isn't everyone's experience but I didn't like it.

Photo of avalon07
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a golden yellow color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was a half inch of foamy, bright white, somewhat long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A strong aroma of chiles, honey, and a little cocoa.

T: Tasted of cocoa and honey up front, then a big shot of chiles in the finish. A very powerful flavor, but surprisingly tasty.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a slightly slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: Drinkable, but be warned, like a lot of DFH's beers, this one isn't for everyone.

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 25.4oz bottle into 400ml New Belgium branded snifter.

Appearance: Pours a golden-amber color with a two-finger white head that dissipates quickly and leaves behind no lacing. Lots of bubbles around the inside of the glass indicate heavy carbonation.

Smell: Stong honey aroma with cocoa and spicy pepper notes.

Taste: Begins with a sweet honey flavor that has some bitter cocoa notes, finishing with cocoa that sweetens out a bit and some spicy pepper notes. Slight hint of alcohol on the tongue after swallowed.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with sharp carbonation and a really sticky finish.

Drinkability: This beer is extremely drinkable given its ABV and the alcohol is nearly undetectable. A very, very interesting beer- one which I would be willing to have again, though not necessarily often. The interesting character of, and story behind, this brew make it worth at least one tasting.

Photo of dstc
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rather clear amber orange with an average light tan head. Head falls to almost nothing. Not much lace.

Nice cocoa malts in the nose. Bit spicy but mostly cocoa.

Malty chocolate in the taste. Big warming alcohol in the finish with a lingering burn from the combination of alcohol and chili. Spicy.

Medium bodied, low carbonation and a bit spicy bite.

Different and interesting, I like it. Worth trying.

Photo of drtth
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. This is from the 2009 bottling.

Appearance: As poured the beer is rich lightly hazed apricot color with a ¼" off-white head that soon recedes to a ring of foam and a layer of foam on the surface that shows a irregular area of the surface of the liquid. Sipping leaves scattered speckles of lacing on one side of the glass as a layer foam coats the other side of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is not strong or particularly complex but does have a fruity and almost floral character tinged with some pepper, spice and cocoa.

Taste: The flavors include some honey and fruity sweetness tinged with the chile pepper, followed by a hint of cocoa.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and lightly prickly with the moderate carbonation. The finish begins in the fruity honey followed by the chile and the faint cocoa flavor. The end of the beer is gently hot and spicy with an eventual dryness.

Drinkability: This is an ok beer for drinkability and I'm pleased to have tried it. It is something I'll have again in the future as a change of pace beer or as a special treat for company with dinner.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
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).

Photo of beer2day
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged 1 year in the beer fridge.

Pours a thick syrupy honey gold. Slight head, weak carbonation. but a rich vibrant color. No lace.

Honey and pepper dominate the nose. Picking up a little basil as well. Malt sweetness rounds things out.

Tastes a little better than it smells. Very rich feel. Starts out with honey sweetness. Nice syrupy middle, with a Belgian feel but no Belgian taste. Finishes with a slight tart bite and suprisingly dry. Pepper kicks in way at the end but is definitely there. Takes a few sips before it becomes recognizable.

Interesting beer, but not one I'd seek out again.

Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,094 ratings.