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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,110 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,110
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 232
Gots: 293 | 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: 2,110 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of caddybuyer
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
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
3.24/5  rDev -16.1%
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
2.7/5  rDev -30.1%
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
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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
3.55/5  rDev -8%
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
2.64/5  rDev -31.6%
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
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
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
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
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
2.67/5  rDev -30.8%
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
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
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
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
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
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
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
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
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
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of Nibbley
2.22/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a mediun yellow/orange with a white head that disapates very quickly.
Aroma of honey and very faint pepper and wet straw, not really appealing.
Mouthfeel was average with no alcohol.
Taste was surprisingly mild,no big chili,no big cocoa flavor.
Really, not much flavor period.
Not impressed, and won't be back for another one.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.06/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

On-Tap at Capone's during Beer Week 2010. From notes. I gotta say I did not like this out of the bottle, let's try the tap version.

A deep yellow infused golden color with bubbles rising creating an off white cap, squiggly lines going down, clinging to the glass. Smell is weird with cocco powder, a vegetative scent along with pale malts and some diaper. Spices are present. Not too pungent. Taste include light chocolate and chili flavor with spices that resemble curry and other indian cuisines. The chilli aint all that big. Malt presence is light, not very sweet if at all. This one is all about the spice, a weird mix, mimiking indian food. This fares better off tap than in the bottle, the bottle was ass. This has a lively carb that brings out the flavor a bit more and im not sure if that's a good thing. Medium bodied with low drinkability. Interesting beer, not memorable.

Photo of DoctorDog
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750mL bottle into a wine glass.

A- Very hazy golden. Pours with a ~1 finger of white head, which fades gradually into a thin cap.

S- Subdued spicy, peppery aroma.

T- Peppery spices / cloves, a hint of banana, chocolate, and some fruity sweetness. Hop bitterness is moderately low. 9% ABV not noticed here.

M- Moderate carbonation and a medium-full feel.

D- Good. Flavorful, and quite an easy drink for it's 9% ABV.

Future outlook: Was a very interesting, pleasant sampling, though probably not spectacular enough to warrant a revisit at it's price point.

Photo of AleWatcher
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Found this one in Indiana on a recent beer-related excursion to the Hoosier state... Reviewed from dictated notes during my "Clean out my cellar weekend."

I was hoping this would be a little bit like Hunaphu (which I loved)... I based my hopes on the list of ingredients on the front of the label... But alas, this is no stout... It poured MUCH lighter than I anticipated, like an orange color with copper hues. almost 1 finger of almost white head. Spotty lacing.

Smells sweet with orange blossoms or other citrus related scent. Not much cocoa or chiles on the taste-- they reserve their presence for the aftertaste. Not unpleasant, but not exactly what I was expecting. The taste is actually pretty good, it's the aftertaste I don't really care for. So taste will score decent, but drinkability will lose points.

The body is medium with a lower level of carbonation than I like to see. As for drinkability-- this is worth trying, but arguably, not one I'd pick up again.

Photo of bierguru
4.62/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

this beer is exactly what i have been talking to my friends about one with spice

the beer pours golden and doesnt keep its head a light film stays

smell: its got a heavy sweet and spicy aroma

my first couple of tastes i just sipped and swallowed with that i just got fore taste of the sweetness from the honey and then a kick from the chilies (but not overbearing just a hint)

after the first tastes i started to let the sip linger in my mouth thats when i started to get that chocolate taste after i swallowed

the texture that was left was as if i had let a piece of chocolate melt in my mouth

in both these different sips the spice near lingered but rather can and went however after my third glass from the 750 mL bottle i did start to get a burning sensation in my chest (and no its not intigestion lol)

the beer was amazing and i suggested it to all further more if you are going to want to eat w it i suggest some sort of red meat or perhaps a chocolate covered chicken

Photo of urwithdave
3.23/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Lost Kangaroo. Reviewing from notes. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A- pours goldish orange in color. Very little head if any. No lacing.

A- I'm really not getting a whole lot here. Mainly honey not much more. Maybe a tad hint of cinnamon.

T- very sweet up front. Honey is the main thing and runs the show. There are subtle hints of spice and coco but they are drowned out by the sweetness.

M- medium bodied and a little undercarbonated. No real finish. Its pretty weak.

D- it drinks easy at first but the sweetness would keep me from wanting to have more than a couple.

Photo of pastradul
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to plenum for this bottle!

A- very similar to the Sah'Tea. thick gold colored. With some bubbles but not head to speak of.

S-The main smell is honey. not much else... some earthy floral smell in the nose a touch.

T-a very subtle brew. The honey comes through the most with a very very mild cocoa taste after several sips. The chile isn't really there in the flavor as much as in the heat when you breath after you swallow.

M-light body with little carb

D-a great beer to try. imagining you are about to go sacrifice some one to the gods!

Photo of ZX6Chris
4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Beautiful ight amber color. Barely any head, just a few bubbles floating on the top.

S-Sweet flowery honey aroma. I've had honey beers before but this one is the best.

T-Sweet, flower honey, cocoa, chilies build slowly and you can feel the heat after awhile.

M-Light body and great carbonation

D-Very easy drinking and an interesting brew.

Photo of patrick16o
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured in my Great Divide brussels balloon goblet.

A: golden orange hue with a moderate off white crown. Head fades quickly, beer has small particles in suspension that just float and give it a slightly hazy effect. No lacing.

S: Not overpowering, smells sweet, very subtle chocolate and pepper.

T: Very interesting flavor. Notes of cocoa up front, an earthy chocolate, not a huge maltiness, just sweet. A kick of spicy chili in the finish, not too much to overpower, just enough to be noticable. A touch of hops is also detectable and balances the beer nicely. Alcohol is just slightly detectable.

M: Mouthfeel is ok. Medium body, not really lively on the tongue, but not a chore to drink.

D: I like this beer. I could see some interesting food pairings with it. It's not overwhelming, nor underwhelming. Has enough going on to keep you interested.

Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,110 ratings.