Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

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very good

2,076 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,076
Reviews: 763
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 216
Gots: 270 | 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: 2,076 | Reviews: 763 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ffejherb
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle shared with brewslut on 3/16/10.

A - Emerged from the bottle much lighter than anticipated with an orange haze and fluffy white head that quickly diminished into a thin patch. Body displayed tons of small, gritty specks and tiny bubbles suspended within, giving this beer the appearance of an orange snowglobe.

S - Very subtle nose overall, although the pepper notes stand out the most, with a hint of chocolate/cocoa taking second fiddle. Sweet malty notes are also apparent and suggest caramel and honey. A slight waft of alcohol also emerged as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Sweet and caramely up front with honey notes and a hint of cocoa, although the latter flavor really opened up as the liquid reached room temperature. Finishes with a wash of rich, dark chocolate and cocoa nibb notes amid a nicely balanced sweet and spicy flair that eloquently combines honey sweetness with a peppery bite and a touch of herbal hops. Very nice!

M - Light to medium bodied with lively, bristly carbonation and an oily texture. Finishes with a hint of spicy warmth and residual sweetness on the palate.

D - I wasn't sure what to expect with this interesting DFH concoction, but I was pleasantly surprised with the result. Theobroma artfully combines the sweetness of honey, the decadence of chocolate and the bite of spicy peppers to create a very subtle yet complex brew that pushes the boundaries of what a beer can be. Yum!

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dogfish head theobroma

750 ml bottle. Naked big-eyed cartoon native-type chickee on the label, feather dressing, facial markings, something all over her exposed boobage. Is this what you're drinking, sweetie? I'll have what the high priestess is havin'!

Pours out heavily hazed amber hue, small white head on top.

Sweetness hits first in aroma, sugar and fruit, honey and apricot, then come the spices, some chiles and peppers, and cinnamon, maybe...or similar to it. Hot, warm, and sweet. Nice. Very nice.

Taste: Oddly, I don't get the cocoa and chocolate yet, only sweetness and spice. Very smooth and unruffled so far. Let's further partake....Okay, there it hops, though, and just the merest of malt, just enough to do the job. Though I'm getting a fruity impression, it must only come through with the malt, because it's not a main ingredient, and the cocoa component is not really saying anything.

I'll drink more and see... what the heck is "annatto", someone tell me that...okay, the chocolate is down there somewhere, but smothered by the honey, and to a lesser degree, the pepper.

This is another in the long line of experimental, historical incredible beers that only Dogfish Head seems to be interested in, but it's not what I'm into right now. I'm wishing it was a 120 Minutes or even a WWS...but it's a damned fine beverage, and will suit me well through the night.

Photo of drumenigma
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance - Quite orange with some floaties in it. Poured with a decent head which went away rather quickly.

Smell - Getting some grape notes with a little bit of a hop presence in there

taste - Getting more of the grape with some earthy/oaky notes. A backend of some savory spice and chocolate.

mouthfeel - almost like drinking a kids juice or a soft drink. There seems to be something that lingers a bit

drinkability - definitely not a beer that everyone will like. I think this is one that you either like or don't. I rather think it's an interesting beer but then I tend to like these experimental beers like this that combine unorthodox ingredients.

Photo of AgentZero
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a golden/brownish with a touch of red on the edges. Bubbles up with a huge head that didn't stick around for long.

S - Quite a bit going on here, honey and cocoa make up the sweet notes, spicey chili power comes through on the end.

T - Interesting mix of flavor. Honey, cherry, dark fruit hit frist, with a cocoa resonance followed by the chili power. Belgian yesty taste mixes in throughout the length of the drink for an interesting blend of tastes. This is one of those rare beers I've drank that gets worse as you drink more of it. Something about the chili and cocoa starts to sour and resonate into a bad taste. Gets harder to go as you finish.

M - High carbonation, medium bodied, works okay with the taste.

D - This starts out good, but gets harder as we go. A very unique experience which was good for a bit, but not really one I'd want to repeat.

Photo of SLeffler27
2.95/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A huge light beige head occupies more volume in this pint glass than the beer itself. What starts rocky turns creamy as it slowly drops, leaving sticky patches of lace above a lightly hazed honey amber beer with plenty of residual carbonation.

In the nose, one can detect light spice and fruit, both faint, and lacking the pleasant call signs. After the initial whiffs, one can detect only the slightest hints of coriander, possibly more the power of suggestion, then any actual characteristic.

Well there is prominent peppery spice, it comes without the bite. Rather one dimensional and disappointing, this one even lacks any real finish. With some warming, character begins to express itself, but still far less than hoped. My palate can take and enjoy a fair amount of fire, so others may appreciate the mildness of Theobroma, but for me it is a pass.

Medium body and sticky texture with a prickly carbonation and some alcohol, but all together just a run of the mill experience.

While this is a fine beer, and probably more enjoyable for others, I was looking for it to be much more exotic. Still, I was happy to have tried this, and consumed the entire bottle without complaint. And what is the point of 9% ABV, if there is no noticeable addition to the experience? No matter, DFH has so many exceptional offerings, this will merely be a blip on the screen.

Photo of BuffaloBill91
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Been a while since I reviewed a beer but Ill give this one a shot.

A-Golden color with a little ruby mixed in there..not quite clear and id assume that's by design because they wanted some sediment to age with the beer. 1 finger white head that held for a bit..

S-although it wasn't a strong smell it was very pleasant. I get the faint smell of the cocoa and if you take a deep inhale you can even smell the spice

T-At first I said..auuuh is this all I got...but when I sat back and started to sip on it I realized I wasn't appreciating the real complexity of this brew... It MUST be sipped...This has got to be one of the more complex beers I ever tasted... it has layer after layer of flavors each touching a different section of your taste buds.. sweet (im assuming from leftover residual sugars from honey) and it must crystal malt which would explain that slight pink in the color..its also has a hint of hot spicy (from the chilies) and the entire time that savory dark chocolate hint from cocoa beans... Its rolling just about every taste bud on the tongue... only thing I didn't much like was the vegetable taste otherwise I would've given it a 5... its reminds me of a top notch home brew. (which im sure is what Dogfish head was looking for)

M- Thicker than it looked but thats probably from using a lot of malt to get it to the 9%.. just a bit of a bite from the hot spice (at least for me around the sides) and it has perfect carbonation

D - only average drinkability.. I wouldn't want to drink more than this large 1pint9oz bottle... but ill reiterate that I don't think it was made to be chugged-- it needs to be sipped to appreciate the I don't think many people would chug a 13$ bottle very often.

Photo of popery
2.58/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Draft, City Beer Store. The second of a pair of way too sweet DFH beers from tonight's stop at CBS. The beer looks thick and odd, mustily golden in color with no head to speak of. The aroma is oddly light and off. The malt smells musty with, maybe, an aluminum touch. There's a light chili pepper note and an extremely faint shade of cocoa that I might be projecting given expectations. The flavor is unapologetically sweet. There's a blandly sweet honey note, a bit of chili pepper in the finish and not much else besides so-so malt. Mouthfeel is unfortunately oily and thick. There isn't much alcohol, for what it's worth. I had trouble getting through a 5 ounce pour and can only imagine that a solo attempt on a full bottle would have ended with a trip to the sink. Sorry, Dogfish. I really wanted to like this one.

Photo of THORN
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 9 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into a mug. Served 40-45 F.
A: Pours cloudy brownish red. Thin vanilla colored head.
S: Spicy peppers, chocolate, coca, and paprika.
T: Peppers are moderate in spice. Chocolate and cocoa balance well with coffee flavor. Spices include chil powder, paprika, and a touch of cumin.
M: Medium on tongue, slightly slippery feeling left on tongue.
D: First of the style...I enjoy it very much. It is unique, the spice matches well with the pepper. Alcohol isn't noticeable. The chocolate and cocoa adds a complex flavor that doesn't weigh on one's palette.

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

750 poured into tulip glass

A - Pours a deep honey brown with a thin layer of white foam which quickly dissipated.

S - All I'm picking up is honey. Smells good, but unfortunately for me it's one dimensional.

T - Very sweet honey. In fact, this tastes like unhopped braggot. The taste is very good, however I was really looking forward to the chili and all the other "goodies" used in this brew.

M - Medium carbonation with a thick body.

D - This is like the ying and yang for me. I really like the taste however I was expecting much more due to the label. For the record, I do not have a cold and my sinuses are clear, so I should be able to pick up more nuances with this beer, but I'm not. So I'm torn.

Photo of nickd717
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from City Beverage in Winston-Salem, NC.

Pours mostly clear reddish-amber with a well-formed off-white head.

Aroma is pretty nice with red berries, honey, a hint of cocoa powder, and spices.

Flavor is berries, maybe strawberry, honey, spices, and some chili heat. Not nearly as much cocoa as I had hoped for.

Medium-full bodied and fairly sweet on the palate.

Drinkability is very high however. Overall this is decent, but not as good as I expected it to be overall.

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

Review from notes Jan 28, 2010

Poured a hazy light amber with a scant head that left no trace. Not much in the aroma, even with swirling. More pronounced in the taste, which offered some light maltiness, orange peel, subtle cocoa, and finishes with a good spicy kick. The chocolate flavor is too subdued, could definitely use a bit more in that area. Thin and well carbonated. I think it's not bad at all!

Photo of Vancoubeer
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer looks like a normal cloudy orangish ale with a white frothy head. Smelled it immediately after removing bottle cap. The cocoa is light but the most obvious scent. Smelled in glass after poor and with the head the cocoa is a bit stronger. After first sip, very sweet taste with a hint of spice from the chilles. However it is not a strong as others state. Perhaps it was due to time in the bottle. There was no chocolate or cocoa taste. It was sweet but more like the sweetness similar belgian golden ales. the mouthfeel was highly carbonated but when served at the chilled state it was smooth and pleasant. I really like this beer. Too bad it is served in such a large bottle. I wonder what it is that makes others not like it. The booziness of the beer is totally hidden in the flavor. I really think that Sam @ DFH did a great job with this. I would get this at least once. There is no beer like this.

Photo of homebrew311
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: deep golden pour, pretty clear with a very slight haze, little to no head on the pour

S: lots of sweet malts and cocoa notes on the front, not picking up any pepper, some caramel and toffee, a bit of booze on on the end

T: the cocoa comes first followed by molasses and other sweet notes, as the beer warms the pepper starts building on the back of the palate, very interesting beer

MF: a bit spritzy mouthfeel, pretty high carbonation, medium to thick body

D: very intriguing and exciting beer from DFH. The flavors don't translate as well as I expected, but I do like how the heat builds up on the finish

Photo of jdflyer06
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Golden, honey in color. A slight haze makes this one not completely clear. A light head that leave some residue but otherwise disappears quickly.

S: The smell is reminiscent of a sour farmhouse ale. Banana esthers and maybe some under ripe melon. Very light in the nose. Some sweetness and maybe an ever so slight hint of chocolate and chili, but they're barely there.

M: The carbonation is a bit aggressive and it seems to overpower the subtle flavors a bit. Otherwise, it finishes pretty clean and the booze is hidden fairly well but becomes more prevelant as it warms and adds a slight sting. The chili adds a bit of numbness to the tongue.

T: Picking up those banana esthers in the taste as well. The chili adds more of a bitter spice note than heat. You can definitely pick up some other sugar source; the honey. I feel like this is a complex beer that's not shining through as it wants to. The flavor profile is fairly flat.

O: Drinkable, but I didn't really enjoy it all that much. It almost has a liquor quality as it warms that I'm not wild about. I didn't get much in the way of cocoa. I applaud DFH for creativity. You can't get anywhere if you don't take risks. With some tweaking, this might be a killer brew.

Photo of slaintemhor
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a bottle of this in September of 2009. The colour was a golden orange with about a 1/4" head. The aroma was like... well... crushed cane berries with a smidgen of Chimayo chile mixed in. On the palate, loads of cocoa mass, some chile around the edges of my palate and a rather quick finish.

Photo of kegger22
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head Theobroma poured a dark amber with a one inch, cream color head that rapidly faded to a collar.

I was unable to get any aroma out of TheoB.

The flavor I found to be rather complex. While I got very little chili pepper, until the after taste kicked in, a number of other flavors teased the tongue including chocolate & honey; but none could dictate the flavor by itself.

The mouth feel was medium bodied, oily and adequately carbonated.

Drinkability was OK. The beer was good, but a little bit went a long way, 25 oz was more than enough.

Overall, I liked it well enough. A little gimmicky, but fun to have tried. The price tag pushes Theobroma out of contention for sampling again.

After having finished the bomber, the chili's begin, in earnest, to make their presence known.

Photo of nukem5
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Food of the Gods" for sure!!! I split a bottle with a friend and we both enjoyed the sweetness of the honey and cocoa nibs at the front and the zestiness of the chilies on the back end they are a wonderful compliment to one another. Def one great beer to seek out and enjoy.Love the artwork on the bottle as well. From the cork finish to the final drop... yum

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.53/5  rDev -34.5%
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.

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle.

Appearance: Pours a translucent orange tinge body with a 1 finger off white crown that shows some retention and lace.

Smell: Honey sweet malt, ancho chillies, and a hint of cocoa powder.

Taste: Same as nose but in the flavor profile the cocoa is more pronounced and the chillies are more subdued.

Mouthfeel: Medium and crisp.

Drinkability: Not bad considering the strength.

Photo of mondegreen
3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a Pint Glass

A: Orange/Amber. Not the color I expected for a Chocolate Chile beer. Small white head that faded quickly.

S: The most satisfying aspect of the beer. Sweet, spicy, and smokey all at once. It smells very very nice.

T: A huge letdown. After the nose, I expected big flavors, but they just aren't there. The malts are very muted, and the chiles don't come on until late. Leaves a spicy/tingly aftertaste, which is the most interesting part of the taste for this brew.

M: Very thin, low carbonation. Would have liked something more substantial.

D: A person could easily drink the whole bottle. Not challenging or filling at all.

I really really wanted to like this one, as the 'Ancient Ale' aspect is very interesting to me. In the end, this beer bored me. It isn't bad, but I found it to be too tame.

The cocoa is tough to find, and the chiles just don't fill the void. Oh well, I still love DFH, but I won't be seeking this out again.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.28/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very colorful and classy bottle.

Pale golden in color, zippy carbs, soft, white very fine bubbles, nice hearty look.

The aroma is peppery, zesty with big yeast aroma's green and dried herbs, soft and spicey heat. you can easily smell th chili's with some soft cocoa notes too.

The Chili's come off zesty and hot but does not totally dominate the flavor spectrum, this is easily one of the best uses of Chili's in a beer that I've had. a light, crispy malt hold down the fort just fine and on the light side of medium bodied feel the peppery, herbal effects are all within good balance of the light malt. Good complexity here with a lot going on.

A bit hot on the palate, but it's complexity elps. Go exlpore!

Photo of beerthulhu
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a rustic-orange with a medium-heavy turbidity of micro yeast particles that distorted visual conception of objects through the glass. The capping was a light beige color, flat and creamy, but only moderatly lasting, lapsing to a thin skim covering. Visible carbonation was medium, composed of several broken strands of carbonation streams that rose at a moderate pace. No lacing was left, only a thickened accumulation around the outer ring of the glass. The foggy thick turbid nature was a nice visual to behold and made amends for the short lived head.

S: An orange candy sweetness was the first thing to come to mind experiencing the nose, which was most likely attributed by the honey. I had trouble picking up the scents of the cocoa spicing but the ancho chilies did manage to come through ever so slightly providing a light spicy scent. I also picked up soft orange grinds. The presentation was soft and very smooth.

T: The flavor was sweet honey bread with a light cocoa spicing. There was a powdery presence of cocoa that combined nicely with the ancho chilies giving a nice peppery spiciness (both green and black). The were strong notes of honey and candy sweetness with a lightly glazed toast malting with perhaps some apricots. The flavor was truly one of an unique experience and one that gave me trouble trying to convey what I was tasting. The beer finishes up wit a good peppery nature upon the swallow. The cocoa powder and nibs was not as strong or noticeable as I expected considering the labels emphasis. It almost reminded me a bit of Fantome's Chocolate where the cocoa was sparingly used to suggest added awareness.

M: The mouthful was thick and syrupy with a honey consistency. Perhaps the best way to convey it is comparing it to a mouthful of maple syrup and pancakes. A good deal of carbonation is detected as well a slight alcohol presence with an increasing awarenss of the chilies the longer you hold this on your tongue which perfectly balanced the sweet quality. The closing finds a good peppery fade, again both of green and black.

D: Drinks like a whimsical Fantome Saison (which of course is a very good thing). The abv of 9.0% is incredibly well hidden and will keep you sipping trying to decipher exactly what you are tasting. An unique experience and one that should not be missed. A bomber is the perfect serving and chances are you will seek out more with every sip and drink bringing on a new experience.

Photo of goldbot
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL, bottled in 2009.

Pours golden orange, hazy, with lots of thick, slightly off-white head. Decent carbonation visible. A lot lighter than was expected.

Very malty aromas with lots of corn and grain present. Slight spice noted as well. Very muted smell for the ingredient list here. I was rather disappointing in this beer at this point.

The taste sets this beer apart. It is brilliant compared to the blah appearance and aroma. Very chocolaty and rich. Nice wheaty-malt sweetness present, with hints of coffee and caramel. Finishes with great floral, hoppy bitterness. The chile taste and heat is detectable after the finish. Overall lots of balance between all of the ingredients.

Full body, much thicker than expected from the appearance.

This beer was a pleasant surprise for me. After reading the description, I was expecting (or at least hoping) for an extremely bold, bitter, complex, spicy beer. What surprised me was the rather muted colors and smells, and the taste was also more forgiving than I expected. However, it is still extremely complex. One of the better tasting beers I've had for sure; it's great to find something that is just a completely new experience.

Photo of Minotaur
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A snowy night and a bottle of aged Theobroma. With the ingredient list the expectation is of a chocolaty dark beer. Poured into a tulip glass.

Instead it is a orange amber with a half a finger head that quickly evaporates, only leaving a thin lacing. Bubbles persist through out the glass.

The aroma is sweet and thick: it has a distinctly tropical - muted mango like, with the slightly spicy pepper smell.

The taste is wholly unique. It is mead-like, with plantain-banana flavors. There is a persistence of alcohol but it all appears very mild. The cocoa taste provides a thick body and bitterness beneath the honey flavor; there is some semblance to mead but it is distinctly beer-like in mouthfeel and consistency. As you drink down the glass the rich chocolate taste becomes more pronounced and heavier on the tongue, but it is a bitter and mellow flavor: not as sweet as the aroma. The pepper zip kicks in on the back of the tongue. While I often drink big beers, this one is hitting like a hammer.

This beer is luxurious, unique and amazingly well crafted. It is for slow sipping but the sparkling, sweet nature of it also makes it highly drinkable.

Photo of ClavisAurea
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Poured crystal clear with a slight head that collected around the exterior of the glass. Color is honey amber.

Nose: Candi sugar, saltwater taffy, spice cake

Taste: spicy, carbonated, small hops finish, alcohol, warming chilies in the deep finish

Mouthfeel: clean and fresh

Drinkability: this is a wonderful creation like all of Dogfish Head's ancient beer creations. This needs to be drank with a traditional spicy Latin American meal.

Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,076 ratings.