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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

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

2,078 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,078
Reviews: 764
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: 2,078 | Reviews: 764 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of guntherhophead
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I drank this beer with my brother-in-law who liked the label and is himself a premium beer drinker. I was intrigued and skeptical since the list of ingredients include chilies and cocoa among others. It poured an orange amber. Nice coffee colored frothy head with nice lacing on the side. The ingredients were noticable yet not overwhelming. The mouthfeel was perfect reminiscent of a Belgian dark ale. this beer seemed autumn appropriate with the ample spicing. I was very impressed with this one and am looking forward to the next. I recommend that you buy a few and share with some people who can appreciate it's complexity.

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

Clear amber complexion releases a spicy aroma of a strong brew. The palate is smooth, notes of honey, and a spicy backbone, particularly in the finish. Light bodied and minimal carbonation. Hops no where to be seen. Alcohol noticeable throughout.

A nice beer. I'd call it a strong ale or barley wine. Not sure what the need is for the subcategory "Chile Beer" here. The beer packs a punch and is a nice smooth drink. That said, I was expecting more.

Photo of grayburn
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I guess "old" beers just aren't my style. I was expecting a chocolate chili explosion of flavor, but got a lightly bitter beer with minimal flavor and a slightly spicy finish. I could pick up the chocolate in the nose, but no cocoa flavor whatsoever. There was some bitterness that must have been from the nibs, but it was far from pronounced. Alcohol was well hidden, went down pretty smooth, but just not very interesting...odd considering.

Photo of kirok1999
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours nothing at all like I expected. A light gold with a wispy head. Very clear.
Smells mildly spicy, some sweetness of honey and a bit of corriander.
Taste is a bunch of cocoa powder that shows up late in the finish. Somewhat dry with a dusky sweetness. Dense and mildly fizzy.
Not a bad beer but not one I'd buy again.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

Photo of Reaper16
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle served into a tulip

Pours a really orangy shade of orange. When held to light it looks like one of those menthol-lyptus cough drops. There wasn't even a half finger of head. Nothing impressive in the least bit.

Interesting smells coming from this interesting beer. Lots of honey and black pepper and maybe some clove/spices reminiscent of pumpkin ales. There is some kind of vegetal character that is hard to place exactly. I get why this is a fruit/vegetable beer now.

Wow... I didn't expect this beer to taste the way that it does. Its definitely not chocolate flavor but more of a cacao bitterness and slight fruitiness. The chilis are exciting! They start off unnoticeable, but the more you drink the more they take over the back of the mouth with warmth and chemical heat. Its really pretty awesome; a totally unique and pleasurable experience. It is all rounded out with some grainy malt flavors.

Mouthfeel was okay I suppose. It didn't detract from the beer at all, but I didn't feel that the viscosity or carbonation were hallmark assets of the brew. This weird-ass beer is not the most drinkable. You wouldn't want very much at one time. But the amount that you do have is exciting and fresh.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty clear, bright amber color with a strong copper twinge to it. Not much of a head and no foam with very sparse bubbling. The aroma is honey and an earthy yeast. Don't really gt any cocoa aromas at all. Maybe just a little spice from the chiles though. The taste starts with some banana likeyeast and a some chili heat on my lower lip. But no chile flavo. The taste overall si fruity, light with some heat from both the chiles and the abv. Still uniqu i flavor, but this bew underwhelmed me. Lots of fruit notes and a soft yet abv. warm palate. This beer is a conversation starter and a nice intro to craft beer for newbies.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Almost clear yellow-orange in color. One finger of soapy head with poor retention and minimal lacing.

3.5 S: This smells almost Belgian in nature, almost like a tripel. Black pepper and clove is what I pick up originally with hints of yeastiness. After that the chiles come in to play. Somewhat difficult to pick up on cacao, but there is some sweet caramel in there as well.

4.5 T: Again I get some Belgian vibes, which I am still finding unbelievable. At first sip, I does taste a lot like a tripel. Again black pepper and clove with Belgian yeastiness. Chiles offer a great secondary role and warm the throat. A bit more of cacao this time. Basically this tastes like a tripel with chiles and cacao. Really good.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good creaminess and spritzy carbonation.

4.5 D: Turned out to be a very tasty and unique beer. Not boring at all and smooth.

Photo of farrago
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head crests at about one finger then settles into a slight layer of cream white foam, the lacing about average. Has a dusky orange hue, depending on the angle either more brown or more yellow, great deal of bubbles percolating throughout. The cocoa and honey evident in the nose, flaky dough comes close to cookie dough, also has a noticeable peat moss, lichen foresty element, moves into allspice and something close to cumin, muttering of peach and apricot scents. Full-bodied, not as dense as it is sluggish, rolls into the mouth as a boulder would. The cocoa, chocolate powder and caramel soften the orange, tangerine citrus. The carbonation feels like an expanding balloon before it pops from the pressure. Hoppy bitterness breaks through at the end, some corn and cereal nuances. Repeats itself throughout.

Photo of sweemzander
3.1/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Wine bottle shape bottle poured into a tulip glass. Just says that it was bottled in 2009.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color that produces a mediocre white head even after a vigorous pour.

(S)- Corn and sweet caramel/honey with a potent spicy note that must be the chiles.

(T)- Potent spicy kick up front followed with a relatively bland corn and honeyed malt finish that just dissapears on the tongue; rather dry.

(M)- Good carbonation level, but the spicy note is not really appealing to me. This fits the style really well, but its probably just not my thing. Its overpowering to the point of being harsh.

(D)- Definitely an interesting beer that I am glad I tried, but its not very enjoyable, at least for my palate. The spicy chiles really overpower and create a one dimensional beer that is really not to my liking. All the power to you if you really like this, but its simply not for me. I would have rated it lower, but since it is a great example of the style, I had to give it the respect it deserved for that.

Photo of brewcrew76
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy orangish color with a thin off white head that settles quickly.

S - Honey and cocoa with some spice kick. Sweet bready malts.

T - Sweet honey and malts followed by cocoa and a spice that adds a bit of heat across your tongue. Yeasty and bready flavors with a lingering chocolate spice.

M - Medium with bubbly carbonation and a lingering mix of spice, cocoa and heat.

D - Interesting to try but I probably wouldn't drink it on a regular basis.

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

Pours a reddish color with almost no head.

Smells sweet and delicious, slightly floral.

Has several level of tastes. Initially it's super carbonated feeling, but as that goes away, you can taste a slight honey flavor, with a spicy overtone. There is a hint of cocoa. Some alcohol flavor as well.

Feels light in the mouth, and I can easily drink this bottle without realizing it (luckily someone is splitting it with me). The carbonation makes this quite refreshing, and it pairs well with spicy food or bbq.

Photo of sisuspeed
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light orange/peach color with a fizzy head that dies off quickly. For some reason I was thinking that this was going to be a darker beer, due to the addition of cocoa nibs and cocoa powder, but clearly I am wrong.

The aroma is fairly strong and takes on the smell of honey dipped grapes. Vinous, spicy and somewhat herbal. A unique smell.

The flavor is at first malty with the addition of cocoa notes, but is then conquered by a wave of chili spiciness that is hot and dances around on the tongue. This is one trippy beer. Honey is also noticeable and adds a bit of smoothness that helps hold everything together.

The mouthfeel is malty, spicy, warm. Flavor is not missing from this beer. However, the drinkability, at least for me, is fairly low. I would not want to drink an entire bomber by myself. Splitting it with a friend or two is about perfect.

Kudos to Dogfish Head for re-creating another ancient beer recipe and keeping it off-centered. I don't think I'll drink this beer too often, but it's definitely different than anything I've had before and was fun to try.

Photo of abuliarose
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, amber colored with a thin fizzy head. Smells like ale with something extra. A little sweet, a little nutty... kinda like amaretto. Undertones of raw, fruity chocolate. The head dies fast, but it bubbles nicely.

Tastes... wow, tastes different. The base flavor is your everyday ale with the same light malt feel and light carbonated body. Piled on top of that is a carob flavor, honey, whiffs of coconut, citrus, and a slight bite. The mild mouth-numbing effect in the aftertaste I would liken more to chili pepper than to hoppy bitterness. It feels like I've been drinking something... spicy? Woah. This is the first "chile beer" I've ever had and it's an interesting effect to experience.

Drinkability is as good as any smooth-bodied ale and it certainly goes down easily. Overall, it's an experience. DFH never completely fits any of the categories their beers wind up in, but I'm glad to have tried this one!

Photo of Daniellobo
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Soft and balanced brew with gentle touches of chocolate, chilies and more. Very drinkable.

Presentation: 750 ml bottle. Cartoonish elaborate design around the figure of a Native American priestess like figure tasting and dripping the brew, in front of a design of a Pre-Columbian calendar. Enumeration of main ingredients as a way of describing it on the front with a side paragraph noting the historic background of the brew. Shows date of bottling (2009), neither shows IBUs or °Plato, only Alc. by Vol. (9%) Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Amber color with a quick half inch head that fades quickly, and hardly leaves a trace, neither on the surface nor in the way of lacing.

S - Soft malt with gentle touches of chocolate and a minimal hint of chili pepper.

T - Softly sweet with a touch of cocoa and a final delicate finish of pepper hotness.

M - Medium to light carbonation in a creamy smooth feel.

D - Very pleasant to be had, carries well its alcohol, offers quite a few subtleties but feels rather approachable.

Notes: Most common misconception might be expecting an assertive radical brew from this experimentation. The beer is actually nicely balanced with all those flavors present, but in the form of subtle hints, and touches as one goes along. It is not a favorite of mine, but guests often find it very drinkable and approachable, so it becomes a great social brew to share on the table and engage the conversation around a nicely crafted brew with a stimulating story behind it.

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

Solid honey gold color with a barely there small, big bubbled foam that slips off super quick and doesn't really leave much lace while consumed.

Aroma is a bit muddled with some of rummy heat getting in the way af what I detect is a mellow amount of some banana cream pie, starfruit, and marshmellow.

Taste is a mellow and gliding little treat of what seems a bit like banana cream pie with a nice flakey fresh pie crust. Quite smooth and soft with nice little nuances to a lower ender tropical fruity heat; starfruit, pear. The finish cinders with the 9% perking a honeyish, rummy, yellow raisiny warming as it drys ever so softly of pie crust dough.

Creamy soft and slicker, maltier, medium body with a fine carbonation thats easy to partake and some eager warmth in more sips then not. Really like the whole pie crust effect it has, quite crafty and subtle.

A nice mellow going brew that speaks to quite a bit of malty things in it and drinks down preety smooth given it shows its 9% with just enough give.

Photo of Zorro
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Another DFH weird beer, these things are hit or miss. Either the result of genius or madness; sometimes it difficult to tell.

Hazy amber colored beer with no head.

Smells pleasant if unconventional. Chilies and chocolate with an emphasis on the fruity parts of Chile peppers and not the tart tang of types like jalapenos.

Starts out fruity and a little sweet with no burn and the taste of dried Chile pepper as an aftertaste. Heavy on the fruity aspects of this beer chocolate takes a backseat to the fruit. Alcohol content is completely hidden here. This beer has a long and pleasant aftertaste to it, not unlike Chile Pepper Jelly. Chocolate is in here but the flavor is subtle.

Mouthfeel is on the light side.

Not bad for an resurrected beer. Not going to make IPA obsolete but this is a different take on the Chile Beer concept. I can certainly see buying this again sometime.

Photo of marvin213
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A murky, dirty yellow liquid with a thin foam top greets me. On the light side, certainly, for a chocolatey concoction, but its categorization as a chile beer gives me less context. It looks mysterious like only a DFH could, but much lighter than I expected.

My preconceived notions involved honey-infused chocolate goodness, but what I smell here is more like a common keg beer. I detect maybe a hint of honey, but zero chocolate. There's neither hops nor malts billowing toward the nose, and I strain to get some chile qualities. There's something in there, but it's far from the forefront.

Taste is more impressive, and it's understandably "chile beer." There's a cocoa presence, but it's not quite chocolate--is there really a difference? A nutmeg flavor, which I presume is annato, pervades every sip. Coupled with the chiles, it provides a spicy pepper effect. Perhaps the honey serves just to balance all this because there's no honey sweetness. I acknowledge that maybe there shouldn't be, but then what are honey and cocoa doing in a chile beer? I realize it's a relic recipe, but it's confused. It's good ingredients meshed together but, at least in this case, the sum is less than the parts.

For a spicy chile beer with honey and cocoa, the mouthfeel is lacking. Again, it's confused, and I so want to like it, but what's going on here? It's a neat-o novelty, but a great go-to beverage it is not. It's like so many flavors compete for your taste buds that they fight each other to death.

So, for the intangible ambiguity that is the drinkability rating, I have to admit that it's one of the neatest beers I've ever encountered. All this neat stuff, replicating some ancient recipe--it's like a melodramatic beer. It's fun to share and to talk about, and the label is awesome. Though DFH obviously makes great beverages, they are as undeniably great marketers. For both reasons, I like having this beer around.

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

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a clear, light bronze into a chalice - very thin white head - couldn't really detect anything in the aroma. There were hints of chocolate and hop bitterness in the initial mouthful, with a slight chile "hotness" blended with the hop bitterness at the finish. A fairly thin and oily mouthfeel, but not unpleasant. Good carbonation and lacing. A different brew, to be sure. The beer was not unpleasant, and the chile presence was fairly subdued, but not something I would drink a lot of.

Photo of drabmuh
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet. Yellowish / orange in color, low carbonation and no head. A smallish head to begin with but it falls away quickly and stays away. The smell is sweet and has a character that i cannot identify. The flavor is simple, almost wheaty, but the brightness of the chili is there, easily. The spice builds on you but does not overwhelm. From all the weird beers from DFH, this has not been my favorite, but it is one of the better chile beers i've had. Good effort.

Photo of aquatonex
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this as a surprise from my fiancee woo!

Pours a pretty orange (like honey), quite translucent. Not very carbonated, head dissipates rather quickly. No lacing. Chocolates and chiles are prevalent in the nose. Bitter chocolates are quickly followed by hints of chile in the taste. Finishes with an almost whiskey quality. An interesting beer.

Photo of clvand0
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on draught at Pazzo's in Lexington. Pours a light amber color with a tall head that falls quickly and leaves some nice lacing. The aroma has a grassy thing going on with a hint of chocolate and some floral notes. The flavor is strange and complex at the same time. Some sweetness comes through first, but then the spice from the peppers hits and is followed by some chocolate and biscuit flavors. Weird, but nice. The body is on the low end of medium and the drinkability is pretty good.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Bottled in 2008.

Pours into my glass a deep reddish orange with a lot of little particulate matter floating around. A small white ring of bubbles sits around the top of the glass. Aromas of crisp semi-sweet malts mixing in with earthy cocoa. Peppery spiciness is there with a bit of a toasty backbone. Hints of bready yeast as well. Interesting spicy chocolate.

First sip brings crisp sweet malts upfront with honey and a big flow of cocoa flavors that have an earthy quality about them. Spiciness and mild peppery heat are integrated in well. Bready yeast tones on the finish along with a lingering mix of spicy cocoa that's left in the aftertaste. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel is actually on the lighter side with big prickly carbonation on the way down making it aerate on your palate. None of the flavors are overpowering and it was interesting to drink, although not something I see myself regularly purchasing.

Photo of BatsforBeer
2.8/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Straw colored very cloudy body, frothy egg shell 1 finger head, lingers and disperses into a small layer.

S: Honey, earthy, spicy

T: Sweet honey with chocolate hints and spicy finish

M: Medium bodied frothy, spicy

D: Not very drinkable, the flavors just don't work well in my opinion, don't get me wrong, I love what DFH is doing, this beer is defiantly off centered, just not to my liking.

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

A- Poured into a 16oz tumbler... between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of off white fizzy head that disappates quickly... leaves no lacing. Beer is a light shade of brown with medium activity

S- First wiff is cinnamony, maybe some nutmeg. After a swirl of the glass and a second wiff, can pick up some more fruity malt tones... plum

T- Starts off malty and honey sweet... taste some of the cocoa when swished around the palate. Finish is still sweet and malty, but spicy as well.

M- Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Flavor clings to your taste buds and lingers in your mouth

D- Very tasty, would definately enjoy more of this unique beer


Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,078 ratings.