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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

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

1,919 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,919
Reviews: 748
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.32%
Wants: 192
Gots: 222 | FT: 3
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)
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Ratings: 1,919 | Reviews: 748 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AMoceri7


3.58/5  rDev -7%

Have to say, I was thoroughly interested before buying this. But would have passed knowing what really lied behind this brew. I had the option between this or DFHs World Wide Stout. Wish I would have bought the stout.

A: Expected brown (chocolate) but received a beautiful honey color. No other way to describe it. Nice head and lacing that fades after a bit.

S: Pilsner-like. Eh, lots of wheat overtones and hard to pick out anything it describes. Not much at all and what I do smell I dont like. Maybe some faint chile but that may be the imagination.

T: Smooth with a bite. The bite might very well be the chile peppers seeping through. White muscat grape, honey with just a pinch of spice. The chocolate is very light and the farthest thing from entertaining. As it is faint, the chocolate is an obvious dark bitter bakers chocolate flavor. Although the chile is nearly unnoticeable in the taste or smell it is most obvious in the ructus relieving itself through the nose and mouth. No real obvious hop or malt character to it. None the less unimpressed with the flavor administered by this beer.

M: The carbonation compliments all flavors but dont let it fool you into thinking there is more to it than what is there. Smooth and inviting but never pays up.

D: Not bad, just like the rest of the beer, just nothing special. Finishing the wine like bottle tonight (trying to) to erase the 15 bucks I spent on it and move forward. But would do that either way.

Overall: For Dogfish Head standards, and standards that Sam himself has set with other incredible beers, this ranks in the "probably wont buy again" category and one you wouldnt be bragging about to your buddies. If you are thinking about buying it and are in love with Sams other beauties like Indian Brown Ale, Palo Santo Marron, 90 Minute IPA, Punkin Ale, Midas Touch or Raison D'Extra, this might not be your brew. This doesnt explode, not to say explosion is always good, but doesnt even meet the silent killer category.

12-20-2008 08:40:45 | More by AMoceri7
Photo of froghop


3.63/5  rDev -5.7%

pours a semi-hazy orange with a small egg-shell head, fizzy, some lacing.

smell is of white pepper, malt, some honey.

taste is creamy at first then becomes thin, spice, malt, honey, wood, and some cocoa.

overall i dont get the chili at all, but the cocoa is present in small quantities, the flavors do go well together one not overpowering the other.

12-17-2008 04:06:43 | More by froghop
Photo of joeack

New York

4.22/5  rDev +9.6%

Poured a deep brown with very small. Smell was sweet with raison and maple syrup overtones. Taste was sweet and the hney flavor is most dominant did not detect any chile at all. After it warmed up a bit the spice came thru somewhat. OVerall a good brew and nice for sipping on a cold night

12-16-2008 01:22:29 | More by joeack
Photo of tsreynolds

New York

4.58/5  rDev +19%

Quite possibly the best tasting beer that I have ever had.

Appearance - A medium to light brown haze. It pours a two finger head but it didn't last long. The lacing remained on the glass throughout.

Smell - Hints of chili and chocolate.

Taste - At first I was overwhelmed by the chocolate taste which then changed to a sweet and spicy flavor. The aftertaste left you wanting another sip.

Mouthfeel - It was nicely carbonated and light in the mouth.

Drinkability - I could easily drink this all night. I had one then switched to another beer but found myself craving another and quickly switched back. Ended up having four by the end of the night. With the high abv I obviously was feeling good after four.

12-11-2008 19:36:46 | More by tsreynolds
Photo of Bigeter


4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

I was very pleased to actually find this beer and moreover happy to have gotten to drink it.

A- Pours a golden brown with a nice amount of head that dissipates at an above average rate.

S- Has unique sweet smell of honey but it is not overwhelming, you can also smell the cocoa and chili pepper if you are careful.

T- This is truly unique I was able to taste the both the cocoa and the chili peppers. A slight bitterness at first but the flavors come out as soon as I began to swallow. All the flavors seem to balance with each other very well.

F- Smooth and creamy but don't be fooled, this beer is still 9% by volume and its above average body is quite noticeable. The light carbonation however makes those strong characteristics ever so right.

D- This beer is quite good but after all too much of a good thing can happen. I could see the unusual flavors and high alcohol becoming less and less favorable if you were to drink multiple bottles in one sitting.

DFH seems to have found a very unique style and I look forward to the next batch this summer.

12-10-2008 23:27:05 | More by Bigeter
Photo of Patrick999


4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

This is one of the reasons why we love Dogfish Head - high-concept beers like this one. I speak of beers that not only function as drinkable beers, but also as conversation pieces at the dinner table. There are several such examples, but few have engendered in me as much anticipation as Theobroma. I've been waiting. I finally found it, nestled scatter-shot amongst the other large bottles at my local liquor store.

I won't speak of the retail price. I'll just say that it wasn't at all cheap, even by Dogfish Head big beer standards.

Searching for an appropriate drinking vessel, I pulled out my Chimay chalice. A careful pour yielded about a thumbnail of thin, rapidly-dissipating foam that leaves behind little to no lacing. Held to the light, the body glows orange-red.

The nose is reminiscent of those Keebler chocolate-covered wafers I used to like as a kid. Another deep inhalation gives me some spice-bread Belgian-esque yeast aromas. As the beer warms, I begin to pick up some ancho chile pepper, slightly smoky and rustic. It's a strong, unique aroma. Is it a chocolate beer? A chile beer? Or perhaps some leftfield Fantome-type saison interpretation, with the kitchen sink thrown in for good measure?

Oddly enough, the first thing I notice about this beer upon my palate is some sort of tree nut, like a pine nut. That must be the annatto talking. It's quite nutty, upon first impression. If I didn't know it was annatto I'm tasting, I'd swear this was brewed with pine nuts. The beer warms, and the other flavors begin to reveal themselves. A strong cacao flavor asserts itself - I don't know that I've tasted such a raw, high-quality dark chocolate in a beer before. Warming further, the ancho chile contributes a little burn, while the not-overly-sweet honey helps tie these flavor components together. I almost forgot that this was 9% ABV, but the alcohol is there, buried way underneath, should you wish to go looking for it.

Have you ever had Dagoba organic chocolate bars? If not, search them out. They make one with a very high percentage cacao content from Mesoamerican beans, spiked with chile peppers. This beer reminds me a whole lot of that chocolate bar...and that is a good thing.

Feel-wise, there is a quick bite of carbonation that releases to a slightly viscous consistency. This seems appropriate - I don't think I'd want this to be a saison-like explosion of carbonation.

I didn't want to share this, and you won't, either....at least not your first bottle. More than likely, you'll want to pay attention and savor every drop of the unique contents within this 750ml bottle. In the sense that it has kept me interested, making me write this lengthy review, drinkability is good. In the sense that it is more expensive than most top-shelf Belgians, drinkability stinks. However, this "beer" is good enough that I will be buying another bottle, price be damned. You simply have to appreciate the quality ingredients, research, and execution that went into a drink like this.

12-09-2008 17:14:28 | More by Patrick999
Photo of number1bum


4.28/5  rDev +11.2%

Pours an amber color with a reddish tint to it and two inches of dense light beige head. Head settles slowly but eventually leaves just a thin lace and not a whole lot of stick.

Smell is quite sweet, with lots of honey in particular. Other than that there is some smoky pepper and earthiness. Interesting woodsy aroma, as well. I can definitely tell there are peppers in this as they have a nice smokiness to them. I don't really get much cocoa that stands out on its own, but it's a nice complement to the peppers.

Taste is not as sweet as the smell, but still has a nice honey sweetness - it just never gets bothersome or even close to cloying. There's also a lot more depth of flavor than there was smell. The other main flavors are a sweet and smoky flavor that is also somewhat earthy and woodsy - products of both the peppers and the cocoa, which really complement each other nicely. There is really only a very subtle spice, and the peppers overall taste a bit like a mild version of a chipotle. Very interesting flavor.

This is a medium body, and the feel is very smooth. Carbonation is pretty light, and it finishes clean.

This is one of the most interesting brews I've had in a long time. I like it. It's very different, and a really cool idea by DFH. This is definitely something that every beer geek should try. Pick it up.

12-05-2008 01:40:31 | More by number1bum
Photo of trbergman


4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

(Finally entering this from notes taken at Sunset Grill on 10/5/08.)

Poured from 750mL bottle into tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours an amber color with fine bubbles and two fingers of dense, off-white foam.

Smell - Honey, sweet, floral.

Taste - Bitter hops at first, with a mead-like honey taste in the middle. The chili spice is evident in the finish, but very mild, building on the palate over time. Chocolate is hard to detect.

Mouthfeel - Round and medium-bodied.

Drinkability - Alcohol is well hidden in the taste, but one glass lends a healthy buzz. Flavorful, but a bit taxing to finish off a full bottle. (Having subsequently shared two other bottles, I can say that this is much better enjoyed one glass in a sitting.)

12-02-2008 22:47:16 | More by trbergman
Photo of bkilpatr


3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a pint glass. 12/01/08.

Pours a clear golden orange color with nearly three fingers of beige head. The head slowly dropped to a thin layer. Aroma is mostly chili pepper with cocoa and honey mixed in.

Taste has a lot of powdered cocoa and roasted chili pepper. Sweet malt, caramel, honey, and biscuit/bread are also present. The taste is fairly sweet but not cloying. Slight floral herbs and spices in the finish. There's a lingering tobacco aftertaste.

Feel is thick, smooth, and creamy. Carbonation is a bit low and it's a bit heavy. There's a bit of heat from it from the peppers, but it's not an alcohol type of heat. Drinkability is kinda low for me. It's too heavy for me to drink a lot of it. I think a 750ml bottle is a bit much for one person. I recommend splitting this with friends.

Overall, a very interesting beer. It tastes different from anything I've ever had. It's definitely worth a try, but it is a bit expensive (~$13 for 750ml).

12-02-2008 03:51:02 | More by bkilpatr
Photo of Bung


3.98/5  rDev +3.4%

Clear light brown pour. White head with a minimal amount of lacing. Interesting aroma, sweet cocoa and honey. Rather lively in the mouth, but not over carbonated. Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, more like accents to standard roast malt and piney/citrus hops. Some roast nutty like spice in the finish. Reminds me a bit of a nut brown ale with some cocolate mixed in. Definetely very interesting and worth a try.

11-30-2008 20:50:01 | More by Bung
Photo of bhalter8


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%

750 ml bottle bought at Toco Giant here in Atlanta, poured into a goblet. Pours a perfect , rich Amber color, lighter than expected (although not sure how I could have expected much given the style). Apparent carbonization led to a medium head, only slightly off-white. The smell is very faint, I can detect the cocoa, but nto nearly as much as you might expect reading the label, and considering DFH history of some overwhelmingly, sweet brews. The taste is solid, but once again, not too strong. The cocoa and honey hints are there, but do not take over the flavor of the ale. For the last time, I was surprised by the lack of overwhelming sweetness and chocolate. Pleasantly surprised though, as it led to a slightly more drinkable style that usual, in my opinion, for DFH. The relatively light carbonization also led to the muted mouthfeel. An interesting beer to try, but certainly not going into the rotation.

11-28-2008 21:41:01 | More by bhalter8
Photo of cjgator3


3.73/5  rDev -3.1%

750ml bottle

A- Pours a brownish amber with an off-white head.

S- The aroma is pretty faint, with some fruitiness and hints of cocoa and just a touch of chili's. I would like to see the aroma a little more aggressive, but the faint flavors that are there are very interesting.

T- The taste like the aroma features some chocolate and caramel. There is also just a hint of spiciness as well. There is a very faint lingering heat from the Chili's that is pretty interesting. The taste is very unique, unlike anything else I have tried.

M- The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a high amount of carbonation.

D- Theobroma is very drinkable for a 9% ABV beer. The beer gets much better as it warms up.

Overall, the concept of this beer is very interesting and it does get some points for being original. It is definitely a beer that is worth trying for it's uniqueness.

11-27-2008 05:34:59 | More by cjgator3
Photo of bluejacket74


3.83/5  rDev -0.5%

750 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a golden orange color with an inch and a half frothy off-white head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. The aroma is pretty light, it smells like chocolate and honey, not much else from what I can tell. Luckily the taste is stronger than the aroma. It tastes like chocolate, mild chilies, honey and a fruity taste that I'm not exactly sure what it is. Overall it's a unique flavor, that's about the only way I can describe it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit dry in the finish and has soft carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and not hard to drink. This isn't what I expected at all, I thought the chocolate and chilies flavor would be stronger. But with that being said, I liked it a lot. It's quite an interesting brew, definitely worth a try.

11-27-2008 00:27:50 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of Domingo


3.98/5  rDev +3.4%

Even if you don't like something from Dogfish Head, you at least have to respect what went into it.
So far I haven't been a huge fan of their ancient brews, but I think this one's the exception.
Pours a murky beige color that reminds me a little of a old-style hefeweizen.
Texture on this is pretty thick.
Smells a little like a Yoohoo. Milk chocolate, honey, and a little bit of frutiness that I can't identify. Maybe lychee? Not picking up much flavor or heat from the chilis, but maybe they're producing the vague fruity flavor I pick up? Pretty sweet, but I think that's intentional. Milk chocolate flavors without sweetness tend to get lost a little.
I split a bottle of this and I probably could've polished it off myself. It's fairly potent, but it doesn't really let on that it's 9%.
Of the historical brews from DFH, this one's by far my favorite.

11-24-2008 19:52:57 | More by Domingo
Photo of FordBrewing

South Carolina

3.23/5  rDev -16.1%

I had been eagerly searching for this when a friend came across a few bottles and surprised me with it one evening.

Pours a mostly clear, orange body with creamy white head that quickly diminishes, with fair lacing. The first thing you notice with this beer is the smell. Notes of chocolate, cocoa, and a bit of honey are quickly evident. Unfortunately as great as this smells, it is lacking in taste. It is medium bodied with an almost creamy texture and average carbonation. It almost comes across as chalky on the palate.

The same friend that brought me this bottle described it as "like drinking a bowl of halloween candy", and I would have to agree. The cocoa aroma and taste are great, but that's about where it stops for me. A good, but not great experiment by Sam and the folks at Dogfish Head.

11-24-2008 19:28:01 | More by FordBrewing
Photo of Wasatch


4/5  rDev +3.9%

Thanks goes out to tburkhart for this brew.

750ml Bottle

Poured into a chalice a nice hazy golden orange color, nice carbonation, nice little off-white head, with minimal sticky lacing. The nose is malty, some chili's, coco. The taste is sweet, malty, nice touch of chili's. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well, the finish is dry and slightly bitter. Drinkable, not a bad brew, quite different to say the least. Thanks Tim.

11-23-2008 20:18:25 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Goliath


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Pours a clear golden color with a one inch cream colored head. Retention is somewhat poor, although not horrible. It leaves no lacing behind however.

The aroma is decent, and there's actually something in the nose that reminds me of macro lager. But the nose is somewhat sweet, with a bit of sugar and of course chocolate. There's a little bit of spice in the nose as well. Kind of a light biscuity malting too.

The taste is really interesting. It's somewhat sweet, with notes of sugar and cocoa. The ancho chile is very mild, but certainly discernable. A pale malt profile brings in a touch of bread. Very unique. some of the flavors just give me a fake extract feel, like child's drink.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated.

Drinkability is low to moderate. Really interesting flavors indeed. I'm never a huge fan of their archaeological beers, but I like the idea of doing them which goes a long way for me. I do think it will be rather difficult to finish this champaign bottle by myself though, and really wished I had waited to share this with a few friends. Even a 12 oz pour may prove to be a difficult feat.

11-22-2008 21:41:02 | More by Goliath
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

2.98/5  rDev -22.6%

VSK night at The Blind Tiger. Had this during last year's VSK, & don't remember much except not being wowed by it. I was actually eying the Midas Touch just as it was erased off the chalkboard & had to call an audible before the bartender lost interest. Conversing with all the DFH groupies in the audience, I couldn't remain blissfully ignorant, so I went with it.

Seven bucks for 12oz pour of this milk chocolate-colored brew. A thick, yet porous head, the fat from the cocoa skims the top just like the hot stuff.

Smell was dusty with cocoa, & lighthanded with the chilies, giving a smokey bitterness that tries to sharpen up the nose.
Very soft... but way too subtle.

Taste was much of the same. Not enough cocoa to keep it from being watery sadly. Slightly smokey & stillborn chilies, the honey does come through, but with everything else so muted, it doesn't help much. A flash of alcohol & bready malt finish things up without much commotion.

Boring, along with the usual DFH specialty pricetag would probably keep me from having this again.

11-21-2008 19:44:31 | More by PEBKAC
Photo of Haybeerman


3.95/5  rDev +2.6%

A: Dirty copper/amber color. Poured a 1 finger head that disspated to a skim. Ample lacing.

S: Mole, sweet peppery spices and chocolate. Not like any chili beer I ever had.

T: Caramel, chocolate and cumin(?). It tasted like chocolate-covered caremal dipped in Qdoba mole sauce (not that I ever did that). Very fient hop bite in the finish.

M: Smooth and silky. Lower carbonation. Lasting flavorful finish.

D: More than interesting. Very flavorful. I liked it - one at-a-time anyway.

11-20-2008 17:23:01 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of Hophead101


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%

drank on 11.14.08 at Deb and Andy's.

pours a cloudy golden orange color, big thick 2 finger head that dissipated pretty quickly. light clean smell. lots of flavor and spices dancing around the nose. honey and annatto very evident, nothing much from a cocoa powder or chile smell.

taste was initially soft. a little bite up front, cocoa in the back, but not much. more cocoa comes through as I drank more of it. This is a lighter but very complex beer that takes a while to grasp all that is going on (in a good way). there is a really good honey base, and a touch of chile in the bite, but not in the flavor. overall soft and smooth on the palate, a much lighter taste than I was expecting.

quite a good beer, another job well done for DFH.

11-19-2008 13:55:01 | More by Hophead101
Photo of Buebie


4.15/5  rDev +7.8%

Thanks to pwoods for this bottle!

Poured from a 750 ml dark brown bottle, with a 2008 bottling date.
Poured into an oversized snifter off a semi rigerous pour. Big fluffy white 3 finger head. Leaving a nice thin layer of retiontion and jumbles of assorted sized bubbles.
Lace is thin, but does leave streakes along the walls of the glass.
Color is an orangish marmelade, somwhat transparent. Little chunks of unfiltered goodness floating around in there.

Fruity sweet pineaple at the nose, with wiffs of sweet carmel rolls. Picking up hints of the chillies in a spicie peppery aroma. Only comes in distance waves off a good swirl.

Very interesting flavors going on here. smooth and sweet, zings of carbonation hitting my tounge like pop-rocks.
Sweet buttery corn up front, becomming a bit more sourish bitter through the swallow. A good doseing of fruits. Some un-toasted wood, more of the chillies linger after the swallow with a wisper of spice hanging out on the roof of my mouth.
Minerally water, mild alcahol warming.

This beer makes me want to strip my cloths off, strap on a grass skirt and spear some fish.
Itrs an interesting brew with a cool story.
Nicely done.

11-16-2008 17:53:22 | More by Buebie
Photo of justinmartz


4/5  rDev +3.9%

Sweet, simple aromas of honey and cocoa. Taste is malty with a detectable but fleeting nuance of ancho on the backend. Not spicy as one might think from the description on the label. Midas Touch's doppelganger? Good, but not worth the hype of a 750mL bottle.

11-15-2008 05:51:42 | More by justinmartz
Photo of Crosling


2.7/5  rDev -29.9%

Light golden colored ale with a long lasting white head of cream. Nose isn't lacking in its vibrancy, but doesn't have a lot of complexity. Flavor is very sweet, with a honeyed fruit character. Mead-like. Not a complex beer, but interesting and pleasant tasting.

11-15-2008 04:30:25 | More by Crosling
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

3.33/5  rDev -13.5%

Easily one of the more bizarre things DFH has done. Poured up a cloudy medium orange colour with a white head. Appearance was about average being neither particularly attractive nor off-putting. Smelled to me like white grapes and bread dough. A strange combination, for sure, but truthfully, I struggle to find those aroma profiles, and really, there isn't much here in the way of smell. There is certainly some sweet malt present, but this is unlike anything I have ever had before. As far as the smell is concerned. The taste is rather strange, too. I can't really discern any of the honey, cocoa, chile peppers, or any other flavours. It's pretty sweet up front, but I don't really think it's from the honey. Then the finish kinda reminds me of Midas Touch, but with the slightest hint of smoke. I really don't know what to make of this beer. It doesn't taste bad. I can drink it, and will have no trouble killing a 750mL by myself as the alcohol is wonderfully concealed. However, it isn't really something I would seek out. Again, Midas Touch comes to mind. A very, very unusual beer, for sure.

11-13-2008 04:34:02 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of gdfan47


3.8/5  rDev -1.3%

wow what a strange beer

i had one of these at Monks
very suprised to see how light it was, a yellowy pretty clear color

the taste is so strange and differnt, a tad spicy in the end

i only had one, and would try it again... absolutley one hardest beers I had to disect

would check it out, dont see it being a great session beer but worth trying

I have a feeling this would go well with a good beef stew

11-10-2008 09:43:23 | More by gdfan47
Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,919 ratings.