1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,121 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,121
Reviews: 770
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 234
Gots: 297 | FT: 1
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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,121 | Reviews: 770
Photo of darklordlager
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A:Pours a bright tangerine colour, with a bright white head that fades quickly. Bubbles constantly launch themselves up from the bottom cascading to the top.

S:Strong cocoa, and a rye-like smell are the first things noticed. Perhaps a bit of spice is in there somewhere, but the principle scents are cocoa and that earthy rye-like smell. Pale malt (cereal), perfumey floral scent.

T: cocoa, rye, floral taste, nutty, peppery. Some alcohol heat in the finish, partially masked by a nice residual chile flavour. Very floral aftertaste, tastes like juniper. As it warms, more spices take hold--ginger, cinnamon.

M:Medium to light bodies and well carbonated. Even near room temp the chile keeps the alcohol hidden.

D: Awesome blend of interesting flavours.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 2009 - served into a tall pilsner glass.

Appearance: Slightly cloudy copper-orange color. Off-white foam that died down to a consistent 1/8" head across the top as I drank it down. Lots of bubbles coming up through the beer the whole time.

Smell: I get orange and sweet, maybe a tiny hint of cocoa. It's appealing, I just can't place what it is exactly. Good enough to make me inhale deeply and then want a sip.

Taste: First I get the spicy heat, then cocoa powder at the end followed by more spicy heat. Very smooth and perfectly blended. At 9% ABV the alcohol is very well hidden but you can feel it sneaking up on you even if you don't taste it. It's really a wild taste for a beer, and you could argue that it's more of a malt beverage but who cares. At this tasty I don't care what you call it. It is narrow in its flavor complexity, so I can't rate it a 5, but I am enjoying it.

Mouthfeel: This one is interesting in that the spiciness on the tongue by the carbonation is also supplemented by the spiciness of the beer itself on the entire mouth. Otherwise just thick enough to coat everything going down, maybe even I get what some people call "chewy" in a swallow of this stuff.

Drinkability: At 9% ABV I don't feel right rating it highest, but man it's tasty and goes down smooth and quickly. Really an enjoyable experience, and indeed, the beer is an experience because it is so unusual. However I know that I really love spicy food so I suspect that is clouding my judgment a little bit on this one. Still, I think it's worth trying and savoring and I could see myself trying it again sometime, but not in the same night.

Photo of bob3701
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip glass. Cloudy straw amber color with a nice thick head that quickly goes away. No real lacing. The aroma of this tells you that you are holding something freaky (which is not a bad thing). First sip felt like popping a Jolly Rancher in your mouth but then your taste buds discover cocca and soon your tongue is tingling with the soft heat of the chillies. Drinking this was an experiance, an enjoyable one at that. This isn't a brew you can drink a lot of but I am thankful for the experiance. Sipping history.

Photo of donkeyrunner
2.29/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Cloudy peach fuzz color. Thin white head that is quick to skim and vanish. Looks heavy and lifeless. Honey, nectarine and mild boozey aroma. Pretty bland for such a grocery list of special ingredients.

Orange flavor ice with a chilis for balance. Pulpy mouthfeel. Again, really bland for such a shopping list of special ingredients.

Where are all these special ingredients? I get the honey, I get the chilis, but where's everything else? For a beer that claims to be "a recreation of the premier chocolate beverage of the Americas" this beer has as much chocolate as a pickle.

Pricey drainpour.

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a rocky head; average retention and a few squiggles of lace here and there

Smell: Clearly meadlike, with plenty of honey, and the cocoa powder is also discernable

Taste: Sweet, graham cracker malt and vanilla, up front, with a growing honey character; by mid-palate, the malted milk and ancho chile flavors arrive in force; cannot detect the nutmeggy annatto flavor other than through the power of suggestion; after the swallow, the chile and chocolate flavors persist and blend with the honey; memorably hot finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; rather creamy; with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting how the hotness of the chile takes on the role of the bitterness of the hops in modern beers; worth a try but not sure I would want to re-visit very often

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

A: amber honey. very thin head, due to a bad pour.
S: honey, very very light chocolate. no hops or malt
T: honey is very powerful upfront, with chocolate in the middle favors, and the chiles coming in the aftertaste. the peppers and chocolate become even more prominent as it warms up.
M: light carbonation, with a thickness like watery honey.
D: not a sit down and have "a few" beer.

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

I picked this up at Atlantic Liquors in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Poured chilled from the 750ml into a willybecker.

A - A light russet amber which is mildly hazed w/ rocky eggshell head. The bead is unevenly sized w/ mild lace stickage

S - A light fruity scent of honey w/ subtle fruit nose w/ light toast and hint of pepper w/ a floral accent

M - The feel is light for the strength w/ creamy and fruity tinges and mild heat of alcohol and spice. The gentle toast texture and light caramel smoothness comes through as it finishes

T - The flavor has light chile notes and mild floral honey flavor w/ a nutty cocoa tinge w/ slight creamy yeast taste. The flavor of honey is prominent w/ a light floral hint which seems to segue into the chili taste that is slightly spicy and also gives a light tingle in the back of the throat.
The cocoa is more floral and nutty than roasted. Theobroma has a slightly crisp taste w/ dry effect of the honey and spice adding a nice sweet/spicy counterpoint in the flavor. A nice balance and complex with a sweet overtone. The cool thing about the flavor to me is how the chile is the star and the cocoa really plays as anchor w/ the honey

D - One of the best 'experiments'w/ honey, cocoa and chile to me. The taste has great interplay yet still is a drinkable beer I could enjoy this frequently and think anyone who likes honey and chile together would enjoy it. I find the mix of sweet/spicy in flavor/feel/aroma interesting-highly drinkable!

Photo of davexisxrabid
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a wine glass. Produced a nice clear golden color, with a fluffy two inch head. Poor retention, not much lacing.

Sweet clover honey and floral aroma. A nice spicy hint is wrapped up in there.

Flavor up front is reminiscent of a mead; sweet honey with a wheat backbone and a nice spicy flavor from beginning to end. Complex to say the least. A slight chocolate flavor at the end.

Medium bodied, not too thick. The spice is not overpowering and everything seems balanced.

Could probably have more than one. High abv is probably the only thing that keeps it form being a session brew. Definitely different, but overall a good chile beer.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.4/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pour a warm orange clear body with a sea of tiny bubbles supporting a tan cream/bubbly head.
S- This beer has a soft banana honey aroma that turns into dry apricots qualities. There is a slight musty roasted cocoa nibs note in the finish.
T- This beer has a soft pale malt and corn faintness with a warm finish of raw grain. There is a soft chocolate note that follows with a red chili pepper note.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizz and no alcohol heat until it warms a bit then the burn of chili pepper adds to the alcohol heat.
D- This beer has a light flavor with a soft chili heat at the finish. There is a smooth quality with not much alcohol heat and a faint fruity quality that is interesting in the mix. Interesting experiment not necessarily a good drink.

Photo of rramis
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-poured in a snifter. Golden in color with a hint brown. About a quarter inch head, white, disolved fairly quick.

S-candy like, chocolate hints, very light.

T-light hint of chocolate. Like almost the first taste of hot chocolate. Very light carbonation. As it hit the back of your mouth you can taste the ancho chilies as well down your throat. Swish it alittle and you get the honey taste.

M- light carbonation, slightly sweet with a following of warmth. Nice transition.

D-a drinkable ale. Very surprising to the palate. Something I would have again.

Serving type-tap

Had it at Redlight Redlight

Photo of davod23
1.96/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

What in the world is this foul thing? Dogfish Head does some weird stuff sometimes, and sometimes it works... but this is an abomination.

Appearance takes me by surprise. And not in a good way. Pour is a slightly murky golden yellow color. A fizzy off-white head that recedes almost immediately to nothing. No lacing. Very nondescript so far, right? Surely not worth much, but not enough to be horrible. Except for one thing. Even in the first pour, there were tons of yellowish chunks floating around. These do not look like yeast chunks - yeast, I can deal with. These things look like boogers picked from a sick nose. Or maybe... yes!... they look like the shit that you wipe out of your eyes when you wake up in the morning. When you have pinkeye. Absolutely wretched. I almost don't even want to drink this thing.

Smell is nondescript and underwhelming. I get a hint of cocoa powder, an overripe vegetable component, maybe some yeasty notes? I dunno, it's somewhat difficult to pick stuff out of this. I'm still grossed out by the appearance.

Taste. Meh. DFH so routinely puts out massively flavored brews that I didn't expect this to be so weak. It's boring. A little hint of the chiles, a little hint of the cocoa, a little bit of a weird herbal twang... and a long finish that highlights the chili component. Not good. Not the worst part of this brew... but not good.

Mouthfeel. Tell me, good reader... how do you think a thin, fizzy beer that has weird chunks floating around in it would feel in YOUR mouth?

Drinkability is awful. I do not like to drainpour beers. I have probably averaged 1-2 beers a day for the last 3 years, and my best guess is that I have poured about three of them out. I drank about 4 oz. of this monstrosity and that was enough.

Perhaps I got a bad bottle. If I ever try this again, and it turned out that this bottle was bad, then I will revise my scores here. But I don't see a scenario in which I try this beer again. Absolutely horrid.

Photo of Gmann
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Lost review from 10.24.09. Pours a slightly hazy golden brown color with a very small tan head that dissipates into nothingness. The aroma is sweet, a bit grainy, light honey and a touch of copper. The taste is a dusting of cocoa, metal and a heavy honey malt. This is followed by a noticable chili flavor that adds a very slight amount of heat. Kind of an odd flavoring but not terrible. The feel is moderate with prickly carbonation, sweet with a touch of heat from the anchos. The brew is interesting indeed. It could use a bigger malt and cocoa presense to offset the honey and chilies. The overriding penny flavor needs to go.

Photo of JimmyK77
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A surprizingly light beer considering the ingredients. I expected a beer made with cocoa powder and ancho chilis to be heavy, but light malt and honey combine to create a beer with low residual sugars that is quite drinkable. The cocoa and chilis are evident in the flavor and aroma, but their effect is subtle. The chilis give it a spicy kick and a slight fruitiness that turns to a more vegetable-ly pepper-like note as it warms. The beer is a light color with a reddish hue from annato seeds. Very drinkable and quite nice, though I'd have liked more cocoa presence.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer enjoyed tonight courtesy of slater1313 who set me up with a bottle of this at DLD09.

Appearance - pours a murky, translucent dulled and dark tangerine. A feathery cap disappears pretty quickly, barely leaving a collar at all. If it weren't for the interesting coloring, this would be a rather average start.

Aroma - a candy smell. Tootsie Roll, that's it. Took me a minute to place it. Almost has an orange aspect to it. Again, interesting but not astounding. And yet, as the tasting continues, this aroma works on me, without fading, staying consistent and eventually I am liking it more.

Taste - plenty of Tootsie Roll in the mouth. Not candy sweet like a real Tootsie, but the chocolate is tasty enough to be taken seriously. The chilies are faint but lend a belly warmth that is not alcohol-induced. This could be a heartburn beer, but the spice is low key. The swallow maintains a chocolate heading but never develops beyond that shallow candyish flavor. It's good, but the build-up for me exceeds the experience. Finishes with a sweet note, a lingering spicy heat in the belly, and waning chocolate taffy.

Mouthfeel - crisp and refreshing for a bigger beer. I was thirsty and took a healthy slug to get started. The body is smooth without being heavy.

Drinkability - I will certainly enjoy the other bottle I have of this, and maybe sooner rather than later as this one is dated and I just bought a fresh one. It would make for a worthy comparison.

Photo of Fastidious
2.05/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A - An orange with a tint of brown.

S - Similar to the taste, vinegar and a touch of chili.

T - Wow, total disappointment, just shocked. Can't believe I disliked it so much. This is my first review just because I generally agree with BA averages and feel I have nothing major to add if a beer has many reviews. I've tried about ~60 beers. This one I felt completely opposite on. The taste really is the most important thing in a beer for me with drinkability probably coming second. It tasted like some nasty vinegar with jalapeno juice squeezed in it. The worst beer I've ever had, easily besting BMC beers. I tried taking small sips to pick up on other flavors but it still punished me. It is extreme but in a terrible way! 2008 bottle.

M - Just an average beer, fairly light.

D - For 9% ABV it is easy enough to drink without much hint of alcohol, assuming you like the taste! This is probably the only respectable aspect of the beer for me. I managed to choke down the whole bottle but just because I paid almost $12 for it. Took me all night...

I hope I just got a bad one since everything else I've had from Dogfish is kick ass. I know it is unlikely I'll ever get another chance to taste this a second time as I'd never make the mistake of buying it again.

Photo of joepais
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I split this with a couple of friends from South America over a meal. They really thought it was incredible but then they went back to Corona Extra.

Bottle poured into tulip glasses produced two fingers worth of off white head that trailed to a thin lace. The body was this beautiful looking reddish orange in color.

I will say I was looking for a little more chocolate in the nose than I got. It was sweet and peppery to me but other than that the aromas were had to describe. The flavor is what I am beginning to expect from this type of brews DFH do an eclectic blend of spices and ingredient's. I got honey, coco and chili pepper the flavors went extremely well with my meal. It had a medium feel in my mouth with good carbonation.
It was a good drinking beer but I would draw the line on one glass with a meal or the flavors would kill your taste buds

Photo of dfillius
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Love the label art! Poured into a pint glass
A: Whoa! Not the color I expected. Thin white head with poor retention from a gentle pour. Pale ale golden copper w/chill haze. More head please.
S: Malty with some earthy notes maybe from Ancho chiles. More complex please.
T: Malt forward, then chile comes in and grabs hold and lingers in the aftertaste. A ibt of honey at first too. Modest bitterness. Alcohol is hidden. No chocolate really until the very end.
M: Belly warming actually, spicy up in my nostrils. Warm from spiciness not alcohol. That's the highlight of this beer.
D: Pretty good, but I wouldn't buy again, maybe I'd order a second pint.

Photo of KrisPaulk77
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Picked up this bottle in Chicago, and shared with some friends at my annual Fall BBQ.

Poured into a Chimay goblet.

I've been very intrigued with the concept of this beer, and the idea of drinking an interpretation of history. I admire Sam and the crew at DFH for their efforts at presenting the unusual and unique.
The beer was shared and the pours were minimal. The beer poured a very pretty light gold, with a minimal head. The foam stayed around the whole time in the form of a small cap. Minimal lacing. I suppose I was expecting something different. Maybe I was expecting something darker.
The aroma was spicy like a Belgian, with notes of cocoa, and a hint of chili. No hop aroma was noticed. The spicy Belgian aroma was very pronounced, as was the fermented honey.
Taste-wise, Theobroma has tripel written all over it. This is not a bad thing, just not what I was anticipating. There was a bitterness present, possibly from the cacao nibs. There was a slight heat from the chili, but not much in the way of taste. I noted a slight chocolate flavor, but nothing too pronounced. The primary flavors for me were basically the tripel aspect of the beer. Again, this is not a bad thing, just unexpected. The feel of the beer was okay, with a good level of carbonation.
Overall, not a bad beer. I was glad to be able to share this bottle. I think drinking a whole one on your own would be a challenge. I would buy this again, from time to time, just to have a little something different.

Photo of guntherhophead
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
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
3.28/5  rDev -15%
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
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
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
3.67/5  rDev -4.9%
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
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,121 ratings.