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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

2,111 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,111
Reviews: 768
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 232
Gots: 292 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Chile Beer |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: slvrmon82 on 03-21-2008

Theobroma is a celebration of chocolate, the food of the gods.

This Ancient Ale is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras that revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions.

The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1,200 B.C. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head's Theobroma (translated into "food of the gods") is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

It's light in color, not what you expect from your typical chocolate beer (not that you'd be surpised that we'd do something unexpected with this beer!).

Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,111 | Reviews: 768 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
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
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
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
3.07/5  rDev -20.5%
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
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
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
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
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
3.59/5  rDev -7%
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
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
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
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
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
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 2,111 ratings.