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Theobroma - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

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

1,958 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,958
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.06%
Wants: 195
Gots: 226 | 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: 1,958 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tilley4
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very interesting little brew here...

Pours out....wow, much, much lighter than I expected. I was actually expecting something much darker and more viscous...its a light honey brownish with a very ample head...

Smells very sweet... I can definitely detect the honey and a bit of the cocoa right off...not quite as strong smelling with the chocolate aspect as I was expecting but still very nice...no aroma of chiles though...hmmmm...

Well, this tastes really good here... Not too sweet but just enough to let you know it has honey in it... The chiles barely make themselves known which is nice in a chile beer...just a hint...very unusual brew here..

While I liked this one and apreciate what DFH was trying to do, I'm not sure this would be part of the regular lineup for me...its good, but not great.. And a little pricey to boot...

Still glad I tried it though...

Tilley4, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of lightindarkness
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle into a trappist goblet

Sits nicely colored in the glass, with a deep ambery hue, slightly foggy with nice orange depth. White head fills out over the top, then subsides to a frothy film over the surface.

Nose is flowery and sweet, with lots of honey and a ripe grape skin. Decent dose of light grainy background fills in the rest of the smell. Unique, and very intriguing, it does lack a little depth.

Taste is certainly not as wildly complex as I'd have imagined given the adjunct bill, but it has a very pleasant flavor nonetheless. Honey is sweet, floral, and strong, but not cloyingly so. Light malt base is enhanced with a little herbal note beneath the sweetness. I get much the same flavor as eating freshly picked grapes off the vine, with rich flavorful skins and woody tannic seeds. Maybe a little cocoa undertone. Again, given the ingredients list, not at all what I expected, with little evidence of peppers or cocoa, but nicely blended. Finishes light with a cereal grain body and fading sweetness. I could probably dissect it further to find the annatto and chilies, but why?

Feel is lighter medium bodied, with a little thickness to give it enough presence, and enough thinness to be light and slightly delicate. Carbonation is soft. Seems to get creamier the longer I sip on it.

Again, not at all what I expected. Certainly interesting, but not nearly as exotic as I would have guessed from the description. A tasty beer, and one I'm glad I tried, but not quite unique enough to seek out. Certainly a good one to share, interestingly sweet and flavorful. Very drinkable as it is - nicely balanced and easy to sip on.

lightindarkness, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm a big fan of the concept behind these archeological beers from DFH, but I'm kinda a geek that way. This one is vaery interesting and quite succesful from a beer point of view as well. Pours a lighter shade of orange with a short head that fades to a thin swirl. The smell is fairly light, but I smell the ancho chilis, and perhaps a slight herbal, mineral bitterness from the annato. The chocolate is rather light, and smells faintly creamy. The taste is very nice, much more pronounced in flavors, but balanced and still somewhat subtle. Creamy chocolate that tastes almost like cacao pulp, somewhat herbal, soft and lightly chocolatey. There is also an underlying lightly fruity, roasty chili flavor that segues into a final nutty creaminess. Although I think this is rather lightly spiced, I find that the chili definitely is present and adds a distinct element. Very smooth and creamy and doesn't at all seem like a 9% beer.

Georgiabeer, Nov 02, 2008
Photo of peabody
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a really cloudy dirty tea color with yellow lemon tints. One finger of suds and there is lacing.
Smell is peach and lemon almost a dry perfume aroma.
Taste is peppery and mellow with a sugary malt that is like dry cocoa. Mabey a dried apricot?
Mouthfeel is very clean and not very bubbly as the pour would have you believe.
I like this offering from DFH.

peabody, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/30/08- Purchased at a beer store in Portland. ME. $9.99 price tag.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, 2008 release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dirty copper-amber colored pour. Maybe a 1/2 inch head on the pour with a slight rim remaining. Leaves decent lace sheeting behind.

Smell- Very subuded, but quite nice nose of mole, random sweet peppery spices and chocolate. Unlike any chili beer I have smelled.

Taste- Wonderful notes of deep caramel wrapped up with chocolate and cumin. The whole beer combined tastes like a butterfinger bar dipped in mole. Quite amazing flavor unlike anything I have ever had before. Very very slight spicy taste. A small dash of hops, but really not even enough to note. Nice malt base ties it together.

Mouthfeel- Smooth with a lower carbonation. Lovely short lasting chocolate-caramel-buttery-mole thing.

Drinkability- Insanely interesting and very tasty as well. I would highly recommend this to anyone. If you don't like chili beers, give this a try. It's nothing like Crazy Ed's and totally different than Rogue's. Yummy!

GClarkage, Nov 01, 2008
Photo of jjayjaye
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy rustic wheat tinted amber color with a HUGE off-white foamy head that resists fading. Gotta love that head...takes it better than a 4.0 but the hang time makes it less than a 4.5. Spotty patterns of Belgian lacing in it's wake. The smell is really interesting, but timid. At first nose i'm flushed with an earthy Belgian yeasty character that leads me to a harvest fruit like aroma... saison / farmhouse-like at first. If i let my imagination run wild i sense that earthy yeast thing breaking down to a malty NECCO chocolate and that ever so light tangy texture may actually be the chili... i'm sooo not familiar with. The nose is scoring points for complexity as it warms up. Again, I'd go something slightly more than a 4.0 because of the complexity, but less than a 4.5 because the characteristics are subtle. The mouth is adequately carbonated, medium bodied, fundamentally creamy with a nice tangy note. The texture complements the flavors nicely. Again similar to a farmhouse but with a mild chocolaty aftertaste that lingers in the aft-roof of the mouth. The 9% ABV is integrated well...enhancing its drinkability...beware, that's real alcohol content they're advertising!!! This one is another pure pleasure to consider!! Where would we be without the folks at DFH experimenting with these off centered notions of historic ales. Cheers!!!

jjayjaye, Oct 30, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is more like a 'kitchen sink' beer than a chili beer. It's got all the crap that the ancients could think of, including a little bit of malt. The beer has a bright copper-amber hue at first, but poured a hazy rusty hue toward the end of the bomber. Head formation was fair, as well as retention and lacing. Rich aromas of honey, chocolate, toffee, and molassas fills the nose along with herbal and perfumy notes. Flavors strongly favor the honey and mask a lot of the malt base. Very sweet to taste with a powerful underlying taste of cocoa, almonds, pecans, and cashews. Again, hints of corriander, orange peel, cherries, cumin, and a flowery note give the beer a lot of complexity. Flavors of the chilis gain intensity and are noticed going into the finish. The beer's weight favors the honey as well, but allowing a soft malt blend to substantiate the beer. Quite warming from mid-palate on from a blend of the chilis and alcohol. The heat never offends but does give the beer a little something extra. The chilis also seem to balance the sweetness with the low hop (if any) additions. A very nice experimental beer. I'll have to see how this one ages out.

BEERchitect, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a ruby orange in color with no head that forms too long on the pour. Smell is very floral with a good amount of honey. Taste is fairly sweet, light and refreshing. I'm getting a bit of light fruit as well. Really clean and amazingly non-cloying in the mouth. I've taken several sips of this beer and still can't figure it out. There's just so much going on in this beer that it keeps it interesting. Good and very interesting beer, but not setting the world afire.

FtownThrowDown, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of kenoftheyear
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

Pours a light murky brown with some reddish amber hues. There is a very thin layer of head even after I tried to hurry some head out of it.

The aroma was very much of muscat grape which obviously made me think of the Midas Touch. I was expecting some chocolate in the aroma but didn't perceive any. Although I can detect a slight sweet peppery smell below the fruit.

The flavor is very much multi-dimensional with the cocoa powder making it's first appearance. The use of the powdered form is apparent from some earthy root-like chocolate notes. I do get some of the grape flavors that I detected in the aroma but it is shoved to the back by the chocolate. There is also a very pleasant spicy bitterness that balances some honey sweetness. This certainly came from the chiles that were used but possibly from some hops as well.

The mouthfeel is moderate with a stinging bite of carbonation.

I find this beer very interesting and drinkable considering it's 9% abv. It's making me wish I had a dark fruit dessert of some sort, maybe a rum raisin cake or some bread pudding(mmm).

kenoftheyear, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of chakadrum
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

Honey in color. Slight haze. I expected it to be darker in color. There was very little head which dissipated rather quickly. The lacing is also missing (which might be partially due to the fact that I just cleaned my glass).

I can't really smell much other than a subtle hint of chocolate.

The taste is impressive. I've only had one other chile beer and I didn't think it was very good. This has hints of chilies which it exactly what I would expect. No heat from the chilies but just a little bit of nice flavor (even more so as it warms up). As expected there are also hints of chocolate. I refrain from saying cocoa because there is a sweetness to the beer that reminds me more of a Hershey's bar than a chunk of baker's chocolate.

I would enjoy drinking this while eating a Mexican dish (perhaps something with a mole sauce).

Smooth mouthfeel. Carbonation level is spot-on.

I'd definitely try this one again and would consider hanging on to a bottle for a special occasion just because it is a pretty neat beer. This isn't just a novelty styled beer but a good beer that can stand up on its own.

chakadrum, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of bluemoonswoon
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First ever chile beer for me, so something new and exciting, and how can you not get excited about "the food of the gods". A very understated beer, which is weird considering who makes this beer. It's categorized as a chile beer but there are only slight hints of such that are detectable in the aroma. Most of the aroma is brought together in a slight chocolate, nutmeg and black pepper spiciness, which is where I imagine the chilies in this beer impart at least some of their influence. Also, for a beer made with coco nibs or whatever the bottle says, the color is also something to note.

This beer tastes like something that was made a long time ago, not that this beer tastes old, in fact it tastes quite fresh, but it feels like something ancient people would be into drinking. Initial taste is sort of bland, a mild bit of chocolate, nutmeg and honey, and some kind of essential oil/spice that I really can't put my finger on. The beer really takes a different character after the sip, when the beer is passed and only the impression remains on your tongue. When this happens the chile aspect of the beer becomes far more apparent and does a lot of work in recovering an otherwise lackluster and lazy mouthfeel.

I'm not really sure what to think about this beer, it doesn't blow me away, but then again not too many beers have that quality. There are things in this beer that I've never experienced (I realize I sound like I'm not writing about a beer at this point) but it really doesn't impress me that much. Appearance is lacking and aroma could use a boost, but really I'm only saying this because that's what I want to match in my head. The truth is this beer has an interesting mix between sweetness and spice that might create an interesting drinking experience for some people, but right now, I'm just not that person.

bluemoonswoon, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of mcallister
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not sure what to look for in this beer and looks nothing like I anticipated. Pours a dull amber with little head. Was expecting something with more depth of color considering the ingredients.

Nose is nice and soft but not overly complex. Some fruity aspects with a slightly musty aroma. Hard to tell what I'm really smelling. Some spicey, earthy tones.

A good beer, very easy drinking that shows nothing in the way of 9% abv. Almost tastes like a lager. Bready malts with a crisp carbonation on the finish that helps things end creamy. Light cocoa attributes. Wonderfully balanced and sophisticated beer. Lack big complexity but sometimes the over complex gets old.

mcallister, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of roadhouse
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appears a clear golden orange color with a three inch plus off-white head.

Aroma is certainly unique. There is a certain sweetness to it, I'm not detecting any chocolate. I've never smelled annatto but I think that's part of what I'm getting. Not sure if I can pick up any of the chilis, I know ancho chilis are very mild.

Taste is basically exactly the same as the aroma. Sweetness up front, chocolate and chilis still not detectable.

Mouthfeel is medium, but closer to light. Smooth and easy to drink, no hint of it being 9% ABV.

Overall I was very disappointed in this. I remember reading of the Aztecs making chocolate drinks with chilis and I was hoping it would at least have some flavor aspect from those ingredients.

roadhouse, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of mnapier
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Temperature, 45 degrees. Serving Glassware, 16 ounce (NB) Globe.

The beer pours reddish orange with some clarity and minor particles within. The head profile starts strong but dies rather quickly and leaves a fine film on the surface.
A waft of sweet mild pepper and cocoa is evident along with the same aforementioned qualities in the mouth alongside some earth tones. Overall mouthfeel is medium.

Surprisingly good considering who's up for a brownie?


mnapier, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of Brianmerrilyn
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

George Keely's had this on tap and after reading about the ingredients and history, I was sold. There were several other beerk geeks that arrived at the ginmill around the same time in search of this special creation.

A- Poured into a snifter, colar was partially cloudy gold, showing off a thick white finger head. Laced down very fast to the bottom with a 1/4 cap if at all.

S- Much more subdued than I was expecting. The spice for the most part over shadowed the chocolate but there was still a good sweet scent coming into my nostirls.

T-Nothing stood out immediately but the heat from the spices and chili came out first, and as with following the nose, the cocoa and some honey at the end.

M- Overall quite light, the burn is different in that you add the carbonation to the chili's but it does not burn but keeps your mouth warms.

D-Needless to say, this is a first of many for me. It improved vastly with time sitting at the stick looking for my next glass. Overall, I'm proud to have a limited production from Dogfish and won't need to worry about the buying limit.

Brianmerrilyn, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of DrDogbeer
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Union. Thanks TP!! Poured into a small pint glass. Pours a slightly hazy light orange with a thin off white head. A little fizzy. Smell is very faint. Light amounts of chocolate and some sweet malt. Taste is all over the place- but fantastic. I get some chocolate at first but the mouthfeel is fantastic- very light and fizzy. It is like you cn fel the chiles at work. As the beer warms I get the full complement of flavors-some chocolate, spices, cinamon, chile and even some coffee. How they do all those in a beer that is not a thick, syrupy stout or proter astounds me. Great beer- very original!

DrDogbeer, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice hazy golden color. Poured with a finger of white head. No lacing really. Looks almost like a mead.

S: The smell is different. The honey s up front and you do get a bit of chillis in the back. There is some hints of chocolate there.

T: Very sweet up front. Honey really dominates. The chocolate is there. The chilli is not as pronounced as I would like. Totally different than anything else I have ever had.

M: Thick and syrupy. Almost no carbonation.

D: Really weird beer. Glad they went out on a limb to make something like this. I don't know if I would want this all the time but it was good.

aerozeppl, Oct 24, 2008
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was quite unlike any beer I've ever had, and I still feel ambivalent about it. The beer was an orange color with a small white head. It had a faint cocoa and spice aroma. A cocoa taste with a peppery background. The pepper lingered for a long while, but was not unpleasant. I'd like to try this again.

lordofthewiens, Oct 22, 2008
Photo of shroompod
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours with a clear orange glow. Decent head, some lacing.

Aroma is very faint , some sweet caramel malts.

I expected this to be over the top on tasting, but it's pretty mild. Slight warming of the mouth with the ancho chillies. Cocoa nibs are used in the brewing but not really discernible to my palate. Overall the spices seem to work together.

Mouthfeel is medium , good carbonation.

Overall a very well done beer.

shroompod, Oct 21, 2008
Photo of ColForbinBC
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Champagne bottle bomber poured into a pint

A burnt orange body with a thin off-white cap. Streams of carbonation from the bottom to the top. Little to no retention and lacing.

Has a very unique smell to it. Cocoa, ripe fruit, spicey peppers, and a touch of honey. The smell almost turned me off of this one.

The flavors actually work much better together than the aromas. A fruity, cocoa infused, spicy honey ale. The peppers used add a good amount of heat to this beer, and it builds in your mouth over time.

Medium bodied and creamy. Has a billowing feeling in the mouth.

A sipper due to the spicyness, but not at all detracting from the overall experience. A unique beer.

ColForbinBC, Oct 20, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to edbeer for sharing this one. Poured a translucent honey gold with a half inch off-white head. Some stringy lacing, but weak legs. Nose is earthy, spicy and cocoalicious. Cocoa character is amplified in the nose as the brew warms. Dominant flavor is cocoa/baker's chocolate (but a little sweeter), as well as honey and a subtle chili spice presence. Mouthfeel fell between light and medium with an even level of carbonation throughout. A truly interesting beer. So much complexity for such a light-bodied/colored brew and character changes as it warms. Well worth a try.

Jwale73, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of ThirstyBird
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Ed for sharing the 750ml at Track 84
Pretty yellow in color.
Smells of root vegetables mostly beets I think.
Tastes of cocoa...maybe ovaltine, a touch of chili and a little sweetness. honey?
Mouthfeel is medium body. It is very smooth.
Unusual and interesting flavor, but not one that I could deal with on a regular basis.

ThirstyBird, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of drseamus
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice clear amber body with a pretty good white head. Nice uniformly small bubbles in the head.

S: Weird spicy aroma. Not bad, just weird. I think there's some yeasty fruitiness and some spice, maybe the chili but I'm not sure. It slightly reminds me of a tripel.

T: Weird flavor also. Again, not bad, just weird. It is spicy initially but then reminds me heavily of a mead. There must be a good amount of honey in there or perhaps it was added during fermentation. Either way, I get a good amount of honey flavor in it. And it reminds me of a tripel still.

M: Pretty light without a whole lot of malt body at all. The spice and honey makes it a bit heavier than it would be otherwise, but still pretty light bodied.

D: Eh. Nothing special and I can't imagine it would improve much with time but I've been proven wrong by DFH before.

drseamus, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of lackenhauser
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somewhat pale in color-I dont know quite what to expect. Sort of a very pale orange/amber color. Ok aroma-quite fruity-blend of lemon and other citrusy smell. Faint whiff of honey. Malty flavor with a fairly high level of sweetness. Honey like flavor in the sweetness. Very, very mild chile flavor. A slight drying taste which I am thinking is off the cocoa. Good mouthfeel-very light bodied. A very drinkable and interesting beer. Not knowing what to expect after reading the label is sort of strange. Well crafted and quite different. I like this a lot more then say Pangea, Midas Touch or some of the other "historical" beers they do. Great label too!

lackenhauser, Oct 18, 2008
Photo of jwc215
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottled in 2008:

Pours dark golden with a thin white head that disappears to a vanishing patch. Some lacing sticks.

The smell is of yeast (and chili's?) There's Something going on - a fruitiness with cocoa, but not in sweetened chocolate way - that I like but the yeastiness really stands out, as does the fruity, peppery alcohol.

The taste is yeasty/bready and fruity. It tastes of honey with cocoa - not sweet chocolate, but rather bitter cocoa. Not the malt sweetness and hop bitterness, but instead honey sweetness and cocoa bitterness with a late-coming chili spiciness that adds to alcohol to make it burning hot. Finishes with a restrained honey sweetness.

It is medium-to-full-bodied. Carbonation is just enough to keep it from being too thickish or syrupy.

An "interesting" sipper. Yeasty/bready, but with subtle complexities, then a hot pepper kick that cleaned out my sinuses. A hot, even burning, brew, though with noticeable breadiness and honey that should take some of the heat off. This is one of those that is better to be shared and discussed (as a "conversation piece"), IMO. This bottle states 9% abv, but maybe because of the chili, it seems hotter.

jwc215, Oct 18, 2008
Theobroma from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,958 ratings.