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Miles Davis' Bitches Brew - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Miles Davis' Bitches BrewMiles Davis' Bitches Brew

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3,404 Ratings

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Ratings: 3,404
Reviews: 886
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 11.69%
Wants: 464
Gots: 1,277 | FT: 56
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: TheFightfan1 on 06-13-2010

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the original release of Bitches Brew, Miles Davis' 1970 paradigm-shifting landmark fusion breakthrough, we've created our own Bitches Brew -- a bold, dark beer that's a fusion of three threads of imperial stout and one thread of honey beer with gesho root. It's a gustatory analog to Miles' masterpiece.

38 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,404 | Reviews: 886
Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black, baby, that is for sure! Tan head, quick to leave, floats atop. Some cling lace remains.

S - Roasted coffee, slight metallic undersmell. Powdered cocoa.

T - Stout it is. Burnt coffee, chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt. Alcohol burn on the way down.

M - Creamy, medium body, decent balance.

D - If what bitters is the root, it was interesting. No honey taste. Seems to me honey ferments and leaves not much taste. Better to use Honey malt. Good beer.

Photo of ChanChan
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had been sitting in my fridge for about 7 months. I came home tonight and my roommate surprised me by telling me he had opened one of my black beers. It was three quarters full. I couldn't let it go to waste.

Poured aggressively into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Stout dark with a two finger head. The head becomes pillowy when it is swirled around. It also generates tiny bubbles, I like how this beer is looking!

Aroma: Typical Imperial stout aroma dark chocolate, burnt malt and some coffee notes, the ABV is certainly present in the nose.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied in the mouth.

Taste: Chocolate, malt, coffee. I can not detect the honey in this beer but the gesho is experienced in the finish. The alcohol feels stronger than 9% not a bad thing though.

Overall: Good beer. I wish I had another bottle to age longer.

Photo of Tone
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of dark citrus, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight alcohol, slight liquor, hint of yeast, mustiness, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, dark citrus, slight hops, hint of chocolate, and a hint of alcohol. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, feel, blend, and complexity.

Photo of wadecats
2.9/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The best part is the label, already accomplished when the record was released.

Poured heavy and thick with a lovely light brown head. The malts come through in good viciousness but the taste is overpowered by the sweet honey which is cloying at the least. Hops are unmemorable and mild - another kitschy and high abv product from dogfish.

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: medium black bodied beer with a medium tan colored head. Nice lacing and fairly decent head retention. Nice looking stout.

Smell: Roasty coffee and cocoa. Hints of honey.

Taste: Mildly sweet stout to start on the palate hinting some honey sweetness. Midtaste the coffee shows up and is a medium light roasty note. Very mild sourness in the finish, that does not seem to distract much. Aftertaste more coffee, but more tamed down. No booze to speak of, its well hidden.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied stout with moderate carbonation. Easy drinking and fairly flavorful.

Overall: Really enjoyed this beer from DFH. Almost borders a session stout vs. an imperial stout, but it still has some solid flavors going on.

Photo of mmurphy525
4.3/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass

Pours completely black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly.

Scents of cocoa, cola, and roasted malts are the main contributors to the aroma of this beer. There may be a little coffee mixed in.

This beer is very sweet but somehow not too sweet. Dominating flavours are cocoa, a grape cola like flavour, and some anise. There is also a nice roasted malt backbone that finishes off the flavour profile. TheI also noticed the occasional bubble gum flavor. I imagine that when you here beer taste and grape cola together you may feel the need to run for the hills, but that is definitely not the case. The taste is fantastic. Everything works well together.

Has a very creamy, medium-full body, with medium-high carbonation.

Overall this is an excellent stout. Very drinkable and there is no hint of the 9% alcohol in this beer. Would highly recommend.

Photo of MVotter
4.8/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - The Dogfish Head, Bitches Brew RIS pours into a chalice a deep, dark coffee color. The head is tan, about an inch thick.

S - Licorice, coffee, maple sugar, malts.

T - Actually, it's sweetish malts up front (the beer is brewed with honey) and there's a quick transition to coffee. The back has just a perfect amount of hop tang...wow!

M - Moderate to heavy body, with moderate effervescence.

O - Outstanding. I love this brew. I wish that DFH would celebrate Miles' birthday, or the re-release of his albums, or something, with a re-release of this recipe...at LEAST once a year. One of my fave RIS. Celebrate the "Birth Of Cool" ... celebrate the "Birth Of The Blues" ... celebrate the "Birth Of This Brew!"

Photo of herman77
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on 8/20. Finally decided to crack open the 1st of 2 bottles I have of this!

A: Black with a nice tan head that has decent retention. Hardly any lacing.

S: Coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted malt and some underlying sweetness. Honey sweetness and a bit of alcohol.

T: Tastes a lot like a very well made RIS. Chocolaty, roasty, malty and some hops. There is a deep earthiness to it (maybe from the gesho root)? Can't really pick up on an actual honey taste, but there is a different kind of sweetness hidden behind all the RIS qualities.

M: Full bodied, smooth, soft carbonation. Leaves the mouth coated and a bit sticky.

O: Wow, this is really 9% abv, does not taste like it at all. Very good drinkability. Very well done, glad I still have another one in the cellar. This was definitely a rare treat.

Photo of socon67
4.07/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours dark brown to a black color. Very thick pour with a minimal brown head. Laces slightly.

S - The honey is the first thing that I could smell. There is also a strong coffee smell that I get at Starbucks; a burnt, roasty smell of coffee beans. This is a pretty good stlye of contrasting scents.

T - Has a sweetness of honey and molasses that make the roasted malts feel like I'm enjoying a fine cigar. A mild bitterness at the end makes this a smooth beer.

M - Solid, but the beer is heavy and does not try to hide itself. The honey flavors are consistent throughout. It coates the tongue with a rich taste. Meant to be enjoyed slowly.

O - Was happy my comrade in hops CTSparky was willing to crack this open. Another very unique beer from DFH and one that took its theme seriosuly. If this was made again I'd grab a bottle.

Photo of Knapp85
3.91/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I managed to score a bottle of this when Abe's got their first case of it. I love picking up these Dogfish Head brews that are limited releases. I anticipate these beers like crazy!

The Bitches Brew poured out as a dark black color with a foamy brown head on top. The lacing was decent on this beer. The smell was heavily roasted and had a sweetness on the nose as well. The taste is rich and complex, well worth the time sipping it down. The flavors of coffee and some bitter chocolate come through and leave ya with a dry roasted molasses aftertaste. The mouthfeel is heavy and has a decent amount of carbonation. Overall this beer was quite nice, I am glad that I got to try a bottle before it was gone for good.

Photo of jminsc76
3.6/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Into a tulip, pours a light brownie head atop a black impenetrable body. The head rises thick and high upon the initial pour, resembling a coffee milkshake of sorts.

Intense aromas of coffee and honey. Pretty much like smelling Starbucks coffee with honey sticks lined down the sides.

Flavors initially of stout with honey and gesho on the finish. Matches up to the description on the label well. So far so good. As it progresses, however, the reverse happens (similar to another beer I reviewed recently...ah yes, Evan Williams from FiftyFifty) where the flavors become dominated by honey and gesho with stout on the finish. Hmmmm...

I forgot what the mouthfeel was like. Like sticky honey with tinges of stout. Meh.

Overall, a decently drinkable mutant monster of a DFH beer (aren't they all...). One minute I'm saying "it's a stout!" Next minute "it's a honey/gesho beer!" One serving, maybe two, per sitting, is fine for me.

Photo of hopsolutely
4.33/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow. Have been sitting on this one waiting for an adequate celebration and last night was the night... from notes :

Pours like silk. Beautiful black colour with coffee-coloured head. Unbelievably smooth in the mouth and a real luxury to drink.

Aroma is roasted : coffee, cocoa, vanilla, caramelized malts and notes of honey. The honey was more prevalent in the taste, but nicely balanced with the harsher elements. This was my first gesho brew, so not sure how much that added to the complexity.

There is a lot going on in this beer, but I enjoyed every minute of it!

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.05/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle courtesy of shrek806, much thanks to you Kevin. Pours a seriously black color with a large, fluffy brown head. Nice and frothy with fun retention and lacing.

Nose shows some licorice and currants with a side of roasted chocolate. Light hops...interesting smelling brew. I like it.

Powdered cocoa galore, with equal parts dark fruit and bitter hops. Roast imparts some classic stout flavors, but this one is pretty different overall. Interesting yeast and sweet-ish character. Nice dichotomy of smooth/biting interplay as well as a cool balance of dark flavors - hard to describe...I am struggling here. I guess I'll just go with great concept, great execution and a really good beer. Well done Dogfish.

Photo of Buggies
4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The nose on this seems muted to me? Aromas of chocolate, roasted grains, and fruit.

What really wins on this one is the taste. It has the most incredible mouth feel to it. It's thick and creamy, almost chewable. Yet it doesn't weight heavy or seem greasy on the pallet. It's not overly sweet or too overly bitter from roasted grains. Nice earthy undertones too which give that extra something.

A well balanced beer I think. For an imperial, it sure is drinkable. I'm not sure what the honey and gesho do for this beer. But I guess a more sophisticated pallet could detect those subtle flavors.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2010.

Pours a pitch black with a huge 3 inch dark khaki head that settles to a nice 1 inch cap. Thick foamy rings of lace form on the glass like a ladder on the drink down. Smell is of dark fruits, dark roasted malt, coffee beans, and cocoa powder. I don’t get any honey smells off this one, but there is an alcohol aroma. Taste is of dark roasted malt, roasted coffee beans, and bittersweet dark chocolate. Again, no honey flavors detected whatsoever. Mild roasty bitterness on the palate after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a crisp and creamy mouthfeel, Overall, this is a very good stout from DFH but the honey beer part of this blend has all but faded. I should have bought another one of these when I had the chance to see how it tastes fresh.

Photo of Yagman3000
3.28/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served from the tap into a 4 ounce taster.

Appears a super dark brown... Maybe even black.

Smells smokey and a bit on the boozey side.

Tastes of smokey bacon with a touch of sour mingled in.

Mouhthfeel is flat and a bit sour.

Overall not too impressed. I'm wondering if there's an effervescence issue with the beer I was served.

Photo of Cavery
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml 2010 stamp shared with Klym as a night cap!

A: Liquid black in a bottle, filmy 1/2 finger head with a violent pour. The pour was completely black, not even a slight tint of brown sees the light of day. Truly looks like an uncompromising black licorice. The filmy head did go away rather quickly, and a flat bodied black liquid now fills the glass.

S: Anise, black rooty notes akin to licorice, and deep dark hard candies. There is really a candy like element to this beer that feigns craft root-beer. It's an excitingly unique note that throws off notes of roasted malts. Everything is put into this sweet candy-like context. However, it makes some classic RIS elements a bit obscured.

T: light smokey nutty roast with a subtle anise note. Really quite a mellow RIS with a clean transition of roast, licorice, and anise. It's sweet but it's not overwhelming by any means. I really appreciate this as someone that is turned off by overwhelming sweetness. Skins of rustic potatoes and iced black coffees make a late appearance. Subtle notes of vague nuttiness (favoring brazil and hazelnuts) are mellowed behind anise.

M: a light-medium body with a medium dryness/wetness depending on how you look at it. This makes me think that this body could be improved with age, as it's leaving room for the flavor to dominate. The mouth doesn't suck, and feels carefully calibrated towards aging.

O: this beer seems to be chock full of flavors that are intended to be mellowed. The ingredients are still a bit juxtaposed, but I imagine with significant age there might be more of an experience of blending. The hard candy/anise/licorice notes really are quite interesting, and I think the refinement of father time might make it something memorable. A great many RIS's are generally roasty/savory. this one takes a bit of a risk in venturing into a time-based recipe of sweet seasonings. While the flavors are quite decent with some months of age, but I think some years will mature this one like a champ. If I had another bottle, I'd lay it down for a great while.

Edit: After researching what Gesho is I am very intrigued, I think that there is most certainly a "root" plant like theme to this beer that was lost on me since I didn't know what Gesho was. This is really a very interesting offering, and a unique member of the RIS family. Get a couple bottles and age this for sure, the plant and honey combination will certainly gain complexity in time.

Photo of Klym
4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stone nonic. Shared with Cavery.

A: This one looked like melted chocolate on a heavy pour. Very dark, more syrupy or more watery depending on the violence of the pour. Brown sugar head with very unusual but attractive construction. Lacing is a dripping curtain.

S: Hickory, smoke, cocoa, and a ginger-like spice quality all mixed in. Fragrant, but it smells kind of light which isn't unexpected given the carbonation and the ABV.

T: Really classic, more hickory focused RIS taste, just in lighter form than found in most stouts. Hickory, roast, oak, a tad of chocolate and coffee, and some difficult to dissect spiciness (I get a hint of chipotle and ginger like spiciness). Flavor is really pleasant and savory with good slight spice and dessert notes, I'm always happy when I reach for my glass and refresh these flavors.

M: Mouthfeel is more like a belgian dark ale than your typical syrupy RIS. Plentiful carbonation and medium-light bodied, it makes for an interesting foundation for the flavors. I like the difference though and it helps make this very sessionable.

O: This is easily the most sessionable RIS I've ever encountered. The lighter body and tone down of some of the classic flavors allows you to go through this at an unusual and very tasty rate. I liked this beer quite a bit, but in terms of sheer RIS flavor your bolder, creamier stouts probably have more to offer. Big props to DFH for this one.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whats with Dogfish Head these days? They've got "My Antonia" which is big, but still a very straightforward pilsner; and they had the opportunity to do "Bitches Brew" and didn't go full out crazy with it? Damn. On the other hand, if you're thinking about Miles' music you can't really deviate from his focus and his smoothness, so this all makes sense.

It's a perfect take on the Russian Imperial Stout style. Black as night with a creamy orange-accented brown cap. The aroma expresses notes of coffee, light brown sugar, dark chocolate, nuts, minty/leafy hops, and dried leather. The flavor adds tobacco, chicory, soft dark skinned fruit, floral notes, and a subtle touch of spiciness (probably from the alcohol) as well as an underlying note of licorice/anise.

I was expecting to be blown away by some DFH craziness, but instead I was knocked out by just how good it is. Really well balanced and polished. Nicely Done!

Photo of Krakistophales
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a chocolate colored head that recedes quickly.

S: Bittersweet chocolate, smoke, woodiness, and a touch of coffee

T: Bittersweet chocolate and double espresso up front, with the middle moving into a smokey and wood flavor, with the end finishing with earthy/grassy hops along with the double espresso dryness. Very tasty.

O: Another fine brew from DFH. This tastes quite typical of a Russian Imperial Stout, however I don't get the honey taste, and I don't even know what gesho is.

Photo of JordonHoltzman
4/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a malty brown head, with a black body.
smells pretty much like a standard imperial stout, a little sweeter though.
its a little sweeter in taste than a regular stout, must be from the honey. it is a nice addition.
good mouthfeel. its a thick body, creamy.
overall its a soothing stout. i enjoyed sharing it with a couple friends.

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this beer for a long time, and waited for a special occasion to open it. Today is the day!
It poured a deep black. No redness even when held into the light. The head builds beautiful about three fingers high and is a almost brown creamy froth. Retention is ok and finally dissipates without lacing.
The smell hints coffee, dark chocolate, caramel roasted malts.
Tasting the beer a sweet caramel brown sugar opens the palette. In the middle the roasted malts kick inane add some bitterness as expected. Dark chocolate and coffee finish in the end. The alcohol makes itself present.
A greatly crafted beer, one of my new favorites!

Photo of joefuzz
4.62/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750ml bottle into my cigar city snifter

Pours jet black with a nice sized tan head

Smells that come to mind are some earthy floral notes some honey

Tastes of toasty malts chocolate honey come

Mouthfeel is nice thick like a stout should be with a good amount of carbonation

spipper for sure but very drinkable overall great beer

Photo of jmdrpi
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750 mL capped bottle. stamped bottled 2010.

appears jet black, with mocha colored head. good retention of a thin covering, decent lacing. aroma improves as it warms. strong roasty aroma typical of imperial stouts, but with a little sweetness and chilli pepper at the same time.

taste is dry roasted flavor, plus the honey that is in there somewhere. body could be thicker, as it's a little thinner than some of the better imperial stouts. lower carbonation.

overall a good beer, glad I could try it.

Photo of DrinkingDrake
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from some notes.
An inch of creamy brown head on top of a black body. The nose is a large amount of roasted malts and dark chocolate. A spicy sweetness blends in as well. Large amount of flavor. Bitter dark chocolate with some toasty malts. Some fruity/tangy sweetness raisins and honey. It finishes with a coffee bitterness and a spice I don't recognize, but like. Lighter than expected body but smooth and a balanced bitter end.

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Miles Davis' Bitches Brew from Dogfish Head Brewery
93 out of 100 based on 3,404 ratings.