Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Noble RotNoble Rot

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very good

1,485 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,485
Reviews: 330
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 103
Gots: 194 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: paulozanello on 02-20-2011

This saison-esque science project gets complexity and fermentable sugars from two unique wine grapes sourced with our friends at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, Wash.

The first addition is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This noble rot reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is pinot gris must intensified by a process called dropping fruit, where large clusters of grapes are clipped to amplify the quality of those left behind.

Noble Rot is brewed with pils and wheat malts and fermented with a distinct Belgian yeast strain. It has a spicy white wine body and a dry, tart finish.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,485 | Reviews: 330
Reviews by Rojopunk:
Photo of Rojopunk
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light yellow with a lot of carbonation and a very nice amount of lacy very little head.

S - This beer smelled very much like champagne

T - Tastes very much like a wine

Mouth feel - Is a medium body

Overall I'd say this brew is 90% wine 10% beer. The only notes one can notice of a beer in this brew is the very nice lacy , the small bit of head and the mouth feel on the way down. I love dogfish head but this brew is hardly beer at all as a wine or spirit it is top notch ! That's why id did not rate this beer in any thing over a 4.

More User Reviews:
Photo of wesbrownyeah
3.91/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Noble Rot Saison style beer 9% as stated on the bottle. Poured from 25.4oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Crystal clear yellow fluid with a huge one and a half inch white head that falls slowly to a quarter inch of frothy head leaving the thickest patchy lacing i've ever seen on a Farmhouse beer.

S- Sweet white grapes with a little yeasty funk come to mind upfront. Dusty cellar lemon and grape musk is noted with citrus like rot scent as well.

T-M- Taste is one of a kind with a bite of unripe white grapes straight off the vine flavor and a musky over rippend rotten grape finish... nice mixture of Saison flavor. First off the taste is some what wine like with slight yeasty undertones to make it beer. Funky after taste of very overdone yeast almost makes its flavor a over fermented apple cider.
Mouthfeel is a watery medium carbonated sweet juice like fluid with a lingering musky film on the palate.

O- Looks like its a joke but one sip will leave you wanting more. For the style i'm not sure its there with the Farmhouse but its a sweeter version... OK in my book.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #62 (Mar 2012):

LOOK: Very pale, bright, clear, Pils-like, active, big frothy white foam head

SMELL: Vinous, Pinot Gris, cheese, fruity, musty

TASTE: Light, vinous, concentrated white grape juice, fruity, slightly acidic, dry, spicy, cheesy, musty, tannic

This Saison (of sorts) was brewed with botrytis (noble rot) infected juice from Viognier grapes and Pinot Gris must, which was intensified by “dropping fruit” (cropping the grapes). It’s then balanced with Pilsner and wheat malts, and finished with a Belgian yeast strain. Although its wine-like flavors dominate, Noble Rot tastes just as interesting as it sounds; demanding a “must” try for adventurous palates.

Photo of warnerry
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear yellow/golden brown with almost two fingers of creamy white head. Head has good retention. Pretty nice lacing.

S - Light earthy musty funk, pils malt and white wine. also some grain in the aroma. Somewhat mild, but nice.

T - The grape component of this is quite prominent. Taste includes some grape juice flavors, as well as white wine flavors. Has a pleasant tartness to it, especially near the finish. Also a nice funk presence, not overly heavy, but present throughout and more prominent on the finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel has a nice acidity, with a dry earthy finish.

O - In some ways, this is one of my favorites from DFH. Definitely not a traditional saison, but a nice twist on the style.

Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Birdsall House, in Peekskill, NY. At least a few months ago and reviewed from notes.

Pours near clear, light and yellowish. Also a near white delicate head, that leaves dense sheeting and ample fine lace.

Fruity wine like nose, grapey, dry and acidic.

This is a bittingly dry and at the same time quite fruity and flavorful creation. Wine like, crisp, complex and yummy in general. Nice job here by DFH

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Noble Rot opens with an almost Flemish nose, full of sour and tart aromas that tingle the nasal passages. Lemons, oranges, limes, and pink grapefruit dominate the profile, along with a good backing of the kind of sour funk that goes well with Flemish sours (though nowhere near the potency). A good layer of baguette lies just beneath, joined by brown sugars and touches of caramel. Overall, the nose is intriguing, and obviously bends toward the citrus and sour profile, though is balanced enough by sugars and grain aromas to not smell like sour citrus candy.

On the tongue, the beer is more sour than the nose let on, beginning with a huge dose of fresh-squeezed and unsweetened lemon, lime, and grapefruit juices, mixed with a sour flavor that nicely complements the tartness, much like eating just the skin of a peeled grape or kiwi, without the sweet center to offset the tangy rind. These opening flavors make up the vast majority of the flavor profile, making the beer taste somewhat like sour candy. Some brown sugars and toast crust lie beneath, but can get easily lost against the sour/tart blast. The aftertaste is more sour/tart, perhaps even strengthened by the dying off of sugars, and at least for this reviewer is mixed with an overtone that reminds me of accidentally biting into a grape stem, or gnawing on a fresh-cut green tree twig, being heavily woody and plant-like. This latter flavor doesn't quite fit with the rest of the brew, and makes the aftertaste moderately unpleasant. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium to medium-high.

Overall, once I got used to the sour/tart combo, I found the beer quite good, especially after I noticed that the flavors were strong enough to mask the 9% ABV. I do wish something could be done about the tree twig aftertaste, but luckily another mouthful of beer quickly solves that (admittedly, this is a very dangerous solution). Certainly an interesting brew, and like almost everything Dogfish Head makes, is worth trying.

Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rich golden hued ale with just a trace of head that covers half of the top of this beer. Excellent clarity and vibrant carbonation bubbles. There's not much aroma here but I get the faint grape must that could almost be mistaken for a lager yeast smell. The taste delivers the strong,dry white grape flavor. The mouth is is moderately carbonated and dry.

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Light hazy straw color under a quickly dissipating soft ½” foam collar that produces splotchy lace.
S: Grape, over ripe fruit, citrus herbs.
T: Starts with fruit – grape and melon balanced by a light lemony tartness and traces of funk. Goes from slightly sweet to dry. Grape aftertastes linger.
M: Medium body to a little less with champagne like carbonation.
O: A light refreshing saison that straddles the line between wine and beer.

Photo of MattyG85
4.34/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of white head that quickly fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, funky, and very juicy Belgian style aroma with big hints of grapes. Belgian yeast upfront with hints of pepper, clove, and a Brett like funky scent. Big white wine like scent of white grapes. Also some fruit hints of pear, apple, and citrus orange and lemon zest. Pale malts with hints of grains, wheat, straw, cracker, and biscuit. Some candied sugar as well. Hop presence is pretty subtle. A nicely zesty and spicy aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a nicely juicy, tart, and yeasty Belgian style taste with lots of grapes. Upfront taste of Belgian yeast with good notes of black peppers, clove, and a funky taste that is somewhat Brett like. Big taste of white grapes throughout giving a nicely tart white wine like taste. Also some fruit notes of pear, apple, lemon zest, and orange. Sweet notes of candied sugar. Soft pale malt with notes of wheat, grains, biscuit, straw, and cracker. Hops are very subtle. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very juicy, spritzy, and funky. Finishes pretty dry. Alcohol heat is covered very well.

Overall: A very good twist on a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale. Good Belgian yeast notes with a great kick of tart and funky grapes.

Photo of alexkeil
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on tap at the Dogfish Head tap takeover at Coles in Buffalo, NY.

I wish I knew more of the backstory on this beer before I tried it: they used grapes from the west coast and shipped them carefully keeping them at a certain temperature to keep the wild yeast from becoming active. DFH's use of ingredients is always inventive and impressive.

This is a bit of a different drinking saison as the spicyness is subdued and a bit more of the sweetness comes through; however, this finishes with a nice tartness and drys up from that 9% abv.

I would love to try this one again so I can appreciate some of the care that went into making it.

Photo of Doc_Hops
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a very pale greenish yellow that actually resembles Sauvignon Blanc. Head is bright white; fluffy at first and then slowly disappears.

S- Very sweet and yeasty to begin. Definitely indicative of a saison but with a big hit of green grapes and a faint hint of green apples.

T- The best way I can describe it is like a wine gone a good way? Really interesting here. Almost like I poured a basic saison with a basic white white and this came out. Lots of grape notes and citrus notes paired with some interesting yeasty/ spice notes. Very complex and very different.

M- Very light bodied. Not much weight to it at all. Goes down quite smooth.

O- I like this beer. Very different than anything I've tried before I can say that. I think this beer might do better with some more time. I've got a few more bottles that I'm going to let sit for a while. If it chemically is anything like a wine, that leads me to believe it will definitely get better with age. But overall, very cool, very interesting.

Serving type- 750ml bottle poured into a wine glass. Thanks for reading.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip. Clear yellow with fizzy bubbles, looks like champagne. Fizzy but thick head that doesn't stick around, visible carbonation. Smells like champagne or white wine combined with belgian yeast. Taste is like a champagne, but with the belgian yeast sneaking in at the end to finish. If it weren't for that, you could tell me this was a sparkling white wine and I'd believe you. Incredibly drinkable, alcohol very hidden for 9% (which admittedly would be less than wine, however). This would be an excellent dinner or celebration beer, or a great starter for wine/champagne lovers who want to get into beer but can't.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow golden hue with a bright white head flowing thick...slightly clouded with a brilliant white head flowing thick. Aroma tart grapes with a fruity heirloom note, wild funky notes, bittering hops are minimal but explosive. Flavor has great white wine notes, including sugary notes of tart grape funk and wild hop notes especially deceiving considering the type of beer. I like how they call it a sorta-saison kind of a catch all terminology. Body isn't cloying at all, medium bodied with a dry finish. Mellow carbonation for sure, drinks much like a white wine. Overall as creative as beer ever gets using mainly infected grape juice to make a saison that doesn't suck. I just think it's more mead or wine like than anything related to a beer.

Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle.
A: Good clarity and lots of carbonation. Durable white head.
Aroma: fruity, musty, yeasty with more than a hint of white wine.
Flavor: a reasonably good cross of white wine, champagne and Belgian pale ale.

Photo of ianjsullivan
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: Large bottle format poured into a snifter.

A: Clear burnished gold with a thin white head and ample, almost champagne like, carbonation. It leaves thick lacing behind.

S: Fruity: grape, grapefruit, funk (like brettanomyces), alcohol esters.

T: Grape, yeast, alcohol, slight citrus, and very biscuit champagne like finish: tart.

M: Medium and dry.

O: I am very pleased with this beer. The flavor is complex. The original blast of fruit almost makes it too sweet, but the pleasant, tart bread finish balanced the beer nicely. The alcohol is present (there is a nice warmth in the throat), but it is not overpowering. This is a must try.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a long-stemmed tulip)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear lemon yellow body with slow microtrails of bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a sticky thin snow white head that sticks to the glass with each sip.

S- The saison yeast esters are dry with a cooked corn note that grows as the beer opens. It is more of a brett aroma than a DMS aroma. There are some soft sweet musty qualities in the finish.

T- The saison yeast esters blend into a slightly dry white grape flavors with some white bread notes. The hint of fresh malt leads to a tart fruity flavor that finishes dry and lingers as a faint white wine hint.

M- The light mouthfeel has a crisp finish an no alcohol heat with just a touch of astringency when it is pretty warm.

O- The nice farmhouse flavors turns a bit more tart and astringent as it opens but it still has nice flavor and a unique character.

Photo of rdilauro
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I have been waiting to taste this one.. Just the thought of combining a beer with the 'noble rot' associated with grapes. The excess aging of the grapes to produce a sweeter and more intense sine had my interest from the start. Just the thought of having a brew that adds the excellent grape style that makes the famous and expensive Sauternes from France, the Trockenbeernaualuse from Germany and some of the Ice wines. How could anyone not be excited.

Thie beer was light, lighter than I had expected. A pure Pils style lightness. But now add the complexity of the wine grape/must and you have an interesting beer. . My first sip from this beer, and I just found it very light with a grapy after taste. Then after a few additional sips, I picked up the fresh spirit of the Pilsner, and then the intriguing style added by the grape must.
Then to finish it, was a amount of tartness that you might only expect from fresh fruits.
The yeast came through at the end and was quite evident.

I love the creativity of DogFish head beers. This is another one that is very worthy and should be tried.

Photo of Ryanm1
4.82/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was given a 22 ounce bottle of this as a gift. Poured it out into a pint glass about a month after recieving. A mediocre amount of white head.

Very golden in color. Transparent which differs from some Saisons which can be cloudy. Served very chilled. Grape effervescence in the bouquet. Fruity, floral smell.

The first sip sweetness was dectected. You can tell that belgian yeast was used for the fuity taste that had a hint of grapes. Upon research pinot gris grapes were used in the fermentation process. High 9% + abv.

One of the best beern I had in months.

Photo of joeseppy
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear golden 24 karat polished gold with a one inch bone white head. Scant lacing.

Aroma of yeast, lemon peel, sweetness and spice.

Taste is sweet and very saison like. Got the wheat, tartness and peppery. Definite wine like qualities. Citrusy Sauvignon Blanc tartness and buttery like a quality Chardonnay.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry. Fruity and spritzy.

Beautiful late spring day and this quaff just sparkles like gold in the sun. Love the white wines and this beer satisfies my taste buds. Great twist on a saison.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes:

A: Served in a goblet, the beer was a golden/yellow with a small, white head that left spotty lacing down the sides.

S: Definite grape sweetness as well as some Belgian spices. There is a slight tartness and some light citrus.

T: The grape flavor returns in a big way, but its not over the top like other DFH beers (Raison Detre). These grapes are more green than red, but gives a nice flavor and imparts a crispness. Some light spice, but not has heavy as others in the style.

Medium bodied with prickly carbonation. Crisp with a slightly dry finish.

O: An interesting twist on a saison, lighter on the Belgian spices and heavier on grapes. Deceptively high in ABV as well, drinks very easy.

Photo of VaRy
4.58/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a tricky one. I do not see where exactly the "Noble Rot" can be placed on the beer map, and I therefore can not judge its conformity to any particular style. It certainly not brewed in Belgian tradition, so I would not label it as "saison". This beer is not aged in wine casks or what not, it is actually brewed with viognier must.

The result is stunning. The look is classic straw-colored pale pilsner (or should I say sauvignon blanc?) with very little head. Smell is certainly fermented grape and light hops. Taste... Well, it gets weird here. A mixture of pilsner and white wine does not sound appealing, but this one is absolutely superb. Bone dry, delicate, floral, fruity, ever so slightly spicy. Amazing!

Photo of Metalmonk
3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting looking beer...the liquid is a very pale yellow color with total clarity...looks like any average Asian pils or something. The head is a crazy fluffy and creamy thing, very thick too, although it dwindles pretty quickly leaving a dishsoap-like scum on the surface and edges of the liquid.

Having recently gotten into white wine styles such as Chardonnay, Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, this smell captivates. It's as much like a good dry Pinot Grigio as it is an earthy Belgian saison. Everything's well-behaved and balanced, revolving around the white grape personality, and plenty of earth and crisp green apple.

Feel and taste link up in the mouth, and again it's all very much like drinking a white wine, this time I'm reminded of an Italian sparkling white. It's crisp, dry, fruity (white grape, of course, also pear, tart green apple and a hint of grapefruit), earthy, some SweetTarts (somewhat sweet, very tart!), has a pils-like sulfur sort of slant, and shows just a bit of the yeast underneath it all. The 9% ABV is hardly noticed.

Wow. I've had vinous beers before, but this could totally impress a wine aficionado who might swear off beer. Definitely as much a white wine as it is a saison-style beer, for all intents and purposes. This brewery continues to impress in their gusto for trying new things. Hail!

Photo of tdm168
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - bright golden yellow with a soft, short, pure white head that fades to a thin lacing

S - white grapes, some faint peppery Belgian yeast, maybe some apple and pear

T - pear, apple, peppery, Belgian yeast up front; white grapes, viscous, winey in the finish

M - crisp, well carbonated, finishes very dry, light bodied

This is an interesting beer. As far as a beer/wine blend or crossover it shows off both nicely. The saison characteristics come through up front with a typical, dry, white wine finish. Because of the lightness of the saison and the intensity of the grapes, this comes across as more wine than beer. Nonetheless, I enjoyed. This is worth trying.

Photo of secondtooth
4.09/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean pale golden, with thick, quickly-dissipating head of fine white foam. Lace is attractive and detailed.

Aroma is fruity with touches of citrus and spice. Very appealing and different.

Tastes brisk and light-bodied, with a definite grape and champagne vibe. Goes down easily with a light effervescence. Finishes with a solid fruit and spice tone. I get a distinctive wine-like vibe here, and this is a superior hybrid beer that I'd easily enjoy again. Very good and a unique experience.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had this on tap at the brewpub on 4/30/2011.

Served in a snifter glass it was a hazy golden color with a creamy off-white head. The retention was poor but that might have been from a dirty glass, and it didn't leave much lacing behind at all.

The aroma was stunning. It was bright and full, and fruity and sweet and somewhat tart. It's made with Botrytis- infected Viognier and Pinot Gris grapes, and I could really smell the Viognier.

In the mouth it was medium bodied with a smooth, fine-bubbled median carbonation that gave a gentle caress to the tongue. The slight tartness accentuated that a bit, leaving you with a gentle zest.

The flavor was very much as the aroma suggested it would be, but fuller and richer. It was sweetish with a somewhat tart zing and some slight funk within a golden and lightly-bready "Pilsen" malt base. It was mineralish, like crushed granite dust; and along with a bit of grassiness, a mild underlying bitterness, and a spritz of alcohol it balanced the very grape-like fruitiness nicely. It finished with a note of sweet fruit, funk and tart dryness (like wet-straw and chalk-dust), leaving behind a mild astringency.

Overall it was unique, refreshing, and interesting. Well worth seeking out!!!

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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,485 ratings.