Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Noble RotNoble Rot

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

332 Reviews

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Reviews: 332
Hads: 1,514
Avg: 3.94
pDev: 27.92%
Wants: 106
Gots: 206 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 332 | Hads: 1,514
Photo of Arithmeticus
2.83/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at DFH restaurant in Gaithersburg

A: clear, light yellow; creamy thin head; nice lacing
S: malt, grapes; relatively thin smell
T: carbonated, dry chardonnay; sour and sharp; bold, abrasive; few hops, little body or complexity

The experiment is wild but not offensive; I won't return to this one, though

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Photo of Alieniloquium
2.88/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 mL bottle poured into a tumbler. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Nearly clear dark yellow. White head and nice lacing.

Smell - Musty fruity aroma. Grape juice, specifically. Strong white wine presence.

Taste - Sweet as hell. Much more white wine flavor. Pilsner malt before a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Immensely sweet. It hints that it might dry out a bit into a musty fruity finish, but nowhere near it yet.

Overall - Hardly a saison, but I guess that's what Dogfish does. Really heavy and winey. Only a little bit of what I'd call beer behind the sugars.

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Photo of harrymel
2.96/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Noble Rot - Reviewed 21FEB12
Bottled: early 2012
Pours a surprisingly light yellow ale with just a drifter of a white soapy foam top. Smells of grain and saison yeast and really, nothing else. Flavor falls into the berliner-weisse area for me - a slight tart and quite dry ale with little semblance to an average beer. Thin and moderately carbed, the beer is actually drier than I would anticipate.

With a beer brewed with so much must, the liquid is palatable, and even appreciable on some level. The botrytis is lost in this format however, as the sweetness, mouth watering and earthy character in botrytized dessert wines is much different than is presented here. Although decent, I would argue that it is maladvertised for the ingredients. This is simply a saison style beer with a shit ton of grapes.

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Photo of DaneBramage
3/5  rDev -23.9%

I shouldn't even rate this beer, because it's very carbonated/fizzy with a strong white wine mouthfeel
and I don't have the taste for wine. Not my cup of tea, so to speak.

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Photo of jibbyvonjibb
3/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Hay color. Clear. Moderate head.
S: Dupont-like pepperiness and spice. Coriander. Lemons. Don't detect much grape.
T: Slightly tart. Candy like: lemon drops. In the finish, an herbal sweetness that lingers much longer than I would like it to.
O: Feels too artificial for me, probably from excessive use of herbs. Also, I don't know if I'm crazy or everyone else is, but where do you detect wine flavor? I would classify this as a saison/wit, and a bad one at that. Damn you Dogfish head! Stop making "exotic" crappy beers and focus on quality products already.

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Photo of beerhan
3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

To preface, this is one of the few dogfish beers I choose not to revisit. Simply not worth the price tag and fails to deliver in so many ways.

A-Pours a very thin gold color with lots of bubbles. 1 finger head and has a very champagne-esque look to it.

S-very strong grape notes with the stereotypical bubble gum/belgian yeast scent.

T-This is the part where I was really confused by. I felt like I was drinking a solid quad blended with sparkling white wine. Lots of grape and candied sugar with a very yeasty taste. I just felt like I was drinking an overcarbed quad.

M-Heavily carbonated with a fairly pleasant mouthfeel that just does not compliment the taste that well.

O-This beer is not worth it to me. I had high hopes for it as I do enjoy grape in beers when done correctly or if the wine notes are more subtle or if the beer was aged in barrels that once held wine. I feel if this was just made not as a saison but as even a stout it would have been so much better. The flavors do not mix right for my palette.

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Photo of corby112
3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden yellow color with a two finger frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Chunks of soapy lacing left behind.

Sweet, slightly earthy aroma with funky yeast and earthy hops countered by bread, yeast, biscuity malt and light fruit.  Light grapes, apple and alcohol.

Medium bodied with a good amount of earthy, musty funk that is overtaken by a strong, sweet vinous presence.  Hints of grassy hops and funky yeast followed by prominent vinous grapes as well as some apple, pear and sweet booze.  Not much heat though with a well masked abv.   Just a bit too sweet for my liking and could use some more funk for balance.  Decent but a bit one dimensional.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.15/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased for $13.99. Bottled on 5/22/12. Poured into a DFH glass.

A - Pours a clear, very light straw colored, almost white wine in color. Rocky one-finger head, which quickly disappates. Nice lacing. Well carbonated.

A - Some farmyard funk at first and then a white wine.

T - Apple and grape. Zero bitterness. Sweetness in the middle and the finish. Hides its 9% ABV well.

MF - Fizzy.

O - I've had a number of saisons and this beer is very similar but very different. A saision with white wine like qualities. It is no where near the top of my saison list. Drink like a wine (slow, sips) and maybe you will enjoy it.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.19/5  rDev -19%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cost was $14 at my local SoCal beer store. 1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with branded pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I'm not big on Dogfish Head, but I have strangely high hopes for this one based on the marketing. Say what you like about Dogfish Head (and I frequently take jabs meself) - their label art is great and they know how to intrigue you with the descriptions of their beers. It's too bad the brewing is so often less appealing than the marketing, but I digress. 9% ABV confirmed.

Served straight from the fride and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Not paired with food.

A: Pours a fizzy thin white head that quickly dissipates within about 5 seconds. We're left with a clear pale yellow coloured body. Translucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. It's looking pretty downright awful for a saison, but I'm not going to judge it as a saison because Dogfish Head doesn't identify it as such per se (I always prefer to go with what the brewer considers a beer over what beeradvocate's imperfect categories consider it). Regardless of style, it doesn't look that great, though I guess it's somewhat vibrant. Meh.

Sm: Clear pale malts. Actually, I get some corn adjunct. Some white wine notes. Crystal malt. Honestly, if you poured this and had me smell it and told me it was an adjunct lager, I'd believe you. Maybe that's my broken nose, but I don't find this impressive at all. Clean and weak. A mild strength aroma. Unimpressive.

T: White wine notes. Clean pale malts. Pear-like sweetness. Lightly cider-esque. Clean barley. A bit acidic. Not very musty at all, actually. Clove from the yeast. Clean apple. Balanced - the best thing going for it. And it needs that, because it's awfully simple. I wouldn't say it lacks subtlety, but it's unimpressive.

Mf: Remarkably fizzy, with a pleasant underlying coarseness. Refreshingly wet. The mouthfeel here is a highlight, actually. Clean and enjoyable. It does dry a bit towards the climax. Carbonation is just a bit low.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but lacking anything interesting enough to warrant another purchase. In fact, it certainly seems overpriced for the lack of quality. Hides its ABV well. I think it's fair to call it wine-like. To its credit, it'd make a fantastic table beer for pairing with food. I like the cidre-like and wine-like qualities, but at some point, it seems to depart from being a beer. It's tough to settle on an opinion of this one as a result. This is definitely one to get again (hopefully at a better price) if you're looking to convert wine people to beer over dinner.


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Photo of stephens101
3.19/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear, pale, yellow with a white head. Smells of slightly soured white grapes and green grass. The aroma is very clean. Tastes of more white grapes, a little sourness, lemon peel and spice. Light bodied for the most part with not even a hint of alcohol. This would be the perfect communion beer. If churches adopted this instead of cheap grape juice then maybe they could convert the beer community. I'm serious!

No I'm not.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a sparkling clear straw gold color with a light head. The head faded very fast leaving just a slight film on the top of the beer and a very mild amount of lacing on the glass.

Smell – Smell of grapes and a bit of sourness meet the nose. There is some yeastiness that mixes in as well.

Taste- The taste starts out a little bit sweeter; like a sweet white wine; Moscato like. They consist mainly of grape flavors mixed with a bit of lemony citrus and some other lighter fruit flavors. As the taste progresses it gets a bit more sour and bitter and turns more dry white wine like.

Mouthfeel – Rather thin body with a moderate level of carbonation. Very white wine like and fitting for the taste profile of the brew.

Overall – It was an alright beer, but a bit too much on the side of wine. If I want wine I will drink wine thanks.

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Photo of rdilauro
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
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.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.37/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From the 25 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on April 5, 2013.

The pour is pale yellow with constant and active carbonation building up to a fluffy, white light head that floats across the top at all times.

Aroma of wheat mainly and not grapes as I expected. Some pale malts and light hops on the nose too.

Medium body.

The taste brings out the grapes that they talk about with a zingy bitterness at the end. A likable enough beer but not one that I would go for regularly.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.37/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Not expecting this one. I mean I knew I could see through the brown bottle with beer inside, but this is light. Poured a big 3ish finger head of white foam. Body is dead clear and straw yellow - BMC light.

S - Very effervescent. Floral and a little sweet. Smells a lot like BMC.

T - Interesting. Definitely winey. Some white wine tartness. I only pick up the saison when I think about it. It is really a straight up mix between wine and beer. Even if you average a 5% saison with a 13% white wine, you get 9%. Not sure I'm all that impressed with it.

M - Strong carbonation and light body. Just as it looks.

O - There have been a lot of these wine beers coming out recently and I just can't really get into them. The wine kind of overpowers and is just not that good. I might try aging it for a bit, but right now it is not worth the $.

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Photo of PacNWDad
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 25.4oz bottle into an ale mug.

Very pale and clear. Liberal amount of head quickly dissipates into a thin film. Not much lace on glass - just a few dots persist. Aroma is kind of funky like a Belgian blonde. Definitely some citrus and a bit of apricot. The taste is predominantly sour. There is not much bitterness from any hops. Some sweet maltiness comes out on the back end, along with a winey/alcoholy character. Robust body, with medium carbonation. Surprisingly rich for a beer with such a light color. Overall, I enjoyed it - a nice experiment with grape must.

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Photo of WorldWideStout
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A transparent, yellow body with a golden hue and a small amount of bone-white head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: A lot of tartness and green grapes. No aromas from yeast.

T: Also features lots of somewhat sour grapes. A bit of grapefruit and lemon are present as well. There is a bit of sweetness in the middle, but the end and aftertaste are decidedly bitter. This is not as sweet as Midas Touch or Chateau Jiahu.

M: Carbonation starts out at a medium level, and around halfway through drops down to a fairly low amount. Rather low levels for a saison.

O: This tasted like a mix between Midas Touch and champagne, which is not surprising, considering it is 49% wine. I thought the taste could have been more complex, especially as there were no detectable flavors from the yeast, and the carbonation was a bit low for the style. Having a sweet tooth, I did not enjoy this as much as the two other ancient Dogfish beers which use grapes, but if you have always yearned for a more tart Midas Touch, then you'll probably like Noble Rot a lot. A beer worth trying, and certainly more successful than most of DFH's newly bottled brews.

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Photo of JayQue
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An unusual beer. I must have got a bad bottle as far as appearance goes, because there was absolutely no head or lacing. The beer poured a hazy gold color that looked Saison-like. The aroma and taste were pretty good though.

The aroma and flavor both featured sweet white grapes. There is a yeasty flavor and a little "funk" but not as much as most saisons.

Mouthfeel is tart and crisp. The flavor and mouthfeel make this a pretty enjoyable beer. Could be a bit more carbonated, but that may also be a symptom of a bad bottle.

I would like to try one with a big head and lacing, like so many reviews mentioned, but the bottle I had wasn't bad either.

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Photo of billab914
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Southern Tier glass. It poured a light golden yellow color with a thin white head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma shows a lot of the grapes and white wine qualities to it. I get a little spice along with some zesty citrus flavors to it as well.

The taste also has a lot of white wine characteristics to it. I get a the grapes coming out especially in the dry, crisp finish. Just a touch of the citrus and spice is noticeable. The grapes seem to dominate the flavor to the point where it's a little like a carbonated white wine.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being high. Overall it was a decent tasting beer but it was a little too close to white wine for me. The aroma had some decent beer qualities to it, but the taste was dominated by the grapes. It was a cool experiment but not something I think I'd purchase again. If I wanted a drink that tasted like white wine I think I'd just buy a good white wine.

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Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Photo of tripledbrew
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very pale yellow, kinda of like the color of a white wine. Saison? Really. Weak,thin mouthfeel. Nothing realy complex about this concoction. Pleasant enough to drink, but if I want a white wine,I will drink a white wine. Its cool what DFH attempts in the beer realm, but this isn't my favorite and I will not revisit.

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Photo of speter
3.46/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear gold with a massive fluffy white head that leaves an incredible amount of lacing. This is perhaps the most carbonated DFH beer I've had.

S: For me, the saison yeast comes through, with biscuity overtones and just the faintest trace of white wine. I was expecting the grapes to be the star here, but it smells like a solid saison.

T: Now here's where the grapes kick in. This tastes like a blend of a pinot gris with a Belgian beer (not too surprising, given the ingredients). If I were to review this strictly on the basis of the first sips, I would give it 4+, but there is something that actually becomes a bit much as you drink more of it, and I suspect it's something from the grape side of the equation. (Don't get me wrong, I love viognier and pinot gris can be good.) There's something oddly tannic in the finish that doesn't quite please nor match what I expect from a beer/white wine experience.

M: Very refreshing. I had it with an oily dish, and the carbonation worked perfectly. The finish I mentioned above does have a coating quality (maybe they need a lower alpha acid hop?), which detracts from an otherwise great mouthfeel.

O: I was quite excited when I read about the plans for this beer, and in wine-like servings, this is a wonderful achievement for DFH. I would recommend splitting a bomber among three people.

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Photo of ColForbinBC
3.47/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a HF stemmed tulip

Pours a clear golden color with a huge, fluffy paper white cap. Chunky sheets of lacing coating the glass. A large amount of bubbles are present.

The aroma is of white wine, fresh peeled grapes, and an earthy must. Nothing too deep or overly complex.

Tart white grapes carry you through to a finish of white wine and earthy must. The flavors are all overlapping. Clean, tart, and dry. It is almost like a blend of sparkling white grape juice and white wine.

Light, tart, dry, and crisp. Light body, loads of carbonation. The finish is musty and tart. Almost juice-like.

I really don't know what to think about this beer. I'm not a wine drinker, but I appreciate the attempt at marriage. I have a hard time grading this as a saison so I am going on mostly personal taste with a bonus point for originality.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Bottled in 2012. Served in a tulip.

Pours a clear pale green-gold with a two finger white head. Settles fairly quickly to a small covering. A nice amount of broad and delicate lacing left behind.

Aroma is very much like a vinous Belgian strong golden. Spicy peppery yeast on top of white wine vinous fruit. Definitely a hint of fermented apple cider, and a slight sting of alcohol.

Flavor is initially white-wine sweet, but sours quickly into darker fermented fruits. Overall sourness is mild, but it takes you by surprise during the transition. Sour tartness lingers on through the finish and aftertaste. No real alcohol in the flavor.

Medium-full in body with medium-high sharp carbonation. Not really loving the mouthfeel.

An interesting beer/wine hybrid. There isn't one particular aspect that I love, but it's a decent creation.

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Photo of skatonic
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap, not bad. Very different than I thought it would taste. It was light but strong. Had a champagne type of taste initially. Turned out to be quite nice. i would purchase as a pack. i liked it because it was different. Disliked it because it was very outside the norm. hard to explain.

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Photo of jzlyo
3.49/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Aroma is citrus, grapes and mild earthy notes. The flavor is grapes, grainy malts, citrus, medium to full body, musty notes and a tart/mildly sweet finish.

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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 332 ratings.