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Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Noble RotNoble Rot

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,440 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,440
Reviews: 313
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 104
Gots: 173 | 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: 1,440 | Reviews: 313 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of quine
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewpub, poured into a snifter.

A: Poured a hazy golden yellow with a decent white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Not much lacing here.

S: A fair amount of malts and grapiness in the aroma, along with some hops as well. Quite enticing.

T: A lot of sweet malts up front, followed by a taste of grapes, reminiscent of white wine. Citrusy and surprisingly tart, but not unpleasantly so. Finishes with a slight hop bitterness.

M: Fairly high in carbonation and a little tangy, this is not a particularly smooth beer. Finishes somewhat dry.

D: This brew was well balanced, especially given the flavors involved. The tartness of the grape flavors complemented the sweetness of the malts nicely, and the hoppy bitterness also added depth. Although there was a slight alcoholic bite, ABV was well hidden.

An interesting offering from the Dogfish brewpub. Unusual for the style, but definitely worth a try.

Photo of Kooz
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks crisp, pours pale yellow. Could almost be mistaken for a Bud. Taste sweet with an overall boozy feel, almost like a port. It's very nice. Mouthfeel is good; it's foamy and creamy, and really warms everything up. Smell sweet and slightly boozy. Overall, this is one of my favorite offerings from one of the best breweries on the planet.

Photo of jucifer1818
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of do_ob
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/16/2014. Sampled and reviewed on February 20, 2015.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into two pilsner glasses (shared with the wife).

Poured a nice, clean pale gold with a foamy, 2 finger white head. Smells of wheat, fresh flowes, grapes, and hints of hops. Mouthfeel is dry like wine but with the weight of an ale or lager. Quite sweet, with a slight tartness. No taste of hops whatsoever. Definitely has the dry feel of a red or white wine. Hardly any aftertaste - just slight traces of sweetness.

This is one of the most unique ales I've tried and it was a nice deviation from the traditional saison. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but my wife is. Conversely, she isn't much of a beer drinker. Somehow we both came out enjoying this quite a bit.

Photo of DrinkinBoy
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L - Great bright gold in color. White head, which would was hard to get big as it was very light. However, a small amount retained very well.

S - Very light with faint notes similar to champagne/sparkling wine. Very light grain and cereal notes.

T - Very little sweetness or bitterness throughout. Works very quickly into sour/acidic like feel, again similar to champagne, which is felt mostly of side of tongue. Finish is lingering which highlights grape-ness.

F - Light/medium feel with a large amount of carbonation which fits the style.

O - This is a very interesting beer, although not extremely complex. Like most DFH brews it is efinitely worth a try, not many products our there to compare it with.

Photo of Gavage
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: light golden yellow in color with a wispy white surface covering.

Smell: wine grapes and some earthiness is very pleasant on the nose.

Taste: mildly fruity as pinot gris grapes are very noticeable, along with a hint of lemon, and some earthiness. Bitterness is mild and alcohol is slightly noticable.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from the start, crisp and dry at the finish. Aftertaste is long as the grape flavors linger softly on the tongue.

Overall: this was a very interesting take on a saison that has wine-like qualities. Enjoyable slow drinking beer.

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into wine-style glass.

Short prickly white head over a crystal clear yellow body with plenty of carbonation flowing up. No real lacing.

Aroma has a nice must blanketing a very white wine-like quality - lots of white grapes, hay/grass.

Very juicy on the palate, featuring flavors of white grape juice, hay, yeast, honey sweetness, and a somewhat tart finish. Great drinkability - Fairly dry, well carbonated, and pulls you back for more. How the hell is this 9%?!? Absolutely the lightest tasting, and clearest looking beer of this volume.

Was skeptical at first, but I really enjoyed this one and would not hesitate to pick up some more... especially for a nice dinner pairing with fish.

Photo of Jimmys
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

750mL into tulip. bottled in 2012. my first logo'ed glass bottle from DF.

A: bright gold. surprisingly clear body. some lazy carbonation can be seen rising to the surface, but they are moving as slow as i have seen bubbles go. bright white head looks good and has some nice retention/lacing.

S: smells more like a white wine than a beer. a bit of oaky. a lot grapey. some light bready malt works its way in between the fruit, but this one is mostly wine-like.

T: the grape must is strong here. starts sharp and acidic right on the tip of my tongue. finish is rich with munich-y malt. a little floral in the finish as well. dandelions.

M: average carbonation with a very prickly mouthfeel. i would say medium bodied even considering the 9%abv.

D: the grape aroma/flavor is so strong, this almost drinks like a watered down glass of white wine. even the appearance is a bit wine-like. tough to find the saison aspect behind all these grape notes, but it is certainly there on the palate. a very unique product and one that i am really enjoying.

Photo of chodinheaven
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful beer, with a perfect clarity that is pale yellow in hue. Tons of bubbles swarm upward to feed a big and quickly disappating white head that leaves a ton of sticky, thick lacing in its wake. The aroma is very vinous, white wine in particular with an almost champagne like quality. Definitely a touch of booze that mingles in with a distinctly Belgian strain of yeast that adds hints of citrus rind, lemon in particular, maybe a touch of grapefruit. Loving the way this smells, very aromatic and pleasant.

Vinous indeed. I let this warm up to a chilled state, and it definitely lets all of the flavors come out and shine. Medium to full body that is magnified by a full carbonation. It has a champagne like dryness to the body and finish, puckering the mouth. There is a distinct tartness to the flavor, giving further puckering characteristics. It comes to the brink of being sour, and has that syrupy leftover feel in the back of the mouth that I've found in sours, but it falls just short of being truly sour, just pleasantly tart. This combines with the Belgian yeast to create a tart saison-esque beer that has some farmyard qualities with a good amount of that awesome Belgian funk.

Definitely a cool concept that Dogfish did here, merging wine/champagne tastes with beer. Never knew anything about the kinds of grape must that go into this beer, but I'm glad DFH introduced me to them. Good stuff, definitely try this if you are into wine or beer!

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft pour into a tulip. The brew appears a perfectly clear color of golden yellow. A finger of white head site atop and as it fades, leaves some webby patterns of lacing on the glass.

The smell starts off with Belgian phenols. Clove, pepper, banana, apple skin, bubblegum and sweet smelling white grape juice. All of this comes together with an enjoyable mixture that is quite deep with almost a light tannic touch of an oaky quality towards the back.

The taste is spicy with Belgian yeast character. Clove, bubblegum, banana, and some wheat-like grain sweetness. This brew has quite a zip to it with tangy white grape juice elements. The aftertaste is earthy with again, some tangy wheat flavoring that mixes perfectly with the saison yeast character.

This is a light bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is quite spicy with a good mixture of flavoring. It is a solid take on the saison style with a pleasant grape twist. As it warns up, the alcohol produces a nice warming effect all the way down. This is a brew I will enjoy again the next time I see it available.

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 tbrown4
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Rehoboth brew pub. Draft -> Snifter

A - Cloudy bright orange, little to no head or lacing.

S - Slight sour citrus, hints of grape

T - Huge bright flavors up front that include the pinot gris grapes, some spice and a hint of sour funk. Tastes very much like wine. The beer settles in exactly as it arrived, bold crisp and sweet. It finishes clean and sour.

M - Thing to medium thin

O - I'm very glad that this was a snifter pour. Not counting the relatively high abv, it has a big smack to the palate of flavor. It's very good in my opinion as it blends the good qualities of a saison with a pinot gris wine.

Photo of gford217
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle.

Pours very light - a clear pale yellow with a big creamy white head that leaves some thick lacing and continues to be fed by a stream of bubbles in the middle.

Aroma is dominated by the grapes with some sweet sugary notes mixed in. The pale pilsner malts are evident but subtle.

Taste is tart up front, much more tart than the aroma would suggest. The sweetness comes out more after the initial grape tartness but it's swept away again in the finish, which is extremely similar to a white wine - dry with some boozy burn.

The mouthfeel is lively with strong carbonation and has a lot of similarities to a white wine.

I have to admit that the last couple of specialty brews from DFH have been disappointing so I've started to lower my expectations. However, this one surprised me on the positive side. Very good and very unique.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Very light yellow color, small white head with slight purplish cast, and signficant lacing.

S - Funky sour notes typical of certain Belgian yeasts, a slightly sour fruit odor coupled with mild maltiness and grain elements.

T - Follow the nose, but the clean pils and wheat malts are front and center, making for a wonderful combination of wine and beer. Delicious banana and bubble gum flavors pop up out of the yeast esters, proving the Belgian yeast is alive and well here. The close is a subtle wine sourness, that fades slowly.

M - Clean, crisp, and no sign of the serious ABV for the style.

O - Not a standard saison or farmhouse by any stretch, but a delicious and clean rendition that makes for a real surprise. I picked this one up on clearance, and now I wish I'd grabbed a couple more.

Photo of Brad007
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a straw gold with a two-finger head into my glass. Very nice presentation. Lots of lacing left.

Lots of clove to go with a spicy yeast and slight hints of grape must.

From here one, this ale takes on a strong dose of grape. Very wine-like at some points.

Clean, wine-like finish clashes a bit with the yeast. Otherwise, the grape must adds a new dimension to this style.

Check it out. With some age, the grape essence will likely strengthen.

Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very clear straw/pale straw color with a small amount of pure white head that disappeared fairly quickly.

Aroma: Tart, sour grape aroma, with a hint of strawberry and sour cherry.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Texture on the tongue is extremely light, with a buttery mouthfeel reminiscent of a good Chardonnay. Flavor up front is that of tart white grape and sour stone fruit, with a bit of buttery flavor as well. Finishes with a biscuity, crackery malt flavor.

Final Word: Very easy to drink, and will please both beer lovers and wine lovers alike! This beer uses the must of two grape varieties, as explained by Dogfish Head:
"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."
These ingredients lend this beer the tart, fruity sweetness of a white wine with the bready, grainy flavors of a malty beer. Very unique drinking experience, and the drinkability of this brew makes it easy for anyone to enjoy!

Photo of jayfro70
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: This is the most wine-y beer I've ever had. Never had anything even in the ballpark. Appearance is very light with a champagne-y color.
S: Not much of an odor to this one. Smells light and slightly fruity.
T: Tastes like a mixture of a wheat beer and champagne, with a fruity background favor
M: Confusing mouthfeel. I keep expecting the bubbliness of champagne to go along with the flavor, but not getting it. Still the carbonation is light with small bubbles.
O: This is a beer that I could turn to when I'm uncertain as to whether I would like a glass of wine or a beer. It hits strong notes of each. Another interesting beer by dfh that is really in a category all of it's own.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours and elegant looking, clear, golden yellow with a fluffy white head that laces. The nose is both tart and sweet with big notes of yeast followed by an alcoholic bite. The taste is a clean saison base with a very big presence from the grapes/rot. It has an outstanding, tart, green apple mouthfeel that helps balance the perfectly sweetened saison base. It finishes semi-dry and has ample carbonation, tricking me into thinking that I'm drinking a champagne. However, the saison is still a big part of this beer and contributes to DFH's overall success with this beer. Definitely worth trying, I may go stock up in case they don't re-release.

Photo of briandaube
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

A: pours a clear yellow with a small white head that recedes to a small mat and a collar in a Dogfish snifter
S: smells of grapes, melon, kinda buttery, slight pale malt, a slight oakiness and a bit of spicy yeast
T: tart grapes, nice pale malt flavor, a bit of melon, a little spice from the yeast. swallow brings a bit more grape/wine and some clean pale malt flavor
M: slightly drying with soft carb and a medium mouthfeel. it feels a bit slick
O: quite an interesting beer and an interesting concept. it tastes like you would expect as a mix of a beer and a wine. it's a bit off for a saison but it tastes good for what it is. the complexity is nice and it's about what you would expect. I was really excited to get this beer in a trade and it did not disappoint.

Photo of BeccaH
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

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

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a bright, vibrant, almost clear yellow coloring with a healthy, white, fluffy, frothy head. Aromas are rich in vino characteristics, with a white grape and boozey blend that is light and effervescent. Flavors are also wine-like, as is the body. This is borderline pinot gris. Sweet, smooth, and slightly dry grape characteristics with a rich, sugary body that avoids cloying. It really is like drinking a glass of carbonated wine. Slick, loose film along the glass as you drink. The aftertaste is tart, and slightly drying. A sweet, heavy finish that is slightly tart, leaving a bit of a pucker feeling in the mouth. Very unique, that is for sure.

Photo of oldp0rt
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wanted to try this beer for a while and I'm happy I found it and had the chance to try it.

Poured from the bottle into a tulip.

This beer looks pale but has a nice white foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly.

It smells fruity and a lot like white wine. The first sip tastes fruity with a lot of grape flavors. The carbonation was perfect with this beer and the finish was very dry just like white wine.

I enjoyed this a lot and would not hesitate to revisit.

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,440 ratings.