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Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Noble RotNoble Rot

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,425 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,425
Reviews: 308
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 103
Gots: 169 | 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: 1,425 | Reviews: 308 | Display Reviews Only:
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 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.

Photo of mjk91383
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%

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

I poured this from a 22oz bottle, it has a nice clear yellowish color body with a nice small white head that hangs around for a while. The smill is of white grapes with a wine aroma. the taste is very crisp and kinda tart of white grapes, border line chardoney. The mouth feel is very nice and smooth, and overall, a outstanding beer from DFH.

Photo of Beerhemoth
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jonada
4.21/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 release. 750ml bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a bright light yellow color with one finger of a white soapy head. Body is almost crystal clear with a fair amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: White grape, spicy saison yeast, pepper, lemon rind with some slight grassy notes.

Taste: Follows the nose pretty closely with a shot of slightly tart white grape upfront followed by some peppery saison yeast, lemongrass, pear, spices (maybe a hint of coriander) with a slight underlying breadiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp with medium levels of lively carbonation. Drinks super easy for 9%.

Overall: Subtlety isn't usually Dogfish Head's specialty, but this beer is the exception. The addition of the grape must works perfectly with the base beer without one overwhelming the other. Complex, flavorful and very easy to drink. This is one of my favorite offerings from Dogfish, and I really hope Sam and the crew continue making this in the future.

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in an over-sized tulip, my favorite Duvel glass. Vintage bottle from date from 2012.

Appearance: A pale gold with medium bubbles on the body, white head maybe 1/3" off the body dropping to nada after a two sips.

Smell: Freaking potent, yeast with a big hurt of grapes and lemon. You sniff and you still keep smelling the scent.

Taste: At first sip, feels like most saisons...give it a little time and you will feel a unique sweetness to it that makes you think of grapes (like the label says) or in my opinion more like raisins but still awesome.

Mouth: Alright when taking the first few sips you want to say heavy but in reality it is medium with a sweet finish.

Overall: When I originally grabbed this I knew nothing about it, let it sit in and once I cracked open the bottle I knew right away to pour this into a tulip. I originally thought it was a "fruit" beer looking at what I red on the label but after taking a sniff I was already going to indulge into awesomeness. Built for those in love with Belgian ales...all you need is a glass, Salud!

Photo of jmfc8237
4.22/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had at the pub in Rehoboth. Poured a hazy straw color with nearly no head retention which looks alot like a glass of wine in my snifter. The aromas are very intense ranging from malty to phenolic and spicy,sweet. No lacing but good carbonation which I'm sure is due to the wine grape additions. The saison yeast is awesome and has a lovely spice character that balances out the maltiness. Sweetness hits the back of your palate and lingers. Tart fruit and some citrus are very present as it warms up a bit.

Photo of bigfnjoe
4.23/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours a crystal clear, very light shade of yellow with a two finger white head. TONS of carbonation. It looks like a prototypical saison, but much lighter. Not a bad thing.

S- getting a lot of the grape aroma, and some spiciness from the yeast as well. Very nice

T- the grape flavor is in the forefront...getting a lot of the winey characteristics. Not overly sweet either....really good

M- very thin body...typical saison, as I'd expect

O- this is really, really good. A unique take on a saison

Photo of fmccormi
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Straight pour from a 750ml DFH champagne-style bottle to a 25cl Duvel Single tulip; it has a bottling date but to be honest I’m not sure what it means, other than it was brewed in 2012 (“BOTTLED ON: 2012E 13:27”)—but I’m given to believe this is a relatively fresh bottle. So, I dunno.

Appearance (4.0): Three fingers of bone-white, crackling head with plenty of fat, coarse bubbles and less of the fine foam. It has average retention, leaving a film on the surface after a while with a broad, thin collar; decent lacing around the glass. The body is a crystal-clear straw yellow, really surprisingly clear and crisp-looking (if I didn’t know what was in the glass I’d say it was an AAL). Crazy.

Smell (4.25): What an incredibly vinous aroma . . . mineral character (like pinot grigio), rather acidic white grape peel (like sauvignon blanc), and light and tart; but there’s also a somewhat subtle, underlying spiciness and earthiness that goes with the saison character. This is seriously like 50-50 wine and saison.

Taste (4.25): Just like the nose: again, a 50-50 hybrid, it seems. Very crisp, with modestly spicy (white pepper, some coriander) and earthy notes mixing with the same kind of mineral character in the nose—but then there’s a fruit dimension that’s part wine, part saison: lemon, pear, apricot, some lime, just all very bright and light but with a tart body and a soft edge. Plus a very, very lemony finish (coming from the hops?). No sense of alcohol whatsoever. What. The hell. Is going on here.

Mouthfeel (4.25): Once more, almost a 50-50 balance. Good carbonation with a velvety, creamy feel that tingles veeeery satisfyingly on the way down. The body is light, and has only a small amount of the starchiness of beer, and transitions into a very vinous finish with moderately acidic feel.

Overall (4.25): All in all, this has been a really enjoyable experience. Noble Rot walks the beer-wine line shockingly well—it really does appear to be as much beer as it does wine, without detracting from either set of qualities at all. This was a really excellent experiment in beer, and I’m very happy to have tried this. Definitely recommended for anyone who appreciates saisons or dry, white wine.

Photo of stumac
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drinkin this with Amanda while watching Tai Chi Zero. Pours up and looks just like champagne. Light murky golden color with solid white head. Decent lacing. Aroma of white grape must, a hint of pale malts in the backdrop. Taste is Saison, green sour apples, white grape, musty, a lil hot, some lemon. Medium body. Smoothe easy carbo. I dig it

Photo of ToddT
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L- Crystal clear golden yellow topped with a large off white head. Head fades slowly and leaves some spotty lace on the glass.

S- If I didn't know better I would have thought this was a white wine, but I think that was the point. Lots of sweet grape characteristics, hints of oak, musty earthiness, and bubblegum, there is a slight tint of citric acid at the tail end of this.

T- Sweet grape juice is dominate throughout the entire profile, dryness doesn't wait till the finish but comes in right in the middle and brings a slight citric tartness along. Bone dry finish slightly green apple tart and musty.

M- Light in the mouth and a little more than medium in carbonation. Drying finish leaves you wanting one more sip, but it does become somewhat trying on the palate with the growing puckering effect as you work your way through this.

O- Outstanding experiment, I don't think I would want a lot of this one though, one serving was more than enough for me. The 9.0% ABV was well hidden and it went down pretty easy, except for the overly dry finish this could have been epic. Don't get me wrong this is a beer to seek out and try and it does blur the lines of what a beer can be. Nice job, Dogfish Head!

Photo of freshflesh
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of DylanCBS
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,425 ratings.