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Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Noble RotNoble Rot

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very good

1,404 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,404
Reviews: 305
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 100
Gots: 161 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: paulozanello on 02-20-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,404 | Reviews: 305 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Naugros
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first impression, when tasting this, um, beer, was, "Great...Sam's made a wine cooler. Didn't Bartle and James go out of style when the '80s mercifully ended?"

But then I really took some time to explore the tastes and aromas in this concoction. It IS a tad sweet for my liking, but they're going for that. The grains used really only come out in the wash and it really tastes like a sweeter white wine than a beer, but they were going for that too.

This is a hard one to grade (and I refuse to give extra points JUST BECAUSE it's DFH, c'mon people!) since it's both a beer and a wine. There are grains that have been fermented as well as grape juice. But I have to admit, if wine coolers were this good in college I would have drank more of them.

This beer shows a remarkably massive and foamy head that leaves meringue-like lacing behind. The color is that of pinot grigio and is too light to compare to anything in the beer world other than Coors Light (and I don't usually consider that beer).

The taste and aroma is mostly that of a sweeter, white wine like sauvignon blanc or a reisling, but it is exceptionally drinkable and the 9% ABV goes almost unnoticed. A touch of lemon makes it refreshing and there's a bit of an herbal essence behind it all. I wish I could nail down which herb, but I've drank the whole bomber and I can't quite get it.

Still, this is nothing I'll get again. It was novel, but I really need a true beer now...maybe a nice, hearty stout. God, I hope I don't get a headache from this the way I did from wine coolers.

Incidentally, this review had the most references to wine than any other I've ever written...understandably I guess.

Photo of BWarrington
4.78/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tulip at 45 maybe 40. found this gem at whole foods

a- clear and gold with a white 2 finger head.

s- almost like a nice riesling wine. oak, citrus, and grape (very sexy)

t- has a nice grape flavor with some great citrus and oak tones(just as it smells)

m- farmhouse ales would be my favorite type of beer if they were not so dry. this is dry but not as bad as some others

o- im a huge saison dude and i would put this up in my top 5. ipa and stout guys will crush this beer but if you like sweet beers this one is for you. Its almost like a summer shandy except its a riesling instead of lemonade. if you see it buy it! and enjoy

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into two oversized wine glasses. Pours a light honey yellow color, clear and brilliant, with a 1/4" white head that redues to a fizzy head. The fizziness continues as you swirl the beer in the glass.

Has a funky herb aroma, with cardamon, allspice, grassy greens, lemon, and corriander. Aroma is pretty typical for a saision.

Starts and finishes tangy and tart, with pinot gris grapes, light honey, oak, lemon, and a thin malty finish.

Light bodied, this is a tart wine-like brew that packs plenty of tang.

DFH is the only brewer I've found so far that finds that sweet spot between beer and wine. While Midas Touch gets you most of the way there, this one truly occupies that tart, malty and tangy place that you'd expect a wine/beer to be. That all said, however, this is not a particularly favorite style. Still, it is good as a once-in-while brew, especially when it is done as well as this.

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 PaBeerLover
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of tripledbrew
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Photo of SkateZoo
1/5  rDev -74%

Photo of Hanzo
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of Reaper16
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle served into a cup at the hotel

Pours a very light, pale yellow-green color. Like diluted olive oil. Well, to be truly descriptive, it looks like a glass of sauvingnon blanc or pinot grigio. It's light and it practically glows. But it also still looks very much like beer. Two fingers of soft white head fluff up after pouring. Lovely.

There are plenty of vinous aromas in this beer, as expected. White grapes for days, along with some melon and generic citrus. There's also plenty of pils malt in the aroma. Not much away in the way of yeast aromas here, but I won't take off points for that since Dogfish Head markets this beer as a "sorta' Saison" and not a Saison proper. I like this aroma, but I also know that there are other saisons (using the Dupont strain, mostly) that deliver the vinous aromas without any grape must used as an adjunct.

Noble Rot is more unique on the palate than it is on the nose. It's super-winey. This tastes like a beer cocktail; a blending of an average grocery store level American white wine with a blonde ale. There's a trace of yeasty spice here, but just a trace. It's mostly crackery pils malt and soft white wine (not varietal specific). I could give this a 3.5 but I think the beer is a good realization of what Dogfish Head was going for.

There's lots of carbonation in this beer, but it's all quite soft. That works for sure. Body on the lighter side of medium. I wish the beer were dryer. Overall, this is a fun beer that I enjoyed a bit more than this score indicates (and this is a good score from me). I'd have no problems polishing off a whole bottle by myself (and if it weren't for the alcohol I'd want a second).

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 gford217
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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 DefenCorps
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I just had to. I've passed on some of DFH's more "normal" beers of late (another RIS? nah. DIPA? nah), but this sounded just too damn intriguing to pass up.

A brilliantly clear light yellow with a dense, white head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this is a pretty stunning beer. The nose is pretty intensely vinous. Yes, there's a lot of white grape character, along with fruity white wine, but there's also a mildly musty, earthy character to it, and it doesn't appear to be from the yeast. A little herbal and a little minty. Pale base malt lends a moderately cracker-like backbone here, but this really is dominated by the grape and grape must.

The palate is pretty vinous, rather incredibly so. I'd be lying if I said bum wine didn't cross my mind, but there's more to it than a moderately fruity white wine. Yes, it's sweet, but it's musty, musky, mildly acidic (ripe lemons), and quite fruity (melons, grapes) as well as a moderate tannic character. Grape skins dominate the mid-palate. A touch spicy, though I'd be hard pressed to positively identify the yeast as a saison strain, it's almost tripel-like. A touch phenolic and fusel-y on the finish, this beer finishes a little sweet with some alcohol noticeable. Mildly funky but not really sour. Highly carbonated, this is one beer where that actually works. Yes, this beer has flaws, but it is a joy, both to drink and to deconstruct. I don't know what the botrytis has added her, but it does make me want to go out an buy a bottle of a beerenauslese.

Photo of AGDMainer
4/5  rDev +3.9%

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

A-one thing about a saison is you'll never know what color it pours out. this is light transparent golden with a stable white head

S-smells...amazing. pale belgian malts with a great earthy tone to it. some spices as well. not getting the grape must. strong aroma.

T-comes in with an unusually tart taste of grapes and pale belgian malts. its a complex and decent flavor. it still keeps that earthy tone to it. the after-taste is matching with a good taste of grape skin. keep in mind, this beer is not fruity. the grape adds a nice but subtle complement to the flavor. this is complex and balanced.

M-high carbonation with a dry finish

O-this is definitely a different saison, if thats what you call it. it has some really great flavor to it. not as funky or as spicy as i like my saisons to be, but very enjoyable nontheless. i guess you can't truly rate this as a saison, but instead as an off centered ale. in that respect, it's great and extremely easy drinking for the ABV. i will enjoy all 750 mL of this.

Photo of Phillyz
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of Brent
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Okay, I'm sucker for inventive (a/k/a wacky) beer experiments, but this one really works. Great dry character - amazing drinkability for the abv. Up front a typical saison funkyness, but close behind is a reserved but distinctive apple cider vinegar note that harmonizes with the beer in a way that I found surprising. Finish was clean with a lingering touch of vinegar acidity. Quite an interesting experience.

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another white wine style offering from dogfish. this one pours as average as can be, with a mildly hazy pale look and a modest white head. smells like tannins and cologne. flavor is musty and grapey, like an old starburst soaked in chardonnay. had a sour characteristic, but it isnt brett. hard to place this one. feel is nice, good bubbles and a drinkable body. overall a unique creation bordering on not beer, like a lot of DFH brews. i support the creativity here though, keep em coming doods...

Photo of vgarneth
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As usual, with Dogfish Head, they're attempting to push the borders with craft beer. This beer has an interesting nose with light notes of sour citrus. The methods used in brewing this beer create a unique character that is quite different and mask the alcohol well. Mouthfeel is dry, like a sauvignon blanc, and complex. Nice job overall Dogfish Head!

Photo of halo913
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of danedelman
4.43/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-very clean filtered yellow with slide shade of copper. Smaller head.

S-Lactobacillus strong, grapefruit, lemon and white wine.

T-Lacto up front with a lemony taste then following is a strong chardonay/white wine flavor. Very well done!!

M-light crisp and clean.

Overall I am very surprised at how awesome this is. I love the sweet and the tartness going on here and feel that DFH once again is a top brewer!!

Photo of brandonasplundh
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Photo of jackrodgers77
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of drewburning25
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Lantern
5/5  rDev +29.9%

Photo of gwdavis
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,404 ratings.