Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Noble RotNoble Rot

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very good

324 Reviews

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Reviews: 324
Hads: 1,490
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 105
Gots: 197 | 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: 324 | Hads: 1,490
Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes
1 pint 9.4 fl oz bottled 2012 08:22
Poured from bottle into goblet.
A: Yellow in color with small white head that quickly recedes.
S: Grapes, sugar, saison funk.
T: Grapes more so than any other flavor dominate this beer/wine hybrid. This is really interesting and tasty. Can't believe how delicious these rotten/infected grapes are.
M: Light mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation
O: At $13.99/bottle pretty comparable in price range to other Dogfish Head beers. I will buy a couple more to pair with shellfish and to see what my mom thinks about it who loves white wine, but doesn't enjoy beer. (616 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear, glowing gold with a creamy white head that settles to a thin cap, leaving soapy lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Crisp aromas of white grape juice, light biscuit malt, honey, and coriander. Not a ton of character in the nose, but definitely wine-like.
T - Ok, there's the wine. Lots of buttery white wine grapes, crisp honey and biscuit malts, earthy Saison yeast, and some spicy white pepper and coriander. Definitely a great melding of beer and wine.
M - Sharp and refreshing, with a medium body and lively carbonation.
O - Very unique brew, a nice offering from DFH! (589 characters)

Photo of MatthewWilde
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy, pours a small foamy head which quickly dissipates, little to no internal carbonation

S: Quite sweet and fruity, wine and champagne dominate the nose, a touch of alcohol at the end, almost sour-smelling

T: Quite sour and sweet all at once, tastes almost exactly like champagne (sparkling wine), pure grape is present as well, nicely fruity, incredibly mild alcohol

M: Smooth, but the acidity on the palate cuts down on the drinkability, still impressive with such a high abv, light and fruity aftertaste and not too lingering

O: While Miller High Life may call itself the champagne of beers, nothing I have tried thus far tastes more like champagne than this, light, fruity, and a bit sour (751 characters)

Photo of Ryan011235
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a DFH Signature glass on 3/8/12

Bottled in 2012B

Clear, pale gold hue - seems subdued but has a nice gleam when held to the light. A two finger head of fizzy white foam gives the impression of ephemeral doom, but the foam condenses into itself and deflates slowly from there, leaving thick rings of lace. Surprisingly impressive retention; doesn't get much better than this. Actually, it does. On the second pour, retention lasts longer and the already excellent lacing is thicker. Heck, this pour is even has more clarity.

For whatever reason I wasn't expecting the aroma to be so clean, but it is. The floral, prairie grass notes are all over the place, as are overtones of pollen. A touch of grain is softly woven in and is accented with spicy clove notes. Soft fruit tones drift about. I'm not sure what sort of aromas grape must imparts - perhaps the slight earthiness and dank quality?

Whoa, the taste is something else entirely. The grapes come through much more than in the aroma and have a dank, dense, over-ripe twinge. Yet somehow it keeps a nibble saunter. Simultaneously dusty and vinous. I'll admit that while there is a decent grassy backing, the spice and floral notes are downplayed, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Instead they quietly bolster the grapes which really take to wine-like flavor as the beer warms. I'm not inclined to call this tart or sour and biting is too strong a word. Perhaps nippy is sufficient. Toasty grains emerge after a while.

Body and overall feel are on the light side, but never fail to acknowledge the responsibility in transporting such flavor. Carbonation is spot-on, too; pillowy fizziness rolls around as it hits the 7am snooze button but soon accepts that it's morning and it's time to move along. The finish is chalk-dry and has a modest, lingering alcohol note and some flavor residuals. The grape-iness builds over time.

DFH did a good job with this one, managing to tread an awkward line between drinkable, interesting and an actual quality product. Noble Rot completely exceeded my uncertain expectations handily. My favorite part is that the complexities of the nose are expansive while the flavor profile is more stunted, making for broad experience all around.

I will pull the "smaller format" card on this one, though. A 750ml is a bit much for one sitting. (2,344 characters)

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

A: 3/4" white bubbly head that dissipated quickly and left a nice lacing over straw coloured liquid with excellent clarity.

S: It smells like a funky saison and old dried out red wine bottles. Kind of strange.

T: Saison barnyard funk meets white grape juice. Some wheat in the background.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Somewhat dry finish.

O: The best American Saison I have tried. Very drinkable, and very much in the style of Fantome Saison. (510 characters)

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an oversized pilsner glass at oneguyonecup's.

A: Crystal clear pale straw yellow color with fierce carbonation that builds a massive, bubbly head of foam. Impeccable clarity for a beer I was expecting to be a bit cloudy; off for the style?

S: White grape skins, musty spices and a permeating alcohol aroma that cuts through some tart, granular scents of citrus and light malts.

T: Sweet, tart and acidic up front with a lightly toasted grain character. This is swept away by puckeringly sweet and juicy grape and citrus flavors. A spicy, somewhat herbal and sharp alcohol finish settles in, leaving the palate dry and sour.

M: Light-medium bodied, very crisp with a slightly puckering tart, sour feel.

O: An odd conglomeration of a saison, a French Biere de Garde, and essentially. Midas Touch. The grape must is there, the 9% ABV nondescript "spiced beer" feeling is there. What sets Noble Rot apart is its eye-catching clarity and sour characteristics. I just hope it doesn't cause too much gut rot, either. (1,048 characters)

Photo of aasher
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very light bodied and very clear, bright gold in color with a white one finger head. It's very pilsner esque and not cloudy whatsoever. The nose is interesting to say the least. It's slightly tart, has a yeast that is very Belgian, and has both lemon and honey to it. It's an odd profile but interesting. The flavors are light and tart. There are semi sweet pale malts, a touch of honey, and then the beer takes an odd and grapy turn to tartness. It's very unique. It has high carbonation and drinks very, very light in body. This is a beer worth trying. There really isn't anything like it. It's just so unique. (630 characters)

Photo of Neorebel
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden yellow appearance, with a big frothy head on top. Aroma is pleasantly sour - I'm detecting cider vinegar, and a sharp, fruity tartness. The flavor had a wine like character to it, both in mouthfeel and taste - the white wine grapes are definitely noticeable. Slight grassiness/horse blanket funk. Medium bodied, fizzy, and slightly tingling on the way down. Complex and pleasant - an interesting experiment for the beer and wine drinking crowds. Would buy again. (469 characters)

Photo of EgadBananas
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks John!

Pours very sunny, slightly hazy. Bone white head, finger plus. Aroma is white grapes, yeast, some funk and bread crusts. Tastes a tad tart as opposed to the nose. Light funk and white grape notes, slightly dry with a mild biscuit note. Crisp, slight slick quality and dry.

Very interesting beer. I'm no sour fan, but the tart qualities were fine in my book. Would drink again! (392 characters)

Photo of brotherloco
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
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. (852 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.56/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bought a 750-mL bottle down at the brewpub back in early May. Bottled on date reads 12/9/2013. Pours perfectly clear gold with fluffy white head with some lacing. Light carbonation present. Smells like a saison with Chardonnay. Some real interesting fruity characteristics in the nose like strawberries. No real hop aroma but maybe some light spicy noble hops. Tastes initially sweet with perfect beer-wine hybrid complexities. Dries out with a wine like aftertaste- like a dry white wine. Such an interesting beer. At times, I get waves of beer then wine then beer then wine, etc. demonstrates great complexities yet subtle all the same. Awesome job and definitely an innovative beer. Cheers to Dogfish for pushing the craft beer boundaries with this one! (756 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a DFH goblet at the Brick Store. Pours a beautiful straw gold hue with a fluffy, two inch, bright white head. Clarity is translucent and the nucleation point at the bottom of the glass produces a cascade of tiny bubbles that effervesce to the undersides of the cap. Thick curtains of textured lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses candi sugar and light, fruity esters - I don't get a lot of complexity here, but I think that is partially due to the coldness at which the beer was served. Taste expresses white grapes, a grassy character, some spiciness and a trace of candi sugar. There is also just a hint of wine vinegar. The effect I get here is somewhat akin to a white wine spritzer with some saison-esque qualities. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light), with a bright, lively carbonation and a slight acidity. Overall, I have to say that this is one of the large format DFH offerings that I really enjoyed. It is interesting and complex but definitely closer to a sparkling wine than a saison; quite a nice hybrid however. One recommendation - if you are opening a bottle, I suggest having one or two friends on standby to help. The flavors are a bit intense. (1,211 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (751 characters)

Photo of draheim
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL (bottled 2012C) into a saison glass. Pours a crystal clear golden color w/ a bright white head, nice champagne carb. Sticky lace coats the glass. Beers don't look much better than this.

Aroma is vinous, green grapes, tart, slightly funky. Intriguing.

Taste is a cross between beer and white wine. Dry, slightly sweet with a grainy finish that's slightly reminiscent of an adjunct lager. Still, a tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is crisp, light, clean.

Overall this is, as usual, a really unique beer from Dogfish Head. I like it. Would go great w/ poultry or fish. (564 characters)

Photo of Rutager
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear light gold with two fingers of frothy white head.

Smell. Belgian yeast and cloves, some red wine, a bit of light grains.

Taste. A little sour, slightly sweet. Some belgian yeast, light grains, and dry white wine with a little spice and wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with lively, medium strong carbonation.

Overall. Nice and refreshing. The grapes add lots of wine characteristics. Mixed okay with the belgian flavours. (453 characters)

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a crystal clear lemon yellow into my DFH glass. Fluffy and puffy white two finger head that fades rather quickly but leaves islands of sticky lacing all over the glass. Really nice carbonation!

S- White wine, funky yeast, lemon pepper and wild flowers. Some sour wheat notes, green apples, and a faint mustiness. Reminds me a bit of Ithaca White Gold.

T- Pinot Blanc, sour green apples, funked up wheat grains, hints of banana, and more dry white wine. Each sip has a start of sweetness that immediately gets overwhelmed with a tart apple, white grapes, and a touch of funky barnyard compost. You can feel that the black pepper wants to poke it's head out, but it gets shut down by the tartness and little bit of alcohol.

M- Really sour and tart. Lemony, fresh picked crab apples, wheat sweetness, and a subtle funk. Really dry and refreshing. The alcohol is hidden pretty well behind the sourness.

O- More white wine than Saison. Bits of wheat and sour apple shine thru. Little hints of peppery spice and a nice banana/clove/compost yeastiness. I'll certainly try to grab a few more of these. Not your typical saison, but what with DFH is ever typical? (1,168 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Pours a clear golden yellow color, white head, sticky lace, bubbles on top, thin cap.

S - Funky yeast, wheat, light tart, some floral notes, light oak. Really has a straight forward saison note to it, which is very nice. As it warms you pick up on the oak and tartness.

T - A nice mix of funky yeast, oak, and white wine tartness. There's little to know white wine on the nose, but I can say, it really tastes like a dry Chard with a funky saison kick. Finish is light funk with a tart/floral notes.

M - Light, refreshing, good carbonation, dry finish.

O - Really an interesting beer. If you like saisons and you like white wine, this could be your favorite beer of all time. Really enjoyable and nothing like I've ever had before...would buy again. Good stuff. (813 characters)

4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL to tulip. Bottle/Batch # 2012B. $14 for the bottle. Sampled 4/3/12.

A: One solid finger of bright white, foamy fizzy head is formed on a semi vigorous pour. Retention is short but persistent carbonation keeps a creamy film in the center of the glass and a thick foamy collar along the edges. The body is very light golden straw colored and exceptionally clear. More than moderate dots and slings of lace stick to the glass in irregular fashion.

S: Sweet white grape aromas laid over a base of crackery malts. Musty straw offers a balance to the sweeter side of the aroma. Lightly grainy. Botrytis reinforces the rustic quality to the saison-esque character and integrates the sweet, fruity esters in the process. The ABV begins to show as the temperature warms.

T: Sweet throughout - including on the finish. While the sweetness was never overbering, I would have liked to see a drier edge on the back end at least. A light tangy sourness grabs your attention, but the sensation is quickly replaced by the enduring sweet white grape outlasting all else on the tongue. Very vinous in character, this beer will surely appeal to the sweet white wine drinking crowd.

M: The mouthfeel starts out with a wonderful prickliness to the tongue which begins to taper off at the halfway point of the glass. Carbonation is adequate for the style, if not slightly understated. Body is medium light.

O: While Noble Rot is good from the bottle, I remember an even better showing when I sampled this beer from the tap in early 2011, when it was drier, crisper and had more wild yeast influence. A stronger sour bite would have helped tremendously - on both the flavor and the mouthfeel. But all in all, I think the product is fair for the price tag. And I think that most DFH fans will dig on this beer too. (1,801 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice hybrid, bringing an unusual range with a rather dry and fruity sense to the palate.

Presentation: 750 ml brown custom DFH capped bottle (The first custome glass I notice? Simple and not too noticeable illustration embedded in the DFH branding of a blue character under dripping blue. Small side note noting main characteristics and grape collaboration. Shows 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in small white wine globe.

A - Clear deep gold pour with a fair frothy head, moderate retention, small surface memory and minimal lacing.

S - Fruity… Grapes, unusual fruity touch, sweet, faint sour hint...

T - Which is not that present in the palate, interesting mix of dry graininess with a fruity sense, soft but firm with touches of grapes, citric hints, slight grass as it flows back to the soft sweet grape.

M - Medium body and carbonation, with a nicely prickly sense held around the bubbles.

O - Nice and stimulating, nothing too memorable but a new brew of note.

Notes: Not exactly up my alley but I would not mind having it again. And this socially, among white wine drinkers in particular, adds a nice pivoting point. (1,125 characters)

Photo of Bobheed
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very clear golden color, almost like a white wine with a fat bright white head

S: Getting a lot of typical saison types of smells. Get the earthiness and spicy notes at first. I also smelled some really pungent sourness in it

T: Unbelievable. For it being brewed with grape must, I really get a lot of apple in it more so than the grapes. A very sour green apple. Also got little bits of spicyness and the grapes played well with that

M: Very carbonated and very dry. Drinks almost like a champagne. This is the mouthfeel I was hoping Infinium would've had.

Overall I loved this. I really hope they continue to make more of it. This is one of those crazy DFH experiments that went totally right! (702 characters)

Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle into snifter.
-Color of clear light gold, pale straw-like.
-Aroma light and airy. Sweet fruit notes you'd get from white wines dominate most of the smell.
-Taste starts with a bit of fruit, quickly rushes away with the sharp carbonation into a very tart and bitter middle and finish. You might catch some hop characters during the tart and bitter stage. Some malt notes poking through in the aftertaste, enough to remind you this isn't a white wine.
-Mouthfeel has quite a bit of carbonation, peaking during the middle and dying out in finish. Very crisp.

Not bad for what it is. Not exactly a beer I'd run to the store to get, but it's sort of like a something to crack open during occasions, with food (best with stuff that goes well with tart/dry white wine like seafood, cream sauces, any fatty stuff in general).
Not quite a white wine due to the unique bitterness and hop/malt characters shyly peeking through, but it's halfway there. (948 characters)

Photo of skatonic
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
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. (289 characters)

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.14/5  rDev +4%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of SpdKilz
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at my local shop.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a clear straw color and about two fingers of bright white head that dissipates relatively quickly leaving decent lacing.

Smell – Bready grainy malts, apple juice, slight white pepper, and that’s about it.

Taste – Actually pretty tasty. Tastes like a white wine mixed with apple juice. Definite grape skin, astringent qualities, must, grainy biscuits, a big earthy quality. Overall honestly nice.

Mouthfeel – Spritzy carbonation, medium to lighter bodied, finishes dry.

Overall – Way to go DFH. Not bad, not bad at all. Will pick another up to age. Enjoyable for sure and the alcohol is hidden extremely well. (690 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another interesting beer from dogfish head, although I'm not sure I'd describe a beer (or even a wine) made using botrytis as merely a white wine. It's not what the average consumer would expect. Botrytis wines are known as desert wines, because the rot concentrates the sugars in the grapes and lends a (sometimes ethereal) sweetness. This wine certainly exhibits that sweetness, but not in a concentrated way. Since the must is used instead of the wine, you get more of grape juicy sort of sweetness rather than a botrytized sweetness, albeit one with a fair number of tannins providing some grip, particularly on the back end. There is also a nice amount of acidity here providing some balance, which is nice, along with some floral and stone fruit notes. Since we're not talking about a wine, but a beer, I'd be remiss if I didn't also say that there is a fairly luscious creaminess from the grain providing a nice mouth feel and the hops contribute some bitterness that marry well with the tannins. I love the creativity of this brewery. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. This time, it works. (1,109 characters)

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 324 ratings.