Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Noble RotNoble Rot

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very good

325 Reviews

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Reviews: 325
Hads: 1,492
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 9.05%
Wants: 104
Gots: 198 | 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: 325 | Hads: 1,492
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)

Photo of Metalmonk
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting looking beer...the liquid is a very pale yellow color with total clarity...looks like any average Asian pils or something. The head is a crazy fluffy and creamy thing, very thick too, although it dwindles pretty quickly leaving a dishsoap-like scum on the surface and edges of the liquid.

Having recently gotten into white wine styles such as Chardonnay, Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, this smell captivates. It's as much like a good dry Pinot Grigio as it is an earthy Belgian saison. Everything's well-behaved and balanced, revolving around the white grape personality, and plenty of earth and crisp green apple.

Feel and taste link up in the mouth, and again it's all very much like drinking a white wine, this time I'm reminded of an Italian sparkling white. It's crisp, dry, fruity (white grape, of course, also pear, tart green apple and a hint of grapefruit), earthy, some SweetTarts (somewhat sweet, very tart!), has a pils-like sulfur sort of slant, and shows just a bit of the yeast underneath it all. The 9% ABV is hardly noticed.

Wow. I've had vinous beers before, but this could totally impress a wine aficionado who might swear off beer. Definitely as much a white wine as it is a saison-style beer, for all intents and purposes. This brewery continues to impress in their gusto for trying new things. Hail! (1,333 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

I happened to kick the keg on this one and didn't get quite a full pour, but here we go anyway. Served in a tulip glass, a mostly clear golden liquid with a huge, four-finger, white head that didn't relent until the last couple sips, leaving a bit of doily lacing on the glass. Definite wine character in the aroma, pale malts, lemon pith, wet grass. Taste was a bit underwhelming, but followed the aroma, with vinous notes, white grape and apple skins giving a small sourness, light citrus, a bit of grassy funk, and leafy in the finish with some bitterness. Light-medium mouthfeel, pretty crisp and dry, fairly drinkable, but not really one of DFH's best creations. (705 characters)

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Clear, pale gold body with moderate nucleation under two fingers of standing white foam that drops to a thin coating with & leaves a few trails of lacing. Looks pretty vinous in its color & clarity.

Aroma gives off some semi-sweet grape notes, somewhere btw. wine & jelly, with a bit of lemon, some pilsner-like, crackery malt notes. There's a little bit of sulfur, again like dry whites, that kind of slightly eggy, buttery smell. A little bit herbal. This thing keeps growing, & the smell is really interesting & complex.

A tart, champagne-like citrus note shows up initially in the taste, builds in sweetness, & then recedes & lets a bracing dryness in. Ends with some green apple & a pleasant drop o' honey, as well as a hay-like, crisply bready malt taste. Again, very interesting & like no other beer I've tasted.

Active, tart jab at first with some real carbonation, dries out in the middle drastically but leaves a little sweetness on the tongue in the finish & aftertaste.

Again, really interesting beer here. I feel like I've tasted a lot of it before in some bolder saisons, but then there's that extra push of fruity sweetness AND dryness that gives it an additional edge. At times, it seems like the wine characteristics play more than their fair share, which can be a little tiring, but certainly doesn't ruin it. I'm only dropping the Overall score some b/c I think this is a lot to take in at once & can be cumbersome, but still very enjoyable. Can't say I'd rush back to try it again, but I really liked what I got here. (1,570 characters)

Photo of Yoda22
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a fairly clear straw yellow with 1 finger white head that lingers a bit, pretty good lacing. Very bubbly.

S- Smells very nice...reminiscent of a hefeweizen mixed with a pinot grigio; Spicy, grape, and a little citrus (maybe lemon).

T- How to describe this...not quite like a wheat taste because a sort of grape acidity really takes over. There is a little lemon in there like I thought I detected in the nose. It isn't knock your socks off amazing but it's definitely good.

M- Pretty light body edging slightly towards medium with medium to high carbonation; There is also some mouth tingle giving it almost a champagne like body.

O- A very interesting unique take on beer with wine/champagne characteristics. Something everybody should try, especially if they like wine. I gave it 4 out of 5 across the board because I really liked all aspects (but didn't LOVE any one particular area). With a name like Noble Rot you aren't sure what to expect but this was surprisingly good. (990 characters)

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

Super-clear, this pale yellow beer has an ultra-white head and light complexion. It's aroma is reminiscent of tart apples, lemon juice, and dry white wine. It has a bit of lambic-like funk in the smell, but very sublet. The initial taste is sweeter than expected. It's got a grape-juice and pale malt flavor. Grape skins, apricots, and watermelon rind. It's quite wine-like. The finish is a little dryer, with a lingering tartness. Light in body, this beer is drinkable and would go well with many cheeses. (506 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - crystal clear bright yellow with a two finger head and plenty of visible fizz.
S - mild earthy tones with light grape notes.
T - fizzy light beer taste up front with a big punch of white wine sweetness/tartness that lingers along with an alcoholic burn.
M - on the light syrup side despite the high carbonation.
D - too much of an odd brew to be an easy drinker.
The Saison label must be a catch all title for this one. It's quite interesting but would not be a regular purchase for me. Likely the same with others, thus it is a rotating brew.

Improves with warming/breathing and when a little cheese and crackers are added. (629 characters)

Photo of beesy
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a brilliantly clear pale yellow with a white as snow, fluffy two finger head. I don't recall seeing a beer this light in color.

S - Beligian yeast ester profiles with lots of white wine.

T - A little Belgian yeast profile with some barnyard funk mixed in. A sour/tart profile is apparent and appears to be a product of the must. Lots of white wine and grape profiles in the flavor as well. Reminds me of some Bad Elf profiles without being as heavy on the Belgian yeast. Not much in the way of hops detected. As it warms, it becomes more like a wine than a beer.

M - Fairly light. I'd like to know the SG and FG of this beer as I am willing to bet the attenuation is in the mid to upper 80's if not in the 90%'s.

D - fairly easy to drink because of the crispness and absence of any malts with any color. Not being a wine drinker kind of makes it more work that is probably is for a wine drinker to consume.

Overall, an interesting creation. I'd be a little hard pressed to call this beer, but who knows. I homebrew a 4.2% ABV light ale that is nothing but two row and a couple ounces of 10 degree crystal and this is still lighter in color, which is amazing. I wish there were more sourness to this. Maybe it would come on with age, but I don't love this enough to get another for the cellar. Bette than some of the other more recent DFH creations. (1,365 characters)

Photo of ng85
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Total pils color, head thin and crisp not overbearing or lingering.

S Hints of pinot not strong but light and refreshing aromas.

T Sour grapes but yet delish! Just the right carbonation.

M Can taste the Belgian yeast yet tart not smooth

O This was served with a green salad topped with olive oil and pepper and the tart taste off set the flavor of the greens....yum! Love Saisons (386 characters)

Photo of billab914
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (980 characters)

Photo of Krakistophales
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours golden colored with lots of filtration and a bit of a white head that disappears almost instantly

S: Grapes, spice, berries, herby grassy notes

T: A really nice grape flavor up front, slightly grassy hoppiness in the middle, a sort of sweet champagne freshness and bubbliness, and a slightly tart berry flavor in the finish. Quite nice.

O: I quite like it, but Chateau Jiahu will always be my go to grape ale. (421 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip.

A- Super clear straw yellow pour with a two finger snow white head. Lacing is sticky and chunky.

S- Belgian(ish) yeast aroma with a touch of spicy pepper quality. The wine aroma is there but not popping out.. It's a nice mix between white wine and and grape juice.

T- Holy juicy wine batman. White wine with a dry finish. Slight yeast spiciness.

M- Light to medium bodied, good carbonation.

O- This is really agood mix, the dryness of the saison base is complimented by the juicy wine addition. (519 characters)

Photo of Brewmeist
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into sniffer glass.

Appears as a yellowish pilsner or light lager. Lots of nice little micro bubbles with little to no lacing and about zero head retention. Smells slightly of a Belgian blonde or ipa but airy and slightly bitter. Agressive carbonation topped with a winey sweetness. Sour and present. Pinot grigio like finish. Somewhat dry but has wet hoppiness to it? Balanced in a way. Wouldn't classify it as a gulper but I would say this would pair well with something peppery or salty. A better exclusive craft from dogfish. Reminds me alot of the mélange e trois from Nebraska but much more drinkable. (630 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

clear pale straw color that is almost pilsner like in appearance with a nicely sized pure white head that quickly recedes yet laces very well.

sour, grape juice, very wine-like with some soft, sweet malts behind that.

sweeter than tart, but still plenty tart. definite white wine or a tart champagne. finishes very dry with a bit of tartness.

definite champagne type feel. sticky, with a very effervescent carbonation.

meh. its hard to rate this to style. definitely strays from a saison. a touch of earthy hay flavors, maybe. I'm not a wine fan, so I guess this one isn't something I'd never seek out, but they definitely achieved what they were trying to. (661 characters)

Photo of prototypic
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Noble Rot pours a very light straw color. It’s crystal clear. Looks a little brighter and more yellow when held to light. A white head tops it and rises to nearly two fingers in height. It recedes to a surface covering somewhat quickly and holds there. Lacing was spotty and lighter.

The nose is good. It’s interesting. It has a relatively strong grape scent. It is reminiscent of white wine. It’s also grainy and earthy. It is a bit Saison-esque. It definitely smells rather sweet. Perhaps that’s a product of the malts and the fruit notes. Belgian yeast is noted and is a nice touch. There are light lemon and herbal notes. Alcohol is blended very well and is not very noticeable. All in all, it’s interesting and smells good.

The flavor is likewise pretty impressive. It definitely kicks off with a strong grape flavor. It’s a little sweet, but isn’t offensive. It does have a rather strong white wine vibe to it. It also features earthy, herbal, and grainy Saison qualities. It’s a nice mix of flavors that work extremely well together. Other fruit flavors of apple and lemon are noted. Belgian yeast is very flavorful and a tad spicy. Alcohol is a little noticeable, but isn’t warm or hot. This is rather tasty! Who knew?

Noble Rot has a body that’s on the lighter side of medium. Carbonation is active, but it doesn’t feel buzzy. It’s smoother than you’d think. For a 9% beer, it goes down easy. I’ll finish off this 750 with ease.

Dogfish Head never shies away from blazing a trail. Noble Rot is probably as good as a collision of white wine and beer can be. It’s actually good stuff. It’s very interesting and the mix of flavors is impressive. If you’re up for an interesting beer, grab a bottle. It’s surprisingly good! (1,768 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Shady McGrady's-served chilled in a snifter.

A very pale golden color with great clarity and thick fluffy white cap with tiny bead lace sticks well. The smell is very vinous up front with light tinge of tart white grape and subtle spicy yeast odor, mild hints of tropical fruit with a gentle grainy accent, but mostly pear and light apple odor. The feel is good with tangy fruit and spice from the yeast with an overall dry body with mild alcohol and slight creaminess in the middle.

This saison is dominated by the grape must used in the beer which gives a lot of tangy white grape flavor yet it is spicy too which could be the yeast or the fruit, mild sweetness from the grape which seems to blend well with the light sweetness of the malt which also has a slight toasty and wheat flavor. The mild acidity is nice which contrasts with the malt and there is a nice amount of alcohol to add complexity but not very apparent in the taste until midway into the glass. Overall I was very excited to try this and it lived up to my expectations. This is the most wine-like beer/wine hybrid I have ever tasted a very interesting and flavorful beer (1,167 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Noble rot has a thin white head that lacks in both retention and lacing, and a hazy, yellow body.

The aroma is super fruity, which comes in part from yeast, but mostly from grapes.

Noble Rot really tastes like a white wine. Up front there is just a bit of bread from the malt, and the yeast expresses itself as well, with a dry, pepper flavor to it. Those flavors are quickly overpowered by the flavor of white grapes. The grape flavor brings other fruit flavors with it, as well as an earthy flavor. The finish has a noticeable bite of tartness that is quite nice.

A little tart in the end. The body is fuller than I would expect, but it works well.

Noble Rot basically tastes like a sour white wine. Although I did enjoy my one glass of this one, I'm not a huge white wine fan and will probably steer clear of this in future. With that said, this is certainly an interesting and well-made beer that hides its relatively high ABV quite well. (946 characters)

Photo of webmanspidey
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, this is a clear light golden color. It is very fizzy with a decent amount of head. Smell is very sweet with a lot of fruit juice elements: pear, apple, white grape. There is some light spiciness, mostly clove. The taste is pretty unusual, with a tart and sour flavor being the dominating factor. There is still a lot of fruit presence, headed up by white grapes and apple. The alcohol is disguised very well. The mouthfeel is very unusual, a kind of silkiness I wasn't expecting from the beer's appearance. Pretty quirky, but I like it. (559 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear pale yellow, good deal of carbonation, two finger fluffy white head that leaves some lacing

S-Wheat spice, spices, yeast, clove and grapes

T-Spices some acidity (I would assume from the white wine grapes) grapes and wheat.

M-Light to medium bodied carbonated and a slightly dry finish similar to wine.

O-A nice beer? it does have many wine characteristics. An interesting hybrid. (391 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
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. (1,085 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish head goblet, check my twitter feed if you don't believe me. Beer is yellow, light clear with big bubbles, lot of carbonation, white bubbles, bright white, lots of lacing, decent retention. Looks good.

Aroma is grapes and wood with this sort of tea-like spiciness to it.

Beer is light in body, a little grainy on the finish, astringent but the grapes are the star of the show here. The must comes through quite well, I enjoyed it but it go slow going by the end of hte bottle, probably not a likely repeat. (527 characters)

Photo of harrymel
2.96/5  rDev -25.6%
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.
(4/3/3/2/3) (819 characters)

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

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Very slightly hazed golden wheat color. Two and a half fingers of frothy white head. Retention is at least average and a moderate amount of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Clean, lightly biscuity malts. Quite earthy and outdoorzy. Apple orchard, rotting wood, the forest in spring after a rain. Then there's the vinous grape component. Interesting addition to this type of beer and it totally works. Good, but not overly impressive despite being quite unique.

3.5 T: Whatever botrytis is, it seems to be the source of the easily apparent tanginess in this. It's like an earthy variant of lactic acid. Next the grapes present themselves. If I didn't know better I'd have thought this was some sort of champagne. (As an aside, I might try to trick a wine snob with this, if I can find one.) Anyway, apple and apple orchard funkiness, woody, earthy, vinous, and lightly musty.

4.0 M: This even feels a bit like champagne. Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation with an almost champagne-like spritziness. It works.

3.5 D: I never had Infinium, but it seems like this is what they should have been going for. Interesting as usual from DFH. (1,168 characters)

Photo of KAP1356
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased in March of 2012. Unsure of the correct and accurate bottle date. Poured into a DFH snifter...

A - Pours a bright yellow, gold color that carries a slight haze with it. This beer really glows quite golden when held to the light. A foamy, bone-white head forms about 3 fingers thick. The head retains well, but slowly recedes to a cap leaving some nice lacing.

S - Sure this is beer? Comes across more like a crisp, white wine. Sweet notes of grapes, pear, apple and lemon shine through along with a yeasty note that reminds me of a nice saison. Interesting mix. Wheat like notes come next along with strong pilsner malts. Really interesting to try to discern which part is beer and which is wine.

T - Taste starts sweet and grainy all at once. Flavors of white grapes, pears, apples, and some lemony notes come through along with the pilsner malts, wheat and some grainy flavors. Some elements of a nice saison shine through. However, in the end, it really tastes like a glass of white wine with how vinous and tart it is in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Dry finish makes this one seem more and more like a glass of white wine. The carbonation reminds you that it is indeed beer.

O - Overall, I feel like this was one of the more successful "off-centered ales" that DFH has produced. I feel that this could be a great craft beer for any wine enthusiast to try. A really interesting mix of the two styles and one that I'd likely try again sometime. (1,508 characters)

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 325 ratings.