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Noble Rot - Dogfish Head Brewery

Noble RotNoble Rot

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,109 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1109
Reviews: 283
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 13.73%

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)
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Ratings: 1,109 | Reviews: 283 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - bright golden yellow with a soft, short, pure white head that fades to a thin lacing

S - white grapes, some faint peppery Belgian yeast, maybe some apple and pear

T - pear, apple, peppery, Belgian yeast up front; white grapes, viscous, winey in the finish

M - crisp, well carbonated, finishes very dry, light bodied

This is an interesting beer. As far as a beer/wine blend or crossover it shows off both nicely. The saison characteristics come through up front with a typical, dry, white wine finish. Because of the lightness of the saison and the intensity of the grapes, this comes across as more wine than beer. Nonetheless, I enjoyed. This is worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2013 22:20:58 | More by tdm168
Photo of LambicPentameter


3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed out of a brown 750 mL bottle with no discernible dating for freshness or bottling. Poured into a Boulevard Smokestack Series tulip glass.

Appearance - Pours a golden amber color with good clarity and lazy carbonation bubbles drifting up to the sudsy two-finger head. Good, prolonged retention and sticky, intermittent lacing. Body also seems to have kind of a syrupy look to it, like white dessert wine or olive oil might.

Smell - The winey characteristics of this beer are fully on display in the aroma. Notes of white grapes and faint peach, with clean, cracker-like grain as well. Yeast provides a bit of spicy phenolic element that is very aromatic. Seems to compete a bit with the wine components.

Taste - Again, the wine must is a heavy presence on this beer. White grape juice, nectarine, green apple and perhaps some light citrus--lemon zest--with a drying finish. Really makes me think of what a carbonated Chardonnay might taste like.

Mouthfeel - Viscous body on the heavy side of medium, with a moderate amount of carbonation. The "heaviness" of the liquid is clearly winning the battle with the solid amount of carbonation. Dry, crisp finish.

Overall, it makes me think more of wine--or more accurately--sparkling wine, than it does of beer. Like a heavy champagne. I'm not sure if I would have this again, but I might give it to a wine drinker to help open their mind to the wonders of beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2013 06:26:41 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of jrenihan

Ontario (Canada)

3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Beer is a clear golden colour with a smallish white head. Decent retention, head fades but not entirely. Some lace.

White grape juice, yeast and some lemon. Does smell a bit "musty".

Taste is also heavy on the must, a real white grape juice flavour. Yeast, very slight funk. Lemon.

Medium bodied, low carbonation level, a bit acidic.

Overall, not bad, but I can only take the grape juice flavour for so long. Would be nice if that was toned down and the yeast ramped up.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 17:06:51 | More by jrenihan
Photo of ADZA


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Looking forwards to this and pours just like a Chardonnay the lightest straw yellow hue with a wispy one finger head and sporadic lacing here and there,the smell is feint barnhouse funk with white grapes and sherbet,the mouthfeel is light bodied with nice carbonation and the taste is like hybrid of an ale a cider with a wine and has tastes of apple,white grapes,a touch of light bready malts,a slight mustiness and finished bone dry and fruity just like a fine wine and although this ain't for everyone I love it and pushes the boundaries between beer and wine and also shows the similarities in these two arts one for the wine lovers cheers.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2013 04:30:06 | More by ADZA
Photo of StaveHooks


3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle served in a pint glass

A - Pours a pale shiny yellow with a thin white cap.

S - Earthy, spoiled grapes, minerals, dry yeast, salty,

T - Sweeter than the nose describes, crisp white grape juice, has a soft lemon tartness to it along with a dash of salt. Peppery yeast and earthy minerals in the middle along with some herbal hops adds dryness and continues to a dull grape tartness on the finish.

M - Moderate spritzy carbonation, creamy at first but thins out quickly. Dry finish.

An odd beer for sure. Like a white wine and beer mixer. It has snappiness upfront but develops into a dull chardonnay like finish. I can't believe that this is 9%ABV! It doesn't show at all. It was unique but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2013 15:35:45 | More by StaveHooks
Photo of nickthetick


5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: pours an absolutely clear and crisp looking straw yellow with a lot of bubbling forming a half finger of snowy white head in my "La Fin Du Monde" tulip glass. The head hangs for a good while. Some spotty bubbles cling to the glass till the finish.

S: the nose starts very musty, extremely wine like. I'm not a wine connoisseur and couldn't tell you what type of grape is in it if it were not for the label. There is a little malty notes but the must and white wine come out first and foremost.

T: unlike the nose there is a bit of malt first on tongue and some subtle hop earthy ness. The wine comes in the middle of the taste and overwhelms the palate and leaves a bit astringent and acidic.

M: it's medium bodied, almost light on the tongue. Extremely effervescent like a champagne, acidic and astringent. It's just barely dry. Very well balanced and pleasing.

O: this is an amazing beer, an extraordinary experience. I would buy this again in a heartbeat, I could see pairing this with many, many different foods. Defineatly a one of a kind experience.

Serving type: bottle

06-23-2013 03:39:40 | More by nickthetick
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
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!

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2013 03:03:04 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.54/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a clear light yellow with a foamy white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, spice, and slight grape aromas. Taste is much the same with sour fruit and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is easy to drink but nothing all that special.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2013 02:31:55 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a long-stemmed tulip)
A- This beer pours a crystal clear lemon yellow body with slow microtrails of bubbles gliding to the surface. There is a sticky thin snow white head that sticks to the glass with each sip.

S- The saison yeast esters are dry with a cooked corn note that grows as the beer opens. It is more of a brett aroma than a DMS aroma. There are some soft sweet musty qualities in the finish.

T- The saison yeast esters blend into a slightly dry white grape flavors with some white bread notes. The hint of fresh malt leads to a tart fruity flavor that finishes dry and lingers as a faint white wine hint.

M- The light mouthfeel has a crisp finish an no alcohol heat with just a touch of astringency when it is pretty warm.

O- The nice farmhouse flavors turns a bit more tart and astringent as it opens but it still has nice flavor and a unique character.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2013 10:53:52 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of DovaliHops


3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle. Pours a clear, bright, golden-yellow color with a large white head that goes down quickly. Funny, looks like Coors Light or some other light adjunct lager. Not gonna let this bring down the points though, because it's a lot prettier when you know the beer is going to be good. Scent is pilsner-like...somewhat disappointing. Will I be taking back my statement I just made one sentence ago? I pick up a bit of grape skin and some green grapes with some grain and Belgian yeast. Nothing too intriguing though. No longer excited to taste this beer. Taste is quite a bit better. Lovely grape skin flavor with a good amount of wheat and grain flavors. Belgian yeast, and a slightly tart finish. Not nearly as tart as I was hoping for or expecting. There is a bit of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is light bodied and very dry, almost champagne-like. Drinkability is scary-high. Overall, the drinkability on this beer is ridiculous. For being 9% ABV, it drinks like a light pilsner or adjunct lager. I'm not saying it tastes exactly like those styles, but it definitely drinks like them, except much more dry. Overall, I was expecting much more from this beer. Maybe it was City Beer's decision to put this beer as on-site consumption only when it first came out that made me get my expectations so high. Wouldn't call this beer a saison...more like an imperial pilsner with fruit. Very solid, enjoyable beer....just not as sour or "offset" as I was expecting from DFH.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2013 07:16:11 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of JMScowcroft


4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dogfish Head Brewery - Noble Rot

Shared this brew with da_beers while having a family get together, best time to enjoy a good brew!

Look - Pours a clear pale yellow with a smaller fizzy head. Some good lacing, heavier carbonation.

Smell - Aroma is sour grape syrah and champagne with a hint of malt. Crisp, mouth-watering.

Taste - Fruity and crisp like green grapes and sour apple. Feels like a rich, hearty champagne. Belgian yeast is definitely present and gives it that sour kick.

Mouthfeel - Feel is a little boozy warm, similar to white wine or champagne, throat hot. Very drinkable despite.

Overall - Great Saison fusion, a little hot but it is 9% and it makes up for the heat with good drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 15:10:09 | More by JMScowcroft
Photo of da_beers


4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My folks sent me this when they had dinner with the co-owners of Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, WA. I was more than happy to taste it!

A - Pours light golden like a dark champagne, white fizzy head of about a finger. Crazy carbonation bubbles coming up.

S - Smells of champagne and grape and a light malt. Sourness of grape tickles nose.

T - Very unique, appley mix with white grapes. Its heavier than champagne, but the carbonation is spot on. Sweet and tart all together, nice balance.

M - Carbonation tickles the palate, light body, finishes very cleanly. Finishes a bit winey and warm.

O - So unique, good saison, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2013 02:48:51 | More by da_beers
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a two finger white head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Almost clear very pale yellow/amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Grape nose and flavor is tart grape. Dry finish. Called a saison but really closer to a wine flavor. Not cheap at $14.99 for a 750ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, MA.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2013 22:43:51 | More by jdhilt
Photo of NoleDoc


4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap to glass. At first glance it has a light pale yellow color. Looks like a Belgium style and tastes like one too. Has a nice white head to it at first but dissipates rather quickly. Has a Belgium mouthfeel with slight apple and tart finish. You can taste the wheat too. Great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2013 00:45:12 | More by NoleDoc
Photo of VelvetExtract


3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a clear yellow hue. Good head. Moderate lacing.

S-Musty and rather intense in its mustiness. Having a mild wine background, I can smell the botrytis here and it really does remind me of a dessert wine or Viognier with a bit too much age on it.

T-It really tastes white wine-like. Dessert wine but less sweet. Definitely getting similar flavors to an off-dry Viognier.

M-If the flavor is appealing to you it drinks quite well. The 9% is hidden extremely well...like wine!

O/D-One of the only DFH's wacky beers I have like. Actually I think its the only large format DFH beer I haven't been pissed about after buying it. Its cool, especially if you know about its unique origins.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2013 00:41:12 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of Kooz

New York

4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-06-2013 03:01:33 | More by Kooz
Photo of jibbyvonjibb


3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Hay color. Clear. Moderate head.
S: Dupont-like pepperiness and spice. Coriander. Lemons. Don't detect much grape.
T: Slightly tart. Candy like: lemon drops. In the finish, an herbal sweetness that lingers much longer than I would like it to.
O: Feels too artificial for me, probably from excessive use of herbs. Also, I don't know if I'm crazy or everyone else is, but where do you detect wine flavor? I would classify this as a saison/wit, and a bad one at that. Damn you Dogfish head! Stop making "exotic" crappy beers and focus on quality products already.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2013 22:58:16 | More by jibbyvonjibb
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead


4.51/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip. Clear yellow with fizzy bubbles, looks like champagne. Fizzy but thick head that doesn't stick around, visible carbonation. Smells like champagne or white wine combined with belgian yeast. Taste is like a champagne, but with the belgian yeast sneaking in at the end to finish. If it weren't for that, you could tell me this was a sparkling white wine and I'd believe you. Incredibly drinkable, alcohol very hidden for 9% (which admittedly would be less than wine, however). This would be an excellent dinner or celebration beer, or a great starter for wine/champagne lovers who want to get into beer but can't.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2013 03:16:27 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of clayrock81


3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bought this beer not only to try myself but for my light wine (including pinot gris) loving wife as well, and to wit she and I both enjoyed but since I'm not much of a white wine drinker at all my score reflects that I am not enamored with this project.
Certainly poured more like wine than beer as very light, clearish yellow color and intense carbonation, almost champagne like. Smell is very vinous and "grapey", a touch of funk along with sourness and spice. Light bodied, easy to drink, crisp and dry finish, there's a touch of woodiness in this but mostly I am getting that grape, wine-like taste along with some tartness to match with it. There seems to be a touch of other light fruit like the possibility of sour apple and/or pear flavor, but in general one could say that this beer has a wine-like profile with a touch of saison funk and sourness. Didn't really pick up any malts or yeast prevelant in regular saisons but this beer did seem a little fuller and sweeter than your average white wine so there in there. A hard beer to describe, perhaps a new category, but for now "sorta saison" works. I will say this beer is at least worth a try by anyone and a unique (although in my opinion not overly great) brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2013 18:19:54 | More by clayrock81
Photo of magictacosinus


3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Before I start this review, I just wanted to point out that wines affected by noble rot are something I became rather enamored with while living in the French countryside years ago near Montbazillac, a village that produces one of the most famous wines within this style. They are very sweet but have a tarty and mineral finish that is delicious when done right. Naturally, given the history, this beer immediately excited me when I found it readily available. Included in the first monthly "Beermageddon Night" with several people. Review is from my notes. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a teku glass. No bottling or freshness date.

Pours uncanny appearance that is pretty much an exact 50-50 mix of a saison/golden ale and a noble rot wine. With every pour, the carbonation would immediately fade away, leave behind a solidly thickened white head, and produce a clear, yellow-gold color that would fool perhaps the largest sweet white wine connoisseur if it weren't for the head. There's strong lacing as well, which definitely tells me right off the bat that this is filled with resins and sugar. There's actually good carbonation that lasts as well, which adds extra beauty to this beer. I can't help but love it as a result, especially when rating to style.

Ah, yes, the aroma definitely triggers some old memories while adding some new things to the table - vinous for sure, with a grape fruitiness, but there's a solid crisp grainy finish that follows as well. Grape must appears at the finish, which is pungent yet refreshing. Definitely quite sweet, but balanced with the inclusion of the golden pale malts, and with a yeasty sensation that is pear or apple-tinged. However, the fact that the grapes have added so much to the aroma tells me that both have worked off each other at this point, and it's hard to tell where any aroma I'm getting comes from. At the same time, it is rather complex, and the sweetness never gets cloying (at least not to me, anyhow).

The flavor is very similar, although undeniably sweeter, but the grape must and golden ale traits are more amplified here. On one end, there's the classic noble rot wine flavor profile, filled with vinous qualities as well as dried fruits and honey, and then at the other end, there's the cracked golden grains, yeasty wetness, and citrus that make this very similar to a farmhouse ale in certain respects. These flavors meld together naturally well and do not conflict with one another, but definitely the noble rot characteristics seem to be winning - it's simply impossible to slice through that level of sugar concentration and mustiness! To me, this makes it interesting, but I can see how this could throw off people who aren't used to it. With all things considered, it's a bit boozy and extra syrupy (almost sticky) and I'm glad I split it with three other people. This simply would be too much to have with one other person. However, I could say this exact thing about noble rot wine as well.

Definitely a unique beer in DFH's lineup, and as good as any great noble rot wine or refreshing saison at the end of the day. It's pretty sweet, but it makes an excellent aperitif and good budget replacement for the actual wines themselves, which can be pretty pricey. It also has a beer-like feel that is more appealing to me, and not as syrupy as a result. Absolutely worth a try for the curious.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2013 06:19:28 | More by magictacosinus
Photo of stumac


4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
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

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 03:47:22 | More by stumac
Photo of Pencible


4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a clear pale gold with a bit of white head.
S: It smelled like grassy hops and white grapes, with some fresh wheat and musty oak and bread crust.
T: It tasted like sweet buttery white grapes, with some grassy hops and bready yeast and oak and a bit of unripe apricot. It had a clean and bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was oily with moderate natural carbonation. Nice smooth body.
D: This was a very nice unique saison, with noticeable white grape must. It had an enjoyable scent and taste and body, and a very smooth finish, so it was easy to drink. Good brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 02:07:49 | More by Pencible
Photo of dgilks


3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clearish pale straw cour with no real head. No lacing.

Davison through and through. Lots of clove and wheat. Touches of tartness. Very nice.

Tart and light. Wheat and clove dominate but there is some grape. Interesting butt dull for my tastes.

Medium light body with moderately high carbonation. Good.

Not bad. It seems a little insipid at times but could be much worse.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2013 05:40:22 | More by dgilks
Photo of drpimento


4.66/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer! Poured at a good temperature with fizzy, small, off-white head that quickly settled and a bit of lace. Color is a clear, light yellow with plenty of racing bubble trails. Aroma is yeast, grapes, and beer. Flavor is absolutely outstanding! This is the best grape beer I've ever had!! The grapes add a bit of sweetness but that is perfectly balanced by the fresh tart style of the beer and robust carbonation along with the yeast bitterness and of course, hop. Body is bang on perfect; ditto carbonation. Finish is like flavor, quite long, and extremely drinkable. Wish I had more.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2013 05:39:12 | More by drpimento
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.35/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

From the 25 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on April 5, 2013.

The pour is pale yellow with constant and active carbonation building up to a fluffy, white light head that floats across the top at all times.

Aroma of wheat mainly and not grapes as I expected. Some pale malts and light hops on the nose too.

Medium body.

The taste brings out the grapes that they talk about with a zingy bitterness at the end. A likable enough beer but not one that I would go for regularly.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2013 00:23:45 | More by puboflyons
Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,109 ratings.