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 chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle.
A: Good clarity and lots of carbonation. Durable white head.
Aroma: fruity, musty, yeasty with more than a hint of white wine.
Flavor: a reasonably good cross of white wine, champagne and Belgian pale ale. (231 characters)

Photo of JayQue
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An unusual beer. I must have got a bad bottle as far as appearance goes, because there was absolutely no head or lacing. The beer poured a hazy gold color that looked Saison-like. The aroma and taste were pretty good though.

The aroma and flavor both featured sweet white grapes. There is a yeasty flavor and a little "funk" but not as much as most saisons.

Mouthfeel is tart and crisp. The flavor and mouthfeel make this a pretty enjoyable beer. Could be a bit more carbonated, but that may also be a symptom of a bad bottle.

I would like to try one with a big head and lacing, like so many reviews mentioned, but the bottle I had wasn't bad either. (654 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Very light yellow color, small white head with slight purplish cast, and signficant lacing.

S - Funky sour notes typical of certain Belgian yeasts, a slightly sour fruit odor coupled with mild maltiness and grain elements.

T - Follow the nose, but the clean pils and wheat malts are front and center, making for a wonderful combination of wine and beer. Delicious banana and bubble gum flavors pop up out of the yeast esters, proving the Belgian yeast is alive and well here. The close is a subtle wine sourness, that fades slowly.

M - Clean, crisp, and no sign of the serious ABV for the style.

O - Not a standard saison or farmhouse by any stretch, but a delicious and clean rendition that makes for a real surprise. I picked this one up on clearance, and now I wish I'd grabbed a couple more. (806 characters)

Photo of Celtics17
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Not great. But you can understand the unique quality of this beer. You get the white wine feel, and the Belgian flare. You also have a slight sour aspect in this. I really was left wanting something more.But good overall. (221 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%

750ml bottle into a wine glass. This is a 2012 bottle - time to see how well it's held up.

Appearance: Pours a clear straw color. The head is less than a finger high, white in shade...and it's gone. Terrible retention. No lacing, either. (2.25)

Smell: Somewhat...interesting, shall I say. There's a distinct note of crackery malt, backed by some Belgian yeast (albeit in a rudimentary fashion). Grape must makes itself more known the longer it opens up, along with a faint kiss of tart bacteria (I think?) At times, it makes a decent interpretation of a brett inoculated maybe it's a successful experiment? (3.5)

Taste: At first, its wine influence comes through strongly, with a healthy white grape note. Certainly, the aforementioned influence works FAR more fluidly than, say, 61 did. Its yeast profile manages to meld successfully with the grape flavors. A gentle wisp of bacteria-derived tartness on the back end is actually the main reason why this beer is so rock-solid. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: As expected, it's light in body and high in carbonation. The finish is slightly sweet and long, but forgivable considering it's not really trying to be a proper saison. No alcohol comes through either, so this is very easy to drink, if not quite refreshing. (3.5)

Overall: How 'bout them apples, one of DFH's crazy gimmicks actually works! It's a solid cross between wine and beer - even better, it doesn't actually seem like a crazy gimmick once I drink it. I'm genuinely shocked how tasty it is - it could even crack the 4 territory with a bit more depth. (3.75)

3.6/5: Doesn't taste gimmicky, it just tastes pretty damn good (1,640 characters)

Photo of nate_nate_nate
4.74/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If you're a saison/farmhouse lover, Noble Rot is a must have. A pleasing, refreshing sour grape taste from the must. The wheat and yeast are bright on the tongue. Has a remarkable finish that makes my mouth water. One of the few beers I always buy when I see it at the store. Perhaps my favorite domestic saison-like beer (and I like just about all of them). (358 characters)

Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
4.18/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very clear straw/pale straw color with a small amount of pure white head that disappeared fairly quickly.

Aroma: Tart, sour grape aroma, with a hint of strawberry and sour cherry.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Texture on the tongue is extremely light, with a buttery mouthfeel reminiscent of a good Chardonnay. Flavor up front is that of tart white grape and sour stone fruit, with a bit of buttery flavor as well. Finishes with a biscuity, crackery malt flavor.

Final Word: Very easy to drink, and will please both beer lovers and wine lovers alike! This beer uses the must of two grape varieties, as explained by Dogfish Head:
"The first addition is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This noble rot reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is pinot gris must intensified by a process called dropping fruit, where large clusters of grapes are clipped to amplify the quality of those left behind."
These ingredients lend this beer the tart, fruity sweetness of a white wine with the bready, grainy flavors of a malty beer. Very unique drinking experience, and the drinkability of this brew makes it easy for anyone to enjoy! (1,276 characters)

Photo of TruePerception
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head's Noble Rot, ale brewed with botrytis-infected Viognier grape must. 9% ABV.

A: A finger of fluffy white head. Very clear golden yellow/goldenrod color. Constantly rising stream of bubbles up the center. Quite striking, actually! Decent lacing.

S: White grape juice and musty yellow apples, mostly. Very slight oaky caramel.

T/MF: Dry, with a sweetness as it settles. Slight acidity as it is held on the front of the tongue. Dry white grape/white wine flavor. More yellow apple towards the finish. Not a lot to it, but a nice beer. Maybe good as a salad pairing. Caesar, perhaps.

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass. (651 characters)

Photo of Tone
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, straw color. 2/3 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of grapes, pale malt, hint of hop, slight yeast, and a hint of sweet malt. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a slight dryness. Tastes of slight hops, grapes, pale malt, yeast, alcohol, hint of sweet malt, and tartness. Overall, strong grape characteristics in both aroma and body. Body has a good blend and is better then the aroma. (523 characters)

Photo of joeseppy
4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear golden 24 karat polished gold with a one inch bone white head. Scant lacing.

Aroma of yeast, lemon peel, sweetness and spice.

Taste is sweet and very saison like. Got the wheat, tartness and peppery. Definite wine like qualities. Citrusy Sauvignon Blanc tartness and buttery like a quality Chardonnay.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry. Fruity and spritzy.

Beautiful late spring day and this quaff just sparkles like gold in the sun. Love the white wines and this beer satisfies my taste buds. Great twist on a saison. (521 characters)

Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- pilsner gold. Full head.

Aroma- very floral with hints of honeysuckle sweets.

Taste- A sour and complex brew that reminds us of Flemish sour ale, but the clear gold color betrays a crisper white grape mellow sourness. Don’t serve too cold!

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted 3/17/13. (377 characters)

Photo of ruckus232
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

25.4 ounce bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Clean, clear and light yellow in color with a little bit of white head that fades away fairly quickly.

Smell: Very much like sparkling wine but there is a little bit of a sweetness to it that almost seems more like sparkling cider.

Taste: Pretty sweet almost like white grape juice. It finishes clean and more like a light lager style beer. I really like the amount of carbonation and the refreshing feel is has and for having a high alcohol content, there is no evidence of that. (534 characters)

Photo of stephens101
3.19/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear, pale, yellow with a white head. Smells of slightly soured white grapes and green grass. The aroma is very clean. Tastes of more white grapes, a little sourness, lemon peel and spice. Light bodied for the most part with not even a hint of alcohol. This would be the perfect communion beer. If churches adopted this instead of cheap grape juice then maybe they could convert the beer community. I'm serious!

No I'm not. (426 characters)

Photo of Lemke10
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This pours a clear, light yellow color with a slight, white head. The aroma is slightly tart and full of grapes. The taste is strong in flavor and drinks very much like a carbonated wine. This is a very unique take on the fruit beer category. Makes for great sipping beer that pairs well with lots wine based foods. (315 characters)

Photo of bnes09
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Straw color. Transparent. Weakish head. Several thin patches of lacing.

Funky yeast and white grape aroma.

Mild gain flavor. Sweet, yet semi tart white grape. Yeast and fungus adds a funky, tart note. Mild leafy hop.

Medium body like a dry sparkling white wine. Well carbonated with a dry finish. Somewhat grainy texture.

Love the innovation. Not something I would drink every day but good for a change. (407 characters)

Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass. Nice clear looking beer reminds me of a moscato di asti and it tastes like a white grape wine. overall appearance is perfect and smells perfect tastes perfect and overall the perfect beer for a white wine lover cant say enough about this beer (276 characters)

Photo of MNishCT77
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10 oz. pour into a snifter glass at the Falls Church Alehouse; unknown brewing/kegging date; drank over 30 minutes

A: 3/3 - pale yellow-to-golden coloration; crystal clear (can both read and see through); received with an initial frothy white head that settled into a subtle glass lacing; no visible bubbles

S: 10/12 - predominately white wine/Chardonnay notes; some background Belgian yeast, pils and wheat with some alcohol

T: 16/20 - bright, refreshing vinous flavors immediately hit on first sip and continue to develop on the palate; as the flavor profile expands; the Belgian pils and yeast rear up - slightly peppery, estery and coriander; some alcohol but doesn't taste like 9% ABV; finishes dry and invites subsequent sips

M: 3/5 - much lower carbonation for style (and major reason for point detraction); light body

O: 8/10 - nice admixture of vinous and saison qualities; it's not as good as I remember it being, which, unfortunately, is my typical DFH experience as my palate has developed, but it remains an enjoyable Spring/Summer offering and is dangerously drinkable; $10.50/10 oz. snifter is craziness though

TOTAL - 40/50 (1,145 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a thick white head, good size bubbles, and lacing that sticks to the side of the glass forever.

Smell: A champagne and sweet white wine scent, with a hint of lemon.

Taste: A sour white wine taste with a bit of bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, smooth, but a bit sour.

Drinkability: Has a little too much sour/bitter for my liking, but not bad. (406 characters)

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pale straw, champagne-like head that leaves no residue on surface or glass. Aggressive carbonation, slight fogginess. Looks crisp, but so darn light/flavorless.

S: White grapes, slight yeast/bread.

T: Closer to wine than beer. Apples, pear, off-dry, background yeast/bread. Acidity brings a nice crispness. For the delicacy of the flavors the high ABV is hidden well.

M: Super carbonated, full bodied but still quick-flowing.

O: It's good, a cool concept executed very well. Would be a great crossover drink for either wine or beer diehards. (548 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rich golden hued ale with just a trace of head that covers half of the top of this beer. Excellent clarity and vibrant carbonation bubbles. There's not much aroma here but I get the faint grape must that could almost be mistaken for a lager yeast smell. The taste delivers the strong,dry white grape flavor. The mouth is is moderately carbonated and dry. (354 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Noble Rot a few weeks ago for $13.99 at The Lager Mill. I had a sample of this beer a a couple weeks ago and I thought it was nice so I thought I would sit down with a bottle and give it a proper review, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a 750ml brown bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, it's a little weird looking, but it's also a little eye catching. It poured a pretty clear pale yellow color that reminded me a little of a white wine and it took on more of a golden color when held to the light with a finger and half of bubbly white head that quickly died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but the head and lacing were a little weak.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by some grapes being the first to show up and they impart a pretty white grape like aroma that seems to stick out the most. Up next comes some signature spicy Saison yeast with nice citrus like aroma with some lemon aromas coming through nicely. Towards the end comes the malts which impart some wheaty and pale malt like aspects. This beer had a pretty nice aroma, the grape must worked nicely with the Saison base.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the grape still being the first to show and they impart that same nice white grape aspect that I got in the aromas and it's follow by a little bit of tartness. Up next comes the Saison yeast which imparts those signature spicy yeast flavors followed by a slight malt flavor with some pale malts and wheat showing up. Towards the end comes a nice citrus flavor with lemon still sticking out the most with a little more tartness and a slight earthy flavors with a sweet, white grape, and Saison yeast like aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer there was good balance between grape must and the Saison base.

M- Smooth, a little refreshing, crisp, clean, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was very nice and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this beer was pretty nice and I thought it was a nice example of a fruited Saison, the Saison base was nice and it was recognizable as a Saison and the grape must wasn't too over powering and it worked well with the Saison yeast, plus the alcohol was hidden very well, there's no way I would guess this is 9%. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was smooth, clean, crisp, a little refreshing, not filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I don't think I would have a problem drinking a whole bottle by myself and I think this was be a great beer to enjoy in the summer time. What I like the most about this beer was the way that the grape must worked with the Saison base, It worked together much better than I originally expected, I also liked the way that the alcohol was hidden and the mouthfeel were also very noteworthy. What I liked the least about this beer was the appearance, it wasn't bad, but I wish the head and lacing were a little more Saison like. I would buy this beer again, but not often since it's a little pricey, I think $10 would be a good price for this beer. I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes fruity Saisons, it falls nicely into that category. All in all I enjoyed this beer and I'm glad that I bought a bottle to review. I'm not a big wine fan so I didn't think this beer would appeal to me much, but after I had that sample a little while ago I released that I was overlooking it for no good reason. Nice job guys, this was a nice and unique Saison, keep up the creative work. (3,808 characters)

Photo of Badger6
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into a snifter, bottled 12/09/2013 from imprint on bottle neck.

A: Light yellow color, crystal clear, lots of visible carbonation. 1-2 fingers foamy, white head, diminishes rapidly with almost no lacing. Nothing about the appearance screams better than average....

S: Main scent of white grape juice. Saison yeast is noticeable, with notes of pepper, lemon and wet straw- distinctly Brett-like. Starting to get exciting, very complex aroma.

T: Tart grape flavors up front, immediately followed by peppery yeast, other spices like coriander and clove hinting through, distinct lemony notes, and stone fruits into a smooth and refreshing finish. Unlike most saisons this has no malty or bread aftertaste. Easily the most complex tasting saison I've ever had.

M: Crisp body with a surprisingly balanced carbonation considering the appearance. As the beer warmed the mouthfeel mellowed. No booziness, and very easy and refreshing on the palate.

O: This is not a typical DFH. It may be 'off-centered' and unique, but it is not funky like many of their offerings. The white grape must is about perfectly balanced to the underlying beer. Easily one of the easiest drinking beers I've tasted, yet incredibly complex and full of flavor. This is the first time I've tasted this offering from DFH, and it is easily my favorite. (1,357 characters)

Photo of Flopjack
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Golden to soft yellow, small head about half finger settles quickly, light smooth lace. Transparent.

Smell - Grape, yeast, a smooth almost honey like aroma and some malts

Taste - Pungent grape that settles slightly bitter not to overwhelm. Has slight notes of pear. More complex than I had originally expected. Settles with a fruity yeast like flavor. Almost no alcohol presence, very light. Wheatiness at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy carbonation. Light to medium body resulting in a smooth and clean texture.

Overall - This was the first time I have had this beer and I thought it was good. Definitely similar to a saison or fruity Belgian ale. This beer is scary because you don't get overwhelming alcohol, just pungent fruitiness. Will buy again. (804 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of white head that quickly fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, funky, and very juicy Belgian style aroma with big hints of grapes. Belgian yeast upfront with hints of pepper, clove, and a Brett like funky scent. Big white wine like scent of white grapes. Also some fruit hints of pear, apple, and citrus orange and lemon zest. Pale malts with hints of grains, wheat, straw, cracker, and biscuit. Some candied sugar as well. Hop presence is pretty subtle. A nicely zesty and spicy aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a nicely juicy, tart, and yeasty Belgian style taste with lots of grapes. Upfront taste of Belgian yeast with good notes of black peppers, clove, and a funky taste that is somewhat Brett like. Big taste of white grapes throughout giving a nicely tart white wine like taste. Also some fruit notes of pear, apple, lemon zest, and orange. Sweet notes of candied sugar. Soft pale malt with notes of wheat, grains, biscuit, straw, and cracker. Hops are very subtle. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very juicy, spritzy, and funky. Finishes pretty dry. Alcohol heat is covered very well.

Overall: A very good twist on a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale. Good Belgian yeast notes with a great kick of tart and funky grapes. (1,502 characters)

Photo of Scrapss
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the Turbinator.

A: Effervescent straw color, active. A few fingers reduce to a 5 mm disk that lasts all the way to bottom. clear. lacing is very slight. No gushing present. Looks a lot like a tame champagne.

S: It actually has a classic funk, but it's not a straight Bretted or Lactic funk. It's different and has to do with an attribute of the must? Bready yeast notes are present. Light fruits.

T: That nose is perfectly replicated in the taste. Bready, lactic, sweet almost like concord white grape-apple juice. Pinot Grigio like notes. Taut dryness. Metallic and slightly unpleasant as it warms.

M: Smooth, most likely due to bottle conditioning and tight carbonation. The side of tongue is sweet, lactic and musty biterness. Not very hot.

O: This is like a mild funky champagne. I really like it, but there a much better saisons that have more of everything just kinda "turned up" a hair bit. Sam and company surprised me with this one. Was not expecting subtlety I encountered with this brew. (1,031 characters)

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