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Birra Etrusca - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Birra EtruscaBirra Etrusca

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

136 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 136
Hads: 742
Avg: 3.75
pDev: 13.6%
Wants: 36
Gots: 115 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: billab914 on 12-09-2012

This beer is based on a beverage that may have been enjoyed by the Etruscans of Ancient Italy around 800 BC. A strong ale containing an Italian heirloom grain called Cappelli Senatore, along with pomegranate juice, raisins, and hazelnut flour, together with 3 types of honey: chestnut, wildflower, and clover. Spiced with several hop flowers, Gentian root and tree resin (think Myrrh) in the kettle.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 136 | Hads: 742
Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The appearance was orange with some darker hues through it. The smell was full of earthy nutty notes but almost a pinot noir smell to it as well. The taste wasn't for me though with a lot of raisin and fruit flavors where I was hoping for more of the hazelnut and more heavy flavors. Still an interesting beer and it should be tried, but I don't see myself buying another.

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Photo of utfiero
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- brassy red. Slight head.

Aroma- Fermented fruit and raisin.

Taste- Interesting and unique. Starts mildly fruity with light sweetness yet in the late middle turns slightly sour finishing with an earthy lingering mild floral note. The 8.5% ABV is well masked. Another quality brew from DFH.

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Photo of BrewUSA
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DogFishHead EtRusCa This 'Ancient Ale' has had some serious research put into it! Brewer's, Dr.'s and Scientist's alike did some research and did their best to recreate an alcoholic beverage from 800 B!C!!! It's an interesting story. I encourage you to peep it on the inter webs~ Pours Amber/Copper/Orangeish in color, reminiscent of a juice~ Nose is of Pepper, Flowers and Green Onions, rather odd~Medium Body, equal parts tart and bitter~ Taste is by far the most Unique I ever had~ Right away it tastes like Patchouli! And Masa (Tamale) with over lays of Pomegranate, Raisin, Honey, Sweet/Dark Fruits, and honestly, some Flavors I just flat out can't put my thumb on (or never had.... It's pretty unique) This is a bit of a Novelty/Gimmick brew, that said its also genuinely educational~ I recommend everyone try it! Overall: 7.2

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper brown in color with vibrant carbonation and great clarity. The head vanished immediately. I smell honey and plenty of amber malt. There's a sweetness from the honey and the amber malt that is very prevalent upon tasting. There's an intense peppery earthiness from the spices. It's aggressively carbonated but has a dry,crisp finish.

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Photo of metter98
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving some wispy lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of Middle Eastern spices are present in the nose along with some hints of pomegranates.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but seems to be more complex and has additional notes of myrrh and slight hints of honey. The spices aren't as strong as they are in the smell, but seem to be most prominent in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be rather easy to drink and had a good balance among all of the different ingredients as neither of them seemed to be overpowering. This beer could pair well with food but is also interesting enough to drink on its own.

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Photo of brentk56
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color capped by an impressive head of foam that leaves some dots and dashes behind

Smell: Beyond anything in the beer world that I have smelled before, this beer has some spices (the myrrh and gentian root, perhaps) that give it the smell of a Middle Eastern spice shop; the raisin and pomegranate are recognizable enough and there is a clear honey tone

Taste: Perhaps this would be a taste treat for the ancients, but I am glad to be living in the 21st century as the sweetness, the weird spices and the fruit flavors create a bizarre opening and it moves in a phenolic band-aid direction from which I cannot escape

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Another interesting experiment but a failure to my palate

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Photo of Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that fizzled quickly to nothing. It is a copper color with tiny little bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bready and caramel malts with some honey, pepper, vanilla, herbal, and raisins.

Taste: Pretty much same as above with some nutty notes and a little warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation, a little dry, chewy, light to medium bodied, and a little tingly.

Overall: For a gruit/herbed beer, this was pretty tasty and easy to drink. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish, amber with a pearl white, thin head. Some lacing. Has a pretty great smell, complex. Definitely lots of honey and pomegranate, banana, yeast and some fruit funk. Taste is along the same line with some citrus and pepper. Can't really pick out much hazelnut, which I was kind of hoping for. Feel is light and crisp, works well with the citrus and mild sour flavors. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall, a great trip off the beaten path. Some new flavors that you don't see much and I applaud DFH as always for trying new things. One of my favorite parts of these beers is reading the story of their inception and history, and this one has some great flavors to go with it.

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Photo of TheBrouMaster
4.34/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- pours a crystal clear deep copper, with a 1 finger head that quickly dissipates, the carbonation slashes into that glass and makes a cola like fizz

S- pomegranate right up front on the nose followed by rich brown sugar, dark fruits with a yeasty medicinal like finish

T- a fizzy carbonation pop followed by a tart cherry crush, sweet dark fruits, subtle orange and honey follow, finishes with a mix of alcohol honey and pomegranate

M- light to medium in body, easy to drink, fizzy tingling carbonation, sweet with a slightly dry finish

O- very interesting ancient ale, tons of flavor, very complex, slightly medicinal and funky. Not bad, would def go for another pint.

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Photo of Fcolle2
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an odd murky burnt orange with a slight caramel hue. Head is huge and violently fizzy until it dissipates leaving rolling carbonation bubbling vigorously through the whole beer.

Smell is interesting. I'm getting some light honey and molasses aromas forward before a sharp crisp dry grape aroma cuts through all the sweetness some nutty aromas and spices finish in the nose

Taste has a lot going on. A multitude of flavors assault the tongue all at once. Some pomegranate can be picked out along with lots of honey, champagne, wood, molasses and a small amount of caramel. It's hard to tell where one stops and the others start

Mouthfeel is intense. Sharp vigorous carbonation, dry finish, moderate sweetness and sharp acidic sourness. This beer is a little all over the place.

Overall this is a crazy beer, I'm still not quite sure what I just drank. Interesting, just too crazy. Extra props on making a crazy and creative beer like this drinkable.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

deep copper with a red amber hue, no lacing, no head.
smells of clove, grapes, corriander, a strong underlying tone of raw honey straight from the hive. raisins and slight fruit notes.
Strong fruit flavor, much more than I was expecting! honey, pomegranite, a slight alcohol undertone, mild maltiness, it has a sweetness and the taste of corriander and a slight bitterness lingers long after the finish
Yet another intruiging ancient ale from Dogfish Head! It took me some time to figure out what I think of this beer, it has a lot of different and conflicting flavors but it really makes it an interesting beer to drink. I don't believe I'll buy it again, but I did find it intruiging and should be tried. I like the fact that its's sort of like drinking a beer that the ancient Tuscans drank.


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Photo of Radome
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Color is a deep copper to amber with a nice reddish tint; very clear. Head is weak and disappears entirely after a few minutes. No lacing, but the beer leaves "legs" on the glass.

S - Aroma of honey and grape must, more like a mead than an beer. There is a soft herbal note, maybe saffron. Malt is very muted and there are no hops evident. Sweet alcohol aroma.

T - Bready malt up front, mixed with the honey and saffron. There are enough earthy hops to knock the sweetness down. Towards the end of the palate the honey and grape must dominate on the way to a semi-dry finish. Alcohol is not prominent, despite the nose.

M - Medium to heavy body. Very low carbonation and hops bitterness. No alcohol burn.

O - Interesting aromas and flavors. Lack of carbonation and head detract from an otherwise very appealing beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750 ml capped bottle - bottled 6/17/13

clear orange rust color with cherry red highlights. white head fades instantly. herbal, earthy sweetness. a bit cloying. sweet, fruity. honey, golden raisins. needs more balance. thin body, the initial fizzy carbonation fades to a syrupy, sticky, feel.

overall - unique and interesting, but one's enough for me.

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Photo of corby112
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear dark orange/golden copper color with mahogany edges and a one finger off-white head that immediately disappears. Nice color but has very pour retention with no head or lacing to speak of.

Musty, slightly spicy aroma with a prominent vinous dark fruit presence. Some earthy funk with barnyard and oak along with dank, resinous oils and pungent spice. Almost curry-like which I guess is coming from the myrrh. This is pretty strong in the nose but us countered by the dark fruit sweetness. Hints of raisin, plum, date and pomegranate countering the funk and musty spice.

On the fuller end of medium body with a surprising amount of carbonation considering how quickly it went flat even with an aggressive pour. Tastes very similar to the notes of the aroma with an even stronger vinous dark fruit presence than expected. Some earthy, musty funk along with strong peppery spice. Again, I'm guessing the myrrh is really standing out with an earthy, resinous flavor along with some peppery clove and cardamom. The pomegranate raisin and other dark fruit flavors stand out throughout the palate but are most prominent toward the back end, lingering long after the finish. The pomegranate and raisin sweetness is very prominent along with grape, dark cherry, currant and other dark berries. Kind of reminds me of a prunier barbera wine with strong peppery spice and slightly tart, musty funk. Overall, not the most flavorful beer but more interesting than some of the other ancient ales. I wouldn't order or buy it again but I enjoyed trying it.

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Photo of SavvyStudent
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Just by the copper appearance and sweet notes on the nose I thought this beer was going to be another interesting find from DFH. Unfortunately this is out of bounds for my liking as the pomegranate, raisin, tart profile is extremely sweet for me and not something I would drink again.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bronze and clear, nothing special about the head or lacing, in fact there wasn't much notable there.

Appearance aside, the typical dogfish head aroma and flavor come through with the usual elevated expected value. Fruit and honey come through immediately and are the natural descriptions for this beer, but there's also a somewhat funky, earthy, floral component that's hard to put my finger on. It may be this indescribable, yet awesomely delicious aspect of DFH ales that makes me love this brewery so much.

Body is really pretty light considering the fairly ample alcohol content and full flavor. Drinks way too easy. Always luv DFH ales.

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Photo of Ilovelampandbeer
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

poured from a bottle into a dogfish ipa glass

A-nice dark copper color, lacing that quickly disintegrates to just a ring...so much carbonation can be seen rising from the bottom its not even funny...for me very inviting
S-doesnt mask the alcohol all that well...a lot of sweet honey and fruit that i cant quite put my finger on
T-a taste that definitely masks the alcohol way better than the smell..very enjoyable...not overly sweet but a lot of honey and fruit indeed. some pepper on the back end
M-very ok, kind of syrupy but not a dealbreaker
O-overall a very enjoyable change of pace...you can taste the quality in the ingredients and i like what dogfish does...its a brewery that, hit or miss, is the essence of this movement is all about and i recommend this brew if you want to switch it up with the ipas and stouts in the fridge

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Photo of DaveSchultz
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - I really like how this beer looks. Reddish copper in color, clear, and very warm. Moderate lacing. Head quickly dissipates.

S - Sweet and fruity. I'm getting the honey first and foremost. Pomegranate is there and definitely shows up more as the beer warms.

T - As advertised with the smell; honey and pomegranate. Sweet and maybe slightly tart. I think I'm getting some raisin on the aftertaste. Surprisingly not boozy at all for an 8.5% beer.

M - Smooth with a healthy bite from the carbonation.

O - I really like this beer. It's not something I would get a case of, but it's something I'd bring a pint of to a friend's house for a sampling and a brief history lesson. Another job well done by Dogfish.


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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear medium amber color. Two fingers of fizzy beige head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing.

4.75 S: Goddamn this is interesting, which is always what I want from a DFH ancient ale. I don't even know where to start, but I'll start by saying that it smells freakin' great. Honey is perhaps the most prominent. Pomegranate, raisin, apples, and grapes make a medley of fruit that works the nose so well. The hazelnut flour complements the other aromas perfectly. The other crap, that I know nothing about, adds an earthy herbal component. I'm really impressed. This is awesome.

3.75 T: The taste is also very good, but not insanely good like the nose. Raisin really comes out. Apple is almost as strong with pomegranate and grape under that. Hazelnut and honey. Booze is supremely well hidden. Like the nose, it is complex and super interesting.

3.75 M: I'm not at all familiar with what DFH was going for, so it's tough to comment on this aspect. Carbonation is on the lower end of moderate. Super smooth with a lighter medium body.

4.0 D: I very much enjoyed this. While I'm always glad I tried a strange DFH creation, I usually don't think they are worth the price. This one is different. I would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of Libationguy
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish-copper color with bronze hues. Very thin cream colored head with almost no retention. Almost no lacing; what is there is spotty.

Funky on the nose with a dry "feel": light roasted grain, walnuts, hazelnuts, pomegranate, sultanas, smoke and a metallic note.

Pomegranate, smoke, animal hair and a metallic edge that carries. Slightly bitter with a lingering aftertaste.

Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation that has more to it in the mouthfeel than in the appearance.

Just funky. I applaud Dogfish Head for putting it out there, but Etrusca seems to be a take it or leave it proposition.

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Photo of uld2541
4.6/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Unique is a definite understatement with this beer, and it's undoubtedly one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of things. If you like wine, you'll probably enjoy this beer. If you don't, you may still like it, but may be less likely.

Appearance is a light amber color with moderate head that doesn't stick around too long. The smell is very aromatic and, much like the taste, is kind of dry, if that makes any sense at all. There's a lot going on on the palette when you take a drink; some carbonation, overall pleasant. The taste is where this gets interesting. I've read some reviews that it's just a mish-mash of many different things; and while that is kind of the case, it works well for me. The two things in particular that stick out for me are; dry and pomegranate. The dry finish is what reminds me of a nice red wine, so maybe that falls more under mouth-feel, but nonetheless...overall, I wish they brewed more of it; one of my favorite all-time DFH brews.

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Photo of BlackDog
4.68/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Birra Etrusca pours a deep but clear bronze with a healthy head and lively carbonation bubbles. Lacing and retention are both as good as it gets.

The complexity of this beer comes out early in the nose. There are aromas of dark fruit, alcohol, and a variety of spices and herbs.

The taste is equally as complex and gratifying. Malt, dark fruit and apple come through early. It's very herbal, with a spicy yeast flavor, followed by a slight honey sweetness with a nice floral finish.

Birra Estrusca is a medium-bodied beer with a lively carbonation. There's a lot of flavors going on, but they work together nicely to make this a fairly drinkable beer.

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Photo of mscudder
2.89/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter.

A - Copper hue carrying a full off-white head with below average retention and lacing.

S - Blend of spices, citrus, burnt wood and light alcohol. Smells like some refreshing aerosol!

T - Slightly sweet, deriving mostly from honey, among a slew of spices which fail to blend admirably.

M - Thin, somewhat chalky body, with pale carbonation. Much to be desired.

O - This beer is just an empty attempt to create something unique. Bland flavors meshed in something that is passable at best.

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Photo of FembotsUnite
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber hue with a bright foamy head and little to no lacing. Head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Lots of winter spice up front followed with an almost smokey element. Cedar and sassafras come to mind.

Taste: Awesome. Heavyweight floral but it is balanced by the tart finish. The boozy ABV adds some nice sweetness as well. Taste is complex with the aforementioned spice and woodsy flavors as well as what I identified to be vanilla, falernum and ginger. But I'm not going by the label; I'm going by a sixtel.

Mouthfeel: Meh.

Overall: Contrary to the generally mediocre reviews of this beer, I find it wonderful. Normally i don't go for beers in dfh's massive cache of spiced ales but this one is worth trying.

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Photo of teromous
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Murky tea appearance with a very small head that goes away to complete flatness. Zero lacing.

S: There's a mild spice scent, similar to sarsaparilla. Nothing fancy here, just some spice.

T: There's a lot going on here. Clearly the taste is the star of the show. There's a fruity quality to it...a bit like cherry. There's a huge spice flavor as well, a bit like cinnamon, then there's a lot of clove flavor. It's interesting to read the ingredients on the bottle after tasting. Perhaps the sarsaparilla I smelled is gentian root, and the cherry flavor I tasted was actually the pomegranate juice? It could be. It has some very good and strong flavors, but I feel that some are much stronger than others. The flavors I described as "cinnamon" and "clove" (don't know if they used these) are very strong. I would have preferred it to be a bit more mellow.

M: The mouthfeel is fairly fleeting and doesn't have enough carbonation for a beer. After reading the bottle, it mentions that the beer pays homage to what might have been consumed before the arrival of wine. Could it be under-carbonated on purpose? Who knows. Drinkability is fairly low for me because of the quantity of spices.

O: Overall I thought the beer was interesting, but it's not something I would ever buy again. It's seemed interesting so I bought it, but I can't say I'm a fan. It reminds me of what an exotic perfume would taste like...I say taste because this doesn't have much scent to it.

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Birra Etrusca from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.