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Birra Etrusca | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
142 Reviews
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Birra EtruscaBirra Etrusca

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by billab914 on 12-09-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 142 | Ratings: 773
Photo of Gavage
3.6/5  rDev -4%

Dark amber in color with a short head that breaks down quickly. The aroma is mostly wheat and fruit sweetness. Wheat flaovr is strong with some honey sweetness, dark fruit sweetness, and a moderate bitterness. Lightly crisp throughout with dryness late. A slower sipping beer and one glass is enough in a session.

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Photo of Brackh
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Poured a dark brownish with a fizzy head. Smells earthy and the taste matches up with it. Very carbonated. Reminds me almost of a wine. Cannot put my finger on all of the different spices. Nothing is super distinct. I like the overall taste though. Would come back to it again.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Appearance - Served in a snifter, the beer with amber in color with a white head crowning the glass.

Smell - Smelling the beer, I would swear I just walked into a humidor and I cannot afford these cigars.

Taste - There are a lot of things listed on the bottle, I really can't distinguish any of them. There is a Middle Eastern spiciness to this one. It makes me think a cardamom. There is also a certain smokiness that reminds me of a cigar. The beer is peppery, though not particularly fruity toward the finish.

Mouthfeel - The peppery sensation gives this one some bite. Though it is not particularly thick, I would not call it an easy drinker.

Overall - I generally do not like Dogfish Head's ancient beers, but I like this one. It does not match the description on the bottle, but I like it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -20%

Draft: Poured a light amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of hazelnut and unrefined grain is more or less interesting. Taste is also dominated by unrefined grain with some strong notes of hazelnut with some residual sugars which is probably derived of the honey that was added to this beer. Body is light with medium carbonation and with no apparent alcohol. I appreciate all the historical research that went into this beer but not sure I really enjoy the final product enough to try this one again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 8/5/2014 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a goblet glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains spices, honey, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong herbal spice flavor followed by sweetness from flavors of honey and caramel. The malt character is very mild but provides a decent balance. The after-taste is spicy and slightly sweet.

M: A little crisp and a little smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s just a mediocre beer overall.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle served in a Duvel Tulip glass. Bottled on 06/18/13.

Appearance: Hazy coppery-brown. Light tan head upon pouring died back fairly quickly and left nothing behind. No lacing at all.

Smell: Yeast and lots of fruits (grape, apple).

Taste: All sorts of flavor. Honey like sweetness mixed in with lots of fruits - apples, grapes, pomegranate. There is a peppery taste right before the finish. The finish is slightly tart and sour, and again fruit-like.

Mouthfeel: Juicy, slick, light carbonation.

Overall / Drinkability: A very unique beer. I've never had a beer like this - but that's the point isn't it? If this is what the Etruscans were drinking (roughly) over 2800 years ago...then count me in for enjoying a cup from time to time. I picked up a bottle because the price was right (on sale - $5.99) and aged over a year it's still quite good. It paired very well with food (Chicken Paillard with curry gravy and red lettuce salad) and as a very fruity beer, I think it might go well with a variety of other foods as well. So for drinkability, I never got tired of the large glass I poured for myself and the alcohol is dangerously well hidden. Overall, an unique experience and worth a try. I might actually pick up a bottle again if the price is right. Not an amazing beer, but it has its charm.

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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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Birra Etrusca from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 142 ratings.