Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #21
Ranked #33,867
3.76 | pDev: 11.97%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Very Good
Notes: With the help of biomolecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern, we've re‐created another Ancient Ale, this time from the Nordic climes of Scandinavia.

The recipe for Kvasir was developed with the help of chemical, botanical and pollen evidence taken from a 3,500‐year‐old Danish drinking vessel. The vessel, made of birch bark, was found in the tomb of a leather‐clad woman Dr. Pat says was probably an upper-class dancer or priestess. The analysis pointed to the ingredients used in this unique brew: wheat, lingonberries, cranberries, myrica gale, yarrow, honey and birch syrup.

The base of Kvasir is a toasty red winter wheat, and the bog-grown berries deliver a pungent tartness. While a handful of hops is used, the earthy, bitter counterpunch to the sweet honey and birch syrup comes from the herbs.
Reviews: 113 | Ratings: 666 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Bluecrow
Bluecrow from New York

3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This murky, amber bottle pour with tan cap, hosts a candy sweet aroma with some tart fruit notes. The flavor is herbal. Light molasses and slightly sour grape flavors balance each other. There are woody aspects too.

Aug 01, 2019
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BenHoppy from Michigan

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

Aged 2 years so may be a shell of former self although it seems to be on par with other reviews.

L: tea like cranberry juice
A: cranberry, licorice, tea, birch, and wet basement
F: gueze lambic like, tarty, juice, thin to medium, almost like a tea with some alcohol added
T: cranberry, birch, licorice, lambic, tea, honey, lemon, wet basement, slightly boozy along with some raspberry rootbeer
O: not too bad of a brew, reminded me of a not so good lambic but good in its own right.

Aug 26, 2018
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drdiesel9483 from Ohio

3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Got this in a flight of 4 aged beers at dogfish head
Bottled 2013 drank 2017
Look - thin dark golden color with no real head
Smell - light fruit punch
Taste - lacking much taste, super super super light fruit punch. Kind of like when you forget to add enough powder or suger to your fruit punch
Feel - medium bodied syrup with no real carbonation
Overall - needs more taste

May 04, 2017
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HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Orange /bronze color.smells tar,sour,various fruit,and alcohol. Definitely the alcohol comes out in the taste as well as the fruit and sour tart taste.. otherwise it also had a taste that reminded me of wine if all things. It can get a bit sour but otherwise I found it to be very different in a good way.it's something to try when you want to get out of the box

Apr 28, 2017
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BloodSoakedAleMug from New York

3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Look: Pours a cloudy, unfiltered burnt orange color with a thick two finger head of off white foam.

Smell: Delightfully tart with aromas of cranberry and sugarplums, even raspberry. Herbal notes of english tea and honeysuckle.

Taste: Hmm... this one is hard to describe. Upfront, you're greeted by the warmth of the alcohol. The heat from the ABV combines with the flavor of sour cranberry and sweet birch syrup to give the beer a slightly medicinal and bitter, pleasantly tart and sweet Ludens cough drop-esque taste. There are some herbaceous notes of tea in the background, dancing with sweet notes of honey and very, very mild caramel. Finishes bittersweet with more notes of wet tea, tart berries and alcohol.

Feel: Noticeably boozy but not extremely hot or alcoholic on the palate. Medium body with low carbonation.

Overall Comments: Very intriguing. My only complaint is that the medicinal, bitter flavor can get a little too much at times. Otherwise a really unique beer with an incredibly interesting flavor profile.

Oct 16, 2016
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample while checking out the expo at HomeBrewCon.
Slightly hazy light copper color with a decent off white head. Tart berries light earthy herbal something to counter. Weird for sure but it kind of works.

Jun 19, 2016
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AlCaponeJunior from Texas

3.79/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

An odd one from DFH, but interesting anyway. Not overwhelming in any of its attributes, most of the aromas and flavors are subtle. Enjoyable but Its probably not going to get me to do a cartwheel lol.

Jun 11, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Large botle served in a Belgian snifter. Bottle Date: 8/6/15

Appearance: slightly hazy copper-amber; not much lacing gets left on the glass, though.

Aroma: fruity, moderately strong and pleasant. Suggests both tart and sweet elements. Hints of honey and berries.

Taste: tart and sweet in about equal measure, with a bit less bitterness. Cranberry is pretty obvious; lingonberries less so; birch syrup not at all. Suggestions of plums and faint cherries.

Feel: Near medium carbonation. Medium-full body; near puckering tartness.

Overall: very interesting; engaging and complex but not challenging. I'm glad I got to try this.

May 18, 2016
Photo of LeRose
LeRose from Massachusetts

3.54/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer was poured into a tumbler at about 40 degrees.

Appearance - a slightly cloudy, bronze colored brew. Definite hints of reddish color. Carbonation was lively, and an aggressive pour produced half a glass of foam that quickly fell to a cap. Some cling.

Smell - honey is right in the forefront on this beer. Then some herbal aromas that I will assume are from the yarrow and other herbs used in this concoction. I don't know specifically what these things smell/taste like, but suffice to say there are herbal/floral smells. I get a faint fruit in the aroma, and a wheat/biscuit undercurrent. Very mild fruit/berry note on the nose.

Taste - honey and sweetness on the initial taste. The honey is dominant but somehow fails to overwhelm. There are herb-like flavors (again, assume they are what they claim), and not too much in the way of actual berry or cranberry flavor. Since this beer is an ancient ale, supposedly 3500 years old, not sure how cranberries would be in the recipe since true cranberry is a native North American fruit, but OK it has some red berry flavor. There is a significant bitter punch to this beer that subsides quickly to be replaced by a sensation of sweetness (not sticky) and the phenolic mouth feel characteristic of cranberries. I get a sensation that reminds of of a gose - I swear there is a sense of saltiness. There is a mild tartness thanks to the berries. It is an interesting, if somewhat jumbled, combination of flavors.

The mouthfeel - this is where I get more of a sense of the berries. Not so much the flavor, but the "phenolic" feeling cranberry imparts to the tongue (I work with them every day). The acidity reinforces that. The 10% doesn't hide, but it is not obtrusive, either. The beer is light bodied, a bit of carbonation tingle, dry and astringent on the finish.

I like the ancient ales in general as much for the story as the beer, and this one is no exception. But love or hate, they are an experience. This one was a good experience - not great, but enjoyable enough. I don't think it can be judged to style - nobody alive knows what this brew actually was, but gruit is probably as close as it gets and it fits the rather loose definition, maybe a bit loosely. It's not a smooth drinker, but it does contain enough interesting highlights to make it worth a try for the slightly adventurous.

Mar 01, 2016
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Myotus from Texas

4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured hard at 47°F from a 750ml bottle into a Mikasa Ale glass. Consumed on 02Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with a finger and a half's worth of white foam that dissipates into a quarter's worth after 1 minute and 20 seconds. Burnt orange with an extreme amount of cloudiness. Rising bubbles are scarce in quantity and medium in size. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: Strong aromas of honey and sweet crandberries entangle with mild sweet/tart lingonberry, wheat, and lemony zest aromas along with some subtle aromas of alcohol and indistinguishable bitter/earthy herbs.
TASTE: Strong honey flavors first enter the palate and are immediately followed by strong cranberry and lingonberry flavors. The cranberry flavors bring a nice sweetness while the lingnonmberries bring a welcoming tartness. Mild wheat and lemony zest flavors continue the taste complexity as honey flavors grow slightly stronger. Subtle earthy/bitter herbal flavors (still indistinguishable) and hints of alcohol enter lastly as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Very full-bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Goes down somewhat smooth while sticking the back of the throat like syrup. A moderate and welcoming alcoholic warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat. Finishes with a mild dryness.
NOTE: Another great and unique beer that is to be expected from DFH. These guys do not disappoint. This was extremely sweet with a bitterness that did not being any balance; and I loved every minute of it. If you love the sweeter of beers, this might be just for you.

Feb 02, 2016
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle Date: 8/6/15
Palate Contaminants: sweets an hour before

Finally, found a bunch of Ancient Ales. I'll start with the one that shouldn't sit in the fridge.

Appearance is an opaque medium amber, not much lacing in the glass, though.

Smell is really pleasant. Mostly sweet Thanksgiving cranberry with some honey and a berry flower that I can't quite place.

Taste doesn't match the smell, but it's still easy to knock back. It actually reminds me of fermented apple cider – the kind grandpa had – more than anything else. I'm also picking up plums, and there's a lot more floral presence as it warms up. It's not overly sweet, though. The sweetness gives way to mild bitterness and sourness, but it's by no means unpleasant. After that fades, it goes back to an orchard tree aftertaste.

Feel is really carbonated, at least my bottle is. There's a whole bunch of weird stuff going on.

Well, I had to try it at least once, and I'm glad I did.

Jan 30, 2016
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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

25 ounce bottle poured into ale glass. 2015 vintage.

L: 3 finger foamy head, little retention, only a thin ring. Beer is a light amber.

S: Berries, honey, the ancient ingredients I really can't place

T: Tart cranberry and sweet honey up front, wheat backbone

F: Medium bodied, needs more balance, no carbonation, really. No sense of alcohol.

O: Definitely different and worth a shot.

Jan 06, 2016
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

$ 18.99 ($ 14.99 + $ 4 shipping) for 25.4 oz ($ 0.751/oz) bottle from the Craft Shack
Bottled 08/05/15, served at 42 degrees into snifter, allowed to warm to 50 degrees
Aroma – slightly fruity, nothing distinct
Head average (Three cm, aggressive pour), light tan (looks dirty), frothy, diminishing to four mm ring and partial layer
Lacing poor – rare short leg of tiny bubbles
Body medium amber, cloudy
Flavor fruity, slightly sweet, with a medicinal bend; no malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly syrupy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.25, Aroma 3.25, Flavor 3.25, Palate 3.5, Overall 3.25

Jan 01, 2016
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(bottled 08/05/15 - a holiday gift... poured into a large, fat wine glass - several pours, bottle to myself)

L: rather cloudy, reddish-amber liquid... rather lovely tight creamy look to the foam, until some of the dregs slip in, craggin it up - not all that big a deal, though not dazzled

S: honey (almost like buckwheat variety) most prominent, with a hint of the cranberry on the edges... the alcohol is quite subtle, more in estery essence than sharp pungency... I was expecting more facets in aroma from the herbs, however, I suppose they were used more for bittering purposes... strangely, the foam seems to inhibit clarity in scent definition

T: tart, but more up front? no, later it shifts to and hangs in the back of the palate, then trails off... the finish is mostly honey with subtle vinous overtones... bold, lingering bitterness and maybe a touch of boozy spice... it tastes like a hefe (or kottbusser??) w/ honey and cran added and some extra bitterness tossed in... is this reeeally 10%?! - yeah, I suppose it is, but what a nice job keepin it chill

F: sudsy fluffy-foamy up top, while light-bodied yet lightly slick on bottom... the fact that the fire is so tame is fantastic

O: concept way more interesting than the beer... honey, when not in balance, has a way of sort of blanketing all the other flavors - may be the case here... this tastes like a one-off whateva batch that you'd find on tap at the Rehoboth brewpub - there's a lot of damn ingredients in here - too much clash, or too conservative a recipe... all in all, this doesn't taste all that unique compared to most high-octane honey-infused brew, let alone the fact that DFH has a yeast profile that dominates all their big beers, making each one merely a slight variation rather than a bright innovation

Dec 28, 2015
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.17/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I did not detect as much cranberry as I had hope, but my old lady did.

There was more spice to me than anything else, but this ancient ale was far more satisfactory to me than others that DFH has concocted, namely Etrusca and Namaste.

Dec 16, 2015
Photo of MacMalt
MacMalt from New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draught at a restaurant. The color is a rich red-amber with a thick, off-white head and lacing with excellent retention. The smell is quite interesting: with red fruit, honey, and bready-malt. The taste follows the nose: tart, almost sour cranberries, cherry, and herbs, along with honey. This ale is medium-bodied and it hides the 10% ABV surprisingly well. I've tried several ales of this style and this one is clearly the best. It is really enjoyable.

Dec 07, 2015
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BranfordBound from Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had on Thanksgiving into a wine glass, bottle date says 2015, I believe. Pours copper color with a decent white head that takes some time to fade. Smell is very sweet, tart fruit, hints of herb. Taste is similar, this is a sweeter brew for sure. Notes of plums and apricot first, some nondescript herbal notes in the middle. Finish is dry, tart, and has a strong cranberry taste. Effervescent and lingering taste in the mouth, medium bodied. No hints of alcohol so this will catch up fast. Nice beer overall.

Nov 27, 2015
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clayrock81 from Florida

3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper tinted amber body with light head and little lace. Aroma comes across as floral and honey sweetened along with a minor tart berry scent. Medium bodied, slightly sticky and sweet from the honey and this sweetness is balanced with a non-descript yet tasty berry profile that comes across as slightly sweet and tart. ABV is well-hidden and beer is easy to drink and finishes dry and slightly tart.

Oct 23, 2015
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BeerImmediately from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Haven't been reviewing much in past year, but never had this style, so here we go...

750ml capped bottle. Pours w/short off-white head over a cloudy deep-orange body. No lacing.
Aromas are full of flowery honey, with sweet syrup, and cranberries in the back.
Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, but even more carbonation than I expected.
Flavor is as advertised - juicy, and featuring slightly tart cranberries balanced by honey and syrup.
Overall, an easy drinking 10% that had all the originality I've come to love from DFH!

Oct 20, 2015
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vladdswrath from Washington

3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours red amber with a big but light bodied head that fades quickly. Smell is sweet, fruity and dessert-like...almost cherry pie. Taste is incredibly sharp and sour, lots of cranberry coming through along with bits of honey and herbs. Mouthfeel is quite thin and dry, with a noticeable alcohol burn...although the flavors mask the 10% ABV beautifully.

Oct 19, 2015
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richj1970 from Alabama

4.16/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml bottle dated 8/6/2015.

A: Pours a reddish golden brown with 3 finger white head. Nice retention and plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Tart berries, green apples, honey, caramel, and biscuit malts.

T: Cherries, cranberries, and honey mixed with some herbal qualities.

M: Full bodied with a slight syrup light quality. Finish is a little tart and sweet.

O: Based on some of the reviews, I had some reservations about this one, but it turned out to be a nice change of pace and something I enjoyed quite a bit.

Oct 17, 2015
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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

3.52/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasted at Good Beer Festival in Salisbury, MD. I will admit that I didn't take copious notes, but this was not a standout. The 10.00% ABV can cover up a lot of transgressions, but "cherry/cranberry tart" is not one of them. Plus I really don't particularly like cranberries. Once you strip those two away, there's not much left of this beer.
Maybe I'm just not into sours, but this one did not do anything for me.

Oct 10, 2015
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jopezu from Georgia

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a peachy amber, with a large soapy head that stays around. nose; a tart & fruit/cranberry sweetness. taste; sharp berry & grape must, cranberry sweets, honey and finishes tart & semi-dry. reminds me a bit of a sour, but much more drinkable. the 10% is amazingly well hidden. another dogfish head ancient ale with an exotic ingredient list that makes an.... eh, interesting "one and done" experience.

Oct 05, 2015
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hophugger from Virginia

3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a pale, slightly orangeish color with incredible head and pretty darn good lacing. Aroma of light cranberry and sweet malt. Taste is predominantly cranberry with other tart berries, raw sugar and some cold, sweet malt. Balance is decent and mouthfeel is amazing........

Sep 30, 2015
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iheartmyTHO from Georgia

2.98/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

If you like tart and funky tasting beers, then this might be the one for you. I can deal with funk, but I don't particularly care for tart or sour flavors in my beer. The funk is kind of yeasty with some minor herbal notes.

I don't think this was a bad beer, but just not for me.

Sep 18, 2015
Kvasir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 666 ratings