Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #21
Ranked #34,147
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
Reviews by LeRose:
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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
More User Reviews:
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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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IPAchris from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -20.2%

Dec 02, 2014
Photo of bosslux
bosslux from New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

Jul 22, 2014
Photo of DWolf
DWolf from Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -20.2%

Nov 12, 2013
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Scott_McCool from Florida

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Dec 18, 2013
Photo of DrBobPierce
DrBobPierce from Michigan

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Nov 17, 2014
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canawler from Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Oct 30, 2013
Photo of greyghost86
greyghost86 from Delaware

3/5  rDev -20.2%

Jul 07, 2014
Photo of ChipChaight
ChipChaight from New York

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

Sep 05, 2015
Photo of tykechandler
tykechandler from Kentucky

4/5  rDev +6.4%

Sep 12, 2014
Photo of VeganUndead
VeganUndead from Virginia

3.25/5  rDev -13.6%

Feb 27, 2014
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JCicero08 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +13%

Jun 19, 2014
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Griffith from Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Aug 06, 2014
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Sarge3130 from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Nov 15, 2013
Photo of Derek_Besly
Derek_Besly from Massachusetts

4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mar 08, 2015
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abdielyoda from New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Mar 23, 2014
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jschott75 from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Jan 19, 2014
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Lucular from Maryland

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

Mar 09, 2015
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webmanspidey from Michigan

3.76/5  rDev 0%

Nov 13, 2014
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Jonada from New Jersey

3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottled on 10/11/2013. Served in a Teku

Appearance: Pours amber in color with hints of red. 2+ fingers of an off white head with decent retention and lacing. Body is reasonably clear with some light visible carbonation.

Smell: Generic herbs and spices, spicy almost quasi belgian yeast character, somewhat medicinal. I was able to pick out the lingonberries also

Taste: Nice mild tartness upfront followed by a general tart berry character and a strong sweet spiciness (I believe this is the birch syrup but I could be mistaken) and a hint of molasses.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, soft mouthfeel. Carbonation is medium and works quite well for this particular beer. Booze is hidden well. Has an almost dry finish which seems rare for a DFH beer.

Overall: A bit more herb/spice forward than I was expecting. I was hoping they'd really let the berries shine through an be the star of the beer, but that didn't end up being the case. Nevertheless, this is still a decent offering that's worth picking up if you're a DFH fan. Not the best of the ancient ales series, but certainly not the worst either.

Oct 22, 2013
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Ryan25 from North Carolina

3.76/5  rDev 0%

Nov 15, 2014
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kaelingirl from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Mar 19, 2014
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skcrowley from New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +13%

Nov 09, 2014
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drwatson32 from Ohio

4.98/5  rDev +32.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I like all of the factors that much

Dec 28, 2014
Kvasir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 666 ratings