Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale
Ranked #19
Ranked #29,500
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.
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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 663
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer pours a ruby-orange amber color with a nice thick two finger foamy just off white head. The head has a pretty good level of retention, fading over time to leave a film of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is a mix of sweet and malty smells. The malty aromas are mainly of a grainy and light wheat nature with the sweet being a rather big mix of smells. Aromas of cranberry, loganberry, honey, boysenberry, and citrus are all there. There are some lighter notes of grass and herb mixed within there as well, giving the beer an overall fruity and sweet aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a crisp fruity and lightly wheat and grain flavor. The fruit is mainly of a loganberry and boysenberry flavor mixed with some light citrus and pear flavors upfront as well. Along with the sweeter fruit, is a nice big honey flavor creating a sweet and fruity taste overall. As the flavor advances the bready and wheat like flavors dwindle some, with more fruit flavors coming to the tongue. Instead of the fruit being sweet like it was upfront, the fruits of a cranberry flavor and some lemon that come in the middle bring with them a much more tart and slightly sour flavor to the taste. As the flavor advances more toward the end, it gets quite a bit more tart with some lighter hop flavors of a grassy flavor coming in as well. Along with the grassiness, comes some white wine like flavors with them bringing some tannin and alcohol tastes, which in the end produce a fruity and somewhat tart white wine like flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body is on the thinner and crisper side with the carbonation level being rather average to slightly on the higher side. Both are quite fantastic for the wine and tart fruit flavors of the brew giving it a very crisp and clean feel overall.

Overall – A rather interesting brew with a rather interesting tart fruit and wine-like taste. At first sip I didn’t think I liked it much, but over time, the more subtle, hard to explain nuances and flavors became more apparent, producing a rather intriguing and enjoyable sipper of a beer.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A- Chestnut colored body with a bubbly bone-white head. Some of the head clings to the glass, though the head dissipates quickly. Body is very transparent with some tiny bubbles floating to the top of the glass.

S- Some sweet berry aromas, wheat, honey, hints of fresh grass, an earthy herbal note, hints of citrus.

T- The berries come through first, leaving sweet then tart flavors, with the honey not far behind. Wheat comes through as well, adding a grainy flavor to take some of the sweetness away. Lots of bitterness on the finish, with some of the berry and hints of tart citrus coming through.

M- Thin and syrupy with medium carbonation. Very sticky, lingering aftertaste on the tongue.

O- Interesting, as most DFH beers are, but there is just too much going on for me. I think it might be tolerable if the berries weren't so potent. I will give it credit for drinkability, especially as it warms up. for a 10% beer it hides the alcohol well. Lots of sweetness too.

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

Poured from a 750mL into a snifter, the beer is a rose tinted copper coloring, slightly hazed and bright, with a frothy, filmy, off-white head. Aromas of cranberry and raspberry, but concentrated like they have been boiled for jam, with toasted grains and a kick of booze. Flavors are tart forward, with cranberry in the forefront, a subtle rich sweetness of honey, roast characteristics, woody notes, and a hint of booze. Bold, robust bodied, but it remains thin enough to be drinkable. The aftertaste is roasted and richly tart, with a subtle warmth building. Tangy fruit sweetness lingers into a thin, slick finish.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass.

Deep bronze red and orange body, quite crystal clear, but too dark to see anything through it. Slow rising column of carbonation in the middle, topped with a large and even made thick and fluffy four to three finger yellow to tan light head very uniform in appearance. Settles slowly with no lacing but with a large thick even puck. Great looker.

Nose seems heavily floral, lightly sweetened. I get this large lavender and lilac like nose off this thing, deeply floral with a little bit of honey sweetness. Very perfume like, and aromatic that carries throughout the air and nose. Quite enjoyable, and definitely unique. Not much else, but definitely herbal bents come later with garden green senses as it warms.

Palate brings nice feel and aromas for this grog. Definitely red berry like fruit but without large tartness, but just a tad, if mostly neutral between tart and sweet. Fruit component comes out like a juicy red apple as it warms as well. Nice played down sweetness, nothing hot or sticky off of this either. Real good juicy like mouthfeel to this if light bodied. Virtually no alcohol heat on this at all, zippo, nada, zilch. Sort of hints at winter warmer like spices, but more gruit and herbal with perfume aromatics on the finish.

Real fun and neat creation, quite memorable and unique. Nice work.

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Photo of xShoWTeKx
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a pinkish orange with about a 2 finger white head that dissipates pretty fast.

S: Strong cranberry and lingonberry smell up front with a light herb and alcohol finish.

T: Cranberry and lingonberry are the primary focus, with a very odd bitter tasting finish I assume it is some of the herbs I a picking up on the nose.

M: Extremely light bodied and very dry finish, pretty high carbonation.

O: I believe this is my least favorite DFH brew I have had yet, it's really watery and just not really all there it seems. It's not terrible but it's not really good either.

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Photo of MikeB20
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: 750ml bottle into a DFH signature glass.

A: Ruby brown with a huge creamy light tan head. Tons of lacing that remains throughout the glass.

S: Sugary berries, honey and some bready malt. An ever-so-faint licorice like aroma creeps in but it's an aroma that is tough to place, I'm guessing it's the birch syrup. The honey aroma becomes much more discernible as the beer warms in the glass, as does the alcohol.

T: Interesting comes to mind after taking the first sip. As with quite a few of the "Ancient Ales" from Dogfish, it doesn't really taste like beer. It's quite sweet with a pronounced tart fruit flavor from the cranberries and cranberry juice. The bitterness is very earthy but once again, it's not something I can place specifically. It seems odd to say but this beer has an "old" flavor to it, not as in bad or stale but you know it's not a modern recipe.

M: Moderate body with moderately high carbonation, syrupy. Lots of small tingly bubbles.

O: I find the Ancient Ale's from DFH to be a lot of fun, for better or worse. Never knowing what to expect from any standpoint is my main attraction to these beers. I'd say Kvasir is a hit in comparison to several of the others but perhaps not one of the top tier brews from the series. I really think any of these beers are worth a try and Kvasir is one that I could see myself buying again, like Theobroma, Sah'tea or Birra Etrusca. Worth a go for sure.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a nice amber pour with 2 fingers of off-white fluffy head, great head retention / slow dissipation, decent amount of lacing. a sweet fruity aroma rises from the glass.. getting hints of cranberry, strawberry, wheat bread, honey.. and caramel. the flavor is a bready tart fruit mashup.. there are bitter herbal notes that are a bit off-putting, but i suppose it does its job in balancing out the sweetness of all the berries and sugars used in this beer. medium in body with a good amount of carbonation. not a real easy drinker due to the strange flavor profile, but it is actually quite refreshing for being what it is.

i'm not sure if this was meant to be the "new fort" or just another crazy idea from dfh, but if fort was what you were expecting from this, it's not close by a longshot.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

BOTTLED ON 10/11/2013

A: Pours a cranberry red with some orange hues. About a fingers worth of head quickly fizzles away upon pouring

S: A good deal of sweetness up front along with cranberry juice, berries, and herbal notes. Alcohol well hidden

T: Starts off with tart cranberry and a bit of sweetness followed by a general berry note and some herbal qualities. Gets a little sweeter as the birch syrup and honey come into play. Maltiness comes through in the finish and helps to round out the fruit/berries. Again, alcohol extremely well hidden

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The syrup makes this almost heavy

O: A nice little experiment in brewing history yet again from DFH. Extremely drinkable for being 10%, it's almost like straight-up alcoholic herbal cranberry juice (with a few more nuances, obviously). Interesting and worth a try

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Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber with a large off-white head that settles to a lasting thin cover. Trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of cranberry, birch beer, grainy pale malt and earthy, tea-like spicing.

The taste is of cranberry tartness with some honey-like sweetness and some bitterness in the finish. Bitterness comes more from the spicing than from the hops, which are subtle. The cranberry is noticeable but not too forward. A malty backbone keep the fruitiness and spiciness well-balanced. It has a balanced tart finish.

It has a pretty creamy body with some slickness as it progresses. The alcohol is well-integrated giving some peppery warmth but not in a harsh way.

Unique but quite drinkable for the abv and the odd blend. It is a unique blend of ancient and modern. "Interesting". The scores are a bit higher than I personally liked it, but I think they did a good job with it.

By the way, it has an interesting description and history of it on the DFH website.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had on tap at the Hudson Street Stackhouse (from notes).

A: Amber with a 1 finger head and lacing. Looks like a red wine.

S: Quite sweet. Almost tart. Red wine fruity.

T: Odd flavors here. Fruity. Like a saison. Weird but ok. Different.

M: Frothy, almost slimy.

O: Ok, but different like all of their Ancient Ales.

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Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.02/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

appearance: Copper, almost red. Thick foamy head on the pour that recedes to a respectable off white swath. Thick messy lacing. Handsome brew.
smell: I thought with the honey and birch syrup (whatever that is) would be prominently sweet but not the nose. A little subdued (at least a few min out of the fridge). I'm getting aromatic spice, I suppose coming from the exotic stuff.
taste: Wow, lots more happening here. A hint of sweetness but mostly dry. A nice tartness in the finish with a slightly bitter wrinkle.
overall: More kudos to Sam and team. Very interesting experiment and a solid beer.

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Photo of Jonada
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.

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Kvasir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 663 ratings