Kvasir | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

656 Ratings

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jonada on 10-22-2013

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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 656
Photo of Antg8989
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a pale/medium amber with a yellow/orange head. No lacing. Aroma is of alcohol, cranberries lemon and orange. Taste is more or less sour. Orange blends with cranberry and bready malts. Tasting a champagne like yeast as well. It's smooth and light bodied with light carbonation. Overall the beer is fine for what it is. The taste is a little overpowering. One of these is more than enough for me, but this will acquire some fans.

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Photo of umwbennett
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this on draft at the dfh brewpub. It's a lovely beer that gives off a pleasant aroma of berries. I got a similar effect in the taste. Although the berry is prominent I wouldn't call the beer either overly sweet or overly tart. It balances both very well. What drags it down to a 4 range for me is the slightly syrupy nature of it. Barring that, this is close to a 5 for me.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Interesting. Didn't like the herbal notes at first, but on the second day after opening/corking the bottle I liked it more.

The addition of tart berries made it taste good on a hot day despite the high ABV. Hard to discuss it as a true beer in terms of the malt or hops.

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Photo of EMV
4.35/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass.

L: Pours a deep reddish copper, clear, and with 2 fingers of off-white head that fall rapidly. Mild lacing.

S: Cranberries and apple. Wild honey and a bit herbal to the nose.

T/F: Cranberries and fruit... a bit tart with birch notes and honey. Dry and a bit astringent... a little on the tart side which is very nice. Finishes clean with nice carbonation.

O: Another success from Dogfish Head in their 'Ancient Ales' series. Love the research and how they go out on a limb for these off-beat brews. I wouldn't want a steady diet of this, but it's a very fun and unique beer. Well worth sampling.

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Photo of Emersonio
4.75/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pour: Bomber bottle into a goblet. Appearance: Light amber. Effervescent with a thick white head. Aroma: Herbs, tart berries, and alcohol notes. Taste: Cranberries and herbs. Very deep and complex. Aftertaste: Sharp bite on the back end. Warming alcohol. Mellows into a honey richness. Overall: Love the ancient ales series. Very interested in ancient brewing ways. Love that this was recreated off of archaeological evidence. Makes it that much sweeter! Excellent: 5 out of 5.

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Photo of Gear54
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle into a snifter.

Pour is dark orange with 1/2 finger of foam and little lace left behind.

Smell is all fruit. Cranberry is most prominent with lemon and grapefruit in the background.

Taste very tart with a sour cranberry taste. Honey and lemon and grapefruit mix well with the cranberry and sour notes.

Surprisingly there is no booze to this even with the high abv. Smooth finish gives it amazing drinkability. This may open a door for me into more fruit type beers. Absolutely amazing brew. Well done by DFH

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Photo of mchegash
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - 3.5/5
Pours a deep orange, quite clear. About 1 finger of head upon initial pour, dissipates down quickly. An above-average amount of carbonation can be seen rising up through the beer. Nothing super great or bad about the look.

Smell - 4/5
Cranberry, lemon, honey, some faint alcohol smell. I'm not sure if cranberry is the dominant aspect of the smell, or if it's just the only ingrediant my nose is familiar with (i.e. I have no clue what lingonberries or birch syrup tastes like). Overall the smell is okay, not incredible, but it gets points for being interesting and unique

Taste - 4/5
Strong cranberry taste. Tastes like alcoholic sparkling cranberry juice, if such a thing were to exist. Besides the cranberry there is honey, and then some other floral/herbal flavors. Overall I like the taste. The cranberry does not overpower, and there are enough other flavors going on to make it interesting. Also, the alcohol is well concealed by the taste (this beer is 10%).

Mouthfeel - 3.75/5
Crisp, carbonation is light, a tiny bit syrupy. Overall it's quite smooth. A good feel.

Overall - 4/5
I definitely enjoyed drinking this beer. It had a fairly tasty and unique flavor. Given the cost and the rarity, this is likely not something I will get again, at least for a long while. Still, I love DFH's Ancient Ale series and love taking part in history by enjoyed these ancient brews.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Finally found a bottle of this in Louisville after searching for probably a year. $14.99 is a bit pricey for me, but this one is special, being an ancient Scandinavian viking ale.

Appearance: A reasonably clean ruby-amber, with a thick, off-white head. Lace is virtually nonexistent here.

Aroma: Fruity, with the lingonberries and cranberries coming to the forefront.

Taste: Definitely a tart, sour berry character first and foremost. The honey and birch syrup lend a sweetness to the character, too, but it’s well-suited and not at all overdone. I also get an earthy, herbal note underneath it all. Not nearly as sour as the true “sour” brews, but the similarity is there. At a hefty 10%, I expected more of a warming character, but this one is deceptive on the palate, and the alcohol is well-hidden (until the bottle is done - hah!).

Overall, a light-drinking ancient ale with a magnificent history. Well-worth a try.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.82/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Split a bottle with Stopper the other night. Poured at cellar temp into a snifter.
Beer pours a chestnut color with dense fizzy off white head of 1 cm that fades to a sturdy surface layer. Aroma is fruit dominated with pear and berries coming through. Not much malt nose and is more of a wine aroma, generally sweet. First sip reveals an average to light body with fine spacious carbonation. Body may be a little thinner due to the honey.
Flavor is sweet and fruity like the nose advertised, I get tart cranberry and general fruit, again, pears. Not any hints of the 10% abv on this bottle.
Be ready as this doesnt taste like a modern beer, but is enjoyable as an alcoholic beverage and is very easy to drink.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 1/9/2015 at Track 84, in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

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

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, herbs, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with some tartness that is quickly followed by some herbs and spices. Then some mild sweetness comes in from flavors of caramel and fruit. There is also a significant alcohol sting. The hops presence is very mild but brings a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly tart.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, light carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, just another eccentric DFH beer that is nice to try but not something I would want to drink consistently.

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Photo of puboflyons
4/5  rDev +7%

From the 750 ml. bottle. 2014 batch. Sampled on December 6, 2014.

Gorgeous looking amber pour with a moderate off-white head and lovely clarity.

One needs a checklist to figure out all those aroma characters. Malts, berries, yeast, and herbs. But the fruit character is more front and center.

Medium and smooth body.

Like the nose, the berry and juicy fruit flavors are the main thing one gets but then I pick up those roasted malts. Mild bitterness. A refreshing and easy to drink beer.

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Photo of StoutHunter
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Kvasir a couple weeks ago for $13.49 at The Lager Mill. It's been awhile since I've tried a new beer from Dogfish Head and this one sounds pretty interesting, so lets see how it goes. 2014 Vintage. Poured from a brown 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks nice, I'm not really sure if it goes with the name, but it is eye catching. It poured a very cloudy dark orange color that didn't really let much light come through and it took on a nice ruby orange color. It had three fingers worth of very creamy white head that left some patchy and spotty lacing behind and it died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end. This was a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of sweetness along with a noticeably tart aroma that leads right into the fruits which impart a nice berry aroma with the cranberry seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes a light malt aroma with some lightly toasted malts and bready aromas coming through and it's followed by a nice and lighter spicy and herbal like aroma. This beer had a good aroma, I liked the berry aspect and I thought it was a little unique.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness along with a lighter amount of medium tartness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart the same aspect that they did in the aroma with no single aspect sticking out the most and it provides some nice balance to this beer. Up next comes the tart berries with the cranberries still sticking out the most. On the finish comes that same light spicy and light herbal aspect that I got in the aroma with a lingering tartness and cranberry like aftertaste. This was a good tasting beer, I like how it had some balance and complexity to it and it just wasn't completely dominated by the tart berries.

M- Smooth, not too acidic, crisp, slightly refreshing, the alcohol was hidden very well, a little creamy, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with medium amount of carbonation. This beer had a good mouthfeel that worked well with it.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, I don't have a lot of the experience with this style, but when done right it's a style that I enjoy and after trying this beer I have no doubt that Dogfish Head did a good job with this beer. It had good drinkability, it was smooth, not too acidic, crisp, the alcohol was hidden very well, slightly refreshing, a little creamy, not too filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I don't think I would have a problem drinking the whole bottle since it's not really acidic and the alcohol seemed to be expertly hidden. What I like the most about this beer was the balance, no single aspect ever got too overpowering, the balance was right where it needed to be. What I liked the lest about this beer was nothing, there isn't a single thing about this beer that I disliked or would change. I would for sure buy this beer again and I might consider seeing how it ages. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style or just tart fruity beers in general, it's for sure worth a try. All in all I was happy with this beer and a little impressed, some of these beers from this ancient ale series were hit or miss for me, but this one was for sure a hit and enjoyed drinking it, it exceeded my expectations. So far it's one of the better Dogfish Head beers I've had it's now my favorite of the style. Good job guys this was one tasty, unique and interesting beer, keep up all the hard work.

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Photo of brentk56
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Appearance: Crystal clear amber with a tinge of cranberry coloring; the head foams up and grows a bit rocky; plenty of splashy lacing

Smell: Lingonberries, cranberries and red delicious apple; wheat bread and honey, to a lesser extent

Taste: The fruits dominate the flavor profile with the lingonberry and cranberry making their appearance, up front, bringing their tart flavors; quickly, the sweetness of a red Delicious apple offsets the tartness and the honey adds more sweet flavor, in the middle; the tartness returns, along with wheat bread and some herbal complexity; in the finish, however, there is considerable residual sweetness

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very interesting beer, with a nice balance between the tart and sweet flavors; not something I am likely to try again, as the sweetness ultimately limits its drinkability, but I was glad to have experienced it

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Photo of Furlinator
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%

Bottled on 07/30/14.

Pours a reddish amber. The 1/4 inch off-white head quickly disappears completely and leaves no lace.

The smell is of cinnamon and honey with a faint herbal presence.

The taste is herbal up front with faint berry sweetness and honey.

The texture is medium bodied with low carbonation.

A solid effort overall. The berry and herb combination works better than I expected. I dig the idea of recreating ancient recipes for the modern world.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%

750ml bottle poured into tulip 6/10/14, thanks Phyl21ca for sending the bottle

A glowing amber with some of the tiniest bubbles I've ever seen and lots of them and they just keep coming, two fingers of dense light tan foam has decent retention leaving a few patches of lace

S gummy bears and wine gums, spruce tips, honey, cherry jolly rancher and cough syrup, has a minty, earthy thing going on that's hard to place but interesting

T lots of earthy herbal notes with lots of cranberry and cherry with a hint of booze but well concealed for 10%

M has some body to it, a little syrupy, slick on the palate and just a little sticky on the lips, gummy candy and herbal notes I can't place linger

O something different that's for sure, interesting and unique, drinkable for 10%, worth a try as its unlike anything I can think of

I 'm not sure if I'd look for this one again but I'm glad I tried it once, I could've swore this was listed as a Kvass yesterday, oh well

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Photo of avalon07
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. No lacing to speak of.

S: A very fruity aroma (the advertised cranberries), honey, and malt.

T: Tasted of cranberries, a syrupy quality, honey, herbs and malt. This is an odd flavor, but somewhat likeable. It's fruity, but herbal. Not quite as substantial as you might think, but still pretty decent.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a smooth finish. Light-bodied.

O: Since this is the first kvass I've ever had, there's no context for it. Still, this is an unusual beer with some great attributes. A typically off the wall Dogfish Head concoction.

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Photo of Gavage
4.36/5  rDev +16.6%

Pours a reddish orange color with a 1" head that slowly falls. The aroma is of cranberry and other fruits. Big fruity flavor as cranberries and other berries create a nice flavor. Mild bitterness overall. Alcohol is well hidden here. Slow sipping but refreshing overall.

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Photo of kellyej
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

A: Little head, color of a darkish tea, fairly clear
S: Flowery, fruity, hint of candy/honey
M: Medium-light body, bubbly
T: Overall a balanced beer. It tasted quite a bit like a hibiscus tea with hints of sweet-tarts and honey.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -33.2%

Draft: Poured a reddish color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of berries and herbs is not the most enticing. Taste was also a weird mix between some berries notes, herbs with weird unrefined grainy notes. Body is light with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting experiment but with such low drinkability I think I will avoid in the future.

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Photo of Rifugium
2.25/5  rDev -39.8%

On tap at Jose Pistola's, Philly, PA.

Orange-red color, good clarity, a few dishwater-like bubbles on top, but otherwise no head, and very little activity in the glass overall, indicative of low carbonation. In the nose, earthy wood, stale fruit, notes of cough syrup and solventy booze. I actually said *blech* when I took a sip of this. Rotten fruit, cranberry jam, cardboard, decomposing wood, a medicinal and almost vodka like booziness. Really messy, and the almost non-existent carbonation wasn't helping the mouthfeel either, which came off as slick and lifeless. Definitely couldn't drink this one, so I'm glad I only got a sample.

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Photo of A_bit_of_the_Sacrament
2.75/5  rDev -26.5%

At first sip this played like a sour. The more I drank the more it seemed to open up. The cranberry is a bit more prominent than I'd like but I think that the subtle birch flavors play well with the fruit. Good body and quite smooth for how boozy it really is. I'm glad I made the purchase but I think one 25oz bottle will be enough for me.

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Photo of drtth
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The reddish amber colored beer is poured into a small nonic glass with a thin but noticeable light pink head that slowly recedes to leave a ring around the glass and thin film on the surface. Sipping creates scattered patches of lacing.

The aromas include berries, apple, some honey and bready malt.

The flavors are much as expected from the nose with the tart berry flavors, some balancing sweetness, a bit of apple and some bready malt.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth with moderate carbonation. The medium length finish begins as the berries and tartness begin to recede, followed by the sweetness and apple as a noticeable but not unpleasant earthy bitterness closes the show.

Overall an interesting beer which I might revisit in the future. It helps to have read about the work of "Dr. Pat" McGovern who collaborates with Dogfish Head in creating these historic recreations. There are others I've enjoyed more but each of them has been worth giving a try.

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Photo of sanhedrin
4.14/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not crazy about fruit beers in general but DH is one of the companies that does them well, so I gave this a whirl.

Initial reaction was non-plussed at first sip, but it grew on me more and more. There's a bracing grapefruit-rind-like bitterness on the back end that's really pleasant, and the fruit quite reserved, but there. I kind of wish they'd skipped the cranberries and gone all-lingonberry, as that would've fit the Scandinavian theme better. Herbs are well balanced, hard to place - either dill seed or caraway, maybe both in there. The more I drank the more it seemed to reveal - but most important, in a chilled glass it was just wicked refreshing on a hot August day. Good stuff.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Somewhere between red and brown and gray; not attractive. Weak head. Bright bottle art is appreciated though.

S: Not a ton. Some cranberry and other tart fruit- I guess that's lingonberry? Some sweetness. Mostly I get something like a molding cleaning rag. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say my glass is somehow dirty, even after just coming out of the washer.

T: Wow, the lingonberry really comes through here! For real, cranberry and a hint of cherry, leafy herbs definitely present as well. The honey is restrained, just enough to give a bit of sweetness. I overall like this, but the flavors muddle together and form strange, pleasing, frustratingly indistinguishable notes. Alcohol is well, well hidden. Finish is a chameleon, just like the rest of it, and stays a polite amount of time.

M: Mouth-drying, a little filmy, but light enough to be pretty drinkable.

O: Good, no doubts there. Gimmicky? Yes. A breakthrough beer experiment? No. Repeatable? Yes, for a pretty conservative price. Should you try it? Sure.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Split with duffextracold while watching reruns of Brewmasters (I now know why DFH beers are so pricey - they seemingly dump a stuck batch of beer every other episode).

Coppery pink color with wispy ring retention. Smells like cranberry and bread crust with a metallic copper element. Cranberry juice dominates the flavor profile with a little wheat bread and pollen must. I don't get much honey or birch syrup (never having had birch syrup I don't know that I would be able to identify it if it was obvious) but having brewed with cranberries before I'm assuming it's balance out the acidic tartness of the cranberry/lingonberry which is mild. Lingonberry is pretty much viking cranberry right?

I don't care for this beer in the sense of it being tasty and pleasing to drink. I love this beer in the sense that DFH allows me to take a journey back to fermented beverage history. Thanks for brewing.

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Kvasir from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.74 out of 5 based on 656 ratings.
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