Festina Lente
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Festina LenteFestina Lente
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Belgian Fruit Lambic
Ranked #98
Ranked #8,456
4 | pDev: 16.5%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Festina LenteFestina Lente
Notes: A neo-lambic ale that goes through both a yeast and bacteria fermentation and is then aged on oak chips and 400 pounds of Delaware peaches. This beer is very tart and complex. It is bottle-conditioned in champagne bottles.
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 139 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by GreatPondBrewer:
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy peach orange which resembled apple juice. There was absolutely no head or carbonation and even a vigorous pour resulted only in some air bubbles on top. So much for a striking appearence. However the smell and taste begged to differ. Smelled slightly tart and lemon like with a pretty good musty odour resembling traditional lambics. Taste was very refreshing with more tartness, medium dry, but very little in the way of any barnyard effects. The flatness f the beer was replaced well by the tart, mouth-puckering feel. The finish was more peachy and softly fruity with some excellent creamcicle and vanilla flavors. The fruitiness definitely improved as it warmed. This is a higher gravity lambic, but there were only very subtle hints of the increased alcohol. Neo-lambic you say? Me like. It has enough innovation to be distinctly american, but gives an excellent nod to tradition.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of aasher
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2019 batch. A phenomenal beer that lived up to the years long journey to acquire one, even if from a fresh batch. This beer is incredibly clean with buttery oak with loads of fresh peach. It's fantastic.

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Photo of Brent
2.8/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

The bottle label caused me to expect more of a fruit beer (why was the word "ale" blacked out?). Poured with absolutely no head. I feared a bad bottle that had gone flat. Almost still in the mouth, and a distinct tartness reinforced my initial suspicion. However, a tingling on the tongue annouced that there was some minute level of carbonation, and the tartness woke up with characteristic lambic-like flavors. Now, having gotten into the groove of the beer, the cidery, unripened peach flavor bloomed a bit. There is enough depth of flavor to keep some interest up, but the tartness is tedious. Finishes dry and a bit astringent. The 7% abv is well disguised below the sourness. A bit of burning in the belly - alcohol or sourness? Can't tell. Interesting, but I doubt I'll hang in for the whole botte.

Back to the review after a valiant effort to continue, but the tartness simply got the better of me.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.42/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours without a head even with the bottle upside down! Pale amber color. Very good carbonation. Nose is a peach/pineapple but starts and finishes as a sour (the brewer calls it tart) peach. Light bodied. Does not fit in with my idea of a beer since the hops and malts are waaay in the background. $10.99 for a 750ml bottle.

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Photo of beernut7
2.13/5  rDev -46.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

After opening this bottle, I wonder whether carbonation was part of the plan here. Pours a thin flaxen hue with no hint of a head or any carbonation at all. Aromas of a honey braggot and peach predominate. The initial flavor brings forth a mellow sourness with a very thin hints of honey and a following dry peach flush. As is, this brew goes well with Chinese food on New Year’s Eve, but leaves one wondering as to the true nature of this concoction.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

An aged version. Label says it was brewed in 2004.

This beer has a light golden tone that is ever so slightly hazed. Bubbly head, but not much of it. Lacing is nearly absent. The aroma offers smells of peaches and barnyards and acidity. The tartness hits my palate first with a refreshing blast of peaches following. Almost a residual sugar coated fruit sensation after the swallow. But just for an instant before the acidity washes it away. Some definite Brett character here. This is a dry beer. But not as dry or mouth puckering as the lambics I've tried from Cantillon. I'm no expert in this area of beerdom, but this seems to be a pretty damn good representation of the style.

Gotta give props to my man in Long Beach for setting me up with a nicely cellared beer like this. Thanks much Darren.

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Photo of inebrius
4.32/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There is no doubt that carbonation would easily improve all aspects of this beer, but you must respect Dogfish Head for even attempting a brew of this scale, how much knowledge of sour beers is out there anyway? Aromas of crushed currants and glazed donuts and cotton t-shirts from the dryer. It's sour, any hint of peach would be the small, rock-hard unripe early Summer peach still clinging to a tree branch. Oh boy if they could have got some bubbles in this it would have been an instant classic. As throat ripping as most in its class. I like it, carbonate it, please.

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Photo of ADR
4.42/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Extreme Beer Fest 2004...

Murky deep yellow color, small head and no real lace on the glass. Nose prickling aroma, good astringency. Finely carbonated and soft in the mouth (nice to see this problem is getting better). Flavor is great, sense of Brett and musk farminess, properly tart with a fine sense of real peach (not peach syrup) coming through, all the way to a pit-like bittering. Great sourness that's just leavened rather than overwhelmed by fruit. Much better than pretenders from either side of the ocean. Probably the top North American "Lambic" I've had, despite taxonomic or geographic subjectivity....

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Photo of cokes
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I purchased this beer today with much anticipation, only to be deflated. I've just read (on the forum) that DFH sources say they've let some under/non-carbonated bottles slip out. After these warnings and the waste of effort that was their Pangaea (sampled moments before). I expected the worst.
Great! I can't wait to sample a botched beer. Glad I shelled out top dollar too!

But wait!

The cork is removed with noise. Oh! Rejoice!
Granted, this pours a limp, hazed yellow with only a suggestion of a head. Undercarbonated? Absolutely. But it hardly matters.
Nose full of piss and vinegar. Literally. Farmy, horse-y. This is lambic alright. Gueuze. Bile and foulness. Fucking lovely. Oh yeah. Peach. But who cares?
Taste begins sharply acidic. More urine along with melted crayons. Barnyard elements are minimal, but adequate. Do you like sweaty mules? I thought so!
Peaches add phantoms of fruitiness, but are ultimately squashed under human waste. Without the evidence on the label, the peaches may not even be noticed.
Gueuze fans will enjoy this.
I am and I do.
Malts add wet hay and sour grapes. The sourness gains strength as this finishes. Bile and blood add exclaimation marks
There is just enough carbonation present to make this enjoyable. If this (as DFH claims) gains CO2 in the bottle, it will morph into something beyond excellent (per US standards).
Even if it doesn't, I am still satifisfied with the result.
Whenever this is "fixed", it will be the best US-spawned lambic around, without a close second in sight.

Even with its flaws, it probably aready is.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this big bottle straight from Sam when he was over at the Beer Yard in Wayne, PA. Waited a while to drink it given the carbonation problems this brew had faced. Cork came off with a pop, though upon pouring this hazy golden there was nary a trace of carbonation. Aroma is fruity and tart, and the peaches come out nicely. Mouthfeel is a little flat and watery, and really the beer would benefit all around from more carbonation. Sweet peach flavors start initially leading to a tart, but not overpoweringly sour finish. The 7% ABV is high for the style, but does not take away from the beer; rather it gives it a warming quality in the finish. And honestly, I wouldnt expect anything else from DFH concerning that. All in all, this doesn't really compare to the true Belgian lambics, but I applaud DFH for a very good effort. Get the carbonation down and they've got a great one on their hands.

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Photo of mjohn27603
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1 Pint 9.6 oz bottle. Cork come out without a pop. Poured in the glass extremely flat with no carbonation or head. Smells of peaches. Sweet smelling. Taste is extremely sour and tart. Taste of peaches a little bit like apricots. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Starts tasting like a sweetart. Hmm, not one of Dogfish Head's best examples. A little oakiness and musty taste. A little vinegar - acidic and sour. Hints of an oaky chardonnay or as intense as a sweet reisling wine.

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Photo of goindownsouth
3.64/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

This is an intriguing brew, to say the least. Pucker up for this one, as its tart bite will hit you from the very get-go. I will not lie, there are peaches in here and lots of 'em. This concoction has a very light mouthfeel, with some, albeit virtually no carbonation. And that is not as bad a thing as I would have initially thought. A nice palate-cleanser, with its acidic nature. Not bad, but some age on the second bottle I have will do it some justice.

Zum wohl!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Spritzy, tart, fruity... but much cleaner than a lambic. Hmmm... interesting!

It pours a just slightly hazy golden body beneath a short head of bright white foam that all-too-quickly dissipates, leaving next to no lace behind.

The nose is lightly musty and barnyardish (Brettanomyces) with a distinct note of sweet peach.

In the mouth it's lightly zesty and crisp with a thin/medium body.

The flavor offers all of the refreshing qualities of a fruit lambic, but it seems to be more based upon Brettanomyces than peddiococcus, lactobacilus, or some other bacteria. It's peachy, but just slightly sweet; and fairly tart. There's little bitterness, but it's not needed as it still finishes chalky-dry due to its acidity.

As far as serving and enjoying goes, anywhere that a traditional geueze would work... this will work just as well (and it actually reminds me of a certain peche beer from a certain well respected brewery from Belium!). I think it would also pair extremely well with a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner as it's light on the palate, tart like cranberries, and spritzy enough to refresh between bites!

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Photo of WanderingFool
2.89/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer is like drinking a liquid sweet-tart. It pours a clear honey color with a little bit of haze in the glass from the yeast at the bottom of the bottle. No head forms on the beer and the aroma is a fruity sour peach smell with a hint of bread mixed in.

Each sip of this light to medium bodied beer will make you pucker. It begins with some syrupy sweetness before it is quickly replaced with a sour fruity flavor. Just like a sweet tart candy. There's a dry malt taste in the background holding it all together. It leaves some fruity notes on the palate after each sip.

The beer seemed to mellow out a bit as it warmed in the glass, but it's still very tart. Scores low on the drinkability scale.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 750ml flat bottomed brown glass bottle, sealed with a plain thumbed cork restrained with a black steel cap and a gold colored wire cage. Label clearly states options “2003 2004 2005" with the words "Year Brewed” on the right hand side and the “Packaged in” code is left blank and free of nicks. So no markings at all, as such it is hard to say how old this one is, I suspect 03 or 04. Listed as “A right musty ale made with honest to goodness peaches”. 7% ABV.

Appearance: Hazed body with an unnatural bubbling head which very quickly rescinds to nothingness. Very low carbonation, yet this exhibits a striking look which has a very reminiscent aura of a straight lambic.

Nose: Fresh peaches, and lots of them, with a ‘just cut’ sweetness which melds with a hint of apricots and some sourness to offset the sweet flesh of the peaches.

Taste: Lots of peaches, sharp with a sweetness that crushes the sourness. As you work your way through the sweetness from the fresh peachy flesh soon fades and the sourness builds. Light on the funk, which could be a nit-picking comment, but I like the fact that this is high on the acrid fruity aspects rather than the funk. Gentle Brett tickles but never forces itself out of hibernation, yet it contributes to overall lambic character that this exhibits.

Mouthfeel: Refreshing crisp with a soft light body which adds a ‘sessionable’ quality to this sharp fruity-beauty. The lack of carbonation does not really detract from this one, though a little more oomph in the conditioning would have been a bonus.

Drinkability: Incredibly refreshing, it exhibits this single aspect of lambics incredibly well. Soft, yet sharp, with a tart twist in the finish. Biting satire licks the ending whilst a sarcastic introduction has you begging for more. I had a 750ml but it still didn’t feel like enough.

Overall: I have been lucky to try this one several times, from the first time at the 2004 BA Extreme Festival in Boston to sampling some recently this year at the Mondiale in Montreal. It is always an enjoyable libation and a favorite tipple. But until recently I never managed to snag a bottle of this all to myself, that was, until now. Thanks to BA Erica for snaffling a few of these for me. Much appreciated.

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Photo of stirgy
2.91/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This beer actually gave me stomach cramps, no kidding. That’s not to say I did not try to enjoyed it. I did. Poured a cloudy and pale yellow. Looked flat without any head at all. The aroma is strong with tart sour apples. The flavor is puckering with an amped up tartness that’s off the charts. It’s almost like drinking malt vinegar. Lacto-sourness in the finish that stings the tongue. I trudged through this pint. Physically it was painful on my stomach, but mentally I still could appreciate the craft of the beer. It’s sort of like a very sweet and sour young riesling. Lots of flavor, but would probably not go for this one again. Sorry, guys.

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Photo of putnam
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy onion skin color and a swirl of gas on top. Aromas are strictly old-school lambic: stomach acid, green apple skins, mustard paste. Only this also posesses a deeply funky, masses of mashed peach flesh and peach pits aroma. On the palate it's plump and intensely sour. Sweaty bandages, milk, macadamia nuts and alkaline peach juices somhow survive in a broth of wiry sourness. Terrific stuff. More gas would not hurt this beer.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deeply cloudy orange gold. Pretty much completely opaque. A vigorous pour generates nothing but a few sparse bubbles, which quickly drown in the liquid, never to be seen again.
The aroma is rather complex and surprisingly authentic, with a huge brettanomyces farminess. Fairly tart peach aroma, blending well with the bacterial sourness. A bit of sugary sweetness, mingled with rotted pulp wood and dogwood flowers. A bit of damp hay, sweetly pungent decaying compost, and mouldering paper.
The flavor starts with a nearly still carbonation. Pretty much flat when you sip, but a light flicker of carbonation is present in the swallow. Very similar to the Hanssens Oudbeitje in terms of the carbonation. The sip starts off with a light sugary sweetness, fading quickly into a moderate bacterial farminess. Lots of wet hay and rotted, bug infested wood, the kind you peel the bark off of and discover a colony of silverfish and centipedes. A bit of wet earth and forest floor leaves. Some tartness ensues with flavors of rotting peaches, mold and a bit of heartwood tanginess. Brettanomyces is in full effect, adding a huge amount of complexity. Somewhat tannic and acidic, although not quite as much as some of the more bad ass lambics I've tried. No heartburn here. The beer finishes quite dry, with a slightly astringent bacterial funkiness. Wierd stuff. Fairly light bodied, with a full, almost stinging mouthfeel full of acidity.
A very good, authentic lambic. My only complaint is that it could be a little more tannic, with less unfermented sugars. The keg version seemed a bit more acidic. Perhaps it's the unfermented priming sugar from the bottle conditining, since that obviously didn't take off yet. Aging will certainly help this beer, and it should acquire the proper acidic dryness with time. A commendable, impressive attempt at lambic brewing. Every bottle I've tried tastes a tiny bit different.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber orange hazy peach tone that's almost noncarbonated very thin white head. Very similar to a Cantillion lambic in camparison to this peach infuesed ale in front of me with a peach scented tartness very impressive stands up to a Cantillon lambic to me. Taste: Very tart peach flavor, leaves me with fruit juices and puckering lips nice and somewhat of a dry finish. Mouthfeel: Thin to light bodied lambic this is an amazingly complex ale that I will stand by everytime very good beer is present. Drinkability: Amazing fruit lambic quality that will stick with you throughout the tasting session, a very tart and full flavor great tasting lambic that makes your lips pucker until the last drop.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle consumed at the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg, MD. According to the menu, it was bottled in 9/2004, and the label also indicates that it was bottled in 2004. For some reason they blacked out all instances of the words "ale" and "beer" on label with the sole exception being the word "ale" in "A Right Lusty Ale.." under Festina Lente on the front of the bottle.

Pours a hazed and clouded tangerine with only a few clear bubbles lingering around the edges. No carbonation streams. Subsequent pours managed to loosen some microfine infused bubbles that drift and disappear, but a head is impossible to raise. This one looks flat and limp. The smell is tart and peachy, sharp, but not overly so. Hints of Tang, as well as some distinct white wine (Gewurztraminer or Riesling) tones. Nice and inviting. The taste is soft and tart, of peach pits and crunchy unripe peach flesh. Quenching and refreshing, the sourness is inviting, making each drink a pleasure and beckoning the next. I did not pick up any overt oak notes, nor was there any strong malt component. Just a beautifully tart, peachy profile. The mouthfeel is a bit limp with no carbonation and a medium body. A touch drying in the finish. I could have gone through plenty of bottles by myself without a problem. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of mschofield
3.12/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange-gold, only a small pure white head. Reminded me of Mountain Dew.
Strong peach and grainy taste and aroma, note of a wet hayfield.
Along with the peach and grain taste, it's very tart, puckeringly sour.. Some honey and oak. Light bodied, crisp.
It's different, but I wouldn't want to drink a lot of it, or even try it again.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

According to DFH they shipped these 750's too early and we should let them sit in a 70 degree room for 8 weeks to have the caronation come up to the adequate level. Well, i'll let my next bottle sit at the beer store for 8 weeks and than give this interesting brew another try. DFH strikes again with this corked and caged, brown glass 750ml bottle of "neo-lambic". This pours a still peach colour with no head to be seen, no lacing either, nothing! The aromas are of gueuze funk and a bit of grainy/mustiness...luckily the graininess in the aroma fades after the brew breathes for a few minutes. The taste is quite gueuze-like, sharp and acidic, yet still quite peachy and light. This beer sits right in between a Lindemans peche and a Cantillion guzue IMHO and that is an interesting place to be seated! The mouthfeel is quite light, but the carbonation may damn well fix that problem. The drinkability is already damn good if you are a gueuze or traditional lambic head, as I am. If this gets better, it may be the best US brewed lambic of all time!

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Photo of bog
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Having never seen this beer before, I had to pick it up. This beer pours with no head to speak of. The smell is relatively simple and unique in a beer: peaches. It is rather clear and well, peach-colored. Upon first taste, the beer feels heavy, almost like canned peaches... very interesting, at least. It ends rather dry and crisp. As I continue through the beer, the heaviness seems to lighten, and more of the sweet peach taste comes through. This has to be one of the more unique beers I've had. Another good one from Dogfish Head.

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Photo of taez555
2.77/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle.

This beer poured a clear pale orange tan body with absolutely no head. It looked like watery apple juice.

The nose was a mix of sour fruit, fresh peaches and alcohol. It actually smells a lot like an old can of peaches that’s been sitting in your pantry for a while.

The body was very light and TART. Very thin, sugary sweet, tart, sour, peaches. Essentially it tastes like watered down peach lambic. There’s really nothing more to this beer. It’s thin, watery and tastes like sour peaches.

As far as lambics go it’s not to bad. Pretty impressive really for an American brewer, but basically this a poor excuse for a lambic. It’s not undrinkable, but it’s definitely not a beer I’ll be having anytime soon.

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BA Exreme Beer Festival 2016 - I just found my notes!

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Festina Lente from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 139 ratings