Higher Math
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Higher MathHigher Math
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Strong Ale - American
3.74 | pDev: 17.91%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Higher MathHigher Math
Notes: 20th anniversary beer—a golden ale fermented with cherries and aged on cocoa nibs.
Reviews: 228 | Ratings: 788 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by FLBeerGuy:
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FLBeerGuy from Florida

3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Notes of cherry, chocolate and alcohol on the nose. Taste follows the nose, but with lots of heat and sweetness. Even with 2 years on this beer, the alcohol overwhelms. This would probably be an awesome beer if it were about 10%

Aug 19, 2017
More User Reviews:
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tmentzer from Virginia

4.48/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I suspect early reviews are generally neckbeard contrarians flailing against a brewery they think hasn't sufficiently kowtowed to the pretzel necklace crowd.

This beer might be the best example of an anniversary beer I've ever had (in that it perfectly represents the brewery and is different and special), not to mention a great beer standing on its own. This IS Dogfish (wacky and bold flavors, high ABV, unapologetic) and is amazing for 17%. And I can't wait to set a bottle down for five years or so.

The nose is amazing, tons of chocolate/caramel, bit of tart cherry, really deep smell. The taste is great, mixing the chocolate maltiness with a bit of cherry to balance it. The finish lasts forever. And as you'd expect, there's a huge range of flavor as it warms.

Not a cheap single, but worth the splurge if you like Dogfish. And if you don't, go back to your trading boards and scour for a leftover BCBCS and leave this for the rest of us.

Nov 13, 2015
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lamb0176 from Pennsylvania

1.41/5  rDev -62.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A: Pours red-gold with minimal carbonation and almost no head. Was anticipating a darker color.

S: Burns the nostrils up front, sour cherries and no obvious chocolate.

T: Absolutely awful. The first thing that comes to mind is fish sauce. Three full tastes to ensure I was giving this a chance. See below for more descriptions, but the only thing that came to mind was "This is the worst beer I have ever tasted." I would guess this is how it tastes to mouth kiss a sorority girl who chugged a bottle of cherry cough syrup.

M: Syrup with a moonshine burn. Unanticipated carbonation level given the minimal head and lack of bubbles on pouring.

O: Terrible. This has completely changed my view on DFH...I'll still seek out Raison or 75min and order a 60min or 90min when I see it at the bar. But, I doubt I will go out of my way to try any of their future special releases.

This was opened at a bottle share as part of a blind tasting. I wrote down what others in our group said about this beer:
"I would rather pour honey on my nuts and punch a bee's nest than drink this again."
"Smells like big foot’s dick."
"God no, it smells like, like a used diaper... filled with... Indian food." (and other similar movie quotes)
"This is the beer I would put a secret admirer letter on, then mail it anonymously to my enemies."
"Tastes like cocoa puffs, cherries, and the tears of child laborers."
"This is like being at the back end of a human centipede."

Dec 07, 2015
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Kicking off Dogfish Head's 20th year of making off-centered ales, they do so with an utter insanity of a beer. Celebrating with as much booze and syrup as of ale, the beer that is Higher Math carries as much anticipation as it does notoriety.

The 17% elixir pours a brilliantly clear honey-amber with a frothy tarnish head to float above. The head slowly dissipates, but it doesn't keep the ale from thwarting a cast of savory aromatics. Spice cake, dried stone fruit, medeira and port rise boldly to dominate the nose with succulence and sweetness. And as its brown sugars and honey flavors apply their syrupy coat onto the mouth, its thick sugars feel chewy even early.

And as the complex taste unfolds, notions of maple, spice cake, brown sugar and sorghum hold firmly in place while prune, date, fig and raisin give their earthy sweetness in complement. Peppery, rummy and its rootish hop bitterness lends chocolate and coffee to the lasting flavors. Its 'bigness' creates its own powerful complexity, but the individual flavors are quite simplistic; beautiful yet slightly underwhelming.

Thick and cloying, Higher Math carries the feel of port, sherry and brandy and with a honey liqueur viscosity. Its lavish oiliness and moderate creaminess is expansive on the mouth with the texture of cake batter. Fusel heat pangs away through the high malt and closes the session with a long, toasty, savory boozy sweetness.

Nov 07, 2015
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ShanePB from Pennsylvania

1.75/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

12 oz bottle. Pours an amber colored body, syrupy looking with no head, lacing or retention. Aromas are cherry cough syrup, sweetness and some faint Tootsie Roll quality chocolate. Flavor is disgustingly sweet. Does not taste 'boozy' but it's just way too much cherry and fake chocolate. This bottle was split 4 ways and even that was more than enough. Maybe try aging it? I don't even know anymore. I really do love you, Dogfish, but bleh.

Nov 18, 2015
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Jleonard9 from Florida

1.49/5  rDev -60.2%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.5

Worst beer I have tried in a long time. Knew it would be on. The sweet side, but just not a drinkable beer. Dfh brews some awesome beers, sadly this isn't one of them.

May 14, 2016
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Jjski from New York

4.18/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Full disclosure: I collect high ABV beer like this, Raison d Extra, old Ales & anything big from Avery. This is akin to a massive, chocolate cherry port wine. I fully expect to blossom into legendary status in @ half a decade. Right now it's a little cloying but uber tasty. It has the body and viscosity of beers like Samael's or Black Tuesday . Higher Math is unique , strong, sweet and smoothly choco-cherry with hints of toasted coconut, coffee and a little butter. Hop presence is absent. It drinks like a liqueur. What I perceive as prickly carbonation turns out to be stinging alcohol burn. I'm a guy who can down a BCBS in < 30 minutes. I am now working on a hour with this beer and all I can do is take little tiny sips. Probably the most titanic and gorgeously lumbering beer I've tried in a while. It is artfully crafted to showcase the beer's polarizing qualities. A Mona Lisa with pants low and thong showing, in red army boots, swinging a sledgehammer.

Dec 13, 2015
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thegerm87 from Massachusetts

1.39/5  rDev -62.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Rubbing alcohol, sour cough syrup, heavy, malty caramel, vanilla cake, artificial maraschino cherry. All in the worst way possible. Sticky, cloying, undrinkable.

Dec 12, 2015
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MJSFS from Florida

4.74/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is 120 except cherry chocolate flavored. It's thick and syrupy with a nose and taste that is simply delicious. If you've ever tasted a chocolate covered cherry, this is the liquid alcohol version of that. Tart cherry flavor up front with a sweet dark chocolate finish. This is 17% ABV, so those that are complaining about the "booziness" must not have understood what they were getting into. I have another aging in the fridge. I can't wait to revisit it next year or beyond.

Nov 04, 2015
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cducap from Indiana

1.77/5  rDev -52.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A sticky-sweet, boozy mess of a beer. One of the worst I have had in recent memory. You get a bit of the chocolate but mostly just tastes like maraschino cherry juice with a bit of Belgian yeast and some gasoline. Unbalanced and awful.

Dec 01, 2015
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Datts from Florida

4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tap to snifter

Pour: cloudy amber, small head, looks like a dark whiskey.

Nose: very boozy, little bit of burnt cherry

Taste: char, tart cherry and alcohol taste that does not linger. Taste's like a Manhattan with burnt cherries which could be mimicing burnt barrel tastes found in rye whiskeys

Feel: very light bodied, small burn that fades quick

Overall: What you would expect from Dogfish. Very complex beer that won't appeal to most. This is a beer emulation of a Manhattan and it does a fantastic job. The swift hit from a rye and the light bitter cherry finish with a light body is great. If you take the time to separate the aspects of this beer then you miss how they all work together to create something great.

Jan 22, 2016
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Jason from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

Congratz on the 20 years!!

Tiny bubbled off-white lacing leaves a bit on the glass, nice reddish amber glow when put up to the light. Tart cherries and a dry baker's-style chocolate in with nose with higher alcohols. Smooth, creamy, semi-syrupy full body. An increadably massive brew, warming alcohol is very noticeable but never hot ... You'd guess 12-13%, not 17%. Sweet & very cherry with enough alcohol and cocoa nib flavor to balance it out.

A worthy anniversary brew, would love to see this type of beer every year from DFH to celebrate another year for them.

Nov 17, 2015
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chrismann65 from Texas

2.52/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

I love DFH . ! This 20th needs to cellar a few years. ! Wow a hot mess now , Very sweet cherry over powering most of all ! @ 17% ABV. I will save my 2- 12oz for a few years ! Hope it gets better , not able to drink this beer now, What I did is pour it into a zip-lock W/ organic- Chick breast , then I grilled them. Very good ! Flavor wow !

Dec 22, 2015
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SFC21 from Florida

3.29/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Too hot right now. Needs some time to mellow but I believe this has potential. Unfortunately the heat from the 17% combined with the cherry juice gives this a bit too much of a cherry cough syrup finish. But you do get the hints of cherry chocolate cake as advertised so perhaps with time this turns into something nice. Will lay one down for a few years to try again.

Nov 28, 2015
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

2.59/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 16 oz snifter bottled 10/20/15. Pours an attractive ruby red, with a one inch head that settles very quickly no lace to speak of.

Smell is over ripened apples, pear, toffee, turpentine, and grainy alcohol.

Taste follows turpentine, rotten apples, cherry extract, pear, toffee, and moonshine.

Mouthfeel is thin and syrupy, little to no carbonation, kind of dry, and drinkability is very difficult, because it is a huge booze bomb!

Overall I am mad at myself because I am going to shell out another $9.99 for my cellar. This thing is so over the top and in the worst way right now. I don't know what time will do, but as a collector I need to find out.

Apr 08, 2016
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Donco from Pennsylvania

3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I love both DFH Olde School & World Wide Stout, so I was very interested in this new release. I thought the look and smell was good: dark russet color and faint cherry/dark fruit smell.
However I was very let down by the excessive sweetness when I began drinking this big brew. As the beer warmed, I began to get more dark fruit/cherry flavor, but the sweetness began to overwhelm the entire experience. I am not adverse to sweet beers, especially in big stouts. But this just had no balancing of hop bitterness to offset the sweet flavors. DFH is to be commended for innovative beers, but this one did nothing for me...and at $10/bottle to boot.

Nov 15, 2015
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pizznaw from Delaware

2.04/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Taking everything into consideration this beer has a horrible taste......horrible. VERY disappointing. I'm a big fan of high abv beer ...IPA 120, World Wide Stout but the sweetness of this beer is horribly over the top.

Nov 28, 2015
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VABA from Virginia

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

I had two free samples at the brewery and purchased a four pack. Today I poured from one of those bottles. Nice color. The taste was very complex, with chocolate and sour cherries standing out. Although the alcohol level was fairly high, it went down very smoothly. This is a very good beer.

Nov 11, 2015
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WoodBrew from Ohio

3.61/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WOW....I believe this is the highest abv beer I have had to date.....and not really a fan of such high abv beer....very difficult to drink. This one poured a cloudy amber with white head that did not lace. The scent was barley wineish and had hints of sour cherry. The taste was large floral arrangement mixed with some sourness and a touch of sweetness from the chocolate.....surprisingly masked the abv quite well. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with subtle carbonation. Overall its ok....not really drinkable.

Dec 12, 2015
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xtaylorm from Florida

1.18/5  rDev -68.4%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Had to grab a new DFH in my local craft beer bar. I had high hopes for this beer of course being a fan of their 60 min, 90 min and 120 min IPA. I was excited not only by it's ABV but also it's description of being a "luscious chocolate-cherry birthday cake in liquid form"

If anything to me the beer tastes like an overload on sour cherry juice mixed with alcohol. The chocolate notes from the cocoa nibs is very minimal in it's after-taste and I have to agree with some of these comments, this is a very low-quality beer for celebrating a 20 year anniversary. Do not spend the ridiculous amount of money for a beer well below standard expectations. This beer was basically undrinkable, had to pour out the rest that I couldn't finish and it still made me sick minutes afterwards. Stay away.

Dec 12, 2015
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Bob_Rhoades from Maryland

3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle that my wife paid WAY too much money for.

Color was really nice.

Smell is outstanding - definite cherry and hints of chocolate in the background

Taste - good at first, but way too much ABV burn at the end.

Overall, not worth the money - I am seeing this pattern from quite a few of DFH's high octane offerings as of late. 12+ dollars for a 12 oz. bottle of beer is robbery and excludes a large amount of folk the opportunity of tasting great craft beer.

Nov 11, 2015
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dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

4.61/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark, clouded murkiness... Smells aromatically fruity but it also oozes aromas of alcohol and molasses. Wow, that is strong! Tastes of chocolate and cherries. The burn of the alcohol is on the finish and I wouldn't say this was well balanced but for me it worked. Overall, I actually enjoyed Higher Math.

Aug 17, 2016
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breadwinner from California

3.72/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Is there ever a DFH review that's easy? They're all so friggin' weird, you almost feel hard pressed to even try to rate them. And that's not a complaint -- I actually enjoy trying them, even if they don't always come off. As for Higher Math, as per usual for DFH, an interesting brew indeed. I didn't bother to read up about the beer prior, not knowing about the cocoa nibs + cherries combo, and at first sniff I thought, "Smells like a PB&J sandwich." Okay, close enough, I guess. Lotsa fruit, lotsa sweet, touch of tart, and a goodly chunk of malt that somehow morphs into a chocolatey peanut butter note for me. Palate isn't un-tasty. It's sweet, it's tart, it's boozy (though not near as boozy as something like 120 Minute or something.) I split a 12oz bottle with a friend, and we both agreed an entire bottle would've been a challenge to finish, both on booze and taste. I dunno, as I said, what can you really say about a beer like this? It's wild, it's crazy, it's DFH. Worth a run out, IMO.

Dec 02, 2015
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

2.16/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled On 10/20/15.

A- Pours a rubyish dark amber color with no head, just a thin off-white ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of sheer surface foam. Not-so-resilient lacing leaves tiny specs behind.

S- Very odd aroma...why do I smell potato chips? Maybe there's a vinegary quality I can't foresee? Also plenty of booze.

T- One of the strangest things I've ever tasted. Again, I taste potato chips and there's this weird bittersweet chocolate accompaniment, especially in the aftertaste. Very little cherry. Definitely sweet but not as sweet as expected. However, this does not last since, as it warms, the flavors become more discernible. The cherry becomes more apparent and the chocolate becomes extremely apparent. Both are way too sweet and the big booze bite that accompanies does nothing to help the situation.

M- Sticky with medium-low carbonation and a body leaning toward the lighter side.

O- One of the most perplexing beers I've ever encountered. The chocolate flavor especially is incredibly unusual and unpleasant. Maybe this is what happens when you have high alcohol, lots of chocolate and very little malt to back it up. A complete mess of a beer. Not undrinkable, but pretty damn close.

Apr 03, 2016
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Crackblind from New York

4.24/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap, 7 oz. in a wine glass. Fruity nose with a hint of both alcohol and some bitter chocolate. Flavor also combines cherries and dark chocolate with some other overtones of fruit. The alcohol is present (hell, it is 17%) but not overwhelming. More wine like in feel than beer - if there is any carbonation, I couldn't find it - though not in an unpleasant way.

Overall a very interesting beer that I quite liked but feel it is a once every so often drink. If it's around in a few weeks, I'll definitely get it again. Tomorrow? Not do much.

Nov 22, 2015
Higher Math from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 85 out of 100 with 788 ratings