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Immort Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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very good
1,163 Reviews
Immort AleImmort Ale

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
For this beer, we use maple syrup from Red Brook Farm -- Sam's family farm in Western Massachusetts, peat-smoked barley, juniper berries and vanilla.

Immort is fermented with a blend of English and Belgian yeasts, then aged in the big oak tanks at the brewery.

The sweet and earthy flavors meld magnificently in the Immort Ale. But be warned, the ABV is 11%, so after one or two you may start feeling immortal (even though we promise you won't be).

50 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-15-2001

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Reviews: 1,163 | Ratings: 2,666
Photo of mkobes
4.83/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very good and flavorful brew. Really enjoyable. I have had it on many occasions and it is still one of my favorites. Malty. Dark in color. Has some vanilla notes to it. Aged in a oak cask. Strong in alcohol content. THis is a beer that warms you up when its cold out. good beer to drink in the winter.

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Photo of faernt
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Today I bought a fresh six. I drank a fresh one and later moved into my reserve to try one that was two years old. The fresh sample was dark gold and the aged sample was almost copper. The fresh sample was sweet and a little hoppy. The aged sample was sweet and moving into port tastes. I found the aged sample almost "English" and look forward to revisiting that vintage again next fall.
I think this beer is very "cellarable". It takes a long time to come together. The sample I was drinking that was aged was dated at 10.21.01 into my cellar. I believe I cellared it shortly after it was released.


I opened a 10. 03 edition. It is quite balanced and drinkable. The head is slight and sufficient. The sweetness is paired to bitterness with a slight tartness present to keep it interesting. It has a lingering effect on my taste buds. It's juicy. I regret it's my last one. I'll have to reload.

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Photo of Crosling
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a beautiful looking beer. The color was like a subdued sunrise. The head retention was poor and shrunk to a very thin layer of spots floating on top of the glass. The spots first shaped a wolf with big ears, then a giraffe and then it morphed into a hyena. Needless to say, there was no lace to speak of.

My nose was stuffed up last night so it was hard to pick out the aromas but I tried and succeeded. The nose captured some caramel, sugar, light fruits, wood and tons of alcohol. A nice nose.

Pretty flavorful brew as well. A slight smokiness hidden within this depths of this brew from the use of smoked barley. As well as some maple, vanilla and some light fruits. Alcohol was not very alarming considering it's 11%.

Very Impressed with Dogfish Head at this point!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.19/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I pour the brew from a 12 oz bottle into my glass and notice only a very small head develops. The foam that is there is very creamy in appearance.
Color is a rich amber shade with a slightly red tint and with a faint haziness.
Aroma definitely gives off some alcohol scent and maybe some bourbony oaky scents as well.
First sip, wow this is a thick beer! I actually notice the heavy body of the brew prior to any flavors. Let me try that again. Mild carbonation and strong alcohol warming all the way down my throat. Very nice on a cold day like today.
The alcohol is strong in this brew and covers most of the other flavors in the beer. I get hints of vanilla and definitely strong malt sweetness. It leaves an interesting syrupy feeling on my gums that tastes very sweet. Also notice grainy wooden flavors almost like chewing on a toothpick for too long, but fits very nice in this beer.
The finish is similar to a dark red wine and leaves little in my mouth. Dont think I could have more than 2 or 3 of these and still appreciate any of the flavors. But I recommend it for winter nites in front of the fire place or after dinner.

This is an extremely complex brew and I am cellaring some that I will come back to in a year. It will be great to compare with these notes.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.28/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Nearly clear, reddish copper with a minimal off-white head that falls quickly to a thin film. Lace is nearly nonexistent. Alcohol dominates the nose, although I can appreciate sweet dark fruit as well.

As far as the flavor profile... again, alcohol overwhelms the palate. Next most prominent is a slightly sweet metallic graininess. I'm nearly unable to finish this. However, to be fair, it is improving a little as it warms (I started it out at about 50 degrees). At least now the flavor has a fighting chance against the alcohol. The mouthfeel is nicely smooth, but the taste comes close to ruining the entire experience.

I've seen Immort Ale described as a barleywine, but also as a strong/old ale. To me, it tastes like a 'brandy wine', like the brewers poured some brandy into the beer before bottling. I think I'll cellar one for a few years to see if that helps to mellow it out a little.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This single bottle has been in my cellar for about a year now and I have been waiting to try it. Light amber in color with little to no head. Very sweet and spicy in terms of smell. Hints of apple, pears, malt and hops come through.

The taste is nothing like I expected. Apple and smoked malt are the flavors that hit me. Very smooth. I can't believe how smooth this is. I can't taste the 11% at all. Port and sherry notes come through as well. Very much an after dinner drink, for me anyway.

If you can get this, do so. I want to get more and put it in the cellar for another year.

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Photo of BillyBrew
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Another Dogfish Head brew is lost on me. I drank this beer after having it for at least one year (survived two moves). I do not think this altered the taste negatively.

Apple-cider looking, a raw brown, deep-haze colour. Very thin head that kept a full glaze and leaving rings throughout.

Apple cider nose with an alcohol punch. Woody with faint vanilla notes entwined throuhgout. Poingnance comes from alcohol, not the hops. Different nose, but not neccessarily good to me.

Barleywin-like alcohol bite. Burning-alchomalt conjures in my mind. Woody (mahogany, according to the label) and mild vanilla flavours (adds to alchol?). I do not taste the 'maple.' The sugar/alcohol tastes are blurred to me.

Very full and slick body. Alcohol burn is interesting. Oddly, no aftertaste and finishes dry.

A glorified barleywine? This brew misses me. Overdone. I can understand the aspects of this brew, but it is not for me. Maybe a deep-winter brew.


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Photo of beergeek279
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is copper, with a ring of whitish head. The smell is sweet malt. The taste is sweet, with maple dominating on top of the old ale taste, and the alcohol is very present, and maybe takes away from the beer a bit. Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy. Drinkability-wise, too sweet and alcoholic to have more than one or two.

Hmm...not bad, and as odd a take on a common style as I'd expect from Dogfish Head. There are definitely better old ales out there, but maybe I'd have this one again as a winter warmer.

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Photo of putnam
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There must be some maple in this beer...smells, tastes and looks like it.
Black rubber, vanilla bean, alcohol, grape jelly and roasted bread define the aromatics and flavors. It is an ambitious beer with a slightly "hot" finish. Does it need time?

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Photo of ithacabaron
2.9/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2003 bottling.

Pours a lighter than expected deep amber with ruddy tones. Head is inconsistant, appearing in significant lumps here and there, and in more of a minor coating in other spots.

Aroma is very unique. At first, when I poured it (a bit colder than I wanted), it was mostly of generic toasted caramel flavors, and maple-tinged sugar. As it warmed, it got significantly drier, and very "wooden." By the time it had warmed to room temperature, I could very easily see where the lable proclaimed it to have strong flavors of oak.

Taste is rich and syrupy, with a concentration on the caramel/brown sugar flavors. Maple takes a back seat here. Again, as this warmed, it became drier. Alcohol is very present, even more than Brooklyn's Monster Ale, known for its "brash statements of booze", as I like to call them.

I did enjoy this more as it got warm, and as it got dryer. Call me crazy, but this might even be interesting heated to slightly warmer than room temperature. Then again, just an idea.

I can't say I really enjoyed this that much. Perhaps with some age this might improve, but right now, I can't really advocate purchasing this barleywine.

Then again, we all have our own tastes, so if you want to try it, knock yourself out -- I just think there's much better examples of the style out there.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up in Indianapolis and a survivor of the flight back, my single Immort Ale finally met up with my taster mug today. Poured from a 1oz. bottle as pictured, Immort Ale has a clear burnished copper color and a modest light tan head that faded quickly to a ring. Little in the way of carbonation or lace. The smell is quite sweet, of vanilla, maple syrup, and a lot of caramel. Hints of the alcohol content are present as a background reminder as to this beer’s strength. The taste is on the far side of sweet, rich in maple and vanilla, plus some molasses, some ripe fruits (pears, maybe?), and a woody aroma. There’s an alcohol bite, similar to bourbon in the finish, especially as it warms. The feel is full, rich, smooth and creamy.
This is a really nice strong/old ale, one of the best I’ve had recently. While leaning heavily toward a syrupy maltiness at the near total expense of any hops, I found Immort Ale to be thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of skar
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

Appearance/Head: Reddish brown color. Surprisingly clear. Very light head.

Aroma: Powerful amounts of caramel and oak.

Taste: It is a very full bodied, rich, sweet elixir. It starts with a huge malt base with wood/oak notes, then finishes with a moderately spicy finish. Possibly anise. The alcohol in this beer burns in the finish and upsets the balance in this beer somewhat.

Bottom line: Another interesting, powerful beer from Dogfish Head. Worth checking out.

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Photo of nomad
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dead-clear oranged light-amber, with little head, little lace, and some drops of stain. Smelled of flowery honeysuckle, maple, and some serious vanilla scents once it opened. Also detected a little peppery alcohol scent.

Tasted of vanilla, maple, and a sweet malty syrup that was thin and not cloying with sugar, tasting much paler than, say, caramel malt. Had woody notes but not as full as the oak it professed on the bottle. Some diacetyl flavor toward the end, and some peppery alcohol tickling about, it had an oily, mediocre hop finish.

Despite a sudsy mouthfeel this was very easy to drink, but not inviting to me.

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Photo of Gusler
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer on the pour is a clear deep amber with a large and frothy light tan head with the lace a nice sheet to cover the glass. The nose woody, the oak evident, along with malt under tones, also I notice an orange like tone, a real conglomeration of nice aromas in this nose, start is sweet with the oak taste present to the middling top. Finish is spirited in its acidity, the hops stern in their bite, very dry oak like aftertaste, a different brew and a nice change of pace.

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Photo of pio
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a half inch white head resides atop a bronze colored beer. loads of lacy reminant! scent of orange pulp, apricot, watermellon, corriander and a greener vegetable hint about. caramel and shampoo are also noted. alcohol IS detectable in the nose. mmm, very complex and arresting changes here in the flavor. starts a bit strangely with a sweety orange, orange oil and earthy wood flavors. yes maple and vanilla with an orange marmelade but not too sweet as the woody hops dry this up on the palate then there is a little sweet left on the palate. also in the after glow isa bit of loam, but not enough to call it chalky. the alcohol is not as evident here and it is in my opinion a tad sweet overall. there seems to be one driving flavor that gets effected nicely along it's journey to your belly and bloodstream. the mouthfeel was above average but didn't jump up at me to say more than 4. i don't think i'd like to drink more than 3 and a half of these in a row though, it's quite a workout.

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Photo of silks636
3.6/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle. Bottled on date notched on label.

Beautiful clear amber with a thick off white head. Gorgeous sticky sheets of lacing. Aroma of ripe pear and pine mixed with alcohol. Taste begins with a warm wave of ripe fruit and sour citric bite over a solid toasted malt base. Intense fruity alcohol esters take over along with hints of oak, spice, citrus, and vanilla. Very warming and pleasant. Finish is dry and leaves a sweet bready aftertaste. Mouthfeel is syrupy and thick - reminiscent of a Port.

Very big brew that would probably benefit from some aging. Highly enjoyable nonetheless. Complex and warming, great to sip and savor with some sharp cheddar on a cold night.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Decent head atop a beautiful, full, orange/brown body. This one certainly looks the part.

Smell – The malt base is there plus a whole lot more. This has a strong French oak aroma as advertised on the label. There’s also an apricot pit scent and a whiff of alcohol.

Taste – The malt flavors are laden with deep, smoked, vanilla oak. The fruits take a back seat but are still present. The announcement of alcohol is prominent. This is a good one.

Mouthfeel – Full-bodied with a presence of alcohol.

Drinkability – I wouldn’t fill a beer bong up with four of these. This is an ale for sipping, but an ale that must be sampled nevertheless.

Comments – This is my first bottle from Dogfish Head. I hope they’re all this good.

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Photo of beerman599
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium brown color, thin tight head. A full bodied ale. very malty. Malts flavored of ripe fruit and oak. Intense and very complex flavors. Some sweet and winny flavors. Smooth and rich. No alcohol bite despite an 11% by volume. Mouthfeel is very full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, some residual alcohol bite. Very interesting beer.

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Photo of oelergud
4.29/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Brown glass bottle, regular cap and green/white label, package month shown. Brew is light ruby, white head fair retention.

Smell: Caramel, vanilla, syrup and strong spice in the nose

Taste: Head is very sweet, body strong caramel, faint vanilla and sweet spice, lingering sweet after taste. This is an Excellent brew, the high alcohol content is well contained within the sweetness and gives a nice warm feel throughout. Better carbonated than most strong sweet brews.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, leaves a coating in your month.

Drinkability: I enjoyed this beer alot, one of my favorites. I think this beer would be even better during the cold dark evenings of winter.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.66/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served lightly chilled in a goblet.

Apperance: Murky copper orange color with minimal head. No lacing.

Smell: Vanilla and maple smells quite prominent. Definite woody, yeasty, and musty aromas, too. Roasted and caramel malts are present as well. Whole lotta shakin' goin' on. Quite complex.

Taste: Strong vanilla, maple, and whiskey flavors. Prominent alcoholic taste and feel. Reminiscent of both a scotch ale and an abbey brown, but on steroids. Quite interesting.

Mouthfeel: Substantial body, very warming due to the high ABV.

Drinkability: Another wacky and interesting beer from DFH. Not something I'd have too often, though. I'd really have to have to be in the mood for it. Definitely worth trying.

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Photo of UncleFrank
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The aroma is impressive and complex. Sweet, dark fruit, peppery, woody. The beer pours a light garnet color with a lasting lace as I drink it. The taste can be summed up as WOW. Everything I can smell and more. A hint of vanilla, as advertised on the bottle, but it is quickly run over by the alcohol and then sweet complex malts like caramel. There is a toasted flavor but I cannot tell if it’s the malt or the oak aging that does it. Either way, it’s nice. It may get a 5 but declaring it as an Old Ale prevents me from doing so. The finish leaves a thickness on the sides of mouth and tongue. Just enough hop bitterness so it’s not cloying. Not a lot in the hop flavor or aroma. The ABV is hidden well and there is no warming feeling down the chest with other high ABV beers.

I poured this beer into my glass and upon the aromas attacking my nose I realized this does not belong in a pint glass. I quickly pulled out my Rapscallion goblet and poured the rest in here. This is my barley wine glass, and I think this is a barley wine type beer. The distinction between BW and Old Ale are small, but I think it belongs in the English BW category. Cheers!

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Photo of nixhecks
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured a amber brown color with no head but a bunch of streams of fine carbonation. The aroma hit me right away from about a foot from my nose. The nose was of dark fruit, especially raisons, along with whiskey, alcohol, and a definite maple candy smell. The taste is very sweet right off the bat but leaves a drier, oak flavor on the back of your throat along with a slight burn from the alcohol. Very complex, to say the least. I wasn't sure what to expect but this was a most unique brew with tons of character, although it is a bit tough to drink more than one or two.

EDIT (4/15/05): A couple cases of this just came into the store I work at so I picked up a few and thought I would check back to see what my original impressions were, and if anything had changed since. Very consistent with my first tasting, color seems a little darker though - more ruby colored. The aroma also seems to be much sweeter, while the flavor is dry and very sweet, varying between a candy like, maple taste; fruity flavors like apple, pear and grape; and a malty finish high in alcohol. I am inclined to bet that this time around my bottle is fresher, and that with aging this brew may lose some of the sweeter characteristics (although this would not be a disadvantage).

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Photo of oberon
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice reddish brown color with a slight head but more carbonation than expected,aroma was rich and of vanilla.The vlavor is very oaky with some vanilla tones and a nice lingering fruitiness.A nice complex beer to savor cant drink more than one or two though.

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Photo of beerinator
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Brownish reddish, with a fairly decent head retention.

Aroma: A slight bit of fruit, maybe cherry and grape, pops through in the aroma. Alcohol certainly noted in the nose. Caramel sweetness present.

Taste: Malty fruityness. Alcohol tingles in the middle of the mouth. Finishes with slight bitterness, that doesn't linger. Very little hop flavor. Seems 'belgiany' because of it's intricate flavors and aromas and virtual lack of hop presence.

Notes: Fun beer with lots of different flavors to note and search for. Doesn't require aging in my opinion, but I'll try it and see.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.92/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: A 12 fluid ounce bottle that has the usual generic DFH label, but with a difference, this time it is a dark green background and the usual DFH symbol has been replaced with a dark green ‘X” set against a brown whispy shape. Dated as, well just nicked din the label as ‘11’, but I know this is a 2002 Edition.

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy, yet deep, Iron-Oxide Amber color, its rusty body reminds me of the dark golden treacle so often poured over hot sponge puddings. Little head, what does exist forms an off-white ringed halo, solid but singular. No lacing, and medium carbonation levels.

Nose: Aged woods, like walking round a Carpenters workshop, some Vanilla and strong Malt Whisky alcohol odors complement and wrap up the aromas.

Taste: Very different. Strong malty alcohols and vanilla assault the mouth. It reminds me of a string Single Malt Whisky that has been matured in and Oak Cask and flavored with Vanilla Beans. Quite unbelievable, I am not sure that I have had a beer like this before. Well that may not be strictly true, for there was of course Bateman’s Lincolnshire Yella Belly Organic Beer!! I am sure RobBeer will attest to that English “Vanilla Beer”.

Mouthfeel: Strong brandy alcohol, very much like drinking a liqueur, or even a Single Malt Whisky, the ethanol is incredibly tasty, yet dominant in the mouth.

Drinkability: Not sure I could sample another one, the Vanilla and high alcohol is a tad overpowering.

Overall: A strange beer, but one which I am indebted to BigHuge for being able to try!

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Immort Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,666 ratings.
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