Immort Ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
1,173 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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,173 | Ratings: 2,685
Photo of WaltTrombone
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not one of Dogfish Head's more stellar offerings, but still pretty good. It poured a light cloudy amber, with a beige head that fades fast. Aroma of malt, maple, and vanilla. Tastes were malt, orange, vanilla, maple, banana. With an 11% ABV, this could stand to be cellared for a bit, as the flavors are not blended, but separate, jarring notes.

Mouthfeel was smooth, with light tangy carbonation. The finish was malt and lemon.

 431 characters

Photo of AragornUnplugged
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out a beautiful deep orange. Created a nice, 1 inch head which lasted for the first few sips. Complex aroma features some fruitiness, some maple and light oak, which holds true in flavor as well, although difficult to fully pin down. High alcohol level is not hidden in the medium body, but still easy to drink. Malt and oak become a much stronger factor as the beer warms up a bit. Good beer, but for me, there can be only one!

 434 characters

Photo of babyhobbes
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is yet another good beer from DFH. Pours a maple-y color with lacing but no real head. This smells strongly of alcohol but also of fruit. It's smell is reminiscent of a port. (Good beer smell not so good smell for port.) The taste is sweet and full of alcohol. There is more carbonation than I expected and it is a little thick in the mouth. I can't liken this mouthfeel to anything but it is pleasant. This is a very drinkable beer, the only drawback in my opinion is that the alcohol content is not masked much at all.

 525 characters

Photo of jed
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Sampled from a bottle cellared for about one year. Poured into a brandy sniffer.

Appearance: Pours a dark, hazy copper. Quickly receding, one finger head. Small amounts of lacing.

Smell: Astringent alcohol is immediately obvious. Strong presence of oak and maple, along with green raisins (or some other fruit?), small hint of vanilla. Nicely complex.

Taste: The smoked peat malt dominates the head, along with hints of oak. Syrupy sweetness from the maple and vanilla develops. The alcohol is much more subdued than in a fresh sample (where the beer is almost undrinkable), but still obviously present. Alcohol isn't overpowering though, especially given that it's an 11% beer. Small hop presence in the finish along with a little bit of spicyness. Nicely complex.

Mouthfeel: Slightly high carbonation and syrupy character combine for an interesting mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Hmmm. I bought a six pack of this and have tried it at six month intervals — a year seems like the minimum. Fresh, the alcohol dominates and the beer is extremely unpleasant. Right now it's an interesting sipping beer, although there's still a very strong, port-like alcohol flavor.

Another interesting beer from DFH, although one that certainly needs to be cellared. I'll let my last bottle go for another year and then update the review, but I imagine it will only get better. This is different from any of the other barleywines I've sampled, but certainly worth a try.


1/22/05 - Two year update: Sadly, this beer has become increasingly acidic with aging, perhaps due to a problem with the cellaring. The oak flavor is now predominant, bringing to mind some of the Rodenbach beers, while the mouthfeel has become essentially flat. One year seems to be the best point for cellaring Immort Ale.

 1,814 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.64/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I'm often overwhelmed by DFH offerings, and such is the case with this one. Pours a hazy amber, the color of iced tea, with no head but considerable lacing. Immense aromas hit the nose. Plums and lilacs begin the assault, followed by maple and vanilla syrup and a touch of smokiness. Alcohol is also picked up. Mouthfeel is exceptional. Tart and "melt in your mouth" kind of creamy chewy, but there is a slight alcohol bite. Taste is maple syrupy with a big hops presence. Hard hitting alcohol, but I didn't note the oak mentioned on the label. This is a very complex ale, as most DFHs are, but the complexities don't mask the big abv as well as their 120 Minute IPA, IMHO. Finishes bitter and syrupy. I think the Dogfish Head 120 Minute is a more well balanced and drinkable ale, even at nearly twice the abv. Still, this ale is an adventure.

 843 characters

Photo of bostonstoutman
2.33/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I'm a fan of this brewery; their creativity is usually delightful to my tastebuds. I can't find much to like in the Immort Ale however. Alcohol is present immediately, not only in the taste, but in the smell. I bought a six-pack last summer and cellared three until now (December.) The six months have not helped to mellow this beer significantly, I still find it unbalanced. Overwhelming floral, spicey, maple, vanilla presence in the nose and taste. I think Dogfishhead sometimes tries to pack too much into a beer, though they should be credited for challenging the norm. I would not want to drink more than one of these beers at a time. By no means a traditional Barleywine, if it can even be categorized as one.

 716 characters

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$16 a six pack. I was entering new territory. Poured copper colored, with a good head (maybe I handled it too harsh?) I was prepared to tasteit. Maple, vanilla and malt. The brewer did a supurb job blending the three. Well balanced, but more of a "dessert" beer. Not the thing to have with pizza.

 296 characters

Photo of BierReise
3.77/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy golden orange with very little head. Aroma is sweet, maple syrup, apples and vanilla. Flavor is quite complex, the maple is there but also sour apples, sweet malt and champagne yeast. Very crisp and effervescent. Overall not my favorite in this style but still a decent product from a great brewery.

 304 characters

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

DFH rarely dissapoints (IMHO) and this beer keeps the faith. Pours a reddish brown with a thin head (11% ABV!?!) that quickly dissapeared. The beer smelled more like a barleywine: alcohol and sugary sweet. The taste followed suit with sweet and dry thick malty flavors of vanilla, molasses & nutmeg. As the beer passed my gullet, I could barely notice the alcohol hidden in the background. (Though after polishing off two rather quickly, I can assure you it is there). The beer had a dry, crisp, nutty, spicey finish that makes for a great christmas beer for some adventurous, unsuspecting in-laws - I will test it out!

Another great offerring from DFH

 655 characters

Photo of hijinx
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh my head! Guess I should've come to beer advocate first for the alcohol content on this one before I downed the whole six pack. What can I say? It was cold out and this tastes good! I've been working my way through the Dogfish brews to try them all and this has to be my favorite. I typically favor esb's, however this ale is strong enough to feed my fancy. Appearance is dark and chocolaty with scents of coffee, chocolate and vanilla. Goes down very easy and is a great dinner or dessert beer. It was 17 degrees last night and it vertainly kept me warm. Fans of vanilla or chocolate beers will definately enjoy this one.

 624 characters

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.

 301 characters

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.

 907 characters

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!

 789 characters

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.

 1,283 characters

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.

 898 characters

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.

 588 characters

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.


 966 characters

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.

 540 characters

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?

 248 characters

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.

 1,330 characters

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.

 950 characters

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.

 489 characters

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.

 636 characters

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.

 478 characters

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.

 990 characters

Immort Ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 2,685 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.