Zwaanend'ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

BA SCORE
86
very good
68 Ratings
THE BROS
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Zwaanend'aleZwaanend'ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
dogfish.com

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed to commemorate the 375th Anniversary Celebration for the first town (Lewes) in the first state (Delaware), this is an old Dutch-style Rye Bokbier brewed with honey.

Added by hopsaplenty on 04-25-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
68
Reviews:
54
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
10.36%
 
 
Wants:
33
Gots:
8
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 54
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of metter98
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy amber-brown in color and poured with a very thin head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are sweet aromas of malt and raisins in the nose.
T: The overall taste is quite malty with flavors of raisins sweet potatoes and hints of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and slightly syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is well balanced for the style—possibly because the spiciness from the rye helps to prevent this beer from becoming overly sweet or cloying.

 602 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.44/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well I didn't know what to expect from Zwanneed ale, or whatever it's called. All I knew was that it had a goofy name, and a tag hanging on the shelf below it that said "sold only in DE" - and that had me sold! I think it was $9.

I paid it no attention when I opened and poured it, assuming that since it was from DFH it would be PDG (pretty damned good). But boyeee-boy, was I wrong! It's PDG... (pretty damned great)!

It poured a clear orange-amber-copper body beneath a finger-thick head of light tan foam. The nose was malty with a distinctly caramelish side. The head slowly dropped, but then left a nice, average-sized creamy collar and a smattering of creamy spots here and there about the glass. The nose pulled me in once again - oh so sweet!

In the mouth it was full bodied with just a light caress across the tongue from the moderate carbonation.

The flavor was an eye opener! Bam!..(to quote Emeril)... Maltiness! Caramel, rich and sweet with an underlying current of dark sugar and light spice (I don't know if that's from the rye or the alcohol, or both!), black raisins, and nuts (even cashews!). It's rich and sugary, and caramelish, and grainy, and doughy, and spicy and nutty and.... well, just one big ball of malty-caramel-spice with a mild fruity edge. Very nice!

The alcohol is very well hidden, although it does show midway; but it's also kind of sweet which tends to cover that. And, overall, for such a big beer with a sweet edge, I found it pretty well-balanced and far from cloying. I REALLY enjoyed it, and I hope to find it again so that I can buy whatever they have in stock. VERY NICE!!!

 1,638 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired via trade from mymrnngjckt, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a mug glass.

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

S: The aroma is sweet and malty with caramel, honey, brown sugar and spices. There's a touch of hops in the background as well.

T: The taste is likewise very sweet with flavors of honey, brown sugar and caramel up front along with a mild alcohol sting. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. There's a decent hops presence that provides some balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is dry but slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, good kick, nice representation of style while still being a little different which is the norm for a DFH beer (and especially their one-off releases), it's a good beer, but it's not one that I could see myself drinking more than one bottle of, nor could I see myself selecting it over too many other beers.

 1,077 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber body with a thin, fizzy white head.

Smell: Sweet, rich toffee and full notes of prunes. Slight hint of sherry.

Taste: Copious amounts of sugary sweetness with flavors of caramel and honey upfront. I'm not really getting much in the way of rye (or hops for that matter) More of the syrup-soaked prune and fig fruitiness. Slight sherry on the sweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Syrupy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A decisively sugary sweet beer, perhaps overly so.

 534 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lacquered kumquat with multiple streams of fine carbonation contributing to a softly frothy cap that looks like a wedge of lemon mousse. Abstract splotches of sudsy lace look very nice on the glass above. I'm impressed so far.

Zwaanend'ale is described on the label as a 'neo-traditional' offering (actually, that describes most Dogfish Head beer). The nose, however, is that of a traditional bock. I can't be sure that I appreciate the honey and dates per se, but this 'Dutch Rye Bock' smells sweet and malty and fruity... and wonderful.

It tastes even more wonderful. The honey is now obvious and adds a sweetness that could not have come solely from malt sugars. I'm sure the dates (also appreciated) add sugars of their own. I didn't expect this to be a dessert beer, but it's definitely sweet enough to be just that.

In my opinion, rye malt is the ingredient that makes Zwaanend'ale work as well as it does. It adds a spiciness and a complexity that most bocks lack (yes, in my opinion). Listen up craft brewers of America... give us more big rye beer! The contrast between sweet and spicy is some kind of delicious.

The flavor profile consists of butter toffee, pureed dates, buckwheat honey and shaved orange peel. This is one time when I'm happy that Sam went all neo-traditional on my ass. All that extra stuff makes for a much better 'bokbier' that the traditional recipes can manage. The alcohol is even expertly masked; not alway a given with this brewery.

If you like medium-bodied beer that is also lightly syrupy, then the mouthfeel will be right up your alley. I do and it's up mine (alley that is). It seems that corn is the secret ingredient that was added to lighten things up a little and keep the beer breezily, easily drinkable. Mission accomplished. The mouthfeel has that telltale lagery smoothness with a nicely rounded beginning, middle and end.

Zwaanend'ale is a beer pun on Zwaanendael (Old Dutch for 'Swan Dale'), a former colonial settlement near the Dogfish Head Brewery. Not only is it one of the best DFH brews that I've ever had, it's one of the best bocks that I've ever had. Too bad it was only brewed one time. Here's hoping that it becomes a seasonal at the very least. A big 'thank you' to lackenhauser for the bottle.

 2,275 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very excited to try this ale. I had been trying to track this one down for ages it seemed like. Dogfish is not available in SC and was only available in NC after this was brewed. So it was up to trading, which I was lucky enough to score. Big bottle with an awesome label promoting the 375th anniversary.

A little history for this one, In 1631, a handful of Dutch adventurers, led by David Petersen DeVries, set foot upon the sandy soil, now known as Lewes, Delaware - where the land was flat and the air, sweet with salt. They proclaimed it Swanendael, or “Swan Valley,” the first settlement established in the New World. Over the course of generations, stalwart souls in the area would endure territorial disputes, invasions, and burnings. They would have seafaring marauders pilfer their possessions and British military forces destroy their peace.

Nearly five generations would pass from the founding of this first colonial settlement, also known as Zwaanendael, until the maturation of an independent governing body, capable of ratifying the constitution. Such bold perseverence deserves recognition - Zwaanendael, for its significance as the first settlement, and Delaware, for its prominence as the first state.

In celebration of the 375th anniversary of the Zwaanendael settlement, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery of Milton, Delaware, USA, has designed Zwaanend’ale, a rye bock based on vintage recipes of Dutch heritage.

Dense loaves of rye and pumpernickel are traditional fare in the Dutch diet, so Dogfish Head has carefully selected a strain of rye grain from the United Kingdom for this very special anniversary ale. Pils malt makes up the base, with rye comprising 5% of the grist. The rye adds a zesty spiciness. Organic wildflower honey intensifies the sweetness of the rich malt profile.

Awesome to have a beer with such a back story, so now let u see what it tastes like...

A - Poured a somewhat hazy honey tinged brown. A nice almost wooden lacquer like color. Had a decided mead like color to it. Small maybe an inch head faded quickly and left really nothing behind but a thin topper of lace. Lots of carbonation streaming up from the bottom made it look very lively. Not very much side glass lace.

S - Aroma was very very light, almost too light that it was hard to pick up anything really strong or dominating. Some light grapes and a touch of something sweet, cane sugar or caramel maybe. Some earthy type of hop maybe in the back, but overall was really hard to pick up anything too specific, just not enough punch to it.

T - This was an odd one. It was like a cross between a light wine and a brown ale would be the best way to try and categorize it. A very fruity grape like finish to it. initial taste was somewhat bitter and grainey. It taste kinda like an old style, like the meads would be a perfect example. Some yeast and some very nice tones of grain but that was it, not very strong in flavor either. No hint of alcohol what so ever.

M - Very smooth, almost a little slick, but nothing bad in anyway. Just a little bit syrupy for me. It was a little flat and could have benefitted from some more carbonation. to really give it some pop.

D - Pretty decent overall, however it was just rather bland. I had no problem polishing off the 750ml by mself, but with it being as syrup like as it was it would be hard for me to really have anymore then that,

Overall I have to say I was kinda dissapointed by this. I thought it would have been alot better then it was. It just did not have any real kick to it. And came off with a rather bland taste overall. Really needed a little extra something to put it over the top. Still a pretty decent novelty beer and if you can get one a nice one to have under your belt to say you tried it.

 3,795 characters

Photo of brandoman63
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of WesWes
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich, malty scent that boasts of crystal, roasted, and rye malts. Its sweet with some roasted notes along with a mild spiciness that blends well with the alcohol aroma. The taste is delicious. It has a warm, malty flavor that goes down easy and finishes sweet with some roasted, spiciness. It's very rich, but drinks excellent. The mouthfeel is great. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an exceptional beer. I really enjoyed the rye element in it. It rounds out the palate and adds character to an already solid beer.

 667 characters

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

Sampled due to the efforts of lackenhauser.

Pours a beautiful deeply copper colored beer with no real head formation.

Smell is slightly sweet with the clear and strong scent of rye in the nose. Lots of rye bread aroma and the pleasant sour snap that only rye has. Some fruity scents are present here too mostly raisins and nuts. There is a mild peppery smell here from the alcohol that is pleasant.

Taste is thick and rather syrup like with a good taste of raisins, nuts and rye at the beginning. Toffee and vanilla flavors kicks in after a while and the taste stays rather sweet. Faint rye after taste, hops don't do much here.

Mouthfeel is full.

Any OK beer to drink but this beer throws your senses quite a few curve balls. The idea of a rye bock beer is imaginative to say the least and it does confuse the taste buds a bit. This is certainly easy to drink and I don't think age will change this much so drink it up and don't save this Delaware commemorative beer.

 983 characters

Photo of RBorsato
2.75/5  rDev -28.8%

Photo of weeare138
3.82/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Tomdecapolis for this...
Appears a transparent gold with a small white head. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of sugary candy, caramel, toffee, and spices.
Taste is of the same aromas with a honey sweetness that is all over the place.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, full of lingering cherries, and honey. The abv is definitely noticable in this one.

 379 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a pint of Zwaanend'ale served at the Dogfish Head Alehouse in Gaithersburg, MD.

Appearance: The ale is a hazy yellow-orange color with a small ring of head.

Smell: There is a strong malt aroma here but not much else.

Taste: The taste gets a little dicey. Some of the flavors come across as slightly metallic (say bad lines, maybe?). The alcohol is well hidden, unfortunately so is the rye that I was hoping to taste.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits a little uncomfortably on the palate.

Drinkability: This is not the first DFH brew that I'd turn too.

 565 characters

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

Clear medium amber with a thin beige head that showed a bit of lacing. Mild aroma with fruity notes and a dull maltiness. The flavour was balanced in favour of malt sweetness and it had a mild berry/fruity tartness that melded well with some spiciness. Green apples rounded out the finish. Creamy texture with some dryness. Pretty good overall with decent drinkability.

 369 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of ROGUE16
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of illidurit
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to gunhaver for opening this bottle at the RBSG 08 Grand Tasting. Poured into a La Chouffe goblet. Dark orange color with a wet white head that leaves some lace chunks. Sweet caramel malt aroma with some tropical esters and raisin. Flavors of sweet stone fruit and caramel, a touch of spice, prune, and tobacco. Zero alcohol flavor, great drinkability. Another bizarre winner from DFH.

 392 characters

Photo of nickd717
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 bottle via trade thanks to truehumand on BA, shared at a tasting surrounding the Bruery hoopla.

Pours a somewhat hazy dark amber color with a nice off-white head and some decent lacing.

Aroma is sweet, malty, and very dark fruity. Caramel, toffee, plum, and raisin stand out.

Flavor is also loads of dark fruit - plum, raisin, and fig mostly - very sweet, with caramel, toffee, maple syrup, and wood. Some mild sherry-like oxidation going on.

Medium-full on the body and somewhat syrupy with fairly soft carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good. I like what they did here overall, even if it's not a standout.

 618 characters

Photo of Damian
4.49/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pt. 9.6 fl. oz. bottle acquired as a selection from Michael Jackson's Rare Beer Club
Bottled 4/14/06

Thanks to my friend James for treating me to this one.

Poured a clear, dark amber with a frothy, bubbly, off-white head that faded to a thick, lasting film. Sporadic streaks of lacing cascaded down the sides of the glass.

The aroma was outrageously sweet and fragrant. Rich, bready, caramel malts, honey and brown sugar came through strong.

The taste was a malty masterpiece from start to finish. Sweet, creamy malts, honey and brown sugar were apparent up front. A slightly sour, lemony flavor (possibly from the rye?) was noticeable mid-palate along with some white wine/grape notes. Raisins and mild spices also came out as the beer warmed. A slight alcohol kick was noticeable in the back of the mouth. At 8% ABV, however, the alcohol was quite well hidden. The finish was clean with absolutely no aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and fairly creamy. Velvety smooth and easy-drinking.

All in all, this was a very non-traditional take on a bock, but an excellent one at that. In many ways it reminded me more of a braggot. Some may find the sweetness overwhelming but I found it to be rather enjoyable. Kudos to Dogfish Head for succeeding with this unique offering.

 1,297 characters

Photo of lackenhauser
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice-somewhat pale chestnut color-had to work to get any head out of it whether it was tilt the glass or raise the bottle sort of thing. Moderate aroma-caramel graininess with a faint alcohol smell. Syrupy sort of flavor-nice mellow bread quality. Sweet, malty overall. The alcohol comes thru a bit more then I would expect at only 8%. Might be me. Damn good body. Very (almost too) drinkable. For its minor faults its a very good beer. Maybe a tad too sweet.

 459 characters

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

Brewed to commemorate the 375th anniversary of Lewes, Deleware. The first town in the first state. Figured this one isn't getting any better. Out of the cellar it comes. A capped 750ml bottled on 4/14/06. Poured into my DFH shaker glass. The bock appears the color of iced tea with a thin finger or so of off white foam. Nose and flavors consist of raisins, caramel malt, brown sugar, more raisins, honey, prunes, tobacco, slightly spicy. Medium bodied with ample carbonation. Glad I had the chance to finally try this one off.

 527 characters

Photo of uturn
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

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Zwaanend'ale from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 68 ratings.
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