Zwaanend'ale | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
54 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

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.

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Reviews: 54 | Ratings: 68
Photo of bjohnson
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Imstillthegman for this offering as part of the 120/190 BIF from awhile back. Poured into a Pilsner glass. Bottled 4/14/06.

A: Pours a clear ruby coppreish color with a frothy cream colored one finger head. Bubbles galore making their way to the top keeping that retention pretty nice.
S: Sweet honey notes coupled with a floral presence. Caramel comes into play, but the honey is still the biggest aroma. Thick sugary presence when you swirl the glass and take a whiff.
T/M: Starts of a bit sweet, but then it pulls a fast one on you. It's actually not as sweet as you thought. Honey notes are the most dominant with lacings of spice and a slight nuttiness. The rye shows itself with a spicyness and a sharp biting in the finish. Syrupy and thick in the mouth--full bodied and coating. Twang of booze appears but then recedes rather quickly.
D: An interesting beer to say the least. Malt notes, similar to the Liquor de Malt, are present in the aftertaste. Warms the chest, which is an inclination of the abv, although it isn't very high to begin with.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle poured into a tulip it forms an eggshell white head that falls to a thin cover. Lace is spotty and sliding. Copper body and minimal fine carbonation.

Very sweet in the nose and it translates to the taste. Caramel malts invade the palate only to be sweetened up again by a jolly rancher type backer. Citrus hops make an appearance quickly followed by some pumpkin pie character. It tries to have a sour edge towards the finish but the "juice" like sweetness takes over quickly. An oddball, in that I usually find beers with a similar makeup to be overly sweet. This one however, I find that the flavor profile is well put together even if a bit overly onesided.

Notes: I liked this offering. Dogfish head brews and my palate aren't a match made in heavan that is for certain, and this is an odd one that works for me. I can see this having very mixed reviews as its a polarized taste.

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Photo of OStrungT
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a golden color, whit a thin white head. The head fades quickly, leaving minimal laces. Tiny bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass.

This beer has a sweet malty aroma. I can detect some fruity notes also. That is odd, but not bad. It has almost no hop aroma. What I can detect, smells like Saaz. Slightly peppery, whit some citrus zest.

This beer tastes exactly like it smells. It is sweet. It has a caramel malt flavor. Behind that, I taste a slight raisin flavor. The hop flavor is almost non existant. The ABV is well hidden in this beer.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a sweet aftertaste. It is full bodied and sweet. It is carbonated to perfection.

This beer might make a good session beer, if it was available here.

Overall: Thanks ggaughan for giving me the chance to try this beer, as part of a great trade. Tomorrow, I will be sending you some more great beers. I hope you enjoy. Great beer.

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Photo of CWiggins
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I acquired a bottle of this beer from a friend who recently visited the Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware. I gave her some money and told her to pick any item she deemed interesting, and she came back with three beers: the 120-Minute IPA, a bottle of Jin, and a 750ml bottle of Zwaanend'ale. The latter I knew absolutely nothing about, and so I waited until Thanksgiving to pop it open and serve it to friends at dinner. One month ago I visited the brewery and came back with several of their hard-to-find offerings, including a case of Zwaanend'ale. The first bottle of that case has just been opened, and I've decided to post my review based on this most recent tasting. (This evening, actually!)

I poured this beer into a Dogfish Head snifter and immediately notice the beautiful brown hue exhibited through the glass. No substantial head formed, just a sparse foam that lasted briefly. The aroma is mainly of a sugary sweetness and honey, with hints of dark malts and dried fruits. It's intriguing, to say the least.

I love the flavor of this beer. Being a fan of the Bock style, I noticed the similarities almost immediately, but also the differences: it has the inherent light sweetness of Bock beers, but the rye flavor keeps it from being too much. Also, the rye gives it a particular dark character that is most unusual. Nice hints of honey, fruit, and brown sugar, and the 8%ABV provides just the right amount of warming at the finish. There's very little bitterness here to speak off, which I suppose is typical of the Bock style.

The mouthfeel is big but not sticky. It lingers on the palate for just the right length of time.

I love this beer, and I'm really glad I purchased a case of twelve 750ml bottles, since this beer may not be produced again after 2006. (It was made in celebration of the 375th anniversary of the founding of Lewes, Delaware, a historic town halfway between the brewery and Rehoboth Beach, where the Dogfish Head Brewpub is located.)

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Photo of rdickey
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Source: 750 ml capped bottle. No freshness date.

Appearance: Deep amber with an off-white half-finger head that dissipates rapidly.

Smell: Malty sweetness, with something else – dried fruit?

Taste: Very sweet… the honey comes through here, as well as more of the dried fruit taste.

Mouthfeel: Ok, but not great. Not enough crispness here to keep the sweet taste from being cloying.

Drinkability: Maybe I’m not in the right mood for this kind of beer, and perhaps this would pair well with a fruity dessert, but I find it hard to imagine drinking more than one of these.

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Photo of lou91
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think DFH makes good beers and aside from the WWS and Festiva Lente I have not blow away by there lineup. This is another example of a good but not great beer. All the right ingredients, look and tastes- maybe a bit too sweet. Malty, sweet with a long caramel aftertaste. Worth a try but I hope this is not big bucks.

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

A - pours a nice light copper color. Crystal clear. frothy head, and some lacing.

S - That rye crispness, is giving a toasty aroma, along with an awesome caramel aroma. Some fruits such as raisins come along too.

T - Sweet malts, start off then meld into a vinous, raisin flavor of rye, and caramel malts. Very nice.

M - Smooth and drinkable. Alcohol warms a little in the end.

D - I could drink this all night, and all the time.

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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!!!

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Photo of Callenak
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle acquired in a trade.

Pours light for a bock. A clear, deep caramel color with light, quickly receding head. Smell is of course malt forward with a hint of honey. A hint of fruitiness but mostly caramel from the malt.

Taste is very sweet and syrupy. Taste of raisins. Not much in the hops department. Probably fair for the style. Maybe a little honey in the taste too. Full mouth feel.

All in all, a decent beer. Nothing I would go out of my way to try again. Still waiting for a DFH beer to really impress me.

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Photo of Gasp100
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a deep, clear copper with crimson hues and soft, sticky lacing down the glass. This is a really, really nice color - think Autumn.
The smell is of gingerbread, carmel, sweet fruits and cinamon. The taste is really sweet and there is a lot of depth. I don't detect much in the hop department, but a lot of carmel and biscuit from heavy malts. It's almost a little syrupy for my tastes without a crisp finish.
The mouthfeel is thick and a little cloying but very smooth with a slight bitter twinge in the after taste.
The drinkability is a little low on this because of the sweet, estery profile and syrup-like taste and mouthfeel. A bomber is perfect for this sample - this is not a session beer (although it hides to 8% nicely) but it pretty complex and worth a try.

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

This beer poured a very dark golden yellow with a rim of head.
Smelled spicy and malty with notes of caramel.
Tasted of molasses and caramel with a sticky maltiness. Sort of reminded me of a barley wine.
The mouth feel was syrupy with highly carbonated bubbles.
I liked this beer. I’m finding the more I explore the more I like sweeter beers and this one did it for me.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this on tap at The Grey Lodge Public House.

This beer came a pale brown amber with a wide collar of creamy white.

Smelled of sweet potatoes, caramel and over-ripe green apples.

Tasted big and sticky sweet like caramel, candied apple and red licorice. The hops reminded me of the spiciness found in DFH’s Punkin’ Ale for some reason with a little nutmeg.

The mouth feel was medium bodied and vicious but silky with a light carbonation.

As far as style goes, this one’s a little confusing. Regardless of style, it was too sweet for me.

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

The appearance is a brownish-copper color with a small but sticky head leaving decent lacing on the glass. On the nose, there is a definite presence of rye bread, with spicy fruit in the background. The taste is dominated up front by the warmth of alcohol and sweet caramel, which as it subsides begins to reveal some spicy notes, candied fruit and a slightly dry hop finish. The rye doesn't make any distinct appearance in the taste save for a vague yeastiness, and I can't specifically detect a honey taste, just sweetness. A moderately full mouthfeel, although its intensity makes this beer only enjoyable in smaller quantities.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured Vom Fuss at the DogFish Head Ale House, to a big pint glass. Bright and clear orangesish amber liquid with good carbonation. A respectable 2 finger head that fades fast and leaves a nice lace.

The smell is very fruity with some rye bread.

The taste is strikingly peachy and sweet, some lightly toasted rye bread. Carmely notes and a very smooth, yet slightly dry, hopy finish. 8% ABV is expertly hidden behind a very interesting and well planner flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is very good, nice carbonation, a good medium to full body and a smart complex flavor profile. A very elegant and well crafted beer.

The drinkability is very high, big satisfaction from this fruity bock. A clear winner. Prosit und Zum Wohl! MK

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

on tap at the Point Brugge Cafe in Pittsburgh (one of these owner said they were pouring one of the 4 sixtels released into the Pittsburgh market.) served in a 10 oz. footed glass. Description on Dogfish Head website said that this is a old Dutch rye bokbier brewed with the addition of honey. Appearance was a light copper hue with a wispy off white head. Smell was very malty on the sweet side with notes of burnt sugar and almond. Taste was of upfront sweetness with residual alcohol from the honey. Also, had a sour element very reminscent of a flanders red. Finish was very dry and balanced out the up front sweetness very well. Mouthfeel was full and juicy with a slight pucker.

This is a beer that I feel priveledged to have come across on a Saturday afternoon craft brew pilgramage around Pittsburgh!

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Photo of sabrills70
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle capped brown bottle with a bottled on date of 4/14/06. Pours a medium amber with a 2 finger creamy head, good longevity and great lacing. Smells rich and malty yet fruity. Definate malt taste but very sweet and fruity. Very rich. Alcohol come trough in the middle. Hops come through in the end but are swallowed up by a definate fruity malt aftertaste. This is a bock, but a very unique one - not traditional at all, but still tasty. What do you expect from Dogfish Head? This what they are known for and do best.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats. The beer is to commemorate the 375th anniversary of Lewes, Delaware, the first town in the first state.

It was definitely a lighter color than other Bock's...kind of a light copper. It smelled amazing - sweet, fruity, and spice; best aroma I've experienced to date. The taste matches very well - a very sweet, fruity beer with the spice aftertaste. The combination isn't too sweet's the perfect blend. Overall, it is a very drinkable beer. I picked up a bottle to take along with me and save it for later, but I think I'll be breaking it open pretty soon! Another A+ from DFH!

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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.

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Photo of deejaydan
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours pale for a bock, but a thick head is there to support. Aroma is slight. Clean, not much there. Taste is malt and alcohol forward. Heavy on the munich malt, mouthfeel is fairly thick. I'm surprised to see the hops as subdued as they are in here, after all, this is a DFH beer. It's a nice beer, but it's not outstanding.

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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.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml brown bottle, bottled on 4/14/06. According to the label, this is an old Dutch-style Rye Bockbier brewed with honey.

Bronzed copper. Thick, sticky head of fine off white bubbles that leaves fat bands of lacing. Sweet, clean aroma with rich malt and a slightly spicy hop note. The taste is thick with sugary malt and just a hint of gentle hop spice. Caramel and butterscotch are prominent along with a modest alcohol component that comes through in the finish. Finishes sweet and tacky and a touch warming from the alcohol. I did not pick up any distinct honey notes other than the sweetness. The body is medium-full and has a heavy, slightly cloying mouthfeel which may have been helped by bumping up the carbonation. This was a bit heavy and overly sweet which hurts its drinkability and would have benefited from just a touch more spicy hops. Happy 375th Lewes, the original home of the DFH brewery!

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

Tasted on the 4th of July with my cousin, bro and family. What a treat as I have been waiting to try this one for a few months now. The beer poured a clear coppish color with a thick nicely carbonated head and body. There was a nice fruity aroma to this one, light. The taste is also sweet and a bit syrupy but not overly. There is a good touch of honey and caramel that makes this bock enjoyable and fairly drinkable in my book.

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Photo of mentor
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to foolcircle for providing this one as part of BIF33. Thanks a million for the opportunity! Hard pour earns an accidental two finger head that crackled and quickly settled to a half-finger of clingy head. Nearly clear and richly orange. Orange-golden that's sort of reddish. Smells caramel malty and orangish hoppy. Cidery fermented honey. A bit of dry grassy that could be hops.

Tastes fermented honey on top of a caramel that bursts through. Red apples and light DME powder. Sweet cherries, like the syrup from a jar of cherries that lacks any cherry sour. Thick dextrinous mouthfeel and modest carbonation. Finish is wet and sticky on the front of the tongue.keeps the malt sweet hanging around. A touch of alcohol starts off the aftertaste. Enjoyable. Not complex and not particularly drinkable. If sticky sweet is not a beer you like, then stay away from this one.

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

This was my first beer at the American Beer Festival '06 in Boston... since it was my first..and second :).. (thanks to a suggestion to go right for this one from a local), I was able to get a good tasting of it. First of all, this is a great beer, and from what I understand was supposed to be brewed close to how it was done 400 years ago.

Pours a copper slightly hazy color with nice head retention. Aroma was sweet and fruity. Not heavy fruits like figs or raisins, but almost light and tropical, or apples and pears maybe. There is some wheat and rye spiciness and cinnamon also. Flavor was nicely sweet, with a touch of biscuit and rye. The fruits come out nicely. Very smooth and refreshing flavor, I really wish they had this in bottle!!!!

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Photo of Phatz
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer pours a transparent caramel color or copper. Very thick looking even in the pour with little carbonation it appears a bit syrupy from the start.

Smell: Fresh squeezed apple juice with a sprinkle of nutmeg. There is now bitterness whatsoever. This is a very sweet aroma.

Taste: Juicy Juicy Juicy. Malty and loaded with raw sugar (the classic DFH sugar element) this is a nice, easy sweet bock with a splash of vanilla and a slight sour twang, just enough to keep the sweet from becoming cloying.

Mouthfeel: Exceptionally smooth and a bit syrupy with a slick oiliness through the center.

Drinkability: What is not to like about this beer. Very tasty and very drinkable.

Hope this is helpful.

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