Black & Blue | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Black & BlueBlack & Blue

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Black & Blue is a Belgian-style golden ale fermented with blackberries and blueberries. Because we dose Black & Blue with real berries -- rather than artificial flavoring -- the fruit comes through in the flavor, not just the aroma.

The pureed berries are added as the beer leaves the brewhouse. In fermentation, the yeast -- the same one we use in Red & White and Pangaea -- feeds on sugars from the barley and the berries, giving Black & Blue a unique complexity and a high ABV.

25 IBU

Added by ggaughan on 08-23-2006

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Reviews: 527 | Ratings: 1,614
Photo of Grundle20
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours from light copper to medium amber in color. There's a minimal off white head to the beer the retreats quickly and leaves little lacing.

For the most part I'm picking up sweet caramel malts but there are the faintest touches of blueberry skins, yes just the skins. A little lackluster honestly for a beer that's brewed with two rather potent fruits both in taste and smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again the fruit is taking more of a back seat than I expected, maybe that's what they were going for but it almost comes across as pointless. To start off there's more of the malt sweetness with a very tiny raspberry undertone. From front to back there's even smoothness and this flavor slowly just fades out to the end presenting very little interesting flavor notes. The finish hints at blueberries but it's again so faint. Sweetness sits in on the aftertaste with that odd blueberry skin touch.

I'm really not feeling this beer and a 10% ABV isn't helping the drinkability either.

Bottom Line:
Not very fruity and kind of boring all gimmicks aside, probably my least favorite DFH beer I've ever had.

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Photo of selecter70
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another exciting big-bottle (1p-9.6oz) find. Dogfish has offered up some nice ales such as the Red & White, a great-taster, so hopes were giddy for this one. I expected something darker; I don't know why, since the label clearly stated a black-raspberry & blueberry fruit ale. Maybe it was the impressive dark bottle. Regardless, the pour was a pinkish-gold brown that settled as with lemon-raspberry fizz and minimal head or lace. A smooth-bodied but bright flavor of sour malt & berries with lemon. The 10% alcohol was non-existent; instead the sour lambic quality prevailed, not too sweet at all. I wished it were more complex, with a better lambic-quality or weisse aspects, as it was fairly simple, although quite nice accompanying my spinach & strawberry salad and bison-burger. I still think I would go for the Red & White next time...hmm...maybe a Red-White-Blue for Independence Day????

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Photo of phiberoptik
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into white wine glasses because unfortunately we do not have any better glassware to sip this wonderful brew. Pours a cran-apple color, almost a pink amber with a light thin head.

I get a lot of red raspberries in the nose along with the maltiness and of course you can smell the alcohol as well.

The taste to me is all red raspberries. I eat red and black raspberries quite often and I dont get as much black raspberry in the taste, despite them being in the beer. Maybe my palate is just not that strong at differentiating. I might say there is some blueberry but it definitely doesnt come off as fresh blueberries. What do I know though. There is malt, yeast, and almost a tart cherry to it, faintly like a Belgian-style ale. Lots of alcohol in the throat, but of course this is a 10% ABV brew.

Mouthfeel is watery but tingles across the tongue from a lot of carbonation, almost like a champagne.

I could drink this for a lot of different reasons but its not highly drinkable due to the carbonation and alcohol level. It makes me burp, but it doesnt bother me.

For the price I wont buy up the store but if I see another bottle, I am most likely going to snag it.

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Photo of PerzentRizen
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The first time I had this it was a breath of fresh air and now it tastes really sour (and not in a good way). I love flemish sour ales, but this is sour in a putride way. This could be an infected bottle (but I don't think so). I will say that this is a 2007, but I doubt a year will kill this beer (at 10% abv - that's the percentage on the bottle).

This was poured into a duvel glass and the head was reduced to a thin lacing. Maybe this beer is just one that does not need aging.

The aroma is light citrus fruit with deep malt and vinous fruit underneath. The aroma is delightful - by far the best part about this beer. I hope this beer will be better next year as I really like it the first time I had it.

The taste is like sour cream and lemon juice mixed with water. I love DFH products so I finished it for them. Please, don't let me down anymore!

The mouthfeel was watery for 10%. I think with a little less attenuation we would have a really decent beer here.

With this percentage this is definately not that drinkable.

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Photo of StephenRich
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dogfish Head may be known for many things along with crafting some of the best beer in the world. One thing I certainly recognize is the amount of big beers that they so enthusiastically brew. Dogfish Head actually brews more different beers, and a larger quantity of beers than any other brewery in North America which are over 9%. So you should not be surprised by now when I review another 10% beer by this industry leading brewery.

This time, it is the Black & Blue, their Belgian style golden ale fermented with tons of pureed blackberries and blueberries. It uses the same yeast as the Red & White which is also 10%, but is a Belgian Type Wit fermented with Pinot Noir juice.

This beer is a big fruit beer in pure Dogfish Head fashion. This is not a fruit beer that just smells like it, or has that obviously artificial or excessively sugary taste - this is yet another Dogfish masterpiece that gets both men and women begging for more. Really, I've seen it.

The Black and Blue is 10% abv as I mentioned and comes in a large 750ml capped wine shaped bottle. The artist who designed the label also did the Red & White, and is a long time Dogfish Head supporter.

Open the Black & Blue up cool around 8C (45F). Any colder and you will loose the malt and complexity in the beer, but too warm and you will loose the quenching and refreshing characteristics which it does possess. The pour is very lively rushing bubbles and carbonation to every corner of the glass. It is building a rich ruby pink beer with shades of glowing red and shimmering copper. Initially a nice frothy and airy white head was lifted over the beer, but it faded fast to a slick film not dense enough to cover the shade of the deep pink liquid below.

The nose is sweet with a grape and wine like presence. It shows tart blackberries and raspberry sweetness with a note of mulled spice, sweet earth and complex Belgian yeast. The same sort of complexity I got in the Red & White. The fruit though is not sugar sweet, it is a soft wave in front of a pale malt backbone showing light toast, caramel and hints of vanilla. Overall its very soft and shows wafts of funk, but nothing to wild.

Big carbonation lifts this beer onto your tongue in waves of smooth pale malts and soft ripe fruits. The base of this beer is for sure a strong Belgian Golden Ale showing light toffee, earth, hay field and yeast. Spices like clove and pepper are detectable and add a crispness to the overall mouthfeel. The fruit is soft, but it is also everywhere.

It glides over top of the malts bringing silky fresh aromas and sweet to tart flavors. Green grapes with the skin, freshly cut apples, tart blackberries and raspberries and a delicate mashed banana all show warmth and subtle flavors. I was hoping for a stronger blueberry flavor, but it is such a mellow and soft flavor in the first place, it seems as if it has been overshadowed by just about everything else.

Gentle hops add a touch of citrus zest and bitter finish witch does help add balance and maturity to the beer. Not that it is overly sweet, but it did need the hint of bitter to make it satisfyingly crisp. And it is. The finish is short and sweet with added yeast complexity and notes of spice.

I am willing to bet, as Sam Calagione (Founder and President of Dogfish Head) often mentions, that this beer will be best in two years. The fruit should come to the forefront a touch as the yeast dries the beer out crating what I expect to be a more tart and spicier drink. Right now though it is easy to enjoy on its own or with almost any sort of cheese, pasta, pizza, fried fish or cheesecake. MMMmm, try it with cheesecake!

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Photo of hellcatsjg
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark reddish orange with a nice off white head that may have a tint of red in it. Bit of lacing as you go.

Smell: Sour raspberry and malt with a bit of vanilla and maybe a bit of oak.

Taste: Sour raspberry up front gives way to a malt flavor with a hint of blueberry. The vanilla and oak from the nose are present in the aftertaste. The sour flavors linger throught the sip.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness and medium carbonation. Taste of nice sweet and sour fruits linger after the swallow.

Drinkability: Very good fruit beer, with nice bit of complexity and sweetness. High ABV could be daunting to some. My main worry about this beer is the $14 price tag. Would buy again, but not for that price.

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Photo of Dodt
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

decided to pick this up out as my first foray into dogfish head
poured from the bottle into a pint glass
appearance amber in color with a puffy white head that stays for a while
smell nice note of blackberry and blue berry
taste the berry notes are very mild
mouthfeel a bit tart

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Photo of VALIS666
2.45/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I am not a fan of fruit flavored beer except for hints of the flavors, and this beer is like a fruit flavored wall of Marshall amps cranked up to 11. Dogfish Head makes some wonderful beers, they're one of my favorite brewers, but this is aggressive and obnoxious. The smell is nice -- mixed berries, I especially smell raspberry, but the taste is borderline unbearable. Tastes almost closer to a wine cooler than a beer it's so sweet and fruity. So unpleasant I poured about $7 worth of its 13 dollar bottle down the drain.

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Photo of Ghenna
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a DFH tulip glass. 3 fingers of quick receding pinkish hued head. Color is really similar to that of a red Smells of yeast and tart blueberries.

Tart makes itself known in terms of flavor, and the yeast almost makes me think of a Belgian. It almost has a bitter aftertaste- which sort of reminds me of unripe berries. It is a little offputting, though doesn't ruin the beer. Having it be just a smidge sweeter would make it perfect.

As far as fruit beers go, it's just about equal parts fruit and beer- as opposed to others which tend to be pretty obvious which way that they lean (think Floris apple versus Elysian Pumpkin). Definitely an interesting effort from DFH, though not one I'd really get again. Fortunately for the sake of variety my wife digs it, so I'm sure I'll be back to review it again next year.

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Photo of mmcave
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ML Bottled on 2-12-07
Ignored beer advocate glass suggestion and poured into a Grolsch glass. Head levels out a good two centimeters off the surface with decent retention and delicate almost gray lacing. The body is red amber, with purple tones, bright red high lights and some peach/pink. Its moderately translucent, with good clarity, and tiny bubbles. The smell reminds me of fall immediately for some reason, maybe because I had Jiahu ( and this reminds me of that?) for the first time this fall, but I can not say for sure. I get no absolute traces of raspberry or blue berry, although I do get strong hints of berry, but what specifically I cannot discern. Malt is present with a weird dried corn note, plus very little hop aroma. As it warms the fruit becomes much more apparent almost sticky in my nostrils. Taste is slightly gummy or jammy alcohol is perceptible but by no means over powering. I taste hints of fruit in the beginning, a tinge of bitterness in the midsection and another flourish of berry character coupled with light malt on the finish. I didn’t notice the normal alcohol warmth you would immediately after taking a sip of something 10 abv, but it did ketch up with my soon after. For me the mouth feel was a bit unexpected on this, I thought there would be much more residual sugar left over from the fruit after fermentation. I get the feeling the fruit had so much fermentable sugar in it that it left a smaller amount of desirable fruit flavor and aroma, but in tern helped to boost the ABV so high. Very interesting, definitely not a sessionable beer, not because of the drinkable factor simply because of the ABV. Fun and interesting to try, but if it were available year round I doubt I’d buy it.

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Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep sunset colors orange to rose with sparse
head and little to no lacing

S: Sweet berry nose with a slight alcohol aroma

T: Champaigne of beers for the summer (not to be
confused with High Life). The flavors of
natural berries over a syrup is evident.

M: Very jammy with great body and adequate

D: The ABV is the only thing that holds me back
for drinking it all afternoon.

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Photo of scott
2.9/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Highly anticipated.
Nice looking pour - fruit-like appearance with hue. Very aggressive carbonation, with tight white long lasting head.
Fruity/bready beer nose. Pleasant.
Hot & Heavy alcohol presence (too much for my liking), with a cloying barleywine distinction. Not as fruit/wine-like as I would have expected. Not refreshing. Not very complex. DFH hasn't impressed me in quite a while now. I think I'm done giving them the benefit of the doubt. And my money.

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Photo of semibaked
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a Pint Glass and shared with a friend.

A - Pours a rusty copper color with about a finger of white head with active carbonation and layers of sediment floated stagnant throughout the body. It was poured lightly into the glass.

S - Big smell of blackberry juice right away, some sourness but I don't get any blueberry smell at all, it also has a smell of hops but it is faint.

T - Heaps of blackberry juice sourness up front, the blueberry flavor taste a bit like blueberry muffins, has some fruit wine qualities.

M - Very light and crisp, slightly watery with prickly carbonation.

D - Glad I tried this one but probably won't be a regular one from me, pretty expensive too. This would be nice on a hot summer day though.

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Photo of davexisxrabid
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade with 6DaysBottomOcean. Thanks!

Poured into my Stone RIS glass; amber colored, 3/4 inch thick tan head, a bit cloudy with active carbonation. Head dissipated quite quickly, and no lacing on the glass.

Aroma of raspberries, cherries, caramel malts, and I couldn't detect any hops.

Taste upfront is tart, with a slight hop bitterness. There is a raspberry flavor in the aftertaste and a slight metallic hop zing at the end.

Full bodied, thick and almost chewy. Carbonation was pretty active and it makes this a sipping brew.

Overall a good brew, but nothing to knock your socks off. Drinkable up to a point - its 10% abv will put you on your ass so I'm glad I split the bottle with my girlfriend. She loved this brew!

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Photo of berpwillie
4.47/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a sparkling clear amber color. lots of fizzy carbonation, average fluffy -fizzy head followed with good lacing. very berry smell with a taste that follows much the same. has a bit of a light fruity wine flavor to it. very easy to drink, alcohol is not the least bit noticable. thin fizzy feel and very sweet, probably to sweet to drink in bulk but could definitely drink every day. first beer i drank that could quench my thirst. could drink this shit at half-time-F@#$ gatorade pass me a black & blue.

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Photo of lehows
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a redish tinted amber color with a tight white head. Wonderful aromas of dark berries and some mild floral hops. Smooth and creamy taste of rich yet mild blackberries and blueberries. Hops and malt make a well enough presence so that the beer is not too sweet. Well balanced and very drinkable for the ABV. Recommended.

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Photo of bierguru
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - redish color slight purplish color to it thick slight blue color to the head that holds throughout the drink

S - smell was disappointing i expected a stronger blueberry smell but was only hinted smelt more tart like raspberry

T - was very interesting kind of sweet with a slight tartness to if first thing i tasted was the blueberries and then an after taste of the black raspberry very interesting

M - i want to describe it as heavy beer felt very thick not to much carbonation and there are little little bits of fruit

D - for me i must drink it cold not chilled and thats do to the fact the raspberry flavor comes out more which i did not care for to much

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Photo of cleeze
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've yet to be disappointed by a DFH brew...

This baby poured a nice mahogany color with a hint of purple. Decent head that disappeared rather quickly to show some bad ass lacing.

Smell was as fruity as they come. As soon as I opened the brew a whiff of berries is very strong. Also after a second whiff, I picked up on some malty alcohol goodness.

Yummmy... Tart berry goodness at first. Warms my belly too on this cold winter day. The yeasty taste contrasts great with the sweet berry taste. the 10% is amazingly masked.

Great drinkability for a fruit beer.

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Photo of imasloth
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a large pinkish head, almond coloured as it dissipates and leaving fine lacing. Beer itself is reddish amber in color.

S- Tart and slightly sweet, even vinous.

T- Like a blueberry wine ... with some very nice tartness. Dry blackberry finish.

M- Dry, silky. Medium-bodied with good carbonation feel.

O- A very nice beer. Not sure they hit it out of the park, especially for the cost ... but one you should try.

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Photo of nriech
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Off white head, lots of it. A very carbonated looking dark red brew.

Smell: More raspberry than blueberry. Sort of sweet smelling with just a tad bit of fruit and malt. Very mild.

Taste: Extremely mild tasting in flavor and ABV. I couldnt tell at all it was 11%. Malty with just a touch of sweet fruit. Not like any other blueberry or fruit beers that are overpowering and sickeningly sweet. This is actually drinkable. Light and not much in the way of aftertaste. A little tart at the end.

Overall a good balanced fruit beer. Just enough fruit to know what you are drinking, good masking of alcohol, easy to drink and a good strong beer for summer. I dont think I could make this a regular but maybe this should be on a rotating every other year schedule.

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Photo of ojiikun
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up the clearly stamped 2008 Feb vintage as a fith. Pops and pours wiht nearly no hiss or head, but only just. A small amount in a rather big wineglass gives a red, red colour with peach-tinged edges. What little head we have is off-orange. Crystal-clear body after a 30-second chill haze cleared itself.

Smell is floral with tons of berries and lots of non-malt sugars. Blueberries, of course, and something like white tea. Vinous. Rose hips. As it warms, a few caramel-ey malts come out.

Taste is quite tart, a little sweet, and still very floral. Some nice, dry farm-ey yeast notes, as well. Citrus peel finish. Odd funk in the middle that I can't quite place. Booze hides pretty well.

Mouthfeel is a little uninteresting. A little sticky, a little thin, not much carbonation when cold, improves a bit as it warms.

I'm just not sure about this one. It's a fantastically original recipe, but I'm not sure the execution is as spot-on as it could be. I wish the boys from Milton had taken this more down the route of the Fort and made it more of a wine. I figure some age might also improve things considerably.

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Photo of kasper
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle aged about 8 months in a temperature controlled wine cellar.

A: This one pours a murky reddish brow with orange highlights near the base of a tulip and a purplish hue elsewhere. Nice tight foamy off-white head with OK retention, leaving dots and legs of lacing as it seeps to a ring.

S: Sweet ripe blueberries, tart blackberries, belgian yeast, and a hint of sourness.

T: Sweet and tangy malts up front, followed by some slightly tart berries, and then contrast by a spicy yeasty finish. Alcohol is noticeable but fairly well blended into the various flavors.

M: On the heavier side of medium bodied, almost syrupy, but more slippery with mild carbonation.

D: I buy about a half dozen Black & Blues every year and always look forward to them. I haven't found anything else like it. A good bottle to split with a friend or loved one.

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Photo of b3shine
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft to snifter. Beer looks good. Not that I'm sure what it should look like, but it had the depth representative of black and blue berries, so it's gotta be labeled "good" at minimum. The bouquet was also good; the fruit was well-represented. Taste was excellent. The flavors poured through nicely. Mouthfeel was good; definitely a sipper. Overall, a good beer that I'll definitely be ordering again.

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Photo of pigc
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes - consumed 11/23/11

A - Pours a light reddish brown with two finger head.

S - Fruity esters, blueberry, grains.

T - Starts off somewhat tart with noticable alcohol presence. Sour cherries, blueberry, raspberry puree. Some clove in there as well.

M - Medium with light to medium carbonation.

O - Decent fruit beer. Not quite up to New Glarus standards but glad I got to split this bottle with a friend. Nothing stands out too much.

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Photo of earthboundagain
2.98/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ok DFH Black & Blue bottled in 2008 drank in 2010 almost two years old.

A bright orange with crimson highlights. The head is a dirty white and leaves some lacing.

Ok there is a big blast of spicy Belgian yeast in the nose, followed bye a general berry scent.

Ok we have some berry flavor mixed with a Belgian yeast profile, not much on the flavor department, and the base beer is that good either

Ok the feel is almost sticky, but is very thick and lacks on the bubble department.

This beer was not what I was expecting and could be a real winner.

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Black & Blue from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.69 out of 5 based on 1,614 ratings.
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