Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chile Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #16,182
3.89 | pDev: 14.65%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Very Good
Notes: Theobroma is a celebration of chocolate, the food of the gods.

This Ancient Ale is based on chemical analysis of pottery fragments found in Honduras that revealed the earliest known alcoholic chocolate drink used by early civilizations to toast special occasions.

The discovery of this beverage pushed back the earliest use of cocoa for human consumption more than 500 years to 1,200 B.C. As per the analysis, Dogfish Head's Theobroma (translated into "food of the gods") is brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs (from our friends at Askinosie Chocolate), honey, chilies and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

It's light in color, not what you expect from your typical chocolate beer (not that you'd be surpised that we'd do something unexpected with this beer!).

Reviews: 782 | Ratings: 2,221 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by RyanPS:
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RyanPS from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2.8%

Nov 16, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of badgustav
badgustav from New Hampshire

4.86/5  rDev +24.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Had the 2013 in 2015, so aging may impact the flavor.
Aroma - fascinating spice, hints of chocolate, strong anise, and a very light malt
Look - hazy copper with a rocky, lasting head
Flavor - malty, spicy, notes of cocoa, chili, and cinnamon. Complex and interesting
Overall - drink this, it's fascinating

May 15, 2015
Photo of pat61
pat61 from Minnesota

4.69/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours hazy orangish gold under a thin fizzy off white foam collar that quickly dissipates.
S: Honey on the nose and as it warms more cocoa and chile notes come forward.
T: Honey and more cocoa than the color would suggest on the palate but it is also lighter and subtler than you would find in a chocolate stout. The chile produces an interesting heat emphasis but fortunately there is very little of the vegetal quality from the chile that shows up in some chile beers.
M: moderate carbonation and medium to medium light body.
O: The beer is good at refrigerator temperature but it improvessignificant in the 50s F. this is unusual, very well done, balanced and enjoyable.

Apr 05, 2015
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burnstar from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty orange gold with a medium head that dissipates quickly. Aroma is sweet honey with undertones of dark chocolate. Subtle chile and fruit notes. Taste is slightly sweet at first. Honey again. Chiles in the middle add just a slight amount of heat. Dark chocolate in the finish. Finishes dry with a bit of noticeable alcohol. Very tasty. Complex but everything blends together nicely and no single flavor dominates. Full bodied and pretty drinkable especially considering its strength and uniqueness. A very good and very interesting beer.

Aug 23, 2009
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mjtiernan from New York

3/5  rDev -22.9%

Nov 15, 2011
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CGAR from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Jan 26, 2013
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superspak from Ohio

4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 4/29/2013. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy golden amber color with a 1 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of honey, toast, bread, cracker, orange, pear, apple, grape, nuttiness, herbal, floral, chile pepper, light cocoa, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt, yeast, and spice flavors; with good strength. Taste of honey, bread, cracker, orange, pear, apple, grape, toast, nuttiness, herbal, floral, light cocoa/chile pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Light chile pepper heat on the finish; with lingering notes of honey, bread, cracker, pear, apple, grape, orange, herbal, floral, light nuttiness, light cocoa/chile pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Very nice balance and complexity of malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick/creamy mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice ancient ale style. All around nice balance of malt, spice, and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV, A very enjoyable offering.

Jan 20, 2014
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Nickfellow007 from Rhode Island

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Aug 14, 2012
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ChanceK from Texas

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Sep 21, 2013
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adjunctlager from Massachusetts

2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Nov 07, 2013
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justcallmecapn from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +2.8%

Feb 18, 2014
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MacMalt from New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into snifter glass. It pours a cloudy golden honey color with some floating citrus sediment but virtually no head or lacing. The aroma features citrus and spice. but is fairly subdued. The first taste is some sweet honey and sour blood orange, but the chili dominates. There is faint touch of cocoa at the finish. It's well carbonated and the 9% ABV is well masked. Overall, this is a very interesting ale. We think it would pare well with sushi or other seafood.

Dec 24, 2015
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therica from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A= orange-tea colored, slight bubbly head when poured, dissipating quickly.

S= heavenly aroma! Very interesting and unique, probably the annatto being the unusual contributor. Spicy, gingery, peppery.

T= very nice and of course unique, the various unusual ingredients tend to shine in alternating manner. Slightly too sweet for my preferences. Light pepper, spice, occasional spiced ginger-beer qualities, then a sudden flash of cocoa.

M= a little syrupy and sweet for my preferences, nice spicy peppery bite.

D= 9% ABV is the first challenge, $11.99 for a 22 ounce bomber isn't cheap, and I think I would treat this more as a novelty one-glass brew to be shared with a few others.

Apr 02, 2010
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beer2day from North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged 1 year in the beer fridge.

Pours a thick syrupy honey gold. Slight head, weak carbonation. but a rich vibrant color. No lace.

Honey and pepper dominate the nose. Picking up a little basil as well. Malt sweetness rounds things out.

Tastes a little better than it smells. Very rich feel. Starts out with honey sweetness. Nice syrupy middle, with a Belgian feel but no Belgian taste. Finishes with a slight tart bite and suprisingly dry. Pepper kicks in way at the end but is definitely there. Takes a few sips before it becomes recognizable.

Interesting beer, but not one I'd seek out again.

Jun 26, 2010
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Beerandraiderfan from Nevada

3.06/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This came out a weird color, I was all reading about cocoa nibs and whatnot, and I guess I just presumed that it would be brown or some off chocolate color. Instead, I was greeted by a vibrant dark gold with extreme clarity. Couldn't pick up all that much in the nose.

Taste, way more honey was noticeable than the cocoa nibs. I straight up didn't notice an iota. Really was anything but what I expected, instead of a chocolatish beer, I got more honey, yeast and I dunno, people say pepper, it just tasted let's say unique. Chilis? Where?

This was just like honey and alcohol.

Dec 23, 2010
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SanMikeva from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Sep 23, 2013
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SteelCityHops89 from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +28.5%

Dec 15, 2011
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Njstoutlover23 from New Jersey

5/5  rDev +28.5%

Apr 28, 2012
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adam_e from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Dec 10, 2012
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TaylorBrake from Colorado

4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Mar 15, 2014
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Whitey_from_Remedy from Pennsylvania

3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Jun 18, 2015
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mikehillman from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Feb 01, 2014
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JohnQVegas from Tennessee

2.85/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into The Bruery tulip.

Pours a hazy apricot color, a few floaties, one-finger off-white head disappears rapidly, leaving just a few tiny, scattered patches of microscopic bubbles.

Nose is pretty unique; sweet pale(ish) malt/wheat notes hinting at honey lead into a smokey note from the peppers, as well as a bit of interesting spiciness - perhaps from the annato, resembling nutmeg. Alcohol is certainly there as well, blending in with some almost English-ale-like esters, and muting all the other ingredients as a result of its prominence. An odd conglomeration to say the least.

Taste is equally bizarre. Grainy sweetness carries a bit of a honey note perhaps, though the chocolate is pretty much imperceptible. Some spiciness in there, whether from the annato or the chilis is beyond me, though the heat is quite muted. The dull, lifeless mouthfeel and thick, slick body go a long way towards taking any real life out of the beer. Alcohol certainly lends a bit of a heaviness of its own, though it's far from boozey or overbearing. Dull, earthy note sits on the palate on the long finish. This tastes, to me, like a lackluster ESB/braggot hybrid where the hops have been replaced by spices and chilis and augmented with a bit of honey and made way, way too big.

Drinkability is actually decent. Whatever the other myriad flaws found in this beer, the alcohol is actual warming, pleasant, and well hidden, other than the heaviness it seems to add to the beer. Poor mouthfeel hurts the beer big time, and the taste, while offering a few moments of insight into what DFH was going for, largely falls short.

I've said before, I hate it when people call world-class lower-abv beers like pale ales, milds, bitters, etc. boring just because they aren't huge and "extreme". This is the other end of that spectrum: a giant beer incorporating a ton of crazy ingredients that is so dull and lifeless it ends up being, you guessed it, boring. I've had my share of big, crazy beers that worked, but this is not one of them.

Dec 23, 2010
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minterro from Colorado

4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought several months ago at spartan spirits, kinda pricey so wanted to save it for a special occasion. I believe this week warrants that... tests Wednesday, thursday and the GRE this morning, what a hell week.

A&S: transparent light orange/yellow colored head comes in pretty light. not very lively and not much head (very fizz and white but dies really quick). Lots of unfiltered particles on the bottom. the smell is very tropical tasting: honey, citrus, and some spices.

T&M: Going into this beer I wasn't sure quite what to expect as far as the chocolate tones, i knew they were going to be different but not sure how. lots of complexities to this one. upfront im getting a lot of white wine. Midway through the taste and after sometime for warming im getting more of the chile and honey tastes. Alcohol and a light hint of coco in the back end.

Overall: I'm liking the idea of dogfish head ancient brew series, and I'm going to give this beer a nod of approval mostly because it tastes like nothing I've ever had before, the only down side is this beer was quite expensive in my neck of the woods, I don't know how it was priced elsewhere but here I was looking at over 15 for a bottle.

Nov 09, 2012
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gabedivision from New York

4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 to a pint glass

A- pours a light golden amber w a thin white lace, some visible carbonation and some floating particles, very pretty beer

S- smells of honey, cocoa, eucalyptus, licorice, toffee, slightly medicinal, some apricot, a touch of ginger, some banana and clove

T- taste is so much different than the smell, some sweet malts up front, then a big smokey blast mid sip, tons of spice, so cayenne, chili, and pepper, finishes with the sweetness of honey

M- light on the feel and body, despite the 9%, spicy, and dry

O- interesting brew, tons of flavors constantly changing in the mouth, if this is what the ancients brewed, beer must've been amazing!

Apr 20, 2013
Theobroma from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 2221 ratings