Theobroma | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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2,215 Ratings

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Chile Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!).


Added by slvrmon82 on 03-21-2008

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,215 |  Reviews: 779
Photo of deapokid
2.55/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

As I poured this Aztec influenced ale, I was quiet surprised to find a golden and crisp liquid, instead of the jet black behemoth I expected.

Head is firm and sticky, if slight, and carbonation is lively. I'm reminded of a Helles or American Adjunct Lager, which is an odd look for a beer that supposedly tastes like cocoa and chili peppers.

Smell is a bit sweaty, featuring mild chocolate aroma, a hint of honey and some ground pepper. It's not necessarily unpleasant, but the onion notes are off-putting.

Flavor is rather one-dimensional, focusing all of its attention on the sweetness of the honey. It reminds me of a mead, carrying on that beverage's warming characteristics and alcoholic back end. I'm really struggling to locate any spice and I was hoping for a big blast of chili goodness to scorch my palate. Cocoa peaks out subtly at the conclusion, but the honey's cloying sweetness dominates the flavor profile.

Liquid is smooth initially, but the medicinal quality of the honey and the utter lack of balance make this stand out in a negative way.

I'd say that the untraditional aspects of this beer will be hard to take for most. I understand brewer intention and innovation, but I still think this is too focused on one ingredient to truly reflect the original nature of this beer. It would be much easier to take in a 12 oz. bottle, but, at 750 ml., it's hard to choke down.

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Photo of webmanspidey
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip glass. This is a clear golden amber color, very fizzy with a light to moderate head. Smell includes chocolate, cinnamon, maple, and chili peppers. Taste is a mix of caramel and chocolate with a slight peppery kick at the end. Fairly tasty, but not nearly as complex as the description suggested. Drinkability is excellent for nearing 10% ABV.

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Photo of awright
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance - Surprisingly clear, bright gold of a pale ale or bock. Light, bubbly head with a yellowish tint, dissolved to very fine lacing.

smell - Definite subtle notes of herbs, chocolate?

taste - Sooo much more subtle and nuanced than I expected, especially from these guys. A nicely balanced ale with a forward bitter, very subtle chocolate. I would give this a 4, but given the ingredients they're juggling here, the fact that this works deservers at least a half point more. A few swallows in, it grows a little sweet; I would like it to have a bit more bitter and pepper, but I respect the authenticity of the recipe.

mouthfeel - A little thin and wet, but the complex flavors leave a lingering sensation. There is a definite warmth from the chiles, but it will be lost on anyone who tries to pair this with nachos. This should be examined in respectful isolation, like a fragile museum piece.

drinkability - Not a session beer. It goes down like a sweet marzen or dopplebock, but begs for a bit more reflection. At 9% ABV, this one will move you.

I was expecting another typical Dogfish Head novelty beer, but this one holds up very well with its own unique style. I would recommend this to any serious beerologist.

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Photo of irishking1977
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear, dull golden hue with little to no head, and a bit of lacing. Not what I was expecting; I thought this might be a darker brew.

S: Mild peppery aroma with a hint of chocolate. Doesn't really give much away as to it's taste.

T: Initially, sweet and somewhat chocolate finish, leading to a bit of a lingering spicier finish after subsequent sips. Gotta admit, this is okay, but slightly disappointing in that I was expecting it to be a bit more complex.

M: Appearance is deceiving; the carbonation is much higher than it would appear. Good thing too, because a flatter beer might ruin the drinkability.

D: Decent, yet it seems like this is missing something. Good to try once, but repeat attempts aren't really necessary since it's kind of one dimensional.

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Photo of metter98
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer poured a clear light golden yellow in color with only a few bubbles floating on the surface. A moderate amount of carbonation is evident from the rising bubbles.
S: There is a moderate amount of sweetness in the nose, which has light aromas of honey and grapes.
T: Like the smell, flavors of honey and grapes dominate the overall taste. There are some hints of chili peppers and cocoa in the finish.
M: The beer feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a touch of carbonation. The finish has a very mild amount of dryness and a bit of heat from the chili peppers.
D: Although the alcohol is masked rather well from the taste, this beer still tastes strong and is one that needs to be sipped given its amount of cloying sweetness.

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Photo of nova009
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a cloudy golden hazy orange color, small white head appears but disappears quickly, spotty lacing

S- smells rather sweet, honey notes are what initially hit me, floral notes are also present, slightly spicy notes can be detected as well

T- sweet and bread like, there is a slight bite from the chilies, honey makes the taste a little smoother, overall the taste is nothing impressive

M- pretty solid mouthfeel, medium-light body, crisp, carbonation is fairly well balanced

D- fairly easy to put down but this is more of a beer you would want to try once, this one isn't really worth purchasing again in my opinion

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Photo of Jesstyr
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Celebrated a move down to VA with a bottle of this and some takeout chinese. Very interesting beer, but not the sort of thing that was overly enjoyable, just unique.

Poured light golden orange/brown, with a nice finger of head that disappears as quickly as it arrived - a bit of a disappointment. Nose showed quite a bit of honey, and a little floral characteristic, but wasn't anything spectacular given the noted ingredients.

Taste was my biggest disappointment - this beer didnt have the fulllness, or the chocolate, that I expected. The honey was really the most pervasive element - reminding me of a better version of
"Honey Moon", but it was better than just that. There were some light spicy elements, and I appreciated how well hidden the ABV was in the medium body.

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Photo of bs870621345
4.35/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2nd time is so much better with this beer. First time was a shock for me.

Pours a honey color with an inch and a half of white head. Leaves almost no lacing.

Smells of chilies, chocolate, caramel and lightly funky.

Taste is chocolatey, caramely, and lightly spicy (probably from the hops and chilies.)

Mouthfeel is light and creamy. Not sticky and finishes dry with light hint of spice.

Drinkability is high. Both times it was a split bottle and I could have drank them by myself easily.

A great offering from DFH, very enjoyable.

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Photo of demo3210
4.46/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is somewhat light looking, but has a golden color. Fairly average.

Smell is the best part of this brew in my opinion. The smell is flowery and a light sweetness with honey. It hits you like a sunny spring early afternoon with a breeze kissing your face. Put in a sifter glass and smell as you drink. Amazingly refreshing and evokes the senses creating a surreal dreamlike experience.

Tastes like a drop of honeysuckle and sweet bread. A hint of fresh flowers. A small bite that briefly nips at the back of your tongue. Taste the love.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Crisp, medium body, some substance, and clean feel. Very refreshing.

Drinkability is great considering it's 9.0% ABV. Couldn't drink a ton of these though - not meant for that.

Currently my favorite brew, but only for special occasions. Highly recommended for any person who likes experiencing new beer and enjoying somewhat more sophisticated brews.

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Photo of oberon
3.17/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have been wanting to try this beer for awhile,I picked it up today and well...I wish I hadnt spent the money I did for it.Poured a clear golden with no head what so ever,it looked flat.Aromas are fruity with a light shot of spice,not like ancho's though,more heat than expected.Very light chocolate on the palate with the alcohol showing thru,the chile comes thru in the aftertaste.Eh not what I thought it would be,the spicey burbs are the best thing about this beer in my mind.

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Photo of david18
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure why there's suddenly a "had at" pull down menu with the Dogfish Head Brewery as the only choice. I actually had this at Rattle and Hum. It was an interesting beer but not one I'll have too often. Surprisingly light and refreshing for what you would imagine but not enough like anything else that I could compare it to anything.

I'll try it again and I was pleased to see it on draft but not one of my favorites.

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Photo of sdawson
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured this from a bottle received from the generous jmu500. Thanks so much!

Theobroma poured a shade of red away from amber; the head and lacing are nearly absent, however. The smell is outright boozy with a strong note of alcohol, with citrus and florals in the background. I was quite impressed by the taste of this one; given the concept of the brew, I was expecting something overly heavy. Instead this definitely is a lighter ale, with a front-forward taste of chile, resting on a base of bitter cocoa, tangy hops, and honey. Given the ingredients this is surprisingly easy drinking and refreshing, stopping just short of crisp, and a brew I'd always welcome more of.

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Photo of nicholasisrossi
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance-Apparently I'm not the only one to expect this to be a much darker beer, but then again, this beer is all about surprises. Pours translucent copper, with a white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell-Upon first smell, citrus and alcohol notes are present but the citrus QUICKLY disappears into sweeter toffee and caramel notes with maybe a touch of coffee in the background.

Taste-Caramel and a peppery heat dominate the palate, with alcohol definitely present at the finish. The sweetness from the honey isn't cloying, and actually balances out the chili heat nicely. I can see why some people are turned off by this, but I'm loving it.

Mouthfeel-Excellent on this beer. Carbonation is just right for this beer. A little oily aftertaste, but other than that no complaints.

Drinkability-Just finished a bottle without a problem. 'Nuff said. The description of this beer would not hint at easy drinkability, but this stuff goes down smooth!

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Photo of carpezytha
1.8/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

**** Please read note at bottom (revision)

I have enjoyed most other offerings by Dogfish and respect their willingness to push the envelope, but this one was as undrinkable as any beer I have had. I had a hard time finishing a single glass, and only managed that because I wanted to review it.

A: Honey colored, almost no head, fairly clear.
S: A little funky nose, dominated by wet wool, but with faint a floral hint and even fainter chili-flavored gummi bear note.
T: Yuck! Honeysuckle quickly overwhelmed by a bail of wet hay pissed on by a cat who just ate a box of Hot Tomales candy. I did taste the pepper, never really got the cocoa except for a slight chalky texture. Honey was all eaten by the yeast.
M: This was one of the only pluses here, despite the lack of carbonation there was a lively mouthfeel with a chalkiness following.
D: Barely finished a glass. Would only try again if someone I respected convinced me that I must have had a bottle that went off for some reason.

This really takes Dogfish down a notch in my book. What I was expecting compared to what I got was night and day. I like the fact that they experiment, but they should know better than to release crap like this. Keep this kind of stuff in house and release only drinkable stuff please!

Please note: I had this on tap subsequently at Church Key in San Francisco, at the suggestion of the barmaid. Well, I have to concede that, while the aromas were basically the same, the taste was far superior to the example I had in the bottle. So I would revise to a c+, except the bottle really did suck, and BA does not provide a way to do 2 reviews of the same beer with different delivery methods. Until they do that, I leave it as is.

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Photo of DaveHS
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Light amber with almost no head.

S-Sweet and herbal. Smells like Italian cookies and cocoa powder.

T-Surprised how boring this is, given the story behind it.The base beer is similar to a Belgian Golden Ale, with some dry herbal notes, probably from the seeds. I like the chocolate element in this. It's subtle, but it ties the beer together.

M-Medium bodied, moderate carbonation.

D-Not too high. Might cellar one and try it in a year.

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Photo of speter
3.32/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear copper color with a fluffy head that fades to nothing very quickly, leaving no trace of lacing.

S: Smells similar to Midas Touch, which must be the honey that DFH uses.

T: The taste is initially very complex. It resolves itself into a very sweet beginning with honey overtones, followed by a chili taste just after the center and a warm finish. If I hadn't read about the cocoa nibs, etc., I never would guess that there is any cocoa product in here whatsoever.

M: The body is overall very light, but there is a coating on the tongue from something.

D: Good after-dinner drink.

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Photo of ryanonline
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold color. Very little head that dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Smells very sweet and that's pretty much it.

Tastes like honey and cocoa. Yummy.

Thin yet sticky mouthfeel with very light prickly carbonation. Swweeet finish.

Moderate drinkability. A bit too sweet.

Tastes like liquid Tootsie roll. With a light yeast flavor.

Very interesting beer. Though probably not for beer lovers. For the more casual beer drinker.

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Photo of skiofpinsk
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Edit: Forgot to mention that the bottle I had aged for approximately a year before I drank it.

A - Pours from the bottle slightly viscous, dark gold color (was expecting darker). Slight head that quickly dissipates.

S - Sweet caramel, slightly fruity, somewhat earthy. Caramel aromas seem to dominate.

T - Typical DFH malt flavor up front (sweet, very caramel-y). Chocolate makes some attempts to overcome but never quite makes it. Faint spiciness with first sip, which increases with every sip. Spice eventually dominates, with caramel right behind, and finishing with some subtle chocolate. Never had annato before, so I didn't pick up on it really.

M - Medium-high carbonation, fairly dry. Works well in conjunction with the chiles.

D - Drank the whole bottle by myself, so I suppose that speaks for itself. Fairly complex flavors that balance fairly well. Chiles dominate by the end but I felt it was just enough. Would go very well with some barbeque or almost any kind of beef.

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Photo of MisterE
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a large 1 pint 9.4 oz bottle (purchased for $11.99 at Ward's Supermarket) into a large tulip glass

A: soft orange honey color with a thin head that disappears very quickly

S: slightly sweet, trace of honey, and yeast

T: not surprisingly, the taste is a little unusual, a little bitter at first with subtle flowery finish - and the alcohol

M: nothing unusual about the feel but a slight tingle (chilies?)

D: may be hard to finish this whole bottle

Notes: I guess I was expecting a little more obvious flavor or smell from the cocoa and chili ingredients. But maybe that would not be a good thing.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer has it goin on. I like the big bottle that it comes in and pours a decent head (which unfortunately disappeared in 5 seconds). However, the initial aromas from the beer is the sensual embrace of the little aztec woman...darkness and mystery.

The color was a distinct reddish-buckwheat honey-brown-amber-red. Ten points for simplicity.

At first sipping I could feel the dark chocolatey richness, but it was unlike a dark porter or brown ale. It didnt have all that caramel upfront; instead you could taste good beer with a great attitude for adventure.

The mouthfeel for this beer is that of any good beer; this beer feels good from the tip of the tongue until it shrivels your uvula like a cold shower. You can taste and feel the rich malt infusion and this beer stays around for a few seconds to remind you why you paid the premium for it.

Drinkability - Solid, I could drink this bottle easily even with its boasted 9.00% ABV

I like the beer and waited awhile to try it. I have few reservations, but would not say it's the best beer I've ever had.

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Photo of dpcoz
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Theobroma
Special order
Standard Pint glass

A - clear amber/honey shade, one finger of pure white form from a soft pour that faded into an eighth inch of white lacing. Despite the soft pour, a strong appearance of carbonation bubbles continues to rise to the top of the pint glass.

S - dominating aroma is honey, sweet hoppyness, chilies tingled the nose. Subdued aroma of milk chocolate when your glass is full.

T - Syrupy at the start, most likely due to the presence of honey. Sweet malts, non-acidic fruitiness, low hops. Cool chili presence, lingers on the tongue for a little while - nothing too hot, but fascinating and new ( or old depending on how you look at it) for a beer. Slight cocoa presence, took a while for me to pick it up.

M - from sweet to hot with strong carbonation. Medium bodied although the syrup-like taste could convince me to consider it full. Crisp malty finish with slight chilies lingering - really nice mouthfeel!

D - well worth the try as is any DFH, you do not taste the alcohol in this beer but it tends to catch up to you. The chilies are an interesting change of pace, the aroma's a pleasure - taste is a tad on the sweet side but broken up well with chilies and carbonation. Overall I look forward to another bottle.

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Photo of dasenebler
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Funny how this beer sits atop its category (Chile beer) with a B average. Not a style that gets much love!

From a 750mL bottle, Theobroma pours a tawny, rich golden hue with a small head. Thin layer remains.

The aroma was the best part about this beer: carob, red pepper fruit, tangy hops and a bit of chocolate.

At first, this seems like a very malty, rich beer. There is a big bready, grainy flavor, followed by a hint of chocolate mid-palate, and then a finish of chile heat which builds up on the palate as the drink wears on. A bit fruity, though at the same time, there's something very lager-like about this beer for me. Overall, it's a very subtle beer. Not bitter; not sweet. The mouthfeel was medium, but not full or creamy, with prickly carbonation. The 9 percent alcohol is reasonably well hidden.

In the end, this is an interesting and drinkable beer. I think it would be better if the chocolate and spiciness were a bit more pronounced though.

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Photo of lovindahops
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ready to have another DFH seasonal brew. I'm expecting a definite novelty from this

A- pours a light amber appearance with a very dominant head that disappears in about 30 seconds. A very clear, yet normal brew

S- it's quite light, but there is honey, chili peppers, and yeast throughout the brew. Not outstanding, but still there

T- just a crisp and spiced delicious combo. The honey and spices mingle as you get a slight sense of heat as well. It's definitely not the most overwhelming chili beer out there. However, it's not bad in the taste department

M- crisp and clean throughout

D- I knew there would be some point I don't hoot and holla about a dfh brew. There is no question that this brew is geared to capture a historic style. Nevertheless, it does not transition to my most favorite brew. BUT!!! I can really enjoy drinking this, as it goes down quite smooth. I'll grabe a couple of these before they move on to the next brew

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, the first time I've seen this beer in the Southland,

A: Pours a translucent burnt orange with a fizzy, bubbly head, some floaties.

S: Some nice malt, hint of chocolate, nothing too substantial.

T: Has a relatively innocuous Belgian amber type malt. The chocolate is nowhere to the forefront as I thought it'd be. Minor notes of chocolate and chiles to the finish.

M: Medium-bodied, a bit fizzy, adequately smooth.

D: Honestly, I thought they'd do more with this. It tastes a bit like a more pallid Pangaea with a bit of chocolate and chile thrown in. Just wanted more, this is the 2nd time I've had this and was underwhelmed both times, but still I give props to DFH for their experimentation.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this once last year, and totally wasn't what I expected. This is mainly because when I saw it contained ingredients such as: cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and honey, I assumed it would be some type of dessert beer. I have since learned better and here is my new objective review:

A: Little to no head with a clear burnt orange color, which is very similar to annato (one of the primary ingredients).

S: Cocoa and honey are very upfront with a tinge of pepper.

T: I would describe it as a cocoa-laced, "Midas Touch." After about 3-4 sips, I started to notice a bit of spiciness on the tongue. This sensory engagement is something I couldn't get from the smell.

M: Sweetness doesn't linger too long and doesn't coat the mouth.

D: Easily drinkable, almost dangerous considering the 9% ABV. The honey aids considerably in hiding the alcohol, however, the beer gets a bit too peppery for my liking after awhile. I could only enjoy this one in small doses.

This is a nice seasonal from a fantastic brewery. Very complex and engages all of the senses.

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Theobroma from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 2,215 ratings