Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chile Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #13,317
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: 2,218
Photo of michiganmatt
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 8/31/2014
Other notes: Bottling date looks to be Jan 2014

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours a light orange color. The beer would be fairly clear, but there are tons and tons of particles in the beer. But I assume this is part of the style, and actually adds to the beers appeal IMO. After settling in the glass after a minute, there is no head to be seen at all. Lots of carbonation bubbles can be seen rising through the beer. I'd say what I like about the look of this beer is the color, and the intrigue. Perhaps the intrigue though is less of from the look, and more of just from really being curious about what this 'Ancient Ale' tastes like.

Smell - 4.25/5
Smells of orange, honey, alcohol, a little bit of (chile?) spice and chocolate. Also some other hard to describe smells which I assume are some of the unique ingrediants which I am not familiar with. Overall, I really like the smell. It is very intriguing and makes me want to drink

Taste - 4.5/5
The main taste I get is the honey-orange taste. The spice is not nearly as strong as I was expecting. Although I found that after drinking more, you can soon feel the spice (very mildly) burn a little bit in the back of your throat. I know this is supposed to be a chocolate beverage, but I am having difficulty detecting that. I think perhaps it's because it's not the chocolately taste which I am used to, but rather more of an ancient chocolate taste, that is to say--cocoa/cacao. After thinking about what I think cocoa would taste like, I think I can detect it. And I think the sweet honey flavor I was describing which went along with the orange flavor, is really a combination of the honey and the cocoa. I really like the complexities of the taste, and there is a lot going on in this beer. Overall, the taste of the beer is hard for me to explain, since I have never tasted anything like this before, but I really like the taste and think it is delicious. Not something I would have all the time--but I don't think that's the point of this beer. The point is to create an experience. To taste what this ancient beverage of the Americas would mostly likely have tasted like. And given that purpose, I think it succeeds well (of course, not being 3000 years old, I have no way of actually knowing how close to the taste of the original beverage this is).

Mouthfeel - 4/5
The beer is fairly light in body. The carbonation is light. the feel is in between crisp and creamy. I like the tingling spicy sensation which occurs in my mouth and throat. The spice is very low (for my palate, at least), and so it's not at all overpowering, but rather really enhances the taste and the mouthfeel.

Overall - 4.5/5
Overall, this beer was not exactly what I was expecting. Yet at the same time I really had no idea what to expect. I thought this was a great beer, and definitely something I would get again in the future, or would recommend to others. I totally love the idea of the 'Ancient Ale' series which Dogfish Head has been doing. I have not had any of the other ancient ales yet, but this beer really makes me want to try and find others (I know I saw another one at the local beer store which I will probably pick up soon)

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Pizza Plant in Buffalo, NY.

Pours a golden honey color (interesting color for a chocolate-based beer, I like where this is going), with a half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells like honey, some lighter shades of chocolate, and pepper flesh.

The combo of chocolate, chili, and honey is really nice here. This is probably the most accessible Ancient Ale DFH has put out. The pepper flavor is strong, but not overwhelmingly spicy, more actual pepper flesh flavor, with a tiny bit of capsaicin, and some sticky sweet honey, and a small amount of chocolate. I didn't find it too sweet- just right.

This one is medium bodied, with a crisp and clean mouthfeel, feels only a tiny bit sticky, and a medium amount of carbonation.

This was excellent, and the best Ancient Ale I've had so far.

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Photo of Braz
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Wow, what an interesting beer. If you are in a beer store and need something that doesn't fit into any of the other styles this is it. A beer this color (blonde) has no right to taste like this. The is chocolate, peppers, yet smoothness. The cocoa hits first, but the finish is this hard to describe soft heat. Dogfish doing what it does best, making you rejudge every sip.

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Photo of AngryPenguinBrewCo
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Light chocolatey brown pour decent clarity, large white head that dissipates relatively quickly. Very complex flavor, none of the individual components take the lead but they all work well together. Chili peppers provide sharpness but no burn and the beer has a boozy finish. I expected a chocolate flavor which I didn't detect but overall I liked it!

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Photo of predikit
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

750ml Bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottled on 6/26/14

Smell from the bottle wasn't impressive, it smelled like a run of the mill beer, had some subtle hints in the background. Smell off the pour, now there it is. Can't quite place it. Changes a little bit every time I go back for more. Reminds me of Midas Touch with some interesting notes in the shadows.

Poured an opaque yellow with white head that receded fairly slowly, with bits floating around inside it.

Unfiltered and proud, the particles floating around seem to be neutral buoyancy.

Taste through head I got some rather nice notes, chocolate and hops, honey. Almost no boozy taste up front.

As I near the bottom of my glass, the booze is starting to come out in full force leaving a very noticeable warmth.

I think this goes excellent with a savory meal, wanted to see if palette switching would offer some deeper wisdom, and it definitely did. Almost a bit too sweet in contrast, but the flavor profile came out a bit more.

Mouth feel is a bit thick, syrupy almost, but doesn't overstay its welcome by any means.

A bit steep of a price, but I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of ttroha
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Tap. Pours clear amber with a white head. Aroma of wheat and chocolate. Tastes of wheat, a hint of chocolate and chilies. Sweet aftertaste. Very unique beer. I liked it.

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Photo of Neorebel
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Theobroma pours a dazzling copper hue, but with very little head, indicating a minimal amount of carbonation. As other reviewers pointed out, the aroma is faint, however there is a bit of cocoa powder detectable in a whiff of it. The high malt flavor pairs well with the cocoa, and the chilies blend in a similar way with the sharpness of the finish and the alcohol heat. With a medium mouth feel, this can sneak up on you however. Overall, worth a try and best shared.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Light amber in color with a fingernail thin head of white head. Light Brussels lacing. Aroma is faint which is likely due to the chilies and the honey. The flavor is bit sharp due to the chilies and yet that is rounded out with a bit of sweetness from the honey. The chocolate plays more of a background note. The chilies give the mouth a bit of heat and the honey helps keep it dry.
Appearance: 3.5
Taste: 3.5
Mouthfeel: 4
Overall: 3.5

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

April 2013 bottle in an oversized wine glass.

A- Thin cream-colored head dissipates fairly quickly. Body is orange and peach-colored with some cloudiness.

S- Sweet vanilla and honey. There's something else there that I can't put my finger on. Slight spicy hot aroma.

T- The chili finally shows up and there's a good dose of chocolate and cocoa. There's some fruity character mid-palate, as well as an earthy sweet spice, vanilla, and honey. It's a medley and it all seems a bit nutty (as in crazy).

M- It's alternately sweet, tart, creamy, with a good dose of carbonation. There's also an occasional spice from the chile.

I'd day this beer is more interesting than tasty. That's not to sat that it's bad, just that some of the elements of this beer seem out of whack and not conducive to others.

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Photo of bleedsblu
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from an ice cold bottle into a glass. This is another Ancient Ale selection, love these, this one is from the Americas a chocolate food for the Gods.

Appearance: Golden, cloudy with slight carbonation, a half inch head with an aggressive pour.

Smell: I'm getting a citrus smell with some notes of honey.

Taste: I'm getting some coco some heat and sweet from honey.

Mouth feel: Thick not stout thick but thicker than the usual ale. Lots of floaters, ah hell thats the taste baby.

Overall: I would by this beer just to taste some history, plus its damn good so bonus. This beer is at 9%ABV so a nice choice for your nightly night cap, Cheers.

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Photo of travolta
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App: rich and clear golden apricot with lots of yeast floaters. A frothy head with nice retention and structure.

Nose: Pineapple, banana, pumpkin, some yeast and kiwi.

Taste: kiwi, strawberry, not a lot of carbonation, but well balanced. A tiny bit of lime and lemon. Honey and very faint chili spice at the end.

Notes: Always a treat, this is a special brew.

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Photo of CochonKing
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An extremely well balanced and well made beer. Pours a light amber with a clean crisp head. Smells of chilies faintly along with some notes of malt. The taste is well balanced with an excellent mouthfeel. It is creamy on the on the palate with a medium body. Excellent beer.

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Photo of Highgrade
2.45/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Another complete waste of money on over hyped Dogfish beer.
Terrible- no chile or cocoa/chocolate. Tasted like a cross between a hefeweizen and Budweiser. Save your money for something else. Every Dogfish beer I continue to try I get more disappointed each time.

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Photo of gators3369
3.96/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a standard pint glass

A- Cloudy gold/orange unflitered

S-Honey and some spicyness to it...almost like a jalapeno jelly

T-when its a bit too cold all you get is honey and alcohol as it warms up you get a hint of cocoa and a nice light warmth-i suppose if you NEVER eat spicy things it could be spicy..

M- light and bubbly

O- this beer must be served at teh right temperature to taste all the nuance (i know this is a DUH type thing) but when it hits is stride it is a very refreshing spicy beer

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Photo of HoboChangBa
3.84/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A wonderful blend of flavors here; I'm talking subtleties here. The chocolate is reserved enough to perfectly compliment the flavor and mouthfeel of the chili spice. So wonderful in my mind. I used to make a drink where I would take an ale, pour in a shot of vodka, and top it off with a few dashes of tabasco. I read about this drink in a Mr. Boston mixed drink book. Bam! Theobroma reminds me of that drink, but it is certainly more complex. This is my first Chile Beer, so I don't know if I'm just super excited, but I love what I'm tasting here. I want to search out more chile beers; I find the complexity very unique and satisfying in a refreshing yet cozy way. I could drink this beer in the summer, spring, fall, or winter and find unique characteristics in my experience with the beer for each season. Even minutes after having taken a sip, the chili spice lingers so nicely throughout my mouth.

I smell and taste a reserved dark chocolate, but the spice takes over and transforms the chocolate ale-ishness in such wonderful ways that I cannot even begin to describe. Share this with a friend and try pairing it with some good restaurant-style tortilla chips and hot salsa. Beautiful, beautiful goodness. Share this big bottle with a friend though. The lingering filminess of whatever else is involved within this brew can take away from the pleasantness of this beer, so two glasses of Theobroma in a row is a little “eh” due to this syrupy coating of your tongue that the beer can instill. I have also drank Dogfish Head’s “Noble Rot” and I found this same syrupy mouthfeel somewhat dissatisfying with the flavors inherent within Noble Rot, which to me seemed grape flavored and ended up turning me off to Noble Rot because of the lingering syrup of grape. Theobroma utilizes this syrup mouthfeel in a positive way though, I feel, because of the wondrous hint of chocolate.

I may buy this again and share it with a friend and try infusing it in my own way with the ingredients of the crazy mixed drink I’ve had in the past. That makes me wonder if brewers should create batches where they just add hard alcohol to increase the craziness inherent within their drink. In my mind, the more experimentation with beer, the better becomes the course of craft beer.

— Hobo Chang Ba

"Standin' still is losin'
Feather times a feather
Mornin' time t' thaw
Strawwood claw rattlin' m' jaw
Hobo chang ba
Hobo chang ba "

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Photo of lochef81
3.61/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This unexpected dfh ale is one of the most interesting that I have had the pleasure to taste. The appearance is a hazy golden color with a lasting white head and lacing. The nose is a subtle blend of sweetness, chile heat, and alcohol. I get nearly no chocolate or cocoa at all. The mouth is light and smooth, very sippable and enjoyable. The flavor is light and slightly European. There is a pleasant sweetness on the front and ancho heat on the tail. Still nothing present that I'd call chocolate. This is very good but nothing like id expect from the label. Dfh always keeps em good and interesting.

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Photo of Zetcha7x
4.76/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

bomber purchased from Wegman's...I think. pouted into a chalice

A-golden yellow color with raising carb bubbles and a finger of fluffy white head. Not what I was expecting from a beer brewed with Aztec cocoa powder and cocoa nibs.

S-probably the best smelling beer that I have encountered. immediate cocoa powder, notes of honey, bready yeast. Unfortunately I have no idea what an Annatto seed smells like so I cant pick it out.

T-almost as great as it smells, a rich sweet taste yet crisp, chocolaty taste, the honey is there, very subtle chili flavor,

M-light-medium body, soft carbonation, little alcohol feel.

O-not at all what I was expecting, but that turned out to be a good thing. I really enjoyed the chocolaty taste without the weight of a stout. And again one of the best smelling beers I've had. drinks very easy for a 9% beer. This beer is a perfect example of why I love Dogfish Head.

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Photo of REVZEB
3.49/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap. Feel like I was fighting it the whole glass. Herbs and spices beef up chiles, but also clash, especially in the smell. Texture is multilayered, but not too robust best aspect of the beer. Taste is hot, but the cocoa and honey are more present adding some contrast to powerful peppers and spices. Just not for me, but interesting

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.26/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

When I think of beers with chocolate, I think of the plethora of chocolate stouts I have had, even ones with chili in them. So when I took my first sip of the Theobroma, it definitely wasn't what I was anticipating.

The beer has a surprising lightness to, despite the higher alcohol content. There's a subtle sweetness from the honey, which I'm not sure if I particularly care for it. I don't get any hint of chocolate, which is disappointing. The only hint of chili is a bit of tingling sensation left on the palate after a few sips.

Overall, not a bad beer, but I think I prefer my chocolate beers in stout form.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Amber glass, good clarity, holds a thin halo or white foam.

Smell: A soft alcoholic vapor, which is a neat trick. It's sugary, has an almost cognac caramel gently cooked sugar resin depth that makes the vapor delivery just a note in the song.

Taste: A delicate amber ale, mild caramel roasted malt, light earthy hops. About 10 seconds after the swallow you begin to wonder while your mouth is warm, then warmer, then hot, encouraging the next cool sip of beer to extinguish this mysterious burning.

Mouthfeel: Medium light body, slightly oily finish, medium carbonation.

Overall: A well disguised pepper beer! Not a lot of chocolate flavor which I came in expecting, just a pleasant tasty amber with a surprising finish. A fun, if expensive sipper.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.89/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

750 ml capped bottle poured into a tulip.
9% ABV, Bottled on 04/29/13

A - Topped by a fleeting off-white head, Theobroma has a beautiful clear golden yellow color that's mildly carbonated as indicated by the infrequent and lazy bubbles rising to the surface.

S - Clover honey drizzled over warm, flaky biscuits makes for a sweet first impression while dusty cocoa and chilies build up steam but never quite shine through the malty base of the beer.

T - While there's a lot going on in the flavor of this beer, an unusual fruitiness topped by raw honey makes for an odd combination that becomes slightly more odd with the addition of a light dusting of cocoa powder, earthy cocoa bean, and chili meat.

M - Sweetness reigns supreme through the course of Theobroma but minor suggestions of chili heat on the finish make for a nice treat as they add some variance to the otherwise somewhat still beer.

O - Theobroma keeps in line with Dogfish's unusual ancient beers but this high alcohol, sweet beer teeters on the edge of being cloying, thankfully balanced with a little pinch of chili heat on the finish. The chocolate aspect seems a little lost in the fray, only appearing as dusty, dried cocoa in small amounts.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

On tap review 09/24/2014:
Had this many times, reviewing now. I must say even before this review I had impressions that this beer had more coffee notes to it. My memory is not to be trusted, obviously.

The pour is cloudy yellow-orange with a quickly dissipating head that comes back and fades quickly with agitation. The edges hold a thin line that provides minimal lacing. The nose is actually more fruity than expected, I get alcohol-poached peaches, and some lemon. Given its description, this is very odd. I also get a hint of pepper, almost more green bell than chile. There might be a hint of dark spice (nutmeg, cinnamon) or dark roast coffee, but I may be stretching.

The taste is much more subdued in the fruit arena than the nose would indicate. There is a sugar-plum type sweetness, backed by the slightest bit of chile bite. There's also a tangy yogurt-like tango ness when the beer is still cold, as it transitions to the end. The lingering taste does give an impression of a citrus-enhanced milk chocolate, but does try to hide it.

I am perplexed slightly by this beer doing this review. I have edited it twice now, and still am having trouble describing it exactly. I can say the chile builds up on the tongue oh so subtly, it is quite interesting.

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Photo of BradC
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a hazy blonde honey color from a capped 750mL bottle with a good amount of carbonation and a thin head that lasted through the entire glass (tulip)

Complex smells, not really much cocoa smell, some fruitiness, maybe banana and/or clove

There is a lot going in the flavor here, I didn't really pick up on the cocoa so much, but fruitness, clove, green banana, some light citrus and as the beer warmed, a linger heat that must've come from the peppers

This one wasn't one of my favorites personally, but it was good and I would definitely try it again.

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Photo of threeviews
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle (bottled on: 4/29/13) into a Dogfish Head Signature Glass.

A- Conservative pour yields a hazy, burnt orange hued beer with nothing more than a 3/4 finger's worth of a frothy, white head which dissipates quickly. Nucleation in the glass maintains a meringue-like film on top for the duration of the glass. 3.75

S- So insanely complex that I pick out something different every time. Cocoa powder is immediate, but then notes of honey, aromas of banana/clove (courtesy of the yeast, no doubt), a hint of juniper berry-like citrus and then a hint of an earthy/woody character (that can only be assumed to be courtesy of the Annatto Seeds) are all detectable on the nose. Aside from the chocolate components, I find there to be a striking similarity to the aroma profile of Immort Ale (of which I had a bottle from the 2014 batch only yesterday). 5.0

T- Simply amazing execution of flavors and is nothing less than stupefying on the palate. Honey/Malty sweetness hits first and is met quickly by some spiciness. Mid-palate, things transition to a significant presence of cocoa to help dry things out. A hint of citrus pops just before a delicate heat from the Ancho chilies which hits the back of the mouth. 4.75

M- Carbonation is adequate enough to open the palate to allow appreciation of all the flavors from the adjuncts used. Theobroma's drinkability is insanely high due to the fact that the body falls on the lighter side of medium and the 9% ABV is completely imperceptible. 4.75

O- Say what you want, but DFH is one (if not the most) innovative large-scale American craft breweries and continues to deliver time and again. Theobroma is no exception and is my hands-down favorite offering from their Ancient Ales series (with Sah'Tea ranking as a close second). Furthermore, this also ranks highly on my list of all-time favorite beers. Even with almost 9 months of age, I absolutely love this beer. However, I will be anticipating its release in 2014 to experience this one fresh. 4.75

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.07/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the description I expected a dark beer and since I was sharing this with a friend, we were both surprised by the cloudy yellowish orange color. Taste was excellent really picked up the honey and the slight heat at the end. Didn't really pick up the cocoa but I think this is what was helping to give it a great balance in the flavor. Alcohol was very well hidden. Was very refreshing beer. And another example of the excellence of Dogfish Head.

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Theobroma from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 2218 ratings