Theobroma | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
776 Reviews

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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Reviews: 776 | Ratings: 2,210
Photo of Neorebel
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

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 -7.4%

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 -1.3%
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 +8.5%
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 +10.8%
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 +13%
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 -35.2%
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 +4.8%
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 +1.6%
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 -4.5%
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 +25.9%
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 iheartmyTHO
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
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 +11.1%
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 +2.9%
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 +12.4%

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 +16.9%
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 +25.7%
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 +7.7%
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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Photo of Cervezaconcalor
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours clean with a light head that dissipates quickly. The nose gives notes of fruit and chilies. The flavor was of sweetened fruits, annatto and a subtle chili flavor. The chilies did not come through in the taste as they did in the nose but what did was very tasty. Cocoa flavors did not come through but the end result is a blend that makes a world class beer. I wish there was a bit more "heat" but even without it is well balanced a wonderfully brewed beer. Drinks well now and should age well over the next couple of years. Overall outstanding. I will be putting some in the cellar.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.71/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: It pours golden, with a slight haze, hundreds of tiny bubbles quickly ascend to the medium-thick head which quickly faded.

S: A wonderful scent was given off by this beer, honey, cocoa, bread and a slight hint of the 9% alcohol presented itself to me at the end.

T: crisp and clean malt, subtle cocoa with a little bit of alcohol. So complex and yet delicate and light, one of the most thought-provoking and wondrous beers I’ve tried.

O: This beer is stellar in my opinion, everything, the history, the taste, the way it looks in the glass as you pour it, even down to the label fuels my senses and I am always disappointed when my bottle is empty. Some people have made mention of the lack of hops flavor or smell… well, it doesn’t because it’s not supposed to. I’ve had this one many times and often selfishly kept it to myself not allowing others to try but yet I don’t have it often. Those whom I have introduced it to have loved it as well. Excellent beer and a must try.


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Photo of mattbk
2.54/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: OK, I thought this was a chocolate beer - so not at all what I was expecting. It's very cloudy, dark orange, a lot of carbonation and fading fast. I don't really like the appearance of this at all.
S: What the heck is this beer? It smells orange, slightly Belgian, fairly papery. A bit peppery. There is no hint on the bottle as to what this is supposed to be, except some bullshit about Aztecs. OK I guess.
T: OK, this beer is terrible. One of the worst I have ever had. It's kind of Belgian, very oxidized I think, no spicy peppers I don't think, no chocolate. Nothing definitive, all over the place.

I guess this is an interesting historical creation. But I doubt Aztecs were brewing 9% beers. And it just is not good. As it warms up, I get the burnt chocolate a bit in the aroma. Undescribed fruitness, like wild berries or something. All over the place. Very earthy, almost like dirt.

M: Dry, carbonated, almost saison like. I could almost deal with this beer if it was supposed to be a saison, but I just don't know.

O: Nothing redeemable about this beer, unless you are looking for a historical recreation you'd be willing to throw away.

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Photo of brurevu
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From my tasting notes: It was light golden in color which was unexpected considering their use of cocoa powder and cocoa nibs. It had a distinct chocolate flavor as you would expect with a subtle chili burn on the finish. The beer avoided being an overpowering bomb of chocolate although slightly sweet and malty the flavors were well balanced and hid the high alcohol content. Dogfish Head managed to create a very original beer that was unlike anything I had tried before. It was definitely a sweet surprise!

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Photo of Samuel906
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This beer looks really cool when poured. It is a bright golden amber, slightly hazy with lots of sediment. My favorite part is there is non-stop rapid moving bubbles from every inch of surface of the glass that rapidly ascend and push up on the descending sediment making a rolling, turbulent effect in the glass as the two interact. Very enticing and fun to watch. Nice fluffy white head too. Smell is mostly bread, honey and chiles for me. Taste has lots of yeast and sweet honey. Faint flavor of cocoa that lends itself well to the texture. Leaves some lingering chile heat. Mouthfeel is moderate, carbonation milder than expected. It has a silky quality that compliments the chocolate flavors. Overall, a superb easy-drinker, some new flavor combinations here that are worth checking out!

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Photo of secondtooth
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, sediment-filled golden amber. Very slight white head and minimal lacing. I think I had aged this bottle for at least a year, though, so score reflects.

Nose is rich honey, a little chili, and spices.

Taste is a rich, sweet, and weighty one. Hints of cocoa and honey are most prominent up front. The finish brings the ancho chilies. I also get a pretty sturdy alcohol presence (it is 9%, after all).

Overall, Theobroma is a unique and heavy-duty drink, and one I'm glad to have experienced. Would I get another bottle? Likely not, unless I knew it was very fresh.

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Theobroma from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.78 out of 5 based on 2,210 ratings.
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