Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chile Beer
Ranked #2
Ranked #13,329
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 Cervezaconcalor
4.39/5  rDev +12.9%
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 +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.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.71/5  rDev +21.1%
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 -34.7%
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 +1.8%
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 -8.7%
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 -7.5%
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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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pour starts blonde but shifts to gold.

An intriguing aroma. There's a lot of sweetness and spices there. The chocolate is very present on the front stage.

The flavor is...intriguing. There's a lot happening here. Some hotness, some chocolate...and some other things too. There is so much complexity here...

The hotness isn't left as an aftertaste like it is with most chile beers. It lingers, but it's not that afterburn.

I consider chile beers to be a novelty...and this beer to be very novel. It's not a beer to drink every day...but it's an amazing beer to try.

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Photo of Calypso
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a weizen glass (the largest glass I own).

A: Slightly hazy golden color, with a hint of orange. Lazy bubbles with an ample off-white head. Good head retention, eventually dissipating to nothing. Left no lacing, which surprised me.

S: Honey is very present, along with a light floral scent (probably from the honey). I didn't get any chocolate, but there is a hint of the peppers. An enjoyable, sweet aroma.

T: Again, very upfront with the honey. Almost like a mead. I didn't get much, if any, heat from the peppers, though it does seem to help temper some of the honey sweetness. Again, where is the chocolate? Maybe I'm spoiled by the in-your-face presence of chocolate from stouts, but I really didn't pick up any chocolate. And I would have liked to have a bit more of the chile flavor and heat.

M: Too thin. No real presence. Light body, low carbonation, surprisingly little heat considering the 9.0% ABV. I guess I'm looking at this like I would a mead, but even a mead shouldn't be this thin.

O: An enjoyable beer that is different from the standard fare. Would have liked a bit more body and more of the chocolate/chile, but even then it was still well-crafted.

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Photo of TheMultiYeast
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled in April 2013.

This beer is lighter than I imagined with a hazy dark yellow color and small head. Not any lacing to speak of.

Bready, malty nose. Chocolate is there. Peppery, some chili aroma.

Chocolate comes through more in the flavor profile. Some heat and chili flavor come through at the end with residual heat on the palate.

Warming, soft carbonation.

Very interesting brew from DFH. Exotic but accessible.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.23/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Poured a cellar temp bottle into a fluted snifter glass.
the beer pours a clear copper color with minimal eggshell white head that fades to nothing in a short amount of time. A few lazy streams of bubbles rise to the surface
Aroma is honey and chili peppers, maybe a bit of cocoa powder and a general spiciness. No booze or hops on the nose here.
First sip reveals an average body with minor tingly carbonation and a smooth texture. Flavor is grainy malt, honey, cocoa powder and spices. I get some chili pepper on the sides of my tongue and after each swallow on the residual in my throat.
This is quite a complex and interesting beer, but Im not sure I would pick it up again in the future. I am glad to have tried it and had the experience, but by the end of the bottle, Im wishing I had something else to cover the heartburn and throat heat I have lingering in my body.
Again, glad to try this experimental beer, but not a keeper in my mind.

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Photo of Radome
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Color is a deep orange-gold. Very clear. Head is off-white and thin but creamy; made up of extremely tiny bubbles. Serious lacing that is more like solid curtains than lace.

S - Bready malt; hone; a soft, fruity note almost like cherries. There is an alcohol aroma that blends into a burning sensation in the nostrils, presumably from the chili peppers. No hops evident. Chocolate is not evident to me.

T - Initial soft bready malt flavor. In mid-palate I get a soft, powder-like chocolate taste, like powdered cocoa. The finish is sweet alcohol and hot peppers, then the aftertaste resurrects the cocoa powder again. No hops. At first, the pepper burn seems sharp and a bit jarring. After the beer warms, everything becomes more soft and gentle and the hot pepper taste becomes less harsh.

M - Low, smooth carbonation. Light to medium body. Hops bitterness is not noticeable. Some alcohol burn, but it is quickly buried under a rising hot pepper sensation. After the swallow there is a hot pepper burn all the way down my throat. It's unusual, but enjoyable.

O - Interesting combination. The chocolate is so subtle it is hard to detect. The hot peppers are certainly obvious, but they are not too harsh. To me it lacks in malt backbone to support these diverse flavors.

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Photo of JackMcAwesome
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Look: It pours a hazy gold, with a one finger head. The lacing is currently minimal. It's a very "still" beer. I don't see any carbonation rising to the top, the liquid isn't moving around much. I find that interesting. It doesn't effect the grade one way or the other, just that it's interesting.

Smell: A lot of spices. I'm trying to pick them out, and I get a bit of pepper, and something that is like a dry grass. Not grassy like IPAs, but like a pile of dead grass. Heated. Weird. I can't put into words the other spices I'm sensing, but there is other stuff there. (I should check out the website I guess and see what they think, that sometimes helps.)

Taste: This is my first Chile Beer, so I was expecting a bit more spice, but I'm glad it doesn't have that in a lot of ways. It has no heat that I can sense. (Sidenote: I'm pretty tolerant to "heat" in food. I can eat a jar of jalapenos like it's nothing.) But there isn't any of that hear that I can detect. I'm picking up a bit on the cocoa right at the end, but it's very subtle.

Feel: Light/Medium on body, barely any carbonation during the drinking process. A bit of warmth from the ABV, but not much. It's hidden quite well.

Overall: Again, this is my first chile beer, so I'm not sure what to think just yet. This one, as a beer, is a good beer. I'd buy again for sure. I'm becoming a fan of Dogfish Head, and this was the initial reason I bought this beer, but I will be buying it again when I make certain beers. It's the only time I wish I was in the desert drinking. I don't know why, but that's the way this thing makes me feel when taking it in. A very solid beer. I hope to drink more from this style in the future and possibly edit this review for good or ill in the future. I guess if there was improvement currently, it'd be more of a punch in the aroma, maybe a bit of heat to the beer, spice-wise. Other than that, very good!

Edit: I see in the description on the bottle and this site that they seem to be aiming for a chocolate-esque brew. Not really getting that, but that's not a bad thing to me. That's what chocolate stouts are for!

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Photo of teromous
2.86/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer is a light hazy orange color with a thin fizzy white head that quickly fades to nothing. No lacing. It looks a bit lighter than tea, but shares a similar appearance.

S: This might sound strange but I smell almost nothing at all. I mean there's an extremely faint smell of something like a drop of beer sitting on a counter...but I get nothing. Not even alcohol scent. There's no spice scent, no hops, no sweet smelling's a bit scary.

T: The flavor is extremely subdued, but it has this mild earthy woody flavor. I get a bit of mild malt flavor and a hint of alcohol. I'm not picking up any of the cocoa or chilies from what I can tell. There is a bit of earthy quality that might be from these two, but there is no rich cocoa flavor or spicy chili flavor. It has an almost tea-like quality to it which is nice though. Oddly I like beer probably for what it isn't. It tastes to me like a regular ordinary beer which is not nearly as "off-centered" as the DFH I know.

M: It has a good mouthfeel in general. The beer is fairly light bodied and very low on carbonation to the point where there aren't any bubbles in the glass after a minute or two. It is highly drinkable despite the high alcohol content.

O: Overall I feel let down on this beer. I was expecting more complexity, to taste some cocoa, some chilies...and in the end I was left with an ordinary beer. To the regular beer lover I could probably recommend it if they could get past the price, but to the DFH eccentric I would say look elsewhere in their portfolio. I rated it as an "okay" beer because I felt it was good enough to drink and enjoy, but it wasn't anything past that.

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Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Read the review prior to tasting

I obtained the beer from Lone Star beverages - Coppell, TX

very initial taste - honey, exacerbated as it warms, second initial taste - chocolate, the finish is a spicy, chili sensation - this coats the palate and allows the honey/chocolate sensation to dominate as the beer warms

light carbonation - in addition, there is a smoky smell and taste to it initially, this is the only thing I found off-putting, I was hoping for a more yeasty sense to it

Excellent, complexed-flavored beer, not my personal style, but surprisingly addicting as the beer warms

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

Pours the color of golden honey. A light amber with golden and orange hues. Light passes softly through the body of the beer to reveal tiny speckled yeast. Has a warm and rich glow. Soft thin white head of delicate and creamy foam that fell fast and leaves wet lace to slide down the glass and show it's alcohol legs.

Nose is terrific with orange blossom and honey. The honey is fresh and raw and deeply sweet and it reminds me of mead. There is a light dusting of cocoa powder.While the honey is sweet the cocoa isn't and together with the whisper light scent of orange the sweetness reminds one of the gentle warmth of the sun. The malt is almost breaddy on the nose but it's not that heavy. The chile peppers give a peppery scent and the annatto imparts the scent of nutmeg.

Taste is spectacular. Light orange tickles the tongue and then the honey lays down to coat the mouth. The toasted grains which have remained hidden until now, show themselves rich and naturally sweet on their own. They give a depth and contrast to the mead like character to remind you that this is bread. This is beer. The chocolate is light as a feather, airy, and has a malted quality as it combines seamlessly with the malt. The orange adds brightness but isn't anywhere near as strong as the fruit in an ipa. It's more like a flower or the flutter of your eyelids. Something delicate. The nutmeg accents the fruit and the chocolate so well and then the chiles show up at the back of the throat to impart a soft heat. It's as though the beer glows inside you with a comforting warmth. Finishes like mead.

This beer is spectacular. It has a medium body but drinks so lightly. It has every food that brings comfort, warmth and joy. It's full and earthy but retains an almost divine lightness. You could sip it all day and be warmed by it. The peppers are so well done as to be authentic but carefully presented so as not be like fire. Leave it to dogfish head to bring back a beer from 1200 BC and celebrate the culture and history of great people and great beer.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from tap into snifter at dfh in Fairfax VA. I don't know why but I thought this would be dark like a stout. Pours an orange color with very thin white lacing. Aromas of tart stonefruit, sweet belgian type yeast, and a hint of chocolate. Taste is really unique. expected...sweet malty belgian type yeast with a nice tart chocolate backbone. The chile is subtle but it finishes with a tad bit of heat. Its a very well balanced unique brew. Very rarely do you find an experimental brew with such a balance. Really nice and well worth the price tag I see it going for in the store..but superb on tap.

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Photo of cleve00
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had fun with this one...Dogfish Head so its gonna be good for sure...

Pour is golden Aztec color..white head that stays for a while.
I enjoyed the taste is somewhat mild and it does not reflect the ABV..very drinkable with a slow buzz. Is that appropriate?

Is there a lip/mouth burn ,(you be the judge but I feel it), from the chilies at the finish? if so I like chili peppers anyway so that is a plus for me. Nice Lunch beer with some Jarlsberg swiss cheese.

Fun! I liked this a lot. As always thanks Dogfish Head!

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Photo of dar482
3.54/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The beer comes in a golden orange color.

The aroma has some honey and floral notes, with a bit of pepper.

The flavor first hits you with a bit of chili. It's certainly there at first, but then as you go for more and more, it slowly goes away as the chili really is faint in this. The bigger flavor is honey sweetness along with some light fruits and citrus. It's not too sweet, but it surely is dominated by floral honey notes. I did not get the cocoa notes, but possibly some vanilla in sweetness.

At 9%, you don't taste the alcohol at all. It's really drinkable actually.

In the end, it's not bad, but not really interesting either. Not really spicy, but well crafted and decent drinking.

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Photo of lancecenter
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from a New Belgium snifter.

A - Translucent orange with a couple fingers of head that fade quickly in to a fine film. Minimal lacing.

S - Honey and chile peppers.

T/M - The taste follows the nose with more emphasis on the peppers. Spicy, dry finish with a little bit of alcohol.

O - Not really my style, but it's definitely worth a try. The 9% alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of buschbeer
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1 Pint 9.4 fl. oz. bottle
Served in an imperial nonic glass

A - This beer pours golden/amber in color. It is topped with a couple inches of off-white head.

S - The dominant aromas are honey and floral hops. I think I get some pepper.

T - At first I noticed a little pepper. Then I tasted the honey. I am searching for the cocoa, but I am just not getting much. It is more of a honey and floral taste with hints of pepper.

M - Thin to moderate. The honey makes it smooth.

O - I was surprised by how light this beer was. I read that it had cocoa nibs and was expecting a darker brew. The pepper was also not as pronounced as I expected. The honey and floral aspects were nice. I guess I was more caught off guard by characteristics of this beer. I expected a dark, cocoa, pepper beer and got a light honey, floral, pepper beer.

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Photo of KYRed
3.94/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a very unique beer that is as complex as i have ever tried. Cocoa nibs and malt and spice lend itself to a very smooth drinkable liquid. Effervescence leaves early on but is necessary to bring out the true flavor profile. Especially good with a Padron Londres Natural cigar

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled in 2010 and cellared until the present time.

A: Hazy golden in color. Head sputters out almost immediately. No lacing whatsoever.

S: Very clean nose. Floral honey notes. Sweetish grainy notes. Suggestions of vanilla and pear. Not really picking up on the chocolate or chilis in the nose.

T: Honeyed sweetness. Floral. Layered vanilla. Quiet graininess. Hints of brown cocoa come out now and again, and build in intensity as the beer warms. Chili peppers come through toward the back end, though they are very mild in both flavor and heat.

M: On the heftier side of medium bodied. Syrupy and slightly chewy. Very smooth and well rounded. Seltzery carbonation.

O: It comes across a bit more mead-like than I was expecting, and it's perhaps a little too mild for its own good. However, it grew on me as I drank through the bottle. Seamless marriage of flavors and over the top smoothness are the shining points. Would be a nice change of pace as a digestif.

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Photo of general_staal
4.46/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a bomber into a pint glass. The appearance was very nice. It is a bronzed orange color; which was very unexpected and it had a nice 1/2-3/4" head with nice lacing. I loved the smell. It had a very spicy smell. I could smell the chilies. The chilies were also very apparent on first taste. At first I wasn't sure I liked the chili flavor but the subtle chocolate on the back end made it very nice. The spiciness also added to the mouthfeel of the beer. The tight carbonation with the spice of the chilies gave it a very zingy feel on the tongue which was surprising. Overall I think this beer was a big surprise from the pour to the finish, but it was a surprise I enjoyed.

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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Tasted on draught at the Tap House over 20 minutes.
This is another Dogfish creation whose appearance, for me is the most enjoyable element. It pours a light hazy orange-bronze with a thin ivory head that is fed by ample rising carbonation to maintain a collar... but the retention is poor with little lacing.
The nose is very perfumey, to me, with only a little room for warm biscuit notes and a hint of peppery heat.
It delivers an unexpected flavor burst as soon as it crosses the lips. The chilis are very forward and bind the dry cocoa in their smoke all the way through a sharp finish that's estery and alcoholic--a culturally relevant mouthful, but out of balance.
Despite the visible carbonation, it doesn't dance much on the tongue. Heat from the ethanol is more pronounced, with an ontherwise light feel.
This is another wacky beer-like creation from this brewer that assembles the elements of a distinct foodstuff to stuff in a glass and float a head on it. The ingredients are there, and it's a creative effort, but the blend just doesn't produce a good brew; I feel like I've been given some variety of Aztec medicine, instead.

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