Zeno | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Very Good
34 Ratings

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Brewpub Exclusive saison is an interesting paradox; refreshing yet flavorful, light but complex. The Saison yeast strain takes center stage and contributes complex aromas of pineapple, mango, papaya, and pepper. A healthy dose of American hops at the end of the boil compliments the tropical fruit aromas with their own notes of citrus rinds and fruit.

25 IBU

Added by TMoney2591 on 06-27-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of mdaschaf
3.14/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review from notes. Had on tap at the DFH brewpub in Rehoboth Beach along with ShanePB.

A: Served in a 16oz glass, Zeno was a clear orange with very little bits of bubbles on top, not quite a head though. No lacing either.

S: Floral with some grassy hops, and a bit of orange peel. Not as much spice as I used to in a saison, just a hint of pepper.

T: Similar to the aroma, but a bit more subdued. Some grassy hops and sort of fruity with some graham cracker malt. The spices only come through right at the end again.

M: Medium bodied with high carbonation, but a bit watered down almost. Finishes dry.

O: A bit disappointing. Was hoping for more flavors from a brewery that makes flavorful beer. Maybe it was just this batch, as both ShanePB and I felt that this was a letdown.

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Photo of dfhhead25
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TMoney2591
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a shaker pint glass.

This is an unusual saison. It pours a very hazy golden straw, looking a helluva lot like fresh pineapple juice, topped by a small head of white micro-foam. The nose comprises lemon, lemon zest (there's a difference, I'm tellin' ya!), cardamom, mango, wheat, lemongrass (did I mention there was some lemony goodness here?), orange peel, pineapple, some light florals, and a dash of pepper. It's fruitier than most saisons I've had, but still has that sorta saison-y feel. The taste holds notes of lemon zest, a more sour bit o' lemon than before, peppercorns, cardamom, coriander, lemongrass, and a slight, though rather perceptible, hoppy bitterness. The body is pretty light, with a sharp but short carbpnation and a dry, refreshing finish. Honestly, I really enjoyed this beer, especially after sweltering in my car for the couple hours to the brewpub. I think it more closely resembles a wit, what with the cloudy, fruity characters, but the feel is more in line with a saison (and I'm not one to argue with the folks at DFH...). Good times.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured on-tap and served in a pint glass, the beer is a bright, pale, gold color. Crystal clear with lots of carbonation and a thin, filmy head. Nose of lemon zest, hops, and floral highlights. The flavor is slightly sour, with a smokey undertone and spiced-citrus flavors, including some coriander. The aftertaste is all spice, leaving any of the fruit character overpowered. The finish is dry and quick.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.02/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-tap at the Dogfish Head Rehoboth beach pub. 16 ounce poured into a pint glass, and served well after it was poured.

A: Orange copper body, extremely clear with an obvious filtered nature to it. No head, no retention, no lacing. Talk about a lackluster looking beer, this is just pretty sad.

S: Wet grassy hops, orange peel, black pepper, rose hips. A very faint grainy and hay-like base from the malt comes through but it doesn't seem to add any real diversity or depth to the aroma.

T: Initially the grain bill comes through with evidence of hay and milled grain flavors. Slight earthy, grassy hops provide a nice cut through the rather mundane profile so far. This ends a bit dry with some spice and peppery notes.

M: Nice and bubbly carbonation, a bit thin and watery though. Bordering on the low end of a medium-bodied beer. Dry in the finish.

For this small batch saison from one of my favorite breweries, this was simply disappointing. Serving the beer improperly is one thing, but the actual contents of the glass itself couldn't stand on their own. It wasn't bad in drinking, though I'd never order this again and many saisons are out there that put this attempt to shame.

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Photo of pathman
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of DefenCorps
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Rehoboth pub tonight

Pouring a very light yellow with a dense white head that hangs around a while leaving no lace, this looks solid. Definitely one of the lighter saisons I've seen. On the nose, this is surprisingly good. Mildly grainy, mild honey and a moderate floral character are the first things that pop out. The floral character is moderately hop-like, but when combined with the honey, it really takes on an orange blossom honey character. Mildly spicy as well, this is a pretty good saison.

The palate opens just a touch astringent with some grainy bitterness immediately noticeable. Once my palate gets used to it (which is rather quick), the mildly sugary, mildly honey-like sweetness kicked in, along with a moderate hop flavor, very citrus-like with orange and lemon. Moderately spicy on the finish, this has a little pepper and maybe some clove? Despite the sweetness, this beer dries up on the finish. With the high carbonation, this is quite quenching and very refreshing. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes had on draft at DFH:

appearance: copper orange with a 1 finger white head

smell: tropical fruit, funk, belgian yeast,

taste: tropical fruit, belgian yeast, spices

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: a very nice and refreshing beer just in time for summer.

the CPJ

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Photo of justintcoons
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of nrbw23
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a clear golden orange color with a white head. Pretty solid retention and leaves some nice lacing.

S- Picking up some citrus mainly lemons, quite a bit of yeast, some funkiness as well, and very light malts.

T- Quiite a bit going on here. A bit of spice, pepper, lemons, yeast and some funk. A touch of bitterness from a herbal earthy type hop.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and good amount of carbonation.

O- Not usually my style of brew, but I thought this one was pretty solid. Nothing over the top going on here.

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Photo of DIM
4.22/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a slightly hazy, pale golden color. It was served to me with a thin, whispy head.

s: A very nice combination of biscuity malts, lemon zest, and yeasty cloves. As it warmed some faint fruity esters emerged.

t: Quite dry overall, just as I hoped it would be. Biscuits and lemon up front with just a hint of fruit form the Belgian yeast. There was plenty of fresh, moderately bitter lemons at the end along with a fairly strong clove note.

m: Medium bodied with light, prickly carbonation.

d: This melding of German (pils malts), Belgian (yeast), and American (hops) is DFH at its innovative best. There experiments often go awry in my opinion, but this one works very well.

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Photo of jampics2
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a kick-ass DFH & lizard branded goblet/almost wine glass. This is the best Winking Lizard glass of the month yet this year, and the beer is solid as all get-out.

What is Zeno? Well, the beer is described as a saison with German pilsner malt, American hops and French farmhouse yeast. A group of the Winking Lizard's beery best went to Dogfish Head to brew a 25th anniversary beer and, after discussing what direction to head in, this was the obvious path. The beer is named after an ancient philosopher but the beer is a fusion as only 21st century American brewers could pull off.

What a lovely colored beer! Zeno is a primarily gold color with just a touch of brown, orange and straw intermingled. A nice, white one-finger head and decent lace are acceptable, but that aspect doesn't scream saison. This could have a more billowing, fluffy head but still looks great.

The smell begins with the trademark characteristics of a nice German malt - clean pilsner notes and some crackers are evident. The yeast has contributed esters in the form of spice - white pepper, grassiness, and maybe a touch of herb. American hops don't lend a ton of citrus but just a touch of lemon and orange. More expression comes into the forefront as it warms. This is very nice - the smell could have just a bit more pop but is interesting with the German and American influences well integrated.

The taste is the strongest aspect of Zeno, and I love it when a beer comes together like this. The taste is dominated by yeasty esters, including a wonderfu spicy pepper, sweet malt and hops. After the initial yeast profile, there's a sweet malt that emerges, almost with a touch of honey. The hops add a lemony note, then the typical pilsner dryness ends the tasting experience with crackery notes. There;s a lingering bitterness but overall the beer ends very cleanly as the sweetness fades to dry. A nice ride and overall a refreshing beer with just enough subtle flavor changes to keep things interesting.

The creamy carbonation is solid and on-point, but the body is just a bit thin compared to, say, a Dupont or Fantome. I'm coming around to the idea that Americans will one day dominate even my beloved saisons. This is a step in the right direction and a great beer. Fusion comes across as natural compliments. I love it when a good beer comes together!

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Photo of DeutschesBier
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Ryan011235
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in the matching glassware at Winking Lizard on 6/2/11

Eye catching gold with a subtle haze. One finger head dissipates but a thin layer remains. Regardless, there is a good showing of lace.

Zeno boasts an utmost crisp aroma. Citrus zest and spice lead off and are engulfed in swaths of grass. Lemon grass and prairie. Hints of pepper; perhaps from the French yeast. Apple tartness. Nips of orange. Clove is apparent as it warms. Very Clean.

Ooh, packs a bit of a punch, too. It's a restless critter. Lemon zest and a touch of tangy light fruits take up the front half. Grassy flavor mid way through that holds until the finish. Undertones of grains; thank you, pilsner malts. Spicy finish with grassy residuals and citrus zest, orange pith. The flavor profile is seamless. Cracked white pepper lingers long. Herbal notions as it warms up.

The body is crisp and filled out with ample carbonation - half fluffy, half prickly. The only downside is that the carbonation prevents it from being anything more than a sipper. Other than that, it's clean with a pleasant finish.

Overall impression: plenty of good things going on with little room for gripes.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a stemmed ale glass at the Winking Lizard for their Glass of the Month

A- Pours a clear light golden color with two fingers of soapy head that leaves lots of very solid lacing with only tiny holes in the lacing.

S- Pretty aromatic, lots of sour apple, citrus, yeast, and some pepper

T- Lots of sour apple, citrus, pepper, yeast and some white wine taste on the finish

M- Very crisp, dry, and refreshing, finishes with some nice bitterness

O- A great saison, nice balance of bitter and sweet. Might be the best saison I've had. Dogfish Head please bottle this.

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Photo of hopsolutely
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at DFH pub in Rehobeth. All that one would expect from a Saison, except the bar lists it as 5.9% ABV instead of BA's 5.2%. Very pleasant, wheaty summer flavours with a lingering bitter finish.

Aroma is limited to the wheat with a mild fruit sweetness in the background. Flavours follow, with none of the west-coast IPA hops I'd hoped for after the in-house description : "A refreshingly light Saison with a healthy dose of American hops in the finish".

Nicely bitter, but not terribly different from many other "craft" Saisons.

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Photo of BeerThursdays
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Spider889
4.46/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served in an enormous DFH globed wine glass, the stem alone was nearly as tall as a nearby pint. Also I must say that this is one of the most tasteful glass of the month offerings from Winking Lizard to date.

I barely made it in time to get some of the beer last night though, because once we left for the bar, it turned out that we had to drive 1/2 of the distance to the bar before we could reach the bar itself. But before reaching the half-way point, we had to drive half of that distance. This problem arose an infinite number of times, actually. And because there were an infinite number of fractional distances to travel, and arguably, an infinite number of fractional times to spend moving each distance, my trip had the potential of never reaching my end goal.

In fact, poor Zeno was trying to tell me that motion itself was impossible. I tried to fall back on my Aristotle to refute Zeno's argument, but Aristotle never really completely disproved these paradoxes himself. So I just sucked it up - even though perception can be misleading, I had to assume that what I perceived as movement toward Winking Lizard was in fact actually happening. It also helped knowing that Zeno likely had very little understanding of modern physics. So Atomists and Parmenideans be damned! Let's review the beer!

The beer itself was stunningly clear for a saison. There was a rather short cap of super frothy white head. The head retention was superb, and I was immediately greeted with a full-blown blanket of lace wrapping around my massive glass.

The aroma was rather standard for a saison in some ways, but this isn't exactly a bad thing. I guess I was just expecting more funk than I got. What I can say in praise is that it smelled very crisp and clean. Nice spicy yeast esters mixed with grassy pollen notes along with sage, lemon, and thyme.

The taste was definitely not a funk bomb. What Zeno does deliver however is an exceptionally refreshing summer beer, and one of the most drinkable saisons I have ever had. Smooth, bright, and clean, Zeno is worth the wait, even if that wait turns out to be infinity. The French yeast is very nice here.

Wow is this one creamy brew. I was sucking it down, and still it seemed like I was never going to finish this humungous glass of beer! The empty globe of beer I was seeking was just as elusive as Achilles' tortoise. But, if I were to be forced to drink a never-ending beer forever, this one would do just fine, thank you.

Overall this is one of the better Dogfish Head beers to be released lately. I fear that Winking Lizard merely has this as part of their 25th Anniversary lineup (the coolest brew yet this year btw), but in all honesty DHF needs to bottle this stuff. Put it in a 4 pack and I'd buy it all summer long.

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Photo of mattcrill
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Lots of white pepper and spicy notes up front. Melon-like esters and funky fermentation character. No hop aroma. Ok for style.

Appearance: Slighty cloudy with a golden hue in the glass. A tight white head retains well.

Flavor: More melon-like esters up front, cracker-like Pils malt character, and spicy pepper notes follow. Balance is even with esters and spices knitting well together. Finish is crisp and dry.

Mouthfeel: Light body with high, spritzy carbonation. Slight alcohol heat noted.

Overall impression: A bigger, well done Saison. Impressive that DFH can obey the style parameters. Would like to see more of that. Nice job.

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Photo of SPRichard
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of DrFunkenstein
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of hustlesworth
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- hazy golden w a thin white head that throws down a ton of delicate drippy lace.

S-full of yeasty funk, barnyard, horses, band aids, and fun. Some lemony citrus and fresh pale malt as well.

T- nice sharp bitterness that fades quickly leaving an herbal hop flavor behind. Funky yeast as in the aroma with some rubbery flavors. Finishes rather complex and herbal and tastes authentically Belgian.

MF- zesty tight carbonation and lighter than apple juice consistancy. Very nice dryness. Refreshing.

D- this is a pretty awesome brew. Dogfish doesn't go overboard with crazy spices or exotic ingredients and instead put out this excellent Saison/biere de garde hybrid. The french yeast makes it. Had on tap at winking lizard in canton.

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Photo of NumberNone
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rehoboth Beach Brewpub. From notes, 7-11-2011

A - slightly cloudy yellow body, small white head.

S - crisp, a slight tartness, some lemon zestiness

T - light malts, lemony tartness.

M - light-bodied, good carbonation, giving the beer a nice presence.

O - A super solid saison, very tasty, drinkable. Highly enjoyable.

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Photo of sixerofelixir
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap as Winking Lizard's glass-of-the-month offering.

Poured a mostly clear light orange-amber, as I recall. A white head stuck in rings all over the glass. Smell was fresh and herbal. Taste was very crisp and refreshing. Spicy. A lot of sour grapefruit. Unique yeast, I could tell. Tart aftertaste. A good, complex, and easily sessionable beer. I can't believe this beer isn't bottled!

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Zeno from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 34 ratings