Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
3.85 | pDev: 15.84%
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Notes: This time around we brewed at our brewery in Milton, DE and made a deep, golden ale spiced with cardamom and fermented using a robust Belgian yeast strain. One third of the volume was then aged for 6 months in oak brandy barrels. Spice, esters, and sweet brandy dominate the aroma. A robust 10% abv is rounded by caramel and vanilla notes from the wood with a slight spiciness coming from the yeast.

20 IBU
Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 318 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

2.89/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a dark gold out of an expensive 750ml bottle. Nobody would want 6 bottles of this, so they make it in this format. And charge you more for it.

Aroma dropped the shitty cardamom as promised. Belgian yeast. Lemony hops. Alcohol.

Taste dropped a substantial wood quotient, along with big alcohol heat, can't make out the kind of tree this wood came from, it seems to be obscure and therefore more cool in the eyes of nerds.

Cardamom just really ruins this beer for me, it is such a bomb. Not to mention that it drinks hot. Definitely would not bang again.

Apr 24, 2016
Photo of chinchill
chinchill from South Carolina

3.16/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poppaskull 750 ml bottle served in a Green Man snifter after the RNWG-2014
Hazy golden color with an irregular appearance. The head was thin and short-lived.
Aroma: heavy cardamon; vague additional spicing; moderate funk; bright fruitiness.

O: Over the top. Two great breweries join forces to produced a weak product? No small batch trial run for this one, I bet.

Feb 15, 2014
Photo of Trilogy31
Trilogy31 from California

3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poired at cellar temp, shocked how much this beer was still carbed - a very lively bead and a huge fluffy white eggshell foam head. Pretty golden wheat sunset in color. Nose is a powerhouse of fruity belgium yeast esters, bubblegum, banana and spicing - the cardamom really pops. The taste follows the nose but the yeasty esters were almost too much and too big, slightly off putting as it really overpowered any nuances this beer may have had which also effected its drinkability. Really impressed that this beer has held up this well though can''t imagine how much fruiter this thing would have been when fresh.

Mar 22, 2013
Photo of davey101
davey101 from Connecticut

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

750ml bottle into a DFH signature glass. Bottled in 2010E. Thanks so much HopsMatt!

A - Pours a crystal clear golden amber color with rising carbonation. Two fingers of soapy off white foam forms. Leaves behind a nice thick edging and a thin cap. Swirling creates a new beautiful cap and sticky lacing coats the walls of the glass.

S - Starts off very herbal and floral. This fades into some ginger, coriander, lemon peel, and caramel biscuits . Very spicy with just a touch of sweetness. An odd aroma on the finish that is a bit offensive. Complex and interesting.

T - Cardamon, Belgian yeast, banana, cloves, and spice. Lingering ginger flavor. Can't say I detect any brandy notes, but the alcohol sure does warm things up on the finish. Very tasty.

M - Medium bodied and well carbonated. The finish is somewhat dry and prickly which works well with the ginger. Comes off like a Belgian inspired ginger ale.

O - A lovely beer that I honestly wasn't expecting too much from. Its held up very well to the age, although I can only see it going downhill from here. I've had the FFF Popskull in the past and I remember liking that one. Curious how that one has held up.

Dec 11, 2012
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee from New Hampshire

2.97/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled in 2010
Pours a hazy medium golden color with a smallish white head that quickly dissipates. Lots of floaties in the bottle and in my glass. Smells of spices mostly, I assume that strong in your face earthy herbal aroma is cardamom. There's some orange peel and caramel, and yeasty esters that manage to get through, but honestly this smells more like grandma's spice rack than a beer. The flavor doesn't make this beer much better. There's an initial sweet maltiness up front then we get the spice girls, then a bit of bready yeasty funk, a hint of grape skin and alcohol. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet spicy mouthfeel. This is not the beer for me.

Aug 19, 2012
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bamadog from Ohio

4.47/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one for a while, and I'm working on whittling down the number of boxes in my apartment so I figured tonight is as a good of a night as any for it. Review is from notes taken on 7/24/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a light, golden, apricot color and it almost seems to glow in the glass, very pretty :), starts with a pretty short 1/2 finger, slightly off-white head that fades to a full, uneven cap; body is cloudy, some sediment floating around; plenty of carbonation bubbling up near the sides -- wouldn't expect anything less from a Belgian style; a couple of strands of lacing hang around, but nothing much beyond that.

Smell: So herbal; so, so herbal. The cardamom is super present, and medicinal, I'm reminded of a lot of the beers I've had that are brewed with lavender; light fruitiness and a touch of Belgian candy perhaps; touch of vanilla in the nose; not sure where the brandy is.

Taste: Wow, pleasantly surprised -- super solid. Not that I'm surprised that DFH and 3F can put out a good beer (Popskull was F'ing fantastic), but I guess my expectations were a little lower considering the number of ingredients that are working together in it. Plenty of the herbal cardamom, and it's warming -- almost like menthol; plenty of sweet and bready yeast-like flavors; touch of banana and clove, and just a sweet drop of vanilla. I would say that there is some warming alcohol, but I think it's actually the cardamom speaking there.

Mouthfeel: Also very solid -- the body is of medium weight, but the carbonation keeps it feeling a little bit lighter; carb is solid and avoids any sense of sharpness, and it really comes to life with the herbal warming I've alluded to already; a thin and sticky coating is left on the roof of the mouth.

Overall: I've gotta hand it to Sam and the Floyds, this is a great beer. Great flavors, plenty going on, a body that's not going to make you feel like you weight a metric ton, and an ABV that will help you get to sleep at night.

Jul 25, 2012
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77 from Delaware

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

750ml bottle. Bottle date reads 2010. Had this a number of times that summer, but not since. Poured into a Russian River goblet.

A: Pours a somewhat clear (some yeast bits) yellowish orange color. Tons of carbonation! Streaming off the bottom of the glass. Initially about a half finger of bright white head. Lacing sheets. Some ABV feet.

S: Lots of belgian character. Banana, clove, other spices. Not getting a lot of barrel character, for 35%. Maybe getting some cinnamon like character?

T: Lots of Belgian flavor up front: banana, clove, cardamom, etc. In the middle of the mouth you get some breadiness. The booze is hidden well. Two years of done this beer well.

M: Medium bodied. Good carbonation

Jun 25, 2012
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HuskyinPDX from Washington

3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this bottle sitting in my cellar for a long time. Opened on 6.11.12.

Bottled 2010E

A - Pours a cloudy medium orange with a one inch cream-colored head. Good retention.

S - Very spicy, some wood as well.

T - Sweet and some spices - not sure what it is, cardamom?

D - Good carbonation and a medium to light body.

O - Spicy all-around, not sure where the Brandy went?

Jun 15, 2012
Photo of MatthewWilde
MatthewWilde from Massachusetts

3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2010

A: Light orange-yellow in color, light internal carbonation, pours almost no head and no lacing (could be due to the age), only the slightest bit hazy

S: Quite sweet smelling, elements of cinnamon, coriander, some herbal elements, mild citrus, interesting, moderately fragrant

T: Much akin to the nose, fruity, herbal, and spicy, sweet but well balanced (if anything a little too sweet), some alcohol throughout, flavorful

M: A lot to process in the mouth, but smooth, complex aftertaste of sweet/spicy herbal notes, not overpowering or drying on the palate

O: A complex and flavorful ale, many unique characteristics (not all necessarily positive), smooth, worth try if any are left, but not a shame if you missed it

May 26, 2012
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ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

4.42/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head atop. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of spices and other fruity yeast esters, with some banana, cardamom, coriander, sweet bready malts, a bit of candi sugar, and some light oak.

T - Starts off with a mix of sweet candi sugar with some fruity yeast esters, banana, coriander, cardamom, and a bit of bready malts. Through the middle, some more light fruity flavors come through with some oak and some more spices. The finish is a mix of some orange and lemon, with some more oak and vanilla flavor and a bit of brandy, yeast flavors, banana, and a hint of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, dry, and lightly warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice BSPA with the Brandy Oak Barrel aging really adding some great complexity to the beer while still keeping balance.

May 23, 2012
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vonnegut21 from New York

3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Ruck's DFH tap takeover. Pours a mellow gold with a thin, white head. Smell is mild, with hints of Belgian yeast and light hop notes. Taste is a nicely balanced light Belgian ale. Light golden malt, mild hop bitterness and spicy Belgian yeast. Mouthfeel is a bit thin with low carbonation. Overall, a decent offering, but honestly I expected a bit more from this collaboration. Overall worth trying, but if you want a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, there are plenty of better options.

May 19, 2012
Photo of ThePorterSorter
ThePorterSorter from Oregon

4.54/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pouring this light honey amber colored beer gets me excited. The nose is absolutely incredible. The spice dominates the nose and is spot on perfect. The taste tries hard to live up to the nose, but it falls slightly short. It's an excellent blend of honey sweetness, yeast, and of course spice...The finish is a slightly herbal with a slightly biting alcohol and residual bitterness. Still manages to convince me it's a Belgian pale, even with all the spice. Excellet beer, the best I've had from this brewery in a long time.

May 06, 2012
Photo of brentk56
brentk56 from North Carolina

3.82/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy apricot nectar color with a pillow of a head that leaves a smattering of lace behind

Smell: A range of floral and herbal tones, with candi sugar and cardamom, orange peel, honey, brandy and oak coming through

Taste: Everything detected in the aroma comes through on the palate, starting with the sweeter elements of candi sugar and honey, followed by the cardamom, orange peel and brandy in the middle; after the swallow, the brandy and oak present themselves, though the finish is rather sweet and dominated by the same flavors that were noted up front

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate to high carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: There is a lot going on here, but the overall sweetness limits its appeal to me; clearly well brewed but not exactly my cup of tea

Thanks, mdaschaf, for the opportunity

Mar 31, 2012
Photo of neckbracesub
neckbracesub from Indiana

4.55/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap, enjoyed out of a tulip glass.

Pours with a long-lasting head that sits above a surprisingly light colored Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

The smell is what immediately attracted me to this newest addition to my journey through the Dogfish Head treasury catalog. There is an abundance of different notes inside the aroma of Poppaskull, including an infusion of honey, white grapes, and agave.

The initial taste is one of complete wonder, going down so smoothly that you really don't understand how it could have such a heavy alcohol content for a bale ale. There is a slight carbonation (very slight) that really adds to the overall enjoyment of this off of the tap.

What really elevates this beer, though, is the place it leaves you at the end of the experience. The combination of the heavenly mouthfeel and potent-but-smooth aftertaste makes this a beer that is near perfection.

I'd like to experience this out of the bottle someday. See how it compares.

Mar 18, 2012
Photo of Gavage
Gavage from New Jersey

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

Appearance: hazy golden pale yellow in color with a 1/4" head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: some spices and grass are the main aroma components with a hint of alcohol.

Taste: grass, lemon zest, cardomom, and a bit of brandy flavors are wrapped in a spicy soft bitterness. Alcohol is noticable here too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Crisp throughout with some dryness arriving late.

Overall: slow drinking beer that has a unique flavor and spiciness. One glass is enough in a session due to the high alcohol.

Mar 16, 2012
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM from California

3.97/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1105th Review on BA
Bottle to Goblet
750 Ml

Bottled in 2010

Thanks to TroyG2352 for this bottle.

App- A murky thick looking gold color with a similar look to a liquid big stick. A orange center with yellows radiating out. A small 1/2" head that falls to a 1/8" of bubbles and some cling.

Smell- A bit of the oak comes through but mostly a strong malt/yeast note due to the style. Its a bit flat and one noted but still I like what I smell. A bit sweet but lends to character.

Taste- This is a very interesting flavor. I get some of the sweetness from the Brandy. Adds a cordial like flavor but the Coriander adds a certain spice note which is very upfront as well. These flavors seem to play well together. Tastes like a booze orange jam type of flavor but in liquid form.

Mouth- A bit of a creamy medium body with a medium thick carbonation level. A bit of the brandy sweetness comes out and a little bit of a cracker note remains.

Drink- I think its a good beer with some good layers. Its a little sweet, a little oaky and a little bit of spice. Not overly done and cellared well. Thanks Troy!

Feb 12, 2012
Photo of superspak
superspak from Michigan

4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip, bottled 05/2010. Pours cloudy golden straw color with a 1 finger fariyl dense off white head with good retention that reduces to a thin cap. Some spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big lemon, apricot, pear, apple, grape, coriander, ginger, biscuit, pepper, and yeast spices. Nice and well balanced aromas, with good strength. Taste of lemon, apricot, grape, pear, pepper, coriander, oak, bread, light ginger, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of apricot, citrus, pepper, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors, with good complexity. Medium carbonation and body; with a fairly creamy mouthfeel. Smooth drinking for 9.5%, with only a slight alcohol warming after the finish present. Overall this is a damn nice Belgian strong pale ale style. Nice complexity and flavor balance; with smooth drinking for the alcohol level.

Feb 06, 2012
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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for sharing this one Leon. Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a clear golden copper color. Some white frothy bubbles sit atop the brew and fade leaving some spots of lace on the glass.

The smell is very tea-like with mint, herbs, orange and caramel sweetness all filling the nose. As it warms up, it gets increasingly more herbal and tea-like in character.

The taste is a bit like lemon or coriander with some mild tea-like quality just like the aroma suggested. Herbal with a bit of orange marmalde character. The finish is spicy and mildly yeasty. The herbal aspect almost gives a cooling methol feel to it but the alcohol is contrasting with a greater warmth.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Fairly easy drinking for 9.5% but an overall ackward arrangement. I remember when this was released I wanted to give it a try. However I never really put effort into acquiring a bottle. Thanks again for sharing Leon, I'm glad I got to try it. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting.

Jan 06, 2012
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sidetracked from Illinois

2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a clear light gold with some visible sediment. Bubbly off-white head that doesn't last long. No lacing.

Aroma is very botanical--cardamom is strong. Ginger, floral and pine present.

Some botanical-like flavor in the upfront taste ... slightly sweet with toffee malt. Possibly a little brandy at the finish, but only a hint. Botanical cardamom lingers.

Medium body with moderate, bubbly carbonation. Clean, slightly dry finish. Syrupy.

Botanical flavor and aroma leans heavily towards the Dogfish Head influence. Reminds me of Short's Anniversary Wheat Wine. Over-spiced and becomes boring rather quickly. Half a glass is enough.


Dec 29, 2011
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AlCaponeJunior from Texas

3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden yellow and hazy, head and lace were not bad.

Smell was very underwhelming. It didn't really smell that strongly, but what there was included some spices and ginger.

The taste was a huge surprise after the relatively unimpressive smell. Huge ginger flavors burst through like a bulldozer going through a chain link fence. Reminded me a lot of Pangaea. Yeast and plenty of spices accented to make a very fine tasting and interesting creation.

Body was nice, medium and well carbonated, easy to drink, with a flavorful ginger linger.

Overall I really liked this beer. It started off slow but gained momentum and finished great. Would pair with sushi extremely well.

Sep 17, 2011
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rudzud from Massachusetts

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

Enjoyed sampling this at the BBF.

A - A slightly hazy light orange almost amber pour with a slight white head that fades slowly.

S - A bit lackluster here. Getting some yeast, some spices, and some alcohol and thats pretty much it.

T - Much better than the nose. Good belgian yeast flavours, nice malts, and good misc spice notes (ginger, corriander, etc.). Not too sweet.

M - Nice mouthfeel, a bit too sticky for me but its still good. Nice carbonation for being over a year old in the bottle.

O - Enjoyed this beer and glad I got to try it, but, I think theres too much hype surrounding it. Didnt live up to my hopes.

Sep 14, 2011
Photo of ChadQuest
ChadQuest from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a sleek golden color with a white collar, just a bit of haze is there but i can still see through it very clearly.
The aroma has the resemblance to apples and pears, the alcohol is more hidden here then expected, but perceptable.
here on the palate the Alcohol comes through a bit more, is warming. The spices i would have thought to be mellow by this point of age, but are still biting with sharpness,they just really pop out at you. Those light fruits are here, and the apple flavors and pear flavors are juicy yet have the perception of faint tannins.
Mouthfeel is medium-full with a slick body and full carbination.

Good stuff, i am liking this bottle Fo Sho.

Aug 24, 2011
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ottovon from Arizona

4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours out a pale orange with a fluffy white head that hung around.

S: get hints of bread, cardamom, white pepper. There is also belgian yeast, with straw and some citrus hops. it has a sweet aroma, with some brandy mixed in.

T: there is some sweetness in this. a lot of the aroma comes through. bread, straw, spice, and yeast. some coriander, oak, and some brandy. a bit of alcohol. finishes dry with citrus hops and some bitterness.

M: medium with good carb, but still somewhat smooth.

O: a good beer. wish I had more.

Aug 18, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

deep hazy yellowish amber with a large, white head that was very slow to fade and left behind significant lace. Lots of streaming carbonation was evident and bubble chains were rising throughout the session.

Aroma was very sour, with lots of hints of grapes and pears and a slight touch of alcohol. Smell was not overpowering, but not faint either, good balanced and sour smell, almost wine like. First impression of the taste was sour, and lively. Very good feel, due in part to great carbonation gave it a very light and modestly smooth feel. Went down very easy, albeit it did have a somewhat syrupy thickness to it. Their were very bitter flavors present from the start, huge notes of sour grapes, pears and various other fruits were plentiful. A slight noticable grainy or yeast presence was their which came through as it warmed up

Aug 13, 2011
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oline73 from Maryland

3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a slightly cloudy orange amber color with a layer of white head that goes away quickly.

Smell: Sweet and malty, a bit like candied ginger.

Taste: Very sweet from the malt. The cardamom leaves a strong ginger like taste. Belgian spice with a mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild carbonation and a super dry finish.

Overall: Wonderful flavor from the cardamom compliments the sweetness very well.

Aug 07, 2011
Poppaskull from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 318 ratings