Noble Rot | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Noble RotNoble Rot
Very Good
1,581 Ratings
Noble RotNoble Rot

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This saison-esque science project gets complexity and fermentable sugars from two unique wine grapes sourced with our friends at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, Wash.

The first addition is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This noble rot reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is pinot gris must intensified by a process called dropping fruit, where large clusters of grapes are clipped to amplify the quality of those left behind.

Noble Rot is brewed with pils and wheat malts and fermented with a distinct Belgian yeast strain. It has a spicy white wine body and a dry, tart finish.

Added by paulozanello on 02-20-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,581 |  Reviews: 338
Photo of JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of JCaweinstein
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light yellow, white head that disappears quickly, has lots of carbonation and is crystal clear.
I smell grapes and another aroma that I can only describe as earthiness.
Tart grapes, sweet, and another earthy funkiness. It is definitely an interesting beer.
Feels like champaign, light and effervescent. The carbonation makes it crisp and leaves a tingling sensation on my tongue.
This is a tasty beer that is not like anything I have tasted. I would be interested in having another one of these to age.

 502 characters

Photo of kaelingirl
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes
1 pint 9.4 fl oz bottled 2012 08:22
Poured from bottle into goblet.
A: Yellow in color with small white head that quickly recedes.
S: Grapes, sugar, saison funk.
T: Grapes more so than any other flavor dominate this beer/wine hybrid. This is really interesting and tasty. Can't believe how delicious these rotten/infected grapes are.
M: Light mouthfeel, good amount of carbonation
O: At $13.99/bottle pretty comparable in price range to other Dogfish Head beers. I will buy a couple more to pair with shellfish and to see what my mom thinks about it who loves white wine, but doesn't enjoy beer.

 616 characters

Photo of chrispoint
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jsanford
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear, glowing gold with a creamy white head that settles to a thin cap, leaving soapy lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Crisp aromas of white grape juice, light biscuit malt, honey, and coriander. Not a ton of character in the nose, but definitely wine-like.
T - Ok, there's the wine. Lots of buttery white wine grapes, crisp honey and biscuit malts, earthy Saison yeast, and some spicy white pepper and coriander. Definitely a great melding of beer and wine.
M - Sharp and refreshing, with a medium body and lively carbonation.
O - Very unique brew, a nice offering from DFH!

 589 characters

Photo of Archemedies
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of MatthewWilde
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Golden yellow, slightly cloudy, pours a small foamy head which quickly dissipates, little to no internal carbonation

S: Quite sweet and fruity, wine and champagne dominate the nose, a touch of alcohol at the end, almost sour-smelling

T: Quite sour and sweet all at once, tastes almost exactly like champagne (sparkling wine), pure grape is present as well, nicely fruity, incredibly mild alcohol

M: Smooth, but the acidity on the palate cuts down on the drinkability, still impressive with such a high abv, light and fruity aftertaste and not too lingering

O: While Miller High Life may call itself the champagne of beers, nothing I have tried thus far tastes more like champagne than this, light, fruity, and a bit sour

 751 characters

Photo of DavyJones
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Ryan011235
4.33/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a DFH Signature glass on 3/8/12

Bottled in 2012B

Clear, pale gold hue - seems subdued but has a nice gleam when held to the light. A two finger head of fizzy white foam gives the impression of ephemeral doom, but the foam condenses into itself and deflates slowly from there, leaving thick rings of lace. Surprisingly impressive retention; doesn't get much better than this. Actually, it does. On the second pour, retention lasts longer and the already excellent lacing is thicker. Heck, this pour is even has more clarity.

For whatever reason I wasn't expecting the aroma to be so clean, but it is. The floral, prairie grass notes are all over the place, as are overtones of pollen. A touch of grain is softly woven in and is accented with spicy clove notes. Soft fruit tones drift about. I'm not sure what sort of aromas grape must imparts - perhaps the slight earthiness and dank quality?

Whoa, the taste is something else entirely. The grapes come through much more than in the aroma and have a dank, dense, over-ripe twinge. Yet somehow it keeps a nibble saunter. Simultaneously dusty and vinous. I'll admit that while there is a decent grassy backing, the spice and floral notes are downplayed, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Instead they quietly bolster the grapes which really take to wine-like flavor as the beer warms. I'm not inclined to call this tart or sour and biting is too strong a word. Perhaps nippy is sufficient. Toasty grains emerge after a while.

Body and overall feel are on the light side, but never fail to acknowledge the responsibility in transporting such flavor. Carbonation is spot-on, too; pillowy fizziness rolls around as it hits the 7am snooze button but soon accepts that it's morning and it's time to move along. The finish is chalk-dry and has a modest, lingering alcohol note and some flavor residuals. The grape-iness builds over time.

DFH did a good job with this one, managing to tread an awkward line between drinkable, interesting and an actual quality product. Noble Rot completely exceeded my uncertain expectations handily. My favorite part is that the complexities of the nose are expansive while the flavor profile is more stunted, making for broad experience all around.

I will pull the "smaller format" card on this one, though. A 750ml is a bit much for one sitting.

 2,344 characters

Photo of Jamesg440
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

A: 3/4" white bubbly head that dissipated quickly and left a nice lacing over straw coloured liquid with excellent clarity.

S: It smells like a funky saison and old dried out red wine bottles. Kind of strange.

T: Saison barnyard funk meets white grape juice. Some wheat in the background.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Somewhat dry finish.

O: The best American Saison I have tried. Very drinkable, and very much in the style of Fantome Saison.

 510 characters

Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into an oversized pilsner glass at oneguyonecup's.

A: Crystal clear pale straw yellow color with fierce carbonation that builds a massive, bubbly head of foam. Impeccable clarity for a beer I was expecting to be a bit cloudy; off for the style?

S: White grape skins, musty spices and a permeating alcohol aroma that cuts through some tart, granular scents of citrus and light malts.

T: Sweet, tart and acidic up front with a lightly toasted grain character. This is swept away by puckeringly sweet and juicy grape and citrus flavors. A spicy, somewhat herbal and sharp alcohol finish settles in, leaving the palate dry and sour.

M: Light-medium bodied, very crisp with a slightly puckering tart, sour feel.

O: An odd conglomeration of a saison, a French Biere de Garde, and essentially. Midas Touch. The grape must is there, the 9% ABV nondescript "spiced beer" feeling is there. What sets Noble Rot apart is its eye-catching clarity and sour characteristics. I just hope it doesn't cause too much gut rot, either.

 1,048 characters

Photo of aasher
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours a very light bodied and very clear, bright gold in color with a white one finger head. It's very pilsner esque and not cloudy whatsoever. The nose is interesting to say the least. It's slightly tart, has a yeast that is very Belgian, and has both lemon and honey to it. It's an odd profile but interesting. The flavors are light and tart. There are semi sweet pale malts, a touch of honey, and then the beer takes an odd and grapy turn to tartness. It's very unique. It has high carbonation and drinks very, very light in body. This is a beer worth trying. There really isn't anything like it. It's just so unique.

 630 characters

Photo of DeezJutz
5/5  rDev +29.9%

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

Golden yellow appearance, with a big frothy head on top. Aroma is pleasantly sour - I'm detecting cider vinegar, and a sharp, fruity tartness. The flavor had a wine like character to it, both in mouthfeel and taste - the white wine grapes are definitely noticeable. Slight grassiness/horse blanket funk. Medium bodied, fizzy, and slightly tingling on the way down. Complex and pleasant - an interesting experiment for the beer and wine drinking crowds. Would buy again.

 469 characters

Photo of biercycle
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of rwilde
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks John!

Pours very sunny, slightly hazy. Bone white head, finger plus. Aroma is white grapes, yeast, some funk and bread crusts. Tastes a tad tart as opposed to the nose. Light funk and white grape notes, slightly dry with a mild biscuit note. Crisp, slight slick quality and dry.

Very interesting beer. I'm no sour fan, but the tart qualities were fine in my book. Would drink again!

 392 characters

Photo of brotherloco
3.48/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. Bottled in 2012. Served in a tulip.

Pours a clear pale green-gold with a two finger white head. Settles fairly quickly to a small covering. A nice amount of broad and delicate lacing left behind.

Aroma is very much like a vinous Belgian strong golden. Spicy peppery yeast on top of white wine vinous fruit. Definitely a hint of fermented apple cider, and a slight sting of alcohol.

Flavor is initially white-wine sweet, but sours quickly into darker fermented fruits. Overall sourness is mild, but it takes you by surprise during the transition. Sour tartness lingers on through the finish and aftertaste. No real alcohol in the flavor.

Medium-full in body with medium-high sharp carbonation. Not really loving the mouthfeel.

An interesting beer/wine hybrid. There isn't one particular aspect that I love, but it's a decent creation.

 852 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.56/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Bought a 750-mL bottle down at the brewpub back in early May. Bottled on date reads 12/9/2013. Pours perfectly clear gold with fluffy white head with some lacing. Light carbonation present. Smells like a saison with Chardonnay. Some real interesting fruity characteristics in the nose like strawberries. No real hop aroma but maybe some light spicy noble hops. Tastes initially sweet with perfect beer-wine hybrid complexities. Dries out with a wine like aftertaste- like a dry white wine. Such an interesting beer. At times, I get waves of beer then wine then beer then wine, etc. demonstrates great complexities yet subtle all the same. Awesome job and definitely an innovative beer. Cheers to Dogfish for pushing the craft beer boundaries with this one!

 756 characters

Photo of Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a DFH goblet at the Brick Store. Pours a beautiful straw gold hue with a fluffy, two inch, bright white head. Clarity is translucent and the nucleation point at the bottom of the glass produces a cascade of tiny bubbles that effervesce to the undersides of the cap. Thick curtains of textured lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose expresses candi sugar and light, fruity esters - I don't get a lot of complexity here, but I think that is partially due to the coldness at which the beer was served. Taste expresses white grapes, a grassy character, some spiciness and a trace of candi sugar. There is also just a hint of wine vinegar. The effect I get here is somewhat akin to a white wine spritzer with some saison-esque qualities. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body (but closer to light), with a bright, lively carbonation and a slight acidity. Overall, I have to say that this is one of the large format DFH offerings that I really enjoyed. It is interesting and complex but definitely closer to a sparkling wine than a saison; quite a nice hybrid however. One recommendation - if you are opening a bottle, I suggest having one or two friends on standby to help. The flavors are a bit intense.

 1,211 characters

Photo of Rich540
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Kirby
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.5/5  rDev +16.9%

Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 1,581 ratings