Noble Rot | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
338 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 338 | Ratings: 1,570
Photo of KSac4115
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden color with a one inch foam head that lingers for a while. Very filtered and lots of light coming through. An unexpected and impressive appearance for a stronger ale. Smell is mainly of belgian yeast and some light citrus/ fruity notes. Almost a wine-like scent to it which must be the grapes used in the brewing. Taste is very interesting. Very very sweet notes from the grapes. Again almost wine like flavors. Not very bitter at all. Interesting and delicious. The high alcohol content is somewhat obvious. The high carbonation makes the mouthfeel very pleasant. However the sweetness and the high alcohol content don't make it an incredibly drinkable beer. Overall, a very interesting beer. Definitely worth a try at least once.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle opened on 5.2.12.
Bottled on date: 2012C

A - Pours a light pale yellowish-orange, looks like white wine. A fluffy white head forms and has good retention.

S - White grapes and lemons.

T - White and green grapes, green apples.

D - Tart, good carbonation, and a light body.

O - A beer that is close to white wine, cool I guess.

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Photo of KajII
3.94/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a sparkling clear golden yellow with an average sized (1-2 finger) white fizzy head that diminished rapidly, leaving behind a light film with a medium collar and some pretty good sticky lacing.

The aroma was on the funky side with a mild hay malt and a musty Belgian yeast with notes of white grapes, green apple, a mild white wine and just a slight hint of alcohol.

The taste was sweetly tart with a nice note of grapes and malt early on, progressing into an almost sour funky taste with a big dose of yeast and a strong wine characteristic. The flavor stuck around for a nice long while, letting the tart yeasty wine flavor linger on the taste buds for a good long time.

Mouthfeel was light in body and nice and dry in texture with a good strong prickly carbonation.

Overall a very unique brew, a mix of wine and beer that was done so superbly that it gives it an almost champagne like quality with the body and flavor of an excellent Farmhouse Ale. Be warned this is one to be careful of; it has a 9% ABV that is virtually unnoticeable in the taste…

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Photo of Arborescence
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden, typical for a pilsner -- surprising as I was expecting something darker. Pours a modest white head that recedes immediately. Some carbonation is evident from the bubbling.

Aroma: Complex fruity aromas with hints of honey and floral characteristics. Yellow raisins. Some typical saison aromas: mainly yeast.

Taste: Very rich in fruity esters, quite a lot of bitterness. Honey-like sweetness and raisins still present. I think that some of characteristics are overwhelmed by the saison sourness, no doubt from the intricate mixture of Belgian yeast and botrytis.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, almost like a sparkling wine, but not with that much carbonation. A little bit foamy in the mouth. Light bodied otherwise.

Overall: A very interesting attempt at a wine/beer hybrid, and I'd say a successful one! It's a bit harsh at first, but I do really feel like drinking a champagne of beers! Dry white wine comes to mind as well.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a pale golden orange, just about the color of sparkling apple juice. One finger fine white head dissipates slowly to a film and ring with good lacing. Aroma domintated by grape, leaning towards concord grape, faint malt, herbal hay. Very unusual flavor, vinous middle with a bit of sourness in the finish. Apple, grape and slight neutral malt. Dry with a hint of hops in the finish. Light to medium bodied. Some of the flavors are reminiscent of cider, but this leans more toward grape flavor and has a slight malt element not found in cider. I do not favor sour saisons, but this one I found enjoyable and quite different than anything I've had in the past. Another of Dogfish Head's experiments that worked out in an unusual, but satisfying way.

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Photo of sailorastro
4.71/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Overall: DFH had me surprised with this one, a saison that is more or less billed as, "Grapes... with more grapes." Despite my pre-opinion, Noble Rot happily proved me wrong. It's much more than a saison or farmhouse, something I could see blazing its own clarification as a "dessert beer".

Appearance: Clear, golden color like molten gold. Mild, attractive carbonation rising to a thin, cludy head.

Smell: Grapes; wine; oatmeal; cane sugar.

Taste: It's hard to tell that you're drinking beer, because it has a Riesling flavor made rich and sweetened with the grapes. Flavors of oats, strawberry, and a tinge of bitters balance the beverage.

Mouthfeel: Light and crisp--this finished as clean as it tastes.

Sampled from a snifter

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Photo of oldp0rt
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wanted to try this beer for a while and I'm happy I found it and had the chance to try it.

Poured from the bottle into a tulip.

This beer looks pale but has a nice white foamy head that dissipates fairly quickly.

It smells fruity and a lot like white wine. The first sip tastes fruity with a lot of grape flavors. The carbonation was perfect with this beer and the finish was very dry just like white wine.

I enjoyed this a lot and would not hesitate to revisit.

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Photo of farrago
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bleached white head, very airy and delicate, starts out over three fingers when you pour put resolves down quickly with lots of dimpling across the surface, not a large amount of lacing but what’s there is very sticky and longlasting. The liquid is a pale yellow to orange hue, shiny and fully transparent with a few bubble beads which sustain themselves well. The nose is sour and freshly penetrating, the wine component comes through clearly, boosting the florality as well as peach, apple, apricot, pear fruit, light banana, the citrus is a mix of lemon and white grapefruit, there’s a solid amount of ginger, coriander like spices, more leesy than yeasty, displays good lift given its relative heaviness in your nostrils. Medium-bodied, even sourer here with the addition of a strong grassiness alongside the elevating mixed citrus and unprocessed wheat and grains. You can make a better argument for yeastiness in the mouth, softens things a touch and supports the length of the apricot, peach, pineapple, green apple fruit. The baking spices take a step or two back from center stage. As it warms more of the pils qualities come out. The carbonation level is about where it should be, perhaps a little light. The funkiness is not dominant and, accounting for the overall sourness, the total experience is pretty clean. Good retronasal action after you swallow, extends presence.

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Photo of lazjuarez
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a white wine glass. Bottle dated: 2012C 9:30

A: Pours a beautiful straw-like golden yellow, very clear with a great amount of carbonation coming off the bottom of the glass. Head is white, about half a finger worth of tightly packed small bubbles, surprisingly leaving a great amount of lacing.

S: Nose is funky, almost like wet hay. Some tart green apple, white grapes, and powdery yeast. Some small esters coming out at the end as well, lots of vinous qualities.

T: Taste is great, amazing complexity. Great vinous nuances, nice green apple/green grape tartness. Some small peppery notes cut the tartness as well.

M: Light-bodied; tartness at the front of the tongue, then carbonation cuts and lends to a great drying effect at the end. Overall I appreciate what Dogfish Head is doing with this brew. Great saison-ish/pilsner/sour, whatever it's good.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Heatwave33 for the bottle.

Pours clear gold with a sticky 2 finger white head leaving good lacing.

Aroma contains some powerful musty grape along with brett.

Starts off somewhat vinous and spicy. Big bold red grape flavor throughout. The spiciness cuts through a bit on the finish, but there's still a subtle grape presence creating a nice dry lingering flavor on the back of the tongue.

Fairly light bodied with medium carbonation levels.

Not fantastic, but a very solid enjoyable beer.

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Photo of nimrod979
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a crystal clear golden yellow with a two finger thick head. Long lasting foamy retention along with some lacing.

A wheaty saison yeast in the nose. Musty basement aromas. Slight fruity and floral notes.

Tart fruitiness throughout the flavor. Lemon and white wine flavors. It really reminds me of drinking a Pinot Grigio. Pilsner malts. A little yeasty with a good amount of funk with a tart finish.

Tart. Crisp. Medium bodied. Slight sour funky finish. Really does remind me of white wine in so many ways. Pretty good and interesting offering from DFH Ales.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the clearest yellow that you'll ever see on a beer. It all starts off crazy biting with this acidic thing going on, but either it calms down or my taste buds get used to it. I probably get used to it as there is still a kind of bite to it. I dig it, but it may be too much for some. Nice sugar and sweet tones with lots of fruity aspects. It's a pretty unique beer that leans very much towards the Belgian style of things, though remains unique. I'd be interested to see what this is like in a few years with some age.

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Photo of hoody711
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My second review, collaborative effort with the wife. Picked this bottle up from a little shop in West Wrigleyville.

A - pours a pale yellow reminiscent of the garbage beers I drank in college. 1 finger head that recedes to about 1/8 inch for the rest of the beer. Medium carbonation that lasts for a while. Good lacing. Besides the color, a pretty beer.

S - grassy, saison-y, sweet and fruity. Interesting, but nothing special IMO.

T - yep, that's white wine. Good lord. Smooth and velvety up front, leading to very sweet white wine taste. Just at the moment you think you can't take anymore the sweetness fades and leaves a tart, mild alcohol burn behind.

M - rich at first, then crisp, sharp and tart, and stays there.

O - love trying DFH creations. Not my favorite style of beer but they have definitely come up with something original. Not sure I'll buy it again but it was very interesting and I enjoyed drinking it. Buy a bottle to share with a friend.

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Photo of JCaweinstein
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of Firkin-Bunghole
4/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of jsanford
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of MatthewWilde
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
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

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of aasher
3.84/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
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!

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Photo of brotherloco
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.56/5  rDev +15.7%
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!

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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,570 ratings.
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