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 Jwale73
4.06/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pale yellow golden hue with a bright white head flowing thick...slightly clouded with a brilliant white head flowing thick. Aroma tart grapes with a fruity heirloom note, wild funky notes, bittering hops are minimal but explosive. Flavor has great white wine notes, including sugary notes of tart grape funk and wild hop notes especially deceiving considering the type of beer. I like how they call it a sorta-saison kind of a catch all terminology. Body isn't cloying at all, medium bodied with a dry finish. Mellow carbonation for sure, drinks much like a white wine. Overall as creative as beer ever gets using mainly infected grape juice to make a saison that doesn't suck. I just think it's more mead or wine like than anything related to a beer.

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

750mL (bottled 2012C) into a saison glass. Pours a crystal clear golden color w/ a bright white head, nice champagne carb. Sticky lace coats the glass. Beers don't look much better than this.

Aroma is vinous, green grapes, tart, slightly funky. Intriguing.

Taste is a cross between beer and white wine. Dry, slightly sweet with a grainy finish that's slightly reminiscent of an adjunct lager. Still, a tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is crisp, light, clean.

Overall this is, as usual, a really unique beer from Dogfish Head. I like it. Would go great w/ poultry or fish.

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Photo of Rutager
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a clear light gold with two fingers of frothy white head.

Smell. Belgian yeast and cloves, some red wine, a bit of light grains.

Taste. A little sour, slightly sweet. Some belgian yeast, light grains, and dry white wine with a little spice and wood.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with lively, medium strong carbonation.

Overall. Nice and refreshing. The grapes add lots of wine characteristics. Mixed okay with the belgian flavours.

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

A- Pours a crystal clear lemon yellow into my DFH glass. Fluffy and puffy white two finger head that fades rather quickly but leaves islands of sticky lacing all over the glass. Really nice carbonation!

S- White wine, funky yeast, lemon pepper and wild flowers. Some sour wheat notes, green apples, and a faint mustiness. Reminds me a bit of Ithaca White Gold.

T- Pinot Blanc, sour green apples, funked up wheat grains, hints of banana, and more dry white wine. Each sip has a start of sweetness that immediately gets overwhelmed with a tart apple, white grapes, and a touch of funky barnyard compost. You can feel that the black pepper wants to poke it's head out, but it gets shut down by the tartness and little bit of alcohol.

M- Really sour and tart. Lemony, fresh picked crab apples, wheat sweetness, and a subtle funk. Really dry and refreshing. The alcohol is hidden pretty well behind the sourness.

O- More white wine than Saison. Bits of wheat and sour apple shine thru. Little hints of peppery spice and a nice banana/clove/compost yeastiness. I'll certainly try to grab a few more of these. Not your typical saison, but what with DFH is ever typical?

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Photo of Sean9689
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at West Lakeview Liquors.

A - Pours a clear golden yellow color, white head, sticky lace, bubbles on top, thin cap.

S - Funky yeast, wheat, light tart, some floral notes, light oak. Really has a straight forward saison note to it, which is very nice. As it warms you pick up on the oak and tartness.

T - A nice mix of funky yeast, oak, and white wine tartness. There's little to know white wine on the nose, but I can say, it really tastes like a dry Chard with a funky saison kick. Finish is light funk with a tart/floral notes.

M - Light, refreshing, good carbonation, dry finish.

O - Really an interesting beer. If you like saisons and you like white wine, this could be your favorite beer of all time. Really enjoyable and nothing like I've ever had before...would buy again. Good stuff.

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4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL to tulip. Bottle/Batch # 2012B. $14 for the bottle. Sampled 4/3/12.

A: One solid finger of bright white, foamy fizzy head is formed on a semi vigorous pour. Retention is short but persistent carbonation keeps a creamy film in the center of the glass and a thick foamy collar along the edges. The body is very light golden straw colored and exceptionally clear. More than moderate dots and slings of lace stick to the glass in irregular fashion.

S: Sweet white grape aromas laid over a base of crackery malts. Musty straw offers a balance to the sweeter side of the aroma. Lightly grainy. Botrytis reinforces the rustic quality to the saison-esque character and integrates the sweet, fruity esters in the process. The ABV begins to show as the temperature warms.

T: Sweet throughout - including on the finish. While the sweetness was never overbering, I would have liked to see a drier edge on the back end at least. A light tangy sourness grabs your attention, but the sensation is quickly replaced by the enduring sweet white grape outlasting all else on the tongue. Very vinous in character, this beer will surely appeal to the sweet white wine drinking crowd.

M: The mouthfeel starts out with a wonderful prickliness to the tongue which begins to taper off at the halfway point of the glass. Carbonation is adequate for the style, if not slightly understated. Body is medium light.

O: While Noble Rot is good from the bottle, I remember an even better showing when I sampled this beer from the tap in early 2011, when it was drier, crisper and had more wild yeast influence. A stronger sour bite would have helped tremendously - on both the flavor and the mouthfeel. But all in all, I think the product is fair for the price tag. And I think that most DFH fans will dig on this beer too.

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

A nice hybrid, bringing an unusual range with a rather dry and fruity sense to the palate.

Presentation: 750 ml brown custom DFH capped bottle (The first custome glass I notice? Simple and not too noticeable illustration embedded in the DFH branding of a blue character under dripping blue. Small side note noting main characteristics and grape collaboration. Shows 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in small white wine globe.

A - Clear deep gold pour with a fair frothy head, moderate retention, small surface memory and minimal lacing.

S - Fruity… Grapes, unusual fruity touch, sweet, faint sour hint...

T - Which is not that present in the palate, interesting mix of dry graininess with a fruity sense, soft but firm with touches of grapes, citric hints, slight grass as it flows back to the soft sweet grape.

M - Medium body and carbonation, with a nicely prickly sense held around the bubbles.

O - Nice and stimulating, nothing too memorable but a new brew of note.

Notes: Not exactly up my alley but I would not mind having it again. And this socially, among white wine drinkers in particular, adds a nice pivoting point.

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Photo of Bobheed
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very clear golden color, almost like a white wine with a fat bright white head

S: Getting a lot of typical saison types of smells. Get the earthiness and spicy notes at first. I also smelled some really pungent sourness in it

T: Unbelievable. For it being brewed with grape must, I really get a lot of apple in it more so than the grapes. A very sour green apple. Also got little bits of spicyness and the grapes played well with that

M: Very carbonated and very dry. Drinks almost like a champagne. This is the mouthfeel I was hoping Infinium would've had.

Overall I loved this. I really hope they continue to make more of it. This is one of those crazy DFH experiments that went totally right!

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Photo of BoatsSinkBro
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottle into snifter.
-Color of clear light gold, pale straw-like.
-Aroma light and airy. Sweet fruit notes you'd get from white wines dominate most of the smell.
-Taste starts with a bit of fruit, quickly rushes away with the sharp carbonation into a very tart and bitter middle and finish. You might catch some hop characters during the tart and bitter stage. Some malt notes poking through in the aftertaste, enough to remind you this isn't a white wine.
-Mouthfeel has quite a bit of carbonation, peaking during the middle and dying out in finish. Very crisp.

Not bad for what it is. Not exactly a beer I'd run to the store to get, but it's sort of like a something to crack open during occasions, with food (best with stuff that goes well with tart/dry white wine like seafood, cream sauces, any fatty stuff in general).
Not quite a white wine due to the unique bitterness and hop/malt characters shyly peeking through, but it's halfway there.

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Photo of skatonic
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap, not bad. Very different than I thought it would taste. It was light but strong. Had a champagne type of taste initially. Turned out to be quite nice. i would purchase as a pack. i liked it because it was different. Disliked it because it was very outside the norm. hard to explain.

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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into wine-style glass.

Short prickly white head over a crystal clear yellow body with plenty of carbonation flowing up. No real lacing.

Aroma has a nice must blanketing a very white wine-like quality - lots of white grapes, hay/grass.

Very juicy on the palate, featuring flavors of white grape juice, hay, yeast, honey sweetness, and a somewhat tart finish. Great drinkability - Fairly dry, well carbonated, and pulls you back for more. How the hell is this 9%?!? Absolutely the lightest tasting, and clearest looking beer of this volume.

Was skeptical at first, but I really enjoyed this one and would not hesitate to pick up some more... especially for a nice dinner pairing with fish.

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

Picked up at my local shop.

Appearance – Pours into a tulip with a clear straw color and about two fingers of bright white head that dissipates relatively quickly leaving decent lacing.

Smell – Bready grainy malts, apple juice, slight white pepper, and that’s about it.

Taste – Actually pretty tasty. Tastes like a white wine mixed with apple juice. Definite grape skin, astringent qualities, must, grainy biscuits, a big earthy quality. Overall honestly nice.

Mouthfeel – Spritzy carbonation, medium to lighter bodied, finishes dry.

Overall – Way to go DFH. Not bad, not bad at all. Will pick another up to age. Enjoyable for sure and the alcohol is hidden extremely well.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another interesting beer from dogfish head, although I'm not sure I'd describe a beer (or even a wine) made using botrytis as merely a white wine. It's not what the average consumer would expect. Botrytis wines are known as desert wines, because the rot concentrates the sugars in the grapes and lends a (sometimes ethereal) sweetness. This wine certainly exhibits that sweetness, but not in a concentrated way. Since the must is used instead of the wine, you get more of grape juicy sort of sweetness rather than a botrytized sweetness, albeit one with a fair number of tannins providing some grip, particularly on the back end. There is also a nice amount of acidity here providing some balance, which is nice, along with some floral and stone fruit notes. Since we're not talking about a wine, but a beer, I'd be remiss if I didn't also say that there is a fairly luscious creaminess from the grain providing a nice mouth feel and the hops contribute some bitterness that marry well with the tannins. I love the creativity of this brewery. Sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. This time, it works.

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

Interesting looking beer...the liquid is a very pale yellow color with total clarity...looks like any average Asian pils or something. The head is a crazy fluffy and creamy thing, very thick too, although it dwindles pretty quickly leaving a dishsoap-like scum on the surface and edges of the liquid.

Having recently gotten into white wine styles such as Chardonnay, Prosecco and Pinot Grigio, this smell captivates. It's as much like a good dry Pinot Grigio as it is an earthy Belgian saison. Everything's well-behaved and balanced, revolving around the white grape personality, and plenty of earth and crisp green apple.

Feel and taste link up in the mouth, and again it's all very much like drinking a white wine, this time I'm reminded of an Italian sparkling white. It's crisp, dry, fruity (white grape, of course, also pear, tart green apple and a hint of grapefruit), earthy, some SweetTarts (somewhat sweet, very tart!), has a pils-like sulfur sort of slant, and shows just a bit of the yeast underneath it all. The 9% ABV is hardly noticed.

Wow. I've had vinous beers before, but this could totally impress a wine aficionado who might swear off beer. Definitely as much a white wine as it is a saison-style beer, for all intents and purposes. This brewery continues to impress in their gusto for trying new things. Hail!

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Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

I happened to kick the keg on this one and didn't get quite a full pour, but here we go anyway. Served in a tulip glass, a mostly clear golden liquid with a huge, four-finger, white head that didn't relent until the last couple sips, leaving a bit of doily lacing on the glass. Definite wine character in the aroma, pale malts, lemon pith, wet grass. Taste was a bit underwhelming, but followed the aroma, with vinous notes, white grape and apple skins giving a small sourness, light citrus, a bit of grassy funk, and leafy in the finish with some bitterness. Light-medium mouthfeel, pretty crisp and dry, fairly drinkable, but not really one of DFH's best creations.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a stemmed tulip: Clear, pale gold body with moderate nucleation under two fingers of standing white foam that drops to a thin coating with & leaves a few trails of lacing. Looks pretty vinous in its color & clarity.

Aroma gives off some semi-sweet grape notes, somewhere btw. wine & jelly, with a bit of lemon, some pilsner-like, crackery malt notes. There's a little bit of sulfur, again like dry whites, that kind of slightly eggy, buttery smell. A little bit herbal. This thing keeps growing, & the smell is really interesting & complex.

A tart, champagne-like citrus note shows up initially in the taste, builds in sweetness, & then recedes & lets a bracing dryness in. Ends with some green apple & a pleasant drop o' honey, as well as a hay-like, crisply bready malt taste. Again, very interesting & like no other beer I've tasted.

Active, tart jab at first with some real carbonation, dries out in the middle drastically but leaves a little sweetness on the tongue in the finish & aftertaste.

Again, really interesting beer here. I feel like I've tasted a lot of it before in some bolder saisons, but then there's that extra push of fruity sweetness AND dryness that gives it an additional edge. At times, it seems like the wine characteristics play more than their fair share, which can be a little tiring, but certainly doesn't ruin it. I'm only dropping the Overall score some b/c I think this is a lot to take in at once & can be cumbersome, but still very enjoyable. Can't say I'd rush back to try it again, but I really liked what I got here.

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Photo of Yoda22
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a fairly clear straw yellow with 1 finger white head that lingers a bit, pretty good lacing. Very bubbly.

S- Smells very nice...reminiscent of a hefeweizen mixed with a pinot grigio; Spicy, grape, and a little citrus (maybe lemon).

T- How to describe this...not quite like a wheat taste because a sort of grape acidity really takes over. There is a little lemon in there like I thought I detected in the nose. It isn't knock your socks off amazing but it's definitely good.

M- Pretty light body edging slightly towards medium with medium to high carbonation; There is also some mouth tingle giving it almost a champagne like body.

O- A very interesting unique take on beer with wine/champagne characteristics. Something everybody should try, especially if they like wine. I gave it 4 out of 5 across the board because I really liked all aspects (but didn't LOVE any one particular area). With a name like Noble Rot you aren't sure what to expect but this was surprisingly good.

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

Super-clear, this pale yellow beer has an ultra-white head and light complexion. It's aroma is reminiscent of tart apples, lemon juice, and dry white wine. It has a bit of lambic-like funk in the smell, but very sublet. The initial taste is sweeter than expected. It's got a grape-juice and pale malt flavor. Grape skins, apricots, and watermelon rind. It's quite wine-like. The finish is a little dryer, with a lingering tartness. Light in body, this beer is drinkable and would go well with many cheeses.

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

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a bright, vibrant, almost clear yellow coloring with a healthy, white, fluffy, frothy head. Aromas are rich in vino characteristics, with a white grape and boozey blend that is light and effervescent. Flavors are also wine-like, as is the body. This is borderline pinot gris. Sweet, smooth, and slightly dry grape characteristics with a rich, sugary body that avoids cloying. It really is like drinking a glass of carbonated wine. Slick, loose film along the glass as you drink. The aftertaste is tart, and slightly drying. A sweet, heavy finish that is slightly tart, leaving a bit of a pucker feeling in the mouth. Very unique, that is for sure.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - crystal clear bright yellow with a two finger head and plenty of visible fizz.
S - mild earthy tones with light grape notes.
T - fizzy light beer taste up front with a big punch of white wine sweetness/tartness that lingers along with an alcoholic burn.
M - on the light syrup side despite the high carbonation.
D - too much of an odd brew to be an easy drinker.
The Saison label must be a catch all title for this one. It's quite interesting but would not be a regular purchase for me. Likely the same with others, thus it is a rotating brew.

Improves with warming/breathing and when a little cheese and crackers are added.

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Photo of beesy
3.61/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a brilliantly clear pale yellow with a white as snow, fluffy two finger head. I don't recall seeing a beer this light in color.

S - Beligian yeast ester profiles with lots of white wine.

T - A little Belgian yeast profile with some barnyard funk mixed in. A sour/tart profile is apparent and appears to be a product of the must. Lots of white wine and grape profiles in the flavor as well. Reminds me of some Bad Elf profiles without being as heavy on the Belgian yeast. Not much in the way of hops detected. As it warms, it becomes more like a wine than a beer.

M - Fairly light. I'd like to know the SG and FG of this beer as I am willing to bet the attenuation is in the mid to upper 80's if not in the 90%'s.

D - fairly easy to drink because of the crispness and absence of any malts with any color. Not being a wine drinker kind of makes it more work that is probably is for a wine drinker to consume.

Overall, an interesting creation. I'd be a little hard pressed to call this beer, but who knows. I homebrew a 4.2% ABV light ale that is nothing but two row and a couple ounces of 10 degree crystal and this is still lighter in color, which is amazing. I wish there were more sourness to this. Maybe it would come on with age, but I don't love this enough to get another for the cellar. Bette than some of the other more recent DFH creations.

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Photo of ng85
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Total pils color, head thin and crisp not overbearing or lingering.

S Hints of pinot not strong but light and refreshing aromas.

T Sour grapes but yet delish! Just the right carbonation.

M Can taste the Belgian yeast yet tart not smooth

O This was served with a green salad topped with olive oil and pepper and the tart taste off set the flavor of the greens....yum! Love Saisons

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Photo of billab914
3.42/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Southern Tier glass. It poured a light golden yellow color with a thin white head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma shows a lot of the grapes and white wine qualities to it. I get a little spice along with some zesty citrus flavors to it as well.

The taste also has a lot of white wine characteristics to it. I get a the grapes coming out especially in the dry, crisp finish. Just a touch of the citrus and spice is noticeable. The grapes seem to dominate the flavor to the point where it's a little like a carbonated white wine.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being high. Overall it was a decent tasting beer but it was a little too close to white wine for me. The aroma had some decent beer qualities to it, but the taste was dominated by the grapes. It was a cool experiment but not something I think I'd purchase again. If I wanted a drink that tasted like white wine I think I'd just buy a good white wine.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours golden colored with lots of filtration and a bit of a white head that disappears almost instantly

S: Grapes, spice, berries, herby grassy notes

T: A really nice grape flavor up front, slightly grassy hoppiness in the middle, a sort of sweet champagne freshness and bubbliness, and a slightly tart berry flavor in the finish. Quite nice.

O: I quite like it, but Chateau Jiahu will always be my go to grape ale.

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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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