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: 1,572
Photo of DaveBar
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at Champagne's in MI for $12.00. Served at 4deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a nice 1" high white head that is gone within a minute. Very pale yellow filtered clear

S- Oodles of grapey goodness. Rather sour note.

T- Touch sour. Medium sweetness. Lots of grape notes. Not much yeast here but some hops.

M- Light yet a bit of sugary stickiness.

O- Very nice break on beers. Good blend overall and would like to try in cask. Will buy again

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with..... Spicy salmon roll sushi!


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Photo of Tripel_Threat
4.68/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Served in a goblet at Ashley's Westland. Two fingers of bubbly head sat atop a pale gold/yellow brew, filled with carbonation. Head dissipates quickly. Smell is sweet, floral. Taste is much the same, sweet grape, with a dry, sort of metallic undercurrent. Pleasant and refreshing. Mouthfeel is much like champagne. Happy I had it, would try again.

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Photo of montelyo
4.77/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Viognier is my favorite white wine so I had to try this beer. The Viognier presents in both the aroma and taste. Like the wine, Noble Rot has a dry finish and is not overly sweet. The Saison fermentation comes through in the finish quite nicely. Whatever hopping was done does not interfere with but only complements the Viognier or Saison aspects, which is exactly what the drinker should expect.

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Photo of do_ob
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/16/2014. Sampled and reviewed on February 20, 2015.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into two pilsner glasses (shared with the wife).

Poured a nice, clean pale gold with a foamy, 2 finger white head. Smells of wheat, fresh flowes, grapes, and hints of hops. Mouthfeel is dry like wine but with the weight of an ale or lager. Quite sweet, with a slight tartness. No taste of hops whatsoever. Definitely has the dry feel of a red or white wine. Hardly any aftertaste - just slight traces of sweetness.

This is one of the most unique saisons I've tried and it was a nice deviation from the traditional saison. I'm not much of a wine drinker, but my wife is. Conversely, she isn't much of a beer drinker. Somehow we both came out enjoying this quite a bit.

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Photo of DrinkinBoy
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L - Great bright gold in color. White head, which would was hard to get big as it was very light. However, a small amount retained very well.

S - Very light with faint notes similar to champagne/sparkling wine. Very light grain and cereal notes.

T - Very little sweetness or bitterness throughout. Works very quickly into sour/acidic like feel, again similar to champagne, which is felt mostly of side of tongue. Finish is lingering which highlights grape-ness.

F - Light/medium feel with a large amount of carbonation which fits the style.

O - This is a very interesting beer, although not extremely complex. Like most DFH brews it is efinitely worth a try, not many products our there to compare it with.

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Photo of Crackblind
4.66/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From tap at the brewery. A very interesting blend of ale and sparkling wine. Nose is overwhelmingly wine based but predominantly ale in mouthfeel and flavor. I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

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Photo of jngrizzaffi
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden color with a thick foamy head. Higher than normal carbonation. Head retention is not great. Lacing is moderate. Has a sour fruit aroma that is almost sweet towards the end. Typical Belgium yeast funky aroma. You can taste a little coriander and Belgium yeast. More sour fruit, ending in a sweeter grape taste. Almost tastes like a sweeter wine at the end with a little more of a hoppy aftertaste. Good beer, but not the best saison I have had. It is definitely different.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.62/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a white wine; especially Chardonnay. A small head dissipates into a hint of lace is the only visual element that allows you to identify it as beer. Fruity, lemon like and honey like aroma. Delicious! Taste is fruity, like grapes. There is a slightly dry white wine like finish. Had it with fish. If you love white wine, this is the beer for you! Feel is low carbonation, light to medium bodied and refreshing. I love this one as I love all to most of Dogfish Head's products!

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Photo of mchegash
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Date: 8/27/2014
Other notes: From the DFH website: "This is the absolute closest to equal meshing of the wine world and the beer world thats ever been done commercially,"

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours an extremely clear yellow. I said about the beer that I last reviewed that it was the clearest beer I remember seeing, but this beer is even clearer. A moderate amount of head. The clearness helps one to see lots of carbonation flowing up. Looks appetizing.

Smell - 4/5
The smell is a good balance between fruitness and saison spiciness/breadiness.

Taste - 3.5/5
Extremely sweet. Fruitiness, maybe a hint of tartness. Saison spiciness/breadiness. Fairly balanced between those two tastes, but ultimately the sweetness is the move (over?)powerful element of the beer. So basically tastes like it smells, except when you taste, you also experience the sweetness. Supposedly this is supposed to taste somewhat like white wine. I am not an experience white wine drinker, but from what I remember, at first I didn't really think it tasted that much like white wine. But after sipping for a few minutes, I started to get more of a wine feel from the beer. Definitely an interesting taste.

Mouthfeel - 3.5/5
Fairly crisp, light in body. Good level of carbonation. Nothing special here.

Overall - 3.5/5
Overall, this was an okay beer. It was a little too sweet for my liking. Plus I was not a giant fan of the taste in general, though it was definitely interesting. Probably won't pick up again (at least for a long time), but it was a nice experience.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 11/9/2014 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub, in Pawtucket, RI served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a light yellow color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, wheat, citrus and light caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with some mild sweetness from flavors of citrus, fruit and spice which then transitions into a bit of tartness as the esters come in from the Belgian yeast. The malt character is on the thin side and there is very little hops presence, but still a good balance. The after-taste is slightly tart.

M: Crisp and smooth, light-to-medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Tasty with good complexity, goes down easily, not too filling, well-disguised strong kick, good representation of style, this is a decent beer to drink for a long time if you’re in the mood for the style.

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Photo of DaneBramage
3/5  rDev -23.9%

I shouldn't even rate this beer, because it's very carbonated/fizzy with a strong white wine mouthfeel
and I don't have the taste for wine. Not my cup of tea, so to speak.

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Photo of jellikit
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Appearance: light yellow. Crystal clear. Fizzy. Thin head. Almost non existent.
Smell: Chardonnay.
Taste: bubbly Chardonnay.
Mouthfeel: high carbonation. Medium-light body. Dry.
Overall: tasty beer? Looks like, smells like, tastes like wine.

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Photo of chinchill
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle.
A: Good clarity and lots of carbonation. Durable white head.
Aroma: fruity, musty, yeasty with more than a hint of white wine.
Flavor: a reasonably good cross of white wine, champagne and Belgian pale ale.

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

An unusual beer. I must have got a bad bottle as far as appearance goes, because there was absolutely no head or lacing. The beer poured a hazy gold color that looked Saison-like. The aroma and taste were pretty good though.

The aroma and flavor both featured sweet white grapes. There is a yeasty flavor and a little "funk" but not as much as most saisons.

Mouthfeel is tart and crisp. The flavor and mouthfeel make this a pretty enjoyable beer. Could be a bit more carbonated, but that may also be a symptom of a bad bottle.

I would like to try one with a big head and lacing, like so many reviews mentioned, but the bottle I had wasn't bad either.

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Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Very light yellow color, small white head with slight purplish cast, and signficant lacing.

S - Funky sour notes typical of certain Belgian yeasts, a slightly sour fruit odor coupled with mild maltiness and grain elements.

T - Follow the nose, but the clean pils and wheat malts are front and center, making for a wonderful combination of wine and beer. Delicious banana and bubble gum flavors pop up out of the yeast esters, proving the Belgian yeast is alive and well here. The close is a subtle wine sourness, that fades slowly.

M - Clean, crisp, and no sign of the serious ABV for the style.

O - Not a standard saison or farmhouse by any stretch, but a delicious and clean rendition that makes for a real surprise. I picked this one up on clearance, and now I wish I'd grabbed a couple more.

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Photo of Celtics17
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Not great. But you can understand the unique quality of this beer. You get the white wine feel, and the Belgian flare. You also have a slight sour aspect in this. I really was left wanting something more.But good overall.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%

750ml bottle into a wine glass. This is a 2012 bottle - time to see how well it's held up.

Appearance: Pours a clear straw color. The head is less than a finger high, white in shade...and it's gone. Terrible retention. No lacing, either. (2.25)

Smell: Somewhat...interesting, shall I say. There's a distinct note of crackery malt, backed by some Belgian yeast (albeit in a rudimentary fashion). Grape must makes itself more known the longer it opens up, along with a faint kiss of tart bacteria (I think?) At times, it makes a decent interpretation of a brett inoculated maybe it's a successful experiment? (3.5)

Taste: At first, its wine influence comes through strongly, with a healthy white grape note. Certainly, the aforementioned influence works FAR more fluidly than, say, 61 did. Its yeast profile manages to meld successfully with the grape flavors. A gentle wisp of bacteria-derived tartness on the back end is actually the main reason why this beer is so rock-solid. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: As expected, it's light in body and high in carbonation. The finish is slightly sweet and long, but forgivable considering it's not really trying to be a proper saison. No alcohol comes through either, so this is very easy to drink, if not quite refreshing. (3.5)

Overall: How 'bout them apples, one of DFH's crazy gimmicks actually works! It's a solid cross between wine and beer - even better, it doesn't actually seem like a crazy gimmick once I drink it. I'm genuinely shocked how tasty it is - it could even crack the 4 territory with a bit more depth. (3.75)

3.6/5: Doesn't taste gimmicky, it just tastes pretty damn good

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Photo of nate_nate_nate
4.74/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

If you're a saison/farmhouse lover, Noble Rot is a must have. A pleasing, refreshing sour grape taste from the must. The wheat and yeast are bright on the tongue. Has a remarkable finish that makes my mouth water. One of the few beers I always buy when I see it at the store. Perhaps my favorite domestic saison-like beer (and I like just about all of them).

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Photo of Louisville-Beer-Reviews
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very clear straw/pale straw color with a small amount of pure white head that disappeared fairly quickly.

Aroma: Tart, sour grape aroma, with a hint of strawberry and sour cherry.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Texture on the tongue is extremely light, with a buttery mouthfeel reminiscent of a good Chardonnay. Flavor up front is that of tart white grape and sour stone fruit, with a bit of buttery flavor as well. Finishes with a biscuity, crackery malt flavor.

Final Word: Very easy to drink, and will please both beer lovers and wine lovers alike! This beer uses the must of two grape varieties, as explained by Dogfish Head:
"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."
These ingredients lend this beer the tart, fruity sweetness of a white wine with the bready, grainy flavors of a malty beer. Very unique drinking experience, and the drinkability of this brew makes it easy for anyone to enjoy!

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Photo of TruePerception
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dogfish Head's Noble Rot, ale brewed with botrytis-infected Viognier grape must. 9% ABV.

A: A finger of fluffy white head. Very clear golden yellow/goldenrod color. Constantly rising stream of bubbles up the center. Quite striking, actually! Decent lacing.

S: White grape juice and musty yellow apples, mostly. Very slight oaky caramel.

T/MF: Dry, with a sweetness as it settles. Slight acidity as it is held on the front of the tongue. Dry white grape/white wine flavor. More yellow apple towards the finish. Not a lot to it, but a nice beer. Maybe good as a salad pairing. Caesar, perhaps.

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

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Photo of Tone
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear, straw color. 2/3 inch head of a white color. Good retention and slight lacing. Smells of grapes, pale malt, hint of hop, slight yeast, and a hint of sweet malt. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a slight dryness. Tastes of slight hops, grapes, pale malt, yeast, alcohol, hint of sweet malt, and tartness. Overall, strong grape characteristics in both aroma and body. Body has a good blend and is better then the aroma.

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Photo of joeseppy
4.16/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear golden 24 karat polished gold with a one inch bone white head. Scant lacing.

Aroma of yeast, lemon peel, sweetness and spice.

Taste is sweet and very saison like. Got the wheat, tartness and peppery. Definite wine like qualities. Citrusy Sauvignon Blanc tartness and buttery like a quality Chardonnay.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry. Fruity and spritzy.

Beautiful late spring day and this quaff just sparkles like gold in the sun. Love the white wines and this beer satisfies my taste buds. Great twist on a saison.

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Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- pilsner gold. Full head.

Aroma- very floral with hints of honeysuckle sweets.

Taste- A sour and complex brew that reminds us of Flemish sour ale, but the clear gold color betrays a crisper white grape mellow sourness. Don’t serve too cold!

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted 3/17/13.

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Photo of ruckus232
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

25.4 ounce bottle poured into a goblet

Appearance: Clean, clear and light yellow in color with a little bit of white head that fades away fairly quickly.

Smell: Very much like sparkling wine but there is a little bit of a sweetness to it that almost seems more like sparkling cider.

Taste: Pretty sweet almost like white grape juice. It finishes clean and more like a light lager style beer. I really like the amount of carbonation and the refreshing feel is has and for having a high alcohol content, there is no evidence of that.

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Photo of stephens101
3.19/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Clear, pale, yellow with a white head. Smells of slightly soured white grapes and green grass. The aroma is very clean. Tastes of more white grapes, a little sourness, lemon peel and spice. Light bodied for the most part with not even a hint of alcohol. This would be the perfect communion beer. If churches adopted this instead of cheap grape juice then maybe they could convert the beer community. I'm serious!

No I'm not.

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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,572 ratings.
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