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

Dogfish Head's introduction of Noble Rot is an exciting and refreshing choice that's ideally suited for hotter summer days. So why is this a dead-middle-of-winter release?

The beer pours as authentic Belgian Saisons should- bright yellow in color and carrying a mild hazed that allows for a diffused glow to emit. A fluffy white head caps the beer and retains well but eventually sucumbs to the acidity yet to come. The lighter color could suggest Berliner Weisse instead.

A spirited and tangy nose brings about the spicy fruity notes that make Saisons so wonderful. Crabapples, white grapes, under-rippened berries, and lemons offer a bright and refreshing scent with 0only a modest background note of light bread and yeast. The focused aromas are very direct and all about the grape.

Certainly lovers of white wines would appreciate this beer as the taste is simplistic and dedicated to chardonay flavor along with raw white grapes and must. Accented by the fermentation notes of tart apples, berries, lemons, and with the balance of white pepper and lactic acidity- the beer borrows Saison-like characteristics to add layers of complexity to the dominant grape flavor. Tartness boarders on sour notes and also make me think of Berliner Weissbiers as much as it does Saison. The supple support of pilsner malt comes across much more like wheat for a slightly elevated bread flavor and feel.

Bone-dry from start to finish, the beer's early and terse creaminess falls just as soon as the carbonation subsides. The dry-fruity, spicy character seems to disolve into the surfaces of the mouth and avoids feeling weighted in finish and aftertaste. Refreshing tartness allows a pleasant powdery tannic texture late and seems to dry the mouth.

Remarkably, the 9% alcohol is nowhere to be found. The alcohol warmth is surplanted by sharp acidity and making this beer much more drinkable than it should be. This is not a typical Saison. The brewers went and Dogfish Headed it up pretty well. Anyone seeking this beer should expect a lot of grape character and Berliner Weisse tartness to dominate.

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Photo of beerhan
3.03/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

To preface, this is one of the few dogfish beers I choose not to revisit. Simply not worth the price tag and fails to deliver in so many ways.

A-Pours a very thin gold color with lots of bubbles. 1 finger head and has a very champagne-esque look to it.

S-very strong grape notes with the stereotypical bubble gum/belgian yeast scent.

T-This is the part where I was really confused by. I felt like I was drinking a solid quad blended with sparkling white wine. Lots of grape and candied sugar with a very yeasty taste. I just felt like I was drinking an overcarbed quad.

M-Heavily carbonated with a fairly pleasant mouthfeel that just does not compliment the taste that well.

O-This beer is not worth it to me. I had high hopes for it as I do enjoy grape in beers when done correctly or if the wine notes are more subtle or if the beer was aged in barrels that once held wine. I feel if this was just made not as a saison but as even a stout it would have been so much better. The flavors do not mix right for my palette.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: bright pale gold, cascading bubbles, no head whatsoever, no lacing

S: nose is chock full of white grapes, tart notes, some Belgian yeast, notes of must

T: somewhat sweet with grape character at front, flashes of crisp tartness, well balanced, a bit of bubble gum

Mf: light body, effervescent, high carbonation

O: I think oak would really add a dimension to this beer that would increase the enjoyability. This is very champagne like and has nice flavors, abv is well integrated

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Photo of ferrari29
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer poured from bottle into a stemmed Stella Artois tulip-shaped glass

A - Beer body pours with a very light, almost pilsener style looking yellow straw color; thick and heavy white foam about one finger in size; stringy level of lacing formed around the edge; well-carbonated and clear body

S - Champagne-esk; white wine; dry straw smell; yeasty and slightly cheesy smell

T - Champagne, Brut taste; sweet sparkling white wine flavor; straw malt; nothing more than that; unique

M - Flat and thin body; astringent alcohol aftertaste

D - Different, but I like this one; goes great with a light meal or a pasta dish; could definitely have again; crosses the fermentation line between a beer and wine

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

Pours out a clear yellow with tons of suds. Very white creamy suds! Beautiful head and some retention.
Aroma is very spicy just as a farmhouse should be. Not much alcohol present in the nose. Some yeast burn though.
Taste is sour like a white wine with spices.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the alcohol only comes to light at the very end when you can feel the phenols come up the back of the throat.
Overall this is a really nice Farmhouse Ale.

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Photo of n2185
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a lovely clear yellow-gold with three fingers of white head that fades into a thin cap with good lacing.

S: Belgian spices, candy sugar, and bubblegum up front. White grape and pear aromas follow with a faint tart aroma.

T: Some Belgian spices and bubblegum flavors at first followed by tart and slightly sour white grape flavors. The finish is of tart fruit and sweet breads.

M: Light body with lively carbonation in the mouth, this beer is very light and refreshing despite being 9%.

O: I like this beer, overall. It's like a dry, sour white wine with a very light and refreshing body that makes its abv dangerous. Quite impressive.

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Photo of davey101
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012B 750ml poured into a DFH signature glass. Uses a new bottle which is wider and shorter with 2 dogfish head logos molded into the glass.

A - Extremely clear. I held the bottle up to the light and could see right through it. Light amber body with rising carbonation. Initially the head had large frothy off-white bubbles which died down to a neat cap. Nice lacing and retention.

S - Wow. Very complex and interesting. I'm a total wine noob, but I'm picking up strong white wine notes. Intensely sweet and dry grapes followed by some Belgian yeast and biscuity malts. Crisp and lightly alcoholic finish. If I didn't know what this was I'd swear it wasn't beer.

T - I can actually tell its a beer now. Starts off with very wine like qualities. Dry and crisp grape which leads into some spice and yeast. Finish is dry with some lingering biscuity malts. Less complex than the nose, but still very interesting and unique. Mouthfeel is crisp, effervescent and super refreshing.

O - Ta Henket, Faithfull, and Hellhound made me question buying these large format limited DFH beers. Not since Bitches Brew have I felt that one of these beers is worth $15. This beer was. Its crazy how it has wine and beer notes. Very complex and unique while still remaining refreshing and delicious.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a clear light gold color with about an inch off-white head that sticks around for a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like green grapes, yeast, apples, white wine, and some grain/bready malt. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's also some tart fruity flavors noticeable too. The flavors are more wine-like than beer-like (however I'm not exactly a wine person), but in this case it works for me. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it has moderate carbonation and it's easy enough to drink. I think this is a good brew, I'd buy it again in the future.

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Photo of jtierney89
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright golden color with brilliant clarity. Interesting nose, very vinous. Some detectable malt. Light and fizzy body yet full feeling in the mouth. Lots of white wine like taste. Like a sauvigoin blanc even though its viognier grapes. Tart like finish with a white wine like aftertaste. Truly drinks more like a wine than anything else and a pretty good wine at that. Unfortunately the beer aspects are covered up by the powerful grape like qualities. Not bad though, I like it. Amazing what you can do with beer.

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Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A hard pour raises a rocky inch of head; if it weren't for the lazy bubbles rising from the base of the tulip, I would say it looks like the Viognier that was mixed into the wort; quite a few strands of lacing, however

Smell: Interesting to pick out the wine and beer elements in the aroma; the pilsner malt is discernable but the grape aromatics from the Viognier grapes are more prominent - a bit of tart grape/lemon and a touch of honey

Taste: A touch of pilsner malt and then the tart grape flavors take over, adding a lemony bite by mid-palate; with the Botrytis I would have thought this might be sweeter though I do get a hint of it underneath; in the aftertaste, I would swear I was drinking a glass of white wine as the finish is primarily in a vinous direction

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation; the grapes add a puckery element

Overall: These Dogfish Head experiments are usually hit or miss for me; this one is a little different as I enjoyed it but would be unlikely to seek it out again

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Photo of mcallister
3.87/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very light and clear hay or straw color. A large white head expectedly explodes up the glass leaving a thick lace behind.

Not getting much of the botrytis but the usual pepper, yeast and spice aromas you would expect from a saison. Very clean and vibrant with some citrusy fruit esters.

Ahh there we go much more acidity from the grapes and vibrant bitterness of hops, very spicy, and full of fruity flavors. A hint of honey suckle, nectarine, and lemon peel. Yeasty and delicious with pepper and some light phenolic notes.

Mouth shows great carbonation and is creamy in the middle. Long finish is fantastic.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the bottle a clear, slightly wan solar yellow with a thick, fluffy white head. OK, so I prefer dark beers - I'll cut this some slack since it's a saison and not a porter. The head does leave some generous lacing - that's a half point right there. Aroma is robust and fruity, mainly apple and grape with a hint of banana and just a whisper of citrus, as well as a yeasty and slightly earthy undertone. Flavor fills the mouth with lip-puckering sour apple and yeast, plus subtle grape, malt and butterscotch notes. Texture is firm-bodied, edgy and lively, sour all the way down to the tummy. Though this is technically a saison, I recommend it to all lovers of sour beers - if sour is your, ahem, cup of tea, you should enjoy this one.

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Photo of RuckusDu
3.37/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Not expecting this one. I mean I knew I could see through the brown bottle with beer inside, but this is light. Poured a big 3ish finger head of white foam. Body is dead clear and straw yellow - BMC light.

S - Very effervescent. Floral and a little sweet. Smells a lot like BMC.

T - Interesting. Definitely winey. Some white wine tartness. I only pick up the saison when I think about it. It is really a straight up mix between wine and beer. Even if you average a 5% saison with a 13% white wine, you get 9%. Not sure I'm all that impressed with it.

M - Strong carbonation and light body. Just as it looks.

O - There have been a lot of these wine beers coming out recently and I just can't really get into them. The wine kind of overpowers and is just not that good. I might try aging it for a bit, but right now it is not worth the $.

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.23/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours a crystal clear, very light shade of yellow with a two finger white head. TONS of carbonation. It looks like a prototypical saison, but much lighter. Not a bad thing.

S- getting a lot of the grape aroma, and some spiciness from the yeast as well. Very nice

T- the grape flavor is in the forefront...getting a lot of the winey characteristics. Not overly sweet either....really good

M- very thin body...typical saison, as I'd expect

O- this is really, really good. A unique take on a saison

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

A- Light straw color with a thin white head. Very transparent and bubbles float to the top from the bottom.

S- Strong grape and spicy Belgian yeast notes dominate.

T- Tastes exactly like wine. Besides the head and the hint of Belgian yeast, it would be hard to discern from a white wine. Grapes come through with tiny hint of spicy Belgian yeast.

M- Very dry with some carbonation. Leaves some stickiness after each sip.

O- Completely different than anything I have had before. I though Midas Touch was close to a wine, but this one is very wine-like. Very unique, not a good choice if you are looking for malt and hops.

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

I really enjoyed this beer. Had this right after a big test. Poured a super clean, light golden color with minimal head. Very complex aroma, full of fruit and sour, with hints of wine in the backdrop. The taste falls somewhere between a sour and a white wine. Clean, oaky, with a bit of sour that rounds it all out into something fantastic. Lasts just a little bit on the tongue for an overall awesome beer.

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

750mL into tulip. bottled in 2012. my first logo'ed glass bottle from DF.

A: bright gold. surprisingly clear body. some lazy carbonation can be seen rising to the surface, but they are moving as slow as i have seen bubbles go. bright white head looks good and has some nice retention/lacing.

S: smells more like a white wine than a beer. a bit of oaky. a lot grapey. some light bready malt works its way in between the fruit, but this one is mostly wine-like.

T: the grape must is strong here. starts sharp and acidic right on the tip of my tongue. finish is rich with munich-y malt. a little floral in the finish as well. dandelions.

M: average carbonation with a very prickly mouthfeel. i would say medium bodied even considering the 9%abv.

D: the grape aroma/flavor is so strong, this almost drinks like a watered down glass of white wine. even the appearance is a bit wine-like. tough to find the saison aspect behind all these grape notes, but it is certainly there on the palate. a very unique product and one that i am really enjoying.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thin piss pale yellow with a huge amount of pure white head. THe foam takes awhile to settle, and there is a ton of lacing left on the glass as it drinks. This beer looks like an adjunct lager, but with a frothier head.

S: I'm picking up a lot of grains, some spice, some definite wine notes, and some nice sour green apple notes. I know what it is, but it definitely reminds me of a saison mixed with white wine. I'm excited to taste it.

T: IT starts off spicy with that familiar saion like quality. The grains swirl on the palate with a tart green apple like acidity starting to join the party. The finish is extremely wine-like. Flavors of dry white grapes and booze make for an interesting finish.

M: Light bodied beer. It starts off wet and coating, but finishes dry and astringent.

O: This is easily one of the most interesting beers I've ever had. It basically starts out like a saison and finishes like a white wine. My palate and brain hurt, but I enjoyed this offering. I've never had anything quite like it.

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Photo of DestinyRidge
4.83/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Brilliant color... Crystal Clear with a lot of carbonation. Nice lace

S - Some wine notes. Almost a spice but some Citrus that reminds me of the Viognier

T - Tons of Wine notes. Crisp and Clean, almost creamy. I Like the malt Awesome finish. VERY Nice

MF - Great Mouth feel.. I'd say medium body with nice carbonation. very wine like though

Overall - Great Beer/Wine?...and a definitely a "sorta" saison. maybe the most interesting beer I've had in a long long time... I'm interested to try and pair this with some different foods. Very drinkable, and i will be having this again.

Serving type: 750mL bottle

Reviewed on: 02-16-2012 5:30pm

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Photo of avalon07
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a pale yellow color and a clear consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Good lacing.

S: A very vinous smell, dominated by the grape element, with some malt as well.

T: Like the aroma, the taste was predominantly a grape one. It was like wine, with a malty finish, and a hint of grain thrown in for good measure. An unusual flavor that's oddly likeable.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Certainly not like any saison I've had before - not sure I'd even categorize it as such. Nonetheless, it's an oddly drinkable, easy to like beer.

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

A - Light yellow with a lot of carbonation and a very nice amount of lacy very little head.

S - This beer smelled very much like champagne

T - Tastes very much like a wine

Mouth feel - Is a medium body

Overall I'd say this brew is 90% wine 10% beer. The only notes one can notice of a beer in this brew is the very nice lacy , the small bit of head and the mouth feel on the way down. I love dogfish head but this brew is hardly beer at all as a wine or spirit it is top notch ! That's why id did not rate this beer in any thing over a 4.

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Photo of chakadrum
4.7/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a festival at some point in the last year or two - I never expected they'd bottle it. When I saw it in the store, I had to grab a bottle (750ml).

I think you could convince a lot of people this was some unique style of wine rather than a beer. The taste reminds me very much of champagne and is much cheaper than something like Deus so that is a huge plus for me. It is a little tart, a little grape, a little barn.

Nice lacing and an incredibly clear crystal-yellow color.

Good sour/wine nose.

I have no doubt I will buy this one again. A fun unique saison.

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Photo of buyBinboaVodka
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tulip glass. This beer pours a golden yellow with a slight haze in it. The lucious white head reatins sticky lacing around the glass and there are little carbonation bubbles noticable.

S - The nose is much more subdued than I had expected. I get some yeast notes and without a doubt wine smell. Don't ask me the grapes, I am no wine expert.

T - The taste was just what I might expect from a beer that I heard was a cross between a wine and beer. Some yeasty flavors up front followed by citrus notes and finished off with a crisp dry wine like finish.

M - Spiritly carbonated with dry finish and flavor that seems to evaporate off the palate.

O - This was an awesome beer. I had it paired with a nice flank steak, mushroom risotto and carmelized onions. I wish I could get my hands on some more of this beer.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.83/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle (new DFH glass bottles). Bottled in 2012. Poured into Lost Abbey snifter/tulip glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear yellow white wine like color. Small tiny bubbles off the bottom of the glass. Really looks like champagne bubbles. Two fingers of rocky white head. Leaves some lacing tracks, but not tons.

S: Definitely smells like a Saison. Not overly funky or anything though. Nice white grape notes, viognier and pinot gris hints probably. Maybe some spicy white pepper notes on the back end.

T: This is actually really good (if you like white wine). You get some nice tartness on the front of the tongue. Typical of a Saison. But again not overly funky. Then you get those Belgian yeasty notes in the middle of the mouth. And alot of white wine character. Dry white wine finish.

M: Light to medium. Thought the carbonation would be higher.

O: Not bad for a DFH project of late. Probably the best DFH beer I have had since Bitches Brew. I like where they were going with this and wonder if time will change this beer at all. Might pick up another bottle to see how it ages.

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Photo of Paymygasbill77
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml into a snifter.

A: This beer poured a crystal clear light amber color with champagne like carbonation. The head started out about 2 inches and dissapated into nothing. This looks and pours more like a sparkling wine than a beer.

S: Dry fruit and funk.

T: Out of this world! Sam has done it again with this one. Very little to no hops. This reminds me more of a not so sour Geuze than a Saison or wine. It starts off with a bit of Dry white grapes and moves to a slightly sweet and funky flavor and finishes bone dry with funk and a carbonated bite. This leaves me wanting more.

M:Light and refreshing.

O: Fantstic! I am buying a few more bottles to hold on to. I bet this ages very well!

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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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