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 Lemke10
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

This pours a clear, light yellow color with a slight, white head. The aroma is slightly tart and full of grapes. The taste is strong in flavor and drinks very much like a carbonated wine. This is a very unique take on the fruit beer category. Makes for great sipping beer that pairs well with lots wine based foods.

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Photo of bnes09
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Straw color. Transparent. Weakish head. Several thin patches of lacing.

Funky yeast and white grape aroma.

Mild gain flavor. Sweet, yet semi tart white grape. Yeast and fungus adds a funky, tart note. Mild leafy hop.

Medium body like a dry sparkling white wine. Well carbonated with a dry finish. Somewhat grainy texture.

Love the innovation. Not something I would drink every day but good for a change.

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Photo of yuenglingfan101
5/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my trusty pint glass. Nice clear looking beer reminds me of a moscato di asti and it tastes like a white grape wine. overall appearance is perfect and smells perfect tastes perfect and overall the perfect beer for a white wine lover cant say enough about this beer

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Photo of MNishCT77
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

10 oz. pour into a snifter glass at the Falls Church Alehouse; unknown brewing/kegging date; drank over 30 minutes

A: 3/3 - pale yellow-to-golden coloration; crystal clear (can both read and see through); received with an initial frothy white head that settled into a subtle glass lacing; no visible bubbles

S: 10/12 - predominately white wine/Chardonnay notes; some background Belgian yeast, pils and wheat with some alcohol

T: 16/20 - bright, refreshing vinous flavors immediately hit on first sip and continue to develop on the palate; as the flavor profile expands; the Belgian pils and yeast rear up - slightly peppery, estery and coriander; some alcohol but doesn't taste like 9% ABV; finishes dry and invites subsequent sips

M: 3/5 - much lower carbonation for style (and major reason for point detraction); light body

O: 8/10 - nice admixture of vinous and saison qualities; it's not as good as I remember it being, which, unfortunately, is my typical DFH experience as my palate has developed, but it remains an enjoyable Spring/Summer offering and is dangerously drinkable; $10.50/10 oz. snifter is craziness though

TOTAL - 40/50

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Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a thick white head, good size bubbles, and lacing that sticks to the side of the glass forever.

Smell: A champagne and sweet white wine scent, with a hint of lemon.

Taste: A sour white wine taste with a bit of bitterness to it.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, smooth, but a bit sour.

Drinkability: Has a little too much sour/bitter for my liking, but not bad.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.69/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pale straw, champagne-like head that leaves no residue on surface or glass. Aggressive carbonation, slight fogginess. Looks crisp, but so darn light/flavorless.

S: White grapes, slight yeast/bread.

T: Closer to wine than beer. Apples, pear, off-dry, background yeast/bread. Acidity brings a nice crispness. For the delicacy of the flavors the high ABV is hidden well.

M: Super carbonated, full bodied but still quick-flowing.

O: It's good, a cool concept executed very well. Would be a great crossover drink for either wine or beer diehards.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Rich golden hued ale with just a trace of head that covers half of the top of this beer. Excellent clarity and vibrant carbonation bubbles. There's not much aroma here but I get the faint grape must that could almost be mistaken for a lager yeast smell. The taste delivers the strong,dry white grape flavor. The mouth is is moderately carbonated and dry.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Dogfish Head's Noble Rot a few weeks ago for $13.99 at The Lager Mill. I had a sample of this beer a a couple weeks ago and I thought it was nice so I thought I would sit down with a bottle and give it a proper review, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a 750ml brown bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, it's a little weird looking, but it's also a little eye catching. It poured a pretty clear pale yellow color that reminded me a little of a white wine and it took on more of a golden color when held to the light with a finger and half of bubbly white head that quickly died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a pretty nice looking beer, but the head and lacing were a little weak.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by some grapes being the first to show up and they impart a pretty white grape like aroma that seems to stick out the most. Up next comes some signature spicy Saison yeast with nice citrus like aroma with some lemon aromas coming through nicely. Towards the end comes the malts which impart some wheaty and pale malt like aspects. This beer had a pretty nice aroma, the grape must worked nicely with the Saison base.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by the grape still being the first to show and they impart that same nice white grape aspect that I got in the aromas and it's follow by a little bit of tartness. Up next comes the Saison yeast which imparts those signature spicy yeast flavors followed by a slight malt flavor with some pale malts and wheat showing up. Towards the end comes a nice citrus flavor with lemon still sticking out the most with a little more tartness and a slight earthy flavors with a sweet, white grape, and Saison yeast like aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer there was good balance between grape must and the Saison base.

M- Smooth, a little refreshing, crisp, clean, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was very nice and it worked well with this beer.

Overall I thought this beer was pretty nice and I thought it was a nice example of a fruited Saison, the Saison base was nice and it was recognizable as a Saison and the grape must wasn't too over powering and it worked well with the Saison yeast, plus the alcohol was hidden very well, there's no way I would guess this is 9%. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was smooth, clean, crisp, a little refreshing, not filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I don't think I would have a problem drinking a whole bottle by myself and I think this was be a great beer to enjoy in the summer time. What I like the most about this beer was the way that the grape must worked with the Saison base, It worked together much better than I originally expected, I also liked the way that the alcohol was hidden and the mouthfeel were also very noteworthy. What I liked the least about this beer was the appearance, it wasn't bad, but I wish the head and lacing were a little more Saison like. I would buy this beer again, but not often since it's a little pricey, I think $10 would be a good price for this beer. I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes fruity Saisons, it falls nicely into that category. All in all I enjoyed this beer and I'm glad that I bought a bottle to review. I'm not a big wine fan so I didn't think this beer would appeal to me much, but after I had that sample a little while ago I released that I was overlooking it for no good reason. Nice job guys, this was a nice and unique Saison, keep up the creative work.

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Photo of Badger6
4.26/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 mL bottle into a snifter, bottled 12/09/2013 from imprint on bottle neck.

A: Light yellow color, crystal clear, lots of visible carbonation. 1-2 fingers foamy, white head, diminishes rapidly with almost no lacing. Nothing about the appearance screams better than average....

S: Main scent of white grape juice. Saison yeast is noticeable, with notes of pepper, lemon and wet straw- distinctly Brett-like. Starting to get exciting, very complex aroma.

T: Tart grape flavors up front, immediately followed by peppery yeast, other spices like coriander and clove hinting through, distinct lemony notes, and stone fruits into a smooth and refreshing finish. Unlike most saisons this has no malty or bread aftertaste. Easily the most complex tasting saison I've ever had.

M: Crisp body with a surprisingly balanced carbonation considering the appearance. As the beer warmed the mouthfeel mellowed. No booziness, and very easy and refreshing on the palate.

O: This is not a typical DFH. It may be 'off-centered' and unique, but it is not funky like many of their offerings. The white grape must is about perfectly balanced to the underlying beer. Easily one of the easiest drinking beers I've tasted, yet incredibly complex and full of flavor. This is the first time I've tasted this offering from DFH, and it is easily my favorite.

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Photo of Flopjack
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip

Appearance - Golden to soft yellow, small head about half finger settles quickly, light smooth lace. Transparent.

Smell - Grape, yeast, a smooth almost honey like aroma and some malts

Taste - Pungent grape that settles slightly bitter not to overwhelm. Has slight notes of pear. More complex than I had originally expected. Settles with a fruity yeast like flavor. Almost no alcohol presence, very light. Wheatiness at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium to heavy carbonation. Light to medium body resulting in a smooth and clean texture.

Overall - This was the first time I have had this beer and I thought it was good. Definitely similar to a saison or fruity Belgian ale. This beer is scary because you don't get overwhelming alcohol, just pungent fruitiness. Will buy again.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear yellowish golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of white head that quickly fades into a thin patchy layer. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A yeasty, funky, and very juicy Belgian style aroma with big hints of grapes. Belgian yeast upfront with hints of pepper, clove, and a Brett like funky scent. Big white wine like scent of white grapes. Also some fruit hints of pear, apple, and citrus orange and lemon zest. Pale malts with hints of grains, wheat, straw, cracker, and biscuit. Some candied sugar as well. Hop presence is pretty subtle. A nicely zesty and spicy aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma, a nicely juicy, tart, and yeasty Belgian style taste with lots of grapes. Upfront taste of Belgian yeast with good notes of black peppers, clove, and a funky taste that is somewhat Brett like. Big taste of white grapes throughout giving a nicely tart white wine like taste. Also some fruit notes of pear, apple, lemon zest, and orange. Sweet notes of candied sugar. Soft pale malt with notes of wheat, grains, biscuit, straw, and cracker. Hops are very subtle. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation. Very juicy, spritzy, and funky. Finishes pretty dry. Alcohol heat is covered very well.

Overall: A very good twist on a Belgian Saison/Farmhouse ale. Good Belgian yeast notes with a great kick of tart and funky grapes.

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Photo of Scrapss
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into the Turbinator.

A: Effervescent straw color, active. A few fingers reduce to a 5 mm disk that lasts all the way to bottom. clear. lacing is very slight. No gushing present. Looks a lot like a tame champagne.

S: It actually has a classic funk, but it's not a straight Bretted or Lactic funk. It's different and has to do with an attribute of the must? Bready yeast notes are present. Light fruits.

T: That nose is perfectly replicated in the taste. Bready, lactic, sweet almost like concord white grape-apple juice. Pinot Grigio like notes. Taut dryness. Metallic and slightly unpleasant as it warms.

M: Smooth, most likely due to bottle conditioning and tight carbonation. The side of tongue is sweet, lactic and musty biterness. Not very hot.

O: This is like a mild funky champagne. I really like it, but there a much better saisons that have more of everything just kinda "turned up" a hair bit. Sam and company surprised me with this one. Was not expecting subtlety I encountered with this brew.

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Photo of Cresant
3.54/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. poured from a 25.4 oz bottle. Bottled in 2012. The body was a weak golden color and the head was small and bright white made of dense bubbles. Sticky lacing.

The smell was powdery. Fruity. Apple peels and grapes.

The taste was basement-y. Dry and Belgian yeast chalkiness. Fruity.

The mouthfeel was medium with a fine carbonation. Not really one that I would seek again.

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Photo of mscottjohnston
4.4/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours super pale yellow with a one finger head that disappears immediately with faint lacing. Aroma is strong white grape juice, malt and slight citrus. Taste supports nicely; grape juice, white wine, malts, citrus finishes with some light yeast. Medium body with a long lingering aftertaste. Very very impressive.

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Photo of twperman
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Much better than anticipated. Much less sweet than my expectations for a Digfishhead beer. The grape must adds a lot and it reminds me of some of the best "wine-like" beers. Dry and refreshing. I'd definitely drink it again. NOw I'm just adding words...

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Photo of tkdchampxi
3.94/5  rDev 0%

When fresh, there are nice saison notes on this beer with subtle bitterness and earthy flavors. The spice character is also very pleasant - more like a Belgian Strong Pale Ale than saison. The grape must adds a superficial fruit character to the beer. Overall, nicely complex with an assertive Belgian-style mouthfeel.

I would prefer if the mouthfeel were actually subdued somewhat, but aging this beer does not have a noticeable effect on the carbonation. At the same time, unwanted bitterness is added to the beer over time as the other pleasant qualities of the beer fade.

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Photo of Jonada
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 release. 750ml bottle served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a bright light yellow color with one finger of a white soapy head. Body is almost crystal clear with a fair amount of visible carbonation.

Smell: White grape, spicy saison yeast, pepper, lemon rind with some slight grassy notes.

Taste: Follows the nose pretty closely with a shot of slightly tart white grape upfront followed by some peppery saison yeast, lemongrass, pear, spices (maybe a hint of coriander) with a slight underlying breadiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and crisp with medium levels of lively carbonation. Drinks super easy for 9%.

Overall: Subtlety isn't usually Dogfish Head's specialty, but this beer is the exception. The addition of the grape must works perfectly with the base beer without one overwhelming the other. Complex, flavorful and very easy to drink. This is one of my favorite offerings from Dogfish, and I really hope Sam and the crew continue making this in the future.

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Photo of msturek
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I approached this beer with a little trepidation as it seemed sort of a forced hybrid. But Dogfish has never disappointed me before.

The appearance looks like a pilsner - very light and very carbonated. Looks a lot like champagne but with just a bit more yellow. Nice finger-sized white head.

Smell is all grape as expected. Again, much like champagne but a bit more grape scent then I've ever smelled in one.

Mouthfeel follows the appearance - very light and very carbonated.

Taste gets disappointing based on my expectation. I was expecting a spicy, hoppy saison with grape notes, but instead it tasted more like a grape-infused pilsner. Now I don't mind a good pilsner, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting. The grape got a bit overbearing as it went on and for the first time, I struggled a bit to finish a Dogfish.

Overall it was still very enjoyable, but it didn't meet the expectations I had and the grape got a bit too much by the end. I'd drink it again if I was offered, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of GrizzleFist
3.6/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought in a 1 Pint 9 oz Bottle

Appearance: Okay, nothing amazing. For a fairly heavy beer, it was very light and see through. Very interesting.

Smell: Very light smell, smells like a light beer with no real provoking smell coming through for me.

Taste: Very different taste, taste like a combination of a light beer, champagne and white wine after taste; if that makes any sense.

Mouthfeel: Feels okay, decent carbonation and a spreading taste throughout back on tongue.

Overall: I love Dogfish head, not necessarily because they make "amazing" beer. Because a lot of their beer isn't that great. But they constantly make new beers that have taste that are so different from other beers. I can't help but try them whenever I see a new one, I don't regularly buy the same beer from them twice, but I'm always glad I gave their beers a try; just to see how else a beer can taste.

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Photo of rdilauro
3.3/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I have been waiting to taste this one.. Just the thought of combining a beer with the 'noble rot' associated with grapes. The excess aging of the grapes to produce a sweeter and more intense sine had my interest from the start. Just the thought of having a brew that adds the excellent grape style that makes the famous and expensive Sauternes from France, the Trockenbeernaualuse from Germany and some of the Ice wines. How could anyone not be excited.

Thie beer was light, lighter than I had expected. A pure Pils style lightness. But now add the complexity of the wine grape/must and you have an interesting beer. . My first sip from this beer, and I just found it very light with a grapy after taste. Then after a few additional sips, I picked up the fresh spirit of the Pilsner, and then the intriguing style added by the grape must.
Then to finish it, was a amount of tartness that you might only expect from fresh fruits.
The yeast came through at the end and was quite evident.

I love the creativity of DogFish head beers. This is another one that is very worthy and should be tried.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear pale yellow in color with heavy amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some faint golden yellow + lemon yellow highlights. The beer has a finger tall fizzy head that reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of pale malts + spicy saison yeast (black pepper), and moderate aromas of white wine grapes.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of pale malts with moderate flavors of white wine and oak. Light amounts of white grape sweetness and a light to moderate flavor of saison yeast with some hints of black pepper.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Slightly prickly with some light to moderate amounts of dryness int he finish.

O: There is quite a lot of flavors and aromas of white wine in this beer - similar to a sauvignon blanc or a pinot grigio. This is a good beer to share with someone that is more of a wine drinker than a beer drinker and is a nice change of pace (not being all that similar to most of the other beers on the market). I would have this one again.

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Photo of fdig23
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle.

Appearance: Really vibrant, light gold body with a big bone white head.

Nose: Really interesting. Musty, moldy, intensely grapey. There's a lot of earthiness balanced out by intense honey sweetness. It smells like the vineyard and the wine cave at the same time.

Taste: Comes off a bit sweet. It actually reminded me a lot of a dry session mead. A bit reminiscent of a decent sparkling white wine and a sweet white wine blended together. Grapes are at the forefront, with some sweet raspberry and floral notes mixed in.

Mouthfeel: Dry as a bone, pleasantly effervescent. It's 9% ABV, but it drinks like its 4%.

Overall: An interesting experiment indeed, and one of the better Dogfish 750mL offerings I've had in awhile. Also, way too easy to drink. If this was in 4 packs of 12oz bottles it could be a dangerous summer refresher.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

An unappetizing name, yet creatively oxymoronic..let's try this great brewery's ale.. Pours sort of hazy yellow, light body in appearance, small white head. Looks refreshing enough.
Funky musty smell, barnyard, hay, antique furniture, grass, a pilsner malt aspect in there too. Nice
Tasting now and The grapes up front! And a nice odd leathery taste, and oily feel here, yet bubbly and refreshing but with a tart lemony burn. Like a white wine married to a saison, which makes sense given the bottle description. Overall, a DFH success and certainly the best (albeit only!) grape-centered ale ive ever tasted.

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Photo of SebD
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes

Appearance: It has a nice clear straw yellow color to it. It has a thin white head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of slight Belgian yeast, some grapes, lemon and grainy malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some Belgian yeast, lemony/grassy notes, sweet grapes and faint bready/grainy malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.77/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750ml brown bottle purchased from BevMo in Sunnyvale, CA. Shared with @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a clear, extremely pale yellow with a fine and relatively steady head of white. Lacing is messy and streaky. Fine carbonation, although the body looks rather thin, so it doesn't stick around much.

Nose is indeed white vinous, and I can believe viognier, with a clean crisp acid coming through strongly. Some slightly earthy characters come through as well, more like oak though than botrytis. Dusty, dry and quite crisp throughout. It's a very well put-together aroma.

Taste is lighter, and without much acid, which is a bit of a shame. In fact, the back palate doesn't have much of anything, besides a musty grapeskin character and a hint of metal. Most of the roundness comes on the front, with a slightly fruity Belgian pale sort of basis that sets sweetness against the very light and rather dry body. It's a little bit disappointing after the aroma.

Overall, it's pretty decent, and the 9% is masterfully hidden at least. It promised a bit more than it delivered though, and it ended up being less exciting than I thought it might be. Lower your expectations, and you'll probably have a great time with it.

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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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