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: 1,571
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 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 Jadjunk
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"We brew this unique, sorta-saison with a little help from our friends at Alexandria Nicole Cellars using botrytis-infected Viognier grape must. This "noble rot" magnifies its complexity and long finish." Brewed in the style of a Saison with grape must added. Available in 750 ml. bottles and on seasonal draft.

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle to a Dogfish Head signature glass. Served above 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp, fizzy ecru white head over a pale straw amber body with ample, lively carbonation and high clarity. Retention is poor and there is no visible lacing. 2.5

(Smell) Aromas of fermented white grape juices, cracker malt, a touch of peppery spice and a moderate acidity. Some delicate sweetness from the malt and fruit profiles combined although the overall aroma is fairly dry. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Sweet fermented grape juices, lightly vinous with a light alcohol presence, sweet pale and cracker malt body, clean with light yeast character. Finish is moderately dry. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, residual, silky and medium dry. Carbonation is high, generating a moderate frothiness and a full crisp finish. Body is shy of medium for the style, medium overall. Balance is moderately sweet over dry and acidic. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.5

(Overall) I was hoping that the use of grape must would not be singled out in this beer, but unfortunately Noble Rot suffers from a considerable limitation on flavor profile. The grape must generates a full juicy white grape profile with little accenting from the malt body nor from the yeast character, which is very mild for a saison, creating little to no perceived spiciness, barnyard or funk character. Arguably a halfway decent crossover beer to and from wine, notably for the very limited crowd who favors sweet dessert wines with little to no fermented character nor acidity. I found that Dogfish Head did a better job of utilizing grape must in their Sixty-One Ale. 3.5

Dogfish Head Brewery's
Noble Rot Ale

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Photo of garuda
3.52/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear bright golden body, thick white cap that has great retention with some lacing.

S - Nicely complex with grape juice, white wine, a little earthy funk, hay, floral hops, candied sugar.

T - Kind of a let down here, with the grape juice, white wine aspects taking over, ending up on the sweet, acidic side. Vinous, but without the oakiness. Sweet acidity dominates by the end. Abv is hidden extremely well, though.

M - Medium to light in body, lively carbonation, mostly smooth across the palate, but the cloying sweetness doesn't allow a clean finish. No bite, no dryness.

O - Starts out pretty well, but ends up too sweet and acidic for me. White wine-like, without the oak.

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

Poured a bright clear light gold, very bubbly, small bright white head that faded quickly, no lacing.

Aroma was dominated by sweet white grapes and a hint of yeast.

Taste was initially sweet with white grapes, sugar and then a slight apple tartness, citrus and spice.

Mouth Feel was light body, high carbonation, very light, sweet with a tart ending, tinkly and refreshing.

Overall a you think your drinking a wine with beer characteristics. Its refreshing, very champagne like, maybe the Champagne of beers, oops...I think someone uses that one already.

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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 dbl_delta
3.54/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated December 2013 (!) so more than a year old. Poured into pint glass. Straw color, with a fine white head. Moderate carbonation. Interesting blend of wine and beer. Reminds me of champagne in some respects, but with a lot of other stuff going on. I'm not a big fan of Belgian style beers, so my review probably reflects my own personal preferences. Light and refreshing. Quite dry.

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

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Very slightly hazed golden wheat color. Two and a half fingers of frothy white head. Retention is at least average and a moderate amount of lacing is left.

3.5 S: Clean, lightly biscuity malts. Quite earthy and outdoorzy. Apple orchard, rotting wood, the forest in spring after a rain. Then there's the vinous grape component. Interesting addition to this type of beer and it totally works. Good, but not overly impressive despite being quite unique.

3.5 T: Whatever botrytis is, it seems to be the source of the easily apparent tanginess in this. It's like an earthy variant of lactic acid. Next the grapes present themselves. If I didn't know better I'd have thought this was some sort of champagne. (As an aside, I might try to trick a wine snob with this, if I can find one.) Anyway, apple and apple orchard funkiness, woody, earthy, vinous, and lightly musty.

4.0 M: This even feels a bit like champagne. Lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation with an almost champagne-like spritziness. It works.

3.5 D: I never had Infinium, but it seems like this is what they should have been going for. Interesting as usual from DFH.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours a clear light yellow with a foamy white head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, spice, and slight grape aromas. Taste is much the same with sour fruit and spice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is easy to drink but nothing all that special.

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

750ml bottle poured into tulip 18/10/12, cheers liamt07 for sending the bottle

A clear yellow liquid with just a few tiny bubbles feeding a thin cap of white head that sits for a few sips leaving a single partial ring

S smells of apple juice then a bubblegum forward saison yeast takes over, a little pear and vinous notes, sorta smells of oxidized white wine

T not quite funky but earthy notes and vinous aspects sneak around the heavy blast of apple juice, a little sweetness but I was expecting a very sweet beer from the name, interesting idea and attempt but not overly impressive

m not overly thick but a little fluffy from the bubbles, just some faint heat but at 9% I'd expect much more

O reminds me more of a cider then anything, vinous notes and a nice farmhouse is trying to shine through but its not that bright, its a decent beverage and an interesting concept but not really rocking my world

I'll hand it to Dogfish Head they try new things and take chances, this is far from a bad brew but perhaps I'm just not in the mood for a cidery, vinous style beer, props for hiding 9% though this one has some well concealed liquor

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.56/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle served in a pint glass

A - Pours a pale shiny yellow with a thin white cap.

S - Earthy, spoiled grapes, minerals, dry yeast, salty,

T - Sweeter than the nose describes, crisp white grape juice, has a soft lemon tartness to it along with a dash of salt. Peppery yeast and earthy minerals in the middle along with some herbal hops adds dryness and continues to a dull grape tartness on the finish.

M - Moderate spritzy carbonation, creamy at first but thins out quickly. Dry finish.

An odd beer for sure. Like a white wine and beer mixer. It has snappiness upfront but develops into a dull chardonnay like finish. I can't believe that this is 9%ABV! It doesn't show at all. It was unique but I didn't love it as much as I thought I would.

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Photo of DaBubs
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I've found these Dogfish Head one-offs to be pretty hit or miss, but this one was actually neither. I didn't love or hate this lab experiment of a beer, but I did appreciate the creative effort.

A - Deep golden color and a nice creamy head. Completely clear and obviously filtered.

S - This is where you notice the grapes. And boy do you notice the grapes. Green grapes, golden apples, and biscuits.

T - Not quite sour, and certainly not puckering, but it has an interesting sweet and sour characteristic. Too sweet for me, this strikes me as closer to Dogfish's take on berliner weisse than saison (a la Festina Peche), but those yeasty, Belgian clove and banana notes are there as well. I'd love to taste a little wood, or a little funk, or something else to make this beer more interesting.

M - Heavy carbonation and crisp, very champagne-like bubbles allow an otherwise viscous and somewhat syrupy brew go down easy.

O - As I said, I respect the effort. This is clearly a product of Dogfish Head's we'll-try-anything attitude, and lives somewhere between beer and wine. The problem is, it is neither a good beer nor a good wine. It is a fun experiment, but one bottle was plenty for me.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into snifter.

A: Pours a crystal clear pale straw color with two or three finger of airy bubbly white head that faded into a faint collar. Decent wispy lacing was left.
S: Extremely vinous, as expected. This smells like dry white wine with a touch of spice. Smells a bit like a saison, but mostly smells like wine.
T: Follows the nose. Again, this tastes like carbonated white wine with a splash of mild saison. Very dry with mild to strong sweetness. Aftertaste is slightly buttery. There is a slight tartness to the brew, similar to grape skins, but it’s very mild.
M: Again, dry. Easy to drink though. Carbonation is scrubbing and frothy, and the body is medium.
O: A white wine lovers dream. Not bad if you like saisons. I’m glad I took a chance and tried this. I wouldn’t buy it again, but it’s not the worst of DFH usual disappointing series of experimental beers.

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Photo of Viciousknishs
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a yellow golden color with a healthy two fingers bone white head. Very good head retention.

S- aromas of floral white wine, grape and a slight peachy note. Nice fruity said on yeastiness in the middle with white stone fruit esters. Musty cellar like characteristics also flesh out. Finishes with a dry nose with pale malt notes.

T- tart sweetness up front with white wine and peachy flavors. White grape juice and saison characteristics come out with a slight musty dry hay characteristics. Floral notes come out as well. Finishes very dry with a lingering white wine flavor.

MF- spritzy mouthfeel with a light body and champagne like carbonation.

D- super drinkable and refreshing.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear straw color with a white head that leaves little chunks of lacing.

Smells of grape notes with some spiciness.

Tastes of bright fruit notes with a little underlying sweetness and spice. White grapes, apples, and pears lead off. A touch of syrupy sweetness, but not much. A slight lemon tartness kicks in the middle. Finishes with a little drying spice and herbal notes.

Mouthfeel is medium with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is pretty good, but could use a little more oomph.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Poured out a lighter yellow color, semi-hazy, with a fast-fading head and minimal lacing.
Smells of lemons, white wine (really nice white wine BTW) and gains a tiny little garnish of funk / spice as it warms up. Very straightforward nose on this one.
Tastes a bit more sugary than I had expected from the nose. There is some residual left over in there, but the wine is definitely the dominant force over the beer characteristics in this one. White grape must transitions into a semi-dry white wine blended with a touch of Belgian yeast tones.
Sparkly carbonation and lighter body makes the texture more akin to a wine spritzer than a beer as well.
Overall, this was a worthwhile experiment IMHO, even though the beer qualities tend to get drowned out somewhat by the wine aspects.

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Photo of rainydays2020
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a .33L Cas'telain teardrop goblet.

Appearance- Very clear light golden color with one finger of thick white head.

Smell- white grapes, white wine. Very mild smell compared to the complex taste. This was that only part of the experience I was (somewhat) let down by.

Taste- Crisp, the tart fruity smell is in there, white grapes up front with some other complex flavors that I can't really name. Then honey, vanilla-almond biscotti, with a crisp lingering tart finish. Very little hop character which fits the style.

Mouthfeel- sweet and slick. Very bubbly

This is a great beer! The one thing I feel is missing is the smell. All that you really get is the white grape must and even that is somewhat light. However the lack of smell is compensated by the interesting character the must and botrytis infection adds to the flavor. Overall an incredibly unique wine-like character to this beer. I'd highly recommend this one to wine lovers. I've got one aging in my basement for future drinking!

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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 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 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 justintcoons
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours a pale gold with 3 fingers of fluffy white head and spotty lacing. Clarity is crystal clear with moderate carbonation.

N: Honey, coriander, white pepper, doughy bread, faint lemon and hints of clove. There are some potential white grape aromas lurking underneath. The nose is similar to DFH Midas Touch.

T: Sour lemon, Sweet Tarts, white grape and perhaps some tart cherry upfront. This continues through mid-palate picking of flavors of Lemonhead candy, cereal grains and honey. Finishes like a dry white wine spiked with Brett and sour dough bread. Subtle spices linger comprised of nutmeg, white pepper and coriander.

M: Lighter side of medium bodied, crisp, tart, clean and dry.

O: I wasn’t expecting this to be sour. Tastes like Jolly Pumpkin and Midas Touch had a baby. White grape, sour lemon, honey and Brett are the dominate flavors. The 9% abv is well hidden. Very unique but I'm rather indifferent on this one.

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Photo of dgilks
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clearish pale straw cour with no real head. No lacing.

Davison through and through. Lots of clove and wheat. Touches of tartness. Very nice.

Tart and light. Wheat and clove dominate but there is some grape. Interesting butt dull for my tastes.

Medium light body with moderately high carbonation. Good.

Not bad. It seems a little insipid at times but could be much worse.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I picked up this bottle on the day it was released. I was really excited to try something completely new.

It looks perfect for a beer made in the pilsner style. You've got that perfect golden color, with really tiny bubbles. I like the way that the foam sticks to the glass to leave some really good lacing.

It smells like a really good saison. I like the sour presence. You also get some really healthy wine-like smells.

The flavor is very dry. It is very challenging to drink.

It is definitely something completely different. I'm glad for having had this beer, but I don't think I will be buying another.

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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,571 ratings.
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