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 Arborescence
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden, typical for a pilsner -- surprising as I was expecting something darker. Pours a modest white head that recedes immediately. Some carbonation is evident from the bubbling.

Aroma: Complex fruity aromas with hints of honey and floral characteristics. Yellow raisins. Some typical saison aromas: mainly yeast.

Taste: Very rich in fruity esters, quite a lot of bitterness. Honey-like sweetness and raisins still present. I think that some of characteristics are overwhelmed by the saison sourness, no doubt from the intricate mixture of Belgian yeast and botrytis.

Mouthfeel: Bubbly, almost like a sparkling wine, but not with that much carbonation. A little bit foamy in the mouth. Light bodied otherwise.

Overall: A very interesting attempt at a wine/beer hybrid, and I'd say a successful one! It's a bit harsh at first, but I do really feel like drinking a champagne of beers! Dry white wine comes to mind as well.

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Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
4.27/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this on tap at the TGI Friday's in Rehoboth Beach, DE

Served and enjoyed from a goblet glass.

A - The beer is a nearly translucent, pale yellow color. Beer was delivered to the table with a one finger, white, fizzy head. It fades away to a light skim. A small amount of lacing left on the glass.

S - A slightly sweet, almost wine-like smell.

T - The initial sip totally reminded me of drinking a white wine. A very distinct, tart and sour taste. The grapes and juice used in the brewing process really shine through. Very smooth. As the beer sits a bit and the sampling went on, more of the yeasty, Belgian-style tastes came through(spicy and banana-like taste). The alcohol is slightly noticeable but this is really a highly drinkable beer.

M - Medium consistency. Moderate carbonation.

O - This beer really surprised me. I don't know what I was expecting but what I got was a fantastic beer from DFH. This beer, more than any other beer I've tried, would easily be enjoyed by both wine and beer lovers alike. Another great creation from DFH. Recommended.


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Photo of stampfler07
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very light golden in color with a substantial frothy head and good lacing, some small bubbles rising rapidly through the glass

S- White, tangy grape aroma almost like a white wine, some green apple and a touch of lemon

T- Very white wine like on the front with plenty of dryness, in the middle the tartness fades somewhat with just a touch of bitterness, finish of sweet green apple and a tingling alcohol warmth

M- Moderate carbonation and very light in body

O- Quite enjoyable and complex, I very much enjoyed this beer and the marriage of wine and beer flavors and textures. Definitely will seek this out again in the future

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Photo of Vec2267
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - crystal clear, pale yellow, lots of little bubbles, small white head that falls quickly but leaves decent lacing

S - grapes, lemon, acrid, some spice

T - very crisp and tart, the taste is dominated by the grape juice, green apple, lemon

M - extremely crisp and light, very refreshing

O - without the carbonation and the head I would have thought this was a glass of pinot gris - and this is better than any I've had recently - the beer elements add a richness and lushness that is a perfect foil to the tartness

I tend to prefer sweet to tart, and I can't stand Brett, so I am surprised I enjoyed this as much as I did. This is most definitely more wine than beer, but wow what a great marriage.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: one of the lightest colored beers I've ever had. light yellow with white full head on the pour.
smell: Tart citrus and yeast. A very bright and unique nose.
taste: The taste really comes together. All the above that's in the nose with a nice dry and tart finish. I really dig Dogfish experiments even when they don't hit a home run...this is a very nice brew regardless of the creation notes.
overall: A unique and worthy brew. Respect, Sam and the DFH crew.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Golden yellow appearance, with a big frothy head on top. Aroma is pleasantly sour - I'm detecting cider vinegar, and a sharp, fruity tartness. The flavor had a wine like character to it, both in mouthfeel and taste - the white wine grapes are definitely noticeable. Slight grassiness/horse blanket funk. Medium bodied, fizzy, and slightly tingling on the way down. Complex and pleasant - an interesting experiment for the beer and wine drinking crowds. Would buy again.

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Photo of facundoCNB
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a beautiful clean light yellow pour, 2 fingers of fluffy/foamy bright white head which dissipated slowly, tons of visible carbonation, excellent head retention, great lacing. smells of bready pilsner malt, lemongrass, white wine, coriander. slightly tart/sour on the palate, a spicy black pepper feel up front which i'm guessing is from the belgian yeast strain, definitely tasting a lot of white wine grape flavors, nice and funky farmhouse flavors. this is a wonderful saison with a slightly tart/sour feel to it, medium in body with high carbonation it is both refreshing, and sweet.

as far as the weird one offs that DFH releases, this is one of the best i've had. a very delicious, very refreshingly perfect for this 60 degree day, slightly sour which is exactly what i was hoping for. love it.

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Birdsall House, in Peekskill, NY. At least a few months ago and reviewed from notes.

Pours near clear, light and yellowish. Also a near white delicate head, that leaves dense sheeting and ample fine lace.

Fruity wine like nose, grapey, dry and acidic.

This is a bittingly dry and at the same time quite fruity and flavorful creation. Wine like, crisp, complex and yummy in general. Nice job here by DFH

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes taken from early 2012 (March?) from a bottle share i hosted with the local crew.

Thanks kindly to blake for the share.

pours clear yellow with thick foamy bubbly head and it coats the glass with lacing. very light pilsner look. smells grape, belgiany, pilsnery. flavor follows the nose. nice white grape. easy drinker really enjoyable and one of the better DFH beers I've had to date.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a DFH Signature glass on 3/8/12

Bottled in 2012B

Clear, pale gold hue - seems subdued but has a nice gleam when held to the light. A two finger head of fizzy white foam gives the impression of ephemeral doom, but the foam condenses into itself and deflates slowly from there, leaving thick rings of lace. Surprisingly impressive retention; doesn't get much better than this. Actually, it does. On the second pour, retention lasts longer and the already excellent lacing is thicker. Heck, this pour is even has more clarity.

For whatever reason I wasn't expecting the aroma to be so clean, but it is. The floral, prairie grass notes are all over the place, as are overtones of pollen. A touch of grain is softly woven in and is accented with spicy clove notes. Soft fruit tones drift about. I'm not sure what sort of aromas grape must imparts - perhaps the slight earthiness and dank quality?

Whoa, the taste is something else entirely. The grapes come through much more than in the aroma and have a dank, dense, over-ripe twinge. Yet somehow it keeps a nibble saunter. Simultaneously dusty and vinous. I'll admit that while there is a decent grassy backing, the spice and floral notes are downplayed, but I don't think it's a bad thing. Instead they quietly bolster the grapes which really take to wine-like flavor as the beer warms. I'm not inclined to call this tart or sour and biting is too strong a word. Perhaps nippy is sufficient. Toasty grains emerge after a while.

Body and overall feel are on the light side, but never fail to acknowledge the responsibility in transporting such flavor. Carbonation is spot-on, too; pillowy fizziness rolls around as it hits the 7am snooze button but soon accepts that it's morning and it's time to move along. The finish is chalk-dry and has a modest, lingering alcohol note and some flavor residuals. The grape-iness builds over time.

DFH did a good job with this one, managing to tread an awkward line between drinkable, interesting and an actual quality product. Noble Rot completely exceeded my uncertain expectations handily. My favorite part is that the complexities of the nose are expansive while the flavor profile is more stunted, making for broad experience all around.

I will pull the "smaller format" card on this one, though. A 750ml is a bit much for one sitting.

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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 flayedandskinned
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2012
Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a translucent pale gold with a very slight greenish hue. As soon as the beer hits the glass, a 2 finger pure white head rises and almost immediately dissipates. This brew honestly looks like a blend of a pilsner and a glass of a pinot grigio.

Aroma: Traditional, spicy saison yeast notes leap right out of the glass at you immediately; ground pepper, musty hay, suggestions of pear. Underneath the yeast however, is freshly squeezed white grape juice. If you dig deep enough, you can detect sweet bready malt.

Taste: Similar to the the nose, big spicy yeast hits your tongue right away with a mere whisper of light, grassy hops letting you know that this is still a saison. Almost as soon as the hops hit your palate, the white wine aspects come into play; grape juice coats your tongue and causes the light, prickly carbonation to desist. The grape must is slightly sweet and definitely has some acidic, lemony attributes. The must really interacts and plays off the herbal, spicy yeast quite well. The 'beer' finishes tart and off dry. Lingering notes of yeast, grapes and and an overt, buttery coating of biscuit-y malt is left naked on your tonque.

Mouthfeel: This is where the wine/beer hybrid becomes super apparent. Thin, yet creamy mouth feel with light, prickly carbonation until about half way through the taste when the grape juice makes the carbonation stop dead in it's tracks. The 'beer' starts off feeling like a beer and half through it finishes naked and clean like a wine.

Overall: Yet another utterly unique ale(?) from Dogfish Head. I really enjoyed this beer and it is a A very successful marriage of both the wine and beer worlds. Would recommend it to any beer and wine lover equally. This is going to be in my refrigerator quite often.

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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 Doc_Hops
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours a very pale greenish yellow that actually resembles Sauvignon Blanc. Head is bright white; fluffy at first and then slowly disappears.

S- Very sweet and yeasty to begin. Definitely indicative of a saison but with a big hit of green grapes and a faint hint of green apples.

T- The best way I can describe it is like a wine gone a good way? Really interesting here. Almost like I poured a basic saison with a basic white white and this came out. Lots of grape notes and citrus notes paired with some interesting yeasty/ spice notes. Very complex and very different.

M- Very light bodied. Not much weight to it at all. Goes down quite smooth.

O- I like this beer. Very different than anything I've tried before I can say that. I think this beer might do better with some more time. I've got a few more bottles that I'm going to let sit for a while. If it chemically is anything like a wine, that leads me to believe it will definitely get better with age. But overall, very cool, very interesting.

Serving type- 750ml bottle poured into a wine glass. Thanks for reading.

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

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

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

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a 13.5oz Libbey Tulip glass.

A- Pours a crystal clear golden with a white, frothy 3-finger head. Carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass. Beautiful lacing remains as the brew is consumed.

S- Sweet/Tart/Sour fruits (Granny Smith apple, green grapes, pear, peach, lemon zest) and cloves are all represented.

T- Sweet up front with a moderate dry finish. Much like the aroma, Granny Smith apple, green grapes, pear and lemon zest are all detectable. Additionally, I am a tinge of sourness as the brew warms.

M- Very light and refreshing thanks to the high carbonation. Perfect to enjoy this on a hot summer day shared amongst friends.

O- This beer possess traits of a Saison (Hennepin), Belgian Tripel (La Fin Du Monde) and a sparkling wine. However, the extremely light body and delicate carbonation makes this concoction unique. Highly drinkable and a must for all fans of any of the aforementioned libations. Personally, I wish that the sourness was a bit more pronounced...something a bottle with some age might reveal. Very worthy.

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Photo of superspak
4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 2012B. Pours almost crystal clear golden straw color with a nice 1-2 finger white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice small cap that lasts. Some very nice soapy lacing clings to the glass, with a good amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of big grape, pear, lemon, grass, herbal, bread, floral, earth, clove, and light funkiness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good complexity. Taste of big lemon, grape, pear, apple, herbal, floral, earth, bready grain, grass, funk, and light spiciness. Light tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of grape, lemon, tart apple, earth, herbal, bread, and light spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity and balance of flavors; with a nice funky tartness in the background that compliments the flavor profile perfectly. Zero cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and body; with a slightly slick and quite crisp mouthfeel that is very nice. No cloying sweetness at all. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely outstanding experimental saison from Dogfish Head! Incredible balance of flavors with great complexity; and extremely smooth to drink. Really loved this one.

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

Thanks to Rutager for this one.

A: 3/4" white bubbly head that dissipated quickly and left a nice lacing over straw coloured liquid with excellent clarity.

S: It smells like a funky saison and old dried out red wine bottles. Kind of strange.

T: Saison barnyard funk meets white grape juice. Some wheat in the background.

M: Medium viscosity and a medium level of fine carbonation. Somewhat dry finish.

O: The best American Saison I have tried. Very drinkable, and very much in the style of Fantome Saison.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fresh, dry, musty pinot gris nose; very nice pure-yellow pils colors; extremely clean, clarion-tart sweetness, ultimately mild yet concentrated and piquant. A very tasty, refreshing experiment, with a hint of wildness but a very hemmed-in—almost, dare I say, "normal"—amount of experimentation. Good reverence for dry, bright whites—never thick enough to feel like a wit—ensconced in the flesh of a pale pils.

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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 da_beers
4.39/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

My folks sent me this when they had dinner with the co-owners of Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, WA. I was more than happy to taste it!

A - Pours light golden like a dark champagne, white fizzy head of about a finger. Crazy carbonation bubbles coming up.

S - Smells of champagne and grape and a light malt. Sourness of grape tickles nose.

T - Very unique, appley mix with white grapes. Its heavier than champagne, but the carbonation is spot on. Sweet and tart all together, nice balance.

M - Carbonation tickles the palate, light body, finishes very cleanly. Finishes a bit winey and warm.

O - So unique, good saison, very drinkable.

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

750mL, 2012.

Pours a crystal clear, effervescent yellow-gold. Spotty lacing, decent retention.

The aroma is full of grape, melon and a funky yeast character reminiscent of fine cheese. A semi-sharp acidity also comes through.

The flavor is incredibly wine-like at first, and I feel like I'm drinking a dry, sparkling white wine. Then the bitterness kicks in on the finish, which is bone-dry but haunted by bready malts, reminding me this is beer. Acidic, with vinous notes and also sour apple and melon. Pretty funky as well, with a behind-the-scenes Saison character. The mouthfeel is well carbonated and medium-light.

A great attempt at fusing beer and wine, and also one of the best offerings, if not THE best, I've had from Dogfish Head.

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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 Greywulfken
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Dogfish Head are masters of beer innovation and experimentation - and one of my top 5 American brewers. It also makes their beers hard to classify and review in a style-specific way, so I just have to go with my reactions to the beer as a stand-alone style of beer.

A: clear pale gold in a tulip glass, a moderate white head of fizz; motes of lace speckled the glass; tiny bubbles streamed endlessly from the bottom of the glass

S: pinot grigio and pilsner - white wine grapes and pale ale hops and yeasts - floral, bright, tart

T: if the goal here was to meld white wine and pale ale: mission accomplished. Crisp, tart grape flavors; slightly bitter, bright hops, and wild yeasty flavors

M: light bodied, effervescent; again, wine-like, but with a beery feel, too

O: this guys are sure-fire - I loved it - would buy it again, and it must pair brilliantly with food - this is a great (white) wine substitute for the beer drinker. Want to buy a beer for a wine-lover? Want to buy a wine for beer-lover? This is it.

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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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