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 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 BeerDawgs
3.64/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

L - Pilsner yellow, with clarity and not much head

S - Slightly fruity and sweet, grapes for sure. Not much else.

T - It tastes like a fruit beer, not getting much saison or strong ale. Grapes. ABV definitely hidden.

F - Light bodied and thin.

O - It tastes like a spiked grape juice.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a fairly-clear golden color with a nice white head that sticks around before falling and leaving a good amount of lacing. The nose brings forward some nice saison yeast along with white wine and grapes. Also there is a bit of light citrus character. The flavor melds spice and white-wine character fairly well, adding in a bit of acidity. The mouthfeel is fairly light and has a lightly-acidic finish that is nice and dry. Experimental for sure, but certainly well made.

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Photo of Beer4Baltimore
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - crystal clear bright yellow with a two finger head and plenty of visible fizz.
S - mild earthy tones with light grape notes.
T - fizzy light beer taste up front with a big punch of white wine sweetness/tartness that lingers along with an alcoholic burn.
M - on the light syrup side despite the high carbonation.
D - too much of an odd brew to be an easy drinker.
The Saison label must be a catch all title for this one. It's quite interesting but would not be a regular purchase for me. Likely the same with others, thus it is a rotating brew.

Improves with warming/breathing and when a little cheese and crackers are added.

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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 jayhawk73
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Dogfish Head Pub in Falls Church:

Pours a light gold color, very clear with a small white head. Almost looks like a white wine, or sparkling cider. The nose is very wine-like, grapes, citrus, yeast and a little funk. Very light in character. The taste follows suit- very interesting wine/beer love child. None of the 9% abv is evident. Feel is light, heavily carbonated, and has a dry finish. I enjoyed this experiment- very interesting take on the style. Cheers.

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Photo of NickG1202
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an over sized wine glass from a 750

Appearance was a soft, hazy, yellow with high carbonation with slight to no real lacing.

It smelled of a musty fruity concoction that quickly fades into a wine laden flavor fest. The taste is just as musty as the smell and has a super long finish. I still taste my first sip three minutes in.

They mouth feel is light and delicate. Truly seems like the champagne of beers.

Overall an other solid beer from Sam and his crew in Delaware. For me a tad sweet and a little too much must but hey...some find that irresistible. I would drink again perhaps on a warm summers eve. Be warned, at 9% it'll get ya. Cheers!!

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

- Brewed with botrytis infected viognier grape must.

A: Rapid efferversce of micro-bubbles rise in a bead on a string fashion with a rapid transit in a sparkling lemon gold body. Creamy frothy whipped head shows a finger high statue and a steady hold of retention leaving a big sloppy mesh of lacing on the vessel.

S: Sour grape mash, fresh raisins, um yeah no surprises here, a low to moderate state of delivery.

T: Flavor was wine like, sour grapes, acidic, but seems to maintain a nice balance and level of the infected grapes, not overly done or obnoxious but easy for the sake of drinkability hitting that sweet spot.

M: Good sense of carbonation is about, syrupy slickness texture with a strong medium malt support for body.

O: Interesting take, sour grapes? not at all, a different take per style, but probably best split on the bomber. The alcohol doesnt seem to interfere and is well behaved for its abv.

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Photo of damngoode
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A nice surprise. I didn't bother to read the label or the ba listing but at first taste I immediately thought, wow, that's a weird pils! I generally don't enjoy saisons, so this was an experience for me. Much hyped, I first heard of Noble Rot while I was working with Napa Smith Brewery. I like that this beer is light, bold, fruity, crisp, funky, and boozy! A whole lot packaged into one beer. I think the grape additions give a nice companion for the pilsner flavor. Light and slightly tart, this is an excellent beer to break up a summer afternoon marathon. Would love to pair this with some funky or sharp white cheeses. It grows on you!

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Photo of hoody711
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My second review, collaborative effort with the wife. Picked this bottle up from a little shop in West Wrigleyville.

A - pours a pale yellow reminiscent of the garbage beers I drank in college. 1 finger head that recedes to about 1/8 inch for the rest of the beer. Medium carbonation that lasts for a while. Good lacing. Besides the color, a pretty beer.

S - grassy, saison-y, sweet and fruity. Interesting, but nothing special IMO.

T - yep, that's white wine. Good lord. Smooth and velvety up front, leading to very sweet white wine taste. Just at the moment you think you can't take anymore the sweetness fades and leaves a tart, mild alcohol burn behind.

M - rich at first, then crisp, sharp and tart, and stays there.

O - love trying DFH creations. Not my favorite style of beer but they have definitely come up with something original. Not sure I'll buy it again but it was very interesting and I enjoyed drinking it. Buy a bottle to share with a friend.

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

A snifter at Al's.

A: The lightest, clearest, stillest saison on record. A light yellow, watered down apple juice (or maybe white grape juice would be more appropriate) hue that is devoid of carbonation. Really, it just sits there like a newborn baby, unable to move itself.

S: The first sniff delivers a very white grape aroma, juicy with a fleeting sweetness. General mustiness, thank you yeast, also leaves an imprint (especially near the finish). The grapes and their wine-like zest are the driving force, leading the ale somewhere unusual.

T: The saison base, perhaps just a catch-all for this Belgian-styled creation, is lost behind the vinous character. Sweet white grapes, juicy with an edge, lead into the Belgian yeast finish. At the end, mustiness wins out with a soft funk (I hesitate to use the work funk here, it's not a sour). The body is very light, nicely carrying the grape flavors. Interesting.

M: The mouthfeel has plenty of sweet white grapes without the dryness that comes with the wine - a sweet-bodied ale.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of 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 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 Florida9
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Crystal clear golden straw yellow in color. Forms a fizzy white head that doesn't bother to stick around for very long, reducing to absolutely nothing, though the beer itself remains visibly carbonated. No lacing.

S: Aroma is very vinous and is much more "wine-like" than "beer-like." This one reminds me of some sort of cross between a buttery chardonnay and a minerally pinot grigio, though there is a faint, sweet, floral quality that doesn't fit either of the styles.

T: The taste is just...odd. Again very vinous with a minerally white wine on the start. Lightly sweet. Then more white wine. Actually, I'm really not getting much "beer" or Saison out of this one at all. Slightly acidic and grapey.

M: Light bodied. Heavier carbonation. Slightly acidic (but not sour).

O: This beer reminds me of a really shitty demi-sec champagne. And while its commendable that this isn't a shitty champagne, I'm not sure that a beer that tastes like a shitty champagne is any better than a shitty champagne in the first place. So, like many of Dogfish Head's beers, this one just goes to prove that saying that just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.

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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 zaphodchak
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A finger of frothy white head that dissipates, light slightly amber white-wine looking body.

Nose is pretty intense, I get a lot of metal, and some kinda stanky (rot?) smell.

Taste is incredibly wine-y (to be expected, it's 49% wine), like a dry chardonnay. Tart, but with some sweetness to balance.

Mouthfeel is smooth but with a dry, wine-like finish.

Given the must that's supposed to create extra sweetness, this remains very citric and tart, and in fact quite dry.

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Photo of Roose13
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass

A: Fizzy clear yellow with rising bubbles. Two finger paper white head.

S: sour grapes, citrus

T: Sour grapes, pale like a lager, very bready. It's got a real strong sour kick right away.

M: Carbonated like a sparkling wine.

Overall: My first real saison. Something different, not really my thing though. I think it's a good beer that's better shared with friends.

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

Noble Rot. Served in Duchesse goblets.

Very pale straw color with a bleachy head that dissipated to a gassy film. Great clarity.

Smells semi-dry and vinous like pinot gris with some woodiness and barnyard funk. Smells like wet hay, fermented grapes, apricot, and some nuttiness.

Signature DFH ale flavor, reminiscent of their Ancient Ales. Tangy and tart fruitiness (white grapes, pit fruits, gooseberry), proud yeast character, thin hop bitterness (citric and floral), and wet feel (tangy and a bit too sweet, not enough carb to handle the acidity). Some white peach, wildflowers, dead grass, rainwater, and woody chardonnay.

This was fantastic to try. I wonder how this beer would evolve. Interestingly, one of the only imperial bottles from DFH that does not say 'Ages Well'. Worth a try.

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Photo of farrago
3.74/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bleached white head, very airy and delicate, starts out over three fingers when you pour put resolves down quickly with lots of dimpling across the surface, not a large amount of lacing but what’s there is very sticky and longlasting. The liquid is a pale yellow to orange hue, shiny and fully transparent with a few bubble beads which sustain themselves well. The nose is sour and freshly penetrating, the wine component comes through clearly, boosting the florality as well as peach, apple, apricot, pear fruit, light banana, the citrus is a mix of lemon and white grapefruit, there’s a solid amount of ginger, coriander like spices, more leesy than yeasty, displays good lift given its relative heaviness in your nostrils. Medium-bodied, even sourer here with the addition of a strong grassiness alongside the elevating mixed citrus and unprocessed wheat and grains. You can make a better argument for yeastiness in the mouth, softens things a touch and supports the length of the apricot, peach, pineapple, green apple fruit. The baking spices take a step or two back from center stage. As it warms more of the pils qualities come out. The carbonation level is about where it should be, perhaps a little light. The funkiness is not dominant and, accounting for the overall sourness, the total experience is pretty clean. Good retronasal action after you swallow, extends presence.

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Photo of nimrod979
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours a crystal clear golden yellow with a two finger thick head. Long lasting foamy retention along with some lacing.

A wheaty saison yeast in the nose. Musty basement aromas. Slight fruity and floral notes.

Tart fruitiness throughout the flavor. Lemon and white wine flavors. It really reminds me of drinking a Pinot Grigio. Pilsner malts. A little yeasty with a good amount of funk with a tart finish.

Tart. Crisp. Medium bodied. Slight sour funky finish. Really does remind me of white wine in so many ways. Pretty good and interesting offering from DFH Ales.

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Photo of Mehinaman
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This is very good. Sweet, tart and refreshing. My only gripe is that maybe it is just a tad bit to sweet, but at the same time I expect it would taste great on a really hot summer day. Almost tastes like champagne more than beer

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Photo of jopezu
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

very pale straw, thin soapy head that poofs. nose; light biscuit & sweet white wine. taste; acidic and sweet white grape that finishes dry and tart. very one dimensional to be listed as a saison, but rounded out decently enough with a yeasty cracker flavor to the body. highly carbonated and would make a great dessert beer, or perfectly substitute a champagne for a beer drinker.

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

Light yellow, white head that disappears quickly, has lots of carbonation and is crystal clear.
I smell grapes and another aroma that I can only describe as earthiness.
Tart grapes, sweet, and another earthy funkiness. It is definitely an interesting beer.
Feels like champaign, light and effervescent. The carbonation makes it crisp and leaves a tingling sensation on my tongue.
This is a tasty beer that is not like anything I have tasted. I would be interested in having another one of these to age.

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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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Noble Rot from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 1,570 ratings.
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