Positive Contact | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
1,097 Ratings
Positive ContactPositive Contact

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Witbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Positive Contact is the second batch of the Imperial Belgian-Style Wheat beer that Sam and Ben brewed a couple months back. For this batch, we stepped up the spice and cider additions. Instead of 200 lbs of apples, Ben pressed 300 lbs of organic Fuji apples for a total addition of 25 gallons of fresh pressed cider, which was added to the whirlpool in order to really bring out the cider character. The amount of cilantro was nearly quadrupled with 4 lbs total, which was pureed with a portion of the cider and then added after the boil was done. The cayenne was doubled, but added directly before the beer was transferred from the kettle to the fermenter in an effort to minimize the burn while increasing the flavor and aroma contributed. A different type of wit yeast was used and then fermented slightly cooler to keep the yeast character minimal and act as a supporting role to the main players the cider and spices. Lastly, this batch was boiled for less time than the original batch, leaving the beer with a lighter straw color than the amberish hue of batch #1.

Overall, Positive Contact is characterized by its bright spritzy cider character and autumnal herbal quality derived from the cilantro, cayenne, and yeast.

19 IBU

Added by THECPJ on 12-28-2011

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Reviews: 214 | Ratings: 1,097
Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pale gold, pretty foggy with definite sediment visible. Fantastic head- creamy, velvety, great retention, good sticky lacing.

S: Crisp apples, spice and pepper heat is lurking back there.

T: All at once I get apple, light pepper spice, some minerality, and general herbaciousness. Works decently well, the mineral/earthy notes muddle it a little. I'm also detecting some baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg); not sure where they came from, but with the apple they work pretty darn well. Some sweetness present, not as much as other DF offerings, surprisingly.

M: Full bodied, and pretty mouth-drying.

O: A well-crafted beer, each flavor was distinct and pretty clear, although that earthy minerality/chalkiness took away from it somewhat. I'm surprised this one worked, the ingredients are pretty diverse, but somehow melded well. A good novelty tasting.

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Photo of thedoubler55
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Clear golden yellow in color, with a slight off white head at the top that left a tiny bit of lacing around the glass.

S: Lots of banana and tropical fruit up front with a little lemon zest, pretty nice nose overall.

T: Bit of vanilla and banana right off the bat, lots of tropical fruit though gives it that sweetness throughout.

M: Lots of carbonation, and a bit sticky, goes down smooth nonetheless.

O: Overall not a bad beer, I had this on tap at the Dogfish Brewery, a simple beer with high abv.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 4/7/2014 at Doherty’s Ale House, in Warwick, RI served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a light gold color, with a large foamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains Belgian yeast, wheat, citrus, spice, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out very bready with a hearty malt character and flavors of wheat and Belgian yeast. Then some mildly sweet flavors of citrus, bananas, caramel and spices come in. The hops presence is mild but complementary and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bready and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, good stronger representation of style, this is a solid flavorful beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of Ian_B
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I love the graphics on the bottle. The beer itself is a nice, translucent yellow-gold with a head that thins quickly.

Apart from the wheat, apple is most prominent on the nose; nice and cider-like with some spices and Belgian yeasts. Not sure if I can catch the cilantro but I believe it just blends well.

Awesome, cider-like Belgian that has nice, light flavours with a sweet, herbal taste to it. The cilantro balances the flavour amazingly and the cayenne adds a beautiful earthiness/spice throughout, with the heat coming in just slightly toward the finish.

Light body. Smooth but with a dry, tingly carbonation. 9% ABV is very well disguised.

This is a fantastic beer. Try it, buy more, and pray they start bottling this in six-packs because this is incredibly drinkable.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

very interesting beer, somewhat of a beer and cider hybrid, which isn't as common as it maybe should be. fuji is a great choice of apple to go with this strong blonde ale. clean looking, with a soapy inch of white head. it smells interesting, more apple heavy than anything, and i honestly don't get any cayenne pepper. maybe a little bit of spices, but more cider type than heat type for me. the taste is similarly apple driven without being sweet. i mean, its still beer first, no doubt, which i appreciate, but its most flavorful adjunct is by far the apples. juicy and fresh, this takes me to fall, with a pronounced spice finish, but again, hard to place it as cayenne at all, which i also don't particularly mind. the feel is the best feature. its so creamy, like it came from a nitro tap, its full bodied, but almost puffy on my palate, and it swallows clean. amazing. also surprisingly well hidden abv. another weirdo beer from dogfish, but this one is far more successful than others. really top quality stuff, and i can't imagine a beer/cider fusion coming out any better than this one.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light gold to hazy honey (SRM 4-5) with a thin, creamy head that lasts quite a while, leaving a fine coating of lace on a Dogfish Head fisheye pint.

The aroma is reminiscent of chopped cilantro, with honey sweetness and peppery yeast that warms to show off floral notes. Throughout, one can discern fresh apple juice and dry straw.

Fresh and spicy, with some fruity apples. Sweet and astringent with a finish that lingers. Warming brings out dryness and light acidity.

A medium to light body with a woolly texture and sharp carbonation. The finish is exceptionally dry and alcohol, while evident, is under control.

This is a fine, relaxing beer to be enjoyed with friends and hearty laughter during a hot summer afternoon.

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Photo of hops202
3.42/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a dogfish Spiegelau glass.

Decent look upon first pour. Smell is very similar to a hard cider. Taste is very crisp and cider like as well but than followed by a punch of yeast, maybe even the slightest bit sour at the end. Still very light and drinkable for a beer of 9% ABV. Dogfish can hide their alcohol well - much like a "designated driver."

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Photo of Chilly444
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

So far my favorite Dogfish Head brew. Who knew you could mask the 9%ABV so well!? I buy one of these maybe once a month for a little treat. I believe this is one of the staples of a good craft beer...and how cool is it that dan the automator was involved? Really awesome is the answer.

A - Very light yellow with a slight haze, foamy head, and crazy slow moving thick lacing.

S - Smells like cilantro and fuji apples with a back end of roasted light malt.

T - Unbelievable. Its a taste journey with layers that are very seperated. This beer does not have balance at all, but the flavor waves come in a very interesting form from start to finish that makes this quite a unique brew. It starts with a very natural tasting sweet fuji apple, makes its way into the malt and roasted farro, and the second it leaves your mouth leaves a very natural cilantro taste. You need to taste it to believe it.

M - Awesome! It feels great in your mouth because the taste it so unique. But to answer the question its very bubbly and light bodied.

O - Do you like Dogfish Head? Then what are you waiting for! Try this.

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Photo of travolta
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

App: piss yellow, creamy champagne head. Thick lacing.

Nose: sweet banana and cider. Green pepper, cinnamon. Sourdough notes.

Taste: perfectly crisp, sparkling cider, a little yeasty. A tiny bit of hotness on the tongue.

Notes: Reviewed at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena waiting at the bar for Amanda in 2012.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, the beer was a clear gold color with a medium-sized white head. There was a bit of lace.

The aroma was mostly that of apple cider. There was some peppery spice and some grassy hops.

Mostly cider in the taste. Grassy hops. The pepper showed up late, and left an aftertaste which was not unpleasant.

Crisp and light. An easy drinking beer.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #67 (August 2012):

LOOK: Golden, slight haze, incredible mountainous foam head

SMELL: Phenolic (gummy and mildly medicinal), nutty, cilantro, floral, Belgian-y

TASTE: Incredibly smooth and creamy, semi-viscous, fresh, sweet apples, candy, alcohol, cilantro, grass, light cayenne pepperiness, grain, nutty, lingering phenols

Food meets beer. Literally, but no chewing required. Brewed with Dan the Automator (Deltron 3030) using Fuji cider, slow-roasted farro, cayenne and fresh cilantro, and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. Except for being bit too sweet, this is an incredible display of collaboration and creativity.

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Photo of chinchill
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle (2013?) served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours a clear, deep golden color with a thin, weak head.

Aroma: There's a lot going on here. Spicy and interesting with a clear presence of apples, but the total is not entirely appealing to me, due in no small part to the occasional hint of cider vinegar.

Flavor: again complex with some ephemeral nuances. The Belgian Wit style and the use of apples do come out clearly. The warmth from the cayenne pepper is rather subtle.

M: Medium body and tinglingly carbonation.

O: This unusual, creative beer is a success, with a nicely crafted use of cilantro, apple cider, cayenne pepper and other unusual beer ingrediants producing a complex, interesting, fruity and distinctive blend that is well balanced (given the goal of creating a cider/beer hybrid) and still lets the underlying Belgian Wit character shine thru. Recommended.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-ale brewed with fuji apple cider and spices, slow roasted farro, cayenne and fresh cilantro.

A: Pale peach-orange pour with a glass filled sense of slowly ascending carbonation bubbles. The head is a dull egg shell color, strongly holding at 2 fingers high with a frothy texture. Lacing is thick and spongy with a very high coverage rate.

S: Aroma of fresh apple cider, hint of sweet cinnamon mixing with a faint hint of cayenne pepper.

T: Flavor of sweet cinnamon and lightly toasted cayenne pepper skin. Soft heat, apple mash, hint of pepper, and cider. Fruity with wheat and pale grain backing with some chocolate support. Lightly dry apple skin, spicy apple cider-pepper spicing on the close.

M: Soft, creamy mid-range body depth.

O: Overall nice gentle flow of flavors and complexity. Abv% of 9.0 is very nicely hidden. Very smooth and polished drinking experinece. Again another dfh beer that is hard to define and squeeze into a confined style parameter but tasty within itself.

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Photo of PaulyB83
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a snifter

A- Straw color with a light apple cider look to it. Small white head that dissipated to a ring.

S- Getting lots of the Belgian yeast and apple with a slight herbal character. Haven't experienced this cilantro and pepper aroma in a beer before and it is quite puzzling but not offensively so.

T- Get that white ale yeast mixed with the sweet apple that is in the aroma. Getting the a burn, hard to tell if it's from the alcohol or the pepper. Glad the cilantro is a bit subdued, it usually tastes very soapy to me but not getting that here.

M- Nice light body, but for that big flavor that comes with what is typically a pretty refreshing style.

O- Glad I had this on tap, most of these big bottle DFH brews are just too hit or miss for me to shell out about 15 bucks only to find out I hate it. I could see purchasing this again so long as I've got a buddy to split it with. This is the second beer with hot pepper in it that I've had and still not sure that it's for me. I really enjoyed apple and Belgian yeast combo though, maybe DFH should break into the cider business.

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Photo of fourstringer
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Duvell tulip and Brewer's Art goblet with a moderately gentle hand. No date on the bottle, but I believe I've had it the cellar for at least 6 months.

A: Hazy golden yellow with 3 fingers of tight, white head. Nice retention. Moderate lacing. Looking pretty good.

S: Yeast. Citrus fruit. Pineapple. Apple juice. Whiff of cayenne. Not getting much cilantro. Smells sweet with a tropical fruit presence.

T: Moderately spicy sweetness with a fade into a light hop bitterness. A subtle cayenne heat lingers - could be more. A bit of alcohol warmth in the stomach, but pretty much no presence on the palate. Apple. Belgian-type yeast. Tropical fruit. Not wildly complex, but tasty. Occasionally I'm catching a fleeting off-flavor I can't put my finger on. Definitely on the sweet side, but is extremely smooth for 9% ABV.

M: Moderate to high carbonation. A bit lighter body than I'd prefer, but it's all working fairly well.

O: This isn't a tripel? Witbier, you say? Huh. Not getting a whole lot of the spice, coriander, wheat-type flavors that I associate with a wit. Regardless, this is definitely one of my favorite DFH rotating releases. A majority of them miss the mark IMO, but I'd contend this one is pretty successful. I've had it fresh, but I believe it's better with a bit of age (6-12 months).


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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.39/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

11 ounce pour - $9.00 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: A hazy, dark golden appearance, with a slim coating of white suds.

Smell: Slightly grainy malts with a musty, yeasty apple-scented aroma, some additional fruitiness, various fragrant spice notes, and sharper alcohol whiffs.

Taste: A flash of sugared sweetness overtop grainy barley with some light doughy hints and wheat malt. Apples, along with additional orchard fruits blended as best it can with rose hips, cardamon, tangy green grapes, fresh herbs, drying phenols -- it's a bit soapy, perfumy at times. Additional maltiness with the sustained spices on the warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Overall: PC is a beverage that desperately needs to be paired with food. Me, I was fairly neutral about this contact.

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Photo of Radome
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Orangish gold color; clear, but a hint of haziness. Head is off-white, initially thick, but receding to a thin, but complete velvety layer. Lacing is rock solid and permanent.

S - Strong grainy, spicy aroma reminiscent of a saison. Lemon note. Strong Belgian wit yeast smell. Alcohol and hops are not detectable.

T - Very malty, with crisp grain and wheat. Complex yeast flavors like lemon, cloves and a hint of smoke. A bit of hot pepper in the finish.

M - Moderate to thick body. Fluffy, creamy mouthfeel. Some alcohol heat. Moderate hops bitterness.

O - A big, complex beer that is somewhere between a saison and a wit or grand cru. Despite it's heft and obvious alcohol, it is drinkable and keeps you wanting more.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - A soft yellow in appearance, the beer was topped with a bright white head. Carbonation appeared to be reasonably high.

Smell - This definitely smells like a witbier. A grungy kind of wheat aroma, there was nothing particularly exciting about the aroma.

Taste - On the initial taste, one notes a dry apple taste. If you think of granny smith apples, these apples had an even drier finish. Also present were some aspects of cinnamon and spice. The beer is mildly peppery and grows progressively sour toward the finish.

Mouthfeel - A high level of carbonation helps to reinforce the idea of dry apples. The spice is somehow allowed to linger longer.

Overall - I am a fan of witbiers, but there was not much that would make me want to buy this one again. Boulevard's Two Jokers is the domestic standard bearer for this style in my eyes. Positive contact can't measure up to Two Jokers.

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Photo of DrinkinBoy
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Has a great bright golden color with a fluffy white head with great retention.

S - This is where the beer really starts to show its unique aspects. Without knowledge of its unique ingredients, one might think it is bad. The nose gives off some heavy apple notes with a distinct higher alcohol burn.

T - Although a little offputting, the flavor is again very unique. Here the sourness of the apple and other ingredients give a very unique profile. They stand out at the beginning, but work into a nice softer ale flavor towarde the middle and finish.

M - Great carbonation, and a delicate lighter mouthfeel for beers in the categor of "big bottle beers".

O - This is beer is definitely worth a try. It really helps define DFH's slogan of "off-centered ales for off-centered people." This beer is anything but normal, and very hard to categorize.

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Photo of farrago
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a big, airy head, well over three fingers, bleached white, dissolves at a speedy clip, very little stickiness so not much lacing appearing. Transparent with a dilute yellow to orange coloration, quite a few fat and lazy bubbles rising within, looks as much as a cider as a beer. The nose is both crisp and sweet, the apples come through as well as cinnamon spice, there is a leafy spiciness but not sure I’d peg it as cilantro, some orange zest and peach to apricot fruit too, yeast and pie dough, no hops of note, has very good staying power which is pleasing in place of the missing complexity. Full-bodied, super creamy and coats the entire mouth. The carbonation is all fluffiness, no cleansing aspect. The apples supported by banana, peach, pear and that same cinnamon, nutmeg spice. The cayenne comes through as an afterthought, muted. Even the flavors are sweet the texture gets dry by the finish so any yeastiness becomes truncated. More enjoyable colder, not that it gets flabby as it warms but the components start to blur. No problem throwing it back but leaves you with little desire for a second or third glass.

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

Dogfish Head "Positive Contact"
750 ml, corked and caged.
$13.99 @ Wegmans market, Malvern, PA

Appearance: Hazy golden/straw-colored body. Short-lived bright white head. Minimal to average lacing. Looks like a glass of Champagne.

Smell: Pepper. Chalky/herbal. Sugary wheat/vanilla. Yeast. Spice. Apple. Sugar. Soft Phenol. Mineral.

Taste: As the flavor suggests with the addition of some white grape, alcohol, and candy sugar. Interesting. The combination of the tartness of the cider and the phenols from the yeast gives me an impression not unlike that of a wild ale. It's complex, and yet everything's on the surface (as opposed to a heavy barleywine where the complexities lie within layers of malt). Refreshing.

Mouthfeel: Medium and spritzy.

Overall: Unique. Easy to drink and refreshing, but also surprisingly complex.

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Got another Goblet fill of this at the Beermuda. Quite a steal for $4.50 since bottles of the stuff were 12+ dollars.

A - Bright golden in hue clear with a 1/2 of head that settles to some excellent lacing.
S - Smell is sweet but not getting any apples. Mostly dominated by wheat and Belgium yeast that gives way to candied sugars which may also be the apples.
T - For so much apples I only got a mild sweetness from them and no pepper flavor. Just tasted like an imperial Witbier with again strong wheat and sweet Belgium sugars and yeasts. I am sure the apple process does attribute to how smooth the flavors are so the beer is exceptional.
M - Wow no freaking way is this 9%! So smooth and refreshing but not overly bubbly like a champagne. Dangerously drinkable.

Overall I was impressed with this beer for how tasty the flavors were and how well the ABV was hidden. Wish the bottles were not so expensive I would have grabbed a few.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - a slight haze to an otherwise golden straw colored beer. A nice pillowy head of white foam with plenty of creaminess and stick.

Aroma - not much going on. A pilsnery kind of grain smell, a touch of cayenne. Interesting but very light.

Taste - very Belgianesque. A yeasty predominance on the first sip, slightly sweet, which I presume is the cider because I'm tasting no apples. A little abv strength. Like an imperial wit would taste. Interesting aftertaste, I think I'm picking up the farro, an unusual roasty flavor I'm not familiar with. I don't taste the cayenne but I feel it. A nice blend not only of taste but also of sensation. Ends cleanly with some warming in the belly.

Mouthfeel - pleasant smoothness and crisp carbonation makes for a refreshing brew. Big body, sort of like a malt liquor but not so slick.

Overall - pricey but a tasty bottle. Very easy to drink and enjoy.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a golden orange color with tons of carbonation bubbles seen streaming through the brew and a one finger white head floating atop the brew. As the brew sits, the head fades very slowly fades leaving a good level of streaky lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the brew is very sweet of fruit, with the aromas heavy of apple cider, pear and some tropical fruits. Along with these aromas are spice smells of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and cayenne A little bit of an herbal smell as well as a little bit of a bready malt smell are there as well to round out the aroma.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet apple cider flavor mixed with some spice flavors of cinnamon and nutmeg. As the taste advances some yeast and a little bit of clove and coriander come to the tongue. The sweeter flavors loss a little bit of ground as some light tart apple cider flavors come to the taste. Some grassy and herbal flavors work there in as well as a little bit of wheat and a moderate cayenne spice toward the end to leave a nicely spiced cider flavor on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the brew is average to a little on the lighter side for a brew of 9 % abv with a carbonation level that is a bit on the higher side. The higher carbonation is rather nice for the cider characteristics of the brew making it a rather refreshing brew even in light of its higher abv.

Overall – A rather tasty take on a strong wit beer/cider hybrid. Rather refreshing and a good one to give a try to.

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Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear golden color with a modest foamy head that leaves some splashy lace behind

Smell: Fuji apple and sweaty feet with a soapy aspect

Taste: Apple cider flavors, up front, with the cayenne adding heat in the middle; soapy flavors, after the swallow, though the cider flavors linger underneath

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This is one of the Dogfish "misses" for me; really don't care for what the cilantro brings - normally I like cilantro but I am certainly not picking it up in this beer

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Positive Contact from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.86 out of 5 based on 1,097 ratings.
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