Birra Etrusca | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Birra EtruscaBirra Etrusca

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is based on a beverage that may have been enjoyed by the Etruscans of Ancient Italy around 800 BC. A strong ale containing an Italian heirloom grain called Cappelli Senatore, along with pomegranate juice, raisins, and hazelnut flour, together with 3 types of honey: chestnut, wildflower, and clover. Spiced with several hop flowers, Gentian root and tree resin (think Myrrh) in the kettle.

Added by billab914 on 12-09-2012

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Reviews: 146 | Ratings: 785
Photo of rdilauro
2.24/5  rDev -40.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I love Dogfish Head beers because they have never been afraid to branch out and do something a bit different.
I have been on a quest to taste all of their Ancient Series....
I could have passed on this one.

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Photo of rudzud
2.45/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bought a bottle at Julio's...what a mistake. Poured in to my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a crystal clear honey hue with a one finger fizzy head that fades quickly to leave no lacing and a minimal halo. Bleh.

S - Yep, goddamnit. A combination of fruit leather and real leather. Fermented honey sweetness, fruit skin, and earth.

T - Taste is super sweet, with lots of old stale raisin, super musty basement/earth/dirt, syrupy, and herbal.

M - Mouthfeel is nicely carbonated, helps keep the syrup up off the tongue.

O - Overall this was a waste of money. Absolutely awful. I like some of DFH's Ancient Ales but this is not one of them. Not even close.

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Photo of Sabtos
2.57/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

What in the world is going on with this? This is like the most extreme version of a Christmas ale I've ever had, and it's not even advertised as such. There is so much spice in this it's beyond comprehension. As I've said with other DFH ancient ales, they didn't always do things better in the past.

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Photo of champ103
2.57/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

On tap at Hay Merchant in Houston.

A: Pours a clear amber/red. A one finger white head forms, and fizzles out in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: The kitchen cabinet. Pepper, other nondescript spice, honey, light fruity flavors. Grainy, sugary, flour, literally powdered flour. No structure, just a mess.
T: Again, a mess. Lets see, black pepper, honey, fruit, corn, sugar, again flour. Like the stuff you cook with. What the hell is this? An aspirin like powdery flavor, I assume more freaking flour...what ever.
M/D: A medium body that is low on the carbonation and thin. Very powdery and chalky. While the alcohol is nowhere to be seen, this is just not something I care to drink.

I am glad I only tried a small snifter, and did not pony up for the ridiculous bomber. An absolute mess, and I have a hard time believing this has any resemblance to any "ancient ale." Just a waist.

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Photo of BlazinPhoenixLeopardLexy
2.59/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Just not to my pallet. I found it to be sour. With such beautiful ingredients listed, I didn't feel as it did any of them justice, just a mush of flavors.

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Photo of SavvyStudent
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Just by the copper appearance and sweet notes on the nose I thought this beer was going to be another interesting find from DFH. Unfortunately this is out of bounds for my liking as the pomegranate, raisin, tart profile is extremely sweet for me and not something I would drink again.

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Photo of mscudder
2.89/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter.

A - Copper hue carrying a full off-white head with below average retention and lacing.

S - Blend of spices, citrus, burnt wood and light alcohol. Smells like some refreshing aerosol!

T - Slightly sweet, deriving mostly from honey, among a slew of spices which fail to blend admirably.

M - Thin, somewhat chalky body, with pale carbonation. Much to be desired.

O - This beer is just an empty attempt to create something unique. Bland flavors meshed in something that is passable at best.

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Photo of Ryan011235
2.91/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a Delirium snifter on 12/23/12

Bottled in 2012A

Clear, dark amber color with rust and copper highlights. The head reaches just shy of two fingers before crackling away; it sounds like AM radio static. Very little in the way of retention; no lace.

Floral pollen, honey, pomegranate juiciness and herbal tones (I'm guessing the myrrh and gentian root) are the more appreciable of aromas. Hints of wheat and a touch of dough. This smells sweet but fairly clean. It takes some time and digging to find the raisin notes, but it adds a layer of depth.

The taste starts off sweet and sugary with notes of raisin and pomegranates. Honey overtones last throughout. The after taste has a lingering herbal bitterness. There is some fruity tanginess, too. The mid section heavy toasted wheat and some herb tones.

The body is somewhere between medium and full and somewhat sticky from sweetness. Carbonation is lively, but tapers off quickly.

Overall, this one isn't too bad but a little goes a long way. 750mls is way more than necessary. Dang, this really grows tiresome after a while.

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Photo of tectactoe
2.96/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a deep copper color, maybe some shade of amber. Light, ruby-red notes show up as the light passes through the translucent body. The foamy white head lasts for a few minutes, but then retains as a ring around the glass for the largest portion of the beer. The aroma is very unique - zesty and vibrant; fruity, somewhat tart, berries, wheat, grains, crispy, musky hops. Spices are abundant as well; ginger, coriander, pepper... I know none of these things are listed on the beer, but I really am picking up some ginger. Perhaps from the hodge-podge of stuff thrown into this one?

The flavor is fruit like the aroma leads you to believe; honey-coated cherries, strawberry, pomegranate, raspberries. Unfortunately, there is a bit of an off-flavored, medicinal twang that's coming out and gets stronger as the beer gets warmer. Similar to crushed vitamins, they leave a weird, residual, chalky feeling and taste on the palate. Luckily, however, there are so many other, random flavors going on, that this weird flavor doesn't completely kill the vibe. Tartness shows up about halfway through as it eventually turns into a bitter sweetness. Hop flavors are very slightly floral, but mostly ashy, musty, and dry. Some more ginger and spices in the flavor, but once again, undetectable as to exactly what they are. I don't taste any hazelnut like the label says, but the big wheat backbone is definitely there. This beer reminds me of a weird attempt at a fruity, American-made tripel or BSPA. Carbonated to the brim with a medium body.

I honestly can't decide if I like this beer or not. Some sips were okay. Others were very mediocre. It's definitely unique, and overall - it wasn't bad.... Well, at times it wasn't. I don't know, honestly. It just bounces around the walls a little bit too much. Not really worth the price in my opinion, either.

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Photo of teromous
2.99/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Murky tea appearance with a very small head that goes away to complete flatness. Zero lacing.

S: There's a mild spice scent, similar to sarsaparilla. Nothing fancy here, just some spice.

T: There's a lot going on here. Clearly the taste is the star of the show. There's a fruity quality to it...a bit like cherry. There's a huge spice flavor as well, a bit like cinnamon, then there's a lot of clove flavor. It's interesting to read the ingredients on the bottle after tasting. Perhaps the sarsaparilla I smelled is gentian root, and the cherry flavor I tasted was actually the pomegranate juice? It could be. It has some very good and strong flavors, but I feel that some are much stronger than others. The flavors I described as "cinnamon" and "clove" (don't know if they used these) are very strong. I would have preferred it to be a bit more mellow.

M: The mouthfeel is fairly fleeting and doesn't have enough carbonation for a beer. After reading the bottle, it mentions that the beer pays homage to what might have been consumed before the arrival of wine. Could it be under-carbonated on purpose? Who knows. Drinkability is fairly low for me because of the quantity of spices.

O: Overall I thought the beer was interesting, but it's not something I would ever buy again. It's seemed interesting so I bought it, but I can't say I'm a fan. It reminds me of what an exotic perfume would taste like...I say taste because this doesn't have much scent to it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -20%

Draft: Poured a light amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of hazelnut and unrefined grain is more or less interesting. Taste is also dominated by unrefined grain with some strong notes of hazelnut with some residual sugars which is probably derived of the honey that was added to this beer. Body is light with medium carbonation and with no apparent alcohol. I appreciate all the historical research that went into this beer but not sure I really enjoy the final product enough to try this one again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle - $10.99 at Bullock's Wine & Spirits in Woodstock, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy, burnt umber-hued body with a very thin, very brief, white head.

Smell: This is your big shot, Etruscans. Tangy, cutting fruit notes with a noted perfumy, redolent floral quality, also some aromatic, savory wood and a fair amount of spice and alcohol. It smells like decorative, small-sized soaps you're not supposed to use in a guest bathroom. Or a candle with a non-specific moniker like "Autumnal Evenings" or "Sargassum's Interlude."

Taste: The tangy, lightly sourish fruitiness is foremost for me, of the added pomegranates and raisins. Honeyish sweetness, but, it's quite short-lived as some joining nutty, spicy, floral tones begin bumbling around the flavor like drunk perverts on a dance floor. Warming, tangy, spiced finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: These droll historical renditions peak my interest every time and always make for a ripping good time. Chateau Jiahu was mighty fun. Didn’t we have one hell of a time with Midas Touch? I know, deep down, a bottle of Theobroma would be the jewel in any serious beer drinker's cellar. Now,

 1,197 characters

Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

750 ml capped bottle - bottled 6/17/13

clear orange rust color with cherry red highlights. white head fades instantly. herbal, earthy sweetness. a bit cloying. sweet, fruity. honey, golden raisins. needs more balance. thin body, the initial fizzy carbonation fades to a syrupy, sticky, feel.

overall - unique and interesting, but one's enough for me.

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Photo of billab914
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle poured into my Three Floyd's glass. It poured a darker copper color with a thin white lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

Aroma shows a lot of the crisp, tart, apple and grape flavors. It's got a strong herbal presence to it as well with some notes of ginger and peppercorns. The honey becomes more noticeable the more I get into it.

The taste has more of the fruit flavors coming through with apple and grape being the most noticeable. The finish especially leaves a lingering grape juice flavor. The herbal and spice component is a little more reserved in the taste but it still adds some interesting flavors. The honey again becomes more noticeable the more of it I drink.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall, it was a drinkable beer but not one I'd buy again. The grape and apple juice component was interesting and not bad tasting. I thought it actually came together relatively well for all the strange ingredients in it. It felt about as well balanced as it probably could be as well. As interesting and unique as it was, it just wasn't that good overall. Like most Dogfish Ancient Ale experiments, I finished it thinking that wad unique and interesting but I wouldn't want another.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

At the time of this review, this is #31 on the "Top Beers - Herbed / Spiced Beer" list on A pathetic list populated with mediocre and undrinkable "beers" such as this one. Served in an Dogfish Head signature happens. Not a repeat, it was interesting at first but these "ancient" ales are all vinous and sweet without much depth or character, and at best are guesses of what the product tasted like. How about you brew the beer with the appropriate technology as well, then you may have something.

Beer is clear and reddish ruby in color, nice off white head, low retention.

Aroma is sweet, almost cherry, a little peppery.

Beer is vinous and sweet with a woody / pencil shaving aftertaste that is a pretty off putting. I won't have this again.

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Photo of corby112
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a clear dark orange/golden copper color with mahogany edges and a one finger off-white head that immediately disappears. Nice color but has very pour retention with no head or lacing to speak of.

Musty, slightly spicy aroma with a prominent vinous dark fruit presence. Some earthy funk with barnyard and oak along with dank, resinous oils and pungent spice. Almost curry-like which I guess is coming from the myrrh. This is pretty strong in the nose but us countered by the dark fruit sweetness. Hints of raisin, plum, date and pomegranate countering the funk and musty spice.

On the fuller end of medium body with a surprising amount of carbonation considering how quickly it went flat even with an aggressive pour. Tastes very similar to the notes of the aroma with an even stronger vinous dark fruit presence than expected. Some earthy, musty funk along with strong peppery spice. Again, I'm guessing the myrrh is really standing out with an earthy, resinous flavor along with some peppery clove and cardamom. The pomegranate raisin and other dark fruit flavors stand out throughout the palate but are most prominent toward the back end, lingering long after the finish. The pomegranate and raisin sweetness is very prominent along with grape, dark cherry, currant and other dark berries. Kind of reminds me of a prunier barbera wine with strong peppery spice and slightly tart, musty funk. Overall, not the most flavorful beer but more interesting than some of the other ancient ales. I wouldn't order or buy it again but I enjoyed trying it.

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Photo of brentk56
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color capped by an impressive head of foam that leaves some dots and dashes behind

Smell: Beyond anything in the beer world that I have smelled before, this beer has some spices (the myrrh and gentian root, perhaps) that give it the smell of a Middle Eastern spice shop; the raisin and pomegranate are recognizable enough and there is a clear honey tone

Taste: Perhaps this would be a taste treat for the ancients, but I am glad to be living in the 21st century as the sweetness, the weird spices and the fruit flavors create a bizarre opening and it moves in a phenolic band-aid direction from which I cannot escape

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Another interesting experiment but a failure to my palate

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Photo of Jonada
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle served in a DFH Signature Glass

Appearance: Dark golden/copper color with 2 fingers of head that dissipated rather quickly. Slightly hazy in the glass.

Smell: Apple cider, belgian yeast spiciness, some clove, banana, hints of pomegranate. Smells interesting.

Taste: Apple, spice, honey, slightly tart, herbal. I'm not sure what it is, but there's something slightly "off" in the finish and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium/light body. High carbonation

Overall: This is...interesting. It's heavy on the apple and Belgian characteristics which I was not expecting based on the description. It's not bad, but it's definitely nothing special. Unless you're a big DFH fan, I'd probably recommend skipping this one, especially given the price.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had on tap at DFH. Review from notes.

A: Pours a rather clear ruby/brown color with no real head or lacing.

S: Sugary sweet, lots of honey and raisins. Its rather fruity.

T: Similarly sweet with a big honey flavor going on. There is some grape and raisin that comes in afterwards.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: Kind of what I expected it to be, another ancient ale that I don't really care for.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

The appearance was orange with some darker hues through it. The smell was full of earthy nutty notes but almost a pinot noir smell to it as well. The taste wasn't for me though with a lot of raisin and fruit flavors where I was hoping for more of the hazelnut and more heavy flavors. Still an interesting beer and it should be tried, but I don't see myself buying another.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.36/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This poured out as a clear looking brownish copper color (Bronze). The beer his a fizzy white head on top that leaves a moderate amount of lacing and some scattered retention on top. The sample I was given at the brewery was mis-labeled. We were told it was this beer but it was actually Theobroma. While at the Brewpub I ordered it again just to make sure and I was right that the guys giving the tour had the list mixed up. So anyway, the beer gives off some spicy herbal notes on the nose along with some sweetness from the honey and malt. The taste of the beer has an interesting mix of flavors ranging from moderate sweet herbal notes to some dry spices in the finish. The mouthfeel was pretty typical for what DfH puts out, it's lighter bodied and drinkable with a subtle carbonation to it. Overall it's a pretty good brew, not my favorite of the Ancient Ales but still not bad.

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Photo of hophugger
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly deep gold color with decent head and lacing. Aromas of dark fruit, some candy essences and sweet malt . Taste is of hard candy, raisins, exotic fruit and some bready malt. Cloying sweetness lingers for awhile with a touch of hop bitterness..

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Photo of n2185
3.39/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear copper with two fingers of beige head that recedes into a thin ring with no lacing.

S: Sweet Belgian yeast-like aromas with spices and bubblegum dominating. There are notes of vanilla and caramel, as well as some that I can't quite put my finger on (probably from the unique ingredients used).

T: Sweet Belgian spices and bubblegum here as well followed by a fruity tartness that is slightly bitter, like the aftertaste of cranberry juice. I imagine this is again from the unique ingredients. The finish is clean and slightly tart.

M: Medium-light body with lowish carbonation, this beer avoids being watery but could use more of a carbonation bite.

O: An interesting and decent beer overall. Not bad or particularly offensive by any means, but this is definitely a unique beer with a many aromas and flavors that I can't really name. Still, it is enjoyable and more successful than some of their other Ancient Ales series.

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Photo of Libationguy
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish-copper color with bronze hues. Very thin cream colored head with almost no retention. Almost no lacing; what is there is spotty.

Funky on the nose with a dry "feel": light roasted grain, walnuts, hazelnuts, pomegranate, sultanas, smoke and a metallic note.

Pomegranate, smoke, animal hair and a metallic edge that carries. Slightly bitter with a lingering aftertaste.

Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation that has more to it in the mouthfeel than in the appearance.

Just funky. I applaud Dogfish Head for putting it out there, but Etrusca seems to be a take it or leave it proposition.

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Photo of 0_0
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.75

L - Decent Head dark amber in color
S - Sour, slight fruit notes
T - Sour, bitter, grapes and only the tiniest hint of the bottle - mentioned pom.
F- I;m high right now, what does it matter how i feel?
O - The ancient ale is interesting, but really its story is more build up than its actual delivery.

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Birra Etrusca from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.75 out of 5 based on 785 ratings.
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