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: 148 | Ratings: 787
Photo of rdilauro
2.24/5  rDev -40.4%
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 Beer-Revelry
4.09/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark amber rust and orange. Formed a finger of almost instantly dissipating lightly tan head. No lacing left behind whatsoever.
S - Golden Belgian notes, banana and black pepper reign as the dominant aromas on the nose.
T - Literally tastes like a golden Belgian, a dark Belgian strong ale, a dubel, tripel and a quad all mixed together with a black peppercorn beer. Lots of dark fruits, such as cherry. On the exhale you get a strong sense of black peppercorn. Really unique.
O - An interesting, unique and one-of-a-kind beer. Never had anything like it before and probably won't again. More of an experience to be had rather than a beer to repeat buy and stay stocked up on.
V - Low value, almost 17 dollars for a single 22oz bomber.

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Photo of mchegash
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.2/5
Pours a deep orange, a bit of brown. A little bit clear. No head retention. Can see a moderately large amount of carbonation rising up at an average rate. Overall, looks deep and mysterious (well, at least the look combined with the knowledge of it as an 'ancient ale'...the point is it pulls off an ancient ale sort of look...whatever that is)

Smell - 4.5/5
Alcohol, honey, resin, grapes, spices, other fruity smell perhaps, another prominent smell which I can't quite distinguish. Overall, there was a lot going on in this boquet, I was really surprised and happy with it.

Taste - 3.6/5
Grapes, honey, somes strong spices/flavors. I have tasted spices/flavors like these before, probably in some kind of food, but don't know where/what. The spices/flavors have a distinct and strong floral/herbal/earthiness to them. Some spices that come to mind are rosemary and nutmeg, although I don't think either is in the beer. Whatever the flavors are, I could see them being in some kind of Italian food, or some kind of earthy, ethnic custine. The beer is moderately sweet, and there is a small alcohol taste. To be honest, I don't really like the flavor that much. The spices/flavors are just kind of weird, and not really something I would put on my food, much less my beer. But in the spirit of the Ancient Ale they are trying to pull off, the flavors seem to fit what I would expect from a beer from 8th century BC Italy. Not that I have any extensive knowledge of that time period, but being told that this beer was from that time/place, it seems to fit what I would expect. At the very least though, this beer if definitely interesting...that earns some points. As always, DFH pulls off another interesting Ancient Ale.

Mouthfeel - 3.5/5
The beer is medium-light in body. There is a light amount of moderate carbonation. The beer is very crisp.

Overall - 4/5
Overall, I am happy with this beer, though it has a slightly strange taste. But I love trying novel things, and loving getting to connect with history through DFH's Ancient Ale series. Overall this was a positive experience.

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Photo of nebuchadnezzer
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What a Fustercluck...
Spices I've never tasted before and can't place. Mead/wine/cider/beer. Nutty, fruity, dusty dry, balanced bitterness from who even knows what. Tastes like A nutty Brown ale, but with some mead, un-aged wine, and dry cider to it. The mouthfeel is just the tiniest bit too syrupy for my taste. the Spices seem to just meld the nuts and fruits together over the honey base. There is supposed to be wheat in there somewhere, but good luck finding it under the rest of what's going on. The yeast would probably be interesting in something I could pick it out in, but in this is just can't tell

Are you confused? So am I.

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Photo of Offa
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

This is a good, interesting beer,not great but a bit different and very enjoyable.

Amber, it has a small off-white head soon thinning to foamy ring and wisps.

Aroma is artemesia, herb, anise, honey, bubblegum.

Taste is lightly sweet, herb, honey with lively, engaging feel.

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Photo of Gavage
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%

Dark amber in color with a short head that breaks down quickly. The aroma is mostly wheat and fruit sweetness. Wheat flaovr is strong with some honey sweetness, dark fruit sweetness, and a moderate bitterness. Lightly crisp throughout with dryness late. A slower sipping beer and one glass is enough in a session.

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Photo of Brackh
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Poured a dark brownish with a fizzy head. Smells earthy and the taste matches up with it. Very carbonated. Reminds me almost of a wine. Cannot put my finger on all of the different spices. Nothing is super distinct. I like the overall taste though. Would come back to it again.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Appearance - Served in a snifter, the beer with amber in color with a white head crowning the glass.

Smell - Smelling the beer, I would swear I just walked into a humidor and I cannot afford these cigars.

Taste - There are a lot of things listed on the bottle, I really can't distinguish any of them. There is a Middle Eastern spiciness to this one. It makes me think a cardamom. There is also a certain smokiness that reminds me of a cigar. The beer is peppery, though not particularly fruity toward the finish.

Mouthfeel - The peppery sensation gives this one some bite. Though it is not particularly thick, I would not call it an easy drinker.

Overall - I generally do not like Dogfish Head's ancient beers, but I like this one. It does not match the description on the bottle, but I like it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -20.2%

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 TheManiacalOne
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On-tap 8/5/2014 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a goblet glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a very thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains spices, honey, caramelized malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a strong herbal spice flavor followed by sweetness from flavors of honey and caramel. The malt character is very mild but provides a decent balance. The after-taste is spicy and slightly sweet.

M: A little crisp and a little smooth, medium body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, it’s just a mediocre beer overall.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

750mL bottle served in a Duvel Tulip glass. Bottled on 06/18/13.

Appearance: Hazy coppery-brown. Light tan head upon pouring died back fairly quickly and left nothing behind. No lacing at all.

Smell: Yeast and lots of fruits (grape, apple).

Taste: All sorts of flavor. Honey like sweetness mixed in with lots of fruits - apples, grapes, pomegranate. There is a peppery taste right before the finish. The finish is slightly tart and sour, and again fruit-like.

Mouthfeel: Juicy, slick, light carbonation.

Overall / Drinkability: A very unique beer. I've never had a beer like this - but that's the point isn't it? If this is what the Etruscans were drinking (roughly) over 2800 years ago...then count me in for enjoying a cup from time to time. I picked up a bottle because the price was right (on sale - $5.99) and aged over a year it's still quite good. It paired very well with food (Chicken Paillard with curry gravy and red lettuce salad) and as a very fruity beer, I think it might go well with a variety of other foods as well. So for drinkability, I never got tired of the large glass I poured for myself and the alcohol is dangerously well hidden. Overall, an unique experience and worth a try. I might actually pick up a bottle again if the price is right. Not an amazing beer, but it has its charm.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
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 utfiero
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- brassy red. Slight head.

Aroma- Fermented fruit and raisin.

Taste- Interesting and unique. Starts mildly fruity with light sweetness yet in the late middle turns slightly sour finishing with an earthy lingering mild floral note. The 8.5% ABV is well masked. Another quality brew from DFH.

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Photo of ClePaul
3.56/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DogFishHead EtRusCa This 'Ancient Ale' has had some serious research put into it! Brewer's, Dr.'s and Scientist's alike did some research and did their best to recreate an alcoholic beverage from 800 B!C!!! It's an interesting story. I encourage you to peep it on the inter webs~ Pours Amber/Copper/Orangeish in color, reminiscent of a juice~ Nose is of Pepper, Flowers and Green Onions, rather odd~Medium Body, equal parts tart and bitter~ Taste is by far the most Unique I ever had~ Right away it tastes like Patchouli! And Masa (Tamale) with over lays of Pomegranate, Raisin, Honey, Sweet/Dark Fruits, and honestly, some Flavors I just flat out can't put my thumb on (or never had.... It's pretty unique) This is a bit of a Novelty/Gimmick brew, that said its also genuinely educational~ I recommend everyone try it! Overall: 7.2

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper brown in color with vibrant carbonation and great clarity. The head vanished immediately. I smell honey and plenty of amber malt. There's a sweetness from the honey and the amber malt that is very prevalent upon tasting. There's an intense peppery earthiness from the spices. It's aggressively carbonated but has a dry,crisp finish.

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Photo of metter98
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is relatively clear light amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving some wispy lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of Middle Eastern spices are present in the nose along with some hints of pomegranates.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but seems to be more complex and has additional notes of myrrh and slight hints of honey. The spices aren't as strong as they are in the smell, but seem to be most prominent in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I found this beer to be rather easy to drink and had a good balance among all of the different ingredients as neither of them seemed to be overpowering. This beer could pair well with food but is also interesting enough to drink on its own.

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Photo of brentk56
3.29/5  rDev -12.5%
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 Flounder57
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that fizzled quickly to nothing. It is a copper color with tiny little bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Bready and caramel malts with some honey, pepper, vanilla, herbal, and raisins.

Taste: Pretty much same as above with some nutty notes and a little warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium to high carbonation, a little dry, chewy, light to medium bodied, and a little tingly.

Overall: For a gruit/herbed beer, this was pretty tasty and easy to drink. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish, amber with a pearl white, thin head. Some lacing. Has a pretty great smell, complex. Definitely lots of honey and pomegranate, banana, yeast and some fruit funk. Taste is along the same line with some citrus and pepper. Can't really pick out much hazelnut, which I was kind of hoping for. Feel is light and crisp, works well with the citrus and mild sour flavors. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall, a great trip off the beaten path. Some new flavors that you don't see much and I applaud DFH as always for trying new things. One of my favorite parts of these beers is reading the story of their inception and history, and this one has some great flavors to go with it.

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Photo of TheBrouMaster
4.34/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- pours a crystal clear deep copper, with a 1 finger head that quickly dissipates, the carbonation slashes into that glass and makes a cola like fizz

S- pomegranate right up front on the nose followed by rich brown sugar, dark fruits with a yeasty medicinal like finish

T- a fizzy carbonation pop followed by a tart cherry crush, sweet dark fruits, subtle orange and honey follow, finishes with a mix of alcohol honey and pomegranate

M- light to medium in body, easy to drink, fizzy tingling carbonation, sweet with a slightly dry finish

O- very interesting ancient ale, tons of flavor, very complex, slightly medicinal and funky. Not bad, would def go for another pint.

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Photo of Fcolle2
3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours an odd murky burnt orange with a slight caramel hue. Head is huge and violently fizzy until it dissipates leaving rolling carbonation bubbling vigorously through the whole beer.

Smell is interesting. I'm getting some light honey and molasses aromas forward before a sharp crisp dry grape aroma cuts through all the sweetness some nutty aromas and spices finish in the nose

Taste has a lot going on. A multitude of flavors assault the tongue all at once. Some pomegranate can be picked out along with lots of honey, champagne, wood, molasses and a small amount of caramel. It's hard to tell where one stops and the others start

Mouthfeel is intense. Sharp vigorous carbonation, dry finish, moderate sweetness and sharp acidic sourness. This beer is a little all over the place.

Overall this is a crazy beer, I'm still not quite sure what I just drank. Interesting, just too crazy. Extra props on making a crazy and creative beer like this drinkable.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

deep copper with a red amber hue, no lacing, no head.
smells of clove, grapes, corriander, a strong underlying tone of raw honey straight from the hive. raisins and slight fruit notes.
Strong fruit flavor, much more than I was expecting! honey, pomegranite, a slight alcohol undertone, mild maltiness, it has a sweetness and the taste of corriander and a slight bitterness lingers long after the finish
Yet another intruiging ancient ale from Dogfish Head! It took me some time to figure out what I think of this beer, it has a lot of different and conflicting flavors but it really makes it an interesting beer to drink. I don't believe I'll buy it again, but I did find it intruiging and should be tried. I like the fact that its's sort of like drinking a beer that the ancient Tuscans drank.

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Photo of Radome
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Color is a deep copper to amber with a nice reddish tint; very clear. Head is weak and disappears entirely after a few minutes. No lacing, but the beer leaves "legs" on the glass.

S - Aroma of honey and grape must, more like a mead than an beer. There is a soft herbal note, maybe saffron. Malt is very muted and there are no hops evident. Sweet alcohol aroma.

T - Bready malt up front, mixed with the honey and saffron. There are enough earthy hops to knock the sweetness down. Towards the end of the palate the honey and grape must dominate on the way to a semi-dry finish. Alcohol is not prominent, despite the nose.

M - Medium to heavy body. Very low carbonation and hops bitterness. No alcohol burn.

O - Interesting aromas and flavors. Lack of carbonation and head detract from an otherwise very appealing beer.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.06/5  rDev -18.6%
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 corby112
3.28/5  rDev -12.8%
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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Birra Etrusca from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.76 out of 5 based on 787 ratings.
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