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 SavvyStudent
2.75/5  rDev -26.9%
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 AlCaponeJunior
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bronze and clear, nothing special about the head or lacing, in fact there wasn't much notable there.

Appearance aside, the typical dogfish head aroma and flavor come through with the usual elevated expected value. Fruit and honey come through immediately and are the natural descriptions for this beer, but there's also a somewhat funky, earthy, floral component that's hard to put my finger on. It may be this indescribable, yet awesomely delicious aspect of DFH ales that makes me love this brewery so much.

Body is really pretty light considering the fairly ample alcohol content and full flavor. Drinks way too easy. Always luv DFH ales.

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Photo of chinchill
4.21/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 750 ml bottle served in a large Scottish tulip glass.
Wonderful aroma and flavor with lots of dark fruit notes and subtle spice notes. Near neutral bitter-sweet balance, although bitterness picks up in the aftertaste.
Overall: interesting, complex, well balanced and surprisingly similar to a modern Belgian strong dark ale.

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Photo of Ilovelampandbeer
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

poured from a bottle into a dogfish ipa glass

A-nice dark copper color, lacing that quickly disintegrates to just a much carbonation can be seen rising from the bottom its not even funny...for me very inviting
S-doesnt mask the alcohol all that well...a lot of sweet honey and fruit that i cant quite put my finger on
T-a taste that definitely masks the alcohol way better than the smell..very enjoyable...not overly sweet but a lot of honey and fruit indeed. some pepper on the back end
M-very ok, kind of syrupy but not a dealbreaker
O-overall a very enjoyable change of can taste the quality in the ingredients and i like what dogfish does...its a brewery that, hit or miss, is the essence of this movement is all about and i recommend this brew if you want to switch it up with the ipas and stouts in the fridge

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Photo of DaveSchultz
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - I really like how this beer looks. Reddish copper in color, clear, and very warm. Moderate lacing. Head quickly dissipates.

S - Sweet and fruity. I'm getting the honey first and foremost. Pomegranate is there and definitely shows up more as the beer warms.

T - As advertised with the smell; honey and pomegranate. Sweet and maybe slightly tart. I think I'm getting some raisin on the aftertaste. Surprisingly not boozy at all for an 8.5% beer.

M - Smooth with a healthy bite from the carbonation.

O - I really like this beer. It's not something I would get a case of, but it's something I'd bring a pint of to a friend's house for a sampling and a brief history lesson. Another job well done by Dogfish.


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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Clear medium amber color. Two fingers of fizzy beige head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing.

4.75 S: Goddamn this is interesting, which is always what I want from a DFH ancient ale. I don't even know where to start, but I'll start by saying that it smells freakin' great. Honey is perhaps the most prominent. Pomegranate, raisin, apples, and grapes make a medley of fruit that works the nose so well. The hazelnut flour complements the other aromas perfectly. The other crap, that I know nothing about, adds an earthy herbal component. I'm really impressed. This is awesome.

3.75 T: The taste is also very good, but not insanely good like the nose. Raisin really comes out. Apple is almost as strong with pomegranate and grape under that. Hazelnut and honey. Booze is supremely well hidden. Like the nose, it is complex and super interesting.

3.75 M: I'm not at all familiar with what DFH was going for, so it's tough to comment on this aspect. Carbonation is on the lower end of moderate. Super smooth with a lighter medium body.

4.0 D: I very much enjoyed this. While I'm always glad I tried a strange DFH creation, I usually don't think they are worth the price. This one is different. I would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of Libationguy
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
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 uld2541
4.6/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Unique is a definite understatement with this beer, and it's undoubtedly one of those love-it-or-hate-it type of things. If you like wine, you'll probably enjoy this beer. If you don't, you may still like it, but may be less likely.

Appearance is a light amber color with moderate head that doesn't stick around too long. The smell is very aromatic and, much like the taste, is kind of dry, if that makes any sense at all. There's a lot going on on the palette when you take a drink; some carbonation, overall pleasant. The taste is where this gets interesting. I've read some reviews that it's just a mish-mash of many different things; and while that is kind of the case, it works well for me. The two things in particular that stick out for me are; dry and pomegranate. The dry finish is what reminds me of a nice red wine, so maybe that falls more under mouth-feel, but nonetheless...overall, I wish they brewed more of it; one of my favorite all-time DFH brews.

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Photo of BlackDog
4.68/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Birra Etrusca pours a deep but clear bronze with a healthy head and lively carbonation bubbles. Lacing and retention are both as good as it gets.

The complexity of this beer comes out early in the nose. There are aromas of dark fruit, alcohol, and a variety of spices and herbs.

The taste is equally as complex and gratifying. Malt, dark fruit and apple come through early. It's very herbal, with a spicy yeast flavor, followed by a slight honey sweetness with a nice floral finish.

Birra Estrusca is a medium-bodied beer with a lively carbonation. There's a lot of flavors going on, but they work together nicely to make this a fairly drinkable beer.

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Photo of mscudder
2.89/5  rDev -23.1%
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 FembotsUnite
3.96/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber hue with a bright foamy head and little to no lacing. Head dissipates quickly.

Smell: Lots of winter spice up front followed with an almost smokey element. Cedar and sassafras come to mind.

Taste: Awesome. Heavyweight floral but it is balanced by the tart finish. The boozy ABV adds some nice sweetness as well. Taste is complex with the aforementioned spice and woodsy flavors as well as what I identified to be vanilla, falernum and ginger. But I'm not going by the label; I'm going by a sixtel.

Mouthfeel: Meh.

Overall: Contrary to the generally mediocre reviews of this beer, I find it wonderful. Normally i don't go for beers in dfh's massive cache of spiced ales but this one is worth trying.

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Photo of teromous
2.99/5  rDev -20.5%
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 MrBoh
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A- Pours a deep bronzy brown. Head white in the center, much darker around edges. The ehad retention would be terrible, if it was not for the constant gas release from the bottom. Very unstable, but, in this glass at least, it almost keeps up. Not much lacing either.

S- the aroma was very strong with grape, and balanced out by a grainy scent. THere is also a very herbaly, earthy scent.

T- the taste is beyond peculiar. I definitely get the grapes upfront, almost a rotten grape kind of taste, but not necessarily bad. This is followed by a very earthy taste.

M- Although not as full-bodied as it appears, it still has a good bit of body. And, despite thi, it manages to finish very dry.

O- A fun beer to try and to taste. It's not one I could see myself sitting down and drinking a bunch of, but I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of other more obscure Dogfish brews, especially their ancient ales and grapey beers. It will take me a little while to drink, so I'm glad I recently got the bottle opener/sealer to keep this fresh and sudsy.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.87/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Birra Etrusca

LOOK: Pours a deep copper color with a short lived cracking head. Mostly clear with a slight chill haze.

SMELL: Sweet fruit snack aroma from the pomegranate and raisin. Good blend of fruits, with a bit of cinnamon like spice coming through as well. Very pleasing to the nose, the smell is great.

TASTE: Raisin, spice, cinnamon, earthy as can be, while still balancing the sweet fruit aspect. Some tartness and faint nuttiness in the finish.

FEEL: Medium bodied and well carbonated. Drinks easily, no real hint of the abv.

OVERALL: A good beer, definitely a hit rather than miss. Good fruit flavor, nice spice. For a spiced fruit beer, it's very good.

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Photo of Brenden
3.97/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer's color is basically a gold-orange with some deeper, bright amber highlights in the body. A spritzy off-white head gives some effort, then fades to foam. A bit of what seems like a cross between patching and spotting is able to cling to the glass.
The base is light, certainly, but balanced as well as being able to put together some depth. The malts take on a wheat character that rests underneath the entire session. It's juicy, and from that element is derived a mix of sweetness and a light tartness. Earthy with something like root (meatier than leaf, without the raw edge or leafy aspect) and a light touch of nut make for an exteremely interesting overall profile. A bit of spiciness comes out with a gently floral edge in a very light bitterness.
The body manages a medium fullness. It develops a nice creaminess into a somewhat drier, mildly spicy finish.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle poured into a large mug. Can't find a best by or bottled on date or code, but I'm not terribly good at noticing those sorts of things.

Pours a clear coppery color (although the word bronze is coming to mind because it's on the bottle). Pours with a fair amount of head, fades fast, and has lots of extremely active carbonation. Smell is pungent, musty, fruity. Spicy. Keeping in mind that it's supposed to be spiced, it's appealing.

Taste is very fruity. I think I get a lot of the pomegranate. Sweet. Tasty. Not very beery. Tasty.

Mouthfeel is smooth and effervescent. Overall, within the realm of spiced off-the-wall beers, this is pretty good.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled in late 2012. Pours slightly hazy orange copper color with a 1 finger foamy light khaki head with poor retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap. Minimal glass lacing and a ton of streaming carbonation that keeps the lace cap going. Aromas of apple, pear, raisin, banana, pomegranate, pepper, clove, bubblegum, honey, candi sugar, wheat, bread, floral, herbal, and earthy yeast spiciness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruitiness with malt and spicy yeast esters. Taste of apple, pear, raisin, banana, pomegranate, pepper, clove, bubblegum, wheat, bread, honey, candi sugar, floral, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of light and dark fruits, clove, pepper, bubblegum, honey, floral, herbal, wheat, and earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of fruity flavors with malt and yeast esters; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, lightly syrupy, and moderately crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with nearly zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent excellent ancient ale collaboration. All around nice balance and complexity of malt, fruitiness, and spicy ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one, as expected.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.03/5  rDev -19.4%
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,

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Big Bottled Birra Etrusca Bronze, a ruby brown tinted glowing clear body builds up a nice egg shell white foam head as I pour into my Tripel Karmeliet chalice, fine layered thin streaks of lacing settle to the sides. Aroma has an upfront tart raisin character with pomegranate, nutty earthy tones with a sweet floral honey aspect to it. Pretty awesome historical beers brought back to life with Dogfish Head, Baladin, and Birra del Borgo. It smells like pomegranate honey infused jam on a thick crusted artisan bread, hints of spice are flowing as well. Flavor is upfront sweet and malty with extra sugar additions adding to the flow of sweetness, no real bittering hops that are mentioned on the label, so I'm guessing the earthiness from the Myrrh and Gentian root added to the mix of help balance this one out. Sweet and tart qualities arise from the juicy plump raisin to the tart pomegranates. Definitely a vinous wine like quality even the way the warmth of the 8.5% alcohol hits the gut and the palate, very complex and interesting beer that actually works together quite nicely. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied lighter carbonation than expected working toward the advantage of a pretty drinkable beer. Overall impression is that I like it and I'm glad that the three brewers with the help of a biomolecular archaeologist can put something like this back together from actual ingredients found before vino arrived in Italia.

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Photo of cvm4
3.51/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a medium amber with an eggshell head.

S - Nutty, grainy, funky and dark sweet fruits.

T - Honey, raisins/pomegranate and slightly sour. There's a herbal & spice element throughout.

M - Medium bodied and somewhat high carbonation. Somewhat cloying.

O - I love the tartness in it, but the overdone spices & slight cloying aspect to this beer is over the top.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Story Tavern in Burbank, CA.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, fruit, spice, and herb aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly sour fruit and herbal flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors.

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a beautiful clean copper/brownish color with 2 fingers of head which quickly dissipated.. tons of visible carbonation. fruity scent of grapefruit, grapes, strawberries, coriander, lemongrass.. lots of yeast is present, pretty funky. the flavor is a mix of bready yeast, wheat, nuts, grapefruit, lemongrass, chocolate. kind of a weird mix of flavors leaves almost a rust-like feel lingering in the mouth. high carbonation, medium body.

not one of my favorite dfh ales, but also not terrible. it's always a good thing to at least try each beer they make once you never know how pleased a strange beer like some of these ancient ales, will make you.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.72/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 750ml poured into a tulip.

A: Deep amber with a thin white head. Spotty lacing.

S: Strong wheat, hazelnut, a funky smell I could not place, almost corn-on-the-cob like (might be the myrrh), pomegranates, some raisin. Complex.

T: Sweet fruit, honey, and wheat at first, noticeable hazelnut and bitter raisin at the back, though somewhat cloying.

M: A little flat, alkaline.

O: Earthy, fruity, perhaps too sweet for some, Etrusca is interesting. The hazelnut flour is very noticeable in the finish along with pomegranate seeds. Worth a try, though I do not know if I would buy again considering the high price.

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Photo of tigg924
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: 1/4 inch head that fades quickly, high carbonation, light orange-brown in color, clear

Smell: berries, honey, and alcohol

Taste: berries, honey, alcohol, ginger, and other holiday spices

Mouthfeel: medium-light body, sweet with slight bitterness, high carbonation

Overall: Interesting and spicy, but a bit of a disappointment. I think this one would make an excellent Christmas ale, but like many Christmas ales, I prefer them in 12 ounce servings, but whole bombers. I was also hoping for a bit more pomegranate and hazelnut flavors, both of which are hidden behind the spiciness. Glad I tried this, but once is good by me.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: pours a deep orange with a half inch of white head that slowly fades into a nonic pint
S: probably one of the more interesting beers I've smelled of late. Smells of spices and wheat and some other odd scents you wouldn't expect to find in a beer. It at times smells musty but it isn't quite right for a must
T: tastes of wheat, spice and herbs, ginger, honey, a bit of bitterness. swallow brings more spices and herbs with a bitter finish.
M: lighter side of medium on the palate with prickly carbonation. nice finish
O: an interesting beer. very complex and interesting flavors. tastes to be a bit of a mess but it's somewhat balanced. definitely off centered so I shouldn't be too surprised but it might be a bit too off centered for many.

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Birra Etrusca from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.76 out of 5 based on 787 ratings.
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