What if Dogfish Head's Ancient Ales were released today?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Giantspace, Oct 13, 2022.

  1. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I saw the post about the DFH/Talea collaboration and thought of the ancient ale series, not sure why.

    My thought was “I enjoyed these beers and the “crazy” ingredients that were in these. They were made fun of a lot back when they were brewed for the ingredients and the cost.

    If these beers were released today, not re released but pretend they never existed, what type of greeting do you think these beers would get today?

    I think they would be much more appreciated and welcomed based on all the things that are tossed in beer today. Possibly many folks now having a more mature taste and appreciation for unusual ingredients. I would love to revisit all of these beers again. Many I had were not fresh or myself was not mature enough in my taste to fully enjoy these.

    Are any other breweries doing beers if this type?

    I don’t know the acct name for Sam or DFH to tag them in here. If you do let be know.


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  2. JohnnyHopps

    JohnnyHopps Pooh-Bah (2,964) Jun 15, 2010 Indiana
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    I would personally love it if they came back. Sah’tea Would be a welcome addition to my fridge
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  3. DIM

    DIM Grand Pooh-Bah (3,772) Sep 28, 2006 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Interesting question. I sought them out with excitement and enjoyed them back in the day. DFH is off my radar these days so I probably wouldn't look for them if they came out now. As a new product I doubt they would find what success in today's market.
    DCH and Genuine like this.
  4. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Pundit (985) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    Interesting question, OP. I don’t think anyone expects all that much out of DFH at this point, so I’m guessing it’d be met with curiosity and surprise. Due to the ridiculous pricing of many beers these days, I doubt pricing for this series would be all that much of a deterrent but I could be wrong.
    Some of those beers were cool, overall the series was a bit hit or miss IMO but it was never boring. Personally, I’d love if Palo Santo Maron made a comeback. That shit was delicious
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  5. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I have wondered the same. I would guess that they would have worse sales today. Put them in 750s again and it would be twice as bad. Personally, I think such beers are fun but I dislike the “drinking the past” marketing fantasy (regardless of the science involved).
  6. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Midas Touch made it to 12 oz larger scale release. Not sure any others did. I think these bees would make a nice mix 12 pack.

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  7. DavetotheB

    DavetotheB Grand Pooh-Bah (3,275) Sep 30, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Intrigued...But wasn't around craft at that point or wasn't paying attention. What were these? When were these?
  8. puck1225

    puck1225 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,243) Dec 22, 2013 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I would love to have the chance to try them!
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  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    It started in 1999 with Midas Touch:


    If this is a topic of interest to you I would recommend the book Ancient Brews - Rediscovered and Re-created by Patrick McGovern. I really enjoyed reading this book.

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  10. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Savant (1,215) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Agreed. It was very tasty.
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  11. crazyspicychef

    crazyspicychef Savant (1,215) Sep 27, 2012 Pennsylvania

    I don't think they would move very quickly with the slew of other breweries adding oddball flavorings and odd ingredients to their beers.
    Back then, they were definitely off centered with most of their non-minute beers.
    I agree they would make a great mix pack.
    I wish they would re-release the "Liquor de Malt" in the 40 & brown paper bag. It wasn't bad.
    Anyone else wish craft beer came in 40's?
    There's a topic to rant about? Lol.
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  12. AlfromPA

    AlfromPA Devotee (367) Dec 9, 2021 Pennsylvania

    Yes, I miss Midas Touch and certainly would buy it on occasion if it came back--Palo Santo Maron as well.

    I haven't completely written off Dogfish Head--the recent collaboration with Rodenbach looks interesting and I'm looking forward to trying it.
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  13. hopsputin

    hopsputin Grand Pooh-Bah (3,857) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    I hadn't realized Palo Santo Maron was part of the series, that was a real nice beer.
    VABA likes this.
  14. Providence

    Providence Pooh-Bah (2,376) Feb 24, 2010 Rhode Island
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Was Palo Santo Maron considered one of their ancient ales? I can't remember. I used to like bigger beers a great deal back in the day and I remember really enjoying that one.
  15. Giantspace

    Giantspace Pooh-Bah (2,757) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    No , it was not part of ancient ales. Just a really good beer aged in Palo wood barrels.

  16. Domingo

    Domingo Grand Pooh-Bah (3,896) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Good question. I think people would absolutely be more open to the different/unusual flavors. At the same time, I don't think they would stand out as much. Would anyone still care? I dunno.
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  17. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Grand Pooh-Bah (3,608) Nov 18, 2013 Texas
    Pooh-Bah Society

    If they make it to Texas I'll try them.
  18. JohnnyHopps

    JohnnyHopps Pooh-Bah (2,964) Jun 15, 2010 Indiana
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Not an ancient brew, but I would love to see Bitches Brew return as well.
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  19. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Pooh-Bah (2,325) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    If the Ancient Ales were out today, hazebros be like "Where's my Mesopotamia IPA!?!"
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Grand Pooh-Bah (3,169) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Pooh-Bah Society

    Is there a dance that goes with that!?!

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  21. AlfromPA

    AlfromPA Devotee (367) Dec 9, 2021 Pennsylvania

    I'm a bit nostalgic for that era when craft brewers were experimenting with what seemed rather exotic and exciting recipes: ancient ones found in old pots, exotic ones from other cultures (remember when Sam chewed corn to make Chicha?), gruit beer made with (supposedly) hallucinogenic herbs, seemingly bizarre sour beers made with Brett (Russian River, etc.). Sam's TV show depicted a fearless experimenter. Maybe that kind of excitement couldn't last: we're back to the formulaic (New England IPA, etc.). Ironically, the very beers that now seem formulaic were in their day revolutionary, a revelation: I remember when I stood in line to buy 4 packs of Heady Topper and Sip of Sunshine in Winooski VT in 2014--and was blown away by them. (Why else would Tired Hands call its IPA "Alien Church"?)
  22. jonphisher

    jonphisher Grand Pooh-Bah (3,094) Aug 9, 2015 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    For anyone who wants to watch or rewatch the Sam show it is on discovery + if you have it.
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  23. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Grand Pooh-Bah (3,600) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Eh I'd think they'd do about as well as they did back in the day. There's a small market of people interested in trying stuff like this, but most are satisfied with a try and not a regular purchase. I haven't seen many ancient, forgotten, beer styles that disappeared in spite of having some broad appeal.

    I'm definitely one of those few people who's always game to try one of these "ancient recipe" gimmicks. For me, they're best enjoyed on draught of some kind at the establishment along with some information about the historical context. It helps that I'm a fan of smoked beers as most preindustrial beers should have some smoke in the malt
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  24. Rug

    Rug Pooh-Bah (2,898) Aug 20, 2018 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I’d fuck them up. I only got to try Midas Touch and it was a fun experiment so I’ve always wanted the others. I think generally people wouldn’t really pay attention to them but who knows
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  25. tobelerone

    tobelerone Grand Pooh-Bah (4,054) Dec 1, 2010 New Jersey
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Just my opinion, of course, but I thought they weren’t that good and weren’t that drinkable. I agree with others that the same people who bought them them and were intrigued by the unusual and experimental (including myself) would buy them today but they were mostly one and done for me. Palo Santo Marron is another story, I was a fan of that one!
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  26. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    Consumers today appear to be interested in brewers that go the extra mile, but mainly in ways that can have a number attached for measurable stats: ABV, hop amount/rate, decoction, weeks lagered, months in a barrel, etc.

    Dogfish Head’s famous IPAs fed into this and encouraged it (60, 90)… and many of their non-IPAs took a largely different approach in going the extra mile. Such beers needed a press release to tell their story. The marketing or stunt to them was about adventure, exploration, travel, etc. It feels like consumers aren’t very interested in this approach at the moment.
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  27. bbtkd

    bbtkd Grand High Pooh-Bah (7,304) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    There are liquor stores around here that always have ancient ales. They're hoping nobody checks the dates. :rolling_eyes:
  28. LeRose

    LeRose Grand Pooh-Bah (3,427) Nov 24, 2011 Massachusetts
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    I'm in the hit or miss camp. I tried some of them that were quite good, but lost interest when they put out the Kvass. Sah'Tea and Midas Touch were two we enjoyed.

    In general, I am a sucker for the concept
    I like the historical perspective. I like beers with stories and provenance. Old techniques intrigue me, and you learn how far things have come. And some things might be best left in the past - maybe not forgotten, but not ressurected either. Decoction comes to mind - the jury is still out for me. Oddball ingredients - I want to know how they work - some are revelations, some are hideous. It's the sense of adventure for me, but I am pretty driven by curiosity.

    Seems the question is whether today's drinkers are up for some adventure or not. Hard question, in my mind. Are the majority just looking for the next IPA variant, or are they willing to take chances. We here lament the decline of some of the older styles, but we are a niche population. And most of those old styles we talk about are not "ancient" in the sense DFH meant conceptually.

    There are breweries near me that play with odd things - Earth Eagle does a variety of gruit style beers and others with foraged herbs and ingredients. They do mainstream styles as well, and I suspect those pay the bills. I'd think you have two choices - get into it deep and hope to generate a loyal following marching to a radical drummer. Or do different things as experiments making small volumes hoping to break even. My gut says that today's drinkers are adventurous but only to a point...new IPA, pastry stouts, fruit slushies are mildly adventurous. Beyond that maybe not so much acceptance.
    Rug likes this.
  29. beerjerk666

    beerjerk666 Grand Pooh-Bah (4,659) Aug 22, 2010 Florida
    Pooh-Bah Trader

    Definitely a good question.
    Personally I don't think it would be as popular as it was when DFH introduced this series of beers. The market is so saturated with breweries doing so many different styles, I don't think any of these beers would really stand out like they did.

    DFH was ahead of their time when I was getting into craft beer and now they're just sort of a forgotten old school brewer.

    That being said I also would love to see Palo Santo Maron come back! Midas Touch and Noble Rot were pretty good too.

    Edit: Deadwords Brewing in Orlando is brewing using some old school techniques that would fit into the same category as the Ancient Ales series.
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  30. zid

    zid Grand Pooh-Bah (3,036) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Pooh-Bah Society Trader

    The difference is one of having nostalgia for worry-free days of eating Oreos vs a fantasy nostalgia for a storybook ancient time… which is a difference between the familiar and unfamiliar. That’s not a judgement from me though.
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