Review of Dogfish Head Noble Rot

17 Apr
Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Noble Rot produced by the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery located in Milton, Delaware. 

I’ve really been looking forward to trying this brew.  I’ve heard many good things about it.

From the website,, we learn this about the Noble Rot:

This saison-esque science project gets complexity and fermentable sugars from two unique wine grapes sourced with our friends at Alexandria Nicole Cellars in Prosser, Wash.

The first addition is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This noble rot reduces the water content in the grapes while magnifying their sweetness and complexity. The second is pinot gris must intensified by a process called dropping fruit, where large clusters of grapes are clipped to amplify the quality of those left behind.

“This is the absolute closest to equal meshing of the wine world and the beer world that’s ever been done commercially,” says Dogfish’s Sam Calagione.

Noble Rot is brewed with pils and wheat malts and fermented with a distinct Belgian yeast strain. It has a spicy white wine body and a dry, tart finish.

Noble Rot first went on tap at our brewpub in February of 2011 and went into full 750ml bottle production in January 2012.

A bit lengthy, but worth the read.

This beer comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 9.0%.

The Noble Rot poured a very clear yellow to honey/gold color with a bright white head.  It was admirably sized, fluffy, soft, billowy and kind of smooth.  The retention time was adequate and the lacing looked real nice.  A steady stream of bubbles rose from the center of the snifter to aid in creating a very pleasing appearance overall.

Within in the bouquet I found hints of white grapes and grape skins.  Very similar to a relaxed white wine.  Some very clean, crisp cracker tones along with some Belgian yeast.  I also uncovered a touch of lemon grass and some type of spice that I couldn’t quite identify.  Altogether it was very fresh and lively.

It was very fruity in the taste too.  More of those white grapes.  They were kind of sweet and remotely sour.  Again, very similar to a subdued white wine flavor profile.  Just a smidgen tart, very clean, fresh and lively.  A light Belgian yeast and grassy component really added a “smoothness”, which pulled some of the sweetness off the grapes.  The grapes do define the overall taste however.  Again, I got some sort of spice in there as well.  And honestly, I found a slight juicy fruit gum kind of flavor (huh?).  I don’t know.  It could have just been me.

The mouthfeel was a sturdy medium.  Very dry, snappy, crisp, clean, bright and lively.  Big carbonation.  It was very refreshing and it left a good deal of flavor behind on the palate.

Well, we have a pretty nice beer here.  It might be a little too “wine like” for it to be a classic in my opinion, but it is still a rather unique and good brew.  I definitely think it’s worth a try and I think it would fit well with the Spring and Summer weather.  The ease of drinkability was commendable and I had no problem finishing this bottle off all by myself.  I would be more than happy to drink it again, and I may do so sometime in the future, but it’s not really a style that I would consider to be my favorite.  It may be yours though.  I applaud Dogfish Head on producing the Noble Rot and I look forward to trying the many new brews that they will release.  Like always, be sure to let me know what you thought of this brew if you have tried it.   

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.75 out of 5
Grade:  B           

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Posted by on April 17, 2012 in Country: USA, Dogfish Head


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