Living in Delaware I tend to drink a lot of Dogfish Head. It’s my stately duty to do so, or so I tell myself. DFH is really getting into the collaboration aspect of beer making and Noble Rot is an excellent example of this. This beer is a partnership with a wine maker. According to the bottle Noble Rots is an “ale brewed with grape must and with grape must added.” Grape must is essential grape juice from freshly crushed grapes. It can, but doesn’t have to include the actual skins of the grape. In the beer world, we would consider this wort since it is unfermented. One other fun note with this beer, the name Noble Rot comes from a term in wine making for a fungus that affects wine grapes. Noble Rot comes in at 9% ABV and I read somewhere that it is DFH’s first attempt at a sour beer, which surprises me.
Noble Rot pours a wonderful golden color. For some reason when I hear wine, I assume it’s red, so I wasn’t expecting a golden colored beer. It is perfectly clear and has a nice white head as well. The nose is very much that of a farmhouse ale. There is some wet straw and a slight sour note to it. If I were describing this beer to my sour beer friends I would say that it has some funk, but is nowhere near funky.
On the first taste I was surprised at the nice solid, but balanced sourness that opens this beer. I got some white grape flavor which was not unlike that of Midas Touch. This beer also has a champagne quality to it. It is highly carbonated and finishes in the style of a champagne. There is a really interesting mix of flavors going on, all of which mesh nicely into this beer.
If you are expecting a beer that is really sour you are going to be very disappointed by this beer. It isn’t strongly sour, but the light bit of sourness that is there is very pleasing. I found this one to be super drinkable and I would gladly get another bottle if they weren’t so expensive. One last quick note about this beer, it is the first DFH beer that I have seen with an embossed DFH logo on the bottle. Picture below.