Friday, May 27, 2016

Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot (7/10)

Dogfish Head Oak-aged Noble Rot
Dogfish Head is one of my favorite breweries, but not because of their much-celebrated 90-minute and 120-minute IPAs.  I'm a fan because of their more "off-centered" fare, like Ta Henket, Raison D'Etre, Chateau Jiahu, Palo Santo Marron, and Noble Rot.  I'm also a fan of barrel-aged beers, so seeing a bottle of Oak-aged Noble Rot on the shelf meant that I needed to bring one home with me.

Oak-aged Noble Rot pours a very crystal clear golden yellow color with a white head that appears and disappears in an instant.

The aroma will remind you very much of a white white wine, which is due to the beer including juice from viognier grapes that have been infected with a fungus or "noble rot".  This fungus reduces the water content in the grapes while amping up their flavor and complexity.  Pinot gris must is also added to the brew.  When all this is combined with pils and wheat malts, the result is something like a pilsner mixed with a white wine.  Toss Noble Rot in with some oak, and the wine elements come out even more strongly.

The flavor starts with a strong oak hit.  This gives way briefly to the malt.  After the malt, the white wine flavors come through in force.  Probably because of the strong oak start, the grape element is much more like wine than it is in the "non-oaked" version of Noble Rot.  The kind of musty, funky elements of the wine grapes make appearances throughout the sip.

To be honest, although I like this beer, the version that's not oak-aged appeals to me more.  The oak in this is almost too much, and takes the beer much closer to a white wine.  This is not to say that I dislike the beer, just that I don't like it as well as regular Noble Rot.

Beer Advocate rates Oak-aged Noble Rot an 87/100.  Rate Beer gives it a 91 overall.  I think I'm in good company saying that I prefer the regular Noble Rot to the oak-aged version.  Beer Advocate's rating on the "regular" beer is 88-90 out of 100, versus 87 for the oak-aged version.  Rate Beer gives the regular Noble Rot a 92 overall, versus a 91 for the oak-aged version.

When I rated Noble Rot back in 2012, I gave it an 8 out of 10.  I intentionally didn't look at that rating until I had decided to give the Oak-aged Noble Rot a 7 out of 10.  Thankfully, I am consistent in my ratings.

When they are available, I see Dogfish rarities like this at most local craft beer retailers, including Giant Eagle, Kenny Road Market, The Andersons General Store, and others.  Being that it is a rarity, you may not find it unless you happen to be in the right shop at the right time.

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