In June of last year, I reviewed Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot, an ale that desperately wanted to be a wine. Dogfish has taken this botrytis-infected brew one step further down the wine path by aging it in oak. While the oak-aged version lacks the tiny mold king on the bottle, which I was quite fond of, I think oak is exactly what the original needed to take it to the next level. Time to break out the wine glass for this one.
Oak-age Noble Rot pours a clear gold with a thin, sudsy head. The complexion isn’t hazy like the original with a much thinner head. The aroma is rather sweet with notes of bread, honey, and vanilla from the oak. Pineapple and lemon keep the nose bright and interesting.
The sweetness on the nose is demolished by a host of sour and tart elements on the flavor profile. Sour grapes, unripe melon, and lemon dominate the palate with a solid level of funk. Notes of pineapple lead into light, earthy oak and vanilla. The finish is bone-dry with lingering oak flavor. The body is exceptionally light with moderate carbonation, almost like a light lager.
Although I mourn the loss of the mold king, the oak-aging clearly elevated the flavor profile of this ale. The contrast of the sweet aroma with the tartness of the flavor makes for an interesting and enjoyable drinking experience. Further, the heavy ABV is deviously hidden behind a featherweight body. Bottle shops are going to have a tough time picking an aisle for this one.
- Appearance: Clear Gold / Thin, Sudsy Head
- Aroma: Sweet Bread, Lemon, Pineapple, Honey, Vanilla, Light Oak
- Flavor: Sour Grapes, Unripe Melon, Pineapple, Lemon, Light Oak, Light Vanilla, Dry Finish
- Mouthfeel: Light, Moderate Carbonation
- ABV: 9%