Dogfish Head Brewing Co., Olde School

Grade: C-
Dogfish Head Brewing Co.

Perhaps this beer is young. The directions on the bottle state repeatedly that this beer does well with some age on it. It also mentions that it is a bottle conditioned ale, complete with a cowboy pouring a packet marked "yeast" into a bottle on the label. If left to it's own devices, would the yeast packaged with this ale eat up some of the sugars still present, resulting in a drier, less sweet, more alcoholic beer? Most likely not. But it's nice to dream sometimes.

This beer is perfectly clear, auburn, with a slightly off-white head that disappears pretty quickly. Fruit, banana, a little spice and some alcohol notes are in the nose. After a little swirl the caramels and toffee aromas come out, along with more alcohol elements, which at 15% ABV is expected I suppose. Mouthfeel is creamy, full, and very rich. Almost no carbonation to speak of. The flavor is immediately boozy, with a general feeling of sweet coming after. The fruit and banana are still there, but now the caramel and brown sugar come in, followed closely by a little raisin. The sweetness is very forward, almost as much as the hot alcohols. Generally this beer is cloying, coating the tongue and delivering the flavors of the malts on a very sweet platter.

The flavors aren't bad however. There is very little roast in this beer, which I would have liked to cut through the sweetness, but the caramel and brown sugar are pleasant. The fruit esters lightens up the profile a bit, the creamy mouthfeel only bolstering the perception of banana. Final opinion? A classic example of Dogfish Head: too sweet, too boozy, and generally unbalanced.