Dogfish Head’s latest experiment is a beer/wine hybrid called Noble Rot, where 49.5% of the fermentable sugars come from grapes, and 50.5% come from grains.
The wine grapes are sourced form Alexandria Nicole Cellars out of Prosser, Washington, and the first addition to the beer is unfermented juice, known as must, from viognier grapes that have been infected with a benevolent fungus called botrytis. This fungus, or “noble rot”, reduces the water content in the grapes, which magnifies their sweetness and complexity. The second addition is pinot gris must that has been intensified by a process called “dropping fruit,” where large clusters of grapes are clipped off the vine to intensify the quality of the remaining grapes.
On the traditional side of things, Noble Rot is brewed with pils and wheat malts, and fermented with a distinct Belgian yeast strain.
The resulting beer is a saison-esque science project with a spicy white wine body and a dry, tart finish that pushes the bounds of commercially available beer.
Learn more about Noble Rot in the following video: