Dogfish Head Fort - Ale brewed with Pureed Raspberries (2009!)
Occasional Rarity (Limited Release)
25.4 fl. oz. / $16.99 USD / 18% ABV
About: "An ale brewed with a ridiculous amount of pureed raspberries (over a ton of 'em!). Fort has a Belgian-style base, then we follow a similar fermentation process to the one we use on our other super-high ABV beers, 120 Minute IPA and World Wide Stout.
Fort is an excellent candidate for cellaring. Grab a few bottles, enjoy one now and lay the others down for a few years. Want to know when the Fort you find was bottled? Check the 'Bottled On' date on the neck of each bottle. Fort is also an excellent food beer. Our favorite pairings include anything chocolate or a nice piece of duck.
The Fort label art was designed by our rock-and-roll friend Tara McPherson. Tara also did the label art for our Chateau Jiahu and our 2012 Seasonal Prints and Uber-Tap Handle. Can you tell we kinda love her work?!"
Thoughts: I've been wanting to try this one for years. Something about that incredible artwork, the ridiculous price, the warning label on the cap... five or six bottles have been sitting in the liquor store down the street for a long time now, so I figured I'd make today that day. Three of the bottles were from 2011 and the two in the back were from 2009. So like a maniac I of course grabbed a 2009 one, since I too, like to live dangerously.
Fort poured a really hazy dirty orange color and featured an off white head that puffed up, before slowly dying down and never completely fading away. It's really murky. Some black flakes floating around the bottom, but I can only see it due to the light through that narrow bottom tip of the glass.
The smell actually reminds me of the other high gravity Dogfish head brews. I haven't exactly had a lot to compare these to so obviously they would I guess. The first whiff I got off the bottle wasn't exactly a pleasant one though. This is some harsh shit, right here. It smells a lot like wine. And not those pussy ass fruit wines either, I'm talking actual wine. Though it is fruity and has almost a little bit of a cider-like quality to it as well. The raspberries came through just moments later with a tremendous amount of alcohol. After a while they lay hidden until breathing in for a long period, then the sweetness starts to slowly emerge and build up heavily. But this doesn't smell sweet. It smells tart as fuck actually. The Belgian base is somewhat hard to get, but one you find it, it stays right there along with the blistering booze.
The taste at first is way sweeter than the scent led on. It started with a huge blast of raspberry puree, followed by doughy warm bread that engulfed the mouth and then the slightest haze of booze which came in and fell back reasonably quick, leaving a very smooth and luxurious aftertaste. Nice. I didn't really know what to expect from the smell, but I was thinking it was going to be a lot harsher than it actually ended up being. Make no mistake, this is boozy as all hell... but I'll be damned, there's nothing off putting about it at all. It's a little bit spicy, a bit fiery (both in the mouth and belly), sweet and tart at the same time, robust and malty, succulent and savory, tangy and tickling. It's got a zing to it, and a light haze that rides through all the way. The brews got hints of golden raisins, tart cherry, half-cooked sugar rolls, plums, white grapes and tons of raspberry. Some truly mystifying shit this one is.
Mouth feel is smooth, slightly watery, tingling, extremely coating, long lasting, immense and satisfying.
Overall thoughts? Well, I can't say that I'm not satisfied. It could have been a shitload worse. Not only did I enjoy this brew thoroughly, but I'm feelin' real nice right now as I finish the bottle alone in this dark room of lamented anguish. I wouldn't go as far as to call this a great brew on its own, but for a Dogfish head rarity, its among the top, and that's despite being a fruit beer! Let's face the facts... who really likes fruit beers? Double IPAs that reek of tropical fruit juice, perhaps, but this is one fruit beer actually worth trying. Now where'd I stash my bottle of raspberry MD20/20 for that comparison review!?