Jun 4, 2012

Dogfish Head Urkontinent

Billed as an experiment in social engineering, Dogfish Head’s Urkontinent was brewed with ingredients suggested by a world wide audience. The global ingredient list (from Autralia, the U.S., Africa, South American and Europe) was eventually parred down to: wattleseed, toasted amaranth, rooibos tea, myrica gale and honey. Of those items, I’ve had only honey so I knew going into this brew that I would be in for an experience my taste buds haven’t encountered before.

My initial impression, right after the first sip was that this tasted just like the rooty and herby Bitches Brew that the brewery crafted using geisha root among other items — just in the body of a Belgian Dubbel. It took a few sips to erase that notion, but it eventually faded. What I continued to enjoy was unlike any other beer of this style I’ve had before.


Urkontinent pours a dark brown with a short-lived, tan head that fell to a thin ring around the glass.


This is where the Bitches Brew comparisons started. It’s a got very similar rooty, herbal and sweet smells to an untrained and, in this instance, inexperienced nose. The yeasty esters of the Belgian Dubbel come out more as the beer warms as does a hint of its 8% ABV.


Again, if it weren’t for the yeast profile of this brew, it’s very similar to the previously mentioned stout. Urkontinent is rich and flavorful with a mild sweetness. The medium bodied beer carries a toasted malt, sweet fruit, rooty character and herbal notes to a finish that has a lingering spruce and piny character, but not in a typical hoppy manner.


After my first initial reaction to Urkontinent had settled down, I ended up enjoying this beer immensely. I wouldn’t consider it a Belgian Dubbel in the traditional sense, but when has Dogfish Head ever been traditional — it’s one of the brewery’s defining traits and one we expect from them. Would I buy this one again if I crossed paths with it again. Of course, but with the sole intention of cellaring it for a bit to see how the herbal and rooty flavors hold up.


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