The bottle has a nice thick paper on it, and an interesting colonial style painting of a man holding the beer, but it just doesn’t seem to excite me very much. This bottle has none of the minimalism of Dogfish Head’s normal bottles, nor any of the complexity of some of their higher end beers. The small lettering of the beer’s title is unfortunate, as its “black & blue” character could surely have been more played up and prominent in the design. The off-kilter dogfish symbol on the bottle’s neck is also kind of weird… Why not just place it on-kilter…? Overall I’m just not a huge fan of this bottle. It’s not a keeper.
This beer pours an amber/ruby red with a white head that carries a hint of purple within it, and is very thick and frothing with happy bubbles, which dissipates slowly, leaving a nice half-finger head and also light and sliding lacing that droops in lovely cloud patterns down the glass. The beer smells sweet and yeasty, with nice hints of the malts and stronger hints of sweet berries. I also detect a slight hint of wet dog, which is a little upsetting to the beer… that may just be the sour berries doing funky things with the wet smell of the beer, but it is a little strange to smell. Malts seem sweet and light, and a hop character is not even there as the berry bite takes its place. The beer tastes very sour with a metallic/citrus tinge in the back of the taste which comes partially from the booziness of the beer, but that doesn’t entirely explain the metal. The beer is almost wine-like with light berry accentuations, which means this is definitely a sipper, not a chugger. My initial thought is that I should have had this in a wine glass and not in the pint mug I used. There is also some syrupy flavor after the taste has washed over your mouth, and the bitter of the raspberry definitely lingers in the mouth. It is very harsh on the tip of the tongue with carbonation. It leaves the mouth very dry and desert-like the farther it goes on the tongue, but the very middle and tip seems to be cloying with a thick and sticky syrup feel. It also leaves more of a wine’s sweet fruity lingering in the mouth than a beer’s crispness. Overall I am not very impressed with this beer, especially for its $13 price tag. It has a nice sour taste, but there are also some stranger things in the taste, especially the metallic/citrus anomaly. The fruit just doesn’t do nicely with this beer. I either want more fruit flavor, or less and more beer; but where they stand is not really working for me. I also don’t get much of the blueberry in the taste, which is disappointing. I suppose the raspberry is just too strong of a flavor, but I would have loved to have sensed some of the blueberry. The beer is a meh, and definitely not a recommended from me. Honestly, I just want more berry flavor from this and it just doesn’t deliver.
(As a side note, I was stupid and didn’t take pictures of the beer… I am deeply sorry. The picture here was taken from 365 Days of Beer at http://365daysobeer.blogspot.com/2011/06/dogfish-head-black-blue-ale.html It was the most similar to the mug I used)