Redux Review 0008: Dogfish Head World Wide Stout
Exactly one year ago, I reviewed Dogfish Head’s (Milton, Delaware) World Wide Stout, an 18% ABV (alcohol by volume) monster of a beer that was once the strongest beer in the world. The bottle I reviewed last year was produced in December 2010, so the beer already had thirteen months of age on it when I gave it a first sample.
My initial World Wide Stout review looked like this:
Appearance: 13 of 15 points
Aroma: 10 of 15 points
Flavor and Palate: 35 of 35 points
Drinkability/Overall Experience: 28 of 35 points
Final Score: 86 points, or very good to excellent on my rating scale.
In my first review, I noted the aroma of World Wide Stout took on a heavy solvent note, no doubt thanks to the big ABV. While the flavors were great and almost entirely too complex to describe with words, drinkability suffered due to the alcohol, which was overly present in the taste.
Here we are in 2013, and I have a bottle from the same batch, which has an additional year of age, bringing this beer up to 25 months old. What has changed? Is this still as complex as it was before, and has drinkability improved?
Since my last review, Dogfish Head have announced they will return to brewing this beer after a short hiatus. The next bottles will be released in December 2013.
It’s time to take a visit to one of the harder beers to review, simply because it is so unique, more like port than beer.
The pour produced a murky brown beer that was topped by an average size head, much more head than I got from the last bottle. It hung around for a good while, too, and you could see light bits of particles and sediment floating in the beer. As expected for such a high gravity brew, this one left no lacing, but there were plenty of alcohol legs when the drink was agitated.
Talk about a night and day difference — we have it in the aroma, which sees that solvent note turned way down, almost absent. Shining through are the plentiful dark fruits; prunes, raisins, figs, and fleshy, ripe grape. The raisins aren’t quite to rum-soaked level, but it’s close. And lurking in the background are actual typical Stout aromas — some caramel, and a small note of chocolate. A small whiff of oxidation is present, too. Overall, much improved with the added year of age.
The taste sees a greeting from sweet caramel and raisin up front, mixing wonderfully together, which leads to a big punch from the ever-present alcohol. It’s a nice warming sensation that opens the beer to plenty of those dark fruits found in the aroma, along with notes of pear and sweet molasses. The finish rides out more of the dark fruits, along with a small note of coffee and some chocolate. The exiting flavors seem to go on forever. World Wide Stout is full-bodied just because of the alcohol, but the mouthfeel is on the low side of medium with a creamy texture. At 25 months old, the carbonation is still average.
Without a doubt, this is a much improved beer with more time. Again, the drinkability suffers, but nowhere near as much as it did last year. I think with more age, this beer opens itself up to a wider audience. If you can obtain a bottle, I think you should — and wait at least two years to open it.
We’ll be checking in again once another few months have passed.
Appearance: 14 of 15 points
Aroma: 12 of 15 points
Flavor and Palate: 33 of 35 points
Drinkability/Overall Experience: 31 of 35 points
Dogfish Head World Wide Stout, 90 points. Price: $9.95 US for one twelve ounce bottle.