Dogfish Head rolls out Fermentation Engastration, the ‘turducken of beers’

May 13, 2022, 3:51 PM UTC

Sam Calagione and the brewers at Dogfish Head Craft Brewery have never been afraid to explore the weird side of beer. But they might have outdone themselves this time.

On Friday, Dogfish Head released Fermentation Engastration, which it calls “the turducken of beers.” The brew draws inspiration from a rose-scented sake, a honey and date mead, a bittersweet hard cider, a Muscat wine, and a rustic farmhouse ale.

“Essentially, it’s five separate threads of beer, each of them kind of inspired by a different recognizably traditional fermented beverage,” says Calagione. “To me, this is like an adult gobstopper [candy].”

Just 1,000 bottles of this brewing amalgamation, which was made in conjunction with Gastro Obscura, are being released nationwide, with sales happening exclusively on, a craft beer gift basket retailer. A 500 ml bottle will run $25.

Fortune had an opportunity to try Fermentation Engastration earlier this week, and it’s certainly an incredibly complex beverage. The sake notes hit your tongue first, followed by the sweetness of the mead. The cider and wine elements didn’t stand out to me personally, but those could have been helping push the mead’s honey sweetness to the top of my palate. Finally, the earthy farmhouse ale tastes ride the finish.

It’s far from Dogfish Head’s first mad scientist brewing concoction. The brewer has made beer with the same ingredients that are found in pepper spray, maple syrup and roasted chicory in the past. And in 1999, it introduced World Wide Stout, which at the time boasted the highest AVB of any beer ever sold.

It’s a beer whose tastes evolve as it warms. And at 10% ABV, notes Calagione, it will cellar well. (He recommends pairing it with an actual turducken—or, if that’s not something you make, it will work well with a turkey burger.)

While it’s an incredibly small-batch beer for the brewer, it took up a lot of real estate in the company’s brewery, as each element has to be fermented and brewed separately, with some taking much longer than others.

“[Beyond] square footage of our brewery, I don’t know if there’s been a project that’s taken this much time,” says Calagione. ”I’d say anywhere from three and a half or four months for the [sake-inspired thread] to two and a half or three weeks for the saison.”

While Fermentation Engastration is a very limited-edition beer now, Calagione isn’t ruling out making it again, perhaps as early as around the Thanksgiving period, though that’s just a thought right now.

“We haven’t like set a production date yet, mostly because [head brewer] Mark Safarik would punch me in the face if I say we’re committing to tie up fermenters up again that soon,” he says. “But…if if there’s a big response to folks that really wanted it, but didn’t get to try it on this batch, we’re ready to be able to do another batch, at least of this scale, in time for Thanksgiving. It’s not on our production schedule yet, but we’d be excited to make this liquid again, I’d say that.”

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