Dogfish Head’s Fruit-Full Fort is an aggressive attempt to punch up the fruit flavor in the brewery’s standard Fort—itself a Belgian style strong ale featuring raspberries. Additions of blackberry, elderberry and boysenberry (along with the original raspberry) pair with a hefty Munich malt bill to provide an interesting variant of the rare Fort release. At 18.0% ABV, Fruit-Full Fort is a sipper and a prime candidate for aging.
Dogfish Head is pretty straightforward about what went into this beer, with a label featuring literal handfuls of fruit. Fruit-Full Fort pours a bright plum color that is plenty suggestive of the load of berry flavor to come. It’s a strange color for a beer of any kind, but particularly at this level of ABV. A tightly bubbled, pink-hued head clings to the top of that plum body to remind the drinker this is in fact a beer.
A bounty of dark berry aromas dominate the nose. Raspberry and blackberry make up the bulk of the jammy aroma to go along with a hefty dose of booze. The resulting combination is wine-like, but with more sweetness and fruitiness than even the most aggressive glass of red.
This is a beer that may benefit from laying down in the cellar for a time out.”
Booze. Boozy booze. It’s a hammer that is only lightly disguised by the berry additions. That jammy berry bouquet fights for attention with the alcohol heat by providing bright tartness and warm fruity sweetness—when it can peak its way through. A deceptively light and creamy body helps Fruit-Full Fort go down smoothly, which at this ABV is a dangerous proposition. As it warms, the beer can become a little medicinal, though less so than I’d expect given the high ABV and fruit combo.
Fruit-Full Fort is fortified indeed, with alcohol more than dominating each sip. This is a beer that may benefit from laying down in the cellar for a time out. The beer behind the booze is intriguing, but it is ultimately overshadowed by the unabiding heat.