Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Brewery

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Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

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BA SCORE
85
very good

1,373 Ratings
THE BROS
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Ratings: 1,373
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 95
Gots: 197 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: marburg on 06-15-2005

Let's travel back in time again for another Dogfish Head Ancient Ale (Midas Touch was our first foray and Theobroma our most recent). Our destination is 9,000 years ago, in Northern China! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago, right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East!

Fast forward to 2005. Molecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology calls on Dogfish Head to re-create another ancient beverage, and Chateau Jiahu is born.

In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, orange blossom honey, muscat grape, barley malt and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.

10 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,373 | Reviews: 561
Photo of RickS95
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

A really clear pour. Peach in color, but again it's a very light color. There is a brilliantly white head up top, just under a finger thick, but it's got no legs. Subsequent swirls liven the head, now an off white color with better retention. Thinnest of lacing left behind.

The scent is pleasant and full of fruit. You pick up the grape juice and though I have no idea what hawthorn fruit smells or tastes like, I think it's noticeable as well. I couldn't pick up any hops presence or honey, but it's got a pilsner malt nose.

It's not a bad tasting beer, just nothing special. The honey and fruitiness are mostly evident, but so is that Pilsner malt taste and that ruins it for me. Reminds me of a macro too much to score high.

Macros have destroyed anything with pilsner malts in it and this beer falls into that category. I appreciate the sweet fruit and honey, but I can't get past the grainy, bitter pilsner feel to it. Not sure of the ABV in this, but there's an alcohol feel in the finish. Honestly, the beer starts off fairly nice, but it ends poorly.

Overall, it reminds me of most Dogfish Head beers...overrated and way over priced. I don't see the fascination with this brewer. I keep buying their offerings waiting for something I'll like, but it's few and far in between. This is no different.

Photo of HattedClassic
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice head that dissipates quickly but leaves a nice looking residue around the inside of the glass. The beer itself is a clear medium gold color that is fairly nice in its presentation.

The beer smell is very good. The beer has strong sweet honey notes and hawthorn fruit. Those notes work well against the grape juice backdrop. Also, there appears a bit and almost unnoticeable hint of hop bitterness that keeps the beer from being too sweet. In addition to those notes, the beer smell has a fruity note that comes from the sake yeast and a little bit of rice on the nose.

The taste has the same notes as the smell but not as awe-inspiring for some reason. The taste still has fruity notes from the yeast, and honey with hawthorn fruit notes among the back drop of grape juice. My guess is the slight alcohol note and the sake taste is throwing things off. However, it's still pretty good overall.

The mouthfeel is nice but a little thick. The beer has some carbonation to keep it from becoming thick and makes the beer a lot lighter than it would be normally.

Overall, a very unique beer and worth getting at least once. I like how the notes and ingredients are something that you don't see and the use of sake yeast to add more notes is cool.

Photo of Grinky
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Certainly wouldn't turn my nose up at it but we've had it twice now and while it's distinctive (in a good way) it isn't something we'll chase.

Photo of TruePerception
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu, ale brewed with honey and hawthorn fruit, and fermented with grape juice. 10% ABV.

A: About a finger of fluffy white head. Peach orange in the glass. Very slightly yellow-tinged clear in the dimple. Slight sheeting. Very slight lacing. Now that the head has died down, their appears to be a thin, clear, and slightly oily meniscus. I almost didn't notice, but that rainbow effect caught my eye.

S: Green grape must. Dry honey. Slight biscuit.

T/MF: Fairly acidic (though not in a tart/fruity way). Dry honey, and some kind of dry berry flavor. Slight lime peel and black tea notes. The overall taste brings to mind "elegance". Mouthfeel is rich, yet slightly bubbly.

Interesting. Not fantastic, and it likely needs food, but interesting. And, fairly light for a 10%-er

Poured from a 750mL bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.
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Photo of DrSchnitzengiggle
4.79/5  rDev +27.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in 2012. Drank in 2015.

I loved this beer. It has a very intriguing smell. Lots of fruit and honey. The fruitiness carries over to the flavor, and the finish is smooth. Even with some age on it, the alcohol is still present, but it's mild. Definitely worth your money.

Photo of BoljaBoy52
4.64/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful Amber color. Smell is of a citrusy wine. Taste is notes of citrus, juicy grapes and alcohol. Finishes tart and dry. Mouthfeel is explosive. Incredible beer and ancient recreation!!

Photo of Franziskaner
3.74/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Brilliant golden color with excellent clarity. There's a fingernail of white around the rim of the glass and a third of the rest of the beer. I smell white grape juice and a hint of sweet honey. The flavor is an intense burst of white grape juice and sweet honey. The mouth is thick with sweet malt and plenty of sugar from the honey, hawthworn fruit and grape juice.

Photo of ARoman
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap, poured into a sampler glass as the American Beer Classic. The aroma has a potent ammonia note to it with undertones of citrus, grapes, and alcohol. The beer is clear yellow amber with a white, dense soap head that has good retention and lace. The taste is highly sweet with a medium bitterness. The beer is waxy with a fuzzy carbonation and a medium body. The flavor is not too dissimilar to a white wine with flavors of white grapes, an alcohol warmth, honey, bread, and a mellow spice that heighten at the finish with a zip like a champagne or crisp white wine along with some bread flavors. The aftertaste is fairly long with warm alcohol, spice, and citrus.

Photo of WineGuy3000
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Quick review. For me, all of the more interesting flavor components were far to subtle. Ultimately I found this brew to be really boring.

Photo of Slack
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Light gold in color with a minor amount of head. Clear. Minor lacing.

Smell is dominated by sweetness. Am getting some fruit and floral notes. Also there is a bit of a musk.

Taste is sweetness again but more in line with honey. Equally present is white wine. A dry and sour note appear too. No hops.

Mouthful is medium with light carbonation.

Overall the beer's back story in conjunction with the beer itself lend to trying. I found that towards the end of the beer, the cloying nature was beginning to detract.

Photo of Crossbreed29
4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is my first ever review on BA. Just want to preface this by saying, I've been drinking "craft beer" for 7+ years now. Dogfish Head is a well respected brewer in the industry. This beer has a straw color appearance. It is light on the tongue in terms of mouth feel but is very full of distinct flavors. The beer itself is low in carbonation... It is very delicate. At the same time you can notice the notes of honey. There is no alcohol flavor whatsoever. Probably the most impressive of the Ancient Ale Series that DFH has been brewing over the years. I've tried them all. This on draft is exquisite. For 10% I could drink it all night. Easy 4.5/5. World Class.

Photo of JackieTH
4.01/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Golden beer kicks up a white foam that fades quickly into a ring. Smells of hay, honey, biscuit, crackers, yeast, dough, grain, Pilsner. Timeless quite nice actually, sort of like a very healthy double Pilsner. aste has honey, straw, grape, green apple, bread, grain and biscuit. Mouthfeel is a bit loose with moderate carbonation. Some mild sweetness throughout. Interesting beer. Enjoyable experiment reconstituting ancient history and glad I tried it but won't seek out another. I think maybe we've learned a few tricks in the last 5,000 years about brewing delicious beer without resorting to fermenting Muscat grapes..

Photo of Faxmesomehalibut
2.44/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.25

Typical dogfish fashion, making things weird for the sake of being weird. I'm sure some people like this, just not for me.

Photo of MattyG85
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a chalice. Bottled in January of 2015.

Appearance: Pours a bright golden orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Big two finger white head that settles into a thin patchy layer.

Smell: A sweet and somewhat sour aroma with big hints of fruits and yeast. Barley malt with hints of straw, grains, cracker, yeast, and biscuit. Sweet hints of honey and sugar. Fruit hints of grape juice, orange, apple, hawthorn fruit, and lemon. Kind of funky and dry smelling. A pretty interesting and good aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a sweet yet drying taste of fruits and funky yeast. Barley malt with bready notes of straw, cracker, grains, biscuit, and yeast. Sweet taste of honey and sugar. Lots of dried fruit with white wine like notes of grape juice, apple, orange, lemon, and hawthorn fruit. Fairly musty, earthy, and drying. A pretty nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Juicy, drying, and pretty smooth with minimal alcohol heat.

Overall: A very solid take on an old style. Nice dry wine like fruit flavors.

Photo of Furlinator
3.71/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Fruity and sweet up front with a definite grape presence. Grainy on the finish with smooth honey accents.

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.79/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chateau Jiahu pours a straw like golden color with a small lacing head. There is a very crisp malty aroma, with hints of honey. The taste has a great crisp pils like malty backbone, with good hints of honey, and a subtle sweet aftertaste. A little flat, but good flavor. Overall its very well put together. Great beer like backbone, and the fruit and honey blends perfectly.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Clear gold, slight haze, 2” rocky head, dissipates to a thick film, leaves delicate, artistic lace.
S: Grape, malt, honey, bitter, sour apple, woody, earthy.
T: Sweet, slight bitter in the back but predominantly like a sweet light wine. Grape, honey, malt and bitter, funky bitter sour apple flavors.
M: Medium body and medium carbonation to just under medium. A little alcoholic but not 10% abv alcoholic.
O: Read Patrick McGovern’s book that discusses how this was made and it is an inceredible story. A person who like sweet wines will probably like this one.

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy yellow with an off white head that trails the glass. The smell is rather sweet with the honey coming through the nose. The taste was nice with first the sweet honey and fruit notes, and then the grapes coming through on the finish for a tart aftertaste. The aftertaste wasn't as clean as I would have liked but very good and an interesting beer I would try again.

Photo of jopezu
4.5/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a snifter from the jiahu bomber; a very cloudy amber beer with a head that dissolves quickly. nose is sweet white grape. taste is dominated by honey and muscat grape, but not cloying. very well balanced - interesting that the main flavors are sweet, yet it remains highly drinkable with no counterbalancing hop/bitterness profile (though there is a spicy underpinning, perhaps from the 10% abv). aftertaste, again, is a slightly dry, warm white grape. much like dfh "red & white", i was expecting this to be a swing and a miss judging from the desciption on the bottle, but i'll be damned if i'm not enjoying it! =)

Photo of Swa73
5/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A sophisticated delight. Not like any other beer I've ever had, although I'm still a noob really when it comes to craft beer.

Photo of Marcio_Beck
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful golden color, slightly hazy, medium carbonation and a fair white head, which doesn't last very long, but leaves some traces on the top of the liquid and on the sides of the glass.

The honey notes are dominant in the aroma and taste, followed by an intense fruitiness reminiscent of a white wine. As i have never tried hawthorne fruit before, the muscat grapes were more apparent. No hop bitterness (only a faint floral aroma), but the sweetness is not excessive.

Sweet, tangy and a little boozy finish, altough the alcohol is very subtle for a 10% AbV brew.

Photo of Nicked
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Serving: On tap into chalice

A: pours gold, looks almost like a mead, but with a thin layer of white foam. Spotty lacing slides down the glass after the beer.

S: sweet notes predominate (honey), white grape

T: taste is much like a dry, sweet white wine, but with a touch of sweet malt and honey to balance the sharp grape flavor. White grapes reign here, little/no hop character.

M: pleasantly dry character, leads one to anticipate the next sip. This creates a lovely, vicious cycle.

O: definitely a non-traditional beer, but well-executed as always by the folks at DFH.

Photo of trickynicky
2.43/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm not a fan of anything to do with grapes, which is probably why I did not care for this. I am a fan of Dogfish Head, though, so this did nothing to change my opinion of their brewery.

Photo of gr0g
3.99/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Golden in color, high clarity. A good two fingers or so of foam fades somewhat quickly, leaving streaks of lacing. Malty, sweet, and yet vinous aroma. The characteristic sweet aroma of muscat grapes, not to mention honey, comes to the forefront. The honeyed sweetness plus floral notes gives this an overall aroma that's kind of a like a Maibock.

Sweet, fruity flavor profile. Just enough hop bitterness to keep the sugars from becoming overbearing. A touch of alcohol on the finish. Booziness is very well restrained for 10% ABV. Well carbonated with little to no prickliness.

Sweet and strong, not all that complex, but plenty satisfying. All in all, it's very similar to Midas Touch, just with a bigger, more robust flavor profile.

Photo of m_hall
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour from a 9.6 oz bottle into a tulip yields a clear amber-gold beer, topped by a fizzy soda-like two finger head that quickly falls to a faint film leaving light lacing.

Aroma is sweet, both malty and fruity, but with a vinous tang as well (unsurprising given the presence of grape juice.) There's a also an herbal mustiness present.

Flavor is unlike any beer I've had before... not surpising, given the background to this. Very sweet, almost cloying, but it never quite goes too far. There's a malt sweetness, but also a mead-like note from the honey as well. Lots of esters... Grape and pear are quite in evidence. The fruits in some ways remind me of some Belgian Ales I've had, but the other notes present would keep you from ever confusing this with any of those. Finish is sweet with a dry tartness at the very end. Despite this weighing in at a hefty 10% ABV, the alcohol presence is very well controlled. It's there, but not in an overbearing way.

Feel on the palate is a bit syrupy, but not obnoxiously "thick." Carbonation is fairly light.

A very adventurous, unusual brew from a company who aren't afraid to explore. It's something everyone should at least give a shot... while I don't see myself drinking this all the time, I could certainly see myself coming back to it in the future. DFH should be commended for this, a great example of looking back at history, but in a way that pushes craft brewing forwards.

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Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 1,373 ratings.