Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by marburg on 06-15-2005

User Reviews
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Reviews: 562 | Ratings: 1,417
Photo of Kakaraht
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: A creamy yellow/orange color with a beautiful thumb of frothy white head that lingers.

S: It smells like a really nice German sack mead. Absolutely enticing with a rich grape back note making me want to drink deep. There is a faint spicy note in the background that reminds me of saffron.

T: The taste is incredible, it is such a smooth crisp beverage. The honey is really what stands up front, with is rich sweet slightly spicy character and the fruitiness that the hawthorn fruit adds mingles with the musky tartness of the grape. As it warms a slightly more malty flavor becomes present as well as a more earthy fruitiness. The alcohol in the beer is present as it warms, but does not take away from anything, instead adds a warmth and a richness to this delicate complex brew.

M: It is a medium bodied beer, but the smoothness and richness of it makes me want to take deep sips. It coats the mouth nicely and leaves a beautiful sweet dark spicy flavor on the tongue.

D: The most drinkable beer I have ever had, my absolute favorite and probably similar to what God would drink, if not the same heavenly brew.

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Photo of velvetimagery
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml capped bottle poured into a tulip.

This has got to be one of my new favorites. I loved absolutely everything about this brew. The color, smell, taste. Absolutely perfect.

A beautiful golden color with a fluffy head.

Smelled rich and complex. Very earthy.

Very complex taste, but not overwhelming. Perfect herby, bready, rich, warm flavors.

Very easy to drink. Not overly strong so the bottle went very quickly.

Overall, an absolute treat. Delicious. I will be keeping a regular stock of this brew.

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Photo of flowerysong
4.97/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Rich amber coloured body under a thin foamy head.

Smell: Immediate hit of honey, with some typical Muscat perfume-like presence. Hints of funkiness and an enticing herbal presence.

Taste: Most interesting. The flavour progression can be mapped to the individual components, with the front being like a mead, quickly drifting into a more grape-centered place, then in the middle some earthy malt presence starts to show through, and the finish is quite reminiscent of an off-dry sake. Lots of complexity here: strawberry, rose, musky grapes, mild hints of bread, a tea-like tannic presence, apricot, and grapefruit pith in the front. The back shows melon, pear, and floral influences on a solid background of malt with a bit of the funkiness from the nose, ending on a lingering finish that showcases the floral elements.

Mouthfeel: Thick and luscious, but not sticky. The perfect amount of carbonation, too; it would have been easy to over-carbonate and make it feel like a soda, or under-carbonate and make it lie heavy on the tongue.

Drinkability: I often feel in danger of seeming as though I'll drink anything, but then I reconsider and decide that enjoying most things I drink merely shows what a discerning buyer I am. I had my doubts going in as to whether this beer would even manage average drinkability, and my fears were soon put to rest. While I wouldn't necessarily drink this every day, this is a solidly enjoyable beer-like beverage that manages to integrate the disparate ingredients exceedingly well. It's also a perfect crossover beverage, with aspects that appeal to both the wine aficionado and the beer geek (as well as your weird friend who loves all things Asian and wishes that he were a giant robot with breasts--you know the one I'm talking about).

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Photo of LOM718
4.92/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this last night before dinner, I've been waiting all year (I missed it last year).

Appearance - nice light golden hue, like a golden sparkling wine

Smell - hint of grapes, honey and spice, light and floral

Taste - Sweet! Sweeter than I expected, you can taste the muscot grapes and the honey, there's clove and a slight syrup taste as well

Mouthfeel - like sparkling wine, light and effervescent, there's a hint of syrup as well

Drinkability - I wanted another when I was finished, however, due to the sweetness it would be hard to drink more than 2 (it's also 9%). But I will definitely drink this again!

Way to go Sam (again!)!! I love the ancient brews and this one is exceptional!

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Photo of sjdevel
4.86/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy and light gold color. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Dogfish Head Goblet. Only about a 1 finger head when poured. The head fades, but I was left with very interesting swirling bubble patterns and lacing.

Smells of sweet and only slightly tart fruit. Has a nice hint of white wine. Some citrus/floral hops are faint, and there is a bit of caramel hints.

There is a minimal hop bitterness right at the beginning. Then there are very interesting fruit notes that are unlike anything I have tasted in a beer before (may be the hawthorn fruit?). There are notes of white wine, apple, caramel, slightly toasted nuts, wood, and some herbs. Among all of the swirling flowery flavors, there is a nice sweetness throughout. The finish is sweet and there are yeasty/bread notes at the end.

This is a fairly light beer but there definitely is a fuller mouth feel. Medium -> Full. It just goes down like a darker ale.... slightly thick and oily.

I loved this one. There are so many beers out there to try and I rarely pick up another specialty beer like this (mainly because of cost) but I am looking forward to grabbing another one of these soon. I am a HUGE fan of Dogfish Head's brews and have never been disappointed. This one is at the top of my favorites list.

I am an off-centered person and I love their off-centered beers!

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Photo of Hsolorz1
4.84/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Incredible reconstruction of a lost and ancient Chinese recipe. Light and fruity with a slight Asian twist. The honey, grapes, barley, Hawthorne, and chrysanthemum are blended and balanced by the Sake yeast culture. The resulting beer is liquid gold. Marvelous. Congratulations Dogfish!

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Photo of DrSchnitzengiggle
4.79/5  rDev +26.1%
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.

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Photo of Frosty80
4.77/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color: sits a slightly hazy burnished orange with no head, which is expected for this type of brew

Smell: moderate, yet concentrated, aromas of honey, grapes, banana, and raisins. very sweet, fruity and floral, all lightly lifted by subtle alcohol

Taste: malty sweet with grapes, raisins, banana and honey with a little bit of alcohol coming through mid palate. finish is slightly sweet and dry

Mouthfeel: light-medium body with light-medium carbonation

Notes: very tasty. seems to have that sweetness than is presentn many DFH brews. another reason why they are the best!

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Photo of Gusler
4.76/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Flowing like the waters of Yangtze before the Three Gorges Dam, it fills the glass with a slightly hazy orange, the head a huge pile of frothy white, which erodes slowly, the resultant lacing, a complete coat to hide the glass. Nose, a phenomenal blend of aromas, honey, grapes, barley, rice, Hawthorn fruit, Chrysanthemum flowers, yeast, what a lineup, and they all blend perfectly. Ambrosial start, with a twang at the back, top feels moderate to the palate. Finish is modestly acidic, sweet, flowery and dry aftertaste nails itself to the taste buds, what a brew, what a marvelous concoction of grains, flowers and fruit, a true one of a kind masterpiece of the brewers’ art.

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Photo of ThierryBeer
4.74/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Incredible beer. Beautiful Amber color. Fairly light for a 10%er and easy to drink. Intriguing smell and tasty fruit and honey, but that said, doesn't over do anything with a smooth dry finish. Definitely pick this up if available around you.

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Photo of czfreeman
4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been looking foward to this beer for quite sometime. I start Cuisines of Asias tommorrow at Culinary School, so I thought it would be a good one to drink tonight.
Pours out a golden lemon accented orange color, light foamy head, leaves light lacing.
Aromas of white grapes, honeys, oranges, chrysanthemums definatley come through, peach like notes in there, as well as an unfiltered sake-like creaminess.
Flavor is lightly spicy, notes of white grape first, light peppery notes, raspberry-like fruit sweet-tartness, peach again, lemon-juice, very effervecent floral bouquet, with a creamy finish I would assume comes from the addition of rice flakes in the mash. Tastes like a stellar chardonnay.
This beer is yet again another mind-blowing-how-did-they-do-it? What labourous research went into this recreation? It is really amazing to think of drinking the same beverage as people 9000 years ago in the Ancient Middle East. Depite being extremly well-balanced and highly drinkable, this is an example of Mr. Calagione's extreme level of talent and ingenuity he applies to his craft.

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Photo of clvand0
4.67/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been waiting a long time to try this one. Very nice bottle. It pours a cloudy light orange color with a small head that fades quickly and doesn't leave a lot of lacing on the glass. The aroma reminds me mostly of grapes and some honey sweetness along with a touch of spices that I can't put my finger on. Wow, the flavor is strange. Lots of honey character along with some spices, but only a very slight pepper-type spice. Some grape flavor along with a lot of other stuff that I can't put my finger on. Makes for an extremely complex flavor that isn't over the top ... just strange. It's much better and extremely more drinkable and smooth than I expected. The alcohol is only barely apparent. The body is on the heavy end of moderate and the drinkability is very good. Wonderful strange beer.

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Photo of kinupanda
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fresh from the tap and into a baby snifter. A beautiful, golden amber color, almost a glowing orange, with a quickly-dissipating head; perhaps the most impeccable pour I've seen. The smell is equally as nice, made of wonderfully balanced honey and floral aromas, with almost a subtle banana-like quality from the fruits. An exploding bouquet of fruit flavor; the subtle carbonation allows the sweet honey to be the star. The finish is crisp, with a lingering clean dryness.

FourthBeer potential: VERY HIGH. In all honesty, I was enjoying this beer way too much and drank it too fast. The high ABV is completely unnoticeable, and is almost dangerous because more is better for this one. An excellent effort by Dogfish Head, but does that really surprise anyone?

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Photo of Freshie
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When reading up on this many months ago, when the brothers put this in the Beer Smack, I gave it the old "Hmm, I don't know" attitude. An attitude that proved correct with other such historical brews. Some even from this very same brewery. Brewers always seem so well intentioned in the creation of these ales, and in my adventure through this craft beer world, I usually take the bait, only to be disappointed in the end.

Well, I guess I am still idealistic because yesterday I bought a very pretty bottle of this Chateau Jiahu, and I am pleased to say I am a believer again.

Very pungent fruit aromas entice the nostrils. Sweet, yet still subtle, with just a hint of spice.

The taste is spicy at first. Hops rise to the occasion, replaced by fruit esters. Grape, and what I assume is the advertised Hawthorn. A honey sweetness coats the throat in a mild, but welcomed syrupy texture.

The honey balances out the other rather extreme flavors, leaving this one very drinkable.

Cheers to Sam, and everyone at DFH for a job well done on this one.

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Photo of BoljaBoy52
4.64/5  rDev +22.1%
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!!

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Photo of inilegna
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Very light, golden yellow. Nice and clear with little head.

S - Pungent white wine, a hint of maltiness, and touch of hops. Slight sake-like finish. Very floral.

T - Very strong white grape on the front, sweet honey on the tip of the tongue. A slight bitterness on the back of the tongue. A touch of malt.

M - Smooth, sweet and very rich.

D - Superior drink-ability. Extremely smooth. @ 10% alcohol it could be a bit of a sneaky drink ;)

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Photo of Krakistophales
4.62/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours light orange with a finger of white head that recedes into a halo.

S: White grape, honey, spices, tropical fruit, banana

T: Starts with white grape and honey, the middle filled with assorted tropical fruits, and the end finishing with a touch of spice and floral notes. Amazing flavor.

M: Light, spritzy, great carbonation, refreshing

O: One of my favorite beers, period. I would buy this weekly if it was available everywhere.

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Photo of eheff
4.61/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious, delicious beer. It's almost as if it was made for me. I had a feeling I was going to like it (great label) and waited and waited for bjohnson to bring me one.

It pours a peachy/light-orange-ish color reminiscent of Magic Hat #9--average appearance, nothing too exciting. It smells sweet and maybe like honey, but the smell is not too strong or overpowering.

Taste on the other hand--very interesting. It tastes like honey, with a bit of a sort of lightly carbonated/spritzy aftertaste. I don't know if I'm able to pull out all of the individual flavors, but all together, they are delicious. It is like dessert in a glass.

Mouthfeel is really good too--the carbonation kind of balances out the sweetness--makes it less heavy. Drinkability is good too--I'm going to drink the rest of the bottle and wish I had more after it.

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Photo of SouthernBeerGuy
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Been waiting to try this one for a while !

A : Light honey gold with a slight haze. Thick finger of white foam with minimal lacing.

S : Not strong, but very sweet. Smells of honey and light flowers.

T : Honey and grapes are up front, then a floral note followed by some ethanol, but finishes clean. Amazed at how smooth this brew is. This beer is sessionable !

M : Sits surprisingly light on the palate.

D : Super drinkable all night. Just exclaimed that I should have gotten three bottles instead of two.

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Photo of nortmand
4.59/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure how it's supposed to look, but poure yellow orange and cloudy with a nice, sturdy white head.

Cidery smell, definitely apple there, probably from the hawthorn. Also some sweet cinnamon notes.

Strong wine flavors up front blend into a sweet spiciness, which ends in a musky alcoholic burn.

Medium bodied very fruit and drinkable, definitely a unique brew.

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Photo of Crossbreed29
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

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Photo of Boto
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: Mine poured into the glass with a bit of fizziness, but no head to speak of and what was there was gone almost instantly. The color is a cloudy, orange hued dark golden. The aroma is nice. Hints of spices and slightly orange to the nose. Maybe pears and honey too. Somewhat sweet, with notes of pears and honey to the taste. Also some spiciness. This is really good. It is interesting that someone may have been sipping a similar concoction 9000 years ago. Another fine and creative beer from a great brewery.

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Photo of ScottieByNature
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a champagne bottle into a tulip glass.

A - Beautiful light golden color, plenty of effervescence. The light head left a bit of lacing and made almost a marbled pattern on the surface.

S - Hints at a Belgian, with aromatic notes that reminded me of a Chardonnay or a Pinot Grigio. Also thought I caught some strawberry and banana notes in there, made me think of a tropical Starburst!

T - Beautifully clean and crisp with the honey and fruit flavors contributing nicely. I half expected this one to be cloying and have a strong alcoholic heat to it, but quite the opposite. It was just the right amount of sweet, and the 10% abv is hardly detectable in the taste. Very tasty!

M - Medium to light body.

D - Surprisingly drinkable for the abv, goes down very easy.

Overall, an excellent bottle of beer! Was sad when the bottle was empty. It's no wonder this was the last bottle left at the store! Would probably go well with some spicy stir fry.

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Photo of DonDirkA
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is very flowery and sweet with hints of honey. Slight hints of fruitiness like grapes and oranges. Honey sweetness up front dominates, then a wine-like fruitiness washes over the tongue and blends with a flowery brightness. At the tail end the sticky honey flavors take back over and sticks around on the tongue leaving you with a lingering sweetness but a dry finish. This is one of the best of the Ancient Ales in my opinion.

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Photo of FernMaster
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle based on the description on the label. Read the story in the beer info if you haven't already. Ya, it's that freaking crazy.

I poured the Chateau Jiahu into a tulip and it poured a clear moderate redish color that shimmered in the light. It looked very much like a champagne or wine. The head was minimal and there was some moderate lacing on the side, nothing great, just an average amount of foam. The smell however was just as interesting as the description on the bottle. The smell was a unique flowery sweet combination of the flowers (not a typo, actual flowers) and grapes. I was not expecting this smell from a beer, even one brewed with freaking chrysanthemums! The smell was very much like that of a wine. In fact if you know a person who prefers wine and is hesitant about beer, I would recommend Dogfish Head's Chateau Jiahu as the beer you use to introduce them to the wonderful world of micro-brewing. The taste (the taste!) matched that of the flowers and grapes. The grapes were very prominent with a hint of honey, fruit and wheat, but it ended with a sweet note from the flowers.

Simply put, I've never had a beer like this before in my life. I've never even heard of something as crazy as this! I enjoyed the hell out of it and I called friends before finishing my glass to buy a bottle if they ever see it on store shelves. Chateau Jiahu is a unique beer that drinks like wine and a must try for anything, just the uniqueness of the beer.

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Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 562 ratings.