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Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,290 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,290
Reviews: 537
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 14.06%
Wants: 90
Gots: 158 | 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: 1,290 | Reviews: 537 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of YonderWanderer
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle.

A: Hazy, yellowish-orange color with a small head that dissipates fairly quickly.

S: Apples, pears, grapes, a tiny bit of ginger, honey. Not bad overall, intriguing for a beer.

T: I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this beer. It comes through as a malty beer spiced with a mixture of grapes, honey, and ginger. No real hops profile to speak of, as the spices and malt blend with each other nicely.

M: Lightly carbonated, and pretty thin to drink. Fits the beer well though.

D: I've had this a few times, and will continue to drink it from time to time. It's not an every-day beer, but it's a nice change of pace from time to time.

Photo of Boto
4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Plucier: Poured a golden yellow color ale with a nice white head with average retention and not much lacing. Aroma of malt is weak with some sweetness probably coming from honey. Taste is quit sweet with honey dominating and some light spices also noticeable. Body is about average with some good carbonation and no alcohol was noticeable. Overall, I thought this lack complexity and was slightly too sweet for my palate. Definitely not the best from this great brewery.

Photo of Flyer
3.47/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy lemony color. Mine had more than a few suspended particles and a minimal head. Faintly floral aroma. The flavor is a nice, crisp pear-pineapple with a good bite on the back of the tongue. The alcohol makes its presence felt in a nice way, with a gentle warming at the end and just a hint of burn. A very nice change of pace.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.43/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, pale gold body with a teeny, tiny white head.

Smell: Faint aroma of pears, white grapes, and honey.

Taste: Weak, meandering flavors of thin strawberry juice, dusty grapes, subtle spices, and sweet grains. Finishes with a tangy-sweet zip.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: Thanks, but no thanks. So far, I haven't been a big fan of these "residue beers".

Photo of SilentSabre
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$11,00/750mL Kwik Liquor N. Green River Rd. Evansville, Ind. USA

I must say, I liked this a bit more than I thought I would. After reading everyone's reviews stating that it was too sweet, or they couldn't handle a whole 750 by themself or whatever the case, I was a bit leary of this, but I actually ended up liking it.
It was really unlike any beer I have ever had, but rather a beer / white wine hybrid. It poured a cloudy orange colour with loads of debris both floating about and suspended in the liquid. Head vanished rather quickly. It isn't exactly a pretty beer to look at, but it smells and tastes quite nicely and that's all that matters.
Smell is floral/botanical with a bit of honey tht is fairly identifiable. There is also a bit of yeast detectable, as well.
Taste is very much like white wine with the muscat grapes really pronounced. The only beer-like quality I could easily fine in the taste, was a dryness (biscuity is the closest word I can think of, but it wasn't truly biscuity) on the finish.
Considering how bizarre this is, the relative sweetness, and the fact that it is 8,0%abv, I feel that this is rather drinkable, and have no problem at all finishing a 750mL by myself. Certainly one of the better strange or specialty offerings from DFH, IMO.

Photo of crwills
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasting at biegaman's place with grub, viggo, lexx, blankboy (RB), and tupalev (RB). I didn't write down who brought what, unfortunately, so thanks everyone! (Oh wait, I brought this one...)

Poured a surprisingly pale yellow, almost like a white wine, into the sample glass. Honey and fresh fruit aromas, grapes and apples mostly. Flavour is more sweet honey with very little carbonation, with some pears, sweet apples, and red grapes. Long-lasting cloying aftertaste and a thickly oily mouthfeel.

Not something I'd want to drink often, or even a whole bottle of, but not bad and worth trying!

Photo of flexabull
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of Diagathyramb. Thanks angain!

Shared with a friend who likes good beer. Though this isn't really much like a "beer".

Pours a cloudy light gold color with a faint white head. Looks a lot like an unfiltered wheat.

Smells flowery, of honey, and with notes of citrus fruit.

Tastes quite sweet, must be from the muscat grapes. A definite citrus fruit like quality, honey flavor is noticed as well. Beer has a crisp bright and dry finish, with a bit of warming alcohol like feeling. Certainly an interesting beer to taste.

Mouthfeel is very nice. Very full bodied, and it's coats the mouth quite nicely.

A very easy and interesting beer to drink. A bit of novelty, not sure if I'd pay the steep price they charge for this. But more kudos to Dogfish Head for brewing these creative beers!

Photo of nlmartin
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: The beer pours as hazy golden coloration. The head was white and about 2.5 fingers high. The head had no retention and quickly resolved to a ring of foam. White flecks of floating sediment are suspended in the beer.

Smell: This beer has a very sweet smell. The beer leads with an unknown fruity sweetness (could this be the hawthorne fruit?), honey, raisins, assorted peppery spiceyness. Bottom line I really like the aroma of this beer.

Taste: The beer is really sweet honey, fruity flavors of unknown origin, raisin / grapes, a pleasant spicey combinaton of pepper and alcohol combined with pleasing earthyness. The finish of the beer is dry inspite of the sweetness. This is a very pleasing beer. I want more!

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The body of the beer is on the light side. I think I would like a bit more carbonation to this brew. The beer is very easy to drink and as stated previously stated I want more. This 750 ml bottle passed very quickly. Thanks DFH for yet one more envelope pushing beer!

Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden color with a modest head that quickly declines to a film but leaves some splotches of lace around the chalice

Smell: Bananas and honey with subtle undertones of one of the more expensive sakes I have tried; fortified grape aromatics as well

Taste: Starts with a rice pudding flavor that is quickly joined by the banana and honey aspects; all of those flavors blend nicely by mid-palate; after the swallow, the grape flavors kick in and are joined by a subtle herbaciousness that creeps in that I cannot identify but must be the hawthorn and chrysanthemum

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and creamy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I approached this with some trepidation as Dogfish Head has been hit or miss with me; but this one knocks it out of the park; well-blended with tremendous complexity

Photo of biegaman
3.84/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A really neat label, although I can't help but think the tattoo on the lower back of the seductive lady on the front has become fashionable only recently. Then again I doubt they had modern bottling lines then either, so whatever. I assume all aspects are true to the 9000 year old recipe, maybe.
A very, very clouded and sullied appearance. Most of the head fades out quickly. A tangerine orange colour. Complex aroma of bananas, strong suggestion of tropical fruit, heavy sweetness, muscat grapes at the forefront. Flavour is deliciously sweet (the sake yeast maybe?). A little champagne sweetness only without the carbonation. The flavours are lovely and well blended.
Another neat alternative to "beer" as we're used to it and something that would make a lovely 'thank you' or 'hostess' gift that you could bring to a party and enjoy over the course of a social evening.
Thanks to crwills for this treat!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Radiant tangerine-amber that looks like a perfect mixture of orange juice and pineapple juice. The head is no slouch either. It's either dark ivory or pale ecru, with a firm look rather than a creamy one. Only a semi-quick descent, a complete lack of rockiness and a near-complete lack of lace keep the appearance from a higher score.

The nose is fantastic. I can definitely appreciate the Muscat grape juice and I'm pretty sure I can pick out the wildflower honey, but beyond that I'm lost. Of course, it's difficult when you have no idea what hawthorn fruit or chrysanthemums smell (or taste) like. There's also a mild funkiness, complemented by a light spiciness, that reminds me of a Belgian saison.

I'm glad the flavor profile takes after the aroma, more or less. With a richer, creamier, more expansive mouthfeel (think world-class tripel), Chateau Jiahu would be a much better beer. It's still damn good, just not *as* good as the outstanding beer lurking just beneath the surface.

White grape juice and honey continue to co-star on the taste buds. It's no surprise, then, that the beer is on the sweet side. That means that I need take it slowly, but then I have the rest of the night to finish the '750'. Something is giving the beer an earthy fruitiness, so I might as well attribute it to the hawthorn fruit. Still no floweriness, though. I wonder if I'm imagining fresh pineapple.

The mouthfeel has a fruit pulp lush stickiness that I love. Again, more carbonation, properly used, would have sent it into the stratosphere. This beer cries out for a Belgian brewer's touch. The silver lining is that fewer bubbles will help me get through the bottle with relative ease.

I never know what to expect from one of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery's experimental ales. Midas Touch, to use but one example, was less than compelling. Chateau Jihau is another matter entirely. It has an interesting back story and is, much more importantly, delicious beer. It probably doesn't much resemble what the Chinese were drinking 9000 years ago, but it's fun to pretend. I have no regrets about spending $8.99 for the bottle.

Photo of bort11
2.9/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Texindy for this one.

750 ml bottle poured into a large 23 oz mug. The initial poured had a fizzy white head that receded to a thin ring. Color was a hazy golden yellow with mild carbonation activity. On the second pour, there was a large amount of sediment which left the color cloudy and opaque.
Smell was sweet with honey and had additional floral/herbal qualities. Taste followed smelled, but seemed to mellow as it warmed.
Mouthfeel was a light/medium body. It had the consistency of hot tea with a lot of honey mixed in.
I would recommend letting this sit before drinking. This was an interesting experiment, and I'm glad I got to try it, though I feel no need to come back.

Photo of rebel1771
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly hazey golden color with coarse and quickly dissapating head.

A strong sweet honey aroma dominates the nose along with a strange peppery aroma. Those aromas fade into a sort of floral aroma.

Very sweet flavor right off the bat, honey and flowers dominate. There is a slight grainey flavor near the end. Once swallowed the alcohol content becomes apparent as it burns in your stomach.

This is one unique brew, I don't think I'll buy it again, but interesting none the less.

Photo of hunteraw
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split a 750ml bottle of this while watching a good Hong Kong movie.

Appearance: Very hazy, pale golden - almost like a witbier or hefeweizen in color and haziness. In terms of head, very meager - little retention, no lacing.

Smell: Interesting for sure: sweet-smelling fruitiness, but not sickly at all. Better than expected aroma.

Taste: Also better than expected - much better than the Midas Touch, in my opinion. This one is vinous, with some spice and herb notes. Fruit. Very different kind of malt character. Not too sweet, despite the lack of hops.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium body, carbonation okay.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good for such a strange beer. The story is a plus, too.

Photo of BeerZack
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure what style of beer Im comparing this to for my rating, but basically my standards were set low for this "9000 year old" style, mostly since Im a big fan of hops... With that said, I was very impressed by this re-creation.

The color is really cool- can't remember another beer looking quite like this. A light cloudy orange with a tinge of brown. There is some decent foam and lacing.

Smells sugary for sure, but much more- honey and heather with grape and spice.

Sweet honey-like malt flavor with dryish grape/cider notes. Fairly balanced finish (there is a bittering finish) with some sweetness dominating.

This is not much unlike some Belgian brews being produced today.

Photo of Patrick999
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, this is pretty cool. I haven't the foggiest idea how to review this "beer," if we can even call it that, but here goes. I think white wine is perhaps the best frame of reference in which to review this, so I'll compare it to a dry chardonnay.

Poured it into a wine glass, and it looked more like champagne than beer. I'm not a big champagne fan at all, so this was a little worrisome. The head was a champagne-like fizz. How am I supposed to know what the standard for appearance was in 7000 B.C. in beverages of this type? I'll punt and and give an "average" rating for appearance.

Smell is quite nice. Smells like a chardonnay, but better, as there's a sweetness coming through that the dry chards usually don't exhibit. I smell some malted barley, but this is largely a wine-like smell.

Taste calls to mind a sweeter, less dry chard, as the smell would suggest. However, this blows most Chards I've had out of the water, and I'm actually a chardonnay fan. I'm a sucker for honey...put honey in anything and I'll slobber all over myself. Love that honey...I can definitely taste that component of this beverage. A lot like a Midas Touch, but this shouldn't come as a surprise. There's something else in there, though. Honey, chard grapes, light barley backbone...I notice a slight bitterness that can't possibly come from any hops. This must be the hawthorn fruit and/or crysanthemum flowers...again, I'll punt, because I haven't the slightest idea what these two things taste like. I'm pretty sure that's what I'm tasting, but I just can't describe it so well, since I have no frame of reference. Sake yeast? Yes, I do detect a note of sake. There's a lot of subtle stuff going on here. Bottom line...this is freakin' tasty.

Mouthfeel is a little thin after it sits for a couple minutes - this seems to lose its carbonation quickly, so drink up.

Drinkability is quite good. It goes down easily, as it is less harsh and dry than a white wine. DFH seems to specialize in these wine-like brews, to awesome effect...this is another one that has the potential to show wine drinkers exactly what "beer" can do. Pricey, yes, but you should try this at least once if you can find it.

Photo of SetarconeX
4.43/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I really wish there were a scoring section for uniqueness, because this is about as unique as it gets. Deep cloudy yellow with lacing that refuses to die, despite being almost but not quite free of carbonation. Smells yeasty and lemony. Tastes like yeast and honey, not unlike mead that was incompletely fermented.

Honey-sweet enough to be flawlessly drinkable, but yeasty enough to not be cloying. You could seriously build a civilization around this beer. A must try.

Photo of OStrungT
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a slightly pale golden yellow color, with a decent sized off white colored head. The head fades sort of quickle, leaving very little lacing.

This beer has a strong flowery aroma. It smells of earthy yeasty muskness. It has a sweet honey aroma as well. It has a slight clovey aroma. Some citrus aroma is also present.

This beer tastes very complex. It has a flowery flavor. It tastes very sweet. It also has a slightly grainey taste that reminds me of a saison. I think that there are a lot of flavors, and they are all strong, and that makes this beer a little hard to drink.

This complex beer leaves a very sweet, flowery aftertaste. It is highly carbonated.

I doubt this beer would make a great session beer. It has a very aggressive flavor that would become very hard to drink after a few. The alcohol content is a little high also.

Overall: Thanks go out to ggaughan for hooking me up with this beer. Thanks again for a great trade.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a pretty cloudy orange golden color with a small active head of small white bubbles. The head was gone really quickly. There were quite a few bubbles rising, but they don't stick to maintain the head.

Aroma: Now this is an interesting aroma. I am not quite sure how to pick all of this stuff out. I get a citrusy complexity that reminds me of mandarin oranges along with a raw bread crusts type of grainy impression. I also get a defined floral bouquet that is also hard to put my finger on...I can pick what seems like lavender, but different. I also get a sweet honeysuckle type aroma that is unusual, but blends.

Taste: Wow! This beer is something else...if you can call it beer. There is a truly defined sweetness that pretty much runs the show. The citrusy floral component that was in the nose seems to be what is balancing the sweetness. There is a subtle spiciness here that is also balancing the sweetness, but it is somewhat of a struggle. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good bit of carbonation to balance the beer and make it lighter on the palate. There is a mild warming in the finish to allude to the beers strength, as well as a euphoria that seems to set in rather quickly.

Opinion: This is an interesting experiment. It comes across to me a bit like their Midas Touch in that it seems to be as much of a carbonated wine as a beer. The sweetness is a bit much in this beer, and the spices don’t balance it, but challenge it. I like the complexity of the flavors and how it is difficult to pick out any one thing in particular. This is a pretty good drink, but I can't imagine that I will be making a habit out of drinking this. I think that regarding these wine/beers, I like the Midas better. Still, keep it up, Sam!

Photo of BigJTrucker
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved in a trade with JasonM.

Poured a hazy yellow much like a hefeweizen or an apple cider. Little head to speak of. Smells of grapes and honey, pears, perhaps of licorice as well. Taste is sweet, but not sweetened if that makes sense. Has a bit of rice flavor to it. Mouthfeel is nice and mellow, a bit dry, perhaps as a result of using the sake yeast. Overall, a nice and unusual brew. Definitely worth a try, but some others may be put off by the fact that it doesn't really taste like anything else I can think of. Quite different from the other DFH brews.

Photo of Drew966
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Chateau Jiahu pours a hazy golden color with a white head from a brown 25.6 ounce bottle. The aroma is dominated by grape. The taste is also of grapes, with a beery aftertaste. Definitely kind of an odd beer, worth a try if you like this sort of thing.

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours with a cloudy, almost pinkish cast. It's not pink though, it is a bright sunlight straw color, with some faint reddish tones. The bubbles are weakly put together and appear watery. The lacing isn't much but there are a few strands here and there.

Aroma - at first this has a decidedly sweet, champagne aroma - winy, spritzy. As it settles down, though, some neutral grain aromas come through. No great essence, just a standard beery kind of smell.

Taste - plenty of grain and honey sweetness, enhanced by a low-key alcohol warming. Pretty much like malt liquor, only no corny taste. There is an interesting hop balance on the swallow, it arrests the sweetness fairly well without removing it. The finish is clean, slightly lemony, warm in the throat and wet to a point. Sort of like a ramped up summer ale.

Mouthfeel - fairly crisp, a slight buttery smoothness; light to medium body.

Drinkability - pricy but interesting. A good pick for a tasting of unique beers.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers where you had better not be expecting beer.
Pours a bright golden yellow with barely a head.
Aroma is very fresh fruity...softly fruity....and flowery.
Taste is beyond being able to specify. Most predominately would be tangerines and lemons. Slight bitter bite up front like a citrus bite but then lots of sweet fruits like oranges and tangerines...a little purple grape sweetness and some floral hints.
Leaves the mouth without leaving it sticky.
Fine carbonation and citrus bite make for a nice mouthfeel.
Aftertaste is mostly sweet with a mild alcohol burn settling into you tummy.
Very interesting.

Photo of Foxman
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a slightly hazy bright lemon yellow. A finger of loose white head dissembles promptly to frothy surface starlets. Slopes of lacing slide down the inside of the glass.

The aroma gives up a quick hint of caramel malt, but then is innundated with a sweet malestrom of grapes, raw honey, pear, peach, and crisp apple. Also apparent but equally muddled are floral and herbal notes, along with a vent of alcohol.

Upon sipping, the sweetness is again initially malt, and then moves to a more vinous grapiness, and shifts more towards a honey-based slick sugary character. The herb and spice camp is more represented here than the floral, and the fruits again crop up, this time with melon, peach, and even a light citrus touch of lemon. The alcohol is a bit muted, but still sinewy. The finish is actually surprisingly crisp and dry, with green apple and a general spicy bitterness lingering. The historical aspect aside, I found it pleasingly flavorful in spite at a stab toward cloying sweetness.

Medium bodied, the sweet core is slick and slippery, coating along with a friendly closing glow.

I'll admit, I'm always intrigued by the DFH archaeological endeavors, but they don't always translate to the current day. This time, though, the result is a brew that, if accurate, would seem to be as enjoyable today as it was way back when in China. The aroma was too busy, and I'd call it the only real off-note. And while the ABV is typically Dogfish-obvious, it's not so big that it limits unduly. I finished the one bottle willingly, and while a second might be pushing it, I'd drain another any time I found it in front of me. Hey, maybe they could market this in China and Sam could tap into the biggest potential beer market on the planet!

Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 1,290 ratings.