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Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,244 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,244
Reviews: 534
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 13.76%
Wants: 82
Gots: 141 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Herbed / Spiced Beer |  10.00% ABV

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

(Beer added by: marburg on 06-15-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,244 | Reviews: 534 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerSox
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%

750ml bottle into snifter. The label holds a brief description of the beer as well as artwork by Tara McPherson, showing a woman from the back holding a champagne flute full of Jiahu.

Similar to beer, wort made of rice and barley malt is added to a kettle, but this is where the similarities end. Instead of hops, a mixture of grapes, honey, fruit from the hawthorn plant, and Chrysanthemum flowers (how many homebrewers have added a flower to their beer?), which adds a little sweetness to the boil. Finally, Sake yeast is added for the month long fermentation process. The result is a beer that can’t be classified under traditional methods. Put this one under your Neolithic Rice Beer category if you wish.

Slightly hazy goldenrod hue. A white fizzy head rises to about half an inch, and quickly fades to a thin rim. Scattered bubbles slowly rise from the bottom of the glass to the top creating little pockets of bubbles on the surface. Stringy and spotty lacing coats the glass.

Light malt and honey like aromas start off, with some spicy alcohol coming through. Melon like fruit flavors (probably the hawthorn) add a dull sweetness.

A husky and sweet malt base starts this one off, with some of the rice flavor being detectable, similar to a high powered American Macro Lager. A tea like sweetness is added along with a little bit of spice to balance it. Hints of fruits such as peach and plum add to the complexity, leading to a soft creaminess that tops the mix off perfectly. Full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation giving it a slick oily feel. The finish is sweet with lingering grain and fruit. The alcohol is hidden well, considering it is around eight percent alcohol by volume. The beer tastes beset closer to room temperature, as more elements reveal themselves to add complexity.

Yet another unique beer rolled out from the Dogfish Head brewery in Delaware. This one lives up to their standards as something you typically won’t find from any other brewer in the world. The idea came when a professor from the University of PA asked to recreate an alcoholic beverage that was recently discovered in 9000 year old clay pots. The beer itself still tastes like a fruit or spiced beer, but it has its own uniqueness as well. Sweet with a little bit of offsetting spice. No hops are used in this beer, so it is not susceptible to skunking. If you are drinking one by yourself, watch out for the alcohol. It isn’t easily detectable so it can sneak up on you. Recommended for a try, but I’m sure you will like it.

BeerSox, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of arguemaniac
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours a hazy golden with a wispy, brief lace. Fruity grape aroma. The tasty but subdued fruity sweetness of the palate includes notes of grape, apples and a nice hint of honey. There is also a firm spice profile but it kinda plays hide-and-seek with the mildly warming alcohol. No hops to speak off, but you don’t miss them that much. Somewhat thin mouthfeel with a touch of mellow spice in the finish.

The spice in this one are not as blunt and overpowering as they are with many other Herbed/Spiced ales out there, and, personally, I think that makes it a lot more drinkable. Plus, the delicate fruit flavors of the palate are quite nice. Recommended.

arguemaniac, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%

A 750 mL capped bottle.

A: The beer is a hazy pale yellow color, resembling a hefe weizen. The head leaves sporadic lacing but does not retain well.

S: The nose is spicy sweet, with ginger and saffron jumping out, along with some honey.

T: The ale has a slightly tart taste of muscat grapes, more ginger and saffron. There is a nice honey base that makes me view this as more of a mead than beer. Not much hop-wise, but the spices make up for it, adding a nice well-rounded flavor that keeps the tastebuds guessing.

M: The mouthfeel is an unusual blend of spices and honey, very sweet and exotic.

D: The ale is interesting, worth a look, like Midas Touch, for the unusual history behind it. This beer will never be a go-to drink, but it is interesting and innovative, as Dogfish Head seems to do consistently.

akorsak, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of soulgrowl
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%

Appearance: Amber chrysanthemum gold. Fair-sized white meringue head with decent retention.

Smell: Lagery in its clear, dry crispness, no doubt because of the rice used in brewing. Light and mildly spicy with a touch of funk from the sake yeast. Hawthorn manifests itself as a subtle fruity tartness. Chrysanthemum adds a wild, herbal, grassy dandelion twang, and honey wafts over the surface of the beer like a cool breeze.

Taste: Sweet and unusual, with a strong but not cloying honey character. Spicy with yeast and alcohol, with a very pronounced edge of sake. Chrysanthemum and hawthorn are not very noticable at first, but they come around in the finish to add a very unique, fruity, herbal tang. Dandelions, tea, and apples come to mind. Truly out of the ordinary.

Mouthfeel: Deceivingly syrupy, as it is quite light and dry, but the aftertaste leaves behind a honeyed viscosity. Good, but it could be better.

Drinkability: I would serve this as you would a sweet sparkling wine. It's really an interesting beer but the whole bomber is a bit much for one person. An excellent pair with white chocolate.

soulgrowl, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of Budlum
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%

Pouring this beer produces one inch of thin, foamy, white head that quickly dissipates. The body is hazy with a pale yellow and orange color definition.

The nose of this beer is quite complicated. Smells are immediately sweet with a lot of sugar and floral notes. Spice presence is strong overall mixing with ginger. A powerful, musty odor closes the smells rather unpleasantly. The musty smell is much like that of my cat and that just isn't good.

This ale starts with a mild fruit taste that blends with a nicely balanced spice flavor. Thankfully, the delicious blend of spices mixes with a brown sugar sweetness in a civil manner. Additional fruit tastes, mainly pomagranates, mix with a well proportioned ginger flavor. A strong, earthy, yeast flavor joins for the finish with faint alcohol. A very unique and tasty brew.

The mouthfeel of this beer is quite lively with a good mix of spiciness and carbonation.

Drinkability is good but this is definitely not a "football game" beer. It is enjoyable to drink but a 750 mL bottle is a bit much for one person. Overall, this is a very unique beer that I was happy to sample regardless of the strengths or weaknesses.

Budlum, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%

Poured from the bottle into an snifter. A hazy, dark yellow hued colored beer is the first thing I witnessed, which suprised me. The head seems to disappear instintly, although it takes about three seconds. The aroma is sweet and malty with a large "hint" of fruit and spice, similar to Don De Dieu from Unibroue.
A taste of sweetness is present first, from the honey, and then the spices kick in. Out of nowhere, the grape juice hits my palate. It appears to be sweet, but not too sweet, but I am still searching for hops...i still can't find them. The tail end of the glass has a warm cider-ish feel to it...maybe its the idea of a 9000 year old recipe being accessible or maybe I am just warm and tingly from another fantastic Dogfishhead brew.

paulthebeerguru, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of jmz62565
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%

Pours a cloudy orange honey color with a small white head. The head leaves no lacing and disappears quickly. The smell is alittle weak with grapes,honey, some spices, and some unknow sweetness. The taste is very different. Very wine like makes this an unusual beer. Honey,grapes, apples, lemon, sweet malt, and a "bisquity" flavor make out this beer. The m/f is medium and creamy with all the flavors mixing well. This beer is a little tough to drink more than one,but kudos to Dogfish Head for trying something different.

jmz62565, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Poured from the 1pt 9.6oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. A hazy, dark citrus colored beer emerges. The head is of minimal size and dissapers rather quickly into a skimming on top of the beer.

Aroma is sweet malt liquor with an intense fruitiness and spiciness as well. Definitely grape juice aromas in there which are not wine like but juice like.

Sweet tasting but not cloying. A nice, immediate burst of crisp grape juice greets the palate followed by smooth honey and then more grape juice. Very different than anything I have had.

Pleasant carbonation and a crisp mouthfeel. A little dry but not overly. No real hop bitterness or flavor in this one. On the sweeter side overall but not too sweet. Medium bodied.

I was a little wary about this beer but I thought I would give it a try. I really did not like Midas Touch and thought this beer may be like that but this is totally different. Worth a shot but the price makes this a one time deal, atleast for me.

SaCkErZ9, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of bruachan
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%

the aroma is sweet and winey. very winelike, actually, with some herbal scents

kinda similar to midas touch, but not as good. there's plenty of bitterness to offset the sweet. it's an adventursome beer, for which i certainly praise this cutting-edge brewery, but it's not something i'll drink much of. at $8, however, it's cheaper than some of their other offerings

the beer has a hazy gold color to it, with a head that fizzles quickly

i can dig these wineified beers to some degree though i think the wine could stand to be scaled down in favor of more malt

bruachan, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%

Appears a cloudy golden orange apricot tone with a large effervescent cream head leaves specks of even lacing Bocktown's house Unibroue chalice. Aromatics come straight up with deep honey and mild herbal grassy qualities, rice grains for the creamy edge, a touch of orange blossom slash rose petal slash lavender defnitely perfumish what a great smelling brewsky. Flavors blend well with the honey not becoming overbearing at any point in the drinking session, mild soft rice sweetness tart profile also comes with an earthy grape seed vinous character and evident alcohol peeking through and once again finishes with a wild herbal lavender kinda overall fruity apricotish tang. Mouthfeel is heavenly on the palate flows nicely, easily medium bodied with some sticky textured honey traces not quite syrupy. Drinkability a rare treat that should be sampled with friends this big bottle could become a chore but definitely a beer I would like to revisit...

WVbeergeek, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of eheff
4.65/5  rDev +23%

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.

eheff, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of Risser09
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%

2006 Vintage • 750ml Bottle poured into a tasting glass.

Appearance: Very murky yellowish gold color and ample viscousity sit neatly in the glass with minimal carbonation. Looks soupy but still appetizing. White head develops and quickly subsides with no lacing.

Smell: Lemon and muscat grapes. Smells very sweet and potent. Probably honey or even clover honey. Interesting

Taste: Bittersweet lemon flavors dominate at first and give way to muscat grapes and a honysuckle-like sweetness. Yeast flavors. Sourdough midtones and a tart finish. This is the one area I thought this beer was lacking in.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and slightly carbonated. Satisfying to drink.

Drinkability: Average. I was disappointed in the actual taste of this beer. The smell and appearance are such wonderful experiences that the flat taste is a bit of a disappointment. However, if this is truly authentic then I feel pleased to be tasting a part of history. I also feel that this is a necessary brew for the public to be a part of so that more is learned in the history of beer.

Risser09, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of therica
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%

Interesting historical experience.

A= poured a pale lemonade-honey yellow with some orange tinges, not much head.

S= a confusing mix of smoky grape, fruitiness and malt.

T= more like a wine-beer at first taste, some hints of near-beer-ishness if you search for it, tones of honey, something like anise/licorice undertones. More carbonation than I would prefer, but the entire experience is more akin to champagne than to beer, so the carbonation "fits." Oddly, it reminded me slightly of some Belgian's (a distant cousin of Leffe Blond in a sense, for example).

M= sweet, honey, pear, maybe some apricot, a slight bitter touch hidden in there somewhere but rather subtle.

D= I am having a sampler-glass of this and doubt I would want any more.

therica, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of brewcrew76
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%

A - Pours a hazy golden orange with a creamy white head.

S - Muscat grapes and honey dominate with some maly backbone.

T - Sweet with grapes and honey, some sparkling grape juice flavor, some bready and yeasty flavors. Tart pear in the finish.

M - Dry, crisp and prickly on the tongue.

D - Another unique beer from Sam. This one was enjoyable but I am starting to learn I am not a big fan of muscat grapes.

brewcrew76, Dec 26, 2006
Photo of Viggo
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%

Thanks for sharing DrJay!

Pours a hazy golden, huge and thick white head forms, lacing everywhere, nice retention, looks great. Smell is sweet, grapes, musty, honey, spices, some yeast, pretty unique. Taste is sweet, quite malty, honey and grapes, yeasty, bit of spice in the finish, once again pretty unique. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Really neat beer, works well.

Viggo, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of DrJay
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%

Hazy gold/caramel colour with a thin, white head off the pour. Good retention with a bit of lacing. Mild aroma, fruity, with green grapes, honey, and some spice. Pleasant flavour with low bitterness and plenty of fruit character, mostly fresh grapes which lingered in the finish. It also had a light acidity that brought the fruit forward. A little bready with some peppery spice in the finish and some earthiness. Moderate carbonation with a medium body - soft mouthfeel overall. This was a super easy drinking beer, very tasty and refreshing.

DrJay, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of lpayette
3.93/5  rDev +4%

Appearance - Pours a very cloudy 100% grapefruit juice-like color with a bright white head; very small champagne-like bubbles. Some brussels lace. Intriguing.

Smell - Flowery, Grapes, light malts, citrusy notes (mostly orange/orange peel), sweet notes come from leftover unfermentables found in the honey.

Taste - Grapes, but not the type of strong grape flavor you might expect by me listing that flavor first... it's a very subdued sort of grape. Oranges, with a leaning towards the peels... A blend of odd bitterness (very, very subtle) and a pairing of some sake characteristics which must be a byproduct of the sake yeast (not sure where the bitterness comes from recipe-wise, but there is a tinge of it in there). Earthy notes followed by suggestions of honey. So very strange, yet pretty damn good.

Mouthfeel - I like the mouthfeel a lot. Light bodied (yet full-flavored), a decent amount of carbonation to keep things moving on the palate.

Drinkability- Surprisingly drinkable, but a bit odd... and at $14 for this bottle, I'll sip and enjoy slowly. A unique brew that is definitely worth seeking out and trying with a friend.

lpayette, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of kenito799
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%

750ml bottle, poured into wine glasses and shared among the four of us.

Poured a hazy orangey tawny color, no head formation.

Aroma lightly fruity, subtle, with honey aromas apparent.

Lightly carbonated. Served cool side of room temp to maximize flavor...surprisingly refreshing and drinkable, with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. Soft fruity aromas and flavors, peachy, floral, honey, not cloying, a really pleasant sipper before dinner. The history is fascinating so definitely an interesting brew to try...I would even buy this again, despite the fairly steep price, a well made beer/mead that was remarkably enjoyable!

kenito799, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of Hibernator
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%

Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu
25.6 oz brown bottle
Served in a pilsner glass

Pours a mustard yellow with a thin white head on top. Mini bubbles form on the top of the beer.

The nose is interesting with whiffs rice and grapes with a sugary backdrop.

Sweet honey flavors up front with a dry white rice twang. The major taste that comes up are flavors of muscat grapes and spicy berries. Champagne consistencies too.

A super interesting beer that tastes unlike anything I've had. Quite drinkable at a surprising 8.0% ABV. This one may be of interest to white wine drinkers.

Hibernator, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of rodrot
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%

Poured a murky golden yellow color with a half inch head that faded only slightly. Aroma was very similar to a macro at first: very strong aromas of rice wafting from the glass but later on I could pick up on some malt, honey, rose petals and grape. Taste had a definite sour/winey characteristic along with flavors of honey, almond and the previously mentioned rice. Mouthfeel was light to medium. Drinkability was average. This beer reminds me of a cross between a sake, mead, wine and your typical macro. It was worth a try I guess, if only to sample an ancient recipe, but it's unlikely I would go out of my way to purchase this again.

rodrot, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of dogfooddog
3.73/5  rDev -1.3%

not sure what style to judge this beer against, will record impressions....pours a cloudy dark yellow into a pint glass, small 1" white head but the beer itself is very carbonated, thick cords of carbonation rising off the glass bottom.

Adjunct-like nose, given the rice used this is not surprising. there is a hint of something flavorful or spicy in the background, I cannot put my finger on the name of the odor though. Familiar.

Once again, the taste is of adjuncts (rice I assume) and some other flavor, slightly sour and acidic. I have read the ingredient/process list and could not tell any of those distinct flavors apart, but then again there are a number of things on that list I have never had.

I am not enamoured of this beer, but presumably it is a one-off from DFH, and another example of considerable research and creativity in their beer mix.

dogfooddog, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of grub
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%

DrJay shared this one with a group of us. thanks jay!

pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with a big white head. the head drops slowly and leaves no lace.

very interesting aroma. biscuit malt. bit of funk. lots of grape and wine character, without much oak/vanilla. spicy. pepper. nice sweetness. honey.

taste is nice. light honey sweetness. mild bitterness. biscuit malt. lots of grape character. peppery. hard to describe the herb and spice character, but enjoyable. a very interesting beer.

mouthfeel is good. the above average carbonation level works well. nice body. fairly dry finish.

drinkability is great. a balanced and very tasty beer. good stuff!

grub, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of neenerzig
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%

This is certainly unlike any other beer I have ever had before. This beer pours a very cloudy orange/light copper color. Mine had almost no head to speak of upon being poured. The lack of head setles to a litttle ring of foam that lines the inside of the glass. Little lacing too. Fruity aromas of peach, orange, grapes, some herbs and spices I am unable to identify, and honey. Sweet & fruity flavors of orange, lemon, grape, grapefruit, spices, and honey are all present. No hops present at all. Has a bit of a dry aftertaste. Has a crisp mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. This is a fairly heavily carbonated beverage indeed. Quite easy to drink, especially once it starts to warm up a little. Certainly a very unique beer drinking experience.


neenerzig, Dec 13, 2006
Photo of jabocu
3.93/5  rDev +4%

Thanks to AdvocateFan for trade...

Pours a fizzy cloudy peachy-orange color. Slight fizzy head at first, bt settles to no cap almost immediately. Aroma is orange, pineapple, fresh grapes, flowery, some honey sweetness. Flavor is like bitting in a fresh orange that has white grape juice inside the pulp. A little citrus bitterness in the background to round out the honey sweetness. However, is not overly sweet, and finishes dry. Very prickly carbonation that tingles the senses. Medium-light body, medium-prickly carbonation, and warming alcohol.

jabocu, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Franchise
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%

This offering from DFH pours a cloudy dirty blonde that leaves a thin lacing that disappears leaving a spotchy thin head on top. The aroma is sour grapes, lemon, herbs that are hard to define in this nose. The taste starts very sweet, almost fruit juice quality grapes, lemon, herbal bitterness that finishes tart like a "sweet tart" almost. The feel on the palate is syrupy sweet refreshing with a slight carbonation that helps balance the overall beer as not to make it overly sweet, but it is still dominatly sweet. Overall great job DFH, if this is what they drank in ancient time then pour me another!

Franchise, Dec 11, 2006
Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 1,244 ratings.