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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: 157 | 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 tcfishler
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very hazy tan-accented yellow-orange. No real head to speak of.

Mild, sweet, broad aroma of honeyed pear.

Carbonation is quite low. Entry onto the palate is a bit lifted by a brief sensation of acidity, which then quickly transitions into a very broad, smooth palate feel, featuring light caramel and subtle fruit. No detectable bitterness. Finish is ever so slightly gripping, with a very subtle tangy note.

Despite the elaborate backstory, this is a subtle, easy-to-like brew. It has some of the sweet smooth hop-less malt character of many Belgian beers, without the idiosyncratic yeastiness. Ultimately not worth the tab, though, in my opinion.

EDIT: In retrospect, the most impressive thing about this beer is how it completely masks its respectable 8% ABV without the help of any obvious, in-your-face flavors.

Photo of wavz
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy orange with hints of copper and a mild head that hits the road quick.

S- Honey with hints of sake, yeast, grapes, malts... just alot going on in this one.

T- Honey, cloves, sake, orange, grapes, a bit of a metallic after taste. DO NOT serve this one cold. It really opens up as a bit cooler then room temp.

M- smooth almost like a mead, but much more complex with a light carbination.

D- This is not an everyday beer, the same as a Mead is not an everyday beer. But this complex sweet nectar is one only a beer geek can appreciate and enjoy.


Photo of jettjon
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

OK, I went into this tasting know that this was going to be a “niche” or conversational beer. None of the several macro drinkers who tried it even remotely liked it. Comments like “white grape juice flavor” abounded. I kept pointing out, “But it’s a 9,000 year old recipe.”

Pours a hazy apricot/grapefruit juice translucent color with no visible carbonation. Nose evinces alcohol, white grapes, and a muscadine/scuppernong fruity bouquet. Head of one-finger white bubbles fades at a moderate rate leaving a light lacing; really there was more head than I was expecting. Taste is super sweet and sour with a fruity, odd apricot/muscadine sourness dominating, quite a far cry from most people’s concept of “beer.” Mouth is semi-bubbly, semi-viscous with a kind of a milky consistency that adds to this beer’s oddness. Drinkability is relatively low; I could not possibly finish a 750ml bottle in one sitting.

Overall: This is an odd duck. It’s worth a try, is a great conversation-starter, and it sure has a pretty bottle, but know that it’s definitely a niche beer.

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

A nearly opaque elixr pours form the bottle with a foamy white head. The golden hued liquid has some carbonation bubbles abound and quite the colony of sediment.

Honeyed apricot, with hints of peach, sweet flowers and other fruity esters with hints of earth. Nice tropical fruit notes start too shine through after about 25 minutes opening.

Nicely balanced with a thick chewy mouthfeel probably from the honey and addition of muscat grapes. The foundation of the muscat really shines through with hints of peach, honey suckle, apricot, and on the finish an almost pineapple flavor. Very ripe and sweet which does hurt drinkability but what I would consider more of an after dinner "drink".

Photo of benwiley
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

well, this thing is just too sweet. thats it. honey and fruit sweets are the definitive tastes here, all the way. nice carbonation, good little head, cloudy like a belgian wheat. the flavor is soooo sweet tho, that you cant drink even this whole pint+9oz bottle. no way. i corked it and ill leave the rest for my roommate. share this beer. i mean, its NOT bad at all, just so damn sweet...

Photo of malcontent
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

First of all let me just note that Tara Mcpherson's art is just awesome. If you haven't seen her site you should check it out ASAP. As far the the appearance of what is INSIDE the bottle, it's nice as well. Cloudy orange body with a fizzy-looking head that melts away into spotty lacing.

Smells like most good witbeirs; yeast, corriander and lemon at the forefront with some honey lingering behind.

Oh, yeah. It IS malty although not in an offputting way. The main flavors are honey, malt (strangely, the kind I'd expect from most canned macro-brews), and very sweet fruit, almost like a mango or apricot nectar. The grape/wine qualities really come through in the aftertaste, similar to the white muscat in the Midas Touch from DFH.

The brew has a creamy texture with a nice amount of carbonation but given the sweet, rich nature of the beer I couldn't have but one of the 1 pint 9.6 oz.

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

In the glass this is a cloudy golden ale with a reddish tinge to it.

Smell is lightly sweet and very flowery. Chrysanthemum tea is exactly what this smells like from the Chinese restaurant. Sweet and lightly fruity with the scents of roses and plums being the strongest. Faint honey must is in this but I would have never have nailed that scent if I didn't know to sniff for it.

Taste is sweet and earthy with quite a bit ginseng like taste to it. Quite flowery in the mouth with chrysanthemum in the taste. There seems to be some ginger in this, because I am allergic to the stuff to a small degree. Faint citrus taste here of lime even though there is no lime in this. There is a carbohydrate flavor here I can't nail but is closest to cassava root in taste. Most of the complexities here are in the aftertastes. Berries, cinnamon, vanilla, lime, and lots of weird flavors here.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Well I won't exactly be bringing this to ANY office party except maybe archaeologists. It is quite interesting to try but I wouldn't call it drinkable. Hard for my mouth to choose wine or beer here, in the end it is a science experiment.

Photo of BeerHonky
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great beer. I enjoyed this with some work folks the day before Thanksgiving after finding it at New Beer Distributors in Manhattan. Served in a wine glass, the half cloudy bright yellow mixtured produced only a smidgen of head that did not last for much longer than it took to pour. Very fresh, effervescent aroma with some unsweetened fruit scents. Upon the first sip I got a big mouthful of bready, biscuity yeast flavors. Very delicious. As it warmed up I started to get more of the wine/sake grape flavors. Very refreshing and tastey as well. I had two small glasses of this and it left me wanting more. Another great brew from DFH.

Photo of cabsandking
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy bright golden/peach color with a big white fizzy head that winds down to some fine bubbled swirls. The nose is alcoholic with big fruity floral esters, yeasty, and some grapefruit notes. The first sip is like carbonated white wine. Yeast's, sour fruit, orange rind, and floral characters follow. As it warms the alcohol intensity gives way to a defined honey sweetness, very much like a mead now. Developing later is something like pine and unripe bananas as well as some sweeter burnt sugar and malt characters lying underneath. I didn’t know what to expect from this concoction but was pleasantly surprised.

Photo of treehugger02010
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My girlfriend got a case of the 750 ml bottles for me. Go figure this was a just because gift. All I know now is that it's going to end up being pretty expensive for me. Either way, I poured it into a large pint glass and it seemed very carbonated. There was a fair amount of head, that had a quickish retention rate that left the glass clean. It has a very strong aroma that was kind of fruity and sweet like a honey smell (duh it was brewed with honey and various fruit). The color I thought was rather orange. Not like the color, but like the fruit (lighted than the color). The taste was extremely complex with so many flavors to many to mention, but really good. The mouthfeel was a bit rigid at first, but very smooth down the throat. Great beer. Don't drink and review.

Photo of mmcave
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this at Sam's poured into a tulip glass despite the suggestion of a tumbler. This pours an extremely hazy white, orange, yellow, amber. Its almost a peach color. The head dissipated very fast and only lingers around the very edges of the beer, however this might not be the beers fault. Both the smell and color are unlike any other beer I've had this far. It smells of white grapes, pears, grass, it really does smell like a pino gris or a sauvignon blanc. The taste is similar to wine so different, yet very pleasing, part of me just wants to say its an extremely a-typical beer. And at the same time I feel like I can trace the roots of it back to certain varietals, one things for sure it is a very special beer. The flavor is sweet and slightly tart with lots of light fruit and a sort of crisp buttery flavor. The mouthful is nice and the strength is just right. Its not a beer I'd get all the time, but it's totally worth a try and for novelty sake, show a friend the recipe is 9000 years old.

Photo of swiftyschlifty
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy yellow, almost golden. About 1/4 inch head. It first smelled like a sauvignon blanc with lots of citrus notes on the nose, although you could tell it was going to be a bit rich. As soon as hit the palate, I was amazed at how much flavor this beer had. There was notes of honey, peach, banana, and a bit of white grapes. The finish is amazing. I felt as if the taste lasted for up to a minute. The dominant flavor was obviously honey. This was a bit rich in my mouth which i think helped in the lasting flavor. I really enjoyed this very suprising beer.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Chateau Jiahu pours a hazy straw yellow with a touch of orange added in. A fizzy white head forms on top and quickly dissolves back to the beer leaving only a few spots of lace on the glass. Floating above the beer is a strong aroma of honey, ginger, and white grapes.

Each sip of this full bodied beer is like a light syrup covering the tongue with a fizzy tingle at the end to bring out the flavor. The taste is very complex. It's mainly sweet with flavors of honey, grapes and strawberry. Towards the end some spices mix in that offer some pepper, orange peel and ginger. It finishes tart leaving behind notes of honey and grape.

Definitely an interesting brew. Tasty at room temperature and deserves to be sipped.

Photo of cjgator3
3.08/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a hazy golden orange color with a thin layer of white lace. Aroma is sweet and fruity with a little honey, spices and alcohol presence. Taste is sweet and tart with some fruit flavors and a lot of honey. Overall, this is a pretty interesting brew mostly because of it's story. The beer itself is just slightly above average and not something I will likely go back to especially considering it's high price tag.

Photo of lordofthewiens
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Single bottle for $7.99 at Tully's. It was a hazy yellow color with a medium head. It had a sweet aroma, with a noticeable alcohol presence. The taste was pretty much all honey. I thought this beer was a little too sweet. Plus, it needs to be drunk cold; it loses flavor when it warms.

Photo of nriech
3.1/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I am a HUGH DFH fan so Im not dogging them on this one but this has to be my least favorite brew they have made.

Appearance: Deep orange color, bit of head and light-medium lacing.

Smell: Sweet and not very complex but the grapes and honey are present. Definately smells a bit like a malt liquor though. Brown paper bag anyone, oh no, thats liquor de malt. I think this might have been brewed in the same tanks right after they were done.

Taste: Honey and grapes with alcohol. Not entirely complex but not unpleasent either. Maybe tastebuds were different back then, or grapes were, or even honey. Alcohol maybe peeks out a little but not really. Regardless its ok but not worth any $14 a bottle we have to pay here to get it in VA. Sam, good try but please move on to another cool idea.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink if its cool, not so much past about 50 degrees. Enjoy as a light brew while looking at the really cool label. Hawt asians on the bottle are always a plus! :-)

Photo of cbl2
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11/11/2006 $11.99 750 mL 8.00% No best by date.


Pours a nice hazy pale gold with nice eddies of carbonation that yield a pillowy white half inch thick head that slowly settles and leaves behind a nice lace.


Mildly floral in nature with bursts of a vinous-grapey quality reminiscent of a dry asti-spumoni.


Crisp and dry, much like an unoaked chardonnay with huge notes of grapes, and a distinctive wine-like finish, reminiscent of a vitis labrusca wine. Intriguing, though not sensational, but I'm glad to see DFH experimenting again.

Not as good as DFH's previous foray into historical beer (Midas Touch), but still worth a shot.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Murky yellow/light orange body with a quarter inch of offwhite head. Smells sweet, citrusy, grapey and floral. Tastes fruity, floral, honey-ish, ricey... Medium bodied. Very complex. Actually rather pleasant and drinkable. The flavor gets extra points for being complex and unique, as well as rather enjoyable. I may very well get this one again. Kudos once again, DFH!

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.93/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a foggy golden straw with a frothy white collar.

Smells like a malt liquor with really raw, dirty and sour, pasty grains. This is accompanied with a hint of apricot.

The taste reminds me of Boons Farm kiwi strawberry with some mild, fake sweetness tied to a synthetic alcohol backed by a dirty malt liquor barley, strongly reminding me of cardboard and apricot. As I drink, a slight sourness arises complimenting the ambiguous fruit overtones, but then quickly vanishes. Finishes with a dirty, creamy yeast. Man, this one’s just odd.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tiny carbonation and an easy finish.

For $15, this one isn’t a really good bet. It’s novel to try new stuff from DFH and especially novel to consume a 9000 year old yeast strain, but this one stops at the novelty. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get around to this one.

Photo of gonzo138
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a very cloudy bright golden color that looks a bit more reddish towards the bottom of the glass, had a very loose white head that dissapated almost instantly and did not lace at all

S- Smells very sweet but not in a malty way, it says its brewed with both grapes and honey and both are present in the smell, towards bottom of glass notes of alcohol are present

T- wow, this a pretty complex brew. Very sweet, grape frutiness is present, a whole slew of spices are thrown at you, cant identify any of them (Im assuming they are the ones on the bottle, duh) honey sweetness is very present at the finish, its strange that two sweet tastes are so distinguishable

M- for a beer with no head its suprisingly carbonated, medium body, lingering sweetness hangs out on palate for a while

D- a bit too sweet for having more than one of these in a night, another winner from dogfish head, a totally intersting concept for a beer, would definitely drink/ recomend anytime

Photo of ppoitras
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle purchased from Julio's, Marlboro, MA.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 1/4" white head over the murky tarnished golden brew. Head is down to bubbly swirls pretty quick, no lacing. Aroma is sweet and effervescent, lightly fruity. Taste is sweet upfront, subtle grape and other fruit in the middle, and honey takes back over for the close. Mouthfeel is okay, but limited by syrupiness, and drinkability is quashed even more by same. Another one of the historic brews that I have to appreciate their perserverance to create, but it's just not something I'd revisit.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer has a hazy light orange body with a thick soapy white head with lots of tiny bubbles.

S- This beer has a smooth light honey note with hints of soft wheat. There is a faint perfume note with hints of banana and a berry note with a faint tart smell.

T- The slight sweet soft malt flavor finishes with a spicy honey finish with a nice alcohol bite. There are also notes of white wine and green herbal flavors. There is a slight marshmallow flavor as it warms with more hints of apricot in there as well.

M- The light mouthfeel has a creamy fizz finish with a soft alcohol heat that balances the sweetness nicely.

D- The smooth and tangy flavor is not really a triple and not really a fruit wine but has a nice flavor that is pretty interesting. Maybe life 9,000 years ago wasn't so bad?

Photo of alexgash
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cool label. Pours a powdery, hazy pale orange (wit-like in appearance) topped by a rocky, off-white head. Large at first, settling into a sturdy ring. Candy sugar malt aroma with banana and tropical fruit opposed by a tart, acidic grape/cherry edge. Powdered sugar sweetness and banana-rum-fruit-cocktail meet tangy, moderately tart citrus and grape juice. Juice bitterness in an otherwise sweet finish. Interesting and warming. Very fruity and sweet overall. Big bodied, with a syrupy feel.

Photo of phisig137
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle pours a very murky yellow gold color. One finger head falls quickly leaving little behind. Really doesn't look so hot.

Aroma is different. Slightly yeasty, slightly wheaty, a fairly alcoholic. Slight aromas of fruit and Welch's white grape juice are present as well.

Flavor is also quite a departure from anything else out there. Quite yeasty, with a strong fruit presence on the finish. White grapes are present throughout the flavor, and overall it is fairly sweet. No hops present. Alcohol is detectable fairly prominently. Mouthfeel is full and creamy. Drinkability is good, considering the ABV.

I'm glad that I got to try this. It is an interesting beer, and very different from anything else out there, with one exception.... Midas Touch. I find quite a few similarities between the two. Good beer, that I would recommend trying, but personally, at $13 a bottle, I don't think I'll be buying another. Although I would be curious to see how this ages when the alcohol begins to fall out.

Photo of kmo1030
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazed golden orange with a thin white head.
yeasty and floral fruity aromas dominate. honey, vinous white grape, floral spice like jasmine, light bitter cranberry, and a little booze.
sweet spicey floral flavors dominate the taste too, with a star fruit-like flavor, and a... i guess it's jasmine type flavor since it reminds me of jasmine rice. the vinous white grape mellows out more than expected adding a nice tart complexity that isn't overwhelming as i feared it would be. there is a soft meade-like sweetness.
medium to full bodied with delicate, but somewhat active carbonation.
seems to fall towards the belgian end of things, but it sufficiently unique to bring something new to the table. a nicely drinkable beer that i would like to grab again to see how it does with a little bit of age on it.

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