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Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

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BA SCORE
85
very good

1,263 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,263
Reviews: 535
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 85
Gots: 148 | 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:
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: 1,263 | Reviews: 535 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CWiggins
4.18/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm finding myself constantly pulled by some crazy force of nature to anything Dogfish Head offers. I've tried only a handful of their products, but each has something special to add to the world of beer. Having been fascinated by Midas Touch, I picked this up the instant I spied it at Sam's in Durham, and saved it for over a week for just the right evening.

The color reminds me of dark Pilsener: it's a dark straw color with highlights of brown and gold. No substantial head appeared, but methinks this has to do with my constraint in pouring. A little lacing did remain around the point of surface tension throughout this trial.

Coming from a wine background, I'm constantly amazed by the new aromas I encounter while smelling beer. This libation carries the distinct fragrance of honey and apples, with undertones of malt and alcohol. A citrus-like balm also emerges, but it's quite subtle.

The flavor is immensely fruity, with apples and pears combining to form a sort of advanced apple cider character. Honey is definitely present during the middle, and the finish is quite nutty with just a touch (and I mean "just a touch") of bitterness. One can't help but be a little overwhelmed by such a complex flavor profile; it changes throughout.

I find the carbonation a little too intense for my taste, but it would not prove a deterent to drinking this again. The mouthfeel is slightly chewy, but doesn't really amount to heavy cloying. Overall, it's a nice balance of flavors and texture. Highly recommended!

CWiggins, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of shivtim
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting beer. It's a hazy gold/copper with some chunks as you near the bottom of the bottle. Lacing is ok. The smell is sweet grape wine... maybe not the most beer-like, but pleasing none the less. Taste is somewhere between a mild barleywine and a fruit melomel. It's a sweet grapey flavor with lingering alcohol, and a hint of graininess. Leaves something to be desired. Mouthfeel is average, drinkability would be fine but is hampered slightly by the high ABV. Overall, a unique beer, definitely worth a try.

shivtim, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

glad i found this bottle at City Wide this week. First of all, its a D.H. i haven't seen before but more importantly its a beer brewed with hawthorns, which is a host to the particular fly that i'm studying for my PhD work. I've had various food items made with hawthorns before, but this is my first beer. very exciting. So it pours out looking like carbonated grapefruit juice and has a little tiny head that fails even to cover the entire top. really looks like a mead or melomel or something, which is essentially what i plan to think of it as (more or less) considering its origins. Smells like a cyser i drank at the Bells brewpub...hints of white wine, flowers, and, of course, hawthorns (which i can clearly pick out after working with them for so long). Taste is delicate and thin...squeezed, watered down haw juice, oranges, some alcohol noticeable. really just very delicate and wine line and not at all overbearing. if they were really drinking this back way back in the day then they were probably doing pretty well for themselves. Very nice and a pleasure to drink.

aforbes10, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of GimpyCane
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got to give to Dogfish Head for taking a risk in creating some interesting and wonderful brews. While in Columbus with my wife, I stop at Grape of Mirth and found a bottle of Chateau Jiahu. Poured a thick cloudy golden yellow with a 1 inch rocky white head. Once poured a wonderful scent of pear, honey and bread rush into my nose. My wife got a good whiff of grapes, banana and musty grass. Both agreed on the taste and mouthfeel. Full body, necture thick and softly carbonated this brew starts sweet honey, fruity and malty bread and ended sweet, spicy and peppery. At 9.5% ABV the alcohol is present but well hidden, a warm feeling going down reminds you it's there. Unlike my wife who loves drinking spiced/ herbed beers, I found it hard to drink much of it. I'll stick to my DIPA, IPA and stouts. In all this brew rocks. The complex flavors, aromas and a full body makes it a well balanced and tasty brew. Got to love DFH.

GimpyCane, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of peabody
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours into the pint glass a very grapefruit hazy color with a little white foam coming to the top. Slight lacing appears after a swirl.
Smell is slight banana and yeast out the yang. Burns the nose.
Bready aromas mixed with alcohol and fruits.
Taste is at first sweet then a sour twang engulfs the tounge as the carbonation fills the mouth. A banana and grapefruit mix with a clove hint.
The mouthfeel is the great thing here. It takes you on a tropical journey of fruits and alcohol. I was expecting there to be an umbrella in my pint glass!
9.5% is a bit much for a session beer but this is one of the most easy drinking beers out there.

peabody, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice hazy pale goledn with a white, low, fairly well lasting head which added light lacing to the glass.

The aroma was fruity banana when first poured. After the head retreated the aroma had a peppery spice and pronouced earthy character. It was musty, yet still had a candy presence and sweet honey. The aroma was estery and fruity and as it warmed the grape essence was notable, but still low. Also as it warmed the aroma became bready.

The flavor was bready from the get go with a lighly sweet impression when the beer first contacted the palate. The flavor was earthy and musty with a pepper flavor. The flavor was fruity with a very light banana and more grape essence as the beer warmed. Some alcohol was present and caused the pepper to be pronounced and warming (heading toward very slightly hot) on the palate just before the finish.

The finish was dry with lasting fruit and spice into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a low carbonation. The interesting part of the mouthfeel was how the peppery character left a light and low burning sensation on the palate and in the throat. The alcohol left a warming after consumption as well. An interesting and strange beer. It's not going to be a new favorite, but it does excite the senses as you take the journey.

750 ml bottle. The label says 8.2% ABV.

GCBrewingCo, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - this unique beer poured a pale golden straw yellow, with tons of glass-clinging carbonation, with a finger thickness of fluffy off-white head

S - you can definitely smell the honey and the grapes, they are quite evident, maybe i smell hawthorn fruit - i dunno - never smelled a hawthorn fruit before, there is a malty undertone, but no hop profile, which was expected

T - the grape flavors are very evident in the taste, the up front strong flavor is very similar to sweet white wine, this big initial taste then melts away into a fruity/honey sweetness, it finishes up with a dry malty finish, very complex flavor, with several characteristics, nice flavor

M&D - smooth up front with a dry finish, decent mouthfeel, maybe a little too sweet, nice honey/herb balance, a decent beer, if it were cheaper id buy it more often

sinstaineddemon, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of EPICAC
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I purchased this a month or so ago at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I served it in my Westvleteren Chalice at around 50ºF.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, pale-straw color. It's topped by a thin, fluffy, white head that thins to a persistent film.

Smell: Sweet and fruity: honey, grapes and a sharp graininess.

Taste: Sweet with a tart grape fruitiness that fades into a honey sweetness toward the finish. The finish is peppery and spicy with warming alcohol and almost undetectable bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy and medium to full-bodied with low carbonation.

Drinkability: A little too sweet with high, but concealed alcohol.

Overall: An interesting beer. It's pretty good, and reminds me a little of a dessert wine.

EPICAC, Oct 19, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden color, rather honeylike, with a delicate off-white head. Aromas of honey and flowers. There's a bit of a sake-ish sour tinge to the aroma, and you can certainly smell the minerality and fruit of the muscat grapes used to make this. On the palate, very sweet initially, with the honey coming out, along with a cloying sweetness that seems to pop up in beers made with grapes. Very coating mouthfeel, heavy, with lots of sharp carbonation. This is an interesting beer, very cool to try, but I don't find it to be particularly tasty. The historical novelty is worth the price of admission, though.

geexploitation, Oct 17, 2006
Photo of quasimoto
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - It poured a murky light yellow. Big frothy head, but died almost instantaniously.

S - White grapes are mixed with a light malt, backed up by some honey. There are some odd spices. Some floral notes, and those particular sake rice aromas. Very somplex.

T - All of the aromas transfer over to the flavor. It really is something spectacular.

M - Sharp carbination starts off this beer, and turns almost tart. It seems young.

D - I could drink this all the time. I think I will let my bottles age though.

WAY TO GO DOGFISH!

quasimoto, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of merlin48
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a sparkling golden amber body that is slightly hazed. Skimpy white head lasts several minutes and leaves some delicate patch lacing.

Aroma is floral and spicy, very exotic. White grapes, apple skins, lilacs, and a cabinet full of exotic spices that I can't identify with any certainty. Very pleasant.

Mouthfeel is excellent. Soft and caressing, with a solid carbonation.

Taste is complex to the max. Notes of sake, lilacs, rose water, fresh white grapes, honey, green apples, earthiness, all driven by the myriad spice profile. Very tasty.

Definitely a winner, but somewhat of an enigma. This reminds me of the excellent Baladin Nora in its unique floral and spice profile. Very complex and a pleasant challenge to identify what's in the recipe. I look forward to my next adventure with this excellent replication of a 9,000 year old Chinese recipe.

merlin48, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of nortmand
4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

nortmand, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of Osiris9588
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I stumbled upon this bottle at the Kenny Road Market, and once espying the cool Asian label featuring an intriguing topless Asian woman with a character tattooed on her lower back, on it, I bought it without even reading the label. I've learning that this is a" 9000 year old chemically-arrested alcoholic beverage, I went to the DFH website to discover a little more: "the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world, dating back to about 7000 B.C. It is a mixed fermented beverage of malted rice, wild-flower honey, and white grapes, fermented on a sake yeast with hawthorn berries."

It pours a cloudy peach color with tangerine overtones, out of a 750ml bottle. The white head stands at about 1.5 inches, and dissipates quickly. Dots of residual sugar cling to the inside of the glass.

The aroma is exceedingly floral, with strong strains of yeast and pollen, along with honey, some slight citrus, and berry notes fluttering around the edges.

The flavor is a blend of yeasts, honey, various berries, strong whtie grapes, some orange, a pinch of spice, and notes of fermented malts and rice: part-mead, part-sake, part-plum wine, part-hefe-weissen: all good. The alcohol is just a warm fuzzy note in the background.

The mouth is light, and despite all the complex sugars interacting here, the moderate carbonation is just enough to prevent it from becoming syrupy. Definitely sweet, yet balanced enough to be highly drinkable, even to my palate, which seems to prefer tastes on the drier end of the spectrum.

I hope they keep on making this.

Osiris9588, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of klewis
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled on 8/29/06

A: Pours a cloudy hefeweizen-orange with a bubbly head. No lacing.

S: Herbal, potpourri-ish smell with grapey wine-like aromas.

T: Sweet tasting with a strange herbal honey flavor. A soft and gentle bitterness brushes the palate in the finish. Totally unique.

M: Medium-bodied with ultra fine carbonation.

D: Not quite sure what to think of this. Definitely not outstanding (at least when compared to my favorite beers) but definitely drinkable, although not in large quantities - share the bottle with a friend. I'm not sure if I'll buy this again, but props to DFH for thinking outside the box on this one.

klewis, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Newly distributed to Central Kentucky, this is a warm welcome. The orange / straw, murky look promises honey sweetness, fruity flavors and a firm body. The beer doesn't disapoint. Tremendous honey sweetnees without cloying. Very fruity with pears, peaches, and ripe apples. Very wine-like with a satisfying malt base. Spices of giner, clove, nutmeg and corriander give the beer an added complexity and compliment the beer well. An earthy, herbal quality persists. The beer, though viscous in the start, finishes with a drinkable tartness and dryness. Quite clean for such a sweet and varying beer; sorta Midas Touch-like, just better. Dogfish just won me over again.

BEERchitect, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of clvand0
4.7/5  rDev +24.7%
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.

clvand0, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of hopsaplenty
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On draft at the Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats in Rehoboth Beach.

Hazy honey glazed amber with sunlight highlights at the margins. Short collar of fine, bright white bubbles and no visible carbonation streams. Sweet, lightly spiced aromas, punctuated with hints of white wine. Initially sweet and sticky tastes, like a sweet white wine, fill the mouth. There is a good handful of spice through the middle that almost gets out of hand and carry long into the finish as does a bit of alcohol warmth. Medium-full body that is heavy and a bit thick and sticky, with a low level of fine, fuzzy carbonation. Chateau Jiahu reminded me quite a bit of Midas Touch, however it was heavier and thicker and the spices were bit more in the forefront. Interesting, but I won’t be revisiting it in the future. I’ll probably break out the bottle I have at Thanksgiving.

hopsaplenty, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of ggaughan
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have been waiting to try this DFH beer since I first heard of the concept. Although it came out later than expected it was worth the wait. I had this one on tap at the brewpub during their bocce tournament weekend a few weeks back.

The beer poured a somewhat golden color with a slight white head into a chalice. The aroma of the beer was a pleasant nose of honey and grapes, floral. Similar to what I remember of the Midas Touch but not exactly the same. The taste was a pleasing mix of grapes and honey and more floral notes from the aroma. As others have mentioned, very similar characterstics to a sharp white wine. This is a very interesting beer but seems to be more than just a beer. Gives a dry finish and with a somewhat light body I find it pretty darn drinkable, even for a 9,000 year old recipe. Great job Sam and Mike. I will have to give this one a try in bottle as well.

ggaughan, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of Grundle20
3.15/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance:
The beer pours a semi clouded tangerine in color into a pint glass. There's an average head which fades sort of quickly.

Smell:
For being a re-tooled 9000 year old recipe that's about what it smells like, pretty sour and yeasty. This isn't really a bad thing because I can't imagine a beer of this nature should smell any different. I can't say I've sampled too many 9000 year old recipes so I kind of tossed this up as a wash.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Again those 9000 year old qualities are shining through. It's pretty sour with a very earthy hay like quality to it. It reminds me of very potent lager beer. There's minor notes of fruit but not so much that my palette could distinguish exact flavors. It's very smooth with little carbonation. The initial flavors hang on for quite a while in the after taste.

Drinkablity:
If you can get around how tart the beer is then you would probably find this to be rather quaffable. It's smooth enough with pretty decent flavoring. I can't picture myself drinking many of these but I deffinately know some people who would really enjoy this beer.

Bottom Line:
There isn't really a whole lot to compare it to so if you don't mind tart beer give it a go just to say you have because it really isn't too bad. Not my cup of tea but i'm glad i've tried it.

Grundle20, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.13/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a ballon glass.

A: Orange-golden, a unique color. Little to no head, some slight lacing. Translucent, hazy, actually resembles apple juice.

S: Honey, floral notes (but not hoppy ones), burnt grapes, and a very herbal scent, which I assume is the hawthorn to which the label refers.

T: Honey and floral tastes up front, very subtle. Winey finish, much like a light, sparkling white wine. Some Gewurtztraminer qualities, tart in the finish with slight drying. Much, much more like a wine than a beer, herbal and grapey.

M: Drying at the end, effervescent at the fore. Feels like a sparkling white, which is pretty nice.

D: Drinks well, like a decent wine. Seems unfair to compare it to beer of any type when it seems much more similar to a German white. That being said, it's smooth, and I'll be getting more.

BlackJeremiah, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.33/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On Tap at the DFH Ale House Jihoo. Poured to a big sniffter. The liquid ia as pale yellow as they come with a tall inch head that is small bubbled white and stays late. later a very nice lace in present.

The smell is very wine like. Freash fruity, grapes, peaches, apples.

The taste is very light and refreashing you have to calm your self and try no to swig too much. Light fruit, white wine, kind of sweet.

The mouthfeel is full coating, freash, and lively. Great carbonation.

The drinkability is high, very nice indeed. Prosit MK

MuenchenerKindl, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of lackenhauser
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2nd review following having it on tap at the brewpub when it first came out. Hazy, whitish yellow sort of color. Pleasant odor of fruit and spices with a lemon tinge to it. Sweet, lemon and grass like flavors. Slight tartness to it. Thin mouthfeel-though it doesnt detract from the beer overall. I think I was expecting more bodywise. Overall an enjoyable beer. Seems a summery sort of thing. Better then my last encounter for sure. While I wouldnt go out of my way to have it again since its not really my scene it is good and worth a try.

lackenhauser, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance was hazy amber in color. Fast moving bubbles which lead up to a 1/2 inch thick white head. The head disappeared quickly, but the bubbles continued.

The smell was very interesting. The first smell to hit me was Viognier grapes. Also some tart apple notes, as well as tropical fruits.

The taste was more like wine than beer. Specifically a Viognier. Tropical fruits and citrus rind mixed with honey. Bitter apple finish with citrus notes. Also some grain flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel is similar to a sparkling wine. Biting carbonation. The consistency of a wheat beer.

I found this interesting beer to be quite drinkable. It had a very complex yet pleasant taste. A lot of layered fruits. Surprisingly Viognier like. I'm curious as to what grapes were actually used in this. I would certainly recommend this, however don't expect a typical herb/spiced beer. This is a pretty unique creation.

Ieatlambfries, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of orsulacp
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy yellowish orange with a thin white head

S - I smell honey and something flowery, like lavender. Maybe I smell that because I just gave the baby a bath with lavender soap.

T - More honey, but not as sweet. There is a champagne type taste(more like a California sparkling wine with all chardonnay grapes), very grapey and floral. There is a little black pepper spiciness.

M - It is like a mix between champagne and a thick hefeweisen, medium with lots of carbonation.

orsulacp, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy, light gold with a fluffy white head that slowly fades out. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is interesting but nice. Bananas, peach, creamy vanilla, apricot, spices, honey, and perhaps a touch of crisp wheat as well.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with highlights of tropical punch and fruit juice.
Mouthfeel is sweet, fruity, foreign, and different with a starchiness that makes you ponder it upon it's sweetly semi-dry finish.

weeare138, Oct 05, 2006
Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 1,263 ratings.