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Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,305 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,305
Reviews: 539
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 13.79%
Wants: 90
Gots: 168 | 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: 1,305 | Reviews: 539 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of DrJay
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of lpayette
3.9/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of kenito799
4.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Photo of Hibernator
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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.

Photo of dogfooddog
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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

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!

Photo of neenerzig
4.3/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.


Photo of jabocu
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of Franchise
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Onibubba
3.57/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured into an oversized wine glass. Big frothy/foamy head that lasted for just a few sips and was gone. Color is amber gold - clover honey. Very thick looking. Aroma is honey and Auslese, and something else...Alsmost like a Saison(?)

Very thick and heavy on the tongue, but an almost watery aftertaste. For some odd reason, this has me thinking of drinking a very flat Saison - It is really not too terribly sweet. Certainly not as sweet as the smell would lead you to believe. Not really noticing the alcohol in this either, other than the Auslese nose.

As it warms, I am starting to pick up much more of a sake taste, and that is what this beer finishes with. All and all, an interesting drink. I actually prefer this to Midas Touch. I would drink this again - I'll have to, as I have another bottle - but would prefer to share with a couple of people. One glass is really more than enough. Would make an interesting before or after dinner drink.

Photo of dherling
3.32/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured out a super light golden honey color with a bubbly bone white head that eventually fizzed to nothing. The nose had copious amounts of honey in it, as well as fresh green apple and flowery notes. The taste was again led by honey, followed by some near sickeningly sweet floral flavors. Overall, this was an interesting history lesson, but not, for me, an enjoyable beer, if it relly qualifies as a beer. Not bad, but not entirely enjoyable.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.29/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Makes me think of sunshine honey. Lots of gold and yellow with some very light amber. Not a lot of head to sapeak of after the pour. But some good carbonation to be seen.

Smell- Pretty complex mix of sugared grapes, flowers, sake, hooney, and lightly toasted malts.

Taste- Lots of sweet, organic matter hitting the tongue. Definetly some grapes along with somo honey. That must be why the grapes taste so sugary. Plenty of other sweet malt notes with some flowers and herbs that are unknown to my palate. PLus the well known yeast of sake.

Mouthfeel- A touch dry and tart. But mellow with some hints of an odd alcoholiv elemnet that I believe is brought about by the sake. I like sake, but I love beer. What an interesting combination.

Photo of Backer2004
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you to Finepaws who let me try a sample of this from the bottle she won. This one definitely was a draw at the Carolina Bewmasters post meeting. Reminds so much of Midas Touch, but without the saffron (according to someone who knows their stuff). Hazy orange color with little carbonation. Lots of different fruits and spices, but not as enjoyable as its counterpart. Enjoy the story just as much as the beer. Definitely worth trying . . . and sharing with friends.

Photo of tcfishler
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
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
4.32/5  rDev +14.6%
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
2.96/5  rDev -21.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
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
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Brewery
85 out of 100 based on 1,305 ratings.