Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Chateau Jiahu - Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Not Rated.
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

561 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 561
Hads: 1,412
Avg: 3.8
pDev: 13.68%
Wants: 103
Gots: 223 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 561 | Hads: 1,412
Photo of Dave1999
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy, semi transparent amber with a tiny almost non existent white head.

The smell is yeasty, with corriand and pepper like a Belgian ale with some orange.

The taste is sweet, the honey and then the orange really powers through. There is some spices like pepper but its mostly sweet.

The mouthful is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This was actually pretty good, sweet with the honey, a good desert beer. The abv is non existent in the taste.

 461 characters

Photo of Suds
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I really enjoy these historic and cultural beer recreations. This beer is a golden straw color with a hazy complexion. The smell is flowery....garden-like, with honey and plenty of fruit...peach and berries. The beer is extremely sweet. Sugary, honey, fruit juice,a nod a spice that lingers. Full in body and very smooth. This is a very interesting, engaging, and enjoyable brew.

 379 characters

Photo of Jonada
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottled in 2013. Served in a teku glass

Appearance: Pours a honey yellow color with a finger and a half of a white soapy head. Body is slightly hazy with some moderate carbonation streaming throughout the glass.

Smell: Honey, white grape, somewhat floral, pear, light cereal grain and maybe a hint of clove.

Taste: Moderately strong sweetness upfront that carries through to the finish. Flavor is lots of light, sweet fruits. Grape, pear, honey, and apple. I'm getting some general spice notes but can't pinpoint one in particular. There's a slight graininess as well that detracts a bit from the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium, bordering on high, carbonation. Finish is sweet.

Overall: Overall a pretty decent beer and worth trying for the history/story behind it, but given the price, I probably wouldn't get it again.

 854 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Story Tavern in Burbank, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, honey, fruit, and slight herbal and spice aromas. Taste is much the same with a fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with an interesting back story but the flavor is quite sweet.

 561 characters

Photo of kp29
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Ancient Chinese Beer Recipe? I'm going to assume that this a little different than say Tsingtao.

Chateau Jiahu pours a clear golden copper. The head dissipates very quickly and after a few minutes it's hard to tell that this beer has any carbonation going on at all. Taste is interesting and on the sweeter side. Pick up some grapes, some sweetness possibly from the honey, a little tartness from the hawthorne fruit I imagine, as well as a tiny bit of spiciness on the finish. The mouthfeel is a little syrupy and lingers in the mouth creating a syurpy, sweet, earthen feeling.

Overall, an interesting beer. I do enjoy the initial flavor quite a bit - a lot more than I do the syrupy mouth feel and subsquent flavor that lingers in my mouth though...but that definitely isn't stopping me from finishing the bottle.

 817 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
3.61/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From the DFH site: ...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.

A: clear yellow beer in a tulip, brief finger of head; no lacing

S: sweet winey aroma, maybe honey... fruity

T: sweet, like a thick white wine/meady-tasting beer, pale fruit notes and honey

M: slick syrup, slightly sticky, dense in viscosity but medium in body

O: well, this beer follows the others in DFH's ancient ales series - it tends to be a little too sweet for my current tastes - but I would've loved it 2 years ago when I seemed more taken by the novelty of the line.

 705 characters

Photo of dweeuu
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this served through Randal the Enamel Animal with sake and some sort of fruit at the Dogfish Head brew-pub. I enjoyed it, but the fruity overtones were a bit much. I would recommend this as a dessert beer, it tends to overpower everything else.

 250 characters

Photo of brewskifan55
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter at my bottle share. Thanks, Jessie.

A: Hazy orange with a white, half finger head that dissipates quickly. Light lacing.

S: Honey and grapes. Sweet and floral.

T: Follows nose. Smooth, wine-ish. Like drinking grape candy.

M: Medium with a low carbonation.

O: We all thought this would make a great dessert wine. Unique, in a good way, from DFH.

 372 characters

Photo of kylehay2004
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head with excellent thick lacing on a golden amber murky body. Aroma of orange juice, candied fruits, honey and caramel. As Is the case with so many dogfish head brews the initial taste is strong, complex. A few more sips one can pick out orange blossom, honey, candied fruits up front finishing very sweet and floral. Oily, medium body and light to moderate carbonation. This one is pretty boozy and too sweet for me. Complex and worth trying. I would share the bottle with a friend or three.

 507 characters

Photo of woodychandler
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After two big DFH bottles last Sunday at a local bar, they gifted this to me as a take-away. Many thanks, The Station Taproom!

From the bottle: "9,000 year old Chateau Jiahu stands apart as the most ancient, chemically-attested alcoholic beverage in the world."; "Its re-creation is based on painstaking excavation by Chinese archaeologists of Jiahu in the Yellow River basin, state-of-the-art microanalysis of pottery residues by American laboratories, and the inspired "Neolithic" brewing of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Chateau Jiahu, then as now, opens a window into the world of our ancestors."

Repeated pourings created little to no head, so let's call it a wash. Nose was both fruity and flowery, definitely grape, but with Spring-like flowers, think daisies, clover, et al. Wow. Mouthfeel was medium, but rather flat, with a very mead-like taste. A tip o' the Wood to my Old Lady for her expertise in this area. Lots of honey flavor on the tongue, accompanied by whichever flowers from which it was derived. Finish was breathtakingly dry as you might expect from a honey-based beer. Nice!

 1,097 characters

Photo of KickbacksSteve
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. 2009 vintage. Poured into a snifter. Hazy, copper body, off white head, low retention. Clear, minimal lacing. Aroma includes caramel malts, orange marmalade, grape juice and maybe a touch of vanilla. Taste really dominated by grapes, sweet grapes. Amazing how all traces of alcohol have disappeared and now this beer is amazingly drinkable at a very high abv. Paired quite well with a spicy shrimp risotto.

 434 characters

Photo of bmwats
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a standard pint.

A: Golden hue. Pours about a half finger, foamy, white head. Settles quickly, leaving sporadic foam on the surface. Beer ring lacing, collects, and sinks into the body.

S: Butter, glue, honey, and a little fresh flora.

T: Lightly malted. Honey and orange citrus. I think some pomegranate and triple sec in there, too.

M: Syrupy body. Clings to the palette. Sweet, almost cloying... lingers throughout.

D: Sip. Not hugely sweet, but the sweet finish that lingers makes it difficult to power through.

Atmosphere is good. Decent body, but nothing much to speak of in terms of lacing. Nose is a very interesting combination of components; sweet and fruit, plant and...dairy?... Flavor is syrupy and honey sweet with some solid fruit compliments. This should probably come in a smaller vessel, due to it's cloying characteristics. Overall, this is a good...but interesting...quaff.

 932 characters

Photo of GoatsUdder
4.24/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I went through some of our special speakeasy beers, as I call them, the other day at work. I was surprised to find Chateau Jiahu, which I was looking for during one of my anthropology classes (I would never dream of bribing a teacher! How dare you suggest!) I'm sitting here now and I just cracked it open and poured some for the husband and myself. It is 10% ABV and has a rating of 10IBU's. Upon pouring you'll notice little to no head and a very light aroma. The aroma was very sake like with a hint of honey. The flavor was like a rice gelatin that you get during the new year in china town seasoned with honey. I get a light honey flavor at the back and a definite floral taste in the middle tones, I thought it tasted saffron like but my husband says it's really the chrysanthemum. I have never had hawthorn fruit so I don't quite know what to look for but I get a definite back throat, late harvest sweetness that I assume comes from grapes.

Sam and Dr.McGovern have indeed done it again! This is a beautifully crafted, almost wine-like beverage. I definitely can taste the flavors from the Sake yeast they used which creates a definite roundness in the overall feel and flavor. Brava!

 1,193 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 2012. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a foamy 1-2 finger white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Good foamy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of honey, pear, grape, clove, herbal, apricot, bread, earth, bubblegum, pepper, light banana, and yeast spices. Damn nice and unique aromas; great balance and complexity. Taste of honey, grape, pepper, herbal, pear, apricot, floral, clove, earth, bread, banana, orange, and yeast spices. Lingering notes of light fruits, herbal, floral, clove, earth, and light yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Very nice flavor balance and complexity; with zero cloying sweetness for a 9% beer at 10 IBU. Fairly clean finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slightly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is yet another damn nice experimental ancient ale from Dogfish Head. Tons of flavor complexity and balance; very smooth to sip on for a 9% beer. There are also a lot of interesting flavors and aromas I cannot describe, but they work well. Very impressive.

 1,215 characters

Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A pretty unassuming beer. It's amber orange... Head dissipates quickly... uhhhh hazy. Yeah. Bottle has a sexy girl on it (which may or may have been the reason why I bought it (what? that's a fine reason))

S: Very tart, with some yeast backing and a sweet grape element. Much like a big bodied white wine. Alcohol is noticeable but not overpowering.

T: Again much like a full bodied white wine. Very dry subtle flavors. A sweet finish which is a little odd as the beer is pretty herbal throughout the experience. It has an earthy bitterness to it rather than a floral bitterness. Complex but not necessarily mind blowing.

M: Sits very light with a dry gritty sweet finish. A dry finish is fine but this one is a little too spread out.

As a sipping beer this was pretty good. Like when I was just watching TV and not really focusing on it it was fine. But when I really got to trying to appreciate this one it wasn't that great. Depends on what you're looking for but I think there are beers that are similar but better than this one.

 1,041 characters

Photo of DonDirkA
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The nose is very flowery and sweet with hints of honey. Slight hints of fruitiness like grapes and oranges. Honey sweetness up front dominates, then a wine-like fruitiness washes over the tongue and blends with a flowery brightness. At the tail end the sticky honey flavors take back over and sticks around on the tongue leaving you with a lingering sweetness but a dry finish. This is one of the best of the Ancient Ales in my opinion.

 436 characters

Photo of ginemesis
3.33/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Amber colored with little to no head. Very clear.

S- Hints of bubblegum, too sweet and fruity

T- Tastes like i stuck a wad of bazooka gum in my mouth. Similar to the 120, but less hoppy

M- A very smooth feel while slightly thick

O- A good sipping beer, but not one I would want to drink regularly

 305 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.14/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a Dogfish snifter

A- pours a rather transparent shade of orange with a one finger white head that fades quickly. Lots of carbonation, but not too much. Looks nice

S- slight grape aroma, but not a whole lot going on here. Bleh

T- the grape and honey are noticeably sweet...slight booze coming through too, which is odd given that this bottle is a year old. Huh

M- medium bodied and pretty nice

O- just kinda there. Not worth the 12 bucks I paid. All these Dogfish ancient ales have the same base flavor, and that irritates the hell out of me.

 572 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours clear orange amber. Slight head and light lacing. Nice aroma of fruit (pear and apple among others) and honey. Simple, but tasty blend of honey and light fruit flavors, moderate body. Honey flavors are reminiscent of Midas Touch. A bit sweet, but very pleasant to drink.

 342 characters

Photo of badun
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm rating this comparatively low because it tastes like a grossly overpriced mead. It is good, if you can stand the sweetness, but you can make something equally as tasty for far less money at home. It doesn't get easier than mead and I think Dogfish Head is really pushing it to sell a bomber of this for $12+. There are some distinctions in the taste because of the ingredients they used, but overall the taste is simply too reminiscent of good ol' mead. I won't buy this again.

 481 characters

Photo of grittybrews
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich gold with a finger of white head with an aroma of honey, citrus, grape, and light floral notes.

Moderate carbonation and a light, sticky mouthfeel. Lots honey and a grape up front with hints of orange and light spice. Sort of a gewurztraminer wine character with a clean rice backbone.

Pleasant for a couple sips but the sweetness overpowers everything here.

 374 characters

Photo of BostonHops
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a bright, slightly hazy golden yellow with a foamy finger plus white head that dissipates fairly quickly into a thin cap, collar around the glass. lacing in spots.

nose delivers a candied fruit-like sweetness... honey and grape/grape juice, a touch of spice... has a certain BSPA quality to it and is a bit vinous... really nice aroma, though it makes you worry the taste will be overly sweet.

comes close. the honey and grape are evident, along with some banana... my first thought is that finishing the bottle will be a project; but after a few sips my palate warms to it and i find myself really enjoying it. flavors seem to compliment each other nicely. well-hidden 10%ABV.

slightly syrupy, medium-bodied mouthfeel; pretty well carbonated. the unique kind of beer that will warrant a revisit, just not a lot in a sitting.

originally reviewed: 01-07-2011

 903 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear golden-orange color with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of honey, light fruits, grape, bready caramel malt, and a bit of spicy yeasts.

T - Starts off with a mix of light fruits with some pear and apricot alongside some grape, honey, and a bit of coriander. Through the middle, some more honey comes through with some more spices and yeast flavor with a bit of caramel bready malt. The finish is a mix of honey, sweet malts, light fruits, some grape, and some sake yeast, with a hint of booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet, lightly spicy and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice and complex and nuanced. Good mix of unique flavors that really come together nicely.

 834 characters

Photo of RollBounce
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light bronze color, nice amount of foam and carbonation, nose is thick and sweet, thou very subtle, hint of fruit that i assume to be Hawthorn. Full mouth feel, caramel, prickly pear, rice and lemon. Bitter finish that is some what syrup like.

Overall; An interesting brew. Good mouthfeel and appearance. Reminded me of a popular German beer in a green bottle that starts with an "H". Great with a Klondike Heath bar.

 418 characters

Photo of Rukasu
3.56/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Pours a honey golden with a single finger head

S- Heavy on grapes and floral -- Muscat wine, rosewater -- fruity yeasts

T- Big floral and sweet grape taste. Hints of honey, pear and peach.

M-light to medium bodied, champagne like. Mild astringency and a subtle alcohol warmth with the 10% ABV.

O- DFH's big bottle brews are always hit or miss. This one is somewhere in the middle of the road. Enjoyed a bottle with a salmon banh mih which I thought would be a good combination, but the beer was too sweet for the meal. However, the complexity of fruits and florals is very interesting and pleasing.

 607 characters

Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 561 ratings.