Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Sah'tea | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
600 Reviews
no score
Send samples
For Trade:

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States | website

Style: Sahti

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
This Ancient Ale is a modern take on a 9th-century Finnish beer.

The wort for Sah'tea is caramelized over white-hot river rocks, and the beer is fermented with a German weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged from the Finnish countryside, Sah'tea is flavored with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and black pepper.

The spicing is subtle and balanced, and Sah'tea is a highly-quaffable, truly unique brew with a full mouthfeel.


Added by DarkerTheBetter on 09-28-2008

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 600 | Ratings: 1,814
Photo of timontheroad
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/11/13. Was a gusher upon opening. Nice head with a light orange color and lots of floaties. Great spicy aroma. Lots of allspice in the taste, not really getting the chai flavors though. Nice creamy mouthfeel with a rather light body. This would be perfect around the holidays with some German lebkuchen.

 316 characters

Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage.

Look: Pours a deep, deep, orange color with a one finger off white head. You can see lots of yeast floating around in the glass, and lots of carbonation streaming up the sides. Looks damn tasty, although it doesn't retain a head or leave much lacing.

Smell: The aroma is outstanding. There's this wonderful smell of freshly baked gingerbread and cinnamon coffee cakes.

The smell of chai tea is unmistakable, but there's also a slight wintergreen and peppermint note to the nose too. I'm also getting the smell of baked bananas and caramel. There's a noticeable alcoholic presence on the nose too.

Taste: It's incredible. I'm getting so many flavors from the Chai Tea - it's like a gourmet spice rack in my glass - lots of clove, mint, cinnamon, basil, thyme, coriander, tarragon and rosemary. There's a nice dry bitterness from the juniper too but a rich caramel and honey taste evens it out.

The flavors of bitter juniper, sweet honey/caramel and spicy chai tea come together, and almost taste like a big slice of of pumpkin pie.

Feel: The mouthfeel is rich with yeast, you can feel it's abrasiveness, it adds body and weight to the brew making it slightly sticky and kind of a chore to finish because of all the chai tea and spice flavors not to mention it weighs in at 9.00%.

Overall: Next time I buy this I will definitely be sharing this with a friend. It's a great beer and it tastes delicious but the flavor is so intense, the portion size is so large and the abv is so high you don't really need all 22 ounces to yourself.

 1,563 characters

Photo of MikeWard
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

picked up a bomber at knickerbockers in Altoona. bottled in 2012.

had me some fun getting this one in the glass. on close inspection of the bottle, there was a fair amount of floaties, and sediment in the bottom of the bottle. So I figure, "I'll strain it through some chessecloth. i pop the cap. and...we have a slight gusher. eventually got my act together and half the bottle was in a pint glass. although there was considerable carbonation in the bottom, it got flat real fast in the glass. poured a deep orange, somewhere between hazy and cloudy. no head, hence no lacing. not a promising start.

aroma was very nice though. spices and dried fruits. reminds me of another beer I've had, but cant put my finger on it. no alcohol smell, and no chai tea either, which is apparently added late on in the brewing process.

this is a very tasty beverage. getting all the pleasant spiciness, and the dried fruits. warming alcohol burn comes in at the end.

feel is closer to medium that thin. however, halfway through, this beer is almost flat. no amount of agitating will bring a head or indeed ant carbonation.

overall, a good tasty brew.

 1,144 characters

Photo of MacMalt
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into pint glass. It pours a cloudy orange amber with a thick, one-finger milk-white head and minimal lacing. This is a very aromatic beer with wheat, orange, cinnamon, clove, and pine. The taste is also rather unique with bready malt, ginger, cloves, orange, and honey. I'm not familiar with juniper so I may be simply missing it. As the glass warms, I'm also tasting tea. This is a sweet beer but it isn't cloying. It's refreshing and I could imagine drinking it after a day of cross country skiing. It is medium bodied and fairly lightly carbonated and I really don't notice the 9% ABV. Overall, I was intrigued by this style and I really enjoyed it. It's a little sweet to enjoy with a meal but makes a nice dessert beer. I'd like to try this on draught and I would definitely drink it again.

 832 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.74/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL into a wine glass.

Surprisingly opaque and cloudy body with a golden and blonde color to it. Pale white foamy head. 3.75

Highly unique aroma. Reminds me a bit of a fruitcake with orange peel and wheatiness and sweet bread. Juniper or some other evergreen type aroma. 4

Flavor is heavy with some spice flavor that's again, either from the evergreen family, or something ginger-like. Grainy sweet flavor and honey combine with wheat and floral notes. The flavor overall reminds me of a tea with spices, so in that regard the name and flavor are on the money. 3.75

It's got a lively feel from the spices and this will linger on the mouth. In a certain sense there's something medicinal about the feel--- herbal, spiced, and menthol-like. It definitely resembles something earthy in feel. 3.5

Fun to try, but not something that begs multiple visits.

 856 characters

Photo of WunderLlama
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber poured into chalice

Copper translucent with thin white cap that quickly disappears

Aroma of chai tea, sweet , cloves, cinnamon

Taste of chai, sweetness, malt, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon

Low sudsing

A pleasant and interesting diversion from your normal beer.

 269 characters

Photo of Viaduck
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Almost no head, hazy orange in color. Pleasing aroma of malt, orange blossoms, brown sugar & alcohol. The aftertaste reminds me of mom's spice cake without the maple icing. Sweet & flavorful but very flat

 204 characters

Photo of JamesStreet
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured from bomber into snifter
A- poured a golden, semi-hazy color with about a finger worth of white head that dissipated rather quickly. Not much lace left behind.
S- A bit phenolic (clove), chai spice for sure with an herby hop presence. Alcohol is very unnoticceable at 9%
T- A bit bready malt, on the sweeter side but not cloying. The flavor is dominated by the spiciness of the chai. Other flavors I pick up are clove, cardamom, honey, black currant. Not getting much of the juniper berry. Some, but not much
M- Body is a bit on the soft side with a light-medium feel. Sip doesn't linger that long.
O- Not too bad for my first of this style. Really tastes like a spiced, herbed winter beer.

 700 characters

Photo of Myotus
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle (bottled 11Mar13) into a pint glass. Pours with half a finger's worth of white foam that dissipates into a line within 20 seconds. Very dull orange in color and extremely murky. A substantial amount of large, white particles are floating throughout the beer. Hardly any bubbles are present. Has strong aromas of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger that combine with mild aromas of juniper berries and black tea (such an incredible and unique combination of aromas!!!). Initial taste is strong with banana (don't know from where they came) and clove flavors (yes, this initial taste is like that of a great hefeweizen). Strong cardamom, cinnamon, and juniper berry flavors enter immediately after the initial taste. To continue the symphony of flavors, mild ginger flavors and a hint of black tea enter last as all previous flavors persist. This creates a grand finale of a unique, delicious final taste. A ridiculously full-bodied beer that has a mild carbonation with a thirst-quenching finish. This spice bomb of beer is absolutely amazing!

 1,074 characters

Photo of Das_Reh
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle. Poured 2/15/2015 into a tulip.

A = Dark gold hue with fervent carbonation. Lots of free floating sediment in the mix, forming a silty pile at the bottom of the glass. Head dissipated quickly. Minimal lacing.

S = Intense aroma of gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other sweet spices. Juniper, spiced tea, bananas and rum.

T = Follows the incredible aroma with boozy gingerbread, sweet spiced Chai tea, bananas, brown sugar, and sweet pine. Would be a wonderful beer to have on Christmas and would be great in a baked dessert. Then again, that's what this beer is to me, a dessert in a bottle.

F = Medium, almost syrupy. Definitely a slow sipper, but that's not a bad thing.

O = This beer defied all my expectations. Heavily spiced and aromatic, sweet and warming, a perfect beer for Christmas time (there's even a reindeer on the bottle). Too sweet and heavy to be sessionable (not to mention the 9% abv), more of a dessert beer. HIGHLY recommended.

 979 characters

Photo of 57md
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy straw color. The nose is sweet , much like a fruity herbal tea. The two dominant flavors are sweet maltiness and funkiness on the finish.

 152 characters

Photo of mchegash
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Date: 9/4/2014
Other notes: Bottled 3/11/13. Just picked it up at the store a few days ago. So it's likely been sitting on the shelf at room temperature for 1.5 years. Hopefully this doesn't negatively impact the taste.

Appearance - 3/5
A fairly clear orange. A little bit hazy. You can see a LOT of large particles floating around in the beer. No head. Lots of medium-sized carbonation bubbles flowing up at average speed. The color is nice, but I wish there was more head, and the particles are kinda freaking me out. They are not like the particles I have seen in other beers. They make me wonder 'Is something wrong with this beer?'. It's probably fine, but the fact that I even have that worry is big negative points for me.

Smell - 3/5
CHAI CHAI CHAI. Maybe a little bit of breadiness, but mostly all I smell is Chai (which I don't like by the way). Even if I did like Chai, I don't think I'd want my beer to smell like it. But I guess since this is an Ancient Ale, they are just trying to faithfully replicate the spirit of this Ancient recipe

Taste - 3.5/5
Chai, sweet maltiness, maybe some honey and cinnamon. The chai is not totally overpowering in the taste, which is good. I'd still say it's the dominant flavor present. Maybe small hints of fruit and alcohol taste as well. Even though I don't like chai, I don't hate this beer. Given that I've never had nor even heard about any other beer having chai in it, this beer is definitely an experiment, which I think they pulled off fairly well. If you love chai, you will probably like this beer a lot. If you hate it, you probably won't.

Mouthfeel - 3/5
The carbonation is nice and light, and the beer is smooth (although the strong chai flavors dominate, so if you don't like chai, that makes it a little bit harder to get down). The beer is medium-ish in body. The feel is more on the creamy side.

Overall - 3.75/5
I gave the ratings a little boost for the overall, because I'm trying to give it a fair rating, given that I don't like chai a lot (I don't hate it though either). This was definitely an interesting brew, and I love the creativity which DFH is doing with their Ancient Ale series. Even if I don't love the beer, I enjoyed drinking it, knowing that I am imbibing something very similar to people in 9th century Finland.

 2,301 characters

Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Upon my first smell of this beer, I was hesitant if it was going to taste good or not. The aroma was very malty and typically, I'm not a fan of malty tasting beers. But upon my first sip, I was pleasantly surprising. I definitely taste the chai spices and tea. I don't get much of the juniper. This beer also feels lighter on the palate than I expected.

 360 characters

Photo of BierStein711
5/5  rDev +26.6%

This is a beer I will never forget. I drank it after I had some of the worst news in my life, and celebrated the upcoming victory I'll have once this journey is complete.

This was a draught serving,and it's golden color reminded me of a Belgian wit, but the flavors reminded me of a nice Gin. If you like gin and weissbier seek this out.

 343 characters

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into snifter
Aroma of chai
Head small (< 2 cm), white, creamy, rapidly diminishing to partial 2 mm ring
Lacing poor – few small islands of tiny bubbles
Body medium yellow, cloudy
Flavor begins with chai then the juniper rolls in; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 3, Overall 3.625. Final weighted score: 3.9.
This is a surprisingly good beer in which the chai and juniper balance and complement each other. This never tastes like gin and the alcohol is totally hidden.

 594 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%

750ml bottle.

A: Pours a hazy sunburst orange under a solid one-finger thick white frothy head which eventually fades to the rim leaving splotches of lace.

N: Juniper is smelled 2 feet away, chai spices (cloves, orange peel, cardamom), very herbal.

T: Complex intermesh of booze, mild tartness, rye and chai spice, juniper, orange peel, mint, malt, floral and herbal notes.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Exotic and alluring herbal spiced finish.

O: Interesting. Just when I think I've had my last sip I'm drawn back for another. Impressed and well done Sam.

 573 characters

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%

Probably my favorite from the ancient ales line from Dogfish. Pours a golden yellow with almost a rose hue to it. The smell was full of spice, mint, sage, as well as a ton of clove. The taste was really nice in my opinion. Starts of mild and herby and seems to grow till there is a bite of mint at the end which made for a much more refreshing beer than I had anticipated. Overall I found it quite the enjoyable find.

 418 characters

Photo of bleedsblu
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

WTF, where , bring back the format for the reviews. This is my third from Dogfish head ancient ales and this might be the beast so far. Its brewed with Black chai tea and with white hot rocks, hell yeah dogfish.

Served from an ice cold bottle into a glass.

Appearance: A golden yellow , thick not transparent with a lot of carbonation. It had a 1/4 inch head with a vigorous pour.

Smell: It smells of tea and fruit, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mouth feel: It tastes of tea and the mouth feel is thick but not so great it overpowers. It tingles in the mouth from carbonation, who doesn't love a little tingle.

Taste: Fruit and black tea , this is my favorite ale so far and at 9 % ABV it will kick you in the sack.

BleedsBlu recommends, Drink it

 742 characters

Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Slightly clouded yellow-orange, loose particles of sediment. Negligible head retention. Bright!

S: Vibrant spices, just like a chai tea- ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon (not at all subtle). Color me impressed!

T: Same as above, with the addition of some lightly bitter hops (or maybe juniper), black tea in the far back. A few sips verge on the downright heated spice. A considerable amount of sweetness.

M: Lightly syrupy, nothing cloying, and still fluid and light.

O: Damn good! Liberal in the additives, but carefully meted and balanced by one another. Surely not a typical style, but if you have an open mind you will at least be able to appreciate this one (and if not send it to me!)

 707 characters

Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, copper color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong juniper, sweet malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of alcohol, cream, hint of rye. Fits the style of a Sahti. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of juniper, sweet malt, grass, earthy malt, rye, biscuit, slight tea, and alcohol. Overall, an interesting brew, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

 448 characters

Photo of kliner88
3.34/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured with a small, frothy white head which almost immediately disappeared. Almost no lacing; attractive light amber color, like weakish tea with lots of honey.

S: Unfortunately, also smells like rather like overspiced tea with lots of sweetener. Juniper and cardamom are almost overwhelming. A tad of bitterness from the juniper, but not enough to provide balance. Nice mellow caramel notes in the background.

T: Very similar to the aroma; sweetness is slightly less apparent. Juniper comes to the forefront and piney notes are apparent. Cardamom and cloves linger, with a bit of woodiness. Alcohol is largely undetectable, particularly considering the ABV. Beautiful caramelized sugar, again largely hidden in the background.

M: Medium-fine carbonation balanced with a silkiness. Leaves a bit of a stickiness-- again, similar to an overly-sweetened tea. The carbonation is appreciated as it cuts the cloying sweetness a bit.

O: I appreciate Dogfish immensely for what they do; I often love what they do. Here, I appreciate the concept but am underwhelmed by the execution. It's clearly a well-brewed beer and I appreciate every element they've incorporated. I'd like to access the sahti backbone a bit more-- the combination of resiny juniper and intrinsically-strong sweet spices overwhelms the subtlety and renders the beer too complexly sweet, to put it simply. I do stand impressed by the well-cloaked nature of the high ABV, and if you're looking for a sweet alcoholic carbonated iced chai, look not a drop further than here.

 1,540 characters

Photo of exilio
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay, we all know that specialty beers that add fruit and spices end up a lot of times not tasting like beer..more like fruit juice with a kick.

Sah'tea is none of those things.

The Sah'tea from DFH is simply amazing. Not overly fruity. Not overly spiced. Still taste like a beer...from first sip to last drop, a rare treat for the senses. Buy two bottles and share with a friend.


Just noticed The Bros have not imbibed yet...really?! C'mon, guys!

 461 characters

Photo of doktorhops
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dogfish Head is the type of brewery I would own (if I owned a brewery). Not content just to brew the staple craft beer styles (APA, IPA, DIPA, Imperial Porter, etc) these guys like to branch out and brew beers from other times and other cultures. QED: With Sah'Tea - based on a traditional Finnish ale known as Sahti and brewed to a 9th century recipe, then adding black Chai tea (not in the original recipe) Dogfish Head are testing the limits, and now hopefully my taste buds.

Poured from a 757ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents with a cloudy orange/gold body and a white head that soon dissipates to a ring of lacing (no head is the norm in 8% ABV+ brews).

S: The aroma is dominated by the black Chai tea - think of tea and spices like: cardamom, coriander seed, cinnamon, clove and throw in some honey as well. Not much else to report, if you put Chai tea in a beer it is certain to overpower the olfactory senses.

T: The flavour is where the balance comes in to play: cardamom, coriander seed, cinnamon, clove, juniper berry, sweet rye and honey all intermingle and balance sublimely. Finish is both dry (with some tea leaf astringency) and bitter with earthy green herbs. The way this ale moderates the competing flavours is a master-class in brewing by Dogfish Head. For a flavour comparison this is like a glass of fine spiced mead with some herbal bitterness thrown in.

M: Medium bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation.

D: Well I am impressed with my first Dogfish Head brew. I never expected any less though, and there are so many of their beers I would love to try - the Midas Touch was a beer I was keen on finding at Plonk! (to no avail). There is a proviso when trying this beer - you have to like Chai tea and spiced mead - if either of those don't agree with you then I would suggest stepping away from this ale: It is a spice roller-coaster!

Food match: Take a bottle of this to your local Renaissance fair or medieval themed restaurant (that does BYO) and you will be thick in the action.

 2,028 characters

Photo of bnes09
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Translucent orange color. Decent head retention and some lacing.
Has a caramelized look to it.

Yeasty, bread, spicy cinnamon and ginger aroma.

Caramel and honey flavor. Mildly sweet. Assertive yeast. Tons of spices. Low hop character. Smooth overall flavor.

Dense, full body. Sticky on the lips. Well carbonated.

Good stuff and a nice change of pace.

 354 characters

Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 3/11/2013. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy deep gold color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper, herbal, grass, light banana, light caramel, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, herbal, light banana, black pepper, grass, light caramel, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, light banana, herbal, grass, light caramel, bread, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetnesss; with an awesome malt/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Sahti style. All around awesome complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetness; and extremely smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,547 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 600 ratings.