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Sah'tea - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

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very good

1,735 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,735
Reviews: 593
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 149
Gots: 196 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Sahti |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DarkerTheBetter on 09-28-2008

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.

Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,735 | Reviews: 593 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daktyls
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy golden amber with very little head that dissipates almost immediately after the pour. Continues bubbling leaving a consistent ring of bubbles at the top.

S: Very aromatic with a lot of different aromas. There is a distinct scent of chai follow by a bit of banana (like a hefeweizen as other reviewers have noted) and a slight bit of juniper.

T: Very much like chai tea, with many other flavors involved. A little bit thicker than a traditional tea. Very complex flavors including a lot of malts and herbs.

M: Smooth feeling on the tongue with a little bit of viscosity to it. A full bodied beer with the right amount of carbonation.

D: Very very drinkable. I'll definitely have another, if I had one of course. Very very good.

Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, orange color with golden highlights. It had a small, white, bubbly head of foam that receded quickly and left little lace.

S - It smelled of chai tea and juniper berries. It had a woody aroma, too.

T - Lots of chai tea taste with a touch of sweetness from the juniper berry. There is a mild floral taste, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry finish.

D - This is an interesting beer. I can't see myself having this very often though.

Photo of newk340
4.79/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: a hazy burnt gold, thin foam ring coats the surface.

S: a wicked explosion of various flavors, a stew of hops, malts, berries, chai teas, and a plethora of other flavors that defy description.

T: what doesnt this beer have? hops, malts, cloves, coriander, berries, chai tea, spices, citrus... and the list goes on. what in the world just happened to my tastebuds?

MF/D: epic. smooth, bitter, carbonated, dry, sweet... all at once. a symphony on the senses. thank you sir, may i have another?

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.55/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 25.6oz bottle into 16oz Samuel Adams Perfect Pint glass.

Appearance: Pours slightly hazy golden in color with a medium sized white head that dissipates fairly quickly and leaves behind no lace but does leave foam floating on top of the glass.

Smell: Smells of banana (similar to a hefeweizen) and a hint of chai tea (which also has a hefeweizen character).

Taste: Begins with a bubble-gum flavor, finishing with banana, clove, tea, and a note of bittersweet alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with balanced, natural carbonation and a slightly alcoholic finish.

Drinkability: This is easily one of the most unique beers I have ever tasted, quite possibly one of THE most unique. For 9% ABV, this is pretty damn drinkable. Maybe this isn't a true Sahti, but this has definitely made me more interested in a very rare style. Everybody should taste this at least once.

Photo of aasher
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I opened a bottle dated April 2010. It poured a light pumpkin orange with moderate cloudiness. It kind of looks like a Belgian pale. It smells of spicy, almost minty and has a tea leaf smell to it. I want to say it smells like tannins. The taste is refreshing and crispy, again almost a little minty. The tea flavor does subtly come through. The mouthfeel is perfect. It's sat for almost six months and drinks very smoothly. It is crisp yet doesn't seem overly carbonated. I like it and it was worth trying. I'd been looking for it for awhile and I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm glad to say I finally got to try the style.

Photo of homebrew311
3.34/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at Durty Nellies.

A: appears a light hazy yellow. I was a little surprised, for some reason I was expecting this beer to be much darker. The beer is very bubbly and has no head to speak of. Looks more like a grapefruit soda than a beer.

S: huge notes of banana, mint, anise among other flavors. This features a huge variety of aromas that I don't particularly associate with beer... over all it smells very sweet and complex.

T: this beer is very sweet on the palate, almost reminds me of a sweet tea, again lots of banana and some licorice in there. Wish there was more bitterness to balance all of the sweetness.

MF: medium to high carbonation, sticky mouthfeel

D: This is certainly a unique beer from DFH with lots of interesting flavors going on. Ultimately, I don't think the ingredients translate to being a highly drinkable beer as the sweetness is just a little too overwhelming.

Photo of JayQue
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is different!!! Not great...not bad...just different. Hard to do a review on this one. I have never had a Sahti before. I have no idea what Chai tea tastes like. I associate juniper berries with gin.

Appearance is very ordinary. Pours a cloudy dull gold/light orange color. No head...No lacing.

Aroma and taste are strong. I would describe this beer as a mixture of hefewizen (75%), tripel (10%), spicy winter warmer (10%) and Avinne Baltazaar (5%). The body is hefeweizen, tastes like cloves, Belgian yeast etc. On top of that is richer apples/pears and alcohol (like a Tripel). There are spices like a Winter Warmer and (thankfully) a VERY small amount of bitter medicine like taste like Baltazaar.

Mouthfeel is ok. Rich, flavors blend fairly well. Drinkability is fair. I wound up drinking the whole 750 ml. A sipper rather than a guzzler but I had no problem with these strong flavors in mass quantities.

DFH takes chances and that is a good thing. Black and Blue is horrible (IHMO), Palo Santos Marron is world class (also my opinion). This one is somewhere in the middle.

Photo of thebrood1987
4.49/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Going on memory on this one but I remember it quite well. It had a very spicey nose on it with a huge smell of tea. It had some chunks of whatever in it I guess because I'm pretty sure that its unfiltered. Definitely didn't take away from the beer though just enhanced the taste. No hops to speak of but then again this is one of those ancient brews that Dogfish loves to brew. You can also taste hints of the hot rocks they threw in to boil the wort. Gives it a very smooth smokey like taste which adds to the overall body of the beer. Even though its a weird style I still have to say this is an awesome beer to drink despite its 9 percent alcohol which by the way is very well masked. A great quality to most of the Dogfish Head beers. Thank you Dogfish Head! When this comes around again next year I'll be sure to give it another taste. Biggest downfall is that its hard to find and when you do its in limited quantities. Then again most of their beers go pretty fast in the stores I buy from.

Photo of thecarster1
3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- 750ml poured into a pint, hazy light gold coloring, minimal head and lacing.

s- aromatic, tea, herbal sweetness, maybe a bit cloying. very flowery, a touch of alcohol. so many smells.

t- very much tea like, slight hopping, flowery, hard to pinpoint all the flavors here, sweet though, i get alot of tea in the finish, spice, maybe a bit of cinnamon, clove. this is alot of different flavors and is a bit hard to take.

m- light to medium.

d- okay, this beer just has so many different things going on, it's just not my thing. it seems right on point with the style, just a bit too flowery for my taste.

Photo of woosterbill
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stella Blues in New Haven into a 9-oz pint-style glass.

A: Hazy pale orange body with half an inch of fine white foam on top. I don't know what this style is supposed to look like, exactly, but this seems fine to me.

S: Spicy, piney, sweet, crazy. Plenty of juniper, as well as lightly sweet malt and some herbal bitterness. A little underwhelming, but not bad.

T: Big, sweet malt balanced with equally big juniper and herbal notes. Very interesting, refreshing, and complex. I didn't think I'd like it, but I do.

M: An explosion of very smooth, creamy carbonation; it's lovely, but I'd kind of like to know what the beer feels like as a liquid.

D: Too intensely and uniquely flavored to go down terribly easily. Still, the 9% is well hidden.

Notes: I remember trying, and hating, a sample of this when it was on tap at Prime 16 a while back. I decided to get it at Stella Blues because it was the only interesting thing on, and because I wanted to tick the Sahti style. Maybe my palate has changed, maybe the beer has changed, but I liked this infinitely more this time. The herbal characteristics highlighted the malt instead of overwhelming it, and the total package was both striking and surprisingly drinkable. Good stuff, and well worth trying once.


Photo of WanderingFool
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sah'tea pours an opaque straw yellow with a small, frothy white head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the surface leaving no lace on the glass.

The aroma is wonderful! It's mainly ginger, but blended in is cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and a touch of banana like in a hefeweissen.

Each sip of this light to medium bodied beer is smooth on the palate, slick with a gentle carbonated tingle on the tip of the tongue. The flavor is mainly spicy with notes of ginger, clove and cardamom. Towards the end sweeter flavors of bubble gum and banana poke through. Once gone the ginger and banana flavor lingers on the palate.

This is one very tasty beer. Lots going on here, but it's easy to drink. The spices blend well together. This would be a great beer with a nice spicy Indian dish.

Photo of BigMike
4.24/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So Dogfish Head has been hit or miss with me so far with the beers I've had. When I heard about Sah'Tea something intrigued me and I hurried out to pick up a 750ml.

Pours a golden orange color. Very hazy with a small amount of off white head that leaves good lacing. A nice lookIng beer.
The nose on this one is about a mile deep. I get tons of nutmeg,chai tea,cinnamon, vanilla, Ginger snap best describes the aroma. I can't stop smelling it.
Most, if not all the aromatic qualities come through on the palate.
Again, tons of nutmeg, vanilla, Ginger, cinnamon, chai tea. Very creamy and spicey. Not sure I can pick out the juniper berries at all. Even If I knew what they smelled like.
This is a really smooth beer. Just enough carbonation. Glides down the throat easily. I would call this pretty medium bodied.
Overall the drinkability is good. Great aroma, great flavor and mouthfeel. The 9%abv is completely invisible. Hard to tell this is even beer. I really like it though. I wouldn't call it a "game changer" but it's definitely a succsessful beer from DFH. I recommend trying this and I would drink again for sure.

Photo of kirkmichel
4.82/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from Greens in Atlanta, GA

A - A very cloudy and pale amber, with chunky sediment floating in it. Which would be OK except the last chunky beer I had tasted like vomit. Has a nice volume of lacy foam that's kind of off white.

S - Strong lemon and sweet spice (just like chai tea!). A big ginger smell with some cinnamon and maybe clove mixed in. This will get a 5.0 score from me, as I believe it hits the mark on what I expect from a spiced ale (and I'd consider this a fruited/spiced ale).

T - Very complex fruit and malt - like citrus fruit and cherry with a sweet malt and gingersnaps on the finish. And honey. Lots of honey.

M - A carbonated zing on the tip of your tongue at first, but after that all the sweetness and taste is on the sides and back. It's viscous without being too heavy. And surprise: the chunkiness is not even evident!

D - I'm not sure what the ABV is on this, but I betcha it's high because of all the fruit and sweetness...and I can hardly taste the alcohol. It is delicious and I love it. However, it is like a party in your mouth, so I'm thinking it will kill your tastebuds after two. I'm going to try and see....it will be definitely worth it!

Photo of rudzud
4.45/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes taken on 9/7, on tap at the Armsby Abbey. I have a bottle of this aging, so far for roughly a year along with other old school style dogfish head. Plan on aging them all atleast a year+. In one case (Forte) 3 years. Of course, I will update any reviews with the vintage ones. Having never tried any of the bottles I picked up I jumped at the chance to try Sah'tea and wow, I was blown away.

A - Served in a big ol brandy snifter. A hazy, cloudy light amber with a one finger head that left light lacing. The snifter was only filled less than halfway. A bit odd, but acceptable I guess.

S - Wow! Spicy chai notes galore. Nice cinnamon and clove notes though I dont get any juniper. Definately picking up some light honey aromas.

T - Big spicy peppery tastes with big bold chai flavors. Really mimics the smell incredibly well. The honey is much more pronounced in the taste, which is a great thing.

M - Low carbonation and heavy (to be expected due to the 9% abv) but amazingly not syrupy feeling at all.

D - Exactly what I had hoped for. This lived up to every expectation I had. Chai, honey, spicy peppery tastes. Considering the abv this is very, very easy to drink.

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed/reviewed on my anniversary, July 17, 2010.

A. Pours a golden orange with a small white head that dissipates quickly leaving little residual lacing.

S. Smells strongly of chai tea, pepper, and honey.

T. Tastes is similar to the nose with chai and honey. It's spicy like a tripel and there is no perceivable bitterness.

M. Medium to thick body with a pleasantly brisk small bubble carbonation.

D. This paired perfectly with the pork belly I had for dinner. It was sweet and spicy - my second of the style and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Photo of jsprain1
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a bright orange, that is initially appealing with a nice thick buttermilk colored head but it dissapates to pretty much nothing and does not leave any lacing.
S- The aroma is rather spiced, cinnamon, clove, and perhaps nutmeg. The advertised presence of chai and juniper are noticable but not overwhelming.
T- The initial flavor is the spicyness of the rye, as well clove and cinnamon. There is a bit of fruit flavor in there as well, but not overwhelming. It was less rye presence than I expected but it still had good flavor.
M- The mouthfeel was absolutely spot on. Big and full with smooth carbonation and a sticky finish. Not quite creamy but almost.
D- The 9% was absolutely hidden. This is certainly a different beer. It's apparant that Sam took some liberties with the traditional recipe, but DFH produced a very tasty beer, and that's what counts right?

Photo of phillybeer7779
4.52/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2010 release, poured into a glass
Appearance- Golden/orangish in color, with some head that dissapated quickly with no lacing. Some haze as well.
Smell- very pleasant, hints of tea and bananas.
Taste- mimics the smell, I'm picking up tea, bananas, and juniper.
Mouthfeel- well carbonated, as there is an audible fizz when pouring. Very nice feel to this one.
Drinkablility- dangerously drinkable, as I never would have guessed 9% on this one! To me, this is a quality lawnmower beer, very refreshing!

This is a great beer for someone looking for something a little different and refreshing. Highly recommended!

Photo of hardy008
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hazy dark gold with a one finger head with nice retention. There is also quite a bit of sediment in the glass. The aroma is very nice. Juniper, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom, and tea. This should be good.

The taste is a nice combination of all the flavors listed in the aroma. Has a sweet flavor, and the spices are front and center. This is not a traditional Sahti, but that does not matter, since I like this beer.

Medium to full bodied, nicely carbonated, smooth, sticky, and sweet. The alcohol is well hidden. Nicely done.

Photo of LtCracker20
4.4/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Taken from notes.
Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A- Pours a crystal clear golden color with a thin white foamy head. The head's thin, but last until the end. Lacing forms in clumps.

S- Sweet honey and what I think is the Juniper berries. Whatever it is, it's sweet. Maybe like a Christmas candle?

T- Pretty damn good. Sweetness from the honey really stands out along with some herbal/spice flavors.

MF/D- Medium to full bodied (maybe thank the honey for that?), with low to medium carbonation. I think they got the carbonation level right, though. Any less and it would feel like a mead. Damn good again. Drinkability is very good, but the sweetness and the 9% abv hurts it, but just a little. Can't see having more than this bottle, but I'm enjoying every sip of it.

Notes- When the rest of the bottle with the yeast was poured in, it was very cloudy as it should be, and the head went up to about an inch, and stayed that way for a while.

Photo of TwinLightTap
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer into a tulip shaped glass.

A: The beer poured a golden hazy color with a small head that quickly disappeared.

S: There was a smells of orange, chai tea and yeast.

T: I found flavors of straw/earthiness, spice and a honey sweetness. There are hints of orange and piney notes that come through in the finish.

B: It was a medium bodied beer with good mouth feel.

D: I was impressed with this beer and quite happy with it. It was easily drinkable and disappeared all too quickly. I will definitely go and buy another.

Photo of bobhits
3.21/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had yesterday at Beer Trappe here in lexington ky, notes taken then.

A. Golden, thin, no head, no retition.

S. Bubble cum, wheat, belgium yeast. Very sweet and somewhat pleasing.

T. Bubble gum, thin smalt, a bit sugary with a fairly dry finish.

M Clean, acceptable body.

D. OK for a 9% beer.

This is a very odd beer. The chi tea gives off a bubble gum flavor, mixing and somewhat hiding the spices and yeast flavors that are in the back. Well worth trying once, but I won't be drinking this again.

Photo of Homebrew35
3.86/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is my first go with a Sahti. I drink quite a bit of Tea, and Chai is no exception. I was fortunate to have a new friend pop this one open for my wife and I.
A: Bright yellow with a hint of orange. A small half finger head quickly dissipated to nothing. It seemed a bit under carbonated.
S: Smells like a good strong spiced yet somehow mellow Chai. Cinnamon, clove, cardamom all come through nicely. A sweet honey and banana smell come out as well.
T: Tastes quite sweet with a bit of cinnamon spice aftertaste. I love this one especially for dessert with some flan or cheesecake.
B: Medium to full bodied, syrupy sweet rounded mouthiness. Low carbonation with I think could be a bit higher to spread out the sweetness.
D: I like this one quite a bit but need to share it with a few friends, so drink-ability is kind of average.

Photo of Daniellobo
4.15/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite the stimulating offering, nice meld of touches of berries, and spices over a tone of tea.

Presentation: 750 ml bottle. Cartoonish elaborate design around the figure of a Scandinavian-like priestess riding an elk while holding the ingredients over a background of hot rocks, all together forming a mask-like illustration. Enumeration of main ingredients as a way of describing it on the front with a side paragraph noting the historic background of the brew and how they diverged from it. Shows date of bottling (2010B), and Alc. by Vol. (9%) Served in a snifter.

A - Medium amber pour, 1/3" short-lived bubbly head, minimal surface memory with almost no lacing. Although better looking in bottled form this is not a particularly great appearance but it is not bad either.

S - Enticing spicy nose lingering over tea, a bit subdued but nice.

T - Sweet range, touch of honey with a nicely spiced character, rich in berries, juniper, a bit of clove, cardamon with a tea touch that feels nicely integrated and not half as assertive as I remember in previous tasting.

M - Medium-full body with medium-light carbonation that lingers well over a smooth sense.

D - Rich and inviting with a nicely balanced range. Don't know how this lines up against an orthodox Sahti but on its own is rather remarkable.

Notes: Time to revisit the bottle, after a memory of an intriguing but just fair brew, which got pushed to the ground when we tried a fresh offering on tap recently. And indeed the bottled version is on par with the great experience we had at the ale house. Funny how the perception of a brew changes... Maybe due to recipe, but more likely due to palate and circumstances.

Photo of goldbot
3.62/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Straw colored and cloudy. Thick, fluffy, white head and just a touch of lacing.

A wheaty/grainy aroma up front, perhaps a touch of rye. Coriander, clove, some banana esters. Spiciness is reminiscent of a Belgian yeast strain. A hint of chai toward the end.

Flowery, herbal, earthy flavors. Juniper pops out; a subtle fruitiness in the back. Bread and grain, and a touch of spice rounds out the flavors.

Smooth mouthfeel and low carbonation. Very heavy bodied. Almost cumbersome or fatiguing to drink much of it. Nicely throat-warming.

Photo of Jef59
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a deep gold with a nice head that has a good amount of cling to it.

S- Not a very bold nose. A little spice to it and some fruitiness which I imagine comes from the juniper berries.

T- The spices and zing of the chai are all very noticeable and easy to pick a part. Notes of clove, ginger, cardamom, and pepper followed by a subtle sweetness. Almost identical to a Hefeweizen but sweeter.

M/D- the mouthfeel has a bit of thickness to it with plenty of carbonation. Very quaffable in comparison to a Hefeweizen.

Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,735 ratings.