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Sah'tea - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.
Sah'teaSah'tea

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,648 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,648
Reviews: 588
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 136
Gots: 169 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Brewery visit their website
Delaware, United States

Style | ABV
Sahti |  9.00% ABV

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.

6 IBU

(Beer added by: DarkerTheBetter on 09-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,648 | Reviews: 588 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DmanGTR
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%

Review from notes Jan 28, 2010. I guess I have a huge backlog of notes to input :)

Poured hazy, light tangerine/nearly yellow with a short lived white head. Very floral and hint of deep herbal tones, chamomile tea and white grapes. Tangy, hints of orange, and you actually taste some tea in the finish! Smooth and well carbonated, drinks very well. I'm actually not a fan of tea but this is a very well made beverage.

DmanGTR, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of PBoegel
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

Poured into a dogfish snifter, hazy golden orange, the foam breaks quick.

Aroma is clove, lemon, orange, nutmeg and some acidity in the finish.

lots of sourness and acidity in the flavor, orange, clove, chamomile, some mellow licorice and vanilla.

The mouthfeel is slightly off medium bodied, effervescent at first but that lightens, more acidic than I anticipated but not unpleasant.

A really interesting beer, with flavor characteristics I was not expecting, the acidity played well with the ABV, and overall it finished slightly sweet but with enough sourness to balance.

Worth repeat visits.

PBoegel, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.58/5  rDev -8%

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a bright gold color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of spices, light caramelized malts, some fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out herbal and spicy with flavors of rye and tea that are quickly followed by the fruity juniper berry flavor. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and the hops presence is mild but complementary bringing a good balance. The after-taste is spicy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Flavorful, goes down easily, not too filling, very deceptively strong kick, good representation of style, this is a solid beer to drink for a while if you like the herbal kind of flavor.

TheManiacalOne, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured from 750mL bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: a cloudy light golden-orange color with some nearly-stationary floaties. Head was a thin finger of white foam which dissipated quickly. Interesting, that's for sure.

Smell: complex. I'm getting nutmeg, some cinnamon, some peach; seriously, it smells like a fruit dessert. The chai is in full force here. Underneath that is a little acidic tartness which is nice. A very interesting aroma, which in itself is worth points.

Taste: more of those chai flavors right up front. The malt is sweet and just a little fruity; the alcohol may have some effect here. Here and there I get some citrus notes, which may be the juniper trying to edge its way through. Overall, it is complex and unique ... sadly, however, this particular flavor profile doesn't strongly appeal to me.

Mouthfeel: body is medium with a nice carbonation. There is an enjoyable creaminess to this beer.

Drinkability: it is good enough and interesting enough to keep me going through the bottle, but I don't see myself seeking this one out again. It's just not my cup of tea.

flagmantho, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of augustgarage
3.93/5  rDev +1%

Big thanks to ShogoKawada for this one. Bottled in 2009. Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Drie Fonteinen tumbler.

Slightly hazy selective yellow body with amber highlights, topped by a small finger of merengue. Great head retention, clingy lacing, and slight legs. Very active carbonation continuously stirs the liquid.

Bananas, spice cake (cinnamon, clove, cardamom), and a touch of gin in the aroma. A very pure and strong concoction.

Flavors closely follow the aromatics, with a bit more potency of the juniper in the finish which adds a faint sourness to the yeast notes. There are more chai spice notes than there are any black Assam sada tea flavors. Almost like a spiced banana cream pie all in all - very good but a bit sweet which reduces the drinkability somewhat.

Creamy, soft, not quite medium bodied feel. Nicely warming - an excellent beer for Winter.

augustgarage, Feb 14, 2010
Photo of rootbeerman
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

my portion poured into a Duvel tulip, date on bottle only said 2009.

A: pours thick, looks like a light syrup, dull orange color.
S: cinnamon, juniper berry, and chai tea spices. smell sort of reminds me of gin. there is also a sweet malt aroma.
T: cinnamon and chai tea are the first noticed. juniper is more on the backend. there is a certain earthiness, im guessing its either hops or the roasted malt. there is also a slight smokeyness.
M: almost no carbonation, which leave the brew thick and syrupy but not off putting.
D: rather easy, complex flavors.

Definatly not for someone new to craft beer.

rootbeerman, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Bright pumpkin with honey hued highlights and multiple lively streams of bubbles. A thick slice of yellowed ivory foam looks so-so atop the beer. The lid is almost featureless as it melts and is too unsticky to result in much lace. Not a bad look... and not a good look.

First, a word about ingredients. Sah'tea uses rye malt and German hefeweizen yeast. The brewery's website lists additional ingredients as follows: juniper berries, black tea, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and black pepper. During a short video, Sam also mentions ramp (leek) leaves, chai tea, cumin and coriander. This should be a very interesting ride.

The nose is enjoyable if you like spiced beer and chai tea. That's 'yes and yes' for me. Cardamom is especially prominent, which gives the aroma a Nordic quality that seems authentic. Then again, that spice originated in India, so it probably wasn't used by 9th century Finns.

Sah'tea is one of those off-the-wall DFH brews that works. It doesn't taste like the only Finnish sahti that I've ever had (Lammin Kataja Olut) and it probably doesn't come within miles of the real deal, but it tastes good and that's all that matters to this big beer lovin' American.

There can't be much rye malt in here. It's probably mostly pale. The yeast adds a definite ripe banana quality, which was a masterstroke. Bland ale yeast wouldn't have worked as well. Some spices are appreciated and some aren't. Those that are include cardamom, ginger and juniper. Maybe cinnamon too.

Alcohol is nowhere to be found on the palate, which is always a praiseworthy feat when the ABV is 9.0%. The mouthfeel is big beer beautiful. It's full and glassy smooth, with a little stickiness on the finish. Laid back bubbles are fine. That said, a little more creamy expansiveness would have earned the next highest score.

Sah'tea isn't the best brew that Sam has ever released, but it's definitely on the positive side of the ledger. No matter what you think of their brewing flights of fancy, the craft beer world is much better off for having Dogfish Head in it... pushing the envelope one beer at a time.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of tigg924
3.38/5  rDev -13.1%

Appearance: minimal head, orange/yellow in color, moderate carbonation, clear with sediment

Smell: honey, cloves, cinnamon, and chai tea

Taste: honey, cloves, cinnamon, toasted malt, herbs, and chai tea

Mouthfeel: very sweet with a small bit of bitterness at the end, minimal carbonation, medium body, sticky

Drinkability: Like drinking an alcoholic chai tea, it has got interesting spicing like their Midas Touch. I appreciate their creativity, but this is a bit too sweet for me. It was hard to finish this one.

tigg924, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Appearance - hazy flat/dull yellow. Very little head even with some intentional turbulence on the pour. Maintains a thin swath of plain foam in the center thanks to the etching in the bottom of the glass.

Aroma - a light, sweetened floral graininess. Definite chai notes, not bad.

Taste - the rye and juniper provide a robust and tasty combo. Spicy up front, slightly brash graininess. I can almost taste the heat from the fired rocks. Tasty spices, the black chai is a great fit. Has an elegant, wine-like flavor as well as a very crafty beer flavor. Mellow warming in the belly on the finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth with mild carbonation. A slight heft to the body.

Drinkability - very nice, this would be a good beer tasting pick to open up some palates.

brewdlyhooked13, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of mullenite
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

Glassware - Corsendonk Tulip

Appearance - Hazy orange in color with a two finger white head that settles in to a loose cap and doesn't leave much in the way of lacing.

Nose - Very spicy nose, you can really smell all the different spices added to the beer, ginger is dominant (as it tends to be) but the juniper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon really show in there too. Not getting much of the tea or black pepper but really that's okay. there is enough going on as is.

Taste - At first I wasn't sure what to think. There is a lot of juniper (which I am not a huge fan of) but also a lot of ginger and a LOT of cardamom and cinnamon. Very spicy beer and also very complex and interesting. The flavors all kind of meld with a base beer that tastes a lot like some of the American-style wheat beers I've had.

Mouthfeel - Thinner body but lots of carbonation and a nice long finish.

Overall - This is a strange beer, lots of flavors and aromas I'm not used to in beer, I'm not sure if I will drink this again but if I do it will be in the winter. This is for sure not a good beer for summer with all those spices.

mullenite, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of ppoitras
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

750ml bottle purchased somewhere localish.

Poured into a Harpoon tulip, formed a 3/4" eggshell head over the clear dark gold brew. Head slowly dwindles to a small frothy layer, with thick, lasting lace. Aroma is sweet, lightly tart with earthy notes. Taste is sweet tea upfront, a shot of piercing tartness in the middle, closes with earthiness and a lingering shadow of tart. Flavors seem very distinct and separate. Mouthfeel is okay, and drinkability is pretty good as well. Interesting brew.

ppoitras, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of Lunch
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Served from a 750ml bottle into a stemless wineglass at the appropriate temperature (01/15/10).

A: Pours a hazy golden amber, with no head nor lacing at all.

S: Honey, ginger, and juniper dominate the aroma with notes of herbal tea.

T: Interesting taste of a honey, ginger, and juniper enhanced herbal tea. I must say that is tasted nothing like any beer I have had before. It is more like a juice or tea and there is no trace at all of the 9% abv.

M: Medium-bodied with low carbonation that is almost creamy.

D: Certainly easy to drink, but no more than one glass for me.

Overall this was another unique and interesting beer from DogFish Head. And like many of their such releases, this is a one and done for me. Worth a Look.

Lunch, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%

A: Pours a 2-3 finger of a bright, golden, off-white head, beer is similar golden color. Good a/c and clear at first, but despite waiting, all subsequent pours were quite cloudy, the yeast just wouldn't settle back down.

S: The tea is evident, but there's also a good amount of malt in there. It's sweet, like a dark honey. But no hops, no Juniper either.

T: Again, more honey, and also ginger and chai. No hops. Not much juniper, but I get a sort of bready rye flavor (but not rye bread).

M: Creamy and smooth, and while it looked like there was some carbonation, you don't feel it much.

I wasn't a huge fan of this beer, but my wife really was.

mdwalsh, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of bobsy
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Pours a hazy dark yellow colour with a bubbly white head that didn't want to stick around for the party. The colour is good, bit this beer certainly won't win a beauty contest anytime soon. The aroma picks it up, though, and there's some really strong juniper notes that put me in mind of the best gins. Sage, honey and botanicals join the mix to help create a pleasantly sweet herbal nose.

Juniper is the overwhelming driver of the flavour, and its herbal, almost mint presence, can be found in every part of the sip. Its joined by tannic black tea in a marriage that works well, with mixed herbs and botanicals in the wedding party. A honey sweetness provides balance and prevents things from tasting like an apothecary, maybe even tipping the scales too far. The alcohol is expertly hidden, which at 9% scores some good points. The mouthfeel is slightly syrupy - a fact not alleviated by the relatively light carbonation.

This is an interesting take on the style for DFH (isn't it always?), and I think it actually worked. Not your regular beer, but a damn fine beverage. Cheers to Eric for sharing!

bobsy, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
4.2/5  rDev +8%

750ml bottle, brought back from Buffalo and shared with friends. Pours a murky murky fruit juice (pureed apple, pear, orange perhaps?), not much head. Not overly inviting.

My nose pulls out ginger, honey, a sort of herbal licorice and a hint of juniper.

Really interesting beer and actually pretty drinkable for a DFH experiment. Honeysuckle, fruity esters, ginger, anise, honey, a slightly metallic herbal quality. The juniper is actually fairly easy to pick out, reminds me of my grandparents house where they had lots of juniper bushes. Faint tea notes, expected a bit more but it's biggest contribution is some nice dryness in the finish to balance what would otherwise be quite a sweet/honey beer.

Not much carb, pretty thick and silky. Hides the booze well, as I said earlier quite drinkable for what it is. I actually kinda dig it, would get it again.

ritzkiss, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of clayrock81
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%

Poured a cloudy orange/gold body with minimal head and lacing around the glass. A citric/clovey type aroma with some spiciness and herbal hoppy bitterness. Some sour/tart fruit notes mixed in as well as some sweetness but I can only really pick out some honey although I know there is more. A complex medium-bodied beer that has a tart, sharp citric and spicy flavor up front mixed with some sweetness like cherries, berries, ginger, nutmeg, honey along with some other fruitiness. Finishes crisp and clean and the ABV complements this beer and I find that it leaves a nice mellow aftertase. I enjoyed this bottle very much.

clayrock81, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of mikereaser
2.75/5  rDev -29.3%

Poured from a 750 ml bottle on 12/4/09

A - pours a hazy yellow orange with a bit of foam that quickly disappeared

S - a hint of tea leaves, some licorice and berries

T - all i can say was it was like drinking a minty tea with some licorice. just not appealing at all to me

M - mostly flat, creamy, medium bodied,

D - i could barely finish the bottle much less ever want another one.

mikereaser, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of weatherdog
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%

Thanks to Evan1023 for this one.

75cL bottle poured into a Duvel tulip. Bottle date read 'Bottled in 2009'

It pours a hazy golden orange with a 3 finger pillowy frothy head. Minimal lacing ran down the glass as it emptied.

At first whiff I'm getting some nutmeg and clove smells but when I stick my whole nose in I'm getting a distinct chai tea smell. It seems like a great marriage of malty sweet beer and black tea.

Taste is just like someone mixed in some chai tea with a light crystal malt heavy base beer. I'm also picking up some orange taste. I'm not sure if this is from any citrus hops or if they used orange peel in the process. It finishes a little too sweet.

It is very full bodied malty spicy beer. The drinkability suffers from how spiced and heavy it is. I drank the whole 75cL but was rather tired after the first half.

I am a chai tea lover and average about one a day so I really was looking forward to trying this beer. It does satisfy me in that the flavor components are there but I was kind of wishing for a more bold tea flavor from something coming from DFH. I am glad I tried it and enjoyed it but would recommend having no more than about 8oz. at a time. After that it becomes too filling and kind of a chore to drink.

weatherdog, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of drtth
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%

Poured into a chalice. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is a slightly hazy rich golden color with a light orange tinge and a 1/8" white head that disappears quickly, leaving little lacing. Throughout the beer sipping leaves little or no lacing or even speckles of lace.

Smell: The aroma of juniper, tea and spice (coriander, cardamom, and ginger I think) gently fill the nose. There also seems to be some light brown sugar in the background.

Taste: The flavors of this beer are complex and subtle. The beer is slightly sweet with a light caramel flavor and what seems to be a rye backbone that has a honey character and supports and reinforces the chai spices and the juniper. There are no hops detectable and the alcohol is quite well concealed, showing up in its effects rather than in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and a bit slippery, with very modest prickly carbonation. The finish is medium length and consists pretty much of the chai spices, the lemon grass and the juniper just fading away.

Drinkability: I enjoyed trying this beer but half the bottle was enough for me at one sitting. While I'll not be buying and drinking this on a regular basis, I enjoyed it and I can see serving it at a party to introduce people to the idea that not all beers taste alike. It should be a great conversation starter since it involves a modern twist on an ancient style. Verdict: tasty and drinkable but I'm glad brewing has come a long way since the days when something like this beer would have been the available beverage.

drtth, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of prototypic
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Sah'tea pours a bright gold color. There's a little haze clouding the scene. Backlighting gives it an orange tint. A modest one finger head sits on top. It's cream colored and dissipates very quickly. Lacing was sticky, but on the light side of the spectrum.

The nose is good. Initially it has a somewhat strong spicy presence. Perhaps that's attributable to the juniper berries or rye. Smells like there's some ginger and nutmeg backing it up. There's a distinct honey scent that smells sweet. It smells surprisingly malty and a little sugary. Alcohol is very well hidden for a 9% beer. This is an interesting smelling beer. Of course, Sahti's an interesting style. Overall, I like it. It smells good.

The flavor tracks the nose pretty well. It is sweet up front and has a strong honey flavor. An array of spices follow. Rye is certainly more prominent in flavor and that's a good thing. It adds quite a bit of pizzazz. Ginger, cinnamon, and even a little clove are noted. The use of juniper berries lends an interesting spicy flavor to the mix. I'm not picking up much in the chai department. I know it's here, but my palate isn't telling me that. Alcohol is blended very well. I'd never guess this is 9%. It finishes sweet and a little spicy. Overall, this is good stuff. Far better than I expected. All of the interesting components work in tandem to produce a really nice overall flavor.

Sah'tea has a medium body that leans thick with a little warming. It's very smooth and creamy. Carbonation is dialed down to just the right level. Dogfish nailed this one. Drinkability is good, bordering on very good. I'm tempted to pull the trigger on the next highest score. It goes down so easy for a big beer and has a lot of flavor. But, it is a unique flavor that I'm not sure I could drink all night. A 750 is just about right.

Dogfish Head really did an impressive job with Sah'tea. This is a very unique style and DFH really got a nice end result with this one. I haven't had many Sahtis, so this is easily the best one I've tried. I really can't complain about much here. Maybe the look's just okay? Bottom line - this is an enjoyable beer. Pick up a bottle if you have the opportunity.

prototypic, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of JISurfer
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%

Got this thanks to Sr. Paco.

This is my second Sahti to date. I thought it was a pretty good one. The appearance was a very cloudy straw, with little to no head. Smell was predominately of Chai tea, so I can see where it's used in the brewing. Taste was similar, but also some piney hints on juniper. With a 9% alcohol level, I was expecting some hints of alcohol, but there wasn't any. Def my top Sahti now.

JISurfer, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of laituegonflable
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%

Thanks again to BA lacqueredmouse for this one.

Pours a yellow-tinged (as in, bright) orange colour, opaque really, with large cloud, some light coming through the bottom. Head is modest but retains well, leaving a thin wispy cloud, and some nice trails of sticky cream-coloured lace. Pretty darn good.

Nose is quite funky with a lot of spice on there. Hints of banana cake are very prominent - sweet, slightly tart, but a really big whiff of nutmeg, ginger and clove. In fact, nutmeg is all over this. It smells like my mother's delicious spice biscuits. Slight capsicain aroma, like really hot chilli funk, at the back. I fucking love this nose. It's full of divergent, complex aromas, all of which I love, and it just makes me want to sit here and sniff all night.

Taste is also very nutmeggy - lots of pleasant, sweet spice, mixed with pleasant banana esters, some light leather, five spice, some clove, anise and maybe some citrus as well lingering behind. But ultimately a big mélange of spice. Lots of sweetness as well, with a slight bite at the back - more tart than bitter - but yeah, it starts sweet and the spice just comes along to complement it. I think it could use more funk, because the sweetness becomes a bit overpowering the more you drink, and makes it a little bit insipid. Fairly good texture in the mouth, although it feels too thin for what it's trying to do.

Very pleasant, but it's too sweet basically, and makes you wish it were more wild and gruff, because that would make it magnificently sexy. It's like making love to Anne Baxter while fantasising about Bette Davis.

laituegonflable, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Bottle purchased from New Beer Distributors, New York.

Pours a turbid, deep cloudy gold colour, with a filmy head of white foam, that only survives as a thin collar around the edges. Lacing is pretty nice, but I kind of expected an odd brew. The cloudiness is quite extreme, and the body looks pleasantly thick and heavy. Overall, a very pleasant looking brew.

Oh yeah, very odd nose, but I do remember similar spicy notes on the only other Sahti I've had the privilege to taste. Lots of vanilla flower, honey, slight spice of crushed undergrowth, big banana phenols and crushed marrowbone characters, mingling with sweet notes of spiced tea - notes of cardamom and fresh cut fennel. Such a wonderful melange of odd flavours. I love it.

Taste is quite similar, extremely smooth, with the sweet notes of vanilla and banana/clove present on the fore, followed by a striking phenolic bitterness rising out of the back, possibly the juniper, or perhaps the tannic notes of the tea making themselves felt. Overall, it's extremely fresh and clean, smooth and buttery in places, and exceptionally drinkable - rather reminiscent of a good hefe, in fact. Really extremely tasty.

It's hard to rate a style of beer of which I've had (now) a total of two examples. It's exceptionally drinkable and really very, very unique, and I find it hard to separate this from the Nogne O/Dugges collaboration. I think this is probably slightly lighter on the juniper bite.

Otherwise, this is a really drinkable and extremely enjoyable brew, cementing Sahti as a style for me to seek out and enjoy. I only hope the style enjoys more of a revival - it really is a tasty and unique category of beer, and this one is a lovely example.

lacqueredmouse, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of RiekerStarBrew
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%

The beer poured from a 750ml into my pint glass displayed a semi-clear orange color with an average white head. It had a sweet, cider-like aroma with spicy hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. No hops were present in the aroma and the malt was light. The flavor of the beer was not unlike a pumpkin-style beer with a body and slickness somewhere in the medium range. Overall, the beer had a spicy/complex characteristic while still remaining approachable. My only disappointment was the beers lack of a spruce/pine note. It could have been more present without being over assertive.

RiekerStarBrew, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of gregmoscetti
4.2/5  rDev +8%

This beer was yet another surprise from the good guys over at DFH. When i hear the run down on these big beers of theirs, I never even know what to expect out of the bottle let alone from the beer. I split a bottle into two New Belgium Worthy's and watched the show as the carbonation created a sort of spring in the middle of the beer.

Upon tasting, I decided that this was an awesome Biere de garde/mars. The spice character gave it a perfect play of pumpkin pie spice that I associate with NB's biere de mars and LA's Avante Garde. The juniper berry added a pleasant but not over powering sweetness. The mouth feel was light and airy. I could have drank the whole bottle over a lunch of fresh bread, sopressata and tallegio... or maybe just with some homemade vanilla ice cream?

gregmoscetti, Dec 16, 2009
Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,648 ratings.