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Sah'tea - Dogfish Head Brewery

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very good

1,749 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,749
Reviews: 595
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 157
Gots: 206 | 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: 1,749 | Reviews: 595 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of gregmoscetti
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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?

Photo of avalon07
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bomber to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a cloudy, hazy consistency. There was a half inch of creamy, long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: Smelled of spices, a little fruit, hops and a trace of the tea.

T: An interesting flavor. Spices (cinammon, nutmeg, etc.), hops, an odd fruity quality and a pleasant bitterness. Sweet up front, with the tea making an appearance in the finish. Unusual, but eay to drink.

M: A well-carbonated beer with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is only the second Sahti I've tried, but I'm getting used to them. The Sah'Tea is another drinkable beer from Dogfish Head.

Photo of irishking1977
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Unique brew I had to try. In bottle form.

A: Pours a cloudy gold with minimal head and some scant lacing. Considering that this brew was made with black chai tea, I was anticipating that this one would be black or a darker brew. Still, a nice looking beer, anyhow.

S: Scent of chai tea and vanilla. Dogfish Head was right on point with their description of this brew; it smells exactly how it is described on the bottle.

T: Taste follows the scent. Tastes like a cold, carbonated vanilla chai latte. (without the latte part). The black chai tea aspect might be a bit on the strong side, however.

M: Slightly creamy with a mild bitter aftertaste, due to the tea aspect. If this brew was made with natural tea, perhaps they should scale back a bit on that part of it. It seems to dominate the beer.

D: Between both the high ABV and robust tea flavor, this is a sipper for sure. Nonetheless, a good, unique brew that I would probably have again.

Photo of Patrick999
4.04/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, this seems to be a polarizing brew, not surprising for DFH. I'd had this a couple times but in too much of a fleeting sense to give it a proper review.

Poured into a large wine glass, it shows a tawny gold with minor but present foam.

If you drink chai, you have to love the aroma, as earthy, lightly roasted tea comes through clearly on an assorted wave of spices and flavorings....cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla.

I loved the taste of this immediately when I first had it, and I still do now that I have a bottle to leisurely sip on. The chai doesn't seem to show up quite as much on the palate as it did in the nose. Instead, there seems to be quite the cornucopia of pumpkin pie spices....cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, along with some pumpkin itself. A little sweet, but not overly so as some DFH beers can be. Seriously, I think this might be the best pumpkin ale I've ever had. There's also an earth-like flavor that I'd really love to attribute to the hot river rocks with which this was boiled. I don't actually know what effect those rocks had on the taste, if any, but I'd like to imagine that the unique process by which this was brewed is reflected in its unique taste.

The one complaint I have is that I'm not crazy about the aftertaste this leaves, it's kinda sour and rotten. However, this can be remedied by taking another sip.

More full-bodied and not as crisp as the Nogne O Sahti.

Well, I can tell that no matter how it is interpreted, Sahti is a style that I really dig. I shared this bottle with another, but I could put one away on my own without much trouble. Ultimately, I think I prefer the more crisp, herbal Nogne O Sahti, but not entirely to the exclusion of this. I will drink it again.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of TATTORSO. Thanks Jeff!

A light hazy orange golden colour, it gives about an inch of foam and has some nice sticky lacing.

Ok, the smell really is different. I'm getting some spice like cinnamon and nutmeg, grain and what must be the Chai that they speak of, juniper...weird smelling and I'm not sure how to react. If this nose is to the style, I can't knock it. Actually, the more whiffs I take, the more it grows on me.

The taste is honey sweet with a graininess, chai(?), strong spiciness(see smell), some banana flavour....as weird a taste as the smell.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Plenty of warming is now sneaking up on me.

Drinkability? I'm totally mixed in my feelings about the smell and taste but one thing is clear to me. This is a unique brew and in its uniqueness, I can't see myself having this one again but I thank Jeff for giving me a chance to try it.

Photo of jbriggs7036
4.6/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

I absolutley loved this beer. Had a wheat beer appearence and a amazing taste. I thought at first it may be too sweet of a beer, but it was balanced perfectly and the Juniper Berries also added a great twist. Not as off center as you normally would come to think of a Dogfish Head. Nevertheless the 9.0% abv got the job done.

Photo of indiapaleale
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour - golden orange almost peachy in color with a third of an inch of wispy, stark-white foam on top. This is a very clear and clean pour, reminds me of a golden ale.

Aroma - mashed bananas, cloves, ginger, rock candy and some of the warm smell of the chai tea. Its a great mix of sweetness along with some very delicate spiciness.

Taste - sweet, warming and subtle. At first it reminds me of banana bread but then the spices like cloves and allspice come out and as it warms you do get a taste of the tea that is involved. It has some slight fruit flavors and finishes dry and crisp but leaves some sweetness behind.

Overall - The flavors in this beer are really interesting and its definitely one of the more unique offerings from Dogfish Head (of which there are many). Very reminiscent of a Belgian-style Tripel in both appearance and flavor but with some spiciness that is altogether delicious. Definitely one to let warm in your hands as the delicate flavors are amplified with time and temperature.

Would I buy more of it? - I'd like to have another bottle sometime, hopefully they'll brew it again.

Photo of OnThenIn
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Finger of white head with a very hazy copper/honey color.

Smell: You could smell the tea and juniper berries, especially as the beer warmed up. There was a clove smell as well and malt sweetness rounded it all out.

Taste: There were spices and a taste of clove that was reminiscent of a hefe. The tea really comes out and the sweet malt that backs it up opens up into a little bit of dark fruit. You can tell the use of juniper and there is a bit of crisp, slightly bitter finish. Pretty complex.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a great deal of carbonation that seemed to work perfectly.

Drinkability: This beer is insanely drinkable with no evidence of the 9% alcohol. I really wish this beer was a great deal cheaper and in 12 oz bottles, because this beer is just too refreshing not to be drunk often. This seems like an imperial hefeweizen with a big infusion of tea and using juniper berries. It turns out to be a very nice combination.

Photo of cleeze
2.8/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I usually love DFH's funky brews but this one was an epic failure for me.

Spicy aroma, with juniper standing out and a little bit of yeast similar to a hefeweizen. The chai tea stands out in the flavor. Reminds me of a chai latte or smoothie. Deffinatly has a malty backbone as well that's almost enjoyable. It's complex, and yet also awkward. Not my cup of teas at all.

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An introduction into Sahti beers gives me the impression of a heavy Hefeweizen but with acidic tartness and chewy texture. This from Dogfish Head seems spiced with a lot of tea-like herbs along with a minty-piney juniper quality.

The beer opens with a hazy canary color, carrying a large protein-rich head that shows great staying power and lacing.

Honey is woven into the sharp aroma of cinnamon, chamomile, corriander, pepper, nutmeg and a lot of other chai/christmas notes. Zesty lemon pepper rides deep in the background.

Flavors of the sweetness and spice swirl about in other flavors of English shortbread cookies and fruity yeast tastes. Pineapples, mangos, lemons, green apples, papayas, and pawpaws make the beer very fruity as well as spicy.

Very heavy and viscous from sip to finish from unresolved proteins and sugars. Finishes with a creamy gulp and long spicy linger of spruce tips and mint. Light acidity plays on the tongue but not enough for complete balance. Gin/juniper flavors return in the aftertaste.

Overall a good beer that is hard to see folling up with another, but with little Sahti experience on which to fall back, I take the juniper/gin-like finish along with protien rich body as givens. But it seems like more tartness (lambic) and less forced spice would have made all the difference between great Sahti's and this.

Photo of psuimpreza
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very unique beer. The brewing process is extremely interesting. Check it out - http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/occassional-rarities/sahtea-0.htm

You can definitely smell and taste the rocks. I was lucky enough to find a bottle at spinnerstown hotel. http://www.spinnerstownhotel.com/cwo.php?id=4&id2=&type_id=1

If you are from the Lehigh Valley or Quakertown Area this is a place you must check out.

If you can find a bottle of this beer you must try it.

Photo of Gmann
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 750ml capped bottle. Pours a thick honey color with a small wispy white head that settled into a very light ring. The aroma is of a light grainy malt, chai, allspice, pepper and honey. Spicy indeed. The taste starts off with a sweet honey flavor, fruity, and a touch of lemon. The spices are more subtle than the aroma. The chai and pepper are there, the allspice seems to fade. Towards the end you can pick up some of the juniper berry. The feel is a bit thick in a syrupy sort of way. There is some tingly carbonation; finishes spicy, sweet, and sticky. I feel that this beer is trying to find its identity. I like most of the spice and herbal notes but the seems to get squashed by the very sweet honey malt. I'd probably prefer to see more of a juniper presence to offset the sweet and spicy.

Photo of Overlord
1.48/5  rDev -62%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Thanks beerloco! Sometimes, it's delightful to be able to rip into something. I've been too kind of late.

Pours a beautiful orange amber, with a thin white crust that clings to the glass. The attractive appears belies the fact that it is a loathsome substance not fit for a beer lover's consumption.

Smells like rotting medicinal tea, a sickly sweet honeysuckle-ish aroma. Smells like corpses dipped in some sort of treacle substance.

Taste is even worse. Like some sort of witch's herb concoction. Why was this even made? I'd tried to see if I could pick out the various flavors, but it's just an abhorrent, sweet, medicine-chest pile of offal.

Dogfishhead can push the envelope. Sometimes it really works out great, sometimes ... not so much.

Nice mouthfeel though!

Photo of jdhilt
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a one finger white head that fades slowly and leaves some lace. Almost clear pale amber color. Medium carbonation and medium body. Sweet spicy nose. Flavor is a sweet spices, almost like a pumpkin mousse, but if you focus the juniper comes through. Pricey but worth trying even at $13.00 for a 750ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me

Photo of Thorpe429
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Dogfish Alehouse this past summer.

A: Pours a light apricot-yellow with a nice amount of white lacing.

S: Lots of spicing throughout--ginger, nutmeg, a bit a cinnamon. A little bit of herbal tea. Some gin notes.

T: The gin-type notes become more prevalent and there is a honey-like sweetness underlying the above-mentioned spices.

M: Medium-bodied, slightly dry, and well-carbonated.

D: Quite drinkable. This is definitely one of the more drinkable Dogfish "experimental" beers.

Photo of becktone
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From notes 9-13-09

Eye: Wasn't sure to expect when I poured this one but it pours a hazy lemon yellow. Head formation isn't all that great, and retention isn't all that great either. What you'd be calling a head is thin, pretty much bone white, and foamy in appearance. All in all, ok...the color and clarity are fine, but I'd like more from the head.

Nose: Very spicy aroma all around. Almost reminds me of the type of spiciness you get in pumpkin ales, but not as potent or single minded. Also reminds me of apple pie liquors, or wassail. Generally spicy. All the spice has to be from the juniper and the tea. Aroma almost reminds me of maple brown sugar oatmeal as well. Juniper berry doesn't come through like I thought it would, not nearly as strong as it is in gin. Definitely some spicy, piney and sappy aromas but not real overwhelming. All in all a nice complex and deep aroma...I enjoy it, pretty unique and inviting.

Tongue: Pretty interesting on the tongue too. Sweet malt, though its not heavy. Very unique. The whole thing is balanced out by the spiciness of this brew. Juniper really helps to give balance to the maltiness of this. Again, getting some resemblence to maple brown sugar oatmeal...weird but tasty. There is also a piney and woody taste to this that comes through more in the end, a little bit of bark maybe. Quite a good brew. Very good.

Feel and Drinkability: Finish is dry one this one, which compliments the spice in this brew. Body is light with higher levels of carbonation, large bubbles that don't scrub the palate but add to the feel in a positive way. I really don't think that this one could get any better in terms of feel. I don't see this as working quite as well as it does any other way. This is one that I'll have no problem to finishing and would gladly drink again. It'll just be a while. One bottle goes a long way I'm thinking. This isn't a beer that I'd drink all the time but one that would be nice to return to periodically.

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

x2 Dogfish Head Sah'tea... 9% alcohol.

A- Pours a crisp golden fluid with a spritzed clarity that is flawless in constancy. Beautiful active ring remains around glass with massive lacing sticking to walls.

S- Sweet like cider. Also scents of fresh honey and chai tea. Very strong presence of all spice... nutmeg, clove, and cinnimon.

T-M- Metallic front with massive tart sweetness. Fresh taste of juniper berries, chai tea, cinnimon, ginger and cloves upfront. Light but present hop bitterness with small malt backbone. Mouthfeel is great with mild carbonation that tingle the tongue making the tart of the beer smoothly fall back. Leaves a lasting fruity presence on the mouth... almost like wild berries.

D- Very drinkable beer that has a complex flavor to think about as you drink. I'm still thinking... Will buy again...

Photo of nickd717
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by either mfielden or Sandstone on BA. Not sure which one to thank, but they both brought some solid brews, so I'll thank both. Poured into Bruery tulip glass. This was pretty solid stuff. DFH can be a bit hit-or-miss with their "traditional ales," but this one was a hit.

A - Pours a brilliant golden color with a small, creamy white head.

S - Aroma is spices, tea, rye, and sweet malt.

T - Flavor is very nice with tea, sweet pale malt, rye, lemon, juniper, coriander, ginger, and other spices, with a fairly herbal character to it. They used ramp leaves in this? That is an interesting ingredient that I never expected to see in a beer. Oh well, crazy or not, it works.

M - A little syrupy on the palate with full body and medium-high carbonation.

D - Better than other DFH traditional ales. This does not get cloying or overspiced.

Photo of jjayjaye
4.29/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an ultra pale golden color, visibly effervescent, with a shallow white head that fades fairly quickly with minimal lacing left behind...looks as if its going to be thin. The smell is complex and aggressive with a strong Chai tea, cinnamon, nutmeg and earthy banana aroma that's quite nice. Full flavored, sweet and spicy, the taste matches the nose pretty well, but instead of banana it tastes more like a meaty pumpkin pie. In that regard, it reminds me somewhat of ST Pumking (this one has more pronounced spice to it). The mouth feel isn't dominated by carbonation. In fact, while on the lighter side of a medium body, it has a creamy smooth texture. The lingering after flavor compliments the feel nicely. This one is a riot to consider and I could easily finish the bottle, but not tonight. The 9% ABV presents a modest warmth on the way down...the affect is a notch or two below distracting. Another successful deviation by Dogfish Head if you ask me.

Photo of eljefe21
4.09/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Orange yellow in color like apricot juice. Some thin lacing. Little if any head.

S: Spices, spices, spices. Nutmeg, cinnamon, oranges, who knows what else.

T: Taste follows the smell: nutmeg, cinnamon some sourness. An explosive mix of flavors. Slightly odd for a beer but good.

M: Light soft carbonation. A slightly tart finish makes it refreshing.

D: Kind of an odd beer for any situation. A nice one to try once in a blue moon when feeling adventurous. Almost like a pumpkin beer, so maybe a treat for the autumn.

Served: in a snifter.

Review from notes taken on: 7/17/09 at the Falls Church VA DFH Alehouse.

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

Wow! Interesting. My first thought was that it tasted like a ginger snap.

A: Mostly clear, very deep gold in color. Creamy off-white head. Very good retention. Minimal lacing (must be the alcohol).

S: Spice, like all-spice... it's not quite ginger and cinnamon, but a little bit like ginger and cinnamon. Clove. Perhaps nutmeg. Tea. Bready. Malt. Grain-like. Crusty cookies. Soft, even dull brown sugar.

T: Malty. Honeyish. Spicy and bready. Very much like the aroma, but you've got the full experience here. There's a hint of cola in the very end. I don't find any hops, it's just malt and spice. Oh, and there's the rye note! Interesting to say the least! And yet the alcohol remains mainly in check - well done. And then there's the spicy note of juniper, just like you find in Gin. It kind of lingers on the front of your tongue. Weird, but cool. It definitely progresses and changes as you progress through the glass. Great complexity.

M: Medium-full and creamy smooth with a moderate carbonation and a clearly dextrinous edge.

D: Overall, this is not like any Finnish Sahti I've ever had. It's not sour enough, and not woody enough, and it's too full bodied and sweet - and to be honest, it tastes more like Chai tea than anything else, but OK, that said, I don't care about any of those references, and I only look at it as-it-is, which is extremely nice. It's a little sticky (not backed by much bitterness), but it balances itself out and doesn't cling to the palate. And it's totally unique. I've never had a beer that's anything like this. And I appreciate that DFH is pushing the boundaries and taking beer where it hasn't gone before. Kudos!

Photo of scruffwhor
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour reveals very little foam, OK bubbling, and an oaken stained piece piece of wood with lots of copper and amber. Pretty syrupy looking texture too. The aroma is a super chai tea with some pumkin overtones and juniper berries for a punch of spice. The abv. only heightens these aromas. The taste starts off pumkin ale and strong black tea. The middle brings the chai and juniper berries center stage. The finish warms everything up with a warm fuzzy feeling. Nice syrupy palate with lots of spices and herbs. Very unique mid-autumn evening sipper.

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with a fairly thick but not persistent white head. Aroma, though, is strong and distinctive with a firm overtone of juniper and hints of spices. Flavor is malty and a little sweet with a spicy undertone and more than a hint of tea along with a ribbon of juniper flavor. One might think this would taste terrible, but it doesn't at all - it's not just distinctive, it's quite enjoyable. Texture is silky smooth and just a little tingly. This beer is weird in the best way.

Photo of danielharper
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(What do you know? A whole style I didn't know even existed.)

Appearance: Very hazy translucent yellow-orange body, thin white head that dissipates quickly in my snifter.

Smell: Strongly citrus (think oranges), hints of grapefruit and berries. Very strong black tea underneath.

Taste: When cold, this has a orangey citrus flavor, but as it warms the citrus fades completely into the background, leaving a strong black tea flavor with a nice yeasty tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate thickness, slight carbonation, very slight hoppiness. Tartness leaves its effect on the palate.

Drinkability: Very drinkable, high in alcohol but very much worth a try. Not worth $27+ a bottle, but decent. I may buy again someday.

Photo of coachdonovan
3.12/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i finally get around to trying this... it's been on my list since the New Yorker article last year. time to sample another one of Sam C's crazy recipes.

pours a hazy light cold with basically no head. if it weren't so hazy i would say it looks like ginger ale. aroma is cloves/cardamom with some of that chai tea mixed in.

eh. to me this seems more along the lines of a spicy hefeweizen. the yeast is there, but i don't necessarily notice the presence of juniper or the absence of hops. i don't see the big deal.

Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,749 ratings.