Sah'tea - Dogfish Head Brewery

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very good

1,725 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,725
Reviews: 592
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 140
Gots: 187 | 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.


(Beer added by: DarkerTheBetter on 09-28-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,725 | Reviews: 592 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of coachdonovan
3.13/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of mltobin
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Prime 16 in New Haven. The bartender served it in a snifter (poured just right).

Appearance is a bright golden color with a small head to it.
Smell was quite different from what I had expected going into this, it consists of cloves, nutmeg, honey, different fragrances that one might expect from a herbal tea, which considering the name of this offering from DFH is actually not too surprising. Moving along to the taste, it has a light and easy going sweetness to it, somewhat medicinal, in a positive nature that is. Mouthfeel is unique and pops with the plethora of ingredients contained in this sahti, which is the first beer in this style that I have sampled. It is easily consumed without the alcohol content being evident, so sip & enjoy all the different characteristics of this beer.

Photo of fropones
4.28/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a golden pumpkin orange with really no head (maybe dirty glass?). Smell was of chai spices, mainly cardamom. Some juniper berries. Very inviting aroma. Taste is very complex. Some sweetness. Notes of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves in front with the juniper throughout. Tastes sort of like chai tea with a splash of gin, but in a good way. A fairly herbal taste. The mouthfeel somewhat viscous, thicker than you'd think looking at it. Good amount of carbonation. Drinkability is very good. Alcohol is well hidden and I have every intention of downing this whole 750.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served with a pale tan head of about an inch, but not much stickiness. Amber, I suppose a bit tea-like in appearance, and hazy. Nose exhibits juniper and lots of Chai notes: nutmeg, clove. Fairly sweet.

Sweetness is up front in the flavor, with a stickiness of character that leaves the chops smacking a bit. I expected more spices on the flavor after the aroma, but I'm finding a lot of honey sweetness. Malts are light and cracker-like, and hints of fruitiness peak around.

I'm glad I was sharing this pint, as I'm not a huge fan of Chai and/or spiced beers. Credit where it's due, this is a fun brew.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Sah'tea:
appearance - hazy golden.
smell - after a few pumpkin's recently I couldn't help but notice some similarities...cloves, cardamom, spicy. But something else, a sweetness, maybe the juniper berries?
taste - nice balance between the spices, malt and sweetness. This is nice. Thank God for DFH.

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

The beer pours a hazy gold color with a 1/2" white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a mild pale malt scent along with a very nice Chai tea and juniper berry aroma. It's dry with an excellent herbal character. The taste is good as well. It has a really smooth taste that boasts of pale malts and herbal tea. It's rich with some floral character as well. The alcohol is well hidden in this one. The mouthfeel is great! It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a unique brew and a style I'm not too familiar with. Two thumbs up to Dogfish Head for this tastey brew!

Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into snifter on 9/24/09.

A - Poured a cloudy orange-colored body with a slim, bubbly off-white head that reduced to a wispy film and a thin ring of retention, yielding sparse lace that slid down the sides of the glass.

S - Quite an aromatic nose with juniper berries at the forefront. The berries impart a fruity character, while leafy, tea-like hops offer a hint of bitterness. Orange peel, black pepper, clove and herbal notes all mingle together quite nicely. Malt character is doughy and cookie-esque.

T - Initial flavor is sweet and spicy with hints of black tea leaves and plenty of fruity sweetness from the berries. Malt takes on a sweet, caramely charcter with a faint burnt sugar aspect. Finishes with a spicy kick that suggests black pepper and earthy herbs.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and bristly carbonation. Finishes with a lingering spiciness that camps out on the palate forever.

D - I liked this more than I thought I would. This is quite an aromatic brew, and very flavorful as well. Sah'tea is yet another DFH creation that pushes the boundaries of what beer can be.

Photo of BARFLYB
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-Tap in a tulip glass. Been waiting to try this one. The appearence has a muddy yellow color or burnt gold if you will. Kind of looks like some fruit juice. Not much of a head just some fizzing bubbles. No lace either. The smell is interesting with alot of spice factor. I'm getting some tea which is apparent and juniper. I got some chai tea from the cabinet later on to compare. There are others I just can't place. The taste is similar, if not mostly resembling the nose. The tea flavor rules while the juniper and additional spices in the back. Just a touch of malt with no hop presence. Doesent taste like beer, which is fine by me. The mouth is smooth with great carb from the tap, this one is not dead, the bottles could be a different story though. I remember hating a theobroma bottle, but loving it on tap. A medium feel. If it was not for the high ABV I would drink alot of this stuff.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A 750ml bottle purchased at Abe's in Bethlehem for about $10. Uncapped and poured into my Selin's Grove wine glass. Appears a hazed bright straw yellow color with about a finger of bubbly bone white foam. Nose and flavor consist of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, star anise, ginger, spicy black pepper, sweet pine. Alcohol is well hidden. Slick mouth feel with almost moderate carbonation. But, the high carbonation works quite well here.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly cloudy deep golden color with a smallish bubbly white head that fades to a cap. Smells of pepper, cold tea, nutmeg, and sweet malt, spicy aroma to be sure. Slight phenolic in the nose as well but not to dominating. Taste is a bit sweet with a spicy rye and pepper tone to it. Reminds me a lot of a Saison only with a spicy sweetness. The phenolic is in the taste as well, but subsides a bit as it warms. Taste is a little on the sweet side but I think that plays real well with the spices. Light carbonation, medium body, slick almost creamy mouthfeel. 9% alcohol is barely noticeable. This is yet another DFH extreme brew and I really enjoyed this one. Thanks Sam for always pushing the boundaries.

Photo of drabmuh
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer purchased at a local beer store, big 24 ounce bottle, served in a Chimay goblet. Beer is slightly cloudy, light yellow, moderate carbonation, almost no head. Smell is obvious and juniper berries. Nice flavor. Good mouthfeel. The juniper berry was not overwhelming. The chai spices are clear and build as the beer is drank. I don't have a lot to compare this beer to but its really nice. Another good (and odd) beer from DFH. Nice. Go try it.

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - appears similar to flat ginger ale, wispy globs of mini bubbles are the only remnants of a pure white froth originally kicked up and dissipated rapidly

S - can definitely smell the juniper berries, they add to a spice amalgam that seems to also include saison style clove and nutmeg aromas, cant discern the chai tea that is added

T - the tye comes out in the flaovr, and mellos out the spiciness that i could smell, some background amorphous sweetness, probably from the rye

M&D - neither smooth nor active on the tongue, spicy and curious, each sip seems to beg for the next, its a "why does this taste so good" feeling, unique and flavorful, what else would you expect from DFH

Photo of beabear
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a lot like a typical hefeweizen, which is interesting given the style and amount of alcohol. The color is somewhere between yellow and orange, with a heavy amount of haze. Carbonation looks heavier than expected, but that may be a result of the light color. Decent-sized head.

Smell: Nowhere near as strong as expected. I picked up some small hints of the tea and some spices, mostly nutmeg.

Taste: Very complex and sweet, with the warming alcoholic taste of a strong Belgian. There are many different tastes here to pick up, but the chai tea and juniper berries stand out the most.

Mouthfeel: Feels like gargling maple syrup.

Drinkability: It tastes interesting, but I can't see myself drinking more than one bottle due to the syrupy mouthfeel and high alcohol.

With my lack of access to Finnish beers, I doubt I will have anything like this ever again. Given the disgusting mouthfeel, I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

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

a - Poured into a wine glass this concoction has a golden body and a thin white head. The clear body reveals some mild carbonation.

s - For me the Juniper dominates what seems like an otherwise standard Belgian style beer. Slightly spicy and funky, I would never guess tea but knowing it is there, I can identify it pretty easily.

t - Here the tea really shines, complimented by the Juniper berries. Quite funky but not offensive, citrus and spice mask a highly alcoholic brew very well.

m/d - Big silky body, low in carbonation. A sipper for sure but refreshing and inspiring, definitely pushes the boundaries of beer.

Photo of nick76
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The appearance is hazy gold with an average head. The aroma is sweet and funky with a bit of a wild fermentation element. It does have enough malt to make it recognizable as a beer and enough juniper to make it a Sahti but the yeast makes it more like a Belgian style Lambic. I don't get much in the way of tea however. The taste is like the aroma with maybe a bit more of the tea that is not detectable in the aroma. The finish is earthy. The palate is smooth. Overall this is a very interesting beer but not one that I want a lot of.

Photo of brewandbbq
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750ml bottle from the cellar.

Pours clear, light copper with a quickly fizzling out head of white. Zero lacing or retention.

Aromatics lead off with notes of honey, nutmeg, vanilla, juniper, cloves, and mint tea. Medicinal overtones quickly step forward and allow for a slight burn on the nostrils.

Light bodied with a chewy, slick mouthfeel. A bit syrupy and cloying.

Light malt, spice, and sweet honey start the palate. Hints of orange citrus, band-aids, crushed mint, pumpkin spice, and potpourri dust follow through.

Finishes with lingering notes of honey, quanine, and pencil shavings.

Eeek. What a syrupy bunch of "not my thing". This would be a perfect bottle to share!

Photo of wagenvolks
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, passed around at an Austin BA tasting thanks to bgthang.

Pours a golden, lemony body with no head. Attractive and glowingly yellow, but the dearth of foam is concerning. Lots of spice in the aroma: ginger, black chi tea, pumpkin, and nutmeg. Pale malts add some sweetness to the background.

Very flavorful body, with a golden wheatiness backed by spicy pumpkin pie middle. Ginger is muted, but the herbalness from the black tea is apparent. Slightly syrupy mouthfeel, but nicely carbonated and lighter than expected with the 9% ABV. Goes down easy for the alcohol presence, but otherwise unremarkable. Fun to try, but not something I could imagine having an entire pint of.

Photo of Ryan011235
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 8/9/09

Bottled in 2009

A - Hazy; light gold in color, kind of like honey. Poured a marginal head that lasts for but a moment. Not getting any lace with this one.

S - Fairly sweet nose comprised of chai & juniper.

T - Juniper & spice. Chai is definitely present without being overbearing. Hints of honey. A touch of rye is brought out as the beer warms.

M - Carbonation works well with the spicy aspects of the beer. Moderately heavy mouthfeel. Kind of sticky/sweet.

D - Not as obscure as I thought it might be. The ingredients blend together nicely while maintaining their own niche. Sort of reminds me of mead. Interesting & enjoyable, though I'm in no rush to drink it again.

Photo of Shaw
4.43/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had to buy a bottle of this beer after reading about Dogfish Head brewing it in The New Yorker.

This is my first Sahti, although I see other reviewers say it's not very much to style.

A cloudy golden color without really any head to speak of.

The smell is sweet, tea-like herbal and spicy and very nice.

The taste -- as the smell -- reminds me of Belgian beers. Lots of spice and herbal flavors are working here, but the beer isn't cloying: the chai tea and juniper are under control.

According to The New Yorker, the cardamom, coriander, ginger, allspice, rampe leaves, lemongrass, curry powder, and black tea were added to the Sah'tea test batch at the end of the boil. I'm guessing a similar mixture is in this batch.

It's been a while since I had a beer with juniper in it, but this beer reminds me that juniper berries are good stuff.

The high alcohol level is totally hidden: I don't detect it at all.

A slick and smooth body, which I would expect from a 9 percent beer.

Overall this is a great beer. Another winner from Dogfish Head. Their Theobroma slightly shook my faith, but Sah'tea has restored it.

For tea fans especially, I highly recommend this beer. Though at $14 per 750 mL bottle, it will remain an occasional treat for me.

Photo of TexIndy
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got from ummagum - many thanks! Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass. Bottled in 2009 lasered onto the neck. It was a hazy golden honey color with some bits floating around. A few stray carb bubbles and no lacing. Had an average sized fizzy white head that quickly dissipated into nothing.

The aroma was ginger, cardamom, clovers, juniper and chai tea. Was very sweet with no hop presence. Another review described as potpourri and I think that definitely applies - sweet potpourri. The taste followed the aroma. Very sweet with spicy middle and end. Stays short of cloying but is too sweet for me in the long run. Would make a good cider drink.

Overall, very interesting beer and glad to try such an old style but glad that hops became a big player as time marched on. This one is a niche/novelty beer. Recommend as it's a hard style to find and this may be your only shot at it.

Rotation: not available here but this is one and done for me. Not bad but one is enough. No tap.

Photo of japcmiller
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I have to say I was very excited to finally find this beer b/c I am a Finnish American who has spent some time in Finland and really enjoyed Shati beers in Finland.

The nose on this beer is really overpowered by chai spicyness, I get some other hints of juniper and other spices but really the chai overpowers everything. Good thing I like chai tea.
The color is a beautiful honey gold color, slightly hazy but really adds to the spicyness of the beer.
I love the taste of this beer, it is very spicy but smooth. Once you are used to the chainess to it the beer drinks very smooth.
Taste great with kettle corn. Would go great with anything sweet and spicy.

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

750mL champagne bottle bomber poured into a tulip pint

Pours a pretty golden orange with a fluffy eggshell cap. The head billowed up to two fingers and then some. A slow decline to a significant amount of lacing. The body is translucent with strings of bubbles forcing their way to the roof of foam.

Juniper is very prominent in the nose. It really leaps out and takes hold. Chai tea leaves are also noticeable and in the forefront. Some tangerine like citrus and uncooked biscuit dough round out a rather fresh and unique aroma.

The flavor profile opens with tea leaves and white pepper. The hops meld well with the juniper to form a flowery bouquet throughout that sits nicely on a wheaty/uncooked biscuit dough like flavor. A dry finish was a little unexpected. There are some little flavors that poke through from time to time, tangerines, a light smokiness, and a dash of honey.

This beer opens up on the palate and unfolds a bevvy of flavors. A full body with a billowing effect that feels like it grows in your mouth. The carbonation is set where it gives you a crisp yet extremely creamy mouthfeel.

The joy in drinking this beer was that is so damn unique. It is far an away unlike anything I have ever tasted. That alone gives it some bonus points. Plus, the booze was very well hidden and it went down with ease.

Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ale brewed with black chai tea and juniper berries, my first per style.

A: Poured a beautiful turbid tangerine orange with a quickly diminishing beige colored head. Visible carbonation was fairly strong while the head left no real lacing to speak of.

S: The nose brought about fresh tangerines standing out first and foremost, semi-tart and dry. Some dry black tea scents and soft dry orange peels rounds things out.

T: The flavor opens up with semi-dry orange peel grinds with a wheaty backbone. The black chai tea is well represented here with a dry brithish tea like scent with dry orange peels. There is as well a black peppery nature and a flowery hopping that adds to the overall dry palate. A muskiness and big bite of tangerines soon sets in well tasted on the finish. This reminds me a lot of a Fantome Saison. A light smokiness of lava rocks add hints of complexity along with a dry honeycomb sweetness that challenges your notion of a beer. Being my first Sahti it is hard to compare this per style , but I know what I like and loved the flavor and sure this will became my staple and standard by which all others will be judged.

M: What a bite carbonation wise, the mouthful is sharp and crisp grapping your attention. Full bodied with a thick creamy feel. This beer finishes out with a tartness of tangerines and a dry black tea lacing on the tongue.

D: A challenging drink to say the least to comprehend. Reminds me a bit of the Fantome Black label Saison and was a wonderful and unique experience that stayed interesting the entire drink. For something different this is a high recommend and something you will just have to taste for yourself.

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.05/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip, a hazy golden orange with about a finger of head with big, slow bubbles throughout. Didn't leave any lacing.

The smell is dominated by the chai spices, & reminds me a lot of pumpkin beers or some Christmas ales (especially Anchor's) with the nutmeg & cinnamon characters. I notice a little citrus zest as it warms.

The flavor is rich & full of baking spice without being super-sweet. I'm waiting for the juniper, & get just a little in the long aftertaste. For such a warm & wintery smelling/tasting beer, the sensation is awfully sharp & has a prickly & active mouthfeel. Interesting. The booze really creeps up & is warming.

The richness of all the spices is kind of overwhelming, alright in moderation but after a while I feel like I've overindulged on Christmas cookies. This is one of Dogfish Head's big experiments that I applaud without really liking the final result all that much. The chai aspect is the innovation, but dominates the character so much that I'm still left scratching my head as to what sahti might taste like. I don't regret trying it, but can't say I'd drop the money on another bottle.

Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy light golden orange color with golden yellow hues when held to a light source. Minimal off-white head that immediately fades away completely.

Aroma reminds me of a wheat beer with a lot of ripe banana and cloves along with slight fruit notes coriander, grape, citrus peel and tea leaves.

Fuller end of medium body with a nice yeasty/ bread presence with a huge spice character. Lots of coriander, cardamon, pepper, lemon zest, and tea leaves. The berry presence is quite subtle, possibly because of the strong spice element. Orange and lemon peel with ripe banana and nice caramel malt balance. The alcohol is pretty well hidden considering the high ABv, making this a pretty drinkable beer, especially considering how unique and complex it is.

Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 1,725 ratings.