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Sah'tea - Dogfish Head Brewery

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

595 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 595
Hads: 1,793
Avg: 3.95
pDev: 25.06%
Wants: 180
Gots: 238 | FT: 3
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 595 | Hads: 1,793
Photo of trankin6
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

very interesting stronger beer with big spicy flavors that shroud the booziness somewhat. nice orangy light color and smells boozier with clovey, citrusy sour notes. light balanced mouthfeel but the lingering chai and spice afternotes leave me a bit befuddled. pretty good

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Photo of Immortale25
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled On 3/11/13

A- Pours a medium orangeish amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some random spotty surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- Wonderful aroma of chai, allspice and clove that works great with the estery Belgian yeast. Slight booze fume.

T- Flavor is very close to the aroma but with some extra banana notes and maybe a bit of ginger. Quite sweet but the spices keep it from being cloying. The thing that always gets me about this beer is that it has a 9% ABV but you'd never know it.

M- Tingly and bright with medium-low carbonation and a medium body.

O- One of my favorite Dogfish beers but I also am a sucker for chai.

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Photo of mlm5641
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks- Medium golden tint and slightly cloudy with a non lingering just slightly off white head.
Smell- Overwhelming back tea with clove and cinnamon and just a hint of banana. Little to no bitter aroma.
Mouthfeel- rich and creamy, particularly the head. Very clean but not dry finish.
Flavor- black chia tea off the bat with some flavors reminiscent of a hefeweizen (banana, clove, slight cinnamon). No hop bitterness. Slight sweet malty character, light caramel.

Overall- Great beer, easy to drink with the sweet and spicy characteristics of the chai tea. Deceitful considering the 9% ABV.

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Photo of threeviews
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml crowned bottle (bottled on date: 03-11-13) into a 16oz Dogfish Head Signature Glass

A- A conservative pour yields a hazy orange beer with a 1/2-to-3/4 finger's worth of a frothy, white head. Although it died rapidly, a film remained on top due to the fact that this is a nucleated glass.

S- All the aromas of Chai Tea! Honey, melon, ginger, cinnamon and a hint of clove

T- Honey-like malty sweetness and banana (yeast) hit first, followed by a lingering, spicy kick (cinnamon, ginger, clove) and then is met with dry, resinous and fruity (juniper berry & cardamom) finish. An absolutely spledid balance of sweet and spicy. As for the 9% ABV...I cannot find so much as a trace (in the flavor or aroma)!

M- Medium, yet delicate carbonation allows all the flavors to penetrate the palate and leave a long, lingering finish with all the flavors mixing in concert.

O- For those who have read my other reviews (especially of DFH beers), it will come as no surprise that this is yet another hands down winner for me. For their Ancient Ale series, Sah'Tea ranks (every so slightly) behind my favorite, Theobroma. If this is what a bottle with 10 months of age tastes like, then I cannot fathom what it will taste like fresh...and cannot wait to find out!

DISCLAIMER: I am a fan of Chai Tea and would enthusiastically encourage all of those who also enjoy that beverage to investigate this beer. However, if you are indifferent or better yet, dislike Chai Tea altogether, you may not necessarily enjoy this offering...but would always welcome those to challenge their palates as you just might surprise yourself!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy, orangish body with some pale amber highlights. Foamy white head that leaves a thin layer of bubbles on top of the body.

S- Chai tea comes out right away with lots of spiced tea and black pepper. Hints of sweet orange and banana come through too. Definite earthiness to it along with hints of grain.

T- Earthy spiced tea mixes with some sweet berry, banana and wheat flavors. I still get some hints of orange and clove as well. The chai tea comes through very well and is balanced out by some of the sweetness and wheat flavors.

M- Rich and full-bodied, medium carbonation, minimal alcohol burn.

O- An interesting mix of flavors that work pretty well together. Somewhat like an orange with cloves stuck in it, dipped in chai tea with wheat and berries. Not exactly sure what a traditional shati beer tastes like, but this one is complex and interesting, like most Dogfish Head beers.

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Photo of Radome
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Golden to slightly orange color. Somewhat cloudy, with bits of sediment suspended. Off-white head is thin and not too persistent. It settles into a thick ring around the glass.

S - Aroma is very unusual. A mix of strong juniper, indistinct spices and tea. Malt and hops don't stand out. It smells like a gruit, or a pure heather ale, not any kind of conventional beer.

T - Taste is dominated by a strong, sharp juniper. There is orange peel and cinnamon at a lower lever. No real malt or hops. It tastes like a tea with mulling spices, not any beer I know. Alcohol is not noticeable. Clean, but very different.

M - Thin to medium body. Bitterness is low. Very low alcohol burn. Light carbonation.

O - Overall, I find this a clean but not entirely great beer. I don't care for the mix of juniper and other spices. Although interesting, I won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle split between three people... never heard of this beer or style before, so I was excited to try it out. Poured into a Dixie cup at a party.

Appearance: Red cup, so I couldn't see it too well, but a murky sort of brown color with a lot of yeasty tea-leaf sediment. Kind of ugly by most people's standards, I reckon.

Smell: Tea. A tang/sourness. Cinnamon? Some sort of spiciness. Berries.

Taste/feel: Tea with a tangy Belgian characteristic. Berries. Somebody mentioned cinnamon, and I got that as well. Not bitter in the slightest. Sort of refreshing, but at the same time, there's a slight warmth of alcohol. Interesting, tasty beer. I believe it was $12 for the bottle, which isn't too bad at all for such a unique tasting brew. It's not for everybody -- it has a good bit of "funk" to it in the taste and aroma, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. Worth a pick up.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Sahtea

Appearance: tangerine orange, small head, and some good lacing.

Smell: chai tea, juniper, and a hint of lemon zest.

Taste: very light chai tea, juniper spice, and a faint rye flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium-light

This is an interesting one. It has a unique flavor. The chai is prominent in the aroma, but not in the taste.

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Photo of LeRose
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into SA perfect pint.

A - deep golden color, dense white foam head that dissipated very quickly. Fair amount of sediment/particulates.

S - nice chai tea characteristics. Earthy, spices (cardamom?), some cotton candy-like sweetness, bready/malty, some yeast aroma.

T - very enjoyable flavors. Almost a nice white wine flavor that was not expected, but the tea-like characters are prevalent. Earthy and spicy, a lingering wine-like sweetness. A surprising peppery note, nothing in the way of hops and only a faint bitterness on the back of the swallow. Seems more spice-like in taste vs. aroma - maybe some clove, some cinnamon, a little juniper-like gin flavor, a touch of ginger.

MF - it was a little syrupy sticky sweet, but not objectionable. Low carbonation and that was fine. No alcohol tingle.

Overall, enjoyed this beer. A nice pairing with some Thai food, but if the food had been spicier selections the beer may have been overpowered. A nice sippin' beer with the right food combination. Interesting flavor combination - complicated and nicely blended flavors worth contemplating again. It would have been easy to push this one over the top, but it is nicely done.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.49/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Curious pour into my Chimay chalice. This beer has a nice shimmery haze, but looks thinner than i expected and retains almost no head.
Smells excellent to me: barnyard funk, spice/ cologne, orange zest, cinnamon, even licorice. Complex to my nose.
It's hit or miss for many with beers as daring as this brewer pushes out. Immediate hit in my book. It's very flavorful with the cinnamon and spice noted, I do get that vanilla chai taste, and the flavor just keeps on building and being interesting. I get pumpkin from this too, yet this still comes off as a farmhouse type of effort. It just works. Medicinal, Necco-waferish. My first Sahtea, but at least my second "ancient recipe" (the 1st being this brewery's Midas Touch). I much prefer this one.

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Photo of onechordwonder
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On draft into a snifter at Side Bar.

Pale amber with very little head. Smells of coriander, orange peel and bergamot. Taste is light at first with a delayed attack from the spice mixture in the brew. Could be a little creamier and would be real interesting on nitro.

An above beer but merely par for the course from Dogfish; there are better options in their 750ml offerings.

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

From a bomber into a pint glass.

Picked this up at the behest of my Finnish wife.

A: Hazy golden with a small head that breaks down quickly. There are small particles of sediment that appear when held to light.

S: fantastic chai tea smell and spices. Yeast is also present as is bubble gum.

T: really quite nice. Taste follows the smell, with cloves and juniper coming forward.

M: full bodied, almost no carbonation and a slickish feel.

O: my Finnish wife spotted this one at our trip to the bottle shop. She suggested it based solely on her heritage. I'm glad she did. I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, I found it full of flavor and very pleasant to drink. I think what I liked most was the spiciness of the beer. I also think that the low carbonation was nice too, but I found that I did get a bit of a headache after the second small glass.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, from the strangely limited selection at the Whole Foods in Littleton, Colorado.

This beer pours a hazy golden yellow colour, with two pudgy fingers of puffy, tightly foamy off-white head, which leaves little beyond a few instances of sea plume lace around the glass as things sink duly southwards.

It smells of pumpkin chai tea (I know no gourds sacrificed themselves for this beer, but 'tis the season, and the associative dissonance is strong there), a mild earthy fruitiness, a bit of candy sugar, a mildly spicy grain pale malt, and faint earthy, soapy hops. The taste continues the sugary sweetness bent insofar as the bready caramel malt is concerned, with a heady dose of indistinct warming winter spices, some middling black pepper, a weirdly corresponding understated saline character, earthy yeast, woody juniper, over-steeped black tea, a bit of dry Scandinavian licorice, and virtually nothing in the way of hops. No sign of the 18-proof booze, so, um, yay?

The bubbles are rather unassuming and pleasantly downplayed, the body a decent medium weight, fairly smooth, and even a wee bit creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel and pale malts bolstered by sugar and spice alike, while a slight warming profile kicks off its start-up routine.

A rather pleasant tea-infused big Belgian-style beer, which is obviously not the intent here, but hey, it's DFH, so you never really know. The nods to Finnish brewing history are tangential at best, especially after the guest ingredient quickly runs its course. So the best I can say about this is - forget preconditions and premonitions - this is a tasty tea-bagged strong ale, all without the immediate alcohol heat conditions one might readily expect.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the more interesting looking beers when poured into a glass. It is a beautiful golden orange, with very fine, light head. There is no effervescing of bubbles, but you can see a lot of sediment suspending in the hazy bronze liquid. The sediment doesn't settle, but permeates every part of the brew. Aroma is pretty good: chai, juniper, ginger and citrus... and lots of yeast.
Taste follows suit for the most part, but citrus is more the main player with the tea bringing up the rear, as well as some banana . Some black pepper and clove spiciness too, and a touch of honey. Not much of the rye to be found. Feel is light, tart, and refreshing. Not sticky, and not boozy. Very good beer if your are looking for something different. Gives you a bunch of great flavors, but it's balanced an d delightful making this just yet another great brew from DFH.

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Photo of silverking
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer # 200!

A- slightly hazy gold with a fluffy white head. Nice head retention, and decent lacing.

S- bubble gum, juniper, banana, clove.

T- black tea, clove, cinnamon, juniper. it is spicy, mysterious, and complex. the finish comes across a little sweet.

M- full-bodied with an oily mouth feel.

O- different, interesting.

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Photo of cjgiant
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This tea has grown on me since first trying it. To me, it's sort if a cross between a spice beer and a citrusy hefeweizen. The spices of nutmeg, clove, and some tea in the back. The fruitiness takes the form of some tartness of lemon, or maybe something more exotuc like star fruit.

A: opaque orange, little to no head, lacing, retention.
S: nutmeg and a hint if cinnamon with some notes of sour
T/M: see above. Tingle in the tongue reminiscent if a more carbonated beer, although this doesn't appear such. The spice lingers on the tongue, but there is no real dryness to speak of.
O: this brew is not in my normal category that I would rate highly. There is a lack of hops dryness that I miss. However, I usually order this for one glass when I am at a DFH.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Looks exactly like syrupy iced tea.

Smell: Raspberry tea and lots of yeast. The latter makes this nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Flavor is mostly sour cranberries. More yeast, which gives it a superb mouthfeel. Did I mention the yeast?

Overall: I only wish it had more juniper berries in the flavor, but it's still a great beer.

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Photo of Brew_42
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours cloudy orange with a small white head. Large visible sediments in the beer that may seem off putting but do not have any effect on the taste or mouthfeel.

Smells-Spicy and sweet. Cinnamon and chai are definitely present with some hints of clove or anise.

Tastes- Sweet and pleasant. Cinnamon and chai dominate but there is a hint of black licorice that is very pleasant.

Mouthfeel- Thick full body.

Overall-Nice sweet/spiced beer. I will definitely try again.

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

Bottled in 2012. Poured into a tulip.

Appearance – Pale golden amber with a two finger white head on the pour that dissipates to a frothy cap, leaving lots of lacing behind on the glass. Substantial carbonation and a few large yeast particles are present.

Aroma – Gingerbread cookie with a warm nutmeg/cinnamon spice character from the chai tea. The alcohol is well hidden. Not much else in the aroma, but it is very nice.

Taste – The taste is of very sweet malts which would be cloying except for the spices which dry the mouth nicely. No hop flavor to speak of. This makes a very nice dessert beer.

Mouthfeel – The mouthfeel is thin with lots of residual sugars that stick around.

Overall – I like this beer, especially as an after dinner/dessert offering. I have not had a traditional sahti, so I'd be interested to see how this compares i.e. if it would be as sweet or if DFH just wanted to compliment the chai tea addition.

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Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.16/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Consumed over 20 minutes from a draft pour at the tap house.
The appearance is of an amberized wit with slightly more clarity. The off white head is thin and lingers very little; small spots of lacing hang onto the glass.
The nose has the banana of a wit, as well. It’s covered with a dose of cinnamon, nutmeg and some honeyed ginger. It’s the most intriguing aspect of this brew.
Spiced banana is there right at the start with some of the honey sweetness, not unlike the preview of scents. The middle is dominated by booze wrapped around a nutty center that lingers into the aftertaste. The woodiness and ethanol stifle much of the gin-fruit essence and its companion resins. Despite their power, the flavor profile is still somewhat short—tannins seem to cut off subtle spices rather than allowing them to create an interesting aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is rather thick and heavy—disarming in a way that a Sahti often is. Still, one would hope for more length from the available oils and ample ethanol. The latter certainly does warm…
In general, I wonder if other positive reviewers have been seduced by what the brewers indicate they did to create this beer instead of focusing on what has actually been created. There are other things it could and should be, based upon the general description of recipe. But there is little opportunity for juniper and other Scandinavian herbs to contribute as they might, perhaps due to the choice of malts and high dose of alcohol. As a result, even time and warmth don't make it stylistically on target, even if it's curiously drinkable.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden with a small layer of white head.

Amazing, vibrant smell, bit of a soda-like texture to it. Chi tea, some cinnamon, bits of fruit, and desert breadieness.

Taste is sweet, bit of bitterness and bite like a golden ale, but has some more of the subtle flavors like tea and black licorice.

Complex and unique, pretty good.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a fair amount of head that appears to have little retention. The head is slightly off-white while the body is slightly hazy with an almost medium amber/honey color that glows a bit lighter when held up to the light. There are a few particles of lacing left behind.

Nose- Amazing. This is a spice bomb and nothing exactly dominates except for the cinnamon. The cardamom and juniper are especially strong as well, followed by notes of clove (it implies some banana), coriander (I know the label doesn't mention but I smell it), and ginger. Black pepper holds up the rear. Some floral (rose) and perfume notes as well. Tinges of honey perhaps. In any case, I'm note sure if I even want to drink it- I might just want to smell it all day.

Taste- Citrus notes appear in the beginning while the different aspects of the nose start to make themselves known. Cinnamon and cardamom seem to be dominant notes with clove right behind it. Juniper and ginger are underneath. They are banana notes also implied by the clove as on the nose. This certainly is a spice bomb. A slight bit of heat on the finish which mixes with juniper. A slight woody bitterness starts to infiltrate the finish (notes of clove and juniper with that as well). I'm really starting to question the “subtle” aspect of the spice- it has mellowed somewhat and allowed more of the chai to come through with notes of vanilla but the spice character is still quite prominent. The vanilla gives it a bit of oak which I could do without and makes me wonder what could have been if they had just made it more traditionally. But this, of course, is not DFH's style. Still, a very good beer and appears to representative of the style. How much of this I could feasibly drink is the real question. Citrus notes seem to underlie the overall spiciness of the profile.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. A bit of smoothness. Nothing awry in this department.

Drinkability- If you love herbal teas and chai and getting drunk (and you don't mind the price tag), this is going to rock your world. I appreciate the complex spice profile but I am glad that it gives me pause.

Overall- Solid beer. It does exactly what I expected from the style description and the bottle's label. Not an everyday or session beer by any stretch of the imagination but a must try for anyone looking for something different and a bit exotic.

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

Awsome brew Loved It!!! Such a rich beautifull beer loved all the flavors that just kept coming with every sip, It cant get much better than this folks . Im a fan flavorfull beers and this one hit a Home Run !!! Its kinda ornagey twang , light sweet floral notes as it warmed up ,this is one you can just keep drinking and drinking and drinking and never get tiered of it .

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Photo of JMad
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky light golden color with a thick fluffy white head and lots of lacing.

It has a strong smell of juniper and nutmeg with some caramel, clove and a hint of banana.

The taste is full of clove and spices and wood and banana.

It has a very full mouthfeel with lots of carbonation and a smooth, warm finish.

This is a very interesting beer, I don't think I've ever tasted anything like it. Due to the price I probably won't ever drink it again but I did enjoy it.

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Photo of dar482
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a hazy gold, orange color.

The aroma has tons of tea, spice in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and juniper, honey. It really smells like you’re about to dive into a really spicy (spice-y) and sweet tea.

The flavor follows with bready Belgian yeast quality, but I guess that’s also similar to what they use, a German weizen yeast. The sweet honey, pepper and a huge combination of spices continue through with then a gentle booze on the end. There’s also some fruit like lemon or white grape.

The body is pretty creamy and gentle. Very much like the ease of drinking a green tea.

I’ve yet to have a weird concoction like this from Dogfish and this really is quite interesting. Not something I would really need to go back to, but surely worth trying. Definitely recommended for tea lovers.

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Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 595 ratings.