Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Let's travel back in time again for another Dogfish Head Ancient Ale (Midas Touch was our first foray and Theobroma our most recent). Our destination is 9,000 years ago, in Northern China! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago, right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East!

Fast forward to 2005. Molecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology calls on Dogfish Head to re-create another ancient beverage, and Chateau Jiahu is born.

In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, orange blossom honey, muscat grape, barley malt and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.

10 IBU

Added by marburg on 06-15-2005

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Reviews: 566 | Ratings: 1,434
Photo of q33jeff
1.95/5  rDev -48.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Bottle to tall glass. Aroma is very light. Grape, grasses, . Appearance, Golden clear color. White head. Taste; pilsner esque, with a funky aftertaste. Sour fruit. Staleness. A touch soapy ? Feel is vibrant, good balance. Overall , not so hot. Love the history lesson in a 9000 year old recipe, but we’ve come a long way since the Yellow River Basin tribes.


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Photo of drowninginhops
2.24/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Served in a tankard.
A: Nothing special. If you had not known it was a higher end beer it could be mistaken for a macro very easily. Darker straw with white 1 finger head that quickly recedes.

S: Interesting. The bottle informs that it is brewed with honey, hawthorn and grape juice so I am going to assume the top-note to be the hawthorn. Hops and malt are not present to my smell.

T: No honey, hop or malt notes on my palate. Different, not something I can put my finger on yet.

M: Good, not too thick or thin. Good amount of carbonation.

D: Not beer I will be returning too based on this bottle.

I do own a second bottle and will be aging it to see how it changes. I hope it was a bad bottle based on what I had heard.

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Photo of Vendetta
2.28/5  rDev -40%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Original Rating Date:
October 4, 2008

Pours pale yellow with a fizzy, active head. Fizzy carbonation. Sour, malty aroma. Taste is bitter sweetness, some honey notes, a little sour. Overly carbonated. Points for a unique idea, but not a great beer. DFH could do better.

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Photo of claspada
2.3/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured an auburn color with a cloudy headlessness (is that a word), anyway, it looks like an orange tinted wheat beer in the glass.

The aromas are of sweet malts maybe, or just sweetness. The taste follows suit with various gross syrupy sugar flavors. Also has some off sour flavors and there are no hops to be found even if you search for them.

Overall, this is just not a winner or repeatable.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.33/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Hazy brew with a straw to gold color and a very small head. There are flecks of lacing all over the thing.

S - A very strong vinious character, somewhere between a chardonnay and a reisling. A clear presentation of hawthorne fruit . . . of course I'm kidding since I have no clue what hawthorne fruit smell or tastes like (or even looks like). There is also a potent rice backing (actually this probably is also enhancing the chardonnay aroma. There are hints of some fruit with a lot of sugar and an unpleasant aroma flavor. Also a heather-esque herbal aroma. It has an alcohol smell typical of a white wine.

T - The most dominant flavor is rice, I know this flavor well for it is the flavor of a typical malt liquor - only concentrated. Next, I get a potent reisling and light malt sugars. The aftertaste is strangely herbal, almost like heather, along with a strong, slightly bitter rice aftertaste. Not great, but not awful

M - A bit thin and harsh like both a cheap chardonnay and malt liquor (I am thinking King Cobra here). Ther is a bit of drying to it as well.

D - This says it is fermented with Sake yeast, but I thought Sake was fermented with Aspergillus? Oh well. Honestly, I think this drinks like a crappy white wine. I am glad I didn't live in ancient China. Interesting . . . yes. Worth purchasing . . . no. It isn't worth trying, it seems like it is, but the flavor are not exotic, they are mundane, mix of cup of cheap reisling with a Colt 45 and you are pretty much on target. I definitely won't buy this again. The only way anyone should try it is if they buy it with some freinds.

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Photo of JeffV
2.36/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

In case you didn't figure this out on your own, a lot of innovation in brewing has taken place in the last 9000 years.

I was in the mood for something different when I picked up this brew and that is exactly what I got.

I poured from the 750 ml bottle into my glass and discovered a auburn colored, cloudy headless brew. It looks like an orange tinted wheat beer in the glass.

Jiahu lacks carbonation and that is one of the biggest drawbacks of the beer. after 30 seconds in the glass it seems lifeless.

It is syrupy in the mouth and very sweet. It reminds me of the kind of swill 17 yr olds drink. With that said it actually smells really inviting. When I initially sipped it I was surprised by the sweet and sour flavor. There is no hops whatsoever in this beer and really not much malt either. The taste reminds me of cantalope a little.

Overall, this would be a terrible session beer but is an interesting change up.

The bottle art might be the biggest clue on how to drink this beer. The woman on the label is sipping it out of a champagne flute. Perhaps a small dose in a narrow glass (for a toast or something) would be optimal for this beer.

This was an interesting experience that I liked but not one that I care to repeat any time soon.

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Photo of trickynicky
2.43/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I'm not a fan of anything to do with grapes, which is probably why I did not care for this. I am a fan of Dogfish Head, though, so this did nothing to change my opinion of their brewery.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.43/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy, pale gold body with a teeny, tiny white head.

Smell: Faint aroma of pears, white grapes, and honey.

Taste: Weak, meandering flavors of thin strawberry juice, dusty grapes, subtle spices, and sweet grains. Finishes with a tangy-sweet zip.

Mouthfeel: Thin-bodied. Low carbonation.

Drinkability: Thanks, but no thanks. So far, I haven't been a big fan of these "residue beers".

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Photo of Vaison
2.43/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

750ml bottle poured into a DFH signature glass.

I had this brew during a tour of the brewery and liked it most of the four they allowed us to sample. I bought a bottle and brought it home. I decided to share it with my wife since it was very sweet. After dinner, we opened the bottle was nothing like the brew I remember from the brewery. It reminded me of a Miller Lite with honey thrown in. It was very light, highly carbonated and had that corn brewed taste. The sweetness was not nearly what I remembered it to be. If I were to rate this during the tap pour, it would have probably gotten much higher scores. I love DFH brews, but this one that I will pass on next time.

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Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a very light but pleasant golden yellow with a small amount of white head and large bubbles.

S: Aroma is very subtle with sweet, light fruits and some citrus, a bit of nutmeg spiciness, and an extremely pleasant tropical pomegranate.

T/M: Taste is a little more strange; honey sweetness is apparent along with more tropical fruitiness, some white grape and a low amount of carbonation, but there's a little bit of something mildewy in the finish. I can't tell where it's coming from, but I'm starting to feel like this bottle is going to end up in the drain.

In reality, the beer as a whole is just unusual. Dogfish likes to blur the lines of beer brewing convention so I totally expected something strange, but I'm starting to wish they'd come out with something more conventional and I refuse to give a beer a high rating just because everyone else does. I've never wanted a Miller Lite so bad. What the f***.

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Photo of oglmcdgl
2.7/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A giant ass goblet on draft at the hulmeville inn.

A- a small cap of white head when it comes to me that settles in a bit to a small ring. Crystal clear yellow orange in color.

S- rather subdued nose with honey and a touch of spice I can't place.

T- sweet sweet sweet. Honey out the ass and a mild earthy spice.

M- rather slick and syrupy with a very lite carb.

D- its an interesting brew but a bit off of what I look for in a beer. Now with some cheese and clover honey we might have something.

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Photo of biglite351
2.72/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - murky golden yellow with a tall creamy white head.

S - mixed fruits with sweet malts and a spice that I can't name in the finish.

T - mixed fruits and a bitter spice. Honestly, there is a taste in there that reminds me of Iron City in a way like it was mixed in in some proportion.

M - light coating with a mild tingle in back of throat.

D - not really my bag.

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Photo of cosmo4u
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I was sucked into the hype of the beer after watching the show... I was expecting something a bit more from the honey side. All I tasted was the sweetness like an apple cider without the bite. The more I let it sit, the more I got the syrup taste of sour grapes. Not my favortite beer by far. It was worth a one off but I wont pay $12 again for it.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.76/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 2/10/2007 (25.6oz bottle):

Pours a golden light yellow cloudy colored body, with some smallish white head, and small bubbles. Has a light floral, malty aroma, with some grapes, and alcohol. A nice floral taste, with sweet grape, and malts. Has an interesting flavor.

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Photo of JDV
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange pour with a quickly fading head. Smell is corn and rice like malty sweetness with notes of grapes as well. Taste is fairly sweet, notes of corn, rice, again along with a slight hint of grape too. Light bitterness in the finish, but sweet beyond that in the aftertaste. Interesting, but slightly cloying and very lagery corn like. Good for sharing but probably not in large amounts.

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Photo of Traquairlover
2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I liked the backstory for this beer and really wanted to like it, but at the end of the day it is just average. Somehow, it was hard to pick 3's in most categories because this beer is anything but "average" in any normal sense of the word, but on a scale of 5, I had to pick somewhere in the middle for it.

A = Thick translucent orange colour. Almost no head. The small head which did form quickly dissipated with no lacing.

S = Very fruity and flowery. No real normal beer scents. Smells more like some sort of passion fruit drink or something. Not unpleasant, but doesn't really light any fires for me either.

T = I like the taste. Very fruity, with hints of grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple. Interesting yeast flavor in the background

M = Nice full relatively heavy liquid with light carbonation.

D = Not sure what to say. I guess I would drink it again. It might be a good choice for a snowy afternoon just hanging out watching it come down with a fire going. On the other hand, it's hard to imagine drinking it often and certainly is only good in small quantities. On the other hand I only drank about half the bottle and couldn't bring myself to drink the rest.

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Photo of bort11
2.9/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Texindy for this one.

750 ml bottle poured into a large 23 oz mug. The initial poured had a fizzy white head that receded to a thin ring. Color was a hazy golden yellow with mild carbonation activity. On the second pour, there was a large amount of sediment which left the color cloudy and opaque.
Smell was sweet with honey and had additional floral/herbal qualities. Taste followed smelled, but seemed to mellow as it warmed.
Mouthfeel was a light/medium body. It had the consistency of hot tea with a lot of honey mixed in.
I would recommend letting this sit before drinking. This was an interesting experiment, and I'm glad I got to try it, though I feel no need to come back.

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Photo of johnpalisi
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Creamy white head with good retention,golden amber in color.fragrantly fruity honey apple and grapes.very sweet kinda reminds me of sweet apple cider.dry,sweet bitter mouth finish.if your into sweet beer this is defiantly for you. Big fan of most dog fish brews but it's a bit sweet for me.

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Photo of azdback
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into my Phoenix Ales pint glass. Pours a crystal clear yellow. What little head there is is bright white and receded fast. Lace isn't going to stick around at all.

Smells of white grape juice and yeasty bread. Also some wine.

Taste is super sweet. That yeasty bread comes second. The 10% ABV is masked well, but still comes though at the end.

Mouthfeel is less than average. Less than expected carbonation. Quite watery.

Overall, this was an interesting beer to try. I would not buy another one. Thanks to Jonathan for the gift.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Single bottle for $7.99 at Tully's. It was a hazy yellow color with a medium head. It had a sweet aroma, with a noticeable alcohol presence. The taste was pretty much all honey. I thought this beer was a little too sweet. Plus, it needs to be drunk cold; it loses flavor when it warms.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a foggy golden straw with a frothy white collar.

Smells like a malt liquor with really raw, dirty and sour, pasty grains. This is accompanied with a hint of apricot.

The taste reminds me of Boons Farm kiwi strawberry with some mild, fake sweetness tied to a synthetic alcohol backed by a dirty malt liquor barley, strongly reminding me of cardboard and apricot. As I drink, a slight sourness arises complimenting the ambiguous fruit overtones, but then quickly vanishes. Finishes with a dirty, creamy yeast. Man, this one’s just odd.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a tiny carbonation and an easy finish.

For $15, this one isn’t a really good bet. It’s novel to try new stuff from DFH and especially novel to consume a 9000 year old yeast strain, but this one stops at the novelty. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get around to this one.

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Photo of benwiley
2.96/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

well, this thing is just too sweet. thats it. honey and fruit sweets are the definitive tastes here, all the way. nice carbonation, good little head, cloudy like a belgian wheat. the flavor is soooo sweet tho, that you cant drink even this whole pint+9oz bottle. no way. i corked it and ill leave the rest for my roommate. share this beer. i mean, its NOT bad at all, just so damn sweet...

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Photo of mjsheehan08
2.99/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a honey amber deep pale color with a minimal head. Lots of lacing around the glass.

Smell is a bit off putting, and to be honest, after smelling this beer, I didn't think I was going to enjoy it. Nose has light cereal with grapes and other light notes. A little disappointed in it up to this point.

Taste is very complex, but the most notable characteristic is the grapes. They pop up front, with something a little darker in the middle that I can't put my finger on. Finishes smooth, with a pretty strong aftertaste that's enjoyable.

Mouthfeel has a sharp mouthfeel with a lot of pop. Has almost a champagne feel to it. The beer coats over the mouth fully, and leaves a lingering feeling even after its gone.

Overall, Im glad I tried this beer because I appreciate the age and history in the brew, I just think that we are better at brewing these days.

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Photo of dar482
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

The color is a clear golden color.

The aroma is very sweet with tons of honey, flowers, spice, and surely some sake notes a clean aroma.

The flavor is really absurdly sweet. It’s literally like drinking honey/sugar water. You get some spice and fruit in there, but it’s overwhelmed by the sweetness. There’s booze in the back of it too.

For me, this was just overly sweet and the booze didn’t help it either. There’s just tons of honey that just sites on the tongue, which could use some more spice to clean it up.

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Photo of jnezda
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu labels itself as being a malt brewed with honey and hawthorn fruit fermented with grape concentrate. I found this intriguing as the further description on the bottle holds this beverage as being based on a 9000 year old Chinese drink. As I am very interested in China and it history and customs I snapped up a bottle right away.

Tasting format: Poured into my favorite snifter from a 750 ml bottle.

Review: The smell was wonderful with clear hints of the fruit and the grape coming through strongly. The Light amber color was pleasant but foreshadowed the pale flavor of the beer. After having been impressed with many of the other Dogfish beers this one was a let down for a $13 large format beer. The head was thin with at less then a half inch of head that dissolved rapidly with no lacing. After the wonderful smell I expected a much more robust beer.

The initial taste is straightforward but lacks the forward grape ,honey and floral I expected. The taste is complex and enjoyable but does not have the best after taste. The sweetness lingers but floral hints sour at the back of the tongue and leave the palette clouded and the drinker unsatisfied. As some of the other Beer Advocate reviewers commented this is not a beer which I would recommend for more than aglass in one sitting.

Dogfish Head has had better showings than the Chateau Jihau.

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Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,434 ratings.
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