Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu
Very Good
1,442 Ratings
Chateau JiahuChateau Jiahu

Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Herb and Spice 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,442 |  Reviews: 570
Photo of lackenhauser
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2nd review following having it on tap at the brewpub when it first came out. Hazy, whitish yellow sort of color. Pleasant odor of fruit and spices with a lemon tinge to it. Sweet, lemon and grass like flavors. Slight tartness to it. Thin mouthfeel-though it doesnt detract from the beer overall. I think I was expecting more bodywise. Overall an enjoyable beer. Seems a summery sort of thing. Better then my last encounter for sure. While I wouldnt go out of my way to have it again since its not really my scene it is good and worth a try.

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Photo of Ieatlambfries
4.24/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance was hazy amber in color. Fast moving bubbles which lead up to a 1/2 inch thick white head. The head disappeared quickly, but the bubbles continued.

The smell was very interesting. The first smell to hit me was Viognier grapes. Also some tart apple notes, as well as tropical fruits.

The taste was more like wine than beer. Specifically a Viognier. Tropical fruits and citrus rind mixed with honey. Bitter apple finish with citrus notes. Also some grain flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel is similar to a sparkling wine. Biting carbonation. The consistency of a wheat beer.

I found this interesting beer to be quite drinkable. It had a very complex yet pleasant taste. A lot of layered fruits. Surprisingly Viognier like. I'm curious as to what grapes were actually used in this. I would certainly recommend this, however don't expect a typical herb/spiced beer. This is a pretty unique creation.

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Photo of orsulacp
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy yellowish orange with a thin white head

S - I smell honey and something flowery, like lavender. Maybe I smell that because I just gave the baby a bath with lavender soap.

T - More honey, but not as sweet. There is a champagne type taste(more like a California sparkling wine with all chardonnay grapes), very grapey and floral. There is a little black pepper spiciness.

M - It is like a mix between champagne and a thick hefeweisen, medium with lots of carbonation.

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a hazy, light gold with a fluffy white head that slowly fades out. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is interesting but nice. Bananas, peach, creamy vanilla, apricot, spices, honey, and perhaps a touch of crisp wheat as well.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with highlights of tropical punch and fruit juice.
Mouthfeel is sweet, fruity, foreign, and different with a starchiness that makes you ponder it upon it's sweetly semi-dry finish.

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Photo of drotski
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a cloudy golden color, with a thick head that quickly disappeared. Medium amount of lacing.

Aromas with hints of wine and fruit. Doesn't smell like any normal beer.

Taste is amazing. Starts sweet and fruity, finishes clean and dry. Very complex, and quite impressive.

Full bodied in the mouth, with soothing carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, and a very special treat.

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Photo of Malted
4.17/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml bottle into a red wine glass.

Appearance- Light cloudy golden orange with a thin white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell- Floral, malty, and sweet.

Taste- Very interesting… I had no idea what to expect but I do not think I was expecting this. Quick bursts of malt and grain followed by a lingering aftertaste of fruity Muscat grapes. This beer can easily be summed up by saying it tastes exactly what you would think a hefeweizen crossed with a Muscat wine would taste like.

Mouth feel- Full mouth feel with a dominate effervescence.

Drinkability- The aftertaste of Muscat on this thing is very inviting. As I sit here I take sips and try to concentrate on what I am typing, however the sweet fruity notes lingering on my palate beg for me to take another sip.

Overall- A happy surprise. I was not holding out too much hope for this experiment, but I do like an adventure. It is less exotic than I thought it was going to be, but very pleasing nonetheless. I think Midas Touch has the upper hand over the Chateau Jiahu just in level of complexity, but overall they are both fun and drinkable brews.

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Photo of Schwarzbart
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy but bubbly with an apricot color to it. A finger high head was present for a minute, but receded to a white foamy ring around the glass that produced decent lacing.
Smell: A big fruity nose of pineapple, apple and grape. Some yeast aromas reminiscent of Belgian ale.
Taste: Sweet and fruity with some spices. It's like a combination of a Belgian ale and a cider beer. The alcohol gives just a nip on the tongue, but is overpowered by the fruity mostly apple taste. The aftertaste is bready and as the beer warms the bread quality and herbs come out more.
Mouthfeel: Dense but with plenty of bubbly.
Drinkability: Drank mine with some yellow-fin tuna that I had caught just days prior to this review. This would go well with any kind of fish or a sushi meal.

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Photo of weasbri
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wow. This was an interesting beer. It almost reminded me of my first Saison, but that could just be me.
Cloudy light orange color with a substantial light head, which disappeared in a fashion that reminded me of the Saison.
Earthy aroma with slight fruitiness.
More earthiness in the flavor, with a sharp tartness and a fruity mouth coating. Definite honey overtones, with some slight grape flavor to balance the high alcohol taste. The grape was very subtle though, which I thought was a nice counterpoint, giving it an almost wine-like character.
Overall, a nice sweetness balanced with the tart bite and earthiness throughout. It went very well with my dinner of balsamic vinegar peach pork chops. A fine experiment that I hope they keep brewing. The bottle is a bit much for one person though, so I recommend sharing.

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Photo of Gavage
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: cloudy peach colored with a 1/4" head that quickly fell to a spotty surface foam.

Smell: sugary and fruity sweetness.

Taste: definitely a unique flavor here as there is a burst of sugary and honey sweetness that is combined with tart green grapes, some citrus, and a touch of yeast. There are some softer ripe fruit tones here and little bitterness. Alcohol is lightly noticable. Finishes quite dry.

Mouthfeel: very crisp at the start and smoother at the finish. Medium bodied. Short sweet aftertaste.

Drinkability: definitely interesting to try these ancient beer recreations, but not a beer I would buy a bunch of. One is enough to try, and finishing the bottle in one sitting was a slow process.

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Photo of Estarrio
4.32/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

How does one classify a 9000-year-old fermented style of beverage? My imagination had conjured many images and assumptions of how this delightfully, beguiling brew would taste but none proved to be accurate. As to be expected, the taste is nothing like any current beer style that I may have used for a benchmark comparison

I poured this ancient nectar into a chalice after letting it warm and breathe. It poured a very cloudy, straw yellow color with a small, fine, white head. There wasn't much head retention apart from a few very watery lacings.

The aroma was quite sweet and predominately fruity. There were hints of banana, pears and kiwi with subtle essences of clove and esters.

As the first drops traversed my palate, I was overcome by the sweet fruity taste. While it was very sweet, it was not cloying. The fruit flavors were surprisingly complex in their own rite. Kiwi, passion fruit, banana, pear, plum and apple were all present at varying temperatures and stages of each sip. The nectareous, fruit character was balanced by a mildly, tart and delicately spiced aftertaste. At nearly ten percent alcohol, the alcohol taste was extremely well masked.

This fermented recreation was medium bodied with a viscous, lightly, syrupy consistency. It was not however, too heavy on the palate and is in fact quite pleasing. The complex, sweet tastes and the pleasing palate render this beer highly drinkable, especially for a novelty offering.

This is a very enjoyable brew that captures the imagination and shatters the boundaries of time. The poignant, sensory experience evoked by this libation transcends the effects of great historical texts. I liken this profound discovery to procuring an obscure, long, lost scroll from the very ashes of Alexandria.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Currently on tap at the Dogfish Head alehouse in Gaithersburg, Maryland. $9 per snifter. The best way I could describe this is a cross between a whitbier and Dogfish Head's own Midas Touch ale. It's a shade lighter than Midas, but it has head (unlike Midas). The spices and slight fruitiness remind me of a whit, but the flavor and feel of the beer is complex and hard to describe, much like Midas Touch. The waiter rattled off a long list of spices that are used in making the beer, none of which I remember. At the finish of the beer is a pleasant little kiss of hops. Very interesting and quite outstanding. Much more drinkable than the aforementioned DFH beer, and possibly the next-best-thing to DFH's red-and-white whitbier, which I never got to try.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.9/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was a hazy amber color with a one finger fizzy head made of big bubbles. It was hazier than I expected. Actually, I had expected a clear brew, but I guess in ancient China they really didn't filter their brew.

The aroma was fruity and a lot like champagne, slightly more vinous, with definite white grapes and a touch of honey. There was also a subtle smokiness. Didn't smell grainy at all, although I expected it, wince there is rice in it.

The taste was initially tart, with a quick burst of honey followed by a blend of slightly smoky malts mingled with white wine. I have had sake once before, and I thought there would be a bit of that in here, but there wasn't.

Mouthfeel was good. It felt like a champagne, with that hint of carbonation, but it was also smooth.

Drinkability... well, I have to give it a little off for that, since it is a bit strong and expensive. And it had a little more wine character than I would have liked. But it was interesting and worth the experience.

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Photo of Jaynuze
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As everyone else has mentioned, the taste was completely unexpected. I would say this one tastes much more like a cider than beer ... one may even be bold enough to say it tastes a bit like an oaky chardonnay (quelle horreur!).

Served on tap at the Rehoboth brew pub, this pup poured a cloudy yellow with a very thin head. The nose hinted of honey comb (not the cereal), citrus, and a touch of alcohol. A thin mouthfeel that coated the mouth much like a wine would. It was a very dry finish which made me think more of a cider or wine ... this is what really threw me for a loop, totally unexpected taste.

I must say I was a bit skeptical with the first few tastes, but after about the third sip, I was sold. This pairs exceptionally well with their appetizer, "The Dog Pile". This is a beer I would serve with a nice goat cheese, fish, or an aperitif. Due to its dryness it's not something I could drink all night. A very interesting addition to Sam C's ever evolving beer portfolio. Definitely worth a sampling!!

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Photo of ricodewey
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unique. I wasn't sure I was drinking a beer but a sake infused ale. Almost no head present but a nice pour. A nice smell but definitely overtones of rice? Based on a 5000 year old Chinese recipe the rice/sake taste is to be expected. The mouthfeel was good with flowery tones pervasive to the tongue. The drinkability was very nice. At almost 10% abv you wouldn't expect such drinkability as this but it went down very smootly (too smoothly). Overall, a very nice drink but I still feel that I was drinking a slightly carbonated herbed infused sake-beer. Good job DFH.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.13/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap at DFH in Rehoboth.

Poured a hazy straw color. No head at all...maybe a bubble or two but that's it. Barely any smell at all. Slight sweet smell came through as it warmed some as it was served ice cold. The taste was more like a white wine than a beer. Sweet, tart, some grape and woody tones. No carbonation. Thin body with a slick, dry finish. I'm glad I got to try it, but I think I'll stick to "beer" next time I am there.

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Photo of FoolCircle
3.34/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A big "Thank You" to Mike Gerhart at DFH for this rare bottle, I more than owe you one. Spelled "Jiahu" by Mike (the brewer).

Let me begin by saying that this "beer" is CRAZY! I have never had anything like this before, and it was actually almost difficult to call it a beer.

The Chateau Jiahu reminded me of some soured belgians I have tried, with a sweet nip in the middle, followed by a nutty-smokey-woody flavor - very unique beverage. This was a one-off, so when it's gone, it's gone.

This beer poured a very cloudy light lemon / custard color with almost no head. Beer appeared to be close to flat. It smelt bizarre - a bunch of differnt flavors: orange, smoke, pine, wild yeast. It smelt great, just almost too much going on to pin point what it was I was smelling. The taste was also very unique. I really have never had anything like it. Sour, then sweet, then smokey. Puckery, then candy, then charred wood. The mouthfeel was nice, thicker than expected yet slippery. I split this bottle with my wife, and we both had plenty. Not that we didn't enjoy the amount that we had, it was more just too intense of a beer to really drink more than a serving. If you like to try new and interesting brews, I would say try to lay your hands on this one.

Served in a 750ml bottle - crown cap - no label.

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Photo of marburg
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Chateau Jizhou is hard to categorize. Supposedly based on a 9,000 year old Chinese recipe, it's not exactly typical in terms of style.

But who gives a rat's ass? It's good.

Very light, almost eggy white body with a foamy, dense white head. Incredibly effervescent with colonies of bubbles desperately adhering to the insides of the glass as torrents of carbonation try to push them up. A bit cloudy.

Served a bit cold, so the aromatics were dulled. Spicy, a bit sweet, definitely some acidity or burning embers wafting up into the nose.

The amazing quality to this is the smoke flavor. This begins a bit sweet, but that's quickly pushed aside by an acidic quality that borders on liquid smoke. Herbal and a bit funky with light, dried, pitted fruits in the background throughout. Finishes very slick with a very clean, very dry, very polished finish.

What can you say? This is DFH at its finest. Say what you want about their IPAs, this brewery is built on experimentation -- one of the few that legitimately pushes the boundaries. I don't know if this is a great beer, but it's unique and interesting. That, at least, counts for something.

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Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 3.78 out of 5 with 1,442 ratings