Chateau Jiahu | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
565 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 565 | Ratings: 1,431
Photo of Marcio_Beck
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful golden color, slightly hazy, medium carbonation and a fair white head, which doesn't last very long, but leaves some traces on the top of the liquid and on the sides of the glass.

The honey notes are dominant in the aroma and taste, followed by an intense fruitiness reminiscent of a white wine. As i have never tried hawthorne fruit before, the muscat grapes were more apparent. No hop bitterness (only a faint floral aroma), but the sweetness is not excessive.

Sweet, tangy and a little boozy finish, altough the alcohol is very subtle for a 10% AbV brew.

 571 characters

Photo of Nicked
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Serving: On tap into chalice

A: pours gold, looks almost like a mead, but with a thin layer of white foam. Spotty lacing slides down the glass after the beer.

S: sweet notes predominate (honey), white grape

T: taste is much like a dry, sweet white wine, but with a touch of sweet malt and honey to balance the sharp grape flavor. White grapes reign here, little/no hop character.

M: pleasantly dry character, leads one to anticipate the next sip. This creates a lovely, vicious cycle.

O: definitely a non-traditional beer, but well-executed as always by the folks at DFH.

 580 characters

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.

 187 characters

Photo of gr0g
3.99/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. Golden in color, high clarity. A good two fingers or so of foam fades somewhat quickly, leaving streaks of lacing. Malty, sweet, and yet vinous aroma. The characteristic sweet aroma of muscat grapes, not to mention honey, comes to the forefront. The honeyed sweetness plus floral notes gives this an overall aroma that's kind of a like a Maibock.

Sweet, fruity flavor profile. Just enough hop bitterness to keep the sugars from becoming overbearing. A touch of alcohol on the finish. Booziness is very well restrained for 10% ABV. Well carbonated with little to no prickliness.

Sweet and strong, not all that complex, but plenty satisfying. All in all, it's very similar to Midas Touch, just with a bigger, more robust flavor profile.

 750 characters

Photo of m_hall
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pour from a 9.6 oz bottle into a tulip yields a clear amber-gold beer, topped by a fizzy soda-like two finger head that quickly falls to a faint film leaving light lacing.

Aroma is sweet, both malty and fruity, but with a vinous tang as well (unsurprising given the presence of grape juice.) There's a also an herbal mustiness present.

Flavor is unlike any beer I've had before... not surpising, given the background to this. Very sweet, almost cloying, but it never quite goes too far. There's a malt sweetness, but also a mead-like note from the honey as well. Lots of esters... Grape and pear are quite in evidence. The fruits in some ways remind me of some Belgian Ales I've had, but the other notes present would keep you from ever confusing this with any of those. Finish is sweet with a dry tartness at the very end. Despite this weighing in at a hefty 10% ABV, the alcohol presence is very well controlled. It's there, but not in an overbearing way.

Feel on the palate is a bit syrupy, but not obnoxiously "thick." Carbonation is fairly light.

A very adventurous, unusual brew from a company who aren't afraid to explore. It's something everyone should at least give a shot... while I don't see myself drinking this all the time, I could certainly see myself coming back to it in the future. DFH should be commended for this, a great example of looking back at history, but in a way that pushes craft brewing forwards.

 1,441 characters

Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sweet without being cloying, I know it's cool to take a shit on DFH to up your "cred," but I won't bite. The intense hop aroma paired with big honey sweetness is awesome, and the taste follows suit, with added vinousness. Abv is hidden well. Peace.

 248 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear golden orange body with two finger head that sticks around a little bit and leaves lace. Aroma is sweet with touches of grape and something akin to pear and sweet fruit and there is a hint of floral hops and oh yeah, honey. I find that the honey aspect is dominant in the sweetness of the beer, the sweetness itself being the dominant aspect of the beer. There are touches of other fruit, mostly grape, and a floral edge that I know of thanks to the label. Finally tried this after years of passing and glad I did b/c I like sweet beers and this a lighter drinking sweet beer that is not too sweet.

 612 characters

Photo of DaveSchultz
4.45/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden yellow. A bit of lingering head.
S - Mmm... honey.
T - Mmm... honey. Some grape there too.
M - Syrupy... like... honey.
O - If you like honey, you will love this beer. I like honey and this is my favorite beer right now. Sweet, sweet God nectar. It's good to know that I could take the DeLorean back 9,000 years and still enjoy magnificent beer.

 356 characters

Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: beautiful clear, golden honey color, moderate head

S: I smell grapes, spices, light bready/malty scents, sweet and lightly floral

T: a strong initial sweetness, grapes and grain come through nicely, light and dances on the palate. Pears, grape and fruit are very prominent, slightly malty too which makes for a very nice overall blend and balance of flavors

O: I really like ALL of Dogfish’s ancient ale beers and this one is no different. It is properly balanced, has a muscular alcohol content that isn’t over aggressive, but rather blends in nice. That being said, I wont run out as fast as possible to go get more but I DO look forward to picking this up again. A wonderful beer that should at least be tried once.


 760 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Shared this with BPK59, 2009 Vintage, reviewed from notes.

A - Poured into a tulip a nice crystal clear honey hue with a thin white head that fades to leave a thin blanket.

S - Tons of sweet honey and malty sweetness. Really nice grapes as well. Pretty solid.

T - Taste is similar to the nose with tons of sticky sweet honey and malts. Lots of slightly musty grapes. Tasty.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy, though it works.

O - Overall, this was a tasty beer. Definitely aged well.

 484 characters

Photo of isunktheship
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A - 4.50 Deep yellow almost orange, very low to no head
S - 4.50 Incredibly sweet, not sure what to pin it on, pineapple/apple/grape
T - 3.50 Taste is close to smell, no bitterness (IBU of 10). Thick and syrupy.
M - 4.25 Smooth, without much carbonation, fruity and sweet.
O - 3.75 Enjoyable, but due to the level of sugar I couldn't have more than a pint at a time.

 366 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First, it must be noted that this bottle has been aged for nearly a year.

Pours a murky golden amber, with almost no carbonation or lace.

Aroma is strong on the fruit and sweet malts. So malty, in fact, it seems almost a barleywine.

Taste is definitely thick, with fruit and honey being key. There's a distinctly strong and heavy honey finish here -- more so than with any other beer I've had. The grapes are also notable in the tasting, as well as a sturdy alcohol presence.

Overall, a unique and tasty brew, but not one I'd return to. Would definitely be curious to try a fresh bottle, though.

 600 characters

Photo of rdilauro
3.49/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

The pour , a nice golden tan was perfect. Nice creamy frothy head, ahhh, the start of a super beginning.

Now, the bouquet., all right not the best, but it still held my nose somewhat captive.
The first taste.... Somewhat overwhelming, a big nose with so many different flavors. To me, the fruit was over the top in relationship to the body and maltiness of the brew.

I still tip my hat to DogFish Head brewmaster for coming up with so many different and interesting beers


I really enjoyed the sweetness in this beer combined with the relatively high alcohol and tartness

 583 characters

Photo of ONUMello
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Dark yellow leaning almost towards light orange, a fizzy head more like a can of pop that disappears as soon as the pouring stops
S: I'm getting bits of everything mentioned on the label each balanced nicely on the nose. Not so much the malt/hop mix of most beers, but it's nice
T: Almost like a moscato wine initially in terms of a bit grape-like and a bit sweet, but with the added orange-blossom honey & what I can only assume is the hawthorn fruit though I've never had that on its own
M: Fairly viscous though from the sugar not the alcohol which is actually quite balanced, would be a touch thin if not for the sugar. Fair carbonation
O: Interesting & surprisingly good for a reproduction of an ancient fermented beverage though I would open another when I'm more in the mood for a desert wine than a beer

 852 characters

Photo of zac16125
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle into a tulip
no born on date

A: Pours a crystal clear honey color with 2 fingers width of light tan head. Head dissipates down fairly slowly and leaves a moderate amount of lacing.

S: Fruity, spicy, white grape, vinous, yeasty, raw honey. It has that unique yeast-like sake aroma. Its almost like a Tripel crossed with sake. Im very intrigued by this.

T: Very sweet, much sweeter than the nose implies. Fruity as well as sugary sweetness. There is also a significant spice component that balances out the sweetness nicely, but I cant really place what spice it is. Next I get hawthorn fruit...just kidding I have no idea what the fuck hawthorn fruit is. I do, however, get honey and a sweet, almost artificial grape flavor (somewhere between a muscat grape and grape laffy taffy). It has this huge sweetness, but its not at all cloying to me. Its strange, I hate sweet white wines, but I really enjoy "beers" like this, even though in many ways they are sweet white wine-ish. I think its the balancing spice component.

M/D: Full bodied, but still somewhat light if thats possible. Carbonation on the heavier side. ABV is completely masked. Drinkability is good.

O: Overall, I really dig this beer. Not sure its something Id made a habit of drinking, but Id definitely drink it again in the future if I were looking for a unique change of pace. I could see this being a love it or hate it sort of thing, but its certainly worth a try in my opinion.

 1,469 characters

Photo of Auraan
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice clear amber orange with almost no head. It looks nice, but is also different, quite unique in character. Scents of sweet fruit, sweet sake and aromatic flowers. It's an almost perfume like nose. Extremely appealing, easily the finest part of the beer. Flavors were very sweet. Sweet fruit, sweet moscato wine, a hint of sweet sake and a slight hint of honey on the aftertaste. The beer is extremely sweet and reminded me quite a bit of a moscato sangria or something of that nature. At 10% ABV the alcohol was not noticeable at all. Not horrible, but I couldn't drink a lot of it. Mouthfeel was light bodied with low carbonation, hiding the alcohol quite well. It was very easy to drink because of this. Overall this is a very unique beer. It is quite sweet, and in many ways has more in common with a moscato wine than a beer in it's flavor profile. However it does have an appeal and I would drink it again if the opportunity presented itself.

 959 characters

Photo of chefhatt
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I poured it from a 22 oz bottle, it has a light yellow color body with a fizzy white head that dissapers quickly. The aroma is sweet and grapey. The taste is sweet of honey, some grape flavor. The mouthfeel is smooth and very wine liked. Overall this is a good beer, i couldn't drink it everyday but once and a while would be good.

 331 characters

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transcribing my girlfriend's review.

Poured into DFH signature glass; thick fluffy white head that dissipates quickly, very fizzy, with a honey-amber color.
Smell is vinous, metallic, fermented sweetness.
Taste is very sweet, almost cloying, with a honey-sweet aftertaste. Grape/vinous, almost sugary it's so sweet. It still manages to keep the sweetness from being sticky though. Alcohol is only noticeable as a slight warmth. Some floral-seeming herbal notes. Seems more akin to mead or mulled wine than beer.
Mouthfeel is fizzy and medium-full.
Overall, it's a VERY sweet beer, and not for everyone, but if you like mead and history, this one is a good one to pick up. We had it a lot more fresh in a sample at the DFH brewery, and a glass at the brewpub; it's definitely a lot better fresh than in a bottle.

 817 characters

Photo of gabedivision
3.59/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

from the bottle to a snifter glass

A- pours a clear light golden, tons of visible carbonation a 1 finger head that thins to a lace

S- grain up front, touches of sweet malt, smells very macro-lagery

T- honey fills the tongue, lots of spices, effervesent carbonation middle of the mouth. sweet candy brittle, herbal tea, some crisp green apple/ reisling wine, with a touch of alcohol, finishes with a funky dry wine tannin finish

M- medium bodied (for a 10%abv), sweet, dry, alot of sweet white wine characters, and lots of fizz

O- interesting brew again from DFH, lots of herbs and spices mixed with sweet honey and zesty grapes makes for pretty good "ancient ale". cheers!

 677 characters

Photo of MadScientist
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A golden beer with good clarity. The head is made of fine white bubble with a decent retention time and leaves a light lacing on the glass.

S: A medium-strong berry aroma that is a mostly grape blended with something that is part way between a strawberry and a peach. There is a moderate honey aroma and a light malt sweetness along with a light alcohol sweetness.

T: Flavors of honey, grapes both fresh and vinous, along with another fruity flavor. No perceived hops flavor and very little bitterness, most of the balance is coming from a fruity tartness and the alcohol. There is a light bit of spice from the yeast and some fruity esters.The balance is somewhat sweet with a medium sweet finish. The aftertaste is of berries, honey and a touch of peach.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with moderate carbonation that has some of that weight that honey brings.

O: A fruity and slightly spice sort of a braggot with a good amount of honey character.

 955 characters

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.

 527 characters

Photo of mevett89
4.16/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance:crystal clear, light gold. Not much of a head, it dissipates quickly.

Aroma: fruity, but that's about it. Maybe my nose is just defective tonight.

Taste: complex. Way more so than the appearance and smell indicate. Fruitiness from the grape and hawthorn fruit up front followed by a wave of rich sweetness. The caramel from the malt, the fruitiness from the grapes and the ever so slighty sticky sweetness from the honey make for an interesting combination. You can taste some of the alcohol, but it's not overbearing. Quite sweet. I'm loving the use of rice and sake yeast. It adds a certain caracteristic dryness to balance out the sweet floral notes of the other ingredients and takes an already stellar drink to an entirely new level.

Mouth Feel: some light bubbles on the tongue. Silky and smooth, yet surprisingly light given the rich flavor.

Overall: now this is one fascinating brew. The 9000 year old story told on the bottle does not disappoint. This is one exotic tasting brew, not quite like anything I've had before. I am reminded of other beers brewed with grapes that I have had before, and yet the other ingredients set this one far apart from the crowd. The flavor is just that much more complex and beguiling given the relative lack of aroma. It's damned delicious, though not a beer for the faint of heart - the alcohol definitely sneaks up on you! I am absolutely loving this beer (if you want to take the risk of indeed calling it a beer)!

 1,475 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats in Rehoboth, DE. One of the infamous ancient ale recipes.

Pours a clear golden orange/yellow, with not much head or lacing.

Smells quite fruity- grapes, apples, pears, with some honey.

The taste is similar. Tastes more like a sweet wine than beer, but still tastes pretty good. The mixed fruit flavor is here again, strongly like grapes, and reminiscent of apples and pears. A lot of honey sweetness, some earthy/herbal flavors that might come from hops, with some spicing (ginger and cloves dominate.)

Medium bodied, starts sweet, finishes dry. Very drinkable.

A really interesting combination of flavors- and one of DFH's ancient ale recipes that actually works.

 710 characters

Photo of 57md
3.11/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is a golden straw color with hardly any head. Grapes are distinct in the nose. The flavor is dominated by grapes and honey, The body is light and wine-like. The finish is sickly sweet with grapes way upfront.

By the way, did I mention the grapes?...

 261 characters

Photo of 13DegN
3.32/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not a reviewer at all but why not. I like trying most DH brews.
Of the ones that I've tried that have some grape influence like Noble Rot, 61 IPA both quite good to me. Jiahu is SWEET. For my taste, too sweet. Tiny little carbonation bubbles as expected. Color, head etc everyone already covered by others.
Loved the idea but was not expecting the sweetness to blur my mind. Alcohol is well hidden, and overall I think I would like this one if it was just not so sweet.

 471 characters

Chateau Jiahu from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.8 out of 5 based on 1,431 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.