Sah'tea | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
603 Reviews
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Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Sahti

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

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.


Added by DarkerTheBetter on 09-28-2008

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Reviews: 603 | Ratings: 1,830
Photo of DrainBamage
4.68/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a copper color with a lace of head and lots of floating sediment. The smell is sweet from the juniper berries and the black tea is also prominent. Goes down very smooth, seems very thick. In the taste you first get hit with the tea and then a lot of spice, almost like a pumpkin ale. The juniper berries aren't very noticeable. The alcohol is very prominent as it burns a little bit in the throat. One of the more interesting styles I've tried. It's a shame that there aren't more Sahti beers out there.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml Bottle

Pours a very nice clean/clear golden yellow color, with some pretty nice carbonation, with a nice thick/creamy one-finger off-white head, which leaves some pretty nice sticky lacing behind. The nose is hoppy, malty, yeasty, spicy. The taste is hoppy, malty, spicy. Medium body. Overall, a very tasty brew.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Gold to copper in color with a substantial amount of various sized sediment floating about within, which is true to the style. There's a fingernail of beige covering half of the top. I'm smelling the juniper and chai tea aromas. I'm tasting a moderately carbonated beer that is chai tea forward with the juniper and also seltzer flavors at the back of the palate. I would also agree that this drinks more like a Belgian non-fruited lambic, which is true to style.

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Photo of isaac05
4.94/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The best beer I have ever had. It tastes like it smells - lots of chai tea and spices. If you love beers with unusual flavors and/or ingredients, don't walk - RUN to find yourself some of this beer. However, if you are not a fan of overwhelming flavor and sweet beers, this might not be the beer for you.

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Photo of timontheroad
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/11/13. Was a gusher upon opening. Nice head with a light orange color and lots of floaties. Great spicy aroma. Lots of allspice in the taste, not really getting the chai flavors though. Nice creamy mouthfeel with a rather light body. This would be perfect around the holidays with some German lebkuchen.

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Photo of BloodSoakedAleMug
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage.

Look: Pours a deep, deep, orange color with a one finger off white head. You can see lots of yeast floating around in the glass, and lots of carbonation streaming up the sides. Looks damn tasty, although it doesn't retain a head or leave much lacing.

Smell: The aroma is outstanding. There's this wonderful smell of freshly baked gingerbread and cinnamon coffee cakes.

The smell of chai tea is unmistakable, but there's also a slight wintergreen and peppermint note to the nose too. I'm also getting the smell of baked bananas and caramel. There's a noticeable alcoholic presence on the nose too.

Taste: It's incredible. I'm getting so many flavors from the Chai Tea - it's like a gourmet spice rack in my glass - lots of clove, mint, cinnamon, basil, thyme, coriander, tarragon and rosemary. There's a nice dry bitterness from the juniper too but a rich caramel and honey taste evens it out.

The flavors of bitter juniper, sweet honey/caramel and spicy chai tea come together, and almost taste like a big slice of of pumpkin pie.

Feel: The mouthfeel is rich with yeast, you can feel it's abrasiveness, it adds body and weight to the brew making it slightly sticky and kind of a chore to finish because of all the chai tea and spice flavors not to mention it weighs in at 9.00%.

Overall: Next time I buy this I will definitely be sharing this with a friend. It's a great beer and it tastes delicious but the flavor is so intense, the portion size is so large and the abv is so high you don't really need all 22 ounces to yourself.

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Photo of MikeWard
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

picked up a bomber at knickerbockers in Altoona. bottled in 2012.

had me some fun getting this one in the glass. on close inspection of the bottle, there was a fair amount of floaties, and sediment in the bottom of the bottle. So I figure, "I'll strain it through some cheesecloth. i pop the cap. and...we have a slight gusher. eventually got my act together and half the bottle was in a pint glass. although there was considerable carbonation in the bottom, it got flat real fast in the glass. poured a deep orange, somewhere between hazy and cloudy. no head, hence no lacing. not a promising start.

aroma was very nice though. spices and dried fruits. reminds me of another beer I've had, but cant put my finger on it. no alcohol smell, and no chai tea either, which is apparently added late on in the brewing process.

this is a very tasty beverage. getting all the pleasant spiciness, and the dried fruits. warming alcohol burn comes in at the end.

feel is closer to medium that thin. however, halfway through, this beer is almost flat. no amount of agitating will bring a head or indeed ant carbonation.

overall, a good tasty brew.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into pint glass. It pours a cloudy orange amber with a thick, one-finger milk-white head and minimal lacing. This is a very aromatic beer with wheat, orange, cinnamon, clove, and pine. The taste is also rather unique with bready malt, ginger, cloves, orange, and honey. I'm not familiar with juniper so I may be simply missing it. As the glass warms, I'm also tasting tea. This is a sweet beer but it isn't cloying. It's refreshing and I could imagine drinking it after a day of cross country skiing. It is medium bodied and fairly lightly carbonated and I really don't notice the 9% ABV. Overall, I was intrigued by this style and I really enjoyed it. It's a little sweet to enjoy with a meal but makes a nice dessert beer. I'd like to try this on draught and I would definitely drink it again.

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

750mL into a wine glass.

Surprisingly opaque and cloudy body with a golden and blonde color to it. Pale white foamy head. 3.75

Highly unique aroma. Reminds me a bit of a fruitcake with orange peel and wheatiness and sweet bread. Juniper or some other evergreen type aroma. 4

Flavor is heavy with some spice flavor that's again, either from the evergreen family, or something ginger-like. Grainy sweet flavor and honey combine with wheat and floral notes. The flavor overall reminds me of a tea with spices, so in that regard the name and flavor are on the money. 3.75

It's got a lively feel from the spices and this will linger on the mouth. In a certain sense there's something medicinal about the feel--- herbal, spiced, and menthol-like. It definitely resembles something earthy in feel. 3.5

Fun to try, but not something that begs multiple visits.

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Photo of WunderLlama
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bomber poured into chalice

Copper translucent with thin white cap that quickly disappears

Aroma of chai tea, sweet , cloves, cinnamon

Taste of chai, sweetness, malt, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon

Low sudsing

A pleasant and interesting diversion from your normal beer.

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Photo of Viaduck
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Almost no head, hazy orange in color. Pleasing aroma of malt, orange blossoms, brown sugar & alcohol. The aftertaste reminds me of mom's spice cake without the maple icing. Sweet & flavorful but very flat

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Photo of JamesStreet
3.8/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

poured from bomber into snifter
A- poured a golden, semi-hazy color with about a finger worth of white head that dissipated rather quickly. Not much lace left behind.
S- A bit phenolic (clove), chai spice for sure with an herby hop presence. Alcohol is very unnoticceable at 9%
T- A bit bready malt, on the sweeter side but not cloying. The flavor is dominated by the spiciness of the chai. Other flavors I pick up are clove, cardamom, honey, black currant. Not getting much of the juniper berry. Some, but not much
M- Body is a bit on the soft side with a light-medium feel. Sip doesn't linger that long.
O- Not too bad for my first of this style. Really tastes like a spiced, herbed winter beer.

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Photo of Myotus
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle (bottled 11Mar13) into a pint glass. Pours with half a finger's worth of white foam that dissipates into a line within 20 seconds. Very dull orange in color and extremely murky. A substantial amount of large, white particles are floating throughout the beer. Hardly any bubbles are present. Has strong aromas of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger that combine with mild aromas of juniper berries and black tea (such an incredible and unique combination of aromas!!!). Initial taste is strong with banana (don't know from where they came) and clove flavors (yes, this initial taste is like that of a great hefeweizen). Strong cardamom, cinnamon, and juniper berry flavors enter immediately after the initial taste. To continue the symphony of flavors, mild ginger flavors and a hint of black tea enter last as all previous flavors persist. This creates a grand finale of a unique, delicious final taste. A ridiculously full-bodied beer that has a mild carbonation with a thirst-quenching finish. This spice bomb of beer is absolutely amazing!

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Photo of Das_Reh
4.44/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.75

2012 bottle. Poured 2/15/2015 into a tulip.

A = Dark gold hue with fervent carbonation. Lots of free floating sediment in the mix, forming a silty pile at the bottom of the glass. Head dissipated quickly. Minimal lacing.

S = Intense aroma of gingerbread, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other sweet spices. Juniper, spiced tea, bananas and rum.

T = Follows the incredible aroma with boozy gingerbread, sweet spiced Chai tea, bananas, brown sugar, and sweet pine. Would be a wonderful beer to have on Christmas and would be great in a baked dessert. Then again, that's what this beer is to me, a dessert in a bottle.

F = Medium, almost syrupy. Definitely a slow sipper, but that's not a bad thing.

O = This beer defied all my expectations. Heavily spiced and aromatic, sweet and warming, a perfect beer for Christmas time (there's even a reindeer on the bottle). Too sweet and heavy to be sessionable (not to mention the 9% abv), more of a dessert beer. HIGHLY recommended.

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Photo of 57md
3.56/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy straw color. The nose is sweet , much like a fruity herbal tea. The two dominant flavors are sweet maltiness and funkiness on the finish.

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Photo of mchegash
3.35/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Date: 9/4/2014
Other notes: Bottled 3/11/13. Just picked it up at the store a few days ago. So it's likely been sitting on the shelf at room temperature for 1.5 years. Hopefully this doesn't negatively impact the taste.

Appearance - 3/5
A fairly clear orange. A little bit hazy. You can see a LOT of large particles floating around in the beer. No head. Lots of medium-sized carbonation bubbles flowing up at average speed. The color is nice, but I wish there was more head, and the particles are kinda freaking me out. They are not like the particles I have seen in other beers. They make me wonder 'Is something wrong with this beer?'. It's probably fine, but the fact that I even have that worry is big negative points for me.

Smell - 3/5
CHAI CHAI CHAI. Maybe a little bit of breadiness, but mostly all I smell is Chai (which I don't like by the way). Even if I did like Chai, I don't think I'd want my beer to smell like it. But I guess since this is an Ancient Ale, they are just trying to faithfully replicate the spirit of this Ancient recipe

Taste - 3.5/5
Chai, sweet maltiness, maybe some honey and cinnamon. The chai is not totally overpowering in the taste, which is good. I'd still say it's the dominant flavor present. Maybe small hints of fruit and alcohol taste as well. Even though I don't like chai, I don't hate this beer. Given that I've never had nor even heard about any other beer having chai in it, this beer is definitely an experiment, which I think they pulled off fairly well. If you love chai, you will probably like this beer a lot. If you hate it, you probably won't.

Mouthfeel - 3/5
The carbonation is nice and light, and the beer is smooth (although the strong chai flavors dominate, so if you don't like chai, that makes it a little bit harder to get down). The beer is medium-ish in body. The feel is more on the creamy side.

Overall - 3.75/5
I gave the ratings a little boost for the overall, because I'm trying to give it a fair rating, given that I don't like chai a lot (I don't hate it though either). This was definitely an interesting brew, and I love the creativity which DFH is doing with their Ancient Ale series. Even if I don't love the beer, I enjoyed drinking it, knowing that I am imbibing something very similar to people in 9th century Finland.

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Photo of iheartmyTHO
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%

Upon my first smell of this beer, I was hesitant if it was going to taste good or not. The aroma was very malty and typically, I'm not a fan of malty tasting beers. But upon my first sip, I was pleasantly surprising. I definitely taste the chai spices and tea. I don't get much of the juniper. This beer also feels lighter on the palate than I expected.

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Photo of BierStein711
5/5  rDev +26.6%

This is a beer I will never forget. I drank it after I had some of the worst news in my life, and celebrated the upcoming victory I'll have once this journey is complete.

This was a draught serving,and it's golden color reminded me of a Belgian wit, but the flavors reminded me of a nice Gin. If you like gin and weissbier seek this out.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%

Undated bottle at 40 degrees into snifter
Aroma of chai
Head small (< 2 cm), white, creamy, rapidly diminishing to partial 2 mm ring
Lacing poor – few small islands of tiny bubbles
Body medium yellow, cloudy
Flavor begins with chai then the juniper rolls in; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, watery, lively carbonation

Appearance 3.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.25, Palate 3, Overall 3.625. Final weighted score: 3.9.
This is a surprisingly good beer in which the chai and juniper balance and complement each other. This never tastes like gin and the alcohol is totally hidden.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%

750ml bottle.

A: Pours a hazy sunburst orange under a solid one-finger thick white frothy head which eventually fades to the rim leaving splotches of lace.

N: Juniper is smelled 2 feet away, chai spices (cloves, orange peel, cardamom), very herbal.

T: Complex intermesh of booze, mild tartness, rye and chai spice, juniper, orange peel, mint, malt, floral and herbal notes.

M: Moderate body and medium carbonation. Exotic and alluring herbal spiced finish.

O: Interesting. Just when I think I've had my last sip I'm drawn back for another. Impressed and well done Sam.

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Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%

Probably my favorite from the ancient ales line from Dogfish. Pours a golden yellow with almost a rose hue to it. The smell was full of spice, mint, sage, as well as a ton of clove. The taste was really nice in my opinion. Starts of mild and herby and seems to grow till there is a bite of mint at the end which made for a much more refreshing beer than I had anticipated. Overall I found it quite the enjoyable find.

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Photo of bleedsblu
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

WTF, where , bring back the format for the reviews. This is my third from Dogfish head ancient ales and this might be the beast so far. Its brewed with Black chai tea and with white hot rocks, hell yeah dogfish.

Served from an ice cold bottle into a glass.

Appearance: A golden yellow , thick not transparent with a lot of carbonation. It had a 1/4 inch head with a vigorous pour.

Smell: It smells of tea and fruit, mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mouth feel: It tastes of tea and the mouth feel is thick but not so great it overpowers. It tingles in the mouth from carbonation, who doesn't love a little tingle.

Taste: Fruit and black tea , this is my favorite ale so far and at 9 % ABV it will kick you in the sack.

BleedsBlu recommends, Drink it

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Slightly clouded yellow-orange, loose particles of sediment. Negligible head retention. Bright!

S: Vibrant spices, just like a chai tea- ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon (not at all subtle). Color me impressed!

T: Same as above, with the addition of some lightly bitter hops (or maybe juniper), black tea in the far back. A few sips verge on the downright heated spice. A considerable amount of sweetness.

M: Lightly syrupy, nothing cloying, and still fluid and light.

O: Damn good! Liberal in the additives, but carefully meted and balanced by one another. Surely not a typical style, but if you have an open mind you will at least be able to appreciate this one (and if not send it to me!)

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Photo of Tone
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, copper color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong juniper, sweet malt, hint of earthy malt, hint of alcohol, cream, hint of rye. Fits the style of a Sahti. Mouth feel is sharp and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of juniper, sweet malt, grass, earthy malt, rye, biscuit, slight tea, and alcohol. Overall, an interesting brew, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of kliner88
3.34/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

A: Poured with a small, frothy white head which almost immediately disappeared. Almost no lacing; attractive light amber color, like weakish tea with lots of honey.

S: Unfortunately, also smells like rather like overspiced tea with lots of sweetener. Juniper and cardamom are almost overwhelming. A tad of bitterness from the juniper, but not enough to provide balance. Nice mellow caramel notes in the background.

T: Very similar to the aroma; sweetness is slightly less apparent. Juniper comes to the forefront and piney notes are apparent. Cardamom and cloves linger, with a bit of woodiness. Alcohol is largely undetectable, particularly considering the ABV. Beautiful caramelized sugar, again largely hidden in the background.

M: Medium-fine carbonation balanced with a silkiness. Leaves a bit of a stickiness-- again, similar to an overly-sweetened tea. The carbonation is appreciated as it cuts the cloying sweetness a bit.

O: I appreciate Dogfish immensely for what they do; I often love what they do. Here, I appreciate the concept but am underwhelmed by the execution. It's clearly a well-brewed beer and I appreciate every element they've incorporated. I'd like to access the sahti backbone a bit more-- the combination of resiny juniper and intrinsically-strong sweet spices overwhelms the subtlety and renders the beer too complexly sweet, to put it simply. I do stand impressed by the well-cloaked nature of the high ABV, and if you're looking for a sweet alcoholic carbonated iced chai, look not a drop further than here.

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Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 1,830 ratings.
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