Sah'tea | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
601 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: 601 | Ratings: 1,825
Photo of Overlord
1.48/5  rDev -62.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Thanks beerloco! Sometimes, it's delightful to be able to rip into something. I've been too kind of late.

Pours a beautiful orange amber, with a thin white crust that clings to the glass. The attractive appears belies the fact that it is a loathsome substance not fit for a beer lover's consumption.

Smells like rotting medicinal tea, a sickly sweet honeysuckle-ish aroma. Smells like corpses dipped in some sort of treacle substance.

Taste is even worse. Like some sort of witch's herb concoction. Why was this even made? I'd tried to see if I could pick out the various flavors, but it's just an abhorrent, sweet, medicine-chest pile of offal.

Dogfishhead can push the envelope. Sometimes it really works out great, sometimes ... not so much.

Nice mouthfeel though!

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Photo of StaEva
2.13/5  rDev -46.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Something about this beer just completely turned me off. It started off well enough with a nice hazy orange/light red-brown color. Minimal head, very syrup-like pouring out of the bottle.

Smelled of forest-herbs and trees. Medicinal tone to it, and strange acrid bitterness. Taste was similar, but very medicinal and almost milky-spruce flavored with a sweet honey/burnt tea layer as well. Not a good combination on my palate.

The mouthfeel reminded me of carbonated milk—an egg-cream or something unnatural. This was tiring on the palate and seemed to inject the terrible flavor directly into my nervous system...

I poured 90% of a 750mL bottle down the drain. I'll try again next year to be sure I wasn't on mescaline or something, because I've liked almost everything else from DFH that I've ever had.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.31/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer pours a slight hazy bright orange body with a bubble beige head that boils and then soon disappears. There are strands of tiny bubbles gliding to the surface out of the murky liquid.

S- The sharp ginger bite hits the nose right away followed by some soft plastic notes and a finish of eucalyptus.

T- The flavor of medicinal herbal cough drops is followed by a much softer caramel sweet hint and then fades back into the medicinal plant after taste that lingers. There are notes of camphor and dry spices with a light dry horehound note aswell.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a tight fizz finish that enhances the medicinal aftertaste. There is no alcohol heat noticed.

D- The first glass was rough to get through so I knew there was no way I could get through the giant bottle, and I hate to waste beer. As the rest swirled down the drain the kitchen filled with an herbal Vicks vapor rub aroma. This was to medicinal and there were very little beer qualities to this drink. I brewed a Triple with Chia and it had the same bad qualities so I'm glad to learn that chia spices just turn out this way, and it wasn't my batch.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.31/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- Pours a hazy light orange color with a thin white head.

S- Smells of spices and quite a bit of tea. A touch of malts not really any hops here.

T- Lots of the chai. Could also pick up some spices and bready tastes. Again, chai seemed to dominate this one.

M- Fairly light to medium in body and same with the carbonation.

D- Did not like this one at all.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.32/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I have never had a Sahti before (it isn't like there are a plethora on the market), so I am excited to try it. On-tap at Ale+Witch.

A - t pours a tawny copper hue, a bit hazy, and is capped with a short-lived bone-colored head.

S - The nose is very Chai-forward. Cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg are prominently suggested atop a mild pale wheat-ish beer. I am not terribly fond of the nose, it reminds me of any number of the mediocre ginger wheat beers out there.

T - The flavor is more of the as the nose, but stronger in intensity; I am not pleased. Chai is inherently cloying to me, so the strong suggestion and impact of it is not working here. The vanilla, cardamom, cinnamon, black tea, orange-curacao-bergamot, and pale-adjuncted-tasting malt are just shy of a trainwreck. The taste is beginning to remind me of hand soap as well, so I am going to dump this.

M - Relatively thin and with short-lived carbonation.

O - I am let down by this beer, though I am not sure why I'd have expected it to be any good in the first place, as I'm in the camp who generally dislikes DFHs special projects.

Bottom line: flat-out, it is not good.

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Photo of rdilauro
2.44/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

On the whole, I enjoy DogFish Head brews. What I like about them the most is the wide variety of styles and the brew master not being afraid to step outside the box

As soon as I opened the bottle, I knew there was going to be something different. I did not really enjoy the aroma. When I took my first sip, I wasnt sure what I was in for.

To me there was a bit of an overload on the spices. The pronounced taste of tea also threw me a bit. I did like the hint of juniper, but I has expected more.

Its a beer for spice lovers who want something different.

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Photo of speter
2.49/5  rDev -37%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Hazy gold with flakes of proteins and yeast. The head was fluffy, off-white and fairly persistent, eventually fading to a thin layer.

S: Ginger, cinnamon, pepper and tea.

T: Dogfish Head rides the thin edge of the wedge, and when they nail it (Palo Santo Marron, for example), it's amazing, but when it's a miss, it can be pretty bad. In this case, this is a 9% abv chai, bearing little resemblance to real sahti. Clearly, they've tried to do something interesting here, with using hot rocks to boil the wort, but the addition of the chai at the end completely obliterates the good previously wrought, as it is the dominant taste.

M: Smooth, good body with full carbonation.

O: Maybe if you're a huge fan of chai.

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Photo of smcolw
2.56/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

No head, only a smattering of fine bubbles. No lace either. Cloudy orange-amber color.

Lots of Caribbean style spice to the nose: all spice, nutmeg, clove, coriander and cinnamon. There's a pepper aspect to the smell.

Less beer and more a spicy soft drink without sugar. Very high carbonation for the level of body. Lots of clove and pepper in the swallow.

I love Dogfish's willingness to try something wild, different and bizarre. And their willingness to put it in front of the general public. I hope they never stop doing this. Sometimes they get hits, sometimes misses. For me, this is one of their greatest misses.

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Photo of Dotcubed
2.61/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Draft beers are supposed to be better right?

8 ounces is plenty.
Foamless, noseless, and reminiscent of yerbamatte. Tingled my senses; grains of paradise or pumpkin beer spices?

Very malty strong beer that gives it backbone. Good body to it, not a cheap one off.

Longer lasting tea tannins are a unique substitute for hops.

Tastes like bitter sweet chai tea.
A creamy stout version of this could be epic.
But I'm a biased dark beer lover.

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Photo of Wadsey
2.73/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5


Served in DFH signature glass. 

A: Pours clear pale gold with minimal effervescence, head and lacing. 

S: Course, grainy malts, black pepper, a little lemon zest and what I can only describe as a cacophony of spices. 

T: Begins fairly sweet, then above characteristics exert themselves in taste profile. Honestly, Sahtea drinks like a poorly executed Saison whose brewer attempted to cover its flaws with a rack of spices. Moderate bitterness. The finish, however, is where the beer "shines." It actually tastes like chai tea. 

M: Medium-heavy body and medium-light carbonation. The beer is somewhat syrupy and almost cloying. The spices cause my tongue to tingle/go a little numb. 

O: The label is pretty awesome. 

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Photo of mikereaser
2.75/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 750 ml bottle on 12/4/09

A - pours a hazy yellow orange with a bit of foam that quickly disappeared

S - a hint of tea leaves, some licorice and berries

T - all i can say was it was like drinking a minty tea with some licorice. just not appealing at all to me

M - mostly flat, creamy, medium bodied,

D - i could barely finish the bottle much less ever want another one.

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Photo of cleeze
2.8/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I usually love DFH's funky brews but this one was an epic failure for me.

Spicy aroma, with juniper standing out and a little bit of yeast similar to a hefeweizen. The chai tea stands out in the flavor. Reminds me of a chai latte or smoothie. Deffinatly has a malty backbone as well that's almost enjoyable. It's complex, and yet also awkward. Not my cup of teas at all.

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Photo of Heischman
2.82/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Beer - Sah'tea
CITY/STATE - Milton, Delaware,
STYLE – Sahti
ABV – 9%
IBU - 6
DATE – 27-Aug-11
APPEARANCE – Golden honey in color, with a good bit of sediment, started off with a big thick head that diminished to a ring around the edge of the glass. There is very little bubbles coming up from the base of the glass with no lacing
AROMA- Sweet and very yeasty. There is a hint of hoppyness but it is very faint
TASTE – It is a bitter sweet, starting off with the sweetness and ending with the bitter. Reminds me a little of a Belgium, with the thick sweetness but not the same. I can defiantly feel the ABV all the way down my esophagus as I drink, not a warming thing but it lets you know to be careful with this beer.
MOUTHFEEL – Thick but not like syrup, there is a little carbonation on the tongue but nothing that really stands out
CONCLUSION – Not really impressed with this one. I am not bashing it; it just is not my cup of "TEA" (yes pun intended). It felt like it wanted to be a big Belgium beer but its own thing at the same time. This mix is what threw me off. I like a good Belgium, and the twist, well it just did not work for me. Kind of like watching M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village” the twist ruined the whole thing.

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Photo of brew3crew
2.83/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Had during a dog fish head tasting
A-cloudy pale yellow with a head that quickly disappates
S-smells a lot like chi-tea. Very herbal
T-very unique. Tea definetly comes through. Very refreshing and spicy
M-light bodied and crisp
D-im torn do I drink this beer for its taste or for the tea medicine purposes?

Thanks cam!

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
2.95/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured into DFH pint. Reviewed from notes, sampled on 07/14

Didn't really know what to expect when I poured this one, first Sahti style. I know I should've saved it to share with someone else as the spices got to me after awhile, but meh. Poured the color of an IPA and the head disappeared after a couple minutes. No trace of lacing. The complex smells of honey, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, pine and a healthy dose of ginger. The spice sensory overload continued in the taste, more clove, some apricot, really floral and perfumey. The competing spices were battling each other, too many. The dryness of it bothered me. Lingering spices on the tongue and coating the mouth. Why release in July? This is a Christmas beer, cold weather, and crackling fires. That said, around that time I might just be in the mood to have one.

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Photo of Kraken
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes, consumed 7/2/09

Split with GF & Mom over a game of cribbage. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a 16oz pint glass. Firm pour evokes no head, no lace. Color is a green tea, but slightly cloudy.

Nose- Very interesting nose, non-beerish. Almost a mead like nose. Chai really comes through.

Palate- Again very interesting. Very dry, and sweet. Chai comes through with some muted floral notes. Ginger, some pumpkin spice, carbonation helps to cut the spice cabinet. Slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel- a bit syrupy.

Drinkability- Low, novelty-esque beer.

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Photo of thecarster1
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- 750ml poured into a pint, hazy light gold coloring, minimal head and lacing.

s- aromatic, tea, herbal sweetness, maybe a bit cloying. very flowery, a touch of alcohol. so many smells.

t- very much tea like, slight hopping, flowery, hard to pinpoint all the flavors here, sweet though, i get alot of tea in the finish, spice, maybe a bit of cinnamon, clove. this is alot of different flavors and is a bit hard to take.

m- light to medium.

d- okay, this beer just has so many different things going on, it's just not my thing. it seems right on point with the style, just a bit too flowery for my taste.

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Photo of matty
3/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Cloudy orange colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is citusy.Taste is cinnamon,nutmeg,citrus and many other spices.There is just too much going on with this.Way overspiced and way overpriced for a 750ml bottle.Something that I am sorry I bought but will not make the same mistake again.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
3.06/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a tulip, a hazy golden orange with about a finger of head with big, slow bubbles throughout. Didn't leave any lacing.

The smell is dominated by the chai spices, & reminds me a lot of pumpkin beers or some Christmas ales (especially Anchor's) with the nutmeg & cinnamon characters. I notice a little citrus zest as it warms.

The flavor is rich & full of baking spice without being super-sweet. I'm waiting for the juniper, & get just a little in the long aftertaste. For such a warm & wintery smelling/tasting beer, the sensation is awfully sharp & has a prickly & active mouthfeel. Interesting. The booze really creeps up & is warming.

The richness of all the spices is kind of overwhelming, alright in moderation but after a while I feel like I've overindulged on Christmas cookies. This is one of Dogfish Head's big experiments that I applaud without really liking the final result all that much. The chai aspect is the innovation, but dominates the character so much that I'm still left scratching my head as to what sahti might taste like. I don't regret trying it, but can't say I'd drop the money on another bottle.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.07/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

ACBF pour

A-Pours light orange with a thin head.

S-Yeah, that's really loaded with tons of spices. Smells like chai or something. Herbal. Cloves and other herbs.

T-Overly spiced tea. Nutmeg and clove with herbal tea. Almost minty. Chai again. A chaotic assortment of cooking spices.

M-Too distracted with spice rack orgy in my mouth. Print remember it being very hot or anything.

O-Not for me. Thankfully a 2 oz. sample goes away quickly.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- pour with nice white had and nice yellow murky color, good look

Smell- malt , yeast, and a lot of spice can be picked up on the nose

Taste- alot of spice as the juniper and cardamom can be noticed for sure, theres decent amount of maltiness in this beer but i feel most dominating flavor profile for me is the various spices in this beer

Mouthfeel- very heavy almost thick with moderate carbonation,

Drinkability/overall- in terms of drinkability for my taste this one was not very high, it just had way to much spice and to me was sort of overwhelming, you add this extreme spice and then weight and alcohol and this wasnt my favorite in drinkability, overall the beers quite unique that much is certain and i give dogfish credit again for pushing the envelope like they always do but for me personally this was a miss

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.08/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured with about a 1 finger head that quickly disappears into lacing; nice golden color. Smells sweet, and reminds me of cinnamon. To me it smells like a spiced Belgian strong pale ale. The first sip, right up front I get a ton of chai flavor. It dominates. There is a little sweetness in the taste as well, moderately balanced by bitterness. I'm having a hard time detecting other flavors because of the strong chai flavor; not that it's bad, but it does make other subtleties hard to pick out. I like this beer enough to try it once a year maybe, it's definitely very unique.

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Photo of GRG1313
3.12/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amended 11/26/11 - I have apologized to this beer after tasting it several more times and especially with food. Many of the characteristics that I disliked below I now find appealing and this one is especially food friendly. Have it with exotic foods and big flavored food and it really goes well. I have changed my original D+ rating. Sorry Sah'tea..

* * *

Orig. Review: Please let me say first, that I love Dogfish Head Brewery. It is perhaps my favorite because it's not afraid to be bold, different and extreme. I've now tasted over 25 different Dogfish Head brews and there have only been 1 or 2 that I really didn't like. Sah'tea has joined the list.

Pours an orange amber with a very thin white head.

Huge nose of chai tea, sage and basil herbs that is somewhat different but appealing.

Mouthfeel is medium to thin and overall a bit disappointing.

Flavors are sweet peachy and overwhelming in chai tea flavors and character. Undertones of orange marmalade flavors and peach tea. In the interests of fairness, I do not particularly like chai tea. Those that like chai tea that tasted this beer with me were much more forgiving. Thus, this really is a "chai tea beer" in almost all respects.

Short sweet peachy/chai tea finish. Undertones of sage/basil/juniper berries in nose, flavors and finish.

Interesting beer but I have no idea why this beer was made, bottled or sold. My 21 year old daughter said she likes it..."it doesn't taste like beer." Others called it "refreshing."

I don't know when you would drink it...perhaps to cool down or in lieu of cold water? Would not be particularly food friendly nor would one want to sit and drink it by itself or sip it.

This is is just "not my cup of tea." (I couldn't resist...sorry).

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Photo of coachdonovan
3.12/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

i finally get around to trying this... it's been on my list since the New Yorker article last year. time to sample another one of Sam C's crazy recipes.

pours a hazy light cold with basically no head. if it weren't so hazy i would say it looks like ginger ale. aroma is cloves/cardamom with some of that chai tea mixed in.

eh. to me this seems more along the lines of a spicy hefeweizen. the yeast is there, but i don't necessarily notice the presence of juniper or the absence of hops. i don't see the big deal.

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Photo of beabear
3.13/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a lot like a typical hefeweizen, which is interesting given the style and amount of alcohol. The color is somewhere between yellow and orange, with a heavy amount of haze. Carbonation looks heavier than expected, but that may be a result of the light color. Decent-sized head.

Smell: Nowhere near as strong as expected. I picked up some small hints of the tea and some spices, mostly nutmeg.

Taste: Very complex and sweet, with the warming alcoholic taste of a strong Belgian. There are many different tastes here to pick up, but the chai tea and juniper berries stand out the most.

Mouthfeel: Feels like gargling maple syrup.

Drinkability: It tastes interesting, but I can't see myself drinking more than one bottle due to the syrupy mouthfeel and high alcohol.

With my lack of access to Finnish beers, I doubt I will have anything like this ever again. Given the disgusting mouthfeel, I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

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Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 1,825 ratings.
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