Sah'tea | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

very good
1,831 Ratings
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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: 1,831
Photo of exilio
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay, we all know that specialty beers that add fruit and spices end up a lot of times not tasting like beer..more like fruit juice with a kick.

Sah'tea is none of those things.

The Sah'tea from DFH is simply amazing. Not overly fruity. Not overly spiced. Still taste like a beer...from first sip to last drop, a rare treat for the senses. Buy two bottles and share with a friend.


Just noticed The Bros have not imbibed yet...really?! C'mon, guys!

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Photo of doktorhops
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dogfish Head is the type of brewery I would own (if I owned a brewery). Not content just to brew the staple craft beer styles (APA, IPA, DIPA, Imperial Porter, etc) these guys like to branch out and brew beers from other times and other cultures. QED: With Sah'Tea - based on a traditional Finnish ale known as Sahti and brewed to a 9th century recipe, then adding black Chai tea (not in the original recipe) Dogfish Head are testing the limits, and now hopefully my taste buds.

Poured from a 757ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents with a cloudy orange/gold body and a white head that soon dissipates to a ring of lacing (no head is the norm in 8% ABV+ brews).

S: The aroma is dominated by the black Chai tea - think of tea and spices like: cardamom, coriander seed, cinnamon, clove and throw in some honey as well. Not much else to report, if you put Chai tea in a beer it is certain to overpower the olfactory senses.

T: The flavour is where the balance comes in to play: cardamom, coriander seed, cinnamon, clove, juniper berry, sweet rye and honey all intermingle and balance sublimely. Finish is both dry (with some tea leaf astringency) and bitter with earthy green herbs. The way this ale moderates the competing flavours is a master-class in brewing by Dogfish Head. For a flavour comparison this is like a glass of fine spiced mead with some herbal bitterness thrown in.

M: Medium bodied with a reasonably dense carbonation.

D: Well I am impressed with my first Dogfish Head brew. I never expected any less though, and there are so many of their beers I would love to try - the Midas Touch was a beer I was keen on finding at Plonk! (to no avail). There is a proviso when trying this beer - you have to like Chai tea and spiced mead - if either of those don't agree with you then I would suggest stepping away from this ale: It is a spice roller-coaster!

Food match: Take a bottle of this to your local Renaissance fair or medieval themed restaurant (that does BYO) and you will be thick in the action.

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Photo of bnes09
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Translucent orange color. Decent head retention and some lacing.
Has a caramelized look to it.

Yeasty, bread, spicy cinnamon and ginger aroma.

Caramel and honey flavor. Mildly sweet. Assertive yeast. Tons of spices. Low hop character. Smooth overall flavor.

Dense, full body. Sticky on the lips. Well carbonated.

Good stuff and a nice change of pace.

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Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into signature tulip glass, bottled on 3/11/2013. Pours fairly hazy/cloudy deep gold color with a 1-2 finger dense white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper, herbal, grass, light banana, light caramel, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fantastic aromas with awesome balance and complexity of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetness; with great strength. Taste of big juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, herbal, light banana, black pepper, grass, light caramel, bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of juniper, black tea, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, light banana, herbal, grass, light caramel, bread, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetnesss; with an awesome malt/spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic Sahti style. All around awesome complexity and balance of fruity/earthy yeast, spices, and bready malt sweetness; and extremely smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of vickersspitfire
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a nice semi golden and burnt orange ale filled with plenty of carbonation. The head is light tan, thick but not fluffy and almost no lacing. This looks like a nice drinking beer!
The aroma is very complex, mixed fruits, dark fruits and esters are all mixed in with a very mild alcohol scent. Slight orange peel raisin and fig all come through.
Crisp and light, mildly tart and certainly a sight for sore taste buds to taste. The citrus fruit hits you first, followed by the esters, and the fig. The tartness wears off and become more of an alcohol flavor but its not over powering.
Crisp and filled with carbonation, this is a medium bodied ale, it really warms up your mouth and the ale just envelopes your tongue
This is a very interesting beer and very smooth. It is nice and creamy at time and the fruitiness does create a mixtures of flavors as you drink it down.

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Photo of utfiero
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Color- milky gold. Full head.

Aroma- spicy juniper, coriander, salt water, and mossy vegetation.

Taste- very spiced including coriander, pine needles, and clove but gently finishing with a clean, crisp clove-like but completely unique spice. Very unique. Don't serve too cold. Would be interesting to test against Sam Adam's Norse Legend.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted 5/24/2013.

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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 Crimtor
4.72/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll start by saying I'm a huge chai tea fan and I don't know if this is really a "beer lovers" beer, but apparently it fits my pallet perfectly

A- A very clear amber color nice lacing on the edges

S- Smells like sweet nectar, some light hops, and huge spicy nutmeg (exactly like chai tea), rounds off with me wanting to wear the smell as a cologne.

T- Well no surpise it taste like Chai Tea with a tiny bit of 60 Minute IPA in it. aka awesome. I enjoyed it so much I got a another chalice and bought a bottle and both were excellent too. Might be too sweet/spicy for some, but those people aren't me.

M- A Very thin, very drinkable beer.

O- One of my favorite low alcohol beers on the planet. If you like chai tea you have to try this. I also think it's got a little similar taste to the Noble Rot so if you like that you should at least try this.

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Photo of JerseyHopHead
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly clear, golden brown with minimal head retention.
Smells strongly of chai tea with a hint of berries.
The taste is very malty and sweet with a bit of a yeasty presence. The chai sits strong on the tongue with a hint of sweet berries. The finish is sweet and then a moment or two after a distinctive gingerbread taste is revealed.

I definitely enjoyed this but it's very sweet and flavorful and I imagine it is best shared with friends, perhaps in a snifter on a cold night.

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Photo of trankin6
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

very interesting stronger beer with big spicy flavors that shroud the booziness somewhat. nice orangy light color and smells boozier with clovey, citrusy sour notes. light balanced mouthfeel but the lingering chai and spice afternotes leave me a bit befuddled. pretty good

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Photo of Immortale25
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says Bottled On 3/11/13

A- Pours a medium orangeish amber color with a 1/2 inch off-white head that retains a bit before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and some random spotty surface foam. Non-resilient lacing leaves a thick ring behind.

S- Wonderful aroma of chai, allspice and clove that works great with the estery Belgian yeast. Slight booze fume.

T- Flavor is very close to the aroma but with some extra banana notes and maybe a bit of ginger. Quite sweet but the spices keep it from being cloying. The thing that always gets me about this beer is that it has a 9% ABV but you'd never know it.

M- Tingly and bright with medium-low carbonation and a medium body.

O- One of my favorite Dogfish beers but I also am a sucker for chai.

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Photo of mlm5641
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Looks- Medium golden tint and slightly cloudy with a non lingering just slightly off white head.
Smell- Overwhelming back tea with clove and cinnamon and just a hint of banana. Little to no bitter aroma.
Mouthfeel- rich and creamy, particularly the head. Very clean but not dry finish.
Flavor- black chia tea off the bat with some flavors reminiscent of a hefeweizen (banana, clove, slight cinnamon). No hop bitterness. Slight sweet malty character, light caramel.

Overall- Great beer, easy to drink with the sweet and spicy characteristics of the chai tea. Deceitful considering the 9% ABV.

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Photo of threeviews
4.65/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml crowned bottle (bottled on date: 03-11-13) into a 16oz Dogfish Head Signature Glass

A- A conservative pour yields a hazy orange beer with a 1/2-to-3/4 finger's worth of a frothy, white head. Although it died rapidly, a film remained on top due to the fact that this is a nucleated glass.

S- All the aromas of Chai Tea! Honey, melon, ginger, cinnamon and a hint of clove

T- Honey-like malty sweetness and banana (yeast) hit first, followed by a lingering, spicy kick (cinnamon, ginger, clove) and then is met with dry, resinous and fruity (juniper berry & cardamom) finish. An absolutely spledid balance of sweet and spicy. As for the 9% ABV...I cannot find so much as a trace (in the flavor or aroma)!

M- Medium, yet delicate carbonation allows all the flavors to penetrate the palate and leave a long, lingering finish with all the flavors mixing in concert.

O- For those who have read my other reviews (especially of DFH beers), it will come as no surprise that this is yet another hands down winner for me. For their Ancient Ale series, Sah'Tea ranks (every so slightly) behind my favorite, Theobroma. If this is what a bottle with 10 months of age tastes like, then I cannot fathom what it will taste like fresh...and cannot wait to find out!

DISCLAIMER: I am a fan of Chai Tea and would enthusiastically encourage all of those who also enjoy that beverage to investigate this beer. However, if you are indifferent or better yet, dislike Chai Tea altogether, you may not necessarily enjoy this offering...but would always welcome those to challenge their palates as you just might surprise yourself!

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Photo of stephenjmoore
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A- Cloudy, orangish body with some pale amber highlights. Foamy white head that leaves a thin layer of bubbles on top of the body.

S- Chai tea comes out right away with lots of spiced tea and black pepper. Hints of sweet orange and banana come through too. Definite earthiness to it along with hints of grain.

T- Earthy spiced tea mixes with some sweet berry, banana and wheat flavors. I still get some hints of orange and clove as well. The chai tea comes through very well and is balanced out by some of the sweetness and wheat flavors.

M- Rich and full-bodied, medium carbonation, minimal alcohol burn.

O- An interesting mix of flavors that work pretty well together. Somewhat like an orange with cloves stuck in it, dipped in chai tea with wheat and berries. Not exactly sure what a traditional shati beer tastes like, but this one is complex and interesting, like most Dogfish Head beers.

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Photo of Radome
3.73/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A - Golden to slightly orange color. Somewhat cloudy, with bits of sediment suspended. Off-white head is thin and not too persistent. It settles into a thick ring around the glass.

S - Aroma is very unusual. A mix of strong juniper, indistinct spices and tea. Malt and hops don't stand out. It smells like a gruit, or a pure heather ale, not any kind of conventional beer.

T - Taste is dominated by a strong, sharp juniper. There is orange peel and cinnamon at a lower lever. No real malt or hops. It tastes like a tea with mulling spices, not any beer I know. Alcohol is not noticeable. Clean, but very different.

M - Thin to medium body. Bitterness is low. Very low alcohol burn. Light carbonation.

O - Overall, I find this a clean but not entirely great beer. I don't care for the mix of juniper and other spices. Although interesting, I won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle split between three people... never heard of this beer or style before, so I was excited to try it out. Poured into a Dixie cup at a party.

Appearance: Red cup, so I couldn't see it too well, but a murky sort of brown color with a lot of yeasty tea-leaf sediment. Kind of ugly by most people's standards, I reckon.

Smell: Tea. A tang/sourness. Cinnamon? Some sort of spiciness. Berries.

Taste/feel: Tea with a tangy Belgian characteristic. Berries. Somebody mentioned cinnamon, and I got that as well. Not bitter in the slightest. Sort of refreshing, but at the same time, there's a slight warmth of alcohol. Interesting, tasty beer. I believe it was $12 for the bottle, which isn't too bad at all for such a unique tasting brew. It's not for everybody -- it has a good bit of "funk" to it in the taste and aroma, but I enjoyed it quite a lot. Worth a pick up.

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Photo of megahurts4
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dogfish Head Sahtea

Appearance: tangerine orange, small head, and some good lacing.

Smell: chai tea, juniper, and a hint of lemon zest.

Taste: very light chai tea, juniper spice, and a faint rye flavor.

Mouthfeel: medium-light

This is an interesting one. It has a unique flavor. The chai is prominent in the aroma, but not in the taste.

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Photo of LeRose
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into SA perfect pint.

A - deep golden color, dense white foam head that dissipated very quickly. Fair amount of sediment/particulates.

S - nice chai tea characteristics. Earthy, spices (cardamom?), some cotton candy-like sweetness, bready/malty, some yeast aroma.

T - very enjoyable flavors. Almost a nice white wine flavor that was not expected, but the tea-like characters are prevalent. Earthy and spicy, a lingering wine-like sweetness. A surprising peppery note, nothing in the way of hops and only a faint bitterness on the back of the swallow. Seems more spice-like in taste vs. aroma - maybe some clove, some cinnamon, a little juniper-like gin flavor, a touch of ginger.

MF - it was a little syrupy sticky sweet, but not objectionable. Low carbonation and that was fine. No alcohol tingle.

Overall, enjoyed this beer. A nice pairing with some Thai food, but if the food had been spicier selections the beer may have been overpowered. A nice sippin' beer with the right food combination. Interesting flavor combination - complicated and nicely blended flavors worth contemplating again. It would have been easy to push this one over the top, but it is nicely done.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.49/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Curious pour into my Chimay chalice. This beer has a nice shimmery haze, but looks thinner than i expected and retains almost no head.
Smells excellent to me: barnyard funk, spice/ cologne, orange zest, cinnamon, even licorice. Complex to my nose.
It's hit or miss for many with beers as daring as this brewer pushes out. Immediate hit in my book. It's very flavorful with the cinnamon and spice noted, I do get that vanilla chai taste, and the flavor just keeps on building and being interesting. I get pumpkin from this too, yet this still comes off as a farmhouse type of effort. It just works. Medicinal, Necco-waferish. My first Sahtea, but at least my second "ancient recipe" (the 1st being this brewery's Midas Touch). I much prefer this one.

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Photo of onechordwonder
4.01/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On draft into a snifter at Side Bar.

Pale amber with very little head. Smells of coriander, orange peel and bergamot. Taste is light at first with a delayed attack from the spice mixture in the brew. Could be a little creamier and would be real interesting on nitro.

An above beer but merely par for the course from Dogfish; there are better options in their 750ml offerings.

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

From a bomber into a pint glass.

Picked this up at the behest of my Finnish wife.

A: Hazy golden with a small head that breaks down quickly. There are small particles of sediment that appear when held to light.

S: fantastic chai tea smell and spices. Yeast is also present as is bubble gum.

T: really quite nice. Taste follows the smell, with cloves and juniper coming forward.

M: full bodied, almost no carbonation and a slickish feel.

O: my Finnish wife spotted this one at our trip to the bottle shop. She suggested it based solely on her heritage. I'm glad she did. I enjoyed this beer quite a bit, I found it full of flavor and very pleasant to drink. I think what I liked most was the spiciness of the beer. I also think that the low carbonation was nice too, but I found that I did get a bit of a headache after the second small glass.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, from the strangely limited selection at the Whole Foods in Littleton, Colorado.

This beer pours a hazy golden yellow colour, with two pudgy fingers of puffy, tightly foamy off-white head, which leaves little beyond a few instances of sea plume lace around the glass as things sink duly southwards.

It smells of pumpkin chai tea (I know no gourds sacrificed themselves for this beer, but 'tis the season, and the associative dissonance is strong there), a mild earthy fruitiness, a bit of candy sugar, a mildly spicy grain pale malt, and faint earthy, soapy hops. The taste continues the sugary sweetness bent insofar as the bready caramel malt is concerned, with a heady dose of indistinct warming winter spices, some middling black pepper, a weirdly corresponding understated saline character, earthy yeast, woody juniper, over-steeped black tea, a bit of dry Scandinavian licorice, and virtually nothing in the way of hops. No sign of the 18-proof booze, so, um, yay?

The bubbles are rather unassuming and pleasantly downplayed, the body a decent medium weight, fairly smooth, and even a wee bit creamy. It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel and pale malts bolstered by sugar and spice alike, while a slight warming profile kicks off its start-up routine.

A rather pleasant tea-infused big Belgian-style beer, which is obviously not the intent here, but hey, it's DFH, so you never really know. The nods to Finnish brewing history are tangential at best, especially after the guest ingredient quickly runs its course. So the best I can say about this is - forget preconditions and premonitions - this is a tasty tea-bagged strong ale, all without the immediate alcohol heat conditions one might readily expect.

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Photo of Samuel906
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the more interesting looking beers when poured into a glass. It is a beautiful golden orange, with very fine, light head. There is no effervescing of bubbles, but you can see a lot of sediment suspending in the hazy bronze liquid. The sediment doesn't settle, but permeates every part of the brew. Aroma is pretty good: chai, juniper, ginger and citrus... and lots of yeast.
Taste follows suit for the most part, but citrus is more the main player with the tea bringing up the rear, as well as some banana . Some black pepper and clove spiciness too, and a touch of honey. Not much of the rye to be found. Feel is light, tart, and refreshing. Not sticky, and not boozy. Very good beer if your are looking for something different. Gives you a bunch of great flavors, but it's balanced an d delightful making this just yet another great brew from DFH.

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Photo of silverking
4.19/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer # 200!

A- slightly hazy gold with a fluffy white head. Nice head retention, and decent lacing.

S- bubble gum, juniper, banana, clove.

T- black tea, clove, cinnamon, juniper. it is spicy, mysterious, and complex. the finish comes across a little sweet.

M- full-bodied with an oily mouth feel.

O- different, interesting.

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Photo of cjgiant
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This tea has grown on me since first trying it. To me, it's sort if a cross between a spice beer and a citrusy hefeweizen. The spices of nutmeg, clove, and some tea in the back. The fruitiness takes the form of some tartness of lemon, or maybe something more exotuc like star fruit.

A: opaque orange, little to no head, lacing, retention.
S: nutmeg and a hint if cinnamon with some notes of sour
T/M: see above. Tingle in the tongue reminiscent if a more carbonated beer, although this doesn't appear such. The spice lingers on the tongue, but there is no real dryness to speak of.
O: this brew is not in my normal category that I would rate highly. There is a lack of hops dryness that I miss. However, I usually order this for one glass when I am at a DFH.

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Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 1,831 ratings.
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