Sah'tea | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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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: 1,821
Photo of 1sophrosyne1
3.16/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Consumed over 20 minutes from a draft pour at the tap house.
The appearance is of an amberized wit with slightly more clarity. The off white head is thin and lingers very little; small spots of lacing hang onto the glass.
The nose has the banana of a wit, as well. It’s covered with a dose of cinnamon, nutmeg and some honeyed ginger. It’s the most intriguing aspect of this brew.
Spiced banana is there right at the start with some of the honey sweetness, not unlike the preview of scents. The middle is dominated by booze wrapped around a nutty center that lingers into the aftertaste. The woodiness and ethanol stifle much of the gin-fruit essence and its companion resins. Despite their power, the flavor profile is still somewhat short—tannins seem to cut off subtle spices rather than allowing them to create an interesting aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is rather thick and heavy—disarming in a way that a Sahti often is. Still, one would hope for more length from the available oils and ample ethanol. The latter certainly does warm…
In general, I wonder if other positive reviewers have been seduced by what the brewers indicate they did to create this beer instead of focusing on what has actually been created. There are other things it could and should be, based upon the general description of recipe. But there is little opportunity for juniper and other Scandinavian herbs to contribute as they might, perhaps due to the choice of malts and high dose of alcohol. As a result, even time and warmth don't make it stylistically on target, even if it's curiously drinkable.

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Photo of Smurf2055
3.81/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours golden with a small layer of white head.

Amazing, vibrant smell, bit of a soda-like texture to it. Chi tea, some cinnamon, bits of fruit, and desert breadieness.

Taste is sweet, bit of bitterness and bite like a golden ale, but has some more of the subtle flavors like tea and black licorice.

Complex and unique, pretty good.

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Photo of artoolemomo
4.03/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours up a fair amount of head that appears to have little retention. The head is slightly off-white while the body is slightly hazy with an almost medium amber/honey color that glows a bit lighter when held up to the light. There are a few particles of lacing left behind.

Nose- Amazing. This is a spice bomb and nothing exactly dominates except for the cinnamon. The cardamom and juniper are especially strong as well, followed by notes of clove (it implies some banana), coriander (I know the label doesn't mention but I smell it), and ginger. Black pepper holds up the rear. Some floral (rose) and perfume notes as well. Tinges of honey perhaps. In any case, I'm note sure if I even want to drink it- I might just want to smell it all day.

Taste- Citrus notes appear in the beginning while the different aspects of the nose start to make themselves known. Cinnamon and cardamom seem to be dominant notes with clove right behind it. Juniper and ginger are underneath. They are banana notes also implied by the clove as on the nose. This certainly is a spice bomb. A slight bit of heat on the finish which mixes with juniper. A slight woody bitterness starts to infiltrate the finish (notes of clove and juniper with that as well). I'm really starting to question the “subtle” aspect of the spice- it has mellowed somewhat and allowed more of the chai to come through with notes of vanilla but the spice character is still quite prominent. The vanilla gives it a bit of oak which I could do without and makes me wonder what could have been if they had just made it more traditionally. But this, of course, is not DFH's style. Still, a very good beer and appears to representative of the style. How much of this I could feasibly drink is the real question. Citrus notes seem to underlie the overall spiciness of the profile.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied, lightly carbonated. A bit of smoothness. Nothing awry in this department.

Drinkability- If you love herbal teas and chai and getting drunk (and you don't mind the price tag), this is going to rock your world. I appreciate the complex spice profile but I am glad that it gives me pause.

Overall- Solid beer. It does exactly what I expected from the style description and the bottle's label. Not an everyday or session beer by any stretch of the imagination but a must try for anyone looking for something different and a bit exotic.

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Photo of cfoley
5/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Awsome brew Loved It!!! Such a rich beautifull beer loved all the flavors that just kept coming with every sip, It cant get much better than this folks . Im a fan flavorfull beers and this one hit a Home Run !!! Its kinda ornagey twang , light sweet floral notes as it warmed up ,this is one you can just keep drinking and drinking and drinking and never get tiered of it .

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Photo of JMad
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a murky light golden color with a thick fluffy white head and lots of lacing.

It has a strong smell of juniper and nutmeg with some caramel, clove and a hint of banana.

The taste is full of clove and spices and wood and banana.

It has a very full mouthfeel with lots of carbonation and a smooth, warm finish.

This is a very interesting beer, I don't think I've ever tasted anything like it. Due to the price I probably won't ever drink it again but I did enjoy it.

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Photo of dar482
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer comes in a hazy gold, orange color.

The aroma has tons of tea, spice in the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and juniper, honey. It really smells like you’re about to dive into a really spicy (spice-y) and sweet tea.

The flavor follows with bready Belgian yeast quality, but I guess that’s also similar to what they use, a German weizen yeast. The sweet honey, pepper and a huge combination of spices continue through with then a gentle booze on the end. There’s also some fruit like lemon or white grape.

The body is pretty creamy and gentle. Very much like the ease of drinking a green tea.

I’ve yet to have a weird concoction like this from Dogfish and this really is quite interesting. Not something I would really need to go back to, but surely worth trying. Definitely recommended for tea lovers.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Hopswagger for this one!
750ml bottle served in a Duvel tulip
Bottled in 2010

A - Burnt orange color with a tight knit head. The head sinks into a collar while finally vanishing.

S - Lactic sourness and lavender salts are the first thing that jumps out. Smells like this will be quite tart. Dried plantains, strawberries, peach, apricots, spicy, ginger, pepper, nutmeg, lavender, rye bread, heavy dose of cardamon. Salty savory and sweet biscuit/bread malts.

T - Peach, apricot, and plantain puree, a soft lactic tartness is there but not as pronounced as the nose described. Lemons, pepper, cardamon, nutmeg, honey, ginger, salty, you can really taste the chai in there. Very yeasty with sweet and indulgent and earthy pale malts. A steady herbal note right through the middle, woody, I'm guessing the juniper? Finishes with a fruity tartness and notes of salt, spice, and mint left on the aftertaste.

M - Hefty body makes for a thick feel, semi-dry finish.

The aroma is bigtime! Acidic fruit, spices, sweet and savory, very aromatic. The flavor follows but doesn't quite live up to the aroma.Very good mix of sweet and salty flavors. Big malt presence with lively yeast esters. Various spices that show up at different times. This would obviously pair excellent with Indian food or other curry dishes.

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Photo of RollBounce
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had the beer before in bottle before.
No lacing, nice bronze clean cider like color. Smell is intriguing with sweet nutmeg or cinnamon, honey. flovor is upfront, with holiday notes and a full mouthfeel.

overall this beer reminds me of the McKenzie seasonal special apple cider that is brewed with the cinnamon and nutmeg. great summer fall beer!

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Photo of Jeffreysan
4.26/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml Bottle poured into a Snifter

Appearance: Sah’Tea pours a cloudy, golden orange color that is capped with a thin white lace of a head that quickly fades to leave a halo of lacing around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Tons of spice, like a chai tea (hence the tea in the name). Black pepper, cinnamon, clove, allspice, star-anise, and juniper, mixed with fruit, maybe peaches or apricots, or plums. Honey.

Taste: Strong notes of spices at the front. More black pepper, juniper, clove and honey, followed by faint hints of lightly toasted bread. The warmer the beer got the more intense the chai spices became. Really good.

Mouthfeel: Slightly creamy and nicely carbonated which accentuates the spice notes of the beer. Very smooth, which is surprising considering the 9% ABV, which is lends the beer a nice, alcohol warmth finish.

Overall: Sah’Tea is the second of the Ancient Ales produced by Dogfish that I’ve had, (the first being Theobroma), and I have to say so far, Dogfish is 2 for 2! I really liked this beer, though not as much as Theobroma, and I’ll certainly get it again. Looking forward to the other editions of the Ancient Ale Series.

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Photo of mattkoon
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

this shatea has a pretty amazing flavor- the juniper berries and black chai really push through this beer. the smell is super packed with the chai smell. it does have chunks in it, and i know that some beers have chunks-but personally im not usually a huge fan, however the flavor of this beer is so exotic and complex that ill take em. this beer is the reason i love dogfish- crazy beers that when they hit the mark are a hug success.

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Photo of gtermi
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beer pours a golden orange body with a thin white head that quickly fades away quickly.

S: The smell is absolutely amazing! Tons of spice, like clove, cinnamon and syrup.

T: The beer has tons of clove flavors with some cinnamon and tea.

M: There is a bit of carbonation on the back of the throat and tip of the tongue.. Has a thin body too

O: This is a fantastic beer all around! I would love to get this year round if I could

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Photo of Hopswagger
4.51/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P: A vivacious apricot body housing a multitude of floaters. A nice off white bubbly thin head that has decent retention. Wet bubbly lacing that sloshes the sides but doesn't stick.

S: Cinnamon, chai, vanilla, toasted rye bread, spicy booze and juniper berries. Aroma is a cross between pumpkin pie and a chai latte.

T/M: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, juniper berries and rye bread create a cornucopia of lavish flavors. Toasted grains, chai, musty wood, dank yeast and boozy fruit follow. The aggressive effervesce leaves a tingly peppered palate. Saison like.

O: This reminds me of gulab jamun but with more natural earthy essence and a dialed down syrupy sweetness. Super complex brew that has layers upon layers building an ever evolving flavor profile.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.89/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

"Our Sahtea is based on the traditional 9th-century Finnish recipe for Sahti in that we brew it with rye and juniper and heat the wort with wood-fired rocks. We break with tradition by adding an exotic Black Chai Tea at the end of the boil." Brewed in the style of Sahti. Date on bottle is 2011 1103.

Poured from a 750ml. bottle to my Dogfish Head glass. Served north of 48º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a frothy white head over a golden amber body with thick sediment in suspension. Retention is average at best. Pretty standard for the style, not a bad appearance. 3.5

(Smell) Aroma consists of a pale biscuity malt, a tart juniper berry aroma and a mild spice blend of clove, banana, coriander, nutmeg and allspice. Aroma is herbal and a bit vegetal, a common expectation for the style. Overall the balance is pretty good, there's a lightness and drinkability to it but it's chock full of character. 3.75

(Taste) Up front a biscuity malt presence with a tart juniper berry midsection, finishing with a robust spiced bread finish. As far as beers go, this one is yeasty and mildly tart instead of malt-forward, but it manages a decent body and thickness. Some mild booze on the finish. A pretty enjoyable Sahti overall, it doesn't hit all the notes right-on but comes awfully close. 4

(Mouthfeel) Mildly spiced profile with a subtle dry bready finish. Carbonation is very low. Body is medium+ for the style and medium overall. Alcohol presence is low-medium. A good light carbonation presence and an appropriately balanced body makes for an enjoyable mouthfeel. 4.25

(Overall) This is a fairly well-done version of the style- I'm not certain if it's as good as it can get but there aren't too many commonly available versions of this old world style, and I was impressed enough by it, so I recommend giving it a try. 3.75

Dogfish Head Brewery's

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Photo of patre_tim
4.74/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Light amber, tones of large floaties that whitish all through the glass. Little to no off white head. Some carbonation evident.

S: Exotic spices like cardamon and nutmeg, along with an additional white wood glue scent, and a Belgian yeast scent. Its lively and bright.

T: Follows the nose and gets even more intense with a sour and slightly bitter limburger like bite, and the spices which are many linger in the mouth. The drying tannic quality of the black tea is also present, perhaps the alcohol adds to this drying nature. Other than this, the alcohol is very well hidden. Exotic and spicy.

M: Medium, drying yet syrupy, medium carbonation.

O: I really like this one and find it redemptive of many of Dogfishead’s history based brews which I found disappointing This one is packed with taste and leaves me wanting to drink more.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Note that this bottle had been cellared for well over a year, and had sat in the shop who knows how long, as well. That said, this is a great beer.

Pours a murky golden amber, with average carbonation and no real lace to speak of. Much chunky sediment, too, but I'm not counting against that.

Nose is spectacular! I get some fruity esters and some chai spiciness. Really unusual.

Taste is bold, spiced, and malty sweet, even almost syrupy. There's a clear-cut chai tea spice finish, with relatively little dryness or heat at all. Very smooth and complex, this is a real treat and very enjoyable. High marks here!

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Photo of Maxwell
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a hazy yellow gold, almost muddy water brown, with a lovely little fourth of a finger’s width head of tight small eggshell-white bubbles. The beer’s body is very hazy and opaque with some chunks floating in it, though the carbonation bubbles can clearly be seen racing to the surface. The lacing on the beer is spotty and thin, leaving haphazard patches across the glass. The smell is tremendous on this beer. It starts with a huge banana bread bouquet, clearly showing the beer’s weizen yeast, but then the smell spices up with peppery notes and a lovely milky herbal-spice from the chai. This beer smells big and complex, there are even hints of souring lactic acids, and maybe even a slight tart cherry fruit leather note. On the tongue, this beer tastes soft, sweet, and spicy. The beer begins with big banana flavors of a weizen beer and, strange enough, the lactic cherry sour flavors of a Flanders Red before it opens into spicy notes, and then hits the palate with light cinnamon, ginger and cloves. The finish is stronger with the chai and herbal notes, while green pepper flavors hint at the tongue. The aftertaste returns to a sweet banana linger alongside the lactic tart cherry while all other flavors fade off the tongue. This beer is dangerously drinkable for its nine percent rating, but you definitely feel it in the face after a glass. On the mouth, the beer feels medium and fluffy in body, with a nice jelling as it washes over the tongue, and a slight cloying nature from the sweetness of the drink. The mouth is left dry on the tongue, but wet on the sides, leaving the mouth confused, but asking for more. Overall, this is a hugely complex beer. I’m actually curious if I got an infected batch or if the beer is supposed to have an almost Flanders Red style taste in its opening and in its smell. The beer is hugely tasty for its high alcohol percentage, and quite complex. A winner for sure!

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Photo of BuffaloBill91
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this one under the tree for Christmas because I homebrew and the wife heard me taking a long time ago about "stein beer" ---she went to the local beerstore and asked them and they told her this was made with rocks... im glad she cares enough to listen to my beer talk anyway...

A- Cloudy golden color... had a nice 2 finger head that lasted for a minute and went away just in time for me to stop smelling and start drinking.

S- fruit and I can smell the spices from the Chai Tea.

T- Starts off sweet and malty fruit and finishes with spices and tart of the juniper. I taste the black pepper in there, maybe that's because im not use to tasting pepper in a beer. I actually like it but I like chai tea too... I would have liked to see what it tasted like without the addition of the chai, just using the Finnish 9th century recipe--but I suppose there are many sahtis out there to try---I just never had one before and obviously dogfish head wanted to make this one their own.

M- This is a smooth and thick heavy beer, you can tell they used a ton of malt and it totally hides the high alcohol percentage in it...

O- Just like everything that Dogfish Head makes--this was unique. Great sipper, was too heavy to drink more than a couple glasses full, so 1 big bottle was absolutely perfect... I would get it again some time.. probably after having a basic sahti to compare it to.

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Photo of Jonada
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml 2012 bottle, poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass

Appearance: Dark golden honey color. Extremely cloudy. Not much head other than a slight ring around the edge of the glass. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Chai Tea, apple cider, gingerbread, clove, spice.

Taste: Starts of sweet with a slight tartness. I'm getting notes of gingerbread, lemon, banana, clove, slight pepper like spiciness. Finish is more of the same. No bitterness. Aftertaste is more gingerbread, almost like one of those ginger snap cookies.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the fuller side of medium. Moderate carbonation. Really smooth, easy drinking beer. No alcohol presence apart from a slight warming sensation in the back of the throat.

Overall: Another extremely interesting brew from Dogfish Head. Can't say I've really had anything comparable to this one. Really enjoyable stuff. It's not something I would want to drink all the time, but I'll definitely pick this one up again in the future. It would be a great Christmas/Holiday beer.

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
3.97/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a wine glass at cellar temperature.

L – Pale amber color with a 2-finger bubbly cream-colored head. Decent retention but not much lacing. Originally clear, some floaters got into my glass as I got toward the end of the bottle. There’s a lot of carbonation appreciable as the floaters keep dancing up and down in the glass.

S – The German weizen yeast is definitely noticeable with the tell-tale clove and banana aromas. Some juniper and black tea are also noticeable. I don’t get much in the way of the other spices that are listed on the bottle.

T – Starts off sweet with bready malt and banana esters. Spicy juniper, cloves, black pepper, and a little bit of coriander along with astringent black tea start to creep in at mid-taste. I don’t really taste any rye here or any of the barnyard funk that can be found in some beers of this style.

F – Medium-bodied with good carbonation, a somewhat creamy mouthfeel, and a spicy and dry finish. A little bit yeasty black pepper spice lingers.

O – I’m not really sure what a sahti is supposed to be like, but I think this may come close. As a matter of fact, all the stuff that’s listed on the bottle would have brought it farther away from the mark if I could taste or smell them (by that I mean the cinnamon, ginger, and rye). That’s the gripe that I seem to have with most Dogfish Head beers – they list a ton of ingredients and I can only appreciate a few of them. Nevertheless, this was definitely a drinkable beer as the 9% ABV was nowhere to be found. This is an interesting introduction to sahtis, a style that I think I’d like to explore more.

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Photo of Braz
4.22/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy but vibrant gold color. Thick pure white rocky head. Looks alive. Aromas of oranges and alcohol with just a touch of resin. Very inviting clean smell. Starts with a sort of tart orange juice type flavor. Then the alcohol flavor makes itself known finishing with spicy pepper notes. Not really sweet but not bitter at all. No hops flavors, have read that sahti is not traditianally hopped at all. Very smooth and fairly refreshing. Dry finish. Light to medium carbonation. I don't really pick up the juniper which is too bad. I think juniper would be delicious in some beers but I haven't been able to taste it in the beers that advertise it. Enjoyable and interesting for sure.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium chalice at cvm4's afternoon tasting

A: Light orange with a white half finger head that dissipates quickly. Thick foamy lacing. Lots of floating sediment after the first pour.

S: Like the bottle says: Chai tea and juniper berries. Pungent.

T: The tea aspect really comes on strong. Rich, sweet with a funky aftertaste.

M: Medium with decent carbonation.

O: Nice. Sweet. Tea. Yummy. Very drinkable.

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Photo of cvm4
3.88/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours very light, almost like a tea or caramel color.

S - Definitely spices along with tea and oranges. Seems wheat beer to me.

T - Very sweet, with spices dominating the show. Comes off with a lot of orange and other spices.

M - Medium bodied and the carbonation really ups it a notch.

O - Man what a beer! It really comes across with a lot of spices.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber yellow in color with a good amount of sediment in the glass. Head is good at pour but disappates quickly to almost nothing and little to no lacing on the glass. Doesn't impact the mouthfeel which is still quality - a pop of bitter on the front, sweet throughout most of the body to the end and a good amount of carbonation to boot. Taste is sweet with the tea detectable but not over the top. Almost could be classified in a strong witbier category.

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Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. It pours a beautiful caramel color. A good cloudiness. A light opaque. It has some bubbles rising to give a small bubbly white head and limited lacing.

S. Apple scent and lemon. It's a chai tea scent indeed, as the bottle indicates.

T. The chai tea and lemon taste really come through to make it almost have a pumpkin ale feel. It has a hoppy flavor underneath. A bit of spice. Has a puckering effect in some ways. A hint of alcohol.

M. Spicy tingle and full bodied.

O. It's an interesting taste. Not for everyone, but I like it in moderation.

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Photo of mooseo
4.39/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into tulip.

A - Clear yellow gold with a bubbly white head. Small clumps of yeast and other particles float freely.

S - Light bread, herbal spices, yeast, cinnamon, tea, black pepper. Very exotic and inviting.

T - Lots of herbal spice up front mixed with lemon grass, earth, and berries. Cinnamon, clove, ginger, pepper, and black tea are evident and blend perfectly with a light bready malt backbone. Finishes with a sharp earthy hop bitterness and more herbal spice.

M - Light-medium bodied, crisp, and refreshing. Medium carbonation with a dry finish.

O - An enjoyable, tasty offering from Dogfish Head. I love the combination of spices mixed with the Chai tea and berries. Alcohol is masked well - lending a high drinkability to this brew. This is one of the most memorable, unique and flavorful beers I've had this year.

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Sah'tea from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 1,821 ratings.
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