Chicha | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

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Brewed by:
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Delaware, United States

Style: Fruit / Vegetable Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Dogfish Head Chicha is most closely based upon Peruvian brewing traditions. We've sourced indigenous ingredients to make the most authentic interpretation possible: organic pink Peruvian pepper corns, yellow maize and organic Peruvian purple maize. We also use local (US) strawberries - a traditional chicha ingredient that we chose to source locally as we were worried Peruvian strawberries would spoil in transit.The most exotic and unique component of this project, from the perspective of the American beer drinker, happens before the beer is even brewed. As per tradition, instead of germinating all of the grain to release the starches, the purple maize is milled, moistened in the chicha-makers mouths (which we did right here three weeks ago in our Rehoboth brewery), and formed into small cakes which are flattened and laid out to dry. The natural ptyalin enzymes in the saliva act as a catalyst and break the starches into more accessible fermentable sugars. On brewday the muko, or corn cakes, are added to the mash tun pre-boil along with the other grains. This method might sound strange but it is still used regularly today throughout villages in South and Central America. It is actually quite effective and totally sanitary. Since the grain-chewing (known as salivation) happens before the beer is boiled the beer is sterile and free of the wild yeast and bacteria you would find in modern Belgian Lambics. Dogfish Head Chicha is 6.2% ABV, cloudy and unfiltered. It has a beautiful-purple-pink hue from the Peruvian corn, strawberries, and tree seeds - it's dry, fruity, complex, and refreshing. We hope you enjoy drinking this beer as much as we enjoyed making it!

Added by Slatetank on 09-11-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 6 | Ratings: 19
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the story here is maybe the most interesting aspect of this beer. i wanted something real unique, you know, like rosabi or any of the ancient ales they do, but this one, for how cool the process is, is sort of underwhelming in some ways. the strawberries obviously give it some color, and the head is quite vigorous from the keg. the nose on this is interesting, a curious earthy mix of cornmeal and dried fruit. sweet and starchy alike, but tame in yeast character compared to my expectations. the flavor is a lot like the nose, the corn definitely leaves its mark, but the other ingredients dont seem to add as much as i thought they would. peppercorn is there, herbaceous and more aromatic than flavorful, springy and floral like the pink ones are. a cool cultural tribute to this part of the world, but the beer is less exotic than i had hoped for. still, who else does this but these guys, and for that i have to again commend them. their pursuit of this kind of thing is not only educational to all of us brewers, but its simply fascinating. thanks to them for putting their resources towards this project, i am grateful, but a few glasses is plenty for me of this one.

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Photo of deskim
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Figured it would be nice to review this after the Brewmasters episode. Had it at the Brewpub over the summer and took a couple notes. Very light and refreshing, low ABV, with hints of straw and saliva. The most refreshing DFH beer I've had so far. Almost like a light beer, but much more complex. Decent amount of carbonation led to a nice mouthfeel. Fairly spiced, but couldn't quite determine exactly what spices contributed most to flavor. Interesting concept led to an interesting beer.

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Photo of lstokes
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had the happy fortune to be at the brewpub in Rehoboth on the day this was tapped, and I can report that the 2010 version of this is really an exceptional beer. It's a very pale yellow color, not very carbonated, served in a snifter, and you can smell the corn, there's a little bit of banana there, but the dominant smells are cinnamon candy and a little bit of peppermint.

The taste had all of those notes plus some tart strawberry, it's a sweet drink with this amazing spicy cinnamon/pepper kick which is really quite something. The mouthfeel is perfect, very light and smooth with just a touch of carbonation, and I could imagine drinking it in a large variety of situations--a great before- or after-dinner beer, and it must pair well with something but I can't tell you what yet. I'm going back today for more!

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Photo of nickd717
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this on tap, poured by Sam C. himself. Was a little disgusted at first by the concept of this, but got over it.

A - Hazy yellow-orange color with pinkish hues and a large off-white head.

S - Corn, spices, and sweet malt. Smells decent actually.

T - Flavor is mildly sweet and pleasant with corn, grain, honey, spices, and some strawberry. No hint of saliva, which is nice.

M - Finish is a little dry and body and carbonation are medium.

D - Very high. This beer is very interesting, and pretty good. Well done again, Sam.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.35/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter at the Rehoboth Brew Pub. Somewhat hazy with a pinkish/pale red hue to it. Nice small tight head. Aroma is slightly spiced, somewhat peppery. Decent fruity flavor. Crisp and somewhat spicy and peppery. Mild malt flavor. Moderately floral. Ok body-has a decent quenching feel to it. Definately an interesting beer. Might not be "authentic" as the article in the NY Times said but still a decent effort and a must try just to say you did.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats in Rehoboth Beach, De. Served chilled in a snifter

A - A sunset color with light golden at the top and fades into a rose shade. The head is a ring of white which has tiny pin sized beading. The head revives to 1/2 inch when swirled vigorously, and the appearance is hazed

S - The smell is mild w/ a light floral/fruit note and scent of earthy, woody elements but mild and pleasant generally

M - The feel starts semi-sweet with a malty note and gets dry rapidly with a spiced effect in the finish and mild alcohol is noted

T - The taste is like strawberry that most of the sugar has fermented out of with a mild dry maltiness. The corn and pepper adds texture and the taste of a toasted corn cereal, but is mild flavor-wise. the taste finishes woody and spiced like a toasty wheat beer

D - I loved this beer, very interesting even if not 'authentic' as mentioned elsewhere. The flavors are blended well and it is refreshing enough to want to order a second glass with an interesting flavor profile that makes you realize corn can add to a beer without bringing negative aspects. I recommend a taste of this traditional ale.

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Chicha from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
3.92 out of 5 based on 19 ratings.
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