Brew Review: Chateau Jiahu

23 Jan


Brew: Chateau Jiahu


Brewed by: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (Milton DE)


Style: Herb/Spiced Ale (10.0% ABV)




I don’t really know how to introduce this beer, its part of the Ancient Ales series where the Dogfish brewers do a ton of research into a beverage consumed in the past and then try to recreate it again, here is what they describe this one as, “Inspired by a beverage found in clay posts in China around 9000 years ago. In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers used pre-gelatinized rice flakes, Wildflower honey, Muscat grapes, barley malt, hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers. The rice and barley malt were added together to make the mash for starch conversion and degradation. The resulting sweet wort was then run into the kettle. The honey, grapes, Hawthorn fruit, and Chrysanthemum flowers were then added. The entire mixture was boiled for 45 minutes, and then cooled. The resulting sweet liquid was pitched with a fresh culture of Sake yeast and allowed to ferment a month before the transfer into a chilled secondary tank.” So this brew has a ton of stuff in it. However, if they expect me to pick out the hawthorn fruit and Chrysanthemum flowers in that mix its just not going to happen.


The brew poured out a yellow straw color with a slight amber hue. Somewhat orange as well. A mix of a yellow, orange and red thrown together. There was also a huge thick white head that rose up. A very interesting look to a beer with so much history and ingredients in it.


The smell is somewhat lager-like. I can smell some bready grains in there which remind me of lager biers. The honey does come through as does some white wine characteristics which much be from the fermented grapes. There was a lot going on in this brew, both heavy lager smells to flowery wine like aromas as well.


The taste is definitely a sweet ale flavor. The grapes show up again in the taste. They lend a crisp easy drinking feel to the beer. It drinks somewhat like juice, more like wine than anything through the actual taste of the beer. It was very unlike any beer that I have had before. It might have been that this was a beer brewed in the Eastern style, meaning traditional Chinese ingredients which means a totally different take on the process itself. I don’t claim to know much about Eastern ways and the more I learn the less I understand so I think that might have happened on this brew and I sort of lost a lot of what the brewers were maybe trying to get at. However, if this was such a hard beer to drink/understand then maybe the brewers failed a little bit in their own right. Not a bad brew but tough to get a handle on.




Final Grade: B


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