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Review of Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu

21 May
Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying another product from the Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, which is located in Milton, Delaware.

The brew that I chose this time is the Chateau Jiahu.  I’ve never had it before, but knowing Dogfish Head I can imagine that it will be an engaging experience.

From the website, dogfish.com, I found this interesting description.

Let’s travel back in time again for another Dogfish Head Ancient Ale (Midas Touch was our first foray and Theobroma our most recent). Our destination is 9,000 years ago, in Northern China! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province, have revealed that a mixed fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit was being produced that long ago, right around the same time that barley beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle East!

Fast forward to 2005. Molecular archaeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology calls on Dogfish Head to re-create another ancient beverage, and Chateau Jiahu is born.

In keeping with historic evidence, Dogfish brewers use brown rice syrup, orange blossom honey, muscat grape, barley malt and hawthorn berry. The wort is fermented for about a month with sake yeast until the beer is ready for packaging.

Ok….. let’s give it a taste.

This brew comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and has an ABV of 10.0%.

The Chateau Jiahu poured a very nice, cloudy orange color with an off white head.  The texture was kind of soapy, fizzy and sudsy.  It was of decent size, however the retention time was meek and the lacing left a little to be desired I thought.

The aroma of this brew was somewhat complicated for me.  I definitely got some of that honey as well as a plethora of unidentified spices.  Almost like what one might find in a Christmas themed beer.  Ginger maybe?  As the brew warmed I was able to detect a hint or two of some white grapes as well as a slight floral component.  I thought the bouquet was very intense and powerful.  So much was going on here that I couldn’t even begin to describe it all.

The taste was more of the same.  A very intense sweetness that became a tad bit distracting to me.  It was very close to the aroma in that I found honey, grapes, tons of spice and floral aspects.  I also found a slight touch of alcohol throughout.  After it warmed quite a bit I thought that it began to portray some white wine characteristics.  I really have no idea however because my palate was so confused after about 5 sips that I completely gave up on trying to analyze it. 

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Very dry with a lively and spritzy carbonation.  Somewhat snappy with a touch of warmth from the alcohol.  A good quantity of flavor was left covering the palate after each sip too.

Well…..  this is a very unique and different brew to say the least.  It was real sweet and spicy and, truth be told, I had trouble drinking it.  As a matter of fact, I couldn’t finish the bottle.  I can tell that it is well made, but it just isn’t my favorite type of beer I guess.  I felt the same with the Midas Touch (which comes from the same line) when I tried it.  That’s not saying that you should pass it by if you see it.  You may find it to be the greatest beer that you’ve ever tried, and that’s great, but I doubt that I will be picking up the Chateau Jiahu again anytime soon.  It was just a little too overbearing and confusing for me on this night.  Maybe if I had more experience with these “Old World” beers I could start to pick out the subtleties, but at this point….  I’m pretty much lost. 

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  2.8 out of 5
Grade:  C

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