Chateau Jiahu – a 9000 year old Beer

Another ancient beer that Dogfish head has resurrected in a series of extreme beer, such as Midas Touch and Sah’tea.  The Chateau Jiahu is based on the findings of a Molecular Archeologist in Northern China.  Dogfish Head first introduced this ancient representation in 2006 and have since been making it as a seasonal rarity.jiahu_3

Here is the history from Dogfish Head:

Let’s travel back in time again (Midas Touch was our first foray and Theobroma our most recent), this time 9000 years! Preserved pottery jars found in the Neolithic villiage of Jiahu, in Henan province,Northern China, has 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 beinginning tobe made in the Middle East!

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

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 degredation. The resulting sweet wort was then run into the kettle. The honey, grapes, Hawthorn fruit, andChrysanthemum flowers were then added. The entire mixture was boiled for 45 minutes, 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.

jiahu_1

Appearance:

Beer pours almost an orange color, lots of little bubbles in this beer that don’t seem to quit.  Reminds me of champagne bubbles.  Head retention was nothing to write home about, but I wasn’t expecting much from this beer with all the unique ingredients.

Chateau Jiahu

Chateau Jiahu

Aroma:

Beer has a very pretty smell, if smells can be pretty.  Besides the honey and grapes, I was picking up some other aromas that I couldn’t place.  It does have hawthorn fruit and Chrysanthemum flowers in it as well.  But not knowing the types of aromas this fruit and flower make, I can only guess the other smell I was picking was from one of these or the yeast.

Taste:

This beer has an interesting flavor; the alcohol and grape are very distinctive in this beer.  Sorry for this poor description, but it taste like a mix of a light bodied amber ale mixed with muscat desert wine.   This is a very sweet beer, slightly viscous, the slightly syrupy nature of the beer coats your mouth leaving a long lingering taste.

I wonder if there are any hops used in this beer?  I’m not getting much bitterness, although there is a pleasant dry, almost tart finish to the beer.

Glassware: Snifter

Calories: A Sweet 8% abv beer, tastes like a lot of residual sugar left in this beer which would put this on the high side of the 8% range, 250-275 calories per 12 oz (Calorie Chart)

Overall Impression:

I don’t know if I like this beer or not.  Probably not what you would expect from a huge Dogfish Head beer fan, but this didn’t leave me wanting to finish the bottle.  It is a very interesting beer to try, so if you haven’t had it go try it.  I would love to hear your thoughts.


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13 Responses to “Chateau Jiahu – a 9000 year old Beer”

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  2. John Says:

    Lisa and I had this beer a few years ago and enjoyed it. We also had it with Chinese food, so there may be somthing to that – a beer to have with food, rather than just on its own.

  3. Simply Beer Says:

    Good point John, I think this would have been much more enjoyable with a complimentary food.

  4. Lucas Says:

    I resisted the urge to buy this one last week, though I would still like to try it. By your review it sounds like another completely unique brew from Dogfish.

  5. Don Says:

    With its sweetness, something with high spice would make a good food pairing, something like szechuan beef or Kung Pao Chicken. YUM! Those guys at Dogfish Head…Always thinking outside the box that is already outside the main box!

  6. Simply Beer Says:

    Lucas – It is a very unique beer. Go ahead and try, but as John (above) Suggested, have it with some food.

    Don – I would probably go to the other end of the spectrum of Chinese food. It is a very sweet, desert wine like beer. I think it would work better as a complimentary beer then an opposite.

  7. Mike - MikeLovesBeer.com Says:

    I seem to see that the ancient brews for DFH I have had (Theobroma and Mida Touch) both were very big on the grape taste. They had this almost white wine like taste to them. Would you say that’s kind what you got on this Pete?

  8. Jim Says:

    I love the Theobroma, this not so much. I think I have one of these hanging around in the beer fridge. Perhaps I’ll mail it to my brother Don in Idaho who is DFH deprived.

  9. Simply Beer Says:

    very much so, mike. Desert wine

  10. Simply Beer Says:

    That’s nice Jim, send your Bro the unwanted leftovers. Should include a fruit cake with it :-)

  11. Michael Reinhardt Says:

    It’s been a long time that I’ve had this one. Nate wrote a review a few months back. http://thankheavenforbeer.com/2009/05/25/chateau-jiahu-review-of-a-time-capsule/
    I agree, Mike & Eirk, many of these types of beer do end up seeming grapish…not a huge surprise when they are added. However, I think Muscat is a good grape to describe these types of brews. Personally, I think they come of like a Malbec, too. That big raison-like sweetness.
    @Jim, I’ll drink that beer.

  12. Don Says:

    Mike, don’t be trying to get my beer! I’ll drink it too Jim, and we have that whold blood relative thing between us too. What is the saying…Blood is thicker than Beer?

  13. University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology : informations, photos, carte, vue satellite Says:

    [...] Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Helguera re-creates the set of the original TV show of …Simply Beer – Chateau Jiahu – a 9000 year old BeerMolecular Archeologist Dr. Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology [...]


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