Chatuau Jiahu is the third historical recreation beer that Dogfish Head has undertaken. This one was cobbled together from the analyzed remains taken from 9000 year old pottery jars discovered in China. Brewed with barley malt, rice, muscat grapes, hawthorn fruit, and chrysanthemum flowers, this beer just screamed at me from the shelf. “Try me!” it said, “Try me!” So I did. I took it from the shelf, walked back to my hotel, and anxiously waited for it to chill in the little refrigerator. This will either be really good or really bad.” I though.
Aroma: Vinous, white grape. Light toast. Twigs. Pears. Sugary sweetness but not a cloying impression.
Appearance: Golden and clear(?) (At least I think so. I’m drinking it from a black styrofoam hotel cup so it’s hard to tell.) Thick, creamy, persistent, off-white foam.
Flavor: Sweet, heavy. A bit syrupy. Explosions of fruit, pear nectar, white grape, strawberry, peaches and cream. Lightly nutty and toasty. Faint sweet alcohol. Herbal mint and woodruff notes come in and out. Vanilla. Floral. Green apple. Some wine like acidity adding tartness that compliments the sweet. Will the flavors ever stop revealing themselves? Finish is sweet lingering long on herbal, nutty honey.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and thick. Creamy. Tongue coating, but not unpleasant. Low carbonation but leaves an interesting tingle in the back of the throat on the way down.
Overall Impression: My first swallow was, “what the heck is this?” But it grew on me quickly. Complexity is what this beer is all about. Multiple overlapping and intertwining flavors of fruit, herbs, and earth. The flavors just keep coming. The sweetness will limit consumption. I have a 750 ml bottle sitting in front of me. I Doubt I will be able to finish it. Not because of taste or alcohol, it’s just too full-bodied and sweet. Drink this one at just a touch below room temperature for the full flavors to come out.