Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
I haven’t had too much experience with the sahti style, but what I have had, I’ve liked. Samuel Adams‘ Norse Legend was certainly a solid offering, but the first sahti I remember having – and the one I’ve enjoyed the most – is Dogfish Head‘s Sah’tea.
As you’d expect, Dogfish doesn’t approach this beer in the normal fashion. When the style was prevalent, metal brewing equipment didn’t exist, so wooden barrels had to be used for brewing. But heating those barrels wasn’t easy – wood + fire = bad – so hot stones were used to heat the wort. True to the style, DFH did the same thing, rounding out the beer with the traditional juniper, but also black chai tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper and cloves. Quite a slate of ingredients, and it all makes one good beer.
The beer has a very slight hazy straw-yellow color. Topped with two fingers of a really foamy bubbly head. There was some nice carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass due to the nucleation site. Very strong lacing and nice alcohol legs as well.
There’s a big chai tea quality on the nose backed with the cardamom, as well a definite bite from the rye and a bit of tart sweetness from the juniper. A slight wood note is noticeable as well. All the spices used for flavoring are there as well, giving it a very herbal and spicy note, but there’s nothing that really stands out.
The mouthfeel is full and smooth, coupled with good carbonation throughout. Just a bit of a rye bite to go along with the carbonation. The juniper sweetness really shines on the back. The lingering taste comes from the chai. It’s that rich, sweet taste you’d get from drinking a cup of chai tea. The alcohol become a little more prevalent as it warms, but just enough.
I really enjoy Sah’tea, as I do with the majority of Dogfish’s beers. The use of chai is really nice and gives the beer a very creamy and rich quality that makes it very drinkable. The plethora of spices used in flavoring add a nice bouquet to the beer and work well together. This is one I’ll keep coming back to and enjoy time and time again.