The second of our three specialty brews from Dogfish Head Brewery is Sah’tea. It’s described as “A modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer.” It is brewed with rye and fermented with German Weizen yeast. Then come the flavors…Finnish juniper berries and black tea with cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper. I never had a beer that utilized tea and I love chai tea spice, so I was really excited to try this one.
Sah’tea is a cloudy golden orange with a lot of visible sediment. There’s no seeing through this one! The aroma is very present, with lemon, honey, nutmeg and a lot of vanilla. With the first sip, the first thing that I noticed was a surprising bit of carbonation that pleasantly stung my tongue. This stinging was the only sense of the 9% ABV that I could discern.
Lemon and vanilla flavors are very present up front with this beer. Following are the chai flavors of black tea, cloves, cinnamon, pepper, and ginger. I thought that the berries were lost, but eventually I found an overall light fruitiness that is present. After a drink you are left with a spicy cinnamon aftertaste that makes you think you were just drinking apple cider.
There are a few things that I appreciate about Sah’tea. First, the 9% alcohol is completely missing in this beer. While an alcohol flavor is pleasant in some brews, it would taste contradictory in this one. I don’t know how they hid it, but it’s no where to be found! Secondly, this is a fantastic fall beer that utilizes the spices of the season in a very unique (not pumpkin) and balanced way. If I get an opportunity to score more bottles of Sah’tea, I definitely will. If you get a chance to try it don’t pass it up!