Beer Review: Dogfish Head, ta henket
01/14/2012

Ding Points: 80.00

Pour: 80.00, Nose: 80.00, Palate: 80.00, Mouth: 80.00, Global: 80.00

Tasting Notes:

750 mL bottle, $10.99 from Mac’s, Atlanta, GA, USA. I don’t think a huge amount of this came to Atlanta, at least not in the first wave of distribution, maybe more to follow. Yellow dot-matrix on neck says, ‘BOTTLED IN 2011 21:03 A’.

Golden pour with a touch of chill haze. Carbonation rages from the bottom of the DFH signature glass.

Dogfish Head, ta henket

Dogfish Head, ta henket

Small head that falls away fairly quickly to leave a thin film of white head. A small ring of lace on the collar.

White pepper, very light spice and some lemon notes in the nose. Reminds me a little of a lemongrass infused beer.

Tastes start out with some herbal fruit and a little more spice. It reminds me a little of a Cinzano Bianco, a vermouth that was incredibly popular in Britain in the 70’s with a few herbal notes. Of course, it is nowhere near as intense as that, but it has an air of herbal lemon about it. Pretty obviously, having no idea what Za’atar or Doum Fruit were I checked to see what they should deliver, and I DO feel there is a connection between what I read and what I taste. I also had no idea about Emmer Faro either, but apparently this is the wheat element. Wheat? Well, if it’s in there (which I am sure it is!), it’s not really a significantly contributing factor to the tastes for me.

Chamomile on the other hand is something I am a little more familiar with, and it doesn’t really manifest an floral notes (which is what one might anticipate).

Carbonation remains a little prickly and active throughout the beer, but it adds to the experience. A very large part of my enjoyment of this beer surrounds the sensible ABV. The almost complete lack of session beer in the US is getting intolerable for me, so in part I am often delighted just to get a chance to drink a beer under 5 or 6% from time to time. Sad.

Pretty interesting and the tastes are light all the way through the 750 mL. Never intense, always interesting I liked the experience.

Other: 4.5%, American Pale Wheat Ale.


7 Comments

  1. Chris

    Despite the desire for good session beers, do you think most people are willing to pay the high Dogfish Head price tag for a beer that isn’t high in ABV%? It seems people expect “more bang for their buck” when paying $10+ for a 750 mL bottle.

    Granted, it’s not the most expensive 750 mL on the shelf, do you think people will have enough faith in a strong brand like DFH to pay that amount for a 4.5% American Wheat Ale?

    Reply
    • Ding

      Well, you are correct that this is an issue for many Americans, but for me it is totally irrelevant. I wanted high prices to be associated with high quality, NOT high prices to be associated high ABV!

      Reply
  2. Clint

    I really enjoyed Ta Henket. It certainly isn’t one of the best beers I’ve ever had, but it’s one I’ll certainly revisit. It’s unique, refreshing, and you can have a 750ml bottle and still be able to function.

    Off topic – I brewed a beer that I want to call “Happy Ding / Sad Ding.” It’s a 3.8% abv smoked mild. The “Happy Ding” part stems from the fact that it’s a 3.8% true-session beer, and it proves that low-abv beer can be complex and flavorful. The “Sad Ding” part stems from the fact that I am an American who added smoked malt to a mild. ;)

    If it turns out alright (tastes great so far), maybe I will send you a couple of bottles.

    Reply
    • Ding

      Sweet! ‘Happy Ding/Sad Ding’ sounds interesting, and I can only hope for small victories so I ‘ll take the 3.8 and ignore the smoke! In any case, the ABV alone (as long as the beer is competent) will probably make me delighted regardless of anything else.

      Reply
  3. Chris

    I’m right there with ya. I love great quality session beer, but in a broad sense, the average American expects high prices to be associated to high ABV%. It will take some work to break this association, but I can see that happening over the next year or so once more people get off the hop-head, high ABV% bandwagon.

    Reply
    • Ding

      But Chris, the ‘high ABV, hop-head bandwagon’ has been rolling for years and years in the USA. I really don’t see that changing for a number of reasons, one of which is almost the total lack of subtle understatement that one finds in US culture anywhere!

      Reply
  4. Justin

    Thanks for giving Ta Henket a try, Ding, and for understanding our inclination to experiment. Cheers!

    Reply

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