Feb 17, 2012

Dogfish Head Ta Henket

Dogfish Head Ta Henket photo

From Dogfish Head’s website, a description of their latest in the Ancient Ales series:

“Ta Henket is brewed with an ancient form of wheat and loaves of hearth-baked bread, and it’s flavored with chamomile, dom-palm fruit and Middle Eastern herbs. To ferment this earthy ancient ale, Sam and friends traveled to Cairo, set out baited petri dishes and captured a native Egyptian saccharomyces yeast strain.”

I’m pretty sure that I remember watching clips of that trip on the short-lived Discovery Channel show, “Brewed.” It certainly looked like an exciting and adventurous endeavor. The beer however, unlike the brewery’s Midas Touch and Pangaea (other beers in the Ancient Ale series), was not one of my favorites.

That’s not to say I didn’t like it, but given the other options in the series, I would prefer one of the other bottles. That said, for a 4.5% Wheat beer, Ta Henket is pretty damn interesting, which is ultimately what I’ve come to expect from the Delaware brewery. It’s unique flavor and sharp carbonation make for a drinking experience that few beers can provide.


The beer pours golden in color with a short-lived, white cap of foam.


Having no idea what a majority of the beer’s ingredients were supposed to smell (or taste) like, this beer certainly has a varied aroma. Hints of wheat, subtle spices, grain and a little bready malt inter-mingle nicely.


Following the nose almost to a tee, the flavor of this brew is something I’ve not encountered before. There’s wheat in the mix, but at a fairly low level as herbal lemon notes and spices bounce along the palate driven by a relatively sharp carbonation. There’s a biscuity malt character that’s interesting. A light, grassy hop character compliments the herbal and spice notes. At 4.5% ABV the beer is nearly sessionable, though I’m not sure that the flavor profile is something I would want to encounter for full afternoon.


It’s no secret that I have a love/hate relationship with wheat based beers, but this one is outside of that argument — the wheat is different than most and minimal, sitting in the backseat to the herbal and spice notes that drive this beer. I’m always excited to try one of Dogfish Head’s new “extreme” beers. You never know what you’re going to get. I’m glad I tried this beer and I enjoyed it for the most part, but it’s not one that I will probably purchase again.


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