Solstice D'hiver - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

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Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

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very good

811 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 811
Reviews: 406
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.23%
Wants: 29
Gots: 98 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Rastacouere on 12-10-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 811 | Reviews: 406
Reviews by Nerudamann:
Photo of Nerudamann
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look - extremely dark brown and murky. About a finger's worth of head that dissipates slowly.

Smell - Fairly sweet in smell with a hint of spices. The sweetness may come from the burnt caramel hints noted on the label.

Taste - Liquor-like in taste. Caramel taste comes out more in the taste, and helps to balance out the bitterness. The bitterness is stronger in the aftertaste. The red fruit hinted at on the label might be some sort of pomegranate. Fairly well-balanced in texture, only very slightly toward the watery side. Not as creamy as I would have thought it to be.

Drinkability - Complex brew, and not a bad example for the brew type. Bitterness is a little powerful, but managable. Very decent brew.

More User Reviews:
Photo of WesMantooth
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into Dogfish Head snifter. Very dark reddish brown. A decent sized tan ring stays around for the whole ride

Aroma - Smells like a typical English barley. Dark fruits, sugar, caramel/toffee. Also fair amount of alcohol. Almost sweet rum like

Taste - Hidden surprise here. Some hops that I did not notice in the smell. Everything else followed suit to the nose. Carmalized sugar, and lots of deep malt flavor stand out along with the alcohol burn that stings the nostrils a bit.

Feel - Very smooth. Despite some hoppyness, it feels much like an English style. I would say medium bodied with a little bite in the follow through.

Overall - Excellent beer. I wasnt expecting it to be an American style, but it is more of a hybrid. I would say it actually may lean toward English. The flavors could be a little more pronounced. I would probably score it a little better as and English version. I think this would age really well though.

Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a nice, deep dark brown in color with a purple hue and a robust white head that left nice pitting on top of the liquid.

Smell - The rich malts are heavy and don't carry that winey aroma that a lot of examples of the style seem to have. Don't know that this is bad or good but just different. This is more of a pure malt aroma and for an ABW does not have the massive hop overkill which I appreciate. If I want a hop bomb I'll drink a DIPA.

Taste - Wow does this ABW explode in the mouth. The sugary sweetness that I failed to pick up at the smell is incredibly intense. It's not very complex, just a flavor explosion of sugar and sucrose that accentuate the big malt base. Again, I don't get a lot of that wine flavor here just a good, solid malt beer flavor with some monster sweets.

Mouthfeel - This is full-bodied with a sweetish beginning and middle and slight bitterness at the very end.

Drinkability - This is good and very unique. It might sound blasé, a big-malted barley wine with lots of sugar, but its beerness (as opposed to wineness) reminds the drinker that this style is in fact an ale.

Photo of brownbeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a creamy, white sand head.

Prune, liqueur filled chocolates, ruby port, hops in the backdrop but not overdone. Fairly entertaining.

This has a fruity English yeast character that plays a big role in the flavor. Has sweeter caramel notes with a well hopped, slighty salty finish. It's full bodied with light carbonation, a bit chalky.

English-style all the way and a good one at that.
A solid winter treat from a great brewery.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a snifter. It had a hazy red/brown color, almost a muddy appearance, and a wisp of a head. Nice caramel aroma, light vanilla. Hoppy caramel taste. The alcohol was barely perceptable. Maybe a touch on the bitter side, but still a good barleywine.

Photo of Everything_Belgium
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Most excellent find.

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice pour with about a 1 inch head. Very nice color. Hazy.

Smell is superb. Sweet with floral accents.

The taste is killer. Sweet but not too sweet. Just how I like it. I bit of alcohol taste. Just the right amount.

Overall I would buy this beer again.

Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a nice winter warmer this Canadian barleywine is. The 12 ounce bottle pours a slightly hazed, ruby chestnut body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a lasting collar. Some sparse wispy is left on the snifter.

Interesting aroma has caramel, stewed prunes, brown sugar, citrusy hops, and sherry.

Medium body has a relaxed carbonation that makes for a pleasantly smooth feel.

Taste has a lot going on. Pine and citrusy hops dominate most of the way through, but there is a complex maltiness that throws out toffee and caramel, leathery notes, candied fruits, and raisins. A hint of cherries adds some fun midway through. Soft sherry notes add a welcome alcohol warmth. Finishes with a lingering earthy hop bitterness.

Very well done and ideal as a winter warmer. A really fun experience as an extended sipper.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle at a recent tasting.

The beer pours a nice brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the caramel malts. The alcohol is also very present in the aroma. There is no doubt that this beer is nearly 10 percent ABV. The flavor is a great mix of caramel and chocolate malts. Once again the alcohol is present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just got in from shovelling 8 inches of snow. This calls for some seriously boozy barleywine. Fortunately, as usual, DDC delivers big time. I know I should save this for the actual winter solstice, but screw it, I'll just get another!

As usual, a wonderful bottle design from the DDC artists. Haunting imagery. Poured into a nonic. Rich amber-chestnut, with a very thin head that quickly recedes into a little ring. Looks thick and rich, like a slug of good malty scotch. About right for the style.

Nose is rich caramel, molasses, sherry, wood, cherry, good whiff of booze as well. This should be great!

A highly flavorful and enjoyable barleywine. Rich notes of caramel, brandy, grape, cherry, oak, toffee and cream. A nutty character to it as well, maybe cashew or almond. Sweet and rich, but that's what I'm always hoping for. Barleywines are fast becoming my go-to winter brew, and this one delivers big time. Alcohol is certainly present, but in a delightfully warming fashion. I may still be reeling from a snow-shovelling stupor, but this brew is really hitting the spot. The right brew at the right time, that's what I say!

Thick and chewy, slick, but with a delightfully higher-than-average carbonation level. This one is going down well.

Another winner from DDC - great on a cold, snowy night. I may be biassed towards barleywines, but if I likes it, I scores it high. And this one I likes. A few of these kicking around the house will certainly help get me through the cold, cold winter ahead. I also plan to age a couple for next season.

Great stuff.

Photo of Kraken
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 04/01/09

Poured from an 11.5oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Firm pour evokes a scant head that fizzles out very quickly. Head is a light tan in color and leaves and uneven lace. Color is a dark and cloudy apple cider in color.

Nose- Sweet over ripe apple in the nose. Some cinnemon. Not getting much else.

taste- Plenty of sweet rich over ripe apple on the palate. Robust vanilla, like an oaked chardonney. Slight sweetness about it. Rich and Creamy on the tongue. Pronounced and prolonged bitterness. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Oily, rich, creamy and Dry

Drinkablity- Very rich, and complex. Strong Truely a sipper.

Photo of jondeelee
4.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Solstice d’hiver opens with a rich, sugary, syrupy nose that smells immediately like several beers’ worth of concentrated aroma. The notes center especially around gloopy fruit esters, including fig, date, raisin, prune, and black cherry, with lesser (but still quite potent) orange and nectarine touches. There’s also a heaping dose of molasses and brown sugar, as well as pure vanilla extract to add to the sweetness. All of this is balanced by thick, mealy breads, with rising wheat dough and brown toast crust, spent grain loafs, and a near pumpernickel-rye touch. Some anise and pepper spices linger at the edges, as well as ash. There is an overarching alcoholic vapor, which when combined with the dark fruit esters lends the beer a cognac overtone, but this blends nicely. As a whole, the nose is excellent, being everything that a solid Barleywine should aspire to: excellent balance, superb range, enticing aroma. There’s not a thing about this beer I would so far change.

On the tongue, the first notes are deep, dark sugars, including fig, raisin, prune, plum, and black cherry. These are joined quickly by the aforementioned dark bread combo, here especially leaning toward slightly-burnt toast crust and doughy pumpernickel-rye. A good dose of pine resin and grapefruit rinds adds a bitter hop counter that blends nicely with a touch of tangerine from the malts. Molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla add further sugar flavors, and pepper and anise add a spicy touch. Heavily noticeable is an alcoholic burn, which when combined with the burnt toast crust and ash flavors lends the beer a barrel-aged feel, and imparts a rum-soaked raisin addition to the fruits. If held in the mouth long enough, this alcoholic burn with increase in strength as the sugars die off, until it will eventually come quite close to bourbon. The aftertaste is also a strong bourbon-like burn, with lingering sugars, and lasts for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium to medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a fantastic Barleywine, and one I would gladly reach for again and again. The fine balance and delicious flavors in here mark a brew crafted by true experts and lovers of the style, and even the heavy alcohol burn is a perfect complement to the dark sugars and ashy notes. I certainly know what I’ll be drinking when the snow comes.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours murky brown with a very thin tan cap
S: A somewhat muted nose with traces of fruit and slight hint of roast.
T: Big and malty with flavors suggestive of an Imperial Stout blended with a Barleywine. Dark dried fruit. Some molasses and sherry flavors as it warms.
F: Medium to medium full, medium carbonation.
O: This is OK but I am having trouble understanding how this rates as high as it does.

Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Caramel colored, slightly hazy. A thin wispy head leaves a fine low film of foam.

Low aroma of toffee and honey, some floral hops.

Initial flavors of caramel, tea and ripe apple, accented by some oak and hop bitters, but quickly overpowered by boozey brandy notes, a fusel alcohol burn lingers.

Thin mouthfeel, watery, low carbonation. Not very drinkable. Really boozey, maybe would mellow with some age.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby chestnut body light caramel tan head, nose is filled with equally impressive big fruit and caramel's a Canadian hop bomb of a barleywine. Sharp acidic notes with leafy herbal hops playing a big role in it, roasted nuts and caramelized sugars collide to equate to the aromatics of the beer. Flavor is harsh bitterness all day, bitingly bitter big and bad with warming's a rough sultry barleywine meant for the cooler months, don't ask me why I chose to crack the bottle in the warm rainy spring weather that we are having today. Big fruit ride the wave of harsh bitterness, yeast nuttiness, plum soaked in brandy, this is a big beer all day with lingering waves of earthy bitterness. Mouthfeel is full bodied with a warming alcohol effect taking over in the first few sips, if this is their winter beer it's meant to be this way for a reason to keep you warm when you are walking from pub to pub in the dead of winter up in the Quebec province of Canada. Overall very pleased it's like an exotic version of Bigfoot and I'm sure it's appreciated and held on to every year during it's release to experience something like this so big yet so quaffable.

Photo of ianjsullivan
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ST: 11.5oz poured into a snifter.

A:Reddish brown with a thin off-white almost brown head. Lots of lacing is left in the wake of the vanishing head.

S: Intense, spicy, and fruity. Burnt caramel, alcohol esters, raisin, and raspberries.

T: Spicy alcohol, malt, and dark fruit quickly turns to burnt caramel, hops, and alcohol. There is a liquor quality to this beer.

M: Heavy and thick.

O: This beer is a palate destroyer. Its intense flavors and strong alcohol have more in common with scotch or rum than beer. It does, however, mellow as it warms. Solstice is a sound sipper.

Photo of justme
3.42/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Prefer English style Barleywines, but this was good. Not excessively hoppy with robust flavor

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.5 oz. bottle poured into a Teku. I can't really tell when the beer was bottled.

Pours what seems to be pitch black, but placing it against light I see the light amber and brown hues it has. The head starts about two fingers thick, foamy and light. It persists well and the dissipation leaves lace streaking down the glass. Lots of carbonation is visible, surging vigorously upwards.

Lots of cereal-like grain aromas hit my nose first, almost more like a Marzen or other stiffly malty German beer. Along with this come some hints of caramel, raisin, and mild sherry.

Still heavy on the caramel- and toast-like malts, which again reminds me of the bigger German beers. Mid-palate the raisins and dates make an entrance, followed after by a blast of spicy hops.

The malts provide a thicker mouthfeel and some creaminess, which works to balance the carbonation, slight heat, and aggressive bitterness that come in later. It's the best of both worlds.

A good beer that probably would have benefited from more age.

Photo of biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The bottle label image does a good job of making me feel colder than the climate already does...

This beer pours a dark over-steeped tea colour, with two fingers of puffy beige head, which leaves a consistent pattern of looped lace around the glass as it evenly settles. It smells of big sugary caramel/toffee malt, mild dark complex fruit, and somewhat acrid booze. The taste is quite strongly stewed butterscotch malt, dark fruit liqueur, and further drying edgy, earthy hops. The carbonation is moderate, and a bit on the high side for the style, the body pretty hefty, smooth, but noticeable for its lack of stickiness. It finishes mostly in kind - a lingering caramel sweetness, smacked right down by booze and bitter hops.

I sure don't mind the hops and strength in barleywines, but this one is just too astringently boozy for my liking - probably my own fault, as it was bottled less than 3 months ago. It would be interesting to match this against the new release of my local concern's barleywine - Alley Kat's 2010 Old Deuteronomy. Time will tell.

Wow - after reading the product description in French on the side label - looks like I was bang on: alcohol, fruit, and bitter hops - c'est vrai!

Photo of mintjellie
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep ruby brown colour, slightly cloudy. Capped by an inch of tight and creamy beige foam. Moderately good retention, but lots of lacing. Nutty brown sugar aroma with spice cake and dried fruit undertones. Picking up quite a bit of booze on the nose, enough that it distracts from the other more pleasant aromatics. Tastes of rich sweet caramel, plump raisins, and cloves. Finishes with a lingering leafy bitterness and some noticeable alcohol, but not as much booze as the aroma would suggest. Medium bodied with low carbonation. A soft, smooth mouthfeel. Leaves a slick, oily sensation on the palate between mouthfuls. Very tasty.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.67/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.5 fl. oz. twist cap

A deep, vibrant and ruby red amber body color with minimal scattered head, bubbly lacing pops up with not much formantion, a flat, heavy look.

The nose is rather spicey with fermented apples, black pepper over caramel and soft ginger notes. Dried smokey wheat in the malt, zesty, herbal undertone's are remarkable.

Sometime's I would rather report on how a beer feels before it's flavor, and this one feels really's lively, belgian-lively with a rather slick and full feel after with massive malty complexity, smokey and sweet, caramel and light brown sugar...very heavy complexity which is exactly how I like it. The malt becomes toned down with by a ton of hop flavor and in all the right ways! not huge bitterness, not fruity and no citrus it's all dry and herbal with a peppery and earthy effect that gives a great balance. Dried grasses in the hoppy aftertaste, very hearty finish after a huge malty smack to your face. The heat flows well with the malt with a tangy effect and not intrusive at all.

A modest abv. for the style which serves this beer very well. $5.55 is a steal for a brew this complex!Huge quoff for such a big beer. Easily my favorite brew this cold season.

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive medium brown, with a lasting whitish middle. Barleywine aroma. The mouthfeel is above average, a smooth barleywine with a lovely drinkable caramel. Nice balance, satisfying, although boozy. Thanks for bringing me back a bottle, Derek.

Photo of ElGordo
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 11oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a pretty chestnut color with crimson highlights, topped by a small, creamy off-white head. Aroma of sweet, dark malt with a touch of roastiness, a hint of caramel and maple, and just a touch of dark fruit.
Palate is pleasantly balanced up front - rich, sweet malt is offset by some sharply bitter, piney hops. Sweetness comes through after the swallow, with a nice infusion of sublime dark fruit. Dry finish leaves a lingering bitterness and a pleasant warming feeling in the back of the mouth.
Body is creamy and just a touch sticky, very ideal for a barleywine. This is a pleasant, tasty barleywine that has great depth of flavor. I would expect nothing less from Diue du Ciel, one of my favorite new (to me) breweries of 2008.

Photo of socon67
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Orange\amber pour. Creme colored foam retains well. Slight carbonation noted.

S - Scents of dark fruit, caramel, and a boozy scent of scotch. As it settled a bit of toffee was present.

T - Surprisingly mellow. Initial sweetness of dried fruit. Has a warming burn and qualities of scotch whiskey. Notes a caramel and hearty grain.

M - Very drinkable barleywine. I was amazed how smooth this was. Syrupy thick and with a hearty ABV, but I didn't feel it.

O - Tasty barleywine that I'd happily have again. I'm finding plenty of love for Dieu Du Ciel. Another offering from them that I liked alot.

Photo of cjgator3
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.5oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan colored head that leaves a ring of lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma features a lot of malt and dark alcohol soaked fruits.

T- The taste starts out incredibly smooth with a lot of malt and dark fruits. There is a good dose of hops in the finish which balances out the sweetness perfectly! I love a good hoppy barleywine and this is definitely one of them. Good stuff!

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this is a really tasty barleywine!There is a lot of booze with this one, so I do think it would benefit from a couple years aging but it is still very good fresh. This is really good stuff! Highly Recommended!

Photo of hoptualBrew
4.52/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle brought back from trip to New Orleans, after a visit to Stein's Market on Magazine Street.

Dark cola brown in appearance with a film layer of cream head on top throughout the sitting. A moderate to heavy dose of spicy floral hops greet the nose along with sweet caramel malts, vanilla, spice, and a warm oak like presence - slightly boozy. Smells amazing & taste gets the same score with a bitter caramel dark chocolate lead off that turns toffee, slight brown sugar, and highly hopped throughout. Solid & fairly complex American Barleywine! Damn, this is good stuff! Couldnt ask for a more spot on body here, with a slight warming out back, but oh so drinkable.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 811 ratings.