Solstice D'hiver - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
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Ratings: 711 | Reviews: 392 | Display Reviews Only:
4.93/5 rDev +25.8%
Picked up a 3 year old vintage...
A - pours a deep dark brownish color with slightly bubbly/creamy off-white head that leaves a good bit of lacing
S - raisins, toffee, alcohol, hints of tobacco, a slight hint of mustiness
T - ohhhh nice. raisins and dark fruits, toffee, slight hints of chocolate, alcohol but not too much, and so much more...so much age and complexity behind it.
M - full bodied and syrupy with a crisp sticky finish
D - dangerously drinkable. enough said.
The age was apparent right off the bat, had that old ale after taste akin to north coast old stock. If it aged a few more years it would be absolutely amazing.
02-11-2010 22:25:50 | More by josefnewsong
4.9/5 rDev +25%
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.
06-26-2012 18:26:57 | More by jondeelee
4.88/5 rDev +24.5%
Pours a thick dark brown, aproaching the darkness and thickness of a stout. Nice creamy tan head with thick lacing.
Smell is nutty and a bit boozy but well balanced. Bits of carmel and vanilla mixed in.
Taste is a deep strong ale with a powerful malted backbone. Lots of vanilla and a touch of oak. This is a nice treat compared to the hoppy American barley wines that have been popping up.
Mouuthfeel is smooth and creamy. It is a bit like a stout. This is a wonderful take on the beer style.
Ah. After one of these wonderful ales, I could have gone back for more! However the 10% ABV made that hard to do. I will remember this barleywine for its dark, malty, creamy nature. It is well worth it!
09-16-2010 02:55:41 | More by wampahoofus
4.88/5 rDev +24.5%
From bottle to a snifter. Red-brown color, minimal head, but carbonated enough to be lively in the glass. I have had severe allergies for years, and my sense of smell is almost gone--taste is also affected so I can't discern many of the subtleties that others can, and I apologise for that. However, I can attest to the fact that this is a true malt bomb that has absolutely no cloying sweetness. Alcohol content is not apparent, but two of these and driving would be a bad idea. As a note of comparison, the absolutely best beer of this type that I have ever had was the original Thomas Hardy's Ale, and this is the most worthy successor I have found. Very similar, but more dry, a good thing.
05-27-2011 14:30:17 | More by fudsquat
4.75/5 rDev +21.2%
01/30/09- Purchased at Healthy Spirits, in San Francisco, CA.
Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with a date strip on the side of the label. Poured into my Duvel tulip.
Appearance- Deep caramel color with a mahagony tint throughout. Pours with a full one inch plus head, in which a slight rim remains through consumption. Leaves some patches and streaks of sticky lace behind...not far from perfection.
Smell- Smells like an English Barleywine (which it is). Lots of sweet caramel, very reminescent of a JW Lees or Hardy's. Very Old Ale like in the nose with the exception of the infusion of pine and grapefruit hops. Great nose though.
Taste- Though it smells English, it tastes more American. The caramel-vanilla malt is there, but it's backed up by and possible passed up by some strong but smooth woodsy and bitter hops. Very well melded.
Mouthfeel- Exceptionally smooth for a beer of such a hoppy nature...doesn't have that harshness of fusel alcohol burn as others would. Medium to a touch lower carbonation. This is how every American Barleywine should feel IMO. Medium mouthfeel and slightly chewy with a medium lasting bitterness in the aftertaste.
Drinkability- This beer was not far from perfection. Was a bit picky on the appearance, but was basing it on the fact that I have seen a good handful of the same style and abv beer that have looked a bit better. As for the taste...pretty damn good, possibly a bit off style according to the label...but BA has the right style IMO. Damn great beer worth seeking out.
02-02-2009 16:58:59 | More by GClarkage
4.7/5 rDev +19.9%
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 good...it'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.
01-03-2010 00:24:43 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
4.65/5 rDev +18.6%
11.5oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date. . . Months & years are available to be notched but are not :/
(A)- Pours thick & a fairly dark amber color that has some ruby red & caramel colored highlights. A good cream colored head formed that looks very thick & foamy. Great retention. Some bits of webbing were left behind that are rather clumpy; some of the thickest lacing I may have ever seen.
(S)- A nice roasted caramel & toffee smell. Bits of vanilla & oak. Just a tiny bit of boozy warmth.
(T)- Very similar to the smell. The caramel is actually more of a burnt character rather than a roasted one. A big bitterness but is balanced very well by the caramel & toffee. Pretty massive stuff. Finishes dry with a fantastic nutty creaminess.
(M)- A good carbonation level. Has a huge body to it not to mention a big bitterness too, but is overall balanced very well by its sweet & creamy finish. One of the thickest feeling barleywines I have had in memory. Great alcohol integration.
(D)- A very good barleywine with a very big/full body to it, particularly in its thick mouthfeel. Bitter, sweet, & creamy all at the same time. I dont know how fresh or aged this is, but based on how this tastes right now, this could continue to age for a very long time. I definitely enjoyed this one very much; a great beer that warmed my bones on a cold weekend night. This will age fantastically!
01-18-2010 20:42:19 | More by sweemzander
4.6/5 rDev +17.3%
First, I have to tell that this was my first Barley Wine ever so my review might be biased (as usual). Second, I drank it on the 7th anniversary of DDC, last year and it was from the 2004 brewing. For the first time of my life, I took some notes...
Appearance : Absolutely crystal clear copper brown
Nose : Cognac-macerated fruit and floral hops
Taste : Juicy cherries and citric hops.
Makes me feel like a young boy eating his first « sucre d'orge » after a long journey playing outside during a snowstorm.
Very drinkable. It was quite interresting! Too bad that this kind of beer isn't very popular in Quebec. I am looking forward for trying another ones of this kind. Sooner than later I hope.
06-04-2006 05:58:12 | More by philmath
Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 711 ratings.