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Solstice D'hiver - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Not Rated.
Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

418 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 418
Hads: 862
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 14.58%
Wants: 37
Gots: 106 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada | website

Style | ABV
American Barleywine | 10.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

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

This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. It has a complex aroma of fruits, alcohol and hops. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel. It is a very bitter beer with aromas and flavours reminiscent of red fruit. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 418 | Hads: 862
Photo of JoEBoBpr
2.38/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a a tulip glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a nice murky light brown color with some slight amber hints. That only show up on on the edges. There is a thin, medium dense, light tan head that recedes quickly.

S - Strong caramel and molasses hints come up strong and linger. The beer is very malty and sweet. Brown sugar notes and some slight pear and apple cider notes in the nose. Not much hops. A bit 1-D.

T & M - Starts off with some nice molasses sweetness and good caramel. Slight burnt caramel notes are present. There is some brown sugar and there is also a slight roast to the beer. There is a slight acrid note to the beer as well. The taste finishes a bit on the burnt side with a slightly overwhelming yeast note that seems to hide the flavors. Not the greatest beer in my opinion. A lighter body for an AB.

O - The beer is underwhelming. The flavors don't seem to blend very well. Not my coup of tee.

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Photo of kkipple
2.45/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Brand new bottle to the Columbia market, I grabbed this one from the venerable Charleston Beer Exchange. Let's see how Canadians do barleywines...

A. Pretty dirty-orange, smallish 3cm head, dingy and cloudy. Dark beer. Ok.

S. Very fruity, lots of esters and a wallop of hot booze to boot. Sweet and slick toffee notes, prunes, dates, sweet black bread and... bananas. Odd. Very odd.

T. Oh no. I actually cringed as the first sip of this passed my lips. There's a tremendously harsh, medicinal (think gnawing on a handful of aspirin tablets) and violently unpleasent bitterness here that is all over the palate. Front, mid, and finish; it knocks the rest of the beer down and stamps on its jangly bits. Somewhere in there is hid caramel sweetness, warm alcohol, a bit of black pepper and fruit, but I'll be darned if I could taste it past the aspirin-assault. Not enjoyable and frankly bad tasting.

M. Warm, sweet, a little thin, and boasts a very sharp bitter finish - not sure what happened here or if this brew is best 5 years out, but it's practically undrinkable now. I didn't finish the bottle.

D. No. Alas.

Solstice D'hiver is a real disappointment from a usually fun brewery - this and the peppercorn beer the Crazed Canucks create are two beers that I find personally unpalatable. A real shame, but I'd be curious to try an aged bottle and see if this changes much over time.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.47/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark mahogany body with some yeast floaties within, thick dense cap that looks like you could lay on it.
Aroma isn't very outspoken, even after letting this warm it seems muted and gives off some basic malts as it's only aromatics.
It seems this far in this is a tamer barleywine, there is nothing to scare you away but at the same time not alot to keep you enamored. The flavors present a bit of alcohol, and some toffee which is what i would say the biggest malt character is in this BW that provides the backbone. Weirdest thing here, i am getting something that reminds me of mint chocolate, odd with a bright fresh note, maybe that is just the alcohol mixed with malts playing tricks.

An alright BW, if your into BWs get it for the knowledge and experience of the tick, otherwise dont worry about it much.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.49/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$4.99 for a 11.5 oz bottle. 10.2% ABV per the bottle. Pours to a clear dark amber, forming a rocky light tan head with excellent retention and a solid sticky sheet of lace. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The aroma is clean and subtle, with dark fruit, resinous hops, carob, and alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy with a dense body. The taste opens with dark and candied fruits, and is followed by oxidation and fusel alcohols. Definite acetone. Moderate wierd chemical bitterness. ot sweet. The fusels overwhelm the finish. Defiinitely hot.

Not digging this one at all. These guys usually make great beers, but this one kinda stinks. I definitely wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of KFBR392
2.56/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Muddy brown/very dark red color. Light bubbly head on the pour which dissipated quickly and was not present while drinking. Low active carbonation in the glass while drinking.

Smell: The front is a mossy hop profile with plenty of sweet oak. Cherries and fruit sweetness jump out as well. There honestly is not much more after that. A semi bright barley profile is also picked up but is light.

Taste: An overly sweet oak and barley front hits the palate first. That synthetic, crayon like feeling continues to pile on. Mild barley continues to warm up as the beer does as well. Lingering off tastes which just don't seem to belong stick around for a while. Sweet, really way too sweet.

Mouthfeel: Sweet, synthetic, strange oak, and nothing worth wanting this again.

Overall: Disappointed with this one no doubt. Besides Peche, I haven't had another brew from Dieu du Ciel that is really worth continually buying.

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Photo of jwinship83
2.75/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

11.5oz bottle poured into my duvel tulip

A- this one pours a very murky dark brown colored body with a finger of creamy looking khaki colored head. the head becomes no more than a crown after a minute or two and leaves solid rings of lacing behind.

S- the malts are much stronger than the hops in the nose of this american barleywine. lots of caramel and toffee. somewhat fruity as well. plums, figs, and cherries. a strong alcohol presence.

T- the first sip brings a massive amount of medicine and alcohol. like a pill that wont go down after a few sips of water. ouch. after i manage to get over that, the dark fruits come through faintly. cherries, figs, and plums. theres a slight herbal hop bitterness at the end, but nothing like a traditional american barleywine.

M- medium to full bodied with a low level of carbonation. very strong warming from the alcohol in this one.

D- the medicinal taste is way too strong and nothing i ever want to taste again. needless to say, i dont think ill be buying this again. different in a bad way. i say avoid.

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Photo of JamnesCameron
2.78/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a dirty deep ruby with no head to speak of. There was a brief flash of carbonation on the pour that created a little wisp, but it was gone in a flash. Very hazy beer, even with a careful pour.

Aromas of .... soap? I know the glass was beer clean. I get a faint malt aroma, but not much else. As it warms, the soapy aroma turns to more of a caramelly malt. Not sure what is going on here.

First sip is of a mild bitterness, which is interesting, because the label warns of a very bitter beer with aromas of hops. Which hops? Perhaps this is where the soapy aroma comes from, floral hops. Some tobacco, caramel. Perception is a good balance between hop bitterness and malt sweetness, but the overall flavors are not pairing well for me. Not much of an alcohol burn for a 9.8%abv beer.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for a barley wine. Expected more of a big, chewy, malty beer. This is kind of unexciting.

Overall drinkability is not there. I wouldn't seek this out. It is not an exceptional example of a barley wine. Balance is good, but flavors and mouthfeel are off.

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Photo of Haydn-Juby
2.84/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

L: A tawny/ruby red color. Visibly viscous with a thick, well retained head. A bit cloudy.

S: Lots of booze. Some sweet caramel malt and a fair bit of oxidation.

T: Initially very harsh. I'm hit by a wave of warm alcohol heat; this is waaay more than I would like. Throughout the drinking experience, it became more tame, revealing dark fruit notes. A faint raisin and oxidised/sherry/port note. A bit of biscuity toasted malt as well. Some faint floral hops as well - but very faint. Mildly sweet but potently bitter.

F: Very thick and creamy. Leaves me with slightly sticky lips. Definitely lingers on the palate.

O: I didn't really like it and wouldn't buy again. It was way too boozy for me, but I could see it aging nicely. Barely wines aren't really my style; take my rating with a grain of salt.

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Photo of TerryW
2.94/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fairly subdued as a barelywine goes - not nearly as kickass and biting as some others I've had.

Pours a moderate head that settles to a heavy film, but boy, does it ever leave a lot of lace. Red-hued walnut in colour.

Nose is very boozy and sharp edged. Under the alcohol is sweet dark fruit. Tough to pick out what else is in there for the amount of alcohol present. After it has had a chance to breathe out it settle into a fruity, burned caramel and malt aroma that is fairly subdued. Overall profile is sweet.

This is one of those beers that betters as it warms. Initially just booze and sugar. Mellows out into sweet fruit and malts, some dark chocolate. Mouth feel is moderate, just a slight sparkle of carbonation, some stickiness. Lingering bitterness, sticky sweetness.

I'm not a big barleywine fan. The style is probably pretty out there for most folks, but as barleywines go, this is less aggressive than many I've had. Requires the big comfy chair and a period of immobility.

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Photo of tbeckett
3.03/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Two finger, pillowy sort of head, tan colour. Dark amber type colour with good carbonation going on. As far as I can tell it's bright but it's almost too dark to tell. Great lacing all around the glass, the stuff doesn't wanna let go.

S - Good sweet malty character with some booziness. Great candy sweet aromas. Reminds of toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Some dark fruits also.

T - Boozy. Tons of dark fruits. Lot's of alcohol. Alcohol seems really harsh. I honestly can't get anything much beyond the alcohol. Maybe this needs time to mellow.

M - Lot's of carbonation, sort of harsh going down b/c of the alochol. Full bodied.

D - Hard to drink to be honest. I like barleywines but this is boozy, but not warming, just rough. Considering this was bottled 3 months ago I'll try to give this another chance when it's got some more age on it.

Had with 3 years on it, it's lovely. Too bad it took so long to shine.

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Photo of kbutler1
3.04/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. Poured into a DFH tulip glass a clear dark mahagony reddish brown color with a fluffy 1 finger head that is fairly slow to settle. The aroma is actually pretty subdued with some dark fruit notes along with a ever so slight smokiness. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of this subdued nose as I think t takes away from the overall experience. Medium mouthfeel. Sweet dark fruit start gives way to semi-bland hop and alcohol notes. Nice lace left on the glass as this goes down. In the spectrum of BW's I think this one is on the muted side with much too sedate flavors for my liking.

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Photo of garbercury
3.06/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into Maudite snifter...

A---Deep ruby red, lacing is minimal

S---Medicinal, so smell of flowers? Spice?

T--Not real complex, again get a medicinal thing going on, hops are present.

M--Thin, not real impressed.

D--Love this brewery generally speaking, but at 6 bucks a bottle, very let down by this one. Would not go out of my way to drink again...

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Photo of TheHammer
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance: Murky dark brown with red highlights without a lot of carbonation. The head was practically non-exsistant and thus did not lace or retain.

Smell: Datas and figs are dominant, but it's quite yeasty. Also notes of hop oil can be gleaned in the background, but the spice of the yeasty hides them well.

Taste: Starts out with some rough, dark toffee that turns to a yeasty fruit jumble of figs, dates, a light berry note and grapefruit hops as the hop oil soon takes control and reveals the boozier elements of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Complete lack of head and very low carbonation, although I will give some slack as it is a barley wine. However the hop oil clings to the back of the tongue and the transistioning needs some work. Nice toffee aftertaste though.

Drinkability: A little bit too boozy for my liking, and the lack of carbonation makes it very akin to drinking wine. I dunno, it sits down and it's drinkable, but it's not my cup of tea.

Final Thoughts: It's hard for me to really judge this beer, having only had one other barelywine before. Still, I didn't find it all that enjoyable, so I think it's more of a fault with the style then the beer. I would pass on this in the future though.

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Photo of maximum12
3.12/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Located this bottle loitering in the back of the fridge & apprehended it for further questioning. 12 oz. bottle of unknown providence.

Pour comes out a dark rose' right up until the last 1/2", which is chock full of what appears to be congealed french fry grease; wow, floatie city, & whoppers at that. Smell needs to be coaxed from the glass: caramel, toffee, with a spoonful of sweetness.

Solstice d'hiver is cut from the Great Book of Standard Barleywines. Chock full of nice caramel, with a heavy, boozy bite: the alcohol is standing out front with a bare chest. More sweetness than a Lifetime Original Movie, & zero 0 of 5 dentists recommend drinking this beer. Glad I split this with my wife, six ounces is plenty.

Nothing remarkable about this brew. Very simple & without a lot going on. Decent enough, but wouldn't feel the need to put this in my glass again.

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Photo of Vancer
3.13/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

An American BW from Canada, eh? And label states 11.5 - with a twist off top, no less!

Pours a nice opaque mahogany brown, really turns murky when you swirl and add the bottom yeasties. Small, but decent tan head.

Mostly sweet caramel malt in the aroma, scotch ale in nature. Biting and harsh quaff of hot fermented earthy leather. Plenty of hop, not enough malt to make for a balanced Barleywine. Has more cough medicine aspect than expected.

This one was pretty green, and needs another year to age - but if it's on the market, it should be ready.

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Photo of htomsirveaux
3.15/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.5 oz. bottle tried 22 Feb 2009. Label not notched for a date although there appears to be a space for it.

Poured in 0.4 L Steiner Pils snifter. Moderate 1.5 finger beige head. Medium carbonation. Dark brown with flashes of ruby. Aroma is strong with syrup, burnt caramel, ethanol, dried fruits, currants, dates. Alcohol present right upfront, burns and warms throughout. After this come flavors of burnt sugar, bananas, nutmeg. A strong unpleasant astringency/bitterness at the back of the throat detracts from an otherwise decent beer. Finishes a bit like burned cough syrup (flaming Moe?). Some plum in the aftertaste.

Seems like some improvement as I drink it but this might be a result of numbing tastebuds.

Dissapointing, would not get this again.

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Photo of Bubba83
3.18/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter at 50 degrees. Appears a dark brown with a one finger width off white head. Good retention here and some nice spiderweb lacing sticking to the sides of the glass.

I get a lot of raisins and caramel in the aroma. Cherry alcohol is apparent too, along with some figs and burnt sugar. Somewhat of a smokiness that I can't quite fathom.

Starts off tasting a lot like I would expect from a barleywine, with lots of caramel up front. Just when I'd expect it to go towards the raisin/fruity/vinous flavors, it doesn't, and instead gets kind of smoky and bitter with some burnt sugar playing around here too. Finishes up with a quick kick of cherry alcohol heat.

Feel is pretty good, medium thick with the right amount of carbonation and an oilyness. It could feel a bit smoother on the tongue though.

Drinkability is impacted negatively by some of the harsh tones I get in the mid-range flavors, as well as finishing a little too warm. Not the most approachable barleywine, but it was certainly decent overall.

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Photo of kevanb
3.21/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into a stemless wine glass.

The beer pours a deep amber color, burgundy hues, mostly opaque with just a touch of clarity. A soapy, bone colored head sits atop the beer, that has good retention and leaves touches of spotted lacing behind. The aroma is very intense, lots of rich, sweet grain with subtle stone fruit that is countered with piney, spicy hops that really bite hard. Strong, punishing alcohol lingers behind and is quite abrasive. Hops are first on the tongue, very abrasive, piney and sticky and massively bitter that leads to rich dark grain, light stone fruit is detectable at the finish but the rush of sweet burning alcohol mutes any subtlety in this beer. The body is nice and rich, very smooth despite the burning alcohol, coats the mouth well with a warming as it goes down.

Verdict: A harsh barleywine from DDC, and another example of why I'm not a fan of American style Barleywines, just too bitter and abrasive. The grain and fruit really get overshadowed by the hops and alcohol. Hardly enjoyable.

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Photo of simonjohansson
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Smell: hmm... not too much going on here, surprisingly, malty with caramell, biscuit and dried fruits. The smell isnt big, really.

Taste: again sweet and malty, dried fruits, caramell, plus some american hops. Pretty bitter. I found the taste to be pretty thin, which was a disapointment. Nothing stands out, I'd say. The malt needs more depth. Alcohol is warming and nicely integrated.

Overall: dont know if this one should be characterized as an american or english bw. Hops were american, but the rest was more towards the english type. But smell and taste were, either way, a bit thin and weak.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.23/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a 16 oz snifter. Pours a dark mahogany with a a half inch if off white head that leaves little lace. Smell is brown sugar, molasses, caramel, vanilla, and dark fruit. Taste is all of that with brown sugar and molasses dominating and hint of the rest in the finish, plus some warming alcohol. Body is medium, little carbonation, on the dry side, and a slow sipper for sure. This is an o k Barleywine and they got me into craft beers.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Rich and murky earthy brown body with a short, creamy, tan cap. Not a whole lot of retention: heads sits as a tight halo for most of the session. Lots of suspended sediment can be seen when the beer is held to light, and the color changes from earthy brown to bright reddish copper. Light lacing.

Smell: Tree bark (mainly pine), sweet and juicy grapefruit, red currants, and sweet esters. Holiday spices and caramel become more apparent as I really dig into the beer, but all in all there ain't a whole lot goin' on in the smell department.

Taste: Pretty hefty alcohol greets the palate initially. As I became acclimated to the ABV, burnt caramel, pine, cinnamon, and other spices came to the forefront. Not my favorite take on a barley wine, but it does seem to fit the season.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, syrupy, lightly carbonated, dry, and warm. ABV feels a little higher than I think it should. Meh...

Drinkability: While this certainly isn't a bad barley wine, I find it to be both dull and forgettable. I won't be buying it again.

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Photo of skrib09
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

this barleywine poured a rich dark brown. it's pretty cloudy and the head disappeared rather quickly.

smells of burnt caramel, alcohol, hops, and a distinct fruity sweetness. deep roasty notes.

taste is alcohol, fruit, hops, and a developed sweetness.

good mouthfeel. rich and deep, almost clingy. not a heavy drinking beer.

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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.

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Photo of tdawgydog
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is has been sitting in the cellar since the holidays. Time to make some room for the summer seasonals.

A - Poured a beautiful dark brown. Carbonation flowed up from the bottom of the glass to build a really nice head. Almost looked like something out of a Guinness commercial.

S - Sweet yet strong. It's difficult to hide the 9+ ABV and it's clearly visible in the nose of this brew.

T - Started off extremely sweet. Hints of chocolate and caramel, but as I got to the bottom of the glass all I could taste was the alcohol. Almost a scotch taste.

D - First part was really enjoyable. It could be that I left this in the cellar too long but I'm not convinced that is the problem. All Dieu Du Ciel beers that I have enjoyed have been really well done. Not that this one is bad, I just wouldn't seek it out again.

M - Again it started out great but went downhill after that. I only had a single bottle so it's neither here nor there.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.3/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Total Wine in NoVA.

Appearance: Very dark, but clear amber. Very thin, wispy off white head with poor retention and just some spots of lacing.

Smell: Cherry and some raisin. Very earthy hops aromas. Caramel malt aroma is a bit steely and slightly burnt. Not real boozy for a big barleywine, not all that interesting either.

Taste: As with the smell, there is quite a cherry presence, and some more dried fruit flavors as well. Hops impart significant bitterness. The estery flavors are a signature of the English ale yeast used. Again, not very boozy tasting.

Mouthfeel: Lacks the heavy, sticky mouthfeel I expected. Carbonation is appropriate. Finish is drier than I'd like.

Overall: This is a decent beer that is better than the sum of its parts. Its actually very easy drinking for the ABV and has some interesting flavor combinations, but it just isnt as good as a really good big barleywine.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
88 out of 100 based on 418 ratings.