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Solstice D'hiver - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

655 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 390
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%


Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Rastacouere on 12-10-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 655 | Reviews: 390 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of abcdefghijkyle
abcdefghijkyle

New Jersey

3.76/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

There was almost no head when I poured this into my snifter. The appearance was auburn. The suds cling to the sides of a glass for a really long time after a sip. It smells boozy, almost like a nice bourbon. The taste follows the nose except that it tastes a bit like caramel and/or toffee too. This barleywine is sticky like a good one should be. I'm happy I tried it. It went down well during the blizzard of 2013. I was expecting the taste to change a bit as it warmed up though. I don't know if I'd drink this one again... maybe when next year's snowstorm hits the east coast.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2013 22:13:13 | More by abcdefghijkyle
Photo of schoolboy
schoolboy

Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the better barleywines that do not need aging. Now, how would it taste aged? I would like to find out.

It pours to a typical for the style thin head and deep rich color. The aroma is faintly sweet and pleasant and somewhat more - maybe a little hoppy.

The taste is first class - complex and hoppy for a barleywine, with plenty of things to distract from there being too much malt (typical for the style). The aftertaste is a loving one! You are happy that you had this great drink. I've had this a few times and it has always been a winner (although one time it was beaten at a tasting by a barleywine from Iceland).

Tres bien!

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 19:13:54 | More by schoolboy
Photo of ProudBeerSnob
ProudBeerSnob

New York

4.39/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into my Hoppin Frog snifter. Beautiful dark mahogany color with a thick head. Aromas of caramel and biscuit. Taste matches arms nicely, with a closing sweetness that's not cloying at all. A nice boozy bite helps the warming nature of this beer on a sub zero night here in Upstate NY.

Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2013 03:12:03 | More by ProudBeerSnob
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81

Virginia

3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a brownish body with minimal head and a hearty aroma of malts with a mix of roasted and caramel malt along with minor grape hops and/or dark fruit (I think) and a touch of alcohol coming through. The beer is strong, not too strong though, alcohol has a minor role but doesn't bleed and is a good sipper. Figs, caramel, toffee or bitter chocolate seem to make a cameo and the breadiness/roastiness of the malts makes it sturdy and there is a good balance of dark fruit sweetness and hops. Finishes a little boozy but not an ABV burn.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2013 15:34:05 | More by clayrock81
Photo of MarioM
MarioM

California

4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

11.5 oz poured into tulip

A: Dark brown and slightly red, almost mahogany. Very light tan head, small creamy bubbles with good lacing after with about a two minute head retention.

S: Sweet maltiness with some fruitiness that almost completely hides the light bit of alcohol notes from the 10.2% abv.

T: Sweet, raisins, dark fruit and malty. Bitterness comes out nicely even with the sweetness being upfront and very apparent as expected for the style, which it fits well. Medium carbonation works well with the hoppy bitterness and give a nice bite after sipping. Good balance and quite drinkable.

M: The sweetness and maltiness gets covered by the bitterness after a few seconds after sipping and a followed by a nice warm feel from the high abv that lingers between sips.

O: I enjoyed the balance of this beer. Color is nice but smell wasn't much but I probably served a bit too cold. But a good, tasty, drinkable, not too sweet yet bitter barley wine. Another great beer from our friends in Canada.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2013 06:23:51 | More by MarioM
Photo of Voonder
Voonder

Alberta (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 341 ml bottle into snifter.

A - deep dark brown with reddish tones. Fluffy thick head, dissipated rather slowly, good retention. Very good looking beer.

S - yeasty with caramel notes, nutty, hint of chocolate. sweet malt is coming through. some fruity notes - pear, plum, raisin, a bit citrus. Very nice, complex and pleasant.

T - raisin, warming alcohol is overwhelming, then yeast, some plum-like fruitiness, caramel. Finishes pretty bitter - hops are coming through. Very complex

M - smooth, balanced, carbonation is on spot. very well brewed.

Overall, it is a very good barley wine. Very balanced, smooth and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 04:20:07 | More by Voonder
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel
Solstice D'hiver

Pours a deep amber, mostly clear, with a slight off white head. In the nose, barley malt, sugary sweetness and some alcohol.

In the taste, dark fruits, raisin and caramel. Toffee and faint cocoa are balanced by a graceful bitter note. Mild toast, brown sugar and plum. Full bodied, medium carbonation and smooth.

Overall I like this barleywine a lot. Has all the trademark flavor. Strong but not overly so. This drinks easy and I would recommend it to any beer fan.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 22:44:47 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of arizcards
arizcards

Arizona

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single at Total Wine in early November for $4.99. I believe this was bottled in 2010 per the notches.

Beer poured a reddish brown with not much head.

Nose is of light hops and some alcohol.

Taste is hints of dark fruits and northwest hops. There is a decent malt backbone but the hops dominate in the end.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Overall this is a decent representation of an american barleywine. Glad i had the opportunity to try.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 23:41:36 | More by arizcards
Photo of ThickNStout
ThickNStout

Georgia

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.5oz bottle from Sherlock's (Marietta, GA). 6.49. Bottled early 2012. Served in a Red Brick snifter.

Pours dark chestnut brown with a half finger of pale head. Zero lace.

Smells of toffee, earth, sugar and slightly grassy.

Taste follows the nose with sweet toffee, brown sugar, mild earthy grassy hops, caramel, faint dark fruit and a healthy kick of alcohol burn. A nice blend with the booze present but not distracting.

Creamy medium full body with moderately light carbonation. Long dry bittersweet finish.

A smooth and easily drinkable barleywine. Rich and pleasantly multi-layered. I'll most likely be picking up another bottle or two for the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 23:15:10 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of Seanniek91
Seanniek91

Rhode Island

4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served From a 12oz bottle into a Redhook Limited Release Tulip.

Appearance- Copperish brown with no head and very little carbonation visible. Nice lacing though around the glass.

Smell- Raisiny booze. Some cherry or plum and vanilla. Candy sugar and caramel malts.

Taste- Caramel. Some chocolate. Stone fruit. Light boozieness (pretty well hidden). A little hop bitterness at the very end which lingers nicely.

Mouthfeel- Very low carbonation. Smooth and sticky (in a good way).

Overall- This is a solid barleywine. Its nice drinking it while the snow storm of the century that closed down work for me today is going on outside my window. Im pleased with this one.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 17:58:28 | More by Seanniek91
Photo of chanokokoro
chanokokoro

Illinois

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 11.5 oz. bottle into a short-stemmed tulip/snifter. Enjoyed on 12/21/12, the winter solstice

Pours a dark amber with copper highlights. Cream colored two finger head. Average retention the leaves behind a bit of splotchy lacing. Caramel, ripe fruit, and phenol alcohol on the nose. Caramel throughout, mixed fruit: apple peel, date, cherry, hints of cocoa. Finishes with candied but lightly bitter citrus rind. Syrupy, slick full body, low carbonation. A very solid barleywine-style brew that seems to be a hybrid containing aspects of both the English and American styles (and is brewed by a Canadian brewery).

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2012 05:19:10 | More by chanokokoro
Photo of BarryMFBurton
BarryMFBurton

Indiana

3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First time I’ve seen this beer, but it intrigued me enough to buy it. Plus, it’s Dieu du Ciel, so I know I’ve most likely got something good here.

A: Smooth beige head over a translucent, dark topaz body that shines beautifully in the light. No lacing and only a dusting of retention.

S: This nose is quite mild, showing just a little bit of vanilla cola and sweet, buttery aromas of roasted dates. Some maple syrup, eggnog, and bubblegum notes play around in the middle, too, but that’s really it.

T: Peppery, hoppy, and alcoholic to a heavy degree, this palate shows intensity in every area. Stings with the tastes of black pepper, hibiscus, and bitter lime rind; it’s a complex hoppiness that’s almost salty in its character. Malts exhibit tastes of burnt caramel, biscuit, apple butter, and the soft, dark sweetness of dates or honey. A dark, brooding winter beer. The aftertaste is pretty damn spicy, too; this beer is just all bitterness.

M: Bubbly and light; it definitely doesn’t feel like 10%+ alcohol. Thin-bodied yet warm on the first few drinks down.

O: Weird beer? Sure, but it’s strangely delicious. Sometimes, odd combinations of flavors work – this is one of those times.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 03:46:40 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of wvsabbath
wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark burnt tan. Not much of a head, some sticky lacing.

Smell - Caramel, rasin, plum, fig, molasses, brown sugar, roasted malts, cherry, apple, grapes.

Taste - Malty smokey note up front with some dark fruit, sugars and plenty of alcohol. Sweetness of sugars at first, then bitter sour grapes mixed with warm alcohol comes in. A decent wood/smoked flavor is present.

Mouthfeel - Tounge gets malts, dark fruits and sugars. Palate gets more smokey malts, caramel, bitter fruits and booze. Aftertaste is alcohol, bitter fruits and smokey malts.

Overall - Not bad, plenty of flavor, a big warm and a real bitter finish. I enjoy the wood/smoked flavor this has. Would like to age for a year to see the alcohol die down and let some more malts come out. Would be a great barrel aged beer. Worth a drink but way, way overpriced.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 02:55:46 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of Auror
Auror

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an old bottle. At least 2 years, probably 3 or more. Batch code has 0 and 8 notched, how I wish DDC made it more clear when the batches were from on US bottles. As a barleywine, I'd expect this to hold up fairly well though.

Poured into my Kate the Great snifter.

Appearance- Pours a dark muddy, reddish-brown. One finger head diminishes quickly to a slight ring. Carbonation bubbles are evident, a good sign considering this bottle's age. Mild lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, fruity malt, strawberry, wood, damp leaves.

Taste- Some malt sweetness upfront reminiscent of cherries. A little bit of a chalky flavor in the middle (oxidation?). Finishes with a tingling, lingering bitterness. Hops might have been prevalent once, but now only the bitterness remains. No alcohol present.

Mouthfeel- Surprisingly sharp carbonation. Medium feel.

Overall- I'm only guessing here, but from reading other reviews this beer has lost a lot of flavor. In exchange for that, the 10% alcohol is just non-existent.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 04:26:40 | More by Auror
Photo of OtherShoe2
OtherShoe2

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours medium brown with no head. Thick looking with some slow rising bubbles.

Cherry wood, toasted malt, some alcohol, dark fruit in the nose.

Nice rich sweet malt up front. Some burnt nuts, over-ripe bruised stone fruit, a little vanilla, brown bread, and mild bitterness. Nice complexity. booze is hardly noticeable.

Full bodied. Good chewy brew.

Nice version of the style. This was a dusty bottle, so the age on this took off any edges that may have existed at bottling.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 13:50:10 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of decimator
decimator

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml bottle poured into a goblet. ABV 10.2%.

A - Poured a murky dark brown with copper highlights. Thin head was quickly gone. Not much lacing.

S - Dark fruit, brown sugar, hint of dark dark chocolate, burnt coffee, some pine in the background. Alcohol is only slightly noticeable after the drink warms up a bit.

T - Brown sugar, some whole wheat bread, dark fruit, hint of burnt toast, hint of citrus, some pine in the finish. It's more complex than I can describe it.

M - Medium-heavy body, medium carbonation, slick, syrupy, sticky, slight burn in the finish.

O - My first barley wine. Found it pretty good. That ABV is well hidden.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2012 04:26:03 | More by decimator
Photo of aasher
aasher

Indiana

4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a medium bodied hazelnut brown in color with amber highlights and a slight off white lacing around the glass. The nose is both rich and sweet. It features a bouquet of molasses, sorghum, slight cherry, and a touch of oak. Nice nose for a barleywine, and smooth. The flavors too, full and sweet. It features candied sugar, molasses, brown sugar, light oak, a light bitterness, with a touch of cream in the finish. Well rounded flavor as well. For being 10.2%, there isn't any alcohol at all. It drinks pretty full in body with plenty of residual sugar. It is big but isn't overpowering in one facet or another. It's just a well rounded barleywine. I recommend it. It's barleywine season, and this was a nice way to start it off! If only Dieu Du Ciel would barrel aged this!

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2012 21:59:41 | More by aasher
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pours reddish brown with a creamy off-white head that quickly dissipates to a thin cap. Plenty of lace clings to the glass. Lots of malt sweetness in the nose. Prunes, caramel, sherbet, toast and herbal, green tea notes in the back. Peaty whiskey notes in the taste. Dried apricots and cranberries mix with fruit compote, banana and stern, warming alcohol. Hops provide the requisite bitter ballast to the malt assault, but not much more. The mouthfeel is full bodied and sparsely carbonated with a numbing feeling from the booze. The finish is long and sweet with an accompanying alcohol burn.

This is a decent malt-centric barley wine. Tons of malt complexity going on, just a bit too much alcohol flavor, even for the immense ABV.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 03:34:14 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing the Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel out of Montreal in Canada.
Score: 83

Unknown vintage bottle with the 1 and 0 ticked on the side of the label. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 10/16/12.

Appearance: Pours two fingers of beige foamy head that slowly recedes to a thick layer atop the glass. Crazy lacing and retention. The beer is a deep mahogany color with a blood-red halo around the glass. Not quite opaque. 4.5/5

Smell: Vanilla, toffee and malty caramel. Faint, musty hops. Light plum, raisin and pine. Yum! 4/5

Taste: Sadly, the taste does not live up to the inviting appeal of the nose. Malty caramel, faint dark fruit and ample stale hops. There is a hint of vanilla upfront, but it is very very faint. There is a slight nuttiness too. 3/5

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium-light carbonation. Super malty, slightly creamy. 3.5/5

Overall: Taste is a mediocre, unincorporated mess of flavors and stale hops, but the aroma was nice.

Recommendation: Definitely not worth the price tag.

Pairings: Spicy Pad Thai.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz bottle.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2012 01:02:03 | More by jegross2
Photo of socon67
socon67

New York

4.03/5  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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-22-2012 15:07:57 | More by socon67
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo

Netherlands

3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this in a trade a while back. Cheers!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2010

APPEARANCE: Pours a smaller, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Opaque burnt umber with no carbonation evident. Head fades to a thin wisp that remains the whole way and leaves some dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Caramel, toffee and pale malts. A touch of piney hops and melon notes as well. Milder, but nice.

TASTE: Caramel, toffee and notes of melon sweetness up front. Some piney hop bittereness and more toffee flavors at the swallow. Bold and lingering aftertaste with more piney bitterness, sweet malts and some butterscotch as well. A little mild up front, but the flavor comes out really nicely after the swallow.

PALATE: Medium-full body and medium carbonation. Enough weight, nicely creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly mouth-coating. A bit of a scratch at the swallow as well.

OVERALL: Really nice stuff. The nose could be a little bigger, but otherwise, this is a quality American barleywine. This one is definitely worth checking out, so if you happen to see it somewhere, give it a shot. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2012 20:20:09 | More by Jeffo
Photo of kjyost
kjyost

Manitoba (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle date notched 09-2010 received via trade. Could have sworn it was via papat444, but i traded before that date. Thanks to whomever it was. Poured ~6C into a fluted beer glass.

Pours a rich reddish brown and quite clear with next to no head, and thus no lacing. Aroma is quite nice with raisins, dried fruit, peppery spice with a hint of alcohol underneath it all. The beer itself has a solid body with a slight syrupy nature to it with spiciness, some complexity in the malts mainly being levels of dried fruit and caramel notes seemingly from crystal malts. The bitterness is surprisingly noticeable in the beer for such a sweetness, but it keeps the palate cleaner than I had expected. A well put together barley wine, that is really worth having again.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2012 01:41:57 | More by kjyost
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.5 ounce bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours cloudy very dark reddish brown color with a dense 1 finger light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Good spotty lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big raisin, prune, molasses, caramel, toast, bread, earth, herbal, and yeast spiciness. Very nice and well balanced aromas with good complexity. Taste of big raisin, prune, toast, roasted malt, molasses, bread, caramel, earth, oak, and herbal spiciness. Fair amount of spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, caramel, molasses, toast, earth, oak, and herbal spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of spicy hop flavors with the fruity malt backbone; with good complexity and no cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very nice creamy, thick, and slightly slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very nice barleywine. Nice flavor balance and complexity; and extremely smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 06:23:09 | More by superspak
Photo of soulfly1492
soulfly1492

Pennsylvania

4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Huge, bold flavor. Brown sugar, molasses, some moderate dark fruity esters, raisins are prominent. Very malts, but some mild to moderate hop aroma also.

Appearance: Light to medium brown in color, very hazy. Head is light brown with some patchy dark brown throughout. Good retention and lacing. Looks a bit evil and intmidating in my tulip glass.

Taste: If this isn't full flavor then nothing is. Maybe the strongest beer I've had to date and my favorite styles are American Strong Aleas and Quadrupels (Belgian Strong Dark Ales). Huge malt flavor. Raisins and prunes. Alcohol is noticeable. Some nutty flavor in the aftertaste, mostly walnut. Hops are highly floral. Just a touch of black pepper spice. Some earthy molasses in the aftertaste as well.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Feels creamy, but it turns the mouth dry leaving a chalky feeling. Almost numbing the tongue and roof of the mouth. Mild and smooth carbonation. Finishes moderately dry.

Overall: I figured this would be bold, but this is extreme. Great stuff. Never harsh, a flavor-explosion. Lots of sugar as expected, but the bitter hops and spicy alcohol balance nicely.

NOTE: Not sure what I was smoking today, but I actually snapped the top of the bottle of when opening with my stainless Spaten bottle opener. Maybe it was the funky Canadian bottle sizes.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2012 23:02:35 | More by soulfly1492
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

4.9/5  rDev +25%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2012 18:26:57 | More by jondeelee
Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.