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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

408 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 408
Hads: 836
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 14.58%
Wants: 34
Gots: 107 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! visit their website
Quebec, Canada

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: 408 | Hads: 836
Photo of Hopswagger
3.49/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P: Murky nut brown ale with a rippled wake and minimal lacing.

S: Fruity syrup laced barley, molasses, fruit cake, natural fruit roll ups, cinnamon, brown sugar, earthy hops and booze. Moldy dank esters once warmed.

T/M: Cherry NyQuil upfront with smoldered barley, caramel and orange oil. Spicy booze, wood and herbs cut through the sugary malts. Syrupy feel in a fully carbonated body and finishes with a juice dose of hops that aren't overly bitter.

O: Super sweet and easy drink barley wine. It's decent but really comes off as lack luster. No real problems but its just not great.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.5oz bottle. Note-bottle says this is 9.8% not 10.2%. Pours a dark, dark brown color with ruby hues and no head. Almost no lacing. The aroma is boozey and sweet with some brown sugar, earth, bread, dark fruits and some spicy hop presence. Hints of orange. The taste is boozey caramel upfront with some spicy hops and dark fruits. Earthy and maybe a bit nutty. Burnt caramel and brown sugar towards the end. Slick mouthfeel. I wish I had a chance to try this on tap at the Brewpub when I was there. Overall, solid barleywine I hope I get to have again.

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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 malts...it'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 alcohol...it'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.

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Photo of Jparker37
3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.5oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Dark brown with good clarity. Small tan head from a strong pour holds a cap. Little lacing.

S - Rich caramel profile with some sweetness. Strong ripe red fruit mixes with some spicy alcohol. Mild smoky phenolics.

T - Smooth caramel turns to some dark chocolate flavors. Moderate sweetness comes into big red fruit flavors midway. Hops are earthy and give a quick snap of bitterness right at the finish to balance. Some bitterness after the finish along with those nice dark caramel malts.

M - Medium-full bodied, light to medium-light carbonation, semi-sweet.

O - Aroma popped from the glass very well and the flavor was bursting but the red fruit flavors were a little over the top. Not what I would consider to be a traditional American Barleywine as the hops were overshadowed by the big malt emphasis. Again, this beer was complex and shined in many aspects.

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Photo of jmendels
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was my first craft beer from Canada - what an introduction! I've taken a liking to this style of beer and this one is no exception. It's a dark red pour, with a decent amount of head. The taste is worth savoring. There are flavors of toffee, caramel, and a touch of roasted bitterness. Certainly an exemplar of Barleywines and something worth trying and seeking out.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.23/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours from the less than 12oz bottle into a La FinDu Monde oversized snifter. The beer looks beautiful; ruddy brown with purple and amber highlights. Topped with a creamy and dense, light caramel colored head of about one finger in size, and the foam sticks around for quite a while leaving specks of lacing.

Aroma is of pineapple, deep caramel malts, brown sugar, alcohol, and subtle hoppiness.

Very gentle flavor profile that is creamy and soothing. Alcohol, herbal and earthy hops, low-ish bitterness, dried figs and raisins. The earthy hops seem to leave a lingering flavor in the mouth. I once made a tea with some Kent Goldings and this tastes like that, with alcohol and caramel, breadiness mixed in.

A nice beer for sure. The alcohol provides a warming effect and makes this one a sure sipper. Very well balanced, chewy, hot at times, but still a very nice beer. Alcohol is certainly noticeable, which provides about the only drawback. Nowhere near an American Barleywine, but spot on for English version.

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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 Beer-A-Lot
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into wine glass.

A - Looks great. Beautiful bronze color. Decent head. Great lacing.

S - Kind oif a weak aroma. Nothing outstanding.

T - Tastes nothing like it looks. Not enough fruit for me. Seems almost flat. Could use more sugar, fruit, heat, something. Hope it was just a bad batch.

M - Not bad. Decent body.

O - A bit of a disappointment. Does this need to age more?

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz served in a snifter

A - Pours a dark brandy color with a small khaki head.

S - Roasted/charred barley, toffee, caramelized brown sugar, dried fruit, cherries, plums, over ripe apples, fruity ethanol, old wood, vanilla. Of course the longer it sits the better it gets.

T - Rich roasted barley, charred caramel/toffee, sweet vanilla and fruit, apples, plums, the bitterness doesn't hit until mid palate but comes on strong in the form of roast bitterness and grows stronger through the finish.

M - Smooth body, low creamy carbonation,

Very deep and robust nose. Agressive barley flavors with a sweet and fruity background. The hops come on strong on the finish balancing out the rich sweetness.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

10.2% ABV confirmed. Acquired for $1.00 in SoCal - probably the best deal I've ever gotten on a beer. 11.5 fl oz brown glass with branded standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery, which makes some beers I'm a big fan of. Imported by the Shelton Bastards. There are notches in the "1" and "0" slots, but I don't know what date that indicates.

Served after a brief period of rest following its removal from the fridge and allowed to warm further over the course of consumption; I prefer my barleywines just slightly chilled. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention - which isn't actually bad for the high ABV. Body colour is a hazy caramel-amber brown; very typical of a refined barleywine. Nontranslucent. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible, if only because it's opaque. This is definitely unfiltered. No bubble show. It's what I'd expect from a good barleywine; I'm not blown away but I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Rich caramel, toffee, malty sweetness, light toasted malt, grains and sugars, burnt bread crust. Redolent of old brown leather. Some fig fruit and other stonefruit. Raisin. A touch of earthiness - in a good sense. Light vanilla. Candied fruit. A light dark spice. A bit of fennel. Candied green apple. A complex aroma of moderate to fairly high strength. Alcohol's there, but it's well concealed. An evocative aroma that affirms complexity to come, but doesn't come off horribly balanced. I can't wait to find out.

T: Dominant caramel. A bit of toffee. The sweetness is certainly there, but it's well balanced by more refined notes. I'm sure it'd be better with more age, all the same. The sweetness would fade a bit. Light fig and mild candied apple fruit come through, adding pleasant dimensions. Biscuit malt and brown malts aid the body. Some raisin. A bit of lurking alcohol, but I wouldn't call it hot or boozy. Little yeast comes through, if any. Hopping is generic and floral - and certainly minimal. Malts are the star of this show, and as well they should be. The dominant note is redolent of those caramel-apple sticks you'd get at a fair. Light burnt bread crust isn't as deep here as I'd like; it's there in traces but that flavour is the highlight for me. I could do without the fennel/light licorice, but that's just personal taste. A nicely balanced little barleywine, but one that seems like it'd be a lot better with 2-3 years of age on it. Pretty good balance, for the most part.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Thick - like it needs to be for the style. It's got definite presence on the palate, but I wouldn't say it's too heavy. Firm and punchy. Good carbonation. Complements the flavour profile pretty well, and in some ways it seems like it's tailored to it - but the execution doesn't come off incredibly. Solidly done, but not great.

Dr*: It's not a great barleywine, but it's rather solid. I wouldn't pay the full $6.00 import price for it, but I love the $1.00 price tag I paid. I'm glad I picked up 5 others; this is far better stuff than Bigfoot (at least fresh Bigfoot). Another solid brew from Dieu du Ciel, but I did expect a little more given their usual quality. Worth picking up at the right price, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Like it, don't love it. It is quite drinkable for the ABV though. I could have more than one of these in the same night and I wouldn't mind.


Definitely a beer that'd be better with age. 2-5 years for this one methinks.

I regret I was forced to drink this one from a pint glass. By all means, use a snifter or tulip if you've got one. Hell, even a wine glass would be better than a conical pint glass.

*I had to play with the overall score to get the letter grade that was appropriate. This keeps my reviews fair and consistent. Please see my profile for more information.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.57/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: Dark ruby color with brown hues. Head sputters out very quickly. Small spots of lacing.

S: Rich malty aroma redolent of caramel and brown bread. Toasted crust. Very subtle vanilla. Slight brown cocoa. Bruised apple and fig. Faint whiff of alcohol spice. Suggestion of earthy hops.

T: Rich caramel and lots of toasted crust. A little nutty, hints of brown cocoa and leather. Spicy alcohol butts in on the mid palate with a stiff jab that wakes the palate. A whisper of chocolate covered raspberry. Fig. Very mild pine and earthy hops. Drying bready finish, alcohol rides it out as well.

M: Big and thick-bodied. Very chewy, slightly syrupy. Mouth coating with some silky creaminess. Little to n o carbonation. Hot in the alcohol department.

O: This is fairly boozy. Time in the cellar will iron that out, but even then there's nothing that really makes this beer stand out from the pack. The price point won't help it either. I can see this being a perennial slow seller.

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Photo of silverking
4.4/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- It pours a dark brown with a definite red tinge. It sports a tan head with excellent lacing.

S- Malty and toasty. Cherry and candied fruits. Alcohol is detectable.

T- Sweet malt, caramel, and cherry. Taste transitions into dark cocoa and eventually leads into a hoppy bitter finish. Alcohol is less detectable in the flavor

M- Thick, rich, and oily. gentle carbonation. Nice warming sensation.

O- Very nice beer. well rounded and complex.

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Photo of 4ster
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled November 2011. Poured into a large wine glass.

A: Dark burnt amber, lots of bubbles, light head, quick die off to a wispy lacing.

S: Sweet fruits, cherry bubblegum, light citrus/spice/caramel, and bit medicinal alcohol..

T: Fruit forward like the aroma, cherry, grape, sour apple, nice sweet malts, finishes with a nice oily hop bitterness and slight alcohol flavour.

M: Good carbonation, fizzy but not overpowering, very smooth, well balanced, with the alcohol providing a great warming sensation. Very sticky/oily and slightly dry.

O: Don't have a huge experience with Barley Wines, but this one is quite nice. Hits a sweet spot about not being too sweet, with a nice balance between the fruits and hops, and keeps it warm without being over powering. As I said, not an expert, but no complaints and worth trying for sure...Good after dinner beer during the cold months, and will be interesting to see how it tastes with age. (also, if you're getting this beer in Florida, you shouldn't complaint too much about the cost, as it's reasonably priced where it's brewed @ 3$/bottle)

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Photo of Muhly
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a brandy snifter at cellar temps. Bottled in October 2012 according to the label.

A-dark brown. Ruby and amber highlights. Required a pretty vigorous pour to generate two fingers of tan head. Low head retention and some strands of lacing here and there as head drops. Has some legs.

S-caramel and some fruitiness. Slightly toasted or burnt notes. A bit of hops.

T-dark malts, hints of caramel and fruit. Hop bitterness finishes it off.

M-pretty round and soft mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. Definite touch of warmth from the alcohol. Moderate hop driven astringency.

O-very nice. Complex and well rounded. My first barley wine so I don't have a great frame of reference, but this is great on a cool winter's eve and seems to fit the style description. Will throw a couple in the cellar for next year.

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Photo of zac16125
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.5oz bottle into a snifter
2012 vintage (punched out between the 0-1 and 7-8)

A: Pours hazy to the degree of being opaque. Dark mahogany in color with some sedimentation particles suspended in the glass. A sliver of light mocha colored head comes and goes quickly. Leaves no lacing.

S: Lots of apple. Some caramel sweetness, Booze, a medicinal astringency. Aromas are very strong, but not as appealing as many barleywines out there. However, it does significantly improve as it warms, with nutty aromas and cinnamon.

T: Sweeter than the nose implies, with more traditional barleywine flavors. Caramel and toffee, bakers chocolate, with a bitterness on the back end. There are hints of the apple character that was on the nose. Fair amount of booze.

M/D: Medium bodied, but not thick or syrupy, maybe a touch thin. Fairly smooth, with a moderately low carbonation. Drinkability is good. Alcohol is noticeable,and it gives a whole body warming sensation, without producing a burn in the throat.

O: Overall, good but not great. It did the trick on this (relatively) cold Feb night. Overpriced at almost $6 a bottle, which seems to be the MO for this brewery. Worth a try, but I dont think Id purchase this again unless there was a significant decrease in price.

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Photo of stephens101
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with crimson hues and a light tan head that dies quickly. Aroma is brilliant with subtle notes of milk chocolate, spice, dark fruits, vinegar and red licorice. Tastes sweet and oaky with a hint of cherry, grain, vinegar and hops. Complex yet smooth all the way with a light to medium, creamy body and a perfect hint of alcohol warmth.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.49/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Notches on the label: One in between 0 and 1, one in between 3 and 4.

A- Pours a ruby-like brown color with a 1/4 inch light tan head that retains decently before popping away to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a thin sheet of surface foam. Splotches of lacing adhere to the glass.

S- Sweet but roasty cereal grain malt aroma. A bit biscuity with a surprisingly light alcohol fume. Also detect some rye possibly.

T- More biscuity, semi-sweet malts that are more toasty than roasty. Mild hop bitterness is very delicately balanced with the malt-forward flavor profile. Alcohol is masked superbly well.

M- Very smooth with minimal sharpness and a slick feel. Medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- With this beer, Dieu du Ciel has become one of my favorite breweries. Between Peche Mortel, Derniere Volonte, Corne du Diable, Route Des Epices and this, I've witnessed only excellence.

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Photo of Rutager
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Big thank you to montrealbcr89 and papat444 for getting me some bottles of this fine Quebec barleywine.

Appearance. Pours a thick looking, deeeep red-orange with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Caramel and oranges with some floral hops, cherries, booze, and maybe a little grapefruit.

Taste. Lots of caramel and cherries, floral/earthy hops and some toasty wood. Some decent bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel. Full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Finishes pretty clean.

Overall. A fantastic barleywine right now, but with some age will probably be pretty amazing. Makes me anxious to try the vertical that was so generously provided by montrealbcr89.

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Photo of abcdefghijkyle
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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!

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.37/5  rDev +11.8%
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.


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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of MarioM
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of Voonder
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
88 out of 100 based on 408 ratings.