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Solstice D'hiver - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Not Rated.
Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

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

711 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 711
Reviews: 392
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 10.46%
Wants: 21
Gots: 85 | FT: 1
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: 711 | Reviews: 392 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Evil_Pidde


4.22/5  rDev +7.7%

A: Pours murky brown with a small off-white thick head. Dissipates into rich lacings.

S: Sweet malt, roasted caramell. Dark dried fruit. Faint chocolate.

T: Sweet roasted caramell malt, acctually malt galore! Dark dried fruits.

M: Fullbodied and lowcarbonated (GREAT!). Aftertaste is rather short and holds mostly sweetness.

D: This is a very nice Barleywine. I love this brewery! Still I've not tasted a beer that wasn't great from them.
In Sweden - this is marketed as a X-mas beer. I feel that's quite unfair - this is a much better product than any X-maxbeer. My only regret is that I didn't buy a whole case and put it in my beercellar...

01-03-2011 20:03:50 | More by Evil_Pidde
Photo of shamus

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +0.3%

Deep gorgeous amber with a luscious foam head. Lot's of carbonation. This isn't my favourite style of beer as I find barley ales a bit on the cloying side. that being said I do like this one. It has a sweet chocolate and cherry taste, sort of like a vastly superior Dr. Pepper. It's high in alcohol and for me this reduces the drinkability factor slightly, however that is a characteristic of this style.

12-31-2010 03:56:22 | More by shamus
Photo of Long813

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -1.8%


A: Dark brown body with a few cm of dark brown head. Retention is style typical and leaves little to no lacing.

S: Much roasted malts, some hops and earthiness. Quite sweet.

T: Full of sweet and roasted malts. Nice touch of hoppiness.

M: Medium-full bodied with medium-low carbonation. Sticky malt after taste and leaves a strong essence of alcohol.

D: Good barleywine - expect no less from DDC. More pleasant than others of the style I've tried.

12-30-2010 23:54:48 | More by Long813
Photo of kwjd

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -12%

Pours an amber brown colour with thin white head. Not too much lacing. Smells quite boozy, some hops and brown sugar with caramel malt. The flavour is sweet and boozy. I don't remember it quite tasting like this when I had it on tap a year ago, I thought it was much more balanced. I didn't review my first bottle of it, but the 2nd bottle was the same. Maybe I'm just not a fan of this, but way too much booze and the flavour doesn't quite hold up enough. Good carbonation level.

12-30-2010 18:02:17 | More by kwjd
Photo of Gobzilla


4/5  rDev +2%

Poured a ruby brown in color with yellow highlights when held up to the light that had a thin frothy had and left a little lacing sticking to the glass. My smelling senses are not that great at the moment but I was able to detect some caramel, slight toasty notes, some booze, with mild hop notes. The taste also had the caramel and toasty character alongside brown sugar, sweet malts, and hoppy accents. The brew was medium to full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet, toasty, malty, hoppy, and very mild bitter finish. It drank decent but was definitely a sipper really glad I got to try this brew again.

12-30-2010 06:48:15 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev -3.1%

12oz Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a murky brown colour with a very large size frothy and fizzy light brown coloured head. I can't see much carbonation due to the murkiness and there is an insane amount of lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - hops, earthiness, malts, toasted/roasted nuts

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a low to average amount of carbonation and it feels very creamy on the palette. Most of the taste is made up of malts, hops, an earthiness, and caramel. I also picked up on notes of molasses and chocolate. The beer finishes with bitter hop aftertaste.

Drink - The alcohol is well hidden and this beer packs a punch. It is a definite slow sipper and a terrific winter warmer.

12-29-2010 15:25:47 | More by spinrsx
Photo of LaSalle

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a ruddy strawberry with a pinky's worth of head into a standard 33cl glass. Deep spicy molasses with surprisingly fresh (vaguely ceder-y) hop note, and the slightest vanilla/ pipe tobacco in the nose.

As expected, bold esters immediately present on the palate, a bit of spice in the middle, though nothing overpowering in context; and finally flowing elegantly into an almost syrupy hop bitterness. Quite nice, though does not really stand out as far above, for the style, as many of dieu du ciel's other ventures. Slight effervescence also to round out the mouth feel and keep it square in the centre.

A commendable barley wine that really comes in more drinkable than many of its colleagues. That said, i would expect nothing less from DDC, and would venture to suggest that this is something that I am more glad to have had than something I'm particularly excited to have again.

12-29-2010 06:24:14 | More by LaSalle
Photo of fostachild

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

bottled on 09-2010. pours a darkish red/amber color with a little bit of off-white head. retained a bit of lacing.

smell is very alcoholic. also quite hoppy with a little bit of fruit/sweetness to it.

taste had the typical bitterness/sourness, also some fruit. alcohol was again really noticeable. strong, but definitely got smoother as i went on and overall was a good barley wine.

12-26-2010 01:06:42 | More by fostachild
Photo of ludachris

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

This marks my first American Barleywine. The English ones I`ve had have been big, bold, and somewhat intimidating with their great depth, complexitity, and high ABV's. It's a style that I'm still getting in to and one that I don't mind taking my time doing so. With a greater emphasis on hops bein one of the characteristics that distinguishes American from English Barleywines, I'm eager to give this a go. Just finished the first round of exams and tonight happens to be the longest day of the year. It only took a glance in the fridge for me to decide this was going to be the beer for tonight.

Its incredibly murky rusty orange body already gives this beer a big look. Knowing that it clocks in at 10.2% ABV, I poured it a bit more aggressively to see if I could generate some head, and indeed I did. A frothy cream coloured cap, about a finger in depth, slowly formed as the carbonation lazily made its way up the sides of the glass; an early sign of this beer's viscocity. After a few swirls, streaks of spider leg and spotty lace are left behind along with some alcohol film.

Resiny, rich, and gooey notes of grapefruit rhine is the first thing that hits me. Digging a little bit deeper, the malt bill comes through being composed of toasted bready malts and a good helping of caramel. The nose isn't as intense as I had anticipated and is quite inviting.

A bitter smack of slick pine and dense grapefruit hit the tongue first and move to the roof of the mouth where they reside as the rest of the beer takes its course, still imparting their bitterness well beyond the finish. Getting passed the assertive hop character, which was a bit of a challenge, some really nice caramel and toasty malt notes can be found. As the beer leans towards its finish, the sweet and toasted malts can still be detected, but are almost subsumed by the resiny and dense hop character. As the bitterness lingers, I get a subtle dose of bready malt that adds a welcomed balance. The finish is the only place I get any hint of this beer's ABV, with it being both sugary and solvent-like at the same time.

Slick, sticky, and full in the mouth with a good amount of carbonation. Its bold flavours kick out the vast majority of the 10.2% ABV. Combined with being well balanced and enjoyable, this one is a killer quaffer.

Being my first American Barleywine, I am thoroughly impressed and glad I picked up another one of these for the cellar. I'm not sure if this is a sign I'm getting more into Barleywines or I just like the American version more, but this one was incredibly easy to drink and bold in flavour at the same time. This is a style that I'll be sure to seek out again. Basing my opinion on the beers I've had rather than the beers I've had in this style, I'd say this one is more than worthy of a try and a great addition to the cellar.

12-22-2010 04:25:07 | More by ludachris
Photo of Gehrig


4.22/5  rDev +7.7%

Solstice D'hiver seemed an appropriate choice since A.) Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel has recently announced it presence on my beer radar with authority with the sterling Rigor Mortis, and B.) the winter solstice arrives tomorrow, with the first coupling of the solstice with a lunar eclipse in nearly 500 years. It seems almost out of my hands that I should have come across this, then, at the great Sun Singer in Champaign, IL.

A thin finger of caramel-drizzled tan foam tops a deep amber body; little lacing on the pint glass. Decent but timid nose, with roasted malt, a nice amount of fruit particularly fig, raisin, and berry, and some chocolate. A more robust nose, especially for an American Barleywine, would do Solstice D'hiver wonders.

The taste, however, recovers considerable promise. It's very malty, somewhat fruity, and nicely hopped--more like an English barleywine in the hops and mouthfeel. As it warms, the second half brings forth the dried fruit in greater prominence and, combined with the dark chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavors, this brew is really delicious. The fig and raisin truly shine.

The mouthfeel is good, providing a nice texture. It's surely not a big, beefy American barleywine in terms of hop content and texture, although some hop bitterness certainly emerges with Solstice. However, it is a good, well-rounded barleywine that is well worth a go, especially at $4.99 a pop--definitely worth the price.

I am glad to have another of these on hand for the eclipse/solstice that shall come very late tonight. Well done from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, a really good barleywine that may not be in the upper echelon of American Barleywines but, nonetheless, is good, delicious, and more than worthy from this excellent Canadian brewery.

12-20-2010 20:15:58 | More by Gehrig
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Befitting to its name, Solstice d'hiver is suitably dark with its very muffled highlights overcast by a numbed and frosty brown colour that shows no sign of vivacity whatsoever. The whole beer, in fact, seems utterly lifeless, without any bubbles and a surface that is completely desolate and dried up. I'm afraid if I stick my tongue to it it might get stuck.

But the aroma is sure to put one in high spirits! A decadently rich and warming bouquet, replete with burnt sugar and dried citrus, it smells of a rich, holiday potpourri with dried flowers and earthy spices. It could either be put in the bathroom or served for dessert.

Winter - especially in Quebec - is a dreary, formidable, long-drawn out and godforsaken test of one's spirit and will. How appropriate then that Dieu Du Ciel! offers such a robust, rich and sensual beer to help get us through it. The flavour is invigoratingly strong and indulgent: warming enough to substitute a fire and potent enough to start one.

Twigs, resins, dried flowers and tree bark - presumably all the donations of a generous, American hoppiness - impart very earthy tones which add layer to the beer's sweeter, more toffee-ish flavours. Roast almonds and cherry/brandy-centered chocolates show up as well. The dynamics of alcohol-induced esters, however, crave the spotlight and tastes reminiscent of cognac and grand marnier are prominently noted.

The beer, in its first few months (a revisit once it's had some time slumber in the cellar is absolutely necessary, despite that I'm unsure as of yet how positive the results will be), is not too strong so as to be undrinkable, but put it this way: it would beat out hot chocolate after a night of ice skating. Its bitterness is stunted and an earthy, piny resinous rings out.

Solstice d'Hiver might only appeal to those in parts of the world subject to the harsh melancholies of cold, snowy winters for which, in any case, it seems to have been designed. All the same, it makes a convincing case that the darkest, shortest, coldest time of the year can actually be the brightest, longest and warmest if paired with the right food, family and friends and, of course, good drink. Maybe winter ain't so bad after all?

12-20-2010 20:01:55 | More by biegaman
Photo of CHADMC3


4.35/5  rDev +11%

A deep brown pour with ruby hews lie beneath a foamy tan head as generous yeast dances in the glass. A thin layering of the head and lacing stick around for the duration.

Big aromas waft from the glass including sweet malt and caramel, vinous qualities with other sweet fruits, and even a bit of the yeast comes through. All of this only improves as the beer warms.

The flavor is equally enormous featuring the same sweet caramel malt and sweet dark fruits, however the hops are much more apparent, big and earthy, perhaps even woody with hints of spice.

This has a thick, yet pleasant mouthfeel with generous carbonation and a satisfyingly noticeable abv.

This is a great beer, and a great winter seasonal. Warming and robust, it offers tons of character and is far too easy to drink.

12-17-2010 01:36:25 | More by CHADMC3
Photo of heebes

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -8.2%

341 ml bottle
Part of the Winter Warmers from the LCBO.

Pours a cloudy reddish brown with very little head. The nose is phenol, cherries, malted barley. Taste is pretty smooth, a strong alcohol presence which warms in the finish. Light moughtfeel, a sipper / one bottle per session. Overall a kind of bland offering but good to try. Put two more bottles in the cellar to perhaps revist and rereview.

12-16-2010 23:56:12 | More by heebes
Photo of MattyV

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -1%

Pours a ruddy chestnut brown with ruby highlights with a small beige head that quickly recedes to a thin ring. Nose has a lingering booziness that hints that this might be a little hot and could use some time in the cellar. Nose also brings subtle hints of roasted malt, coffee, and dark fruit. Taste is dominated by caramel and toffee up front, followed by dark fruits and some spice. Sharp and snappy bitter finish with a touch of warmth. Full-bodied with average carbonation; mouthfeel seems suitable for the style. An enjoyable complex winter sipper that is a welcome change from the RIS I tend to reach for a little too often.

12-15-2010 05:15:16 | More by MattyV
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

3.7/5  rDev -5.6%

clear, sharp and deep garnet color. some head that fizzles

deep, boozy caramel aroma. some fruity scents. slight blackcurrant aromas from the hop

a very dry- and hot-tasting brew. it could use some serious time to mellow; although the label claims a 4-5 month aging period. i'm thinking closer to 4-5 years! warm-fermented malt elements dominate: i assume cooler fermentation would have done this recipe a boatload of good. the fruitiness, coupled with heat that contributes spice, this beer seems almost belgian. hop presence is strong to balance the gravity, but almost entirely in the bittering charge. brown sugar

with time this could be a classy brew, but for the time being it's too strong on the fusel alcohol

12-14-2010 03:42:45 | More by bruachan
Photo of Mitchster


2.42/5  rDev -38.3%

$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.

12-13-2010 21:11:52 | More by Mitchster
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +9.7%

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.

12-13-2010 03:10:14 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of Strix


4.2/5  rDev +7.1%

Murky orangish-brown, some head, minimal lacing.

Smells of molasses, earthy hops, bread, caramel and sweet rich malts.

Caramel, toffee, bread, with a floral and slightly earthy hop finish. Much less sweet than some barleywines. Alcohol nearly hidden.

Mouthfeel sort of chewy, minimal carbonation.

I enjoyed this. Some barleywines get too sweet after awhile or have notes that don't compliment each other, but I liked this. I think the hops work to good effect here.

12-13-2010 03:06:15 | More by Strix
Photo of Seanstoppable

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

A gift that arrived during the summer. Just been sitting around until the weather got colder. Bottled on October 5, 2009.

Pours a dark brown color with two fingers of thick, creamy, off-white head.

Initial smell is very boozy, which is not surprising given the 9.8% ABV. Other smells include toffee, molasses and brown sugar.

Taste is also alcoholic, followed by some sweet molasses flavor. Some creamy and coffee flavoring near the end. In simplest terms, this is like a barleywine version of the Peche Mortel.

Booze hits you pretty hard. More of a sipper than anything else. Substitute for a glass of whiskey or scotch.

12-13-2010 00:58:41 | More by Seanstoppable
Photo of TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +2%

Poured in to Duvel tulip
Bottled on date of 9/7/10

A - Very dark brown with a tinge of amber and one finger of thick cream coloured head.

S - Dark fruit, sweet molasses, toffee, caramel and a slight hop bitterness.

T - Sweet up front - molasses, brown sugar and caramel. Dark fruit. Some strawberry comes through at times. A subtle but noticeable bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium body, chewy, lightly carbonated.

12-11-2010 03:55:05 | More by TheSevenDuffs
Photo of strangemusic

British Columbia (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours up a deep, dark chocolate hue with winelike ruby highlights, and a nice fluffly toasted marshmallow cap of foam that slowly fades to just a trace.

The aroma is alcoholic, woody and dry, with ripe red fruit, flambe'd banana, hops, candied sugar and medicinal notes.

Taste mirrors the aroma pretty well, lots of alcohol heat in the sip, smoky burnt sugar, hop bitterness, pecan.

The mouthfeel is creamy and soft, and has the right body for the taste, not too thick but with some chewiness.

As for drinkability... definitely a sipper! Though the alcohol doesn't really jump on you. It doesn't feel as "hardcore" as other beers at high ABV that I've tried.

12-06-2010 02:18:18 | More by strangemusic
Photo of WamBamMan


4.18/5  rDev +6.6%

It pours a deep reddish-brown, topped with a 3-4 cm head that smells invitingly of hops.
Tastes of hops and slightly of fruit, and, perhaps, a bit too much of alcohol (but it's cold outside so it gets away with it).
Smooth in the mouth - some would describe it as 'chewy', but I think it's far away from a loaf of bread.
Perfect to sip on and a very pleasant surprise!

12-03-2010 16:34:05 | More by WamBamMan
Photo of mrnobody

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +4.6%

341 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a fairly clear reddish-brown with one finger of off-white head which recedes to a thin film, no lacing.

S: Smells of hops, fruit (fig, cherry), alcohol. Pretty nice.

T: Tastes of dark fruit (plum, cherry) followed by some hop bitterness and warming alcohol.

M: Mouthfeel is creamy and chewy with low carbonation.

D: A sipper for sure but pretty damn drinkable!

12-03-2010 03:19:37 | More by mrnobody
Photo of JamnesCameron


2.8/5  rDev -28.6%

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.

11-27-2010 03:13:39 | More by JamnesCameron
Photo of nrbw23


3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with pretty much no head at all. Head is pretty much a few bubbles that stay the entire time there's brew in the glass and leaves no lacing at all.

S- Smells of rich malts. A bit of darker fruits and toast.

T- Taste is dominanted by malts. Overall its pretty sweet too and almost sugary. I like this one and its different for sure.

M- Fuller side of medium in body and the carbonation seems to be on the lighter side.

D- I enjoyed this one quite a bit. Thought it was pretty easy to drink and enjoyable.

11-22-2010 09:01:37 | More by nrbw23
Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 711 ratings.