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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

749 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 749
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 24
Gots: 91 | 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: 749 | Reviews: 397 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of objectivemonkey
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into my imperial pint, pour a dark murky brown, lots of junk floating about, a nice but small and short lived head. Aroma is nice, lots of dark fruits, sweet, some brandy-ish alcohol. Same with the taste, also nice, lots of taste, lots of sweet, some nice fruits here too, alcohol is well tempered, the mouth is nice and warm. In all, a good beer for a dark winter night.

objectivemonkey, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice barleywine, a bit on the hoppy and biting side but pleasantly integrated.

Presentation: 11.5 oz bottle. Blue and cold design, and illustration, around the image of a tree where a person is taking refuge inside the trunk. Short front description and brief side narrative generally noting main ingredients and intent. Does shows date of bottling (there seems to be a side numbered calendar with the faintest of scratches on 1 and 4 but it is not clear), and shows Alc. by Vol. (9.5%) Poured into a snifter.

A - Amber brown pour with dark red highlights. 1/4" head fading quickly and leaving a short memory surface with little lacing.

S - Fruity nose, over a deep hoppy profile and notes of malt sweetness.

T - Softer malt character supporting a bitter finish. Rather hoppy but not with a dissonant sense and a nice boozy note. Very distant sweet hints that punctuate the experience.

M -Medium body with adequate carbonation, Smooth feel and biting finish.

D - Goes down well as a sipper, and works fine as a barleywine.

Notes: It´s nice, but short of extraordinary or particularly memorable. However it not that far from it. This might benefit from some aging that helps to integrate-subdue the hoppy notes better and give a bit of a more enticing brew. Might be an English barleywine given the yeast but the way they are used this feels right at home with some US versions in terms of how hoppy its get going during the initial impression.

Daniellobo, Feb 27, 2010
Photo of tavernjef
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very deep mahogany if not entirely black with hints to a black cherry-like liquidity. Soft tan capping of firmly fluffed foam laps up to about a finger high. The foam sifts away to dusty film and lots of thin webby lacing.

Aroma is a bit muted but has lots of complexity of deep dark rummy fruityness. Has a tender and soft roasty chocolate waft with nice confectionary hints of powered sugar french toast, cinnamon, maple syrup, and a side of mango/green raisin jam. Subdued undertow of rum/brandy-like warming.

Taste is a firm standing amount of big roasty malt twisted in with much more of that rummy/brandy hinted warmth and tone to its middle area with some dark grapefruit and orange oil. Holds a cindering finish of burnt raisin toast and earthy dark citric tinted hop oilyness and feathery lasting dryness of twisted piney hops, black licorice, black tea, and the darkest of dark vanilla. Quite firm and complex, just not big nor beefy enough to really make it stand out more then I would like to see out of an American styled BW. Still solid though. Solid.

Body is warmingly slick with a warmth that sinks in right away and lets the subtleties of the roasty malt sift across with a medium ease while laying the ground work for all the fun little hoppy nuances and other spices found later in its smooth delightful finish to gather up and peak the palate with a soft supple tone and easy going character.

Its complexity supersedes its overall length and semi lessened beefier tone, but it sure sits well with its crafty warming texture and drinks down with very little effort. A pretty solid offering by the Dieu Du Ciel crew.

tavernjef, Feb 22, 2010
Photo of Kendo
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is hazy reddish-brown with a 1/2-finger khaki head. Some lace up top, some sediment at the bottom at the end of the glass.

S: Sweet caramel malt, toffee and a touch of fruit -- ripe berries.

T: Sweet caramel malt, some toffee and boozy heat. Some dried fruit as well: dates and perhaps raisins. Booze is felt on the palate and down the gulley. Finishes dry, presumably from the booze. Not much noted as far as hop bitterness.

M: Medium-to-full in heft (leaning towards the full side).

D: OK, especially for a beer of this strength.

Kendo, Feb 19, 2010
Photo of cleverbeername
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

52* bordeaux, bottle

A gorgious dark brown. nice lace with offwhite, light tan head. sustains fairly nice.

S. malt, floral components

T. balance! nice malt and coffe hints, no heat either.

M nice structure, not too rich. The weight and nice acid would make for a great food pairing beer.

D drinks european, i would buy again.

cleverbeername, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of josefnewsong
4.93/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a 3 year old vintage...

A - pours a deep dark brownish color with slightly bubbly/creamy off-white head that leaves a good bit of lacing
S - raisins, toffee, alcohol, hints of tobacco, a slight hint of mustiness
T - ohhhh nice. raisins and dark fruits, toffee, slight hints of chocolate, alcohol but not too much, and so much more...so much age and complexity behind it.
M - full bodied and syrupy with a crisp sticky finish
D - dangerously drinkable. enough said.

The age was apparent right off the bat, had that old ale after taste akin to north coast old stock. If it aged a few more years it would be absolutely amazing.

josefnewsong, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brasserie Dieu de Ciel Solstice d'Hiver

Dark brown, Bright crimson highlights, numerous "floaties" about, very small head.

Sweet and spicy aroma, fierce and roasty, brandy-like notes, dark fruit, cherries, plumetc., leather, dark rum, smoke...deep and powerful.

In the mouth, deep, rich, plenty flavorful, rich caramel malt flavors lead into those same sensations noted from the nose. Very reminiscent of the best English barleywines. Sweet, tasty, beautifully balanced, wonderful match of hops and malt. Bursting with deliciousness. Sharp, bright, then a smooth finish. mmm, mmm.

This is my kind of winter ale! I'm going back for more!

feloniousmonk, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of Zorro
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear brown colored beer with a slight reddish tinge. No real head formation.

Smells strongly of chocolate and brown sugar. Scent of grape in here, there is a bit of vanilla too, almost suggesting a brandy barrel or one from whiskey. Alcohol is strong here and there are slight tobacco and cherry scents.

Starts out sweet and malty with a strong soda cracker flavor and no clear aftertaste at the start. Alcohol can certainly be felt though. Mildly sweet, this is quite tame flavored. Fruity flavor, mostly vanilla and cherry. Mildly bitter but is actually more woody than bitter.

Mouthfeel is full but not excessive.

Very drinkable. Despite a considerable amount of alcohol this is quite drinkable though a real chest warmer.

Zorro, Feb 03, 2010
Photo of RoyalT
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a nice, deep dark brown in color with a purple hue and a robust white head that left nice pitting on top of the liquid.

Smell - The rich malts are heavy and don't carry that winey aroma that a lot of examples of the style seem to have. Don't know that this is bad or good but just different. This is more of a pure malt aroma and for an ABW does not have the massive hop overkill which I appreciate. If I want a hop bomb I'll drink a DIPA.

Taste - Wow does this ABW explode in the mouth. The sugary sweetness that I failed to pick up at the smell is incredibly intense. It's not very complex, just a flavor explosion of sugar and sucrose that accentuate the big malt base. Again, I don't get a lot of that wine flavor here just a good, solid malt beer flavor with some monster sweets.

Mouthfeel - This is full-bodied with a sweetish beginning and middle and slight bitterness at the very end.

Drinkability - This is good and very unique. It might sound blasé, a big-malted barley wine with lots of sugar, but its beerness (as opposed to wineness) reminds the drinker that this style is in fact an ale.

RoyalT, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341 ml bottle. Good to see Dieu du Ciel in SoCal. On to the beer:

Dark orange/brown color, topped by a creamy tanned head. The head is holding up well. Mellow aroma. There is some caramel malt and a little pineapple. Dry toffee too.

This is not as dry or resiny as other barleywines I've tasted this winter. There is some pineapple and "boozy resin", and burnt sugar. The alcohol is there, but is comforting. Light cough syrup-like flavor. Goes down easy for its size.

I like it. Good effort in the barleywine style by the same brewery that makes my favorite beer (Péché Mortel).

DoubleJ, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of cbutova
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours out a fairly dark brown with a half finger head that has very little retention. A ring of tan head is left around the sides with very faint clouds atop the beer. Very little lacing sticks around on the glass. The beer itself has a nice color with the brown and red but the head and lacing are a let down here. Right off the bat in this beer I get some caramel and yeast in the aroma. I get a bit of an oxidized/metallic scent too which I find to be pretty common in Barleywines, especially aged ones, as mentioned on the side of the bottle. I really don't pick up hop aroma here but get a very good portion of malts and caramel. The problem here keeps coming back to that oxidized smell but the other elements are nice. Taste is basically the aroma without the metallic element. Lots of malts and caramel flavors. The malts profile is pretty much that of a classic big barleywine. A "stale" flavor, like that of Old Ales, is also present here. There is a tiny yeasty element. In the aftertaste I get a nice dark fruit taste with some cocoa hints, must be some chocolate/dark malt in this one. Alcohol comes into play in the taste and the nose but it is not overdone and I pretty much expect it in Barleywines that aren't overhopped. I do get a hint of earthy hops here but not anything huge. The mouthfeel is what really hit me in this beer. The carbonation combined with the warming from the high ABV make for a very silky, creamy beer. The carbs are medium as is the body, very nice for a Barleywine. A huge coat of cocoa, dark fruit and malts coat the tongue on the way out and for minutes afterward. Drinkability is decent. The taste is good, the price sucks here in the U.S. but not bad up in Canada. The looks and aroma come up short here but the taste and mouthfeel balance this beer out. I will continue to sample DDC beers as they have been very solid so far.

cbutova, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of srandycarter
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours muddy prune/brown, lots of off white head with good retention, tight bubbled lacing.

S - Fruity, dark fruits especially, toasted sweet malt behind.

T - Full deep sweet malt character nicely bittered at finish.

M - Great carb, fairly heavy body with good coating, balance pretty good considering style and ABV.

D - Too heavy to session but fun to try.

srandycarter, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of FinDelMundo
4.38/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice brown reddish appearance with a small foamy head.
The smell is a mix of dark ripe fruit and burnt caramel.
The taste is complex, almost like a liquor. The alcohol is very present with the fruit, then the hops kick in and left you with a burned flavour, It's not coffee, more like dark chocolate or burned toffee.
Really tasty beer, hars to find even if the beer is produced 5 miles away from here.

FinDelMundo, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dieu Du Ciel's Barleywine into a small snifter late at night in winter, picked this up finally after passing on it for a bit.

Solstice D'hiver blends a dark crimson brown with some dark reddish things in between. Out of the bottle this kind of looked like Merry Monk's (weyerbacher) with a dirty tap water color. It looks quite thick and a shade darker than a lot of B-Wines. Not much of a head or even a full cap, just some faint dark tan foam spots.

Hiver smells bold with caramel sweetness and alcohol will the liquid was cold. The alcohol did not fade with warming but some other smells came to me. Of course, the malt bill is huge and sweet, but there is a big bitter hop punch as well. Other smells, toffee, chocolate, extremely light fruit including pear, molasses, burnt smoke.

This is a barleywine in it's young days, the hops are really up there and while I don't know the age on the bottle, i'll say this is pretty young. It's hoppy but not Bigfoot hoppy. Very bitter on 1st sips, the hoppiness comes down as the beer evolves. Red fruit flavors come out and tame the alcohol a bit loosening things up for me. Caramel malt is up there along with a assortment of dark fruits.

This kind of reminded me of a lighter liquor in a way, the body is kind of thick and it's felt going down the hatch. Kinda smooth, but at this young stage, a bit rough around the edges, there is some heat and a small prick of carbonation. Medium to above medium in stature. The heat does interfer, but it's expected. I enjoyed this barleywine and wish I still had the patience to cellar beer because in a year or two this should become a winner.

BARFLYB, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of Rayek
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Hazy caramel with somewhat active carbonation. A fizzy cream head is small and doesn't stick long. Leaves no lace.

S: On the sweet side, with a strong toffee and dark fruit presence. A nice whiff of pepper and anise balances things out, as well as a tingle of alcohol.

T: The aromas flow quite nicely into the flavor. Very malty and vinous right out of the gate. Toffee and black grape sweetness dominate at first. A pepper and clove bitterness comes on quickly with a sharp bite that balances the sweetness nicely. Finishes with a deep alcohol warmth.

M: Medium-heavy body feel sticky and syrupy. Carbonation could stand to be a touch lower.

D: A quite nice Barleywine overall. Not the most complex member of the bread, but I'm still happy I had it.

Rayek, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of sweemzander
4.65/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.5oz. bottle poured into a tulip. No bottled date. . . Months & years are available to be notched but are not :/

(A)- Pours thick & a fairly dark amber color that has some ruby red & caramel colored highlights. A good cream colored head formed that looks very thick & foamy. Great retention. Some bits of webbing were left behind that are rather clumpy; some of the thickest lacing I may have ever seen.

(S)- A nice roasted caramel & toffee smell. Bits of vanilla & oak. Just a tiny bit of boozy warmth.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. The caramel is actually more of a burnt character rather than a roasted one. A big bitterness but is balanced very well by the caramel & toffee. Pretty massive stuff. Finishes dry with a fantastic nutty creaminess.

(M)- A good carbonation level. Has a huge body to it not to mention a big bitterness too, but is overall balanced very well by its sweet & creamy finish. One of the thickest feeling barleywines I have had in memory. Great alcohol integration.

(D)- A very good barleywine with a very big/full body to it, particularly in its thick mouthfeel. Bitter, sweet, & creamy all at the same time. I dont know how fresh or aged this is, but based on how this tastes right now, this could continue to age for a very long time. I definitely enjoyed this one very much; a great beer that warmed my bones on a cold weekend night. This will age fantastically!

sweemzander, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of sedapuda
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My first date with Brasserie has me lusting for more! Solstice d'hiver exceeded my expectations, introducing more forward hops and less of that syrupy mouthfeel that barley wines often give. Poured a decent head, off-white and lasting. Stunning amber-brown with red highlights. I was impressed with its smell - not overbearingly alcoholic, invitingly fruity. The taste...the taste! Layers of summer tree fruits, something toasty (burnt sugar, maybe?), bity hops, and a velvety smooth finish. Holy shit. I want another.

sedapuda, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of eat
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great colour. Nice dark copper-brown, opaque with a creamy cream-coloured covering of head. Some lacing. The bottle is dated 10-10 but something tells me this is off...since that's in the future. The machine probably meant 09-09, September of last year.

Pretty hoppy smelling for a barley wine. If I had to guess without seeing the label, I would guess this is a double IPA. Lots of hops but too sweet (caramel) and potent smelling (noticeable alcohol) to be an IPA. Real nice smell but a little weak.

This is good stuff! Pretty strong-tasting all around; lots of alcohol, sweetness and a decent hop presence. Dark, caramel malt is in perfect balance with the bitter hops. I'm kind of into the strong ABV, but it's a little much. At about the same ABV as their Peche Mortel, the alcohol is much more noticeable here. It's almost balanced out by the sweetness and bitterness, though not quite. Lingering bitter finish.

Good feel. Slightly viscous medium body and a light carbonation.

This is drinkable as a sipper, which I'm sure is what they intended in brewing this. I wouldn't want to drink more than one of these at a time, but at 9.8% one is enough. Great winter beer, I should have saved this for a colder night.

eat, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of ferb99
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was sent to me by a friend on the east coast. Dieu du Ciel is rare here in San Diego, although I have now seen a single bottle in two different places so hopefully that's changing.

Appearance: Poured a nice, thick dark tan head which persisted nicely. Color is very dark brown -- pretty much opaque.

Aroma: Molasses, dark fruits, dark malts. Some hops. Some roastiness. No off aromas.

Flavor: Malty, including dark malts. Molasses and dark fruit notes. Moderate hop bitterness -- much less so than American Barleywines brewed in the US. This to me had the hop bitterness of something between an English and an American Barleywine. But overall a nice balance between sweet malt and hop bitterness (however, I prefer the English style so perhaps I'm biased). There was a moderate roasty flavor that to me was just verging on burnt. Perhaps it was the hop bitterness combining with roasted malt notes that did it. But to me this detracted just a little bit. No other off flavors. Finishes just slightly sweet, but not at all cloying.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Highly carbonated, more than I would have expected from this style. But it didn't detract. No astringency despite what seemed like the aforementioned roasted notes.

Overall I liked this beer. It has a really nice balance and some very interesting flavors and aromas.

ferb99, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of jeffjeff1
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was among the huge list of christmas presents.

Appearance- reddish color, little to no head

Smell- molasses, malt, caramel, dark fruit

Taste- caramel, dark fruit

Mouthfeel- full bodied

Drinkability- It was really good. I liked it. I would definitely drink it again.

jeffjeff1, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of avalon07
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a murky consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head and some good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of malt, dark fruit, caramel, and hops.

T: Big, complex taste of sweet malt, raisins, caramel, toffee and a hoppy finish. Slightly more robust than typical American Barleywines, but very flavorful.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a smooth finish. A full-bodied, chewy beer.

D: A highly drinkable beer, perfect for a cold winter night.

avalon07, Jan 09, 2010
Photo of jbonapar
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fascinating beer, my first True Barley wine, thus I'll try to keep an open mind. Split the bottle with my Girlfriend.

Pours a darm amber/brown with a minimal head.

Smell of fruity bitterness, burnt caramel.

Taste: Very complex, a taste that truely develops and changes. Starts off with smooth sweetness, almost like a Belgian Dubble with malty sweetness which develops into a dark fruity spiceyness then quickly out of nowhere, extreem bitterness developes that simply takes over as if to punish the drinker for enjoying the sweetness! Bold, bold as they come.

I think this is a great beer, one to be enjoyed for sure. Not for the bitter hates that's for sure!

Very interesting and another great beer form this brewery.

jbonapar, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of CMW
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark red color with a soapy off white head. The head disappears quickly a leaves just a slight film.

S - Smells of malt, yeast, and some sweet fruits. There are also some nice caramel nodes mixed with nutmeg and cinnamon.

T - Caramel malts are plentiful and are the first thing I notice. The fruits a spices appear in the middle but are quickly pushed to the back due to some heavy citrus hops. These hops carry through to the finish. In the aftertaste the spices seem to linger on the tongue.

M - Medium bodied but with very little carbonation.

D - I do love American Barleywines and this is a great example of the style. The alcohol is barely noticeable despite being almost 10%. Very easy to drink and we definitely buy another.

CMW, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of edchicma
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich amber with a quarter inch head that retains itself quite nicely. Smell is rich, malty with grassy hop notes. Taste mirrors the smell with a very strong malt backbone, light hop notes and a definite alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is very dry..a bit too dry. Because of over dryness and too obvious alcohol, drinkability suffer slightly.

edchicma, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.7/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.5 fl. oz. twist cap

A deep, vibrant and ruby red amber body color with minimal scattered head, bubbly lacing pops up with not much formantion, a flat, heavy look.

The nose is rather spicey with fermented apples, black pepper over caramel and soft ginger notes. Dried smokey wheat in the malt, zesty, herbal undertone's are remarkable.

Sometime's I would rather report on how a beer feels before it's flavor, and this one feels really good...it's lively, belgian-lively with a rather slick and full feel after with massive malty complexity, smokey and sweet, caramel and light brown sugar...very heavy complexity which is exactly how I like it. The malt becomes toned down with by a ton of hop flavor and in all the right ways! not huge bitterness, not fruity and no citrus it's all dry and herbal with a peppery and earthy effect that gives a great balance. Dried grasses in the hoppy aftertaste, very hearty finish after a huge malty smack to your face. The heat flows well with the malt with a tangy effect and not intrusive at all.

A modest abv. for the style which serves this beer very well. $5.55 is a steal for a brew this complex!Huge quoff for such a big beer. Easily my favorite brew this cold season.

GratefulBeerGuy, Jan 03, 2010
Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 749 ratings.