Isseki Nicho - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Not Rated.
Isseki NichoIsseki Nicho

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

169 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 169
Reviews: 44
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 9
Gots: 19 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bobsy on 10-05-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 169 | Reviews: 44
Reviews by Pintofbrown:
Photo of Pintofbrown
4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a snifter.

Milk chocolate foam builds to four-fingers in width, recedes very slowly, there is still a finger-width of puffy, thick stuff after a few minutes, plastic-y webbed lacing all over. An ominous dark brown body sits heavily in the snifter.

A tangy bouquet meets the nose. The notes are a little roasty, like coffee, a bit of sour cherry, barnyard funk, earthy, smokey, dark chocolate, this miasma of scents is complex and offers something new with each sniff.

The beer starts smokey and tangy with the sour cherry from the nose followed closely by that slight barnyard funk. The finish builds with coffee roast and a nice blast of milky dark chocolate. The hop bitterness is a little surprising, with some good resin quality in the finish as well. The yeast also imparts a chalkiness in the back of the throat. The combo of tanginess, smoke, subtle sweetness, and surprising hop bitterness make this beer loads of fun to sip.

This beer has a solid medium body with a decent dry quality. It is velvety smooth and rolls over the tongue with a little bit of bubbliness.

Isseki Nicho is a quality beer. Dieu du Ciel and Shiga Kougen have created something very special. This dark beer is a complex monstrosity that drinks far too easily for a beer that is 9.5% ABV. I always enjoy the anticipation that comes from trying a style bending beer, and Isseki Nicho did not disappoint! I was debating on whether or not I would pick up a bottle of Dieu du Ciel's Penombre, but after this, debating no longer! Enjoy.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

341ml bottle, my thanks to Mike from Artisan Ales (hoser around these parts) for the sample. I very much like the 'kill two birds with one stone' cross-cultural aphorism explanation on the label.

This beer pours a slight caramel tinted black, with no discernible edges, and three healthy fingers of puffy, tight, but thinly foamy beige head, which leaves some sparse gull-wing lace around the glass as it slowly and evenly abates. A whole new kind of saison awaits me here, I'm guessing.

It smells of bittersweet black fruit - the usual suspect plums and prunes, mostly - mildly roasted, and slightly smoked grainy malt, gritty coffee grounds, sharply metallic spices, mint and anise, predominantly, swamped saison-friendly yeast, and a hint of warming alcohol. The taste is roasted bready malt, caramel-heavy coffee, tart dark fruit, dry Belgian yeast set afloat, a dose of baker's chocolate, sassy grapefruit and leafy hops, and some dampened, muddled earthy spices. The big ABV is sneakily obfuscated in the morass.

The bubbles are well active, and quite frothy, the body a sturdy medium weight, smooth amongst a slight grittiness, and actually a tad creamy. It finishes off-dry, the caramel/coffee/cocoa backbone hard to write off, even if the spicy, mildly yeasty and more to the point bitter hoppiness seems to have found its strong second wind.

Well, 'Imperial' and 'Dark' tend to have a specific effect on any base beer - in that they get very stout-like, with only tacit references to the bottom in the affair. Here, the dry yeast and subtle fruitiness gets lost in the maw of the beast, as it were. Not a bad thing, I suppose, but it's quite hard to not stifle a laugh now, looking at the classification, even more so than for some of the headier American Black Ales out there. Tasty, sure, but don't go looking for the pastoral French countryside in this one.

Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask remaining two days after DDC night, at Cafe Volo. Cross style one-off callaboration. Black colour, with significant bubbly cask head. Aroma of pepper,malt, roast, and spicey yeast. Above average mouthfeel, particularly for a cask. Some hops, yeast in taste, some astringency on the tongue, roasted barley, some brown rice. A sipper.A unique Belgian stout imperial porter saison.
Had it again at Mondiale 2010 and it was a middling saison and RIS. Noticed dark chocolate, 3/8" bubbly head and above average mouthfeel.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Kinda murky. Big mocha head. Great retention. Thick collar.

Smell - Yeasty and estery. Some bright aromas. Dark chocolate.

Taste - Much more roasty. Dark chocolate. The belgian flavors kick in with some fruity flavors. Yeasty with some bright fruity flavors.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation. Yeasty. Bitter.

Overall - Pretty good. Complex and unique.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.5 ounce bottle. Served in a tulip, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. I like the aroma, the brew smells like roasted malt, lemon peel, apricots, coffee, bittersweet and milk chocolate, burnt/charred malt and a bit of blueberry. The brew tastes like roasted/charred/burnt malt, blueberries, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, citrus peel, peppery spice, blackberries, herbalness, apricots and a bit of grainy/bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's coating and a bit creamy, and also has a good amount of carbonation. I think this is a good and interesting brew. For some reason the flavor reminds me of Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry Stout, even though there isn't any blueberry in this beer (that I'm aware of anyway). The label says it's a hybrid between an imperial stout and a saison, and I'd agree with that even though I think it leans more towards a stout. If you come across a bottle of this, pick it up! $5.19 a bottle.

Photo of Rutager
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks for the killer beers, montrealbcr89!

Appearance. Pours a very deep brown, pretty black in the glass with 2 fingers of than head that lasts a while and leaves a bunch of nice lace.

Smell. Spicy saison yeast and grapefruits, dark chocolate, some black licorice and bit of roasty, maybe smokey malt.

Taste. Dark chocolate and big citrusy hops, some spicy yeast, roasty dark malts and black coffee.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. I would call this beast an "Imperial Cascadian Saison". Really nice stuff.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a large dark black color ale with a large deep brown color head with good detention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of roasted malt notes is quite dominant with some light tart notes and some green citrusy hoppy notes also easily detectable. Taste is also a mix between some huge roasted malt notes with a serious hoppy profile with some citrus notes. Chocolate and light dry coffee notes are also detectable as well as light tart/lemony notes in the aftertaste. Body is full with creamy texture with great carbonation and no alcohol was perceptible. Interesting combination of flavour and totally not what I was expecting but very good nonetheless.

Photo of mtomlins
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 341ml bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.

A: It is dark and opaque and pours to 3+ fingers of dark mocha head, very persistent and thickens as it settles leaving lots of lacing.

S: It has a nice Belgian nose, spicy and some lemon; rich sweet malt with lots of roasted notes and a bit of chocolate.

T: As the nose predicted, the beer has those typical Belgian flavors with lots of chocolate and some deep roasted malt. The finish is long, spicy and dry.

M: Medium-high body and carbonation; very smooth, round yet surprising; very smooth, round yet surprisingly light as a saison should be light as a saison should be.

O: A very interesting combination of smells and flavors. Delicious!

Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color; faint hints of reddish brown are visible near the edges of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high dark tan head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar around the edge and bits of lacing down the sides,
S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of yeast.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but seems more like a saison with more spices towards the finish. Noted of licorice are also apparent. No alcohol is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is really interesting as it has some properties of a Russian Imperial Stout having used its grain bill. It is extremely easy to drink considering its strength.

Photo of ssmack
4.61/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The label says "Imperial Dark Saison". 9.5%

It fills the tulip with total blackness. The is a thin light tan head. Lacing with the tip of the glass.

This has a mysterious aroma. Musty and grainy. Is that the smell of meat? Yes it is. Pork or maybe uncooked beef.

There is tons of favours in the taste. The alcohol is up front. Dark chocolate and burnt toast. The is a burst of sweetness. Bitter orange in the end.

A satisfying, full, slightly oily feel.

Very enjoyable.

Photo of 2_Shaynez
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%

My first imperial dark saison...

Pours jet back with a big 3 finger dense fluffy mocha head with great retention thus far.

N: Dark roasted malts, complimented by sweet belgian fruit esters, some booziness

T: Wow so much fruitier than I anticipated, apricot, pear, raisins, dark fruits, earthy yeast. Roasty malt finish. Alcohol is well masked in the taste, but you can feel it

M: Really crisp with nice tingly carbonation, medium-full bodied, a cosy alcohol warmth, this is a good fall/winter comfort brew.

O: I can't be too critical of the style as this is my first saison ale, but it's definitely a good slow-sipping beer for this time of year

Photo of papat444
4.41/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 341ml. bottle, bottled 11/12.

Appearance: A very dense brown body with a massively huge head, color is medium brown. Really at ease in the glass and leaves gobs of lacing on the sides.

Smell: Plums, strong roasted coffee, mint, jelly. roasted vs. sweet vs. spices. Intriguing and very powerfully good.

Taste: Currants, plums, red wine, roasted coffee, assorted spices, has a cork-like flavor to it, almost port-like.

Mouthfeel: This is one that warms down the throat. Very creamy, sticks in the palate.

Overall: This one does not disappoint. A mesh of flavors and styles that is well pulled off.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was kindly provided courtesy of papat444.

A: Pours a deep molasses black with 3 fingers of tight microfoam head that is caramel colour.

S: Initial scents of roasted grains together with wet wood, espresso, deep malt or buckwheat honey, slight hints of dark fruit and hoppy presence. Intriguing and contrasting scent profile.

T: Acrid and slightly burnt coffee flavoured with smoke and peat. Deeply toasted grains throughout along with charred wood. Pronounced hop profile. Finishes dry with wet earth and deeply charred wood.

M: Acrid and dry. Despite the active head there is very low to no carbonation. Medium to heavy bodied, coats the tongue. Noticeable alcohol esters linger on the finish.

O: I struggle to see the saison characteristics in this beer, possibly due to burnt flavour profile, low carbonation and the imperial alcohol content. Regardless, this beer is deeply complex, rich and very enjoyable. It would offer a solid compliment to roasted meats.

Thanks again to papat444 for providing us with this beer.

Photo of wedgie9
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted on draft at Lush CBC event. Pours nearly black with a huge brown head. Aromas of dark malt, chocolate, and hops. Flavors of bitter chocolate, bitter hops, and very dark malt. The carbonation is heavy, but the liquid itself is a little less than medium in body with a long bitter finish. Overall, this is a very unique beer that is also very good.

Photo of spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341ml bottle from Broue Haha QC for 12$ for a 4-pack

Appearance - Brown/black colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 1-2 minutes.

Smell - Malts, clove, chocolate, coffee, earthiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, anise, and clove. There are also notes of coffee, chocolate and a light smokiness. It ends with an earthy yet spicy herbal aftertaste.

Overall - Lots of taste going on here.. a little something for everyone. Point for originality but not something you'd want to have more than 1 of in a sitting. It will be interesting to see how aging effects this one.

Photo of ludachris
3.89/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A hefty three finger mocha head has a thick foamy density to it, really helping it to stay afloat. Swirls of stringly lace follow the head downwards. Its deep cola brown body barely lets light through. A sturdy looking Saison.

The nose is filled with fruity Belgian esters. Ripe apricot and pear drop mix with an overlay of spices and phenols. Sweet alcohol is laced in, amplifying its aroma. As it warms, I also get a musty earthiness with bits of raisins and chocolate.

Its ABV gives it a sharpness and clarity that really enlivens the palate. Dark fruit and chocolate sit on the middle of the tongue. Its fruitiness is mixed in but fleeting. A touch of rounded roast leads into the finish.

The body sits between medium and heavy. Its zingy kick of alcohol makes this a sipper. Its carbonation level is on par for the style. It finishes dry, partly due to the roast.

I love to see that DDC still has a sense of adventure distributing this imperial black Saison. This seems to be a great candidate for the cellar. I'd love to try this again with the alcohol more rounded. Although this isn't my favorite from DDC, it's unique enough and great for this unruly winter coming up.

Photo of SebD
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: It has a nice jet black color to it. It has a nice thick creamy tan head that dies down moderately slow and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of roasted malts, light coffee and chocolate, some lemon zest, Belgian yeast, some peppery spices and a slight earthiness.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has alot of roasted malts upfront, some coffee and chocolate, an earthy bitterness, some lemon and Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel: It has a med/high carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas. The only disappointing thing about this beer was the lack of Saison characteristics. They were there but seemed overpowered by all that roastiness. Nevertheless, this is still a solid offering from Dieu du ciel.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of mrmanning
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cask at Volo- This was my second favoutire beer of the fest. Dark black ...very schwartzbier looking. Nice mocha cap sits atop. Nose is quite fruity with plum and prune, candi malts, earthy and rustic with tobacco and spices, yeasty and funky. Flavour profile is surprisingly sweet, with good fruit and roasty coffee, almost leathery, with tobacco flavours, floral hops with anise in the finish. As with a lot of beer from this brewer, the ABV is nowhere to be detected. Very good offering.

Photo of rarbring
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The brew is very black, especially for a saison, the head is brown and leaves good lacing.

The smell is full of caramel malty aromas, burnt toast and coffee beans.

The taste is rather sweet, a bit licorice, dried fruits, figs and dates, strong wine, Madeira and Sherry.

A light carbonation, a bit syrup and alcoholic feeling, but very smooth.

Don't know if their style assignment is correct "Imperial Dark Saison", anyway a very good after-dinner beer.

Photo of mdagnew
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355ml bottle bought from Brewdog's online shop

Poured a dark brown almost black colour... off white head pours big, billowy and meringue like then faded to light layer... very light carbonation drifts slowly to the surface... lots of sticky lacing...

Aroma - Roasted dark malts mixed with lots of juicy fruitiness (apples, grapefruits), strong Belgian yeastiness, black pepper, quite earthy, some licorice, candy sugar sweetness, light biscuity malts, peppery hops, grassy, some hay notes, floral honey...

Taste - Earthy roasted maltiness, cocoa, some tart fruits (apples, pears), light biscuit malts, some clove spiciness, honey sweetness, light coffee, Belgian yeasty notes, peppery hops, grassy...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry when cool but becomes much more mellow when warmed up... quite drinkable - the 9% isn't noticeable at all...

Overall - An excellent dark saison and another fine brew from Dieu di Ciel... recommended...

Photo of t420o
4.49/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dieu du Ciel! Isseki Nichō

A- pour yields a nice 2-1/2 finger mocha colored head receding to about a finger with good retention and very nice lacing. The beer, as it sits, is black in color 4.5

S- the Saison yeast is on the forefront of the nose with a slight spice and banana character while earthy and robust at the same time. That is perhaps due to the underlying roasted malts giving off a light coffee and chocolate smell. Smells excellent. 4.25

T- wow, I'm liking this a lot. The balance of the Saison yeast, the roasted malts, and the light hops is superb. The bitterness lingers on the back end drawing you back for more. Slightly dry on the backend as well. Excellent. 4.5

M- nice and full mouthfeel with medium carbonation. 4.5

O- I need more of this. Great beer, with good drinkability. 4.5

A+

Photo of grub
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sampled on cask at volo on oct 3/09 as part of the DDC launch party. an "imperial dark saison".

pours deep brown with only a sliver of light getting through at the thinnest point in the glass. a small brown head forms, dropping slowly and leaving spotty lace.

aroma is good. definitely a saison. light spice and just a touch of funk, both emblematic of the style. bit of alcohol. whole wheat bread. cracker. bit of earthy and woody character. bit of anise. hints of citrus.

taste is great. a bit of dark fruit. nice saison spice and light funk again. a bit floral but not perfumey. alcohol, more warming on the way down than up front. toasted whole wheat bread, slightly burnt around the edges. just under medium bitterness level. hints of chocolate and coffee. a bit earthy and woody. the light roasty component seems slightly out of place, but it's fairly mellow so it doesn't take much away from the overall appreciation. in talking with the brewer i mentioned that we used dehusked carafa in our black saison to get the colour without the roasty component. he said that he has since tweaked the recipe in the same way and rebrewed this one for exactly that reason.

mouthfeel is good. medium body with a fairly dry finish. medium-low carbonation level. light astringency from the roast.

drinkability is good. an interesting mix of styles and ideas. the alcohol is balanced and hidden pretty well and there's a nice depth to keep you going back for more. good stuff.

Photo of jrenihan
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled November 2012. Thanks to Papat444 for the bottle!

Beer is black with a large tan head. Good lace, moderate retention.

Nose is very nice and somewhat unusual. A real mix of fruit and malt, with some yeast. I find it remarkably hard to place the scents with any particularity. There is a bit of a cocoa and roasted scent that is reminiscent of a stout, but the fruit (some citrus and tropical fruit, almost some blueberry?) and yeast reveal it to be something else entirely. Some spice as well. Impressive!

Taste is quite good but not quite at the level of the nose for me. Malt gets ramped up- caramel and roasted malt, coupled with a strong dose of yeast, citrus fruit and some spices. Quite interesting. Really a hybrid of styles, but a success.

Medium bodied, moderate to high carbonation. A bit oily.

Overall, really unusual and quite tasty. A winner in my books. Glad they bottled this one and I hope that it sticks around in that format.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Whenever I hear a type of beer that's dubbed "black" anything that wasn't originally a dark beer (Black IPA, Black Saison...) I have become accustomed to it becoming a Porter with the base beer tendencies. But with the quality I've come to expect from Dieu Du Ciel, I'm expecting different from Isseki Nicho.

And dark brown to its core, the ale pours with a head porter character. Its body is a shade off of black but is opaque due to its shaddowy hues. A creamy ivory head billows to the top of the tulip in true farmhouse fashion. Its long retention and well-defined concentric rings sing praises of well-constructed Saison.

Its nose is surprisingly perfumy and floral. A waft of potpourri washes over the nose with a backbone of honey, orchard fruit and spice. Black peppercorn and a faint scent of charred toast bring a balance to the malt and fruit. Coming up to temperature, the ale continues to reveal mild coffee and walnut notes.

Its malty-dry taste is of cream, baking bread, toasted grain and with supple buckwheat honey. As the sweeter side trails, its fruity and spicy center emerges. Again, with apple, pear, orange and a tinge of tart berries; then a more spicy side balances with cardamom, clove, coriander, peppercorn, dandelion, and flower pedals. As the ale finishes, its timid coffee, char and cocoa note are a bit more pronounced.

Its body is highly effervescent with fine bubbles that give a creamier, rather than zesty impression. Yet, the beer sheds its medium weight late and prefers a dry malt texture that highlights its spicy alcohol and peppery bite. Its dry toast character further elevates the ale's dryness before echoes of that floral bouquet linger in aftertaste.

I'm impressed that the ale shows so much darkness and dryness from roasted malt, but doesn't contribute any porter or stout-like char. I'm also impressed that the ale can retain such dryness as its resists becoming a sweet beer.

Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Volo Dieu du Ciel launch.

Pours a deep and dark reddish black, slightly opaque, medium sized and big bubbled tan head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, some solid lacing. Smell is neat, very fruity, some chocolate and a touch of roast, raisin, caramel, lightly funky saison character, hay, wood, earthy, pretty neat, alcohol comes through as well. Taste is nice too, fruity, very smooth light chocolate and roast character, some funk, licorice, alcohol, a bit herbal and grassy, pretty neat. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down. A pretty cool experiment, great beer.

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Isseki Nicho from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
89 out of 100 based on 169 ratings.