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Isseki Nicho - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Not Rated.
Isseki NichoIsseki Nicho

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

47 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 47
Hads: 174
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.08%
Wants: 11
Gots: 22 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 47 | Hads: 174
Photo of constantine_272
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jet black with a thick billowy fluffy dark tan head. Smells of thick rich dark roasted grain with a brown rye bread. Smells of cold brew coffee followed up with a cool clean vanilla. Tastes slightly sweet with dainty biscuit notes at first. The cold espresso coffee flavor rushes over the palate. Dry cocoa powder finishes. As the brew warms up from fridge temps a herbal licorice and earthy honey aftertaste starts to come forward. Mouthfeel is overal fairly dry but surprisingly thin and light. With all this grain and roast I expected a thicker viscosity. The dryness matches well with the cold coffee. It cleanses the palete well. This beer is weird. Weird in that I've never had anything like it and I don't really know how to categorize this. It's like a CDA mixed with a triple mixed with a stout. I like it purely for how innovative this is. A fascinating deviation from the usual stout.

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Photo of Tone
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, strong yeast, wood, hint of chocolate, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, hops, slight sweet malt, slight alcohol, hint of wood, yeast, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of Letrom
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 9/14.

First time having this style, in fact, I had never come across it before so I don't have much to compare it to.

Appearance: Very black, almost no light can pass through it. About as dark as the darkest stouts. A nearly 3 fingers thick light tan head that persists for several minutes, slowly dying to no head. Leaves a little lacing. Good carbonation.

Smell: I did not get an intense smell, but what I got was mostly coffee, chocolate and a hint of Belgium yeast.

Taste: It took a few sips to get into this beer but then it come on good and tasty. Very stout like, coffee and chocolate seemed to dominate for me, but then some fruitiness. Perhaps my bottle was a bit old? At ten months maybe some of the saison qualities have taken a back seat to the stout qualities? Mine didn't taste much like a saison, but it was there, behind the stout, like an afterthought. At 9.5%, I was impressed that the alcohol was very well hidden, just a hint coming through.

Feel: Very nice drinking beer. Medium + Very smooth, good carbonation.

Overall: I like this beer. It is an interesting blending of two of my favorite styles. It was difficult to rate based on not having this style before, but it grew on me with each sip. I would like to have a fresher one sometime and see if the saison qualities are more pronounced. Worth checking out.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 09.14

A - Pours black of course. Good mocha head at 2 and a half thick creamy fingers. Good carbonation. Good retention with a full finger and great lace rings.

S - Coffee, Belgian yeast, some funk,

T - Huge wallop of Belgian yeast and funk. Lot's of dark malt, coffee and nuttiness. Lot's of fruit and some booze.

M - A good yeasty, funky finish with some fruit, good carbonation and a nice full body.

O/D - Definitely an interesting beer. Wacky and new for sure. The bending of style guidelines works well here and the yeast really drives the malt profile in a new and interesting direction. Worth a shot for sure.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of barczar
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

Aroma is roasty and vinous, with Belgian yeast esters and coffee surfacing. Flavor reveals medicinal phenols at the base, along with roast and dark chocolate. There's a tart character in the background, which adds intrigue. Wish the phenols were less prevalent.

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Photo of SebD
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
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

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Photo of 2_Shaynez
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

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

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Photo of ludachris
3.89/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

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Photo of mick303
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%

Had a special Isseki Nicho with Mosiac hops at Cask Days 2014. Nice aroma of blueberry and dark fruits. Taste has coffee with spice and xmas cake, dates and a growing spiciness. A bit of an alcohol bite to it and a nice yeast spice. Really quite nice, very enjoyable.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled On: 09-03-2014

Pours an inpenetrable black with two and a half fingers of rocky tan head that airily settles to a decent film. Okay retention; polka dot lacing. (4)

Fruity chocolate. Cocoa, citrusy tartness, fresh herbal aromas, coffee, leather, pepper. (4)

Rich and boozy. Coffee, dirt, pepper, chocolate. (3.75)

Bubbly, coating, medium plus bodied, lingering warm richness kind of boozy and sticky after a while (especially as it warms). (3.5)

Tasty beer.
As for what makes a good Black Saison, I don't know.
Aroma-wise I felt like fruity hops were what really stuck out, but the rest drinks like a stout/porter. There aren't even discernable yeast flavors that I could pin down. Tasty, but warming and stiff for a cold night. Definitely a sipping beer.
Would have again; worth trying. (4)

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

341 ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Nearly pitch black with a copious creamy, frothy tan head. Incredibly complex fruit and spice aroma, I am getting fermented apples and pears, cherries, blackberries, black pepper, cranberries, coffee, singed grain, charcoal, a whiff of banana even. Rather unique. The palate leans more toward the darker elements, coffee, char, and burnt crusts, although the berry and orchard fruit notes remain salient and the massive ABV asserts itself admirably, lending the entire package a rum-like smoky barroom sort of vibe. Ashtray and orchard fruit provide an odd juxtaposition in the finish. Heavy bodied, thick, with just enough carbonation to keep this medicine from coming across as flat. I have yet to encounter many black saisons and certainly this evokes the notion: Earthy spicy yeast, a dryish vinous character, robust roasted/toasted malts, a sweeter fruitiness like black cherry juice dancing along the top. Not for the faint of heart but damn good overall.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, earth, chalk, spice, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, and yeast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with more imperial stout than saison qualities in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of mrfrancis
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours an inky black with a bubbly, thick tan head.

S: Aromas of burnt toast, roasted grain, coffee, spicy saison yeast, leather, figs, Medjool dates, prunes, black cherries, and herbs fill the nose.

T: Strong notes of spicy yeast, black peppercorn, black cherry, dates, figs, prunes, rum raisins, and Merlot grapes are underscored by notes of herbs, leather, bitter chocolate, burnt toast, roasted grain, and coffee. The finish is bitter and complex with yeast, dark fruit, herb, and roasted grain flavors.

M: Medium-to-full in body and somewhat slick for the style. Carbonation is firm and supportive. Alcohol warmth is noticeable, but is very mellow. This ale is quite easy to drink despite its strength.

O: This is obviously not a traditional saison/farmhouse ale, but it is still a really nice little ale. This has been one of the better and more interesting North American saisons that I have tried in recent months.

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.59/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.5 oz bottle poured into a Brasserie de Silly tulip glass.

Appearance: A down the side pour produced a massive three fingers of mocha colored head. Lots of thick lacing with a persistent head. Black ink body.

Aroma: Wow, what an interesting aroma. Up front some soapy hops, some white peper, hay and funk, backbone of roasted malts and coffee. So it goes hoppy, saison, stout. Plenty going on but kind of confusing too.
Taste: The saison yeast seems to dominate over the stout notes here. Lots of white pepper, sea salt, and hay. A weird transition into the stout portion. Dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, but over powered by the saison yeast.

Mouthfeel: Creamy mouthfeel with prickly, low carbonation. Drying. Some booze.

Overall: A great looking beer but maybe not the best idea overall. The saison yeast overpowers the stout and seems too peppery and salty, almost one dimensional. Towards the finish the hop bitterness from the stout clashes with the yeast and almost makes it hard to drink too. I’d say back to the drawing board for this one.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
2.9/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle notched 0 and 2, at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma of malt, alcohol, and ???
Head large (5.5 cm), creamy with some rocks, light brown, rapidly diminishing into a 2 cm layer with the center rising like an abbreviated Devil’s Tower
Lacing poor with an occasional clump
Body dark brown to black, opaque
Flavor is primarily malt with some alcohol – it burns when swallowed. No hops, no diacetyl. Fortunately only minimal aftertaste.
Body medium to full, slightly oily, carbonation soft.

I’m at a loss understanding what makes this a saison – the imperial and dark parts are obvious. There are no complex esters apparent, there is no spiceness or fruitiness. Wait – I just went back and reread the judging characteristics for a saison; it seems that anything goes. In the words of Emily Litella – “Never mind”.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.92/5  rDev -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...

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Photo of Pintofbrown
4.48/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.54/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

What if a Japanese and Québécois brewery got together and made a beer? In this case, you get a black saison. On-tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, on to the beer"

Topping the black body is a tanned head, which retains well and leaves some lacing around the glass. Continuing the good start is the aroma, which offers a spicy rye note, a kiss of cocoa, and lemon wedges. And like that, the good start ends and it becomes....weird. There's a wild citrus flavor throughout the beer, and not even the breaths of cocoa can breathe enough into the beer and get it out of that direction. It's also modestly sour. The taste isn't bad to me; it's just on the singular side and unexpected.

One crazy beer. If you're prepared for a wild ride, Isseki Nicho might be ready for you. If not, shoot for another option. I'm glad that I tried it, but probably not again (more so considering the price).

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Photo of mtomlins
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
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!

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Photo of t420o
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
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


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Photo of flipper2gv
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Pours nice and very dark, lots of mocha colored
head. Head is creamy, has lots of retention. Solid
lacing too.

S: It's a dark saison and you couldn't mistake this
for a stout, even though it definitely looks like one.
Lots of funky smells, good amount of hay and some horse
blanket. Some rose petal too. Then, the roasted malts
come alive. Surprisingly quite sweet with chocolate milk,
coffee and caramel. Maybe some ripe mandarine too.
Complex and interesting, but doesn't come together THAT well.

T: The rose petal is quite strong in the taste. Also, second
thing I noticed, it's much less sweet as expected. Still some
hay and horse blanket, but not as much as in the smell. There
is funk, but I find it hard to describe. The mandarine is
definitely there as well as STRONG coffee notes without
sweetness. Complex and interesting, but no synergy at all
between the tastes.

M: Light but sticky at the same time. A bit peppery too.

O: This is an interesting beer, very complex that I think
would be much better after a 6 months aging process (the
same as I like my Péché Mortel, also from DDC). Highly
recommended solely on the fact it's a very different experience
than anything else I had before.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Isseki Nicho from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
89 out of 100 based on 47 ratings.