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Isseki Nicho - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

Not Rated.
Isseki NichoIsseki Nicho

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

48 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 48
Hads: 175
Avg: 4.05
pDev: 8.89%
Wants: 11
Gots: 21 | 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: 48 | Hads: 175
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.81/5  rDev -5.9%

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 metter98
4/5  rDev -1.2%
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 BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - a very dark brown body, topped bya small head of medium tan foam. The head settles fairly quickly but leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - dark caramel and some molasses with a hint of green hops in the background.

T - brown sugar and toffee up front. Some dark caramel and molasses notes come out in the middle. The beer finishes with cinnamon, clove, and smoky chocolate as well as a lingering licorice note.

M - medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - very complex, with lots of dark sugar and some spicy yeast character in the finish. It could be a bit dryer, but at this strength, done residual sweetness is forgivable even in a saison.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Kristina. Comes complete with photocopied label affixed via a rubber band. I'm guessing this is the correct beer, as it said Imperial Dark Saison in English and had a bunch of Japanese characters. Served in a wine glass.

A - It's definitely dark, with a semi-transparent dark chocolate body. A dark tan foam settles to a solid cap, leaving behind splotchy lace.

S - Cocoa, burnt and charred malts, spicy yeast, slight anise, and some earthy notes as well.

T - The taste is sweeter than the nose implies, with lots of baker's chocolate and dark fruit character. There is again some light spice character both of the estery variety as well as some star anise.

M - Medium-light body that seems a bit undersized for the alcohol. Very smooth texture, moderate carbonation, with a lightly chewy finish.

D - This was very nice, and a surprise highlight at the surprisingly debaucherous tasting that accompanied Jeppe's visit to Chicago. One or two beers, my ass. In any case, this was a very good beer and a textbook dark saison, but it's probably something you wouldn't want to pound all night.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -1.7%
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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Photo of DoubleJ
3.54/5  rDev -12.6%
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 Tone
4.13/5  rDev +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 wordemupg
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into tulip 6/5/13 some hoser was nice enough to give me the bottle

A just a thumbnail of cola in a black liquid, three fingers of dark mocha foam has good retention slowly falling to a thick film that leaves lots of random lace on its way down

S charred wood, espresso, bakers chocolate, hit me first followed by a hop blast of grapefruit and tangerine that are much stronger then expected, a little licorice and fudge as it warms with just a hint of the farmhouse yeast and booze

T more dark roast in the mouth but the hops are still strong, the chocolates not quite as dark as what I was smelling and I get a little rind I didn't find on the nose, great mix of hops and dark roast but I think the "Saison" aspects a little hard to find

M not quite as thick as the color would have me guess but still a full bodied beer, has a bitter snap to it, and a long strange mix of coffee and hops on the finish

O even 6 months old this still has a massive hop presence, drinks like a fresh hopped up RIS and that suits me just fine, I was expecting more Belgian influence and I suppose it comes out a little more as it warms but still subtle

I'm pretty happy with whats in my glass and would definitely buy this often if I could get it off the shelf here in Alberta, time will tell I suppose. One of those beers where you want to taste a bottle fresh and with a couple years on it, I'm not sure what if age would do to this one.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +4.7%
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 spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kristina for this and Alex for tracking it down on BA...Darkish brown pour, but a little watery as its semi clear. A light tan head leaves a nice cap, ok lacing...Charred spice aroma, pretty interesting...The taste is nice, not sure how its a saison though with no hop presence. Dark fruits with spice, and a chocolate finish.

Interesting and worth trying.

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Photo of barczar
3.9/5  rDev -3.7%

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 tbeckett
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
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 mrfrancis
4.04/5  rDev -0.2%
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 Rutager
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of papat444
4.41/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

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Photo of jrenihan
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of bobsy
4.35/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A few half pints at Volo's Dieu du Ciel launch night. Apparently Isseki Nicho means to kill two birds with one stone. This imperial black saison was brewed as a collaborative effort between Dieu du Ciel and the Shiga Kogen brewery in Japan, then fresh hopped with local Nagano hops and cask conditioned. I believe this has been its only appearance on cask.

Pours pitch black with two fingers of dark tan head, which left great lacing as it settled down. Nice aroma - some funk, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, wood and cider. Flavour is a mix of two world's, with a decent roast being slightly edged out by some great saison funk. Its like a cross between their Grande Noirceur and St-Louis Saison. Nice roasted malt base provides flavours of bittersweet chocolate and coffee, which is complimented by a light fruitiness and hints of dates. Big, funky saison yeast wrestles the malt to the ground and leaves you in no doubt what sort of beer this is. A lingering bitterness is appended to a warming alcohol finish. I would have liked to see a bit more dark roast in there, but that would probably have tipped the scales to far in the direction of a Belgian Imperial Stout. The cask gives this a nice smooth body with a light carbonation, but probably also lets the alcohol shine a little too much. In spite of this it remains ridiculously drinkable.

Another fine experiment and a great collaboration!

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Photo of grub
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
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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Isseki Nicho from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
89 out of 100 based on 48 ratings.