Isseki Nicho - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
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Ratings: 115 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev +4.3%
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.
03-22-2013 01:43:22 | More by biboergosum
3.79/5 rDev -3.6%
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.
03-20-2013 18:38:37 | More by Phyl21ca
4.61/5 rDev +17.3%
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.
02-27-2013 02:28:29 | More by ssmack
4.39/5 rDev +11.7%
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.
02-26-2013 12:27:32 | More by papat444
4.28/5 rDev +8.9%
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.
01-30-2013 02:04:58 | More by jrenihan
British Columbia (Canada)
4.34/5 rDev +10.4%
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.
01-25-2013 01:26:27 | More by Rutager
4.34/5 rDev +10.4%
Poured into a large wine glass. Bottle date of 11/12. Imperial Dark Saison. ABV this batch was 9.5%
A - Black brown body, not opaque at all, with an aggressive pour you get a decent 2 fingers of caramel/light brown head...head settles fairly quickly but lots of lacing on top and sticking to the glass.
S - Bittersweet, roasted malt aromas underlying, some other sweet aroma I can't quite put my finger on(almost butter scotch?), but quite fresh with a big blast of fresh hops in this type of glass but I don't get as much spice though on the nose.
T - Upfront, sweet, caramel sugars, roasted coffee malts. As it finishes it is slightly spicy, lots of bitter chocolate taste and slightly floral/grassy hops (which could be actually the yeast coming out a bit)
M - Medium carbonation with some fizz on your tongue, medium-thick body, but not syrupy like a heavy stout, much more dry saison here.
O - Really interesting combo beer here that makes it hard to review, because while it has a saison base it really is styled on a porter/stout flavour profile. That said I'm really enjoying it, very complex, you've got your stout malts, but then some underlying saison bitter/hops/funkiness going on which is nice, and then instead of a sticky mouth it's really quite drying... a relatively recent collaboration beer with Shiga Kougen in Japan, but already off to an amazing start I'd say... perfect for winter, sharing with friends and warming your bones.... highly recommended to give it a try, interested to see where they take this beer or develop it any more. (hard to classify purely as a saison so my review is more reflective of quality, as I'm guessing are others)
01-24-2013 01:19:01 | More by 4ster
Isseki Nicho from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
88 out of 100 based on 115 ratings.