Équinoxe Du Printemps - Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel

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Équinoxe Du PrintempsÉquinoxe Du Printemps

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very good

479 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 479
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 34
Gots: 43 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel visit their website
Quebec, Canada

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: francisweizen on 05-02-2003

Équinoxe du Printemps (French for "spring equinox") is the quintessential marriage of two great traditions: beer brewing in Scotland, and maple syrup production in Quebec. At the first draught, the mouth is overcome by woody, malty flavours, sustained by a discrete touch of sweetness. The aftertaste brings about the flavours of maple, which are sufficiently present to be appreciated, but never overwhelming the typical flavours of a Scotch Ale.

Equinoxe du printemps is brewed only once a year in January. It is aged for two months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting March 21st, until stocks last.

The Equinoxe du printemps was born in our Montreal brewpub in February 1999.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 479 | Reviews: 238
Reviews by bamadog:
Photo of bamadog
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on this bottle for about 2.5 years, so I figured it's about that time. Pretty pumped about drinking another one from this brewery - if it's anywhere nearly as good as the other one I've had from them, it should be far from disappointing. Review is from notes taken on 7/19/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour is a dark, caramel color -- reminds me of old rust, but not in a bad way or anything; starts with a one finger head that is a light tan in color, and it fades quickly to a nearly complete, yet uneven head; body is pretty murky, and there seems to be a few floaties around the edges bubbling around with what looks to be still solid carbonation; just a few strands of web-like lacing linger on the sides.

Smell: Lots of caramel malt, a touch of wood and some peat malt, and then a lot of sweet, sweet maple in there; for being just under 10% ABV, the alcohol is completely buried in there; not a ton going on here, but what there is, I'm in love with -- smells fantastic and it's making my mouth water.

Taste: Moment of truth -- this beer is fantastic, and I'm surprised that its average isn't higher. It tastes like candied maple and butterscotch with just a touch, and I mean, JUST a touch, of an earthy bitterness, perhaps a very light coffee ground like flavor that has a touch of acidity to it; alcohol, while invisible in the nose, is certainly present in the taste, but not overwhelmingly so, but more "right sized" - provides a decent burn and it helps balance out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Body is a tad over medium, approaching heavy; carbonation is solid, still bubbling and foamy and lively; gums and belly are left warm and tingly from the carbonation and warming alcohol; a thin and very sticky coating is left on the roof of the mouth, and the teeth feel a touch gritty; solid overall, and it really lets you know you're drinking something with some substance behind it.

Overall: I think it's great, and I hope this review and score helps bring up the average on it. Great flavors, and would make for a solid dessert on its own. Definitely a sipper, but hey, with everything going for it, I'll sip it all night.

More User Reviews:
Photo of stephens101
4.36/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Ruby red crowned by a quickly fading tan froth. Has a simple aroma of maple syrup, spice, sweet bread and plum. Tastes of brown bread covered in maple syrup, grain, plum and a hint of black grape. Medium-to-heavy in body with a flick of alcohol at the very end. Sweet all the way through but never cloying and just as balanced as you could wish for.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Blue Monk last night.Came to the table in a goblet a burnt orange infused chesnut brown with a thin head atop.Brown sugar,dark fruit,maple,and lightly roasted nut in a rich nose.Thick and chewey the mouthfeel is everything you would want in the style.Dark fruit and brown sugar malt flavors with atinge of mable,as it warmed sweet alcohol cameinto play.I really enjoyed this warming wee heavy.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In a snifter the beer was a very dark brown, almost black, color. There was a light tan head with a bit of lace.

Sweet malt aroma. Woodsy.

Toffee taste. A lot of maple syrup.

This was just sweet enough without going overboard. The alcohol (9,5%) was very well hidden.

Photo of Kraken
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 9/24/09

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 16 oz Harp glass. Firm pour yields the thinnest of heads the evaporates very quickly. Very spotty light lace. Color is interesting, almost cider like, a very murky, clouded light brown.

Nose- Sour, sweet, and malty. Sour, almost rotting green apples. Interesting as I thought the maple syrup would come through.

Taste- Wow. Very different then the nose. Some dark fruits, cherries and dates, apple pie. Lots of firm malty caramel backing. Burnt caramelized sugar, a pleasant maple finish. Very warming in finish.

Mouthfeel- Thin and dry but not cloying

Drinkability- Very nice but strong, and I am only half way through.

Photo of jondeelee
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Equinoxe du Printemps, a Maple Scotch Ale, smells quite a bit like beer mixed lightly with cognac. The toasted grains and clean-but-light hoppiness of an ale are still present, but joined by strong vanillas and maple sugars, and just a hint of oak.

On the tongue, the beer is incredibly complex and bursting with flavors. In fact, it's hard to nail down exactly what's going on, so varied are the flavors that run across the tongue. Maple syrupy sugars are present, yes, but joined by orange notes that would seem more fitting in, say, Cointreau (or a similar orange liqueur). Huge banana and vanilla blasts trumpet the background, as well as a chorus line of bourbon or whisky-like alcoholic high kicks. Many of the main flavors of the brew are actually more liqueur-like than beer-like, and if the ale has one weakness, it's that it possesses an overwhelming alcohol taste that even the 9.5% ABV can't quite explain. Despite this, the brew maintains a relatively light mouthfeel.

Overall, while the taste of alcohol does prove detrimental, Equinoxe is a great beer. I only wish I didn't have to drive to Montreal every time I wanted one.

Photo of BGDrock
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Appearance: chocolate brown with a red hue; hazy, looking like a Belgian trappist ale

Aroma: sweet & rich, hint of maple and some caramel

Taste & Mouthfeel: finely carbonated, light on the tongue; not overly sweet which is surprising; maple shows up after a few seconds and grows slowly, but never becomes too strong

Overall: reminiscent of a good Belgian ale with a perfect malty flavour; very drinkable. Only fault is that the promised maple is just a bit too subtle

Photo of r0nyn
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Split with fellow BA infi for my birthday night of drinking! Poured into a snifter from a bottle.

Appearance is a translucent reddish-orange that fills the glass easily. Head is about a quarter-inch thick and lightly colored, dissipating slowly and leaving a substantial amount of lacing. The nose is full of malts, malts and more malts. Really sweet smelling, especially with the slight wafting of the advertised maple syrup at the end.

Taste is sweet and malty right off the bat, as expected. Bitterness is almost non-existent, just a light tinge in the middle of the sip. Finishes off with the touted maple syrup flavoring, with a light aftertaste that doesn't linger too long. Definitely a sugary-tasting brew, one of the sweeter kinds I've had. The hefty 9.5% ABV is only detectable after letting it warm up for a bit. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side, doesn't weigh down the tongue too much and has the faintest bit of carbonation. Goes down easy and smooth.

An interesting and flavorful brew to say the least. Drinkability is only slightly impaired by the weighty ABV. Given the right situation, I definitely could have knocked down another one. Not bad for my first wee heavy. Will have to try others of the same style to compare!

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle - spring has decided to turtle once again, here in late May, so I drink this ode to it with muffled irony.

This beer pours a murky, dark brownish orange colour, with three fingers of thick, puffy, and creamy beige head, which displays very good retention, leaving some decent sudsy chainlink lace around the glass.

It smells of woody maple, biscuity caramel malt, tanned leather, a further toffee sweetness, an oily nuttiness, reduced brown sugar, and some sedate oaken alcohol. The taste is big caramel/biscuit malt, still isolated hard toffee, semi-sweet maple sap, a hint of vegetal smoke, dark earthy fruit, more gritty leather, ethereal savoury spice, and a heady, but well tethered, enveloping booze warmth.

The carbonation is quite low, and almost invisible at times, the body a prominent medium-heavy weight, thick, viscous, somewhat oily, and creamy - a sledgehammer of pleasure on my palate. It finishes well off-dry, the complex malt offset by the lingering besotted fruitiness, and some late-arriving earthy, leafy, and slightly perfumed hops.

Suffice it to say the emphasis is on the 'heavy' in this wee heavy - Fat Bastard himself would be proud! One smooth-drinking, filling, and cockles-warming elixir, this one is. An appropriate offering for we north of the 49th parallel, as the onset of springtime predicated by the equinox normally still means snow on the ground and sub-zero temps that have overstayed their welcome.

Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at Mondiale 2008. One of several maple offerings. Creamy orange colour with a bit of head. Aroma is malty and fruity. Taste is malt and alcohol, with tart fruit finish. White lacing. ABove average mouthfeel.Aged in wood, complex, a sipper that reminds me of an oaked barleywine.

Photo of cjgator3
3.26/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.5oz bottle

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a a dark reddish brown with a nice off-white head. 

S- The aroma is very sweet with a lot of malt, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, maple syrup and booze.

T- The taste like the aroma starts out very sweet and malty. Hints of toffee and caramel come in next with a boozy finish. A little on the sweet and boozy side for me, but not bad.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a thin fizzy carbonation in the finish.

D- Like mentioned above, the sweetness and booziness limit the drinkability of this brew for me.

Photo of prototypic
3.58/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Équinoxe Du Printemps pours an attractive nut brown color. It's hazy, but when backlit reveals a very attractive scarlet tint. A foamy head sits on top and stands about a finger and a half tall. It quickly receded to a thin layer covering the surface and held there for quite a while. Lacing was thin, but the lined the glass nicely.

The nose is full of caramel malt and toffee aromas. It smells very sweet. There's obviously a bit of maple syrup though it's not overly strong. Much to my surprise, banana seems to have a large role (at least in smell). Oak and wood chip scents are notable. They're more of a secondary feature, but add a nice dimension overall. Alcohol is noted, but isn't overly strong. All in all, it's pretty good. It just seems a little jumbled and results in an above average nose.

The flavor profile is consistent with the nose. If nothing else, it's the most interesting Scotch Ale I've ever had. It's very malt heavy and has a pretty nice, sweet caramel/toffee flavor up front. There's definitely a banana component. It's not bad, but it is out of place and comes across as...well...weird. It features a distinct maple flavor (obviously) that's sweet and adds quite a bit of character. It's unique and works well with its malty character. Oak is easily noted. Honestly, it doesn't really seem to add much, but doesn't negate anything either. Alcohol is noted and runs a little warm. It finishes sweet and a little boozy. It's far from bad, but it's not quite as good as I'd hoped.

Its body is medium and relatively smooth. Carbonation seems a little high and prevents it from accomplishing more. Drinkability is above average, but limited by its (slightly) weird flavor, abv, and warmth. My bottle indicates abv is 9.5%. It's definitely a sipping beer that takes a while to get through.

Équinoxe Du Printemps is a very interesting and unique Scotch Ale. At the end of the day, it's an above average beer that didn't quite live up to my expectations. I like the maple syrup and oak aspects of it. But, I really don't like the banana flavor. It's weird, misplaced, and throws the overall experience a little. That being said, it's pretty good and definitely a unique experience. Worth checking out.

As a side note, I'm curious about the profiles here on the site. This beer has a distinct oak flavor and I'm left wondering if there's really an oak aged version of this beer that's different. I've got a hunch that this is the same beer. My bottle even indicates the abv is even higher on this one. Just throwing that out there. Carry on.

Photo of Yoonisaykul
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Some chill staffer bought it for me at the brewpub. 9.5 instead of 9.1 in bottled form.

A- Dark red brown. Nice thin head that disappears but comes right back with a swirl.

S- So sweet. Maple syrup, yeast and malt.

T- Maple syrup is so much stronger, or rather noticeable than in bottled form. Still similar to the bottled serving. See my other review for details.

M- Almost full. Medium carbonation which I'd consider high for the style.
It got much lower during the hour it took me to drink this though.

D- Low. This tastes very good but just drinks slow. I love the taste but am just not very eager to take another sip.

Good quality beer.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - a dark brown-orange with a solid creamy tan head that retained very nicely
S - inticing sweet maple syrup, roasted nutty malts, and some slight grassy hop hints
T - the rich nutty malt flavour start things off, then a tangy hop and alcohol bite, with the maple more subtle than the smell suggested but lingering on the taste buds
M - thins out quickly and the dominant feel is a full sharp bitter and high ABV sensation
D - the flavours work well, but there is a definite bite, no hiding of the 9.1% here, don't think i'd want to attempt more than one or two in a sitting

Photo of bashiba
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark and dirty amber with a touch of ruby highlights. The head was very thin and quickly became a little soap ring.

A huge sweet bready malty smell with a big blast of maple and molasses along with some alcohol and cedar.

The initial taste is sweet and maplely with a nice bready malt base and some funky musty yeast. A big blast of juniper and mint hops slowly makes its way through the malt blast. The alcohol while evident in the nose is very well in hidden in the flavor.

The mouthfeel is thick and oily with long lingering dry flavor.

Easy to drink for a beer this big, The maple is a nice touch giving this beer a unique flavor.

Photo of Gmann
3.12/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours an iced tea brown color with a small tan head that leaves a light ring, almost looks flat. The aroma is sweet, a bit vinous, brown sugar, a brown bread malt, and rubbing alcohol. The taste is of rum soaked raisins, vinous, brown sugar, cinnamon raisin bread. The malt is outplayed by the sweetness of the brew, no roasted qualities or smokiness. Way too sweet and boozy. The feel is chewy, a bit sticky, suprisingly not slick, prickly carbonation. Finishes sweet and hot from the ABV. A very disappointing Wee Heavy, not about the malt just about the booze. A very hot brew, sweet flavors; should showcase the malt. Boo. The label indicated that this was 9.5ABV. Great brewery just not digg'n this brew at all.

Photo of steeltown71
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a nice amber, creamy inch-thick head, good retention.

S: Not far removed from fresh pancake aroma...honey, shortbread cookie, cinnamon, maple syrup.

T: Nice maltiness upfront, gets more interesting on finish with noticeable maple syrup & spice.

M: Medium-bodied, not hugely sticky or viscous given the sweetness, perfect carbonation level.

D: Interesting but there's no chance I would want to session this.

Unique flavor profile makes this worth trying at least once. For the money though I can't imagine reaching for this if Peche Mortel is on the shelf next to it.

Photo of eat
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I've had this once on tap at the brewery and was not impressed at all. All I can remember about what I thought of it was that it was very sweet and smelled exactly like nail polish. I'm glad to have another go at this one...

Bottled March of 2010. I don't think I've ever seen a beer this colour before. It's a mahogany/copper/amber and pretty much opaque. An initial cream-white head settles down to a thin covering and ring around the glass, and then completely disappears. No lacing or retention. 3.5 only for the great colour and viscous looking pour.

I'm not sure what was up with this stuff when I had it on tap last year; this smells nothing like nail polish. Quite a nice smell actually: bread, yeast (with maybe even a hint of Belgian character), caramel, milk chocolate, spicy hops, dark malt, light alcohol, overripe banana and some subtle but noticeable maple. Smells like maple chocolate chip banana bread, which isn't something I've ever tried but sure sounds delicious now that I think of it!

Now I remember... It didn't smell like nail polish, it tasted like nail polish smells! I'm definitely getting that here again. The alcohol is pretty hot and comes off a little solvent-like. Mixed with the sweetness and maple, everything comes together to remind me a little of nail polish. While I was really put off by this last year, it's not too distracting here. What does detract from this otherwise pretty great scotch ale, however, is the solventy alcohol. I can't say I'm into it. Seems like maybe it needs some more age on it? It's also on the sweet side of things for my liking; not cloying but half way there anyway. The maple is appropriately subtle and the hop character is really nice, although I'd like even more of it. The finish is all of sweet, wet and dry at once, leaving traces of ethanol and maple.

The feel is alright: slightly chewy medium body with very light carbonation.

I don't find this to be too drinkable. I'd only buy this again in order to see how it ages. If some more age smoothed out the alcohol, I could see myself enjoying this. As is I'm having a hard time getting through this 341ml bottle. This is not one of the better DDC beers I've had.

Photo of elricorico
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a deep orange brown, practically opaque in the glass. Three fingers of foamy beige head formed, and is taking its time in settling, never getting slimmer than half a finger. Sticky lacing left behind as it falls.

There is a licorice sweetness to the nose, along with a bit of boozy scotch impression. Some toffee and just the faintest suggestion of smoke.

Mix of licorice and maple sweetness up front, creating a bit of an odd combination. Licorice overtakes the middle, then tries to hold on as alcohol heat kicks in at the end. The alcohol settles as the beer warms and flavours seem to come together and become sweet and smooth with a touch of caramel and nuts in the finish. Alcohol never totally hides, but becomes more and more subtle.

Mouthfeel is fairly full with lowish carbonation. Chewy and smooth at once.

The alcohol in this one pushes the flavour around just a bit too frequently to make this a very drinkable beer. That said, there are some great flavours to it, and it is worth trying out to see if it is your thing.

Photo of buffs9
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich, sweet and boozy.

Dark brown with some red in it. Small head w/ tiny bubbles, which fades to a very thin layer as I drink it.

Big, sweet malt flavour with lots of maple and booze flavors. Some dark fruits, get a bit of a light ginger flavor. More dark maple in the end.

Medium-full body with light carbonation. Medium-dry finish.

I really like this beer and bought it after loving the Kaiser Curmudgeon on tap at Founders. This is a decent substitute for KC, which I can't get anymore.

Photo of Bung
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. Dark caramel/amber pour with minimal cream colored head. Recedes to a ring. Does seem to stick to the glass rather nicely.

Rather sweet malt, caramel and maple aroma. A little booziness.

Taste is pretty sweet, caramel, toffee and maple. Pancakes and waffles with above on them. There is some yeast character to it, not sure what they used, there is a hint of bananna in there.

Mouthfeel is almost syrupy, but the carbonation cuts it pretty well. Almost could have used less carbonation, but still ok.

There is a warming there, but it goes down smooth. Not sure I would really want to drink more than one of these though.

Maple does work well with this, similar to the Sappy Slappy Bastard from Founders.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark copper with a honeycomb brown head.
Nose is very sweet, with lots of caramel, toffee and woody maple syrup. Some spicy hops also present.
Nose is very sweet with heaps more caramel before the powerful alcohol hits to balance things out.
Low creamy carbonation works well with the syrupy slick texture.
A little too boozy but overall quite nice.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.5 ounce bottle, 9.5% ABV. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a cloudy reddish/brown color with a very small off-white head that went away pretty quickly. Lacing is OK. The aroma is sweet, it smells like maple syrup, toffee, bananas, wood and booze. It tastes like maple, apple brandy, bananas and toffee. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit rich and has moderate carbonation. Drinkability is OK, it's not hard to drink at all. It would be much easier to drink if the booze taste wasn't so noticable. I probably should have aged this a bit longer as it's still hot. Overall, I think it's a decent brew that I would try again. However, it's not one of the better Dieu Du Ciel beers I've tried.

Photo of jsh420
3.33/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours clear dark amber brown with a 2 finger head that left little lacing

smell is mostly maple syrup and booze

taste is good - malts fruits booze and oh that maple syrup - very sweet - little too much for me

mouthfeel is heavy and why wouldnt it be - it has maple syrup in it

drinkability - for me not so good - too sweet high abv along with a heavy body makes me not want to buy another - thats not to say its not a good beer because it is

Photo of Rutager
3.69/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to Peensteen for sending me this one as part of my CANBIF 2013 box. Cheers man!

Appearance. Pours a very deep and opaque ruby-orange with a thin off-white head.

Smell. Caramel, orange zest and dark fruits, brown sugar and maple.

Taste. Caramel and dried dark fruits, some bitter hops and lightly smokey malts, fresh cut wood and some maple syrup that I probably wouldn't have picked up if I didn't read the label.

Mouthfeel. Full body with low+ carbonation.

Overall. A decent Scotch ale with that signature DDC complexity. I doubt I'd buy this one after having tried it, but very glad to have had it once.

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Équinoxe Du Printemps from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
87 out of 100 based on 479 ratings.