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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale - De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

Not Rated.
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse AleSaison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

204 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 204
Reviews: 167
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.76%
Wants: 3
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot) visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewmaster's Collection - Special Reserve
Mixed Fermentation - Saison De Flandres

(Beer added by: clickpush on 05-04-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 204 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by eljefe21:
Photo of eljefe21
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ice tea like in color. Pours to a single-finger head that quickly zeros out. Impressive fine lacing.

S: Sour malted smell. Very enticing. Ever so slight hint of vanilla.

T: Sour, slightly spicy, with a nice malt backbone. A very faint sweet, almost vanilla finish.

M: Good carbonation up front, fine bubbles like the lacing. Carbonation rolls back over the tongue and leaves with a pleasing dryness.

D: Probably popped the cork on this when it was still a bit cold. Got better as it got warmer (or was it me getting warmer?). Flavor and smells came out as it did. Refreshing flavors and mouthfeel hid the power in this brew. Nice for any time of the year.

Served: in an oversized wine glass.

Review from notes taken on: 9/7/09

eljefe21, Oct 02, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a large tulip glass a hazy amber/bronze color with a large fluffy white head that settled very slowly leaving globs of lace behind.Aromas are a mix of overripe pineapple,green apple,and a big black pepper shot,not overly yeasty wich is a good thing for me,flavors are big and sweet up front like candied fruit with a touch of alcohol burn,the overripe pieapple shows thru as well as a hefty dose of black pepper.This is a big flavored saison alot different than many I have had,I really enjoyed it.

oberon, Jul 05, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.35/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Striking orange amber color with a less impressive head that reduces quickly to a thin skim and minor clinging around the glass. Nicely assertive carbonation.

Aroma: Highly impressive nose. Sweet caramel base, with all the farmyard attributes one expects in a good saison and then some. This brew goes above and beyond to a certain degree in terms of sour lemon that one might find in a lambic. Other aroma notes include rotten hay, clove, and a cherry-strawberry jam like quality. Also, some light floral notes are present.

Taste: What a let down. The nose got me all hyped up for something unique and interesting yet the taste is just blah. Very plain caramel malt and light floral hops with almost no farmlike qualities to speak of. Subtle candied sugar, lemon sweetness but that’s it. Very dull.

Mouthfeel: Almost flat, despite loads of visible carbonation, although perhaps this was just my perception because the flavor was so bland (I suppose this beer could have been spritzy and I didn’t notice because I was so depressed by the flavor. Very simple, light, and dull.

Drinkability: Average. There is nothing special about this beer’s flavor and I would not go out of my way to drink large quantities of it, however, it does quaff well and has no negative attributes.

A let down overall yet so close to my favorite approach to one of my favorite styles.

DaPeculierDane, Aug 28, 2006
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalice style glass.

I have to say that as I poured this into the glass I did a double take. To date, the Saison style brews that I have had have all been light golden yellow in color. This brew is different as it has a dark orange amber color. It is not at all unattractive but it was different than expected. The finished pour sported a nice two fingers of creamy white foam that stayed put through the whole drink. Lacing was light to moderate.

Malt is the first thing I noticed, followed by sweet smells of caramel and Belgian candy sugar. There is a light fruit smell as well but it is faint.

Sweet caramels and malts steal the show with this one followed up by some dark fruit flavors, like fig. There are no real noticeable hop notes but there are a few hints of spice. The flavors stay solid and relatively heavy on the tongue, not quite cloying but definitely sweet. The finish is relatively long and again, sweet. The carbonation does give this some body and character as the bubbles are fine and persistent, giving the brew a nice creamy texture. Pleasant overall.

This was a pretty good Saison but not what I would call 'great'. I give it kudos because it is relatively strong for Saison but I didn't get a real strong sense of alcohol on the palate or in the finish. It was a little too sweet for my liking but it still wasn't bad. Give it a shot if you like the Saison style and would like to try something different.

SIRIUS2, Aug 30, 2008
Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear and bright orange amber color, thick bubbly frothy off-white head leaves a crown of lace on the glass. Aromas of lemon grass, turmeric, ripe melon, parsley, tart plum and musty hay. Alcohol is quite noticeable in the nose. Big viscous smoothness and crispness rolls slowly through the full body. A bit creamy and slick in the mouth feel. Caramelized malt sugar, grainy horse feed like malt flavor, earthy with a hint of mineral and salt and sweet cooked veggies in the back. Alcohol is a bit flamboyant with fruity esters in tow, ripe pineapple and papaya come to mind. A complex herbal phenolic slowly peels away layers as it warms up a bit more with each sip. Suggestions of pumpkin seeds, pepper corns and starchy plantains. A little buttery, stripped hop character appear middle to end. Finishes with a deep grassy grain flavor that runs semi-sweet.

A complex beer for the mature palate ... or simply an acquired taste. Any true Belgian beer lover will appreciate if not have high regards for this ale. Unlike all Saison I have ever tried, think one part Saison plus one part Quad and this is what you will probably end up with. I broke out a wedge of creamy Danish blue and fig spread with the rest of the sample, with a beer like this blue is always a good choice.

Jason, Sep 08, 2007
Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle as pictured here. Pours into a tulip a slightly hazed copper body with an immense pillow of foamy beige head. Retention is excellent and lacing lavishly drapes the glass.

Aroma is an unexpected combination of caramel and cinnamon. A mild note of barnyard funkiness quickly comes to the rescue, followed by hints of lemon, mint, and pepper.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with silky carbonation.

Taste opens with sweet caramel maltiness, followed by a bitter floral hops presence. Just enough of an undertone of outdoorsy spicy botanicals to make you think this is really a saison. Pepper and mild coriander join with lemony citrus as it warms.

More an excellent bierre de garde than a saison, but a very palatable brew, nonetheless. Not at all like the brewery's Flemish wild ales, but still pleasantly drinkable.

merlin48, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Belgian bomber, caged and corked, no freshness info to be taken in. Pours dark and murky for a saison, dark tan head, with good staying power, then leaves a load of ringed, froth and then lace. The nose is just moderately of some earthiness and perhaps some lazy yeast in the background. On the malty side for a saison, this one lacks some of the guiding traits that make saison the popular style that it is. Light on the spice, funky barnyard and yeasty intrigue. I do get plenty of maple infused malts, some light holiday type spicing, some heady warming alcohol and a moderately floral hoppy final wave. Decent stuff, nothing special, a bit of a disappointment, especially from Deproef, who have turned out some special brews over the years.

Billolick, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not your typical saison, but it was still an enjoyable beer. Taste was much more funky than a typical saison, as I detected no pepper or spice in the beer but got a lot of funk. When I smelled the beer the first thing I thought of was Victory WildDevil. The beer is very drinkable, but if you are looking for a standard saison, you need to keep looking.

Mora2000, Oct 09, 2009
Photo of Kraken
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a corked an caged 750 ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Moderate pour yields 1 inch of head. Head is an off white/tan with great retention and copious lace. Color is a cloudy orange brown.

Nose- Citric and musty, with nuances of yeast and dough.

Palate- Slightly sour citric quality. Smooth with highly active carbonation. Plenty of bitters at the finish. Some sweetness comes through. Distinctive yeast characteristics contribute to a musty element in the flavor profile. Plenty of hops, reminiscent of a Belgian IPA rather then a saison. Finish is long and dry with plenty of pithy bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Mildly cloying, very active and dry.

Drinkablility- This is a great beer. Keeps you interested.

Kraken, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of valkyre65
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

valkyre65, Apr 10, 2013
Photo of OStrungT
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a muddy copper color with a thick white head. The head fades slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a nice fruity aroma. Lemon and orange. It is also spicy. I smell some cloves and coriander. It has a pleasent grassy hop aroma also.

This beer has a spicy flavor. It is also slightly sour. I think the lemon flavor is very strong. It has a slight bubble gum flavor. The citrus hop flavor is very nice.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a pleasent citrus like slightly sour aftertaste. This highly carbonated beer is very crisp and refreshing.

I think this beer would make a decent session beer. The only problem is that it is slightly high in alcohol.

Overall: I think this is a great beer. I have no complaints. If I see it again, I will buy it.

OStrungT, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a turbid dark orange color with a big two-finger head. The head sticks around for a while before settling into a thin pancake of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Nice lacing is left all the way down.

Smells more like a quad than anything, with Belgian candy sugar and a yeast funk, but it's also joined by a grassy aroma.

Tastes very good. Again, more like a quad than a saison up front, with light and dark fruits mixing and sweet Belgian candy sugar. As it warms, the malt asserts itself more and there's definitely a grassy twang.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing this one and wish I'd bought the big bottle.

Overall, there's a lot of stuff going on in this beer and the flavors change slightly with every sip. An interesting "Belgian saison" that's definitely worth a shot.

glid02, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of kamiller
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: poured a slightly cloudy reddish brown.

Smell: a great smell, fruity notes, sweet.

Taste: semi fruity taste, just a very slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, light to medium body, crisp and clean finish.

Drinkablity: Seems very drinkable, hides the high alcohol content very nicely.

Overall: I bought this beer on a recommendation from the store worker and I have been impressed. It is my first Saison's hopefully they are all this good.

kamiller, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a real farmhouse, the barnyard smell is there and it stays, whati the brett accumulating?. Active white head that evolves ito some creaminess. Active spice and carbonation, yet it does not detract. Satisfying aftertaste. The alcohol warms as it accumulates.

Sammy, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged, I could not find any date marking on this bottle. It opened with a solid 'crack' (or should I say snap, or pop), but it didn't foam up. It poured a disappointingly hazy chestnut brown with an orange cast. I chalked the haze up to having not let the bottle sit long enough. Raised to the nose I got sharp fruit. There's a little bit of tang there. Green apple and dark fruit. Plum/prune, cherry, red grape/raisin. Leather, mineral and earth. Dusty. A bit of mud and a bit of barnyard and a bit of horse hair and sweat. Damp wood or straw perhaps. And spice. Soft spice... it's all kept in check. I'm thinking coriander, but also cinnamon and anise and even all-spice. And nutmeg. I'm thinking there can't be nutmeg, but I kind of get it. Who knows? It all comes back to prune though. Green apple and prune... I'm thinking that's the main note. That's what cuts through. And that's perhaps the main note of the flavor too, after you run through all of the aromas that I've just listed, and then break your way through the dry finish - because what differentiates the aroma from the flavor is the solid, dry, raspy and woody bitterness that runs through it! It's solid, and wide, but not sharp... maybe blunt is the word... no, I think perhaps raspy better suits it. Yes, it has a solid, blunt bitterness, but there's also an edge - raspy. And that must be because of spices. And for me, anyway, that kind of works. There's also a kind of herbal and dry-grass quality to it, and that seems to work with the low-level Brettanomyces. It's unusual in that way, with such a bark-like and woody bitterness. There's not as much fruitiness, but then again, it's also pretty malty. Those residual sugars are clinging to the palate and holding the bitterness and spice with them in the finish. So I have to think about it... what is Saison Imperiale? Well, obviously, it's a big saison. And with that comes bitterness. Right? Or is it too bitter and not big enough? Hmmm...? Well, it's not over-the-top in malt. I think it's just enough to keep from going over. And that needs to be balanced. Either by tartness or hop flavor or hop bitterness or spice. This has a little of each. I think it's well-done and well-balanced. It's interesting, and rich in character. I find it compelling as each sip seems to offer up a little bit more of the story. On the other hand, it can build on the palate after a serving or two. So final thoughts in five words... interesting, rich, full, worth-trying.

NeroFiddled, Dec 02, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
4.53/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

A- Corked and caged 750ml bottle. Pours a dark brownish color with an off-white head. A little darker than most Saidons I've tried.

S- The aroma is surprisingly very malty with hints of spices, must, barnyard funk and yeast. The dark color was the first sign that this wasn't going to be your typical Saison, the aroma confirms this notion. I really like it! Fantastic!

T- The taste starts out with a good amount of malt and caramel flavors. Some spices start to come in along with some funk and earthy hops inthe finish. Like the aroma, the taste is fantastic!

M - The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It is another great beer from this brewery and something I will definitely pick up more of in the future. Highly Recommended!

cjgator3, Jun 16, 2009
Photo of Cooper
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

Cooper, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent amber/copper with 3+ fingers sand colored head. Superior head retention & lacing

S: Appleskins, dirt, mushrooms & mustyness

T: Appleskins, tartness, grapefruit & dryness up front. Hints of caramel, mushrooms, phenolics & tartness follow as this warms. I get acidic notes from the appleskins & puckery dryness as this continues. Finishes woodsy dry, with apricot, apple, & grapefruit & a hint of pear brandy

MF: Slick, medium-bodied with spritzy carbonation

Drinks a might ponderous, even on a dreary late summer's date here in the rockies. Very complex & dry, so that does slow me down a bit, plus the 8.5% abv, as well. One of the better Saisons I've had. This is retired??? What gives?? Get it if you can find it, Saison fans

russpowell, Sep 11, 2007
Photo of Seaba
4/5  rDev +5%

Seaba, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of Gmann
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle. Pours a mud puddle brown color, plenty murky, with a nice semi dense head that left some lacing on the side of the glass. The aroma is of plums and raisins, some light nutmeg, flowery perfume, and brown sugar. Quite different saison aroma than I am use to. The taste of raisins and what I will call bitter figs are forefront and strong. Brown sugar runs throughout and is complimented by some bark spices. The Saison Imperiale is to saisons what BSDAs are to BSPAs, if that makes any sense. Significant malt body is fizzy carbonation; sweet & spicy, finishes a bit bitter. Quite the different saison. Pronounced aroma and flavor, I just not positive I am digging the flavor, at least not in a saison sort of way. Definitely worth a try as I haven't had a brew like this one before.

Gmann, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of scootny
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A surprisingly dark saison. Initially not too cloudy but as I go down the bottle chunks of yeast murk up the glass. A very large head with impressive staying power and good lacing finish off the pleasing looks of this one.

Smell is not typical. A bigger dark malt structure overlaid with a touch of wine. Light banana and a hint of citrus are layered with a raisin and date combination. A firm yeastiness blends into a floral hoppiness. The saison spiciness is there but it is blended into the mix a bit more.

Taste is very much like the nose. Big smooth maltiness with a dark fruitiness and toffee infused sweetness. Buckwheat honey and faint banana as well. A very dry sharpness comes in and puckers the mouth. Firm hop florals as well a a phantom like grapefruit bittering that leaves tannic sourness and graham crackers on the palate and back of the throat. More tropical leaning fruitiness unfolds as it warms. Feel is medium and somewhat chewey. A healthy but finely carbonated touch breaks it up and keeps it pleasant on the tongue.

A very easy one to drink as the abv is well masked. I should say seductively hidden. This one gets better as you drink it and I wish I had more than one bottle.

Thanks to Dr. Dogbeer for this one.

scootny, Jul 02, 2009
Photo of Beertracker
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saison Imperiale pours up effervescent with a creamish white head that encompasses the glass and crowns the slightly hazy deep orangish-amber body with nobility. The lightly acidic aroma is ripe with citrus fruits (lemon, tangelo). In addition, there's a notable Brett character (earthy barnyard, horse blanket, etc...) with some mild spiciness (black peppercorn, clover, coriander) warmth that add to the overall complexity. The gravitational flavor starts off with a sweet maltiness that is somewhat restrained by a characterized bitterness. The spicy, earthiness from the brettanomyces helps create an acidic, slightly yeasty warming finish. This medium-full bodied Farmhouse Ale is a nice "throwback" that will keep the tastebuds happily entertained. Pick up a bottle to enjoy now and one to cellar, as this Saison Imperiale will likely only become more complex with age. Here's to The Prof and his Special Reserve!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of JamLand
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

JamLand, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice clear and bright copper with a thin white head.

A lightly sour unripe peach, malty pear nose with some hints of spice and a light hint of citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium character and a bit creamy; good mouth.

Flavors are a bit of sour malt. A bit of sour sweet coffee and a bit of lightly sour sweet peach with hints of apricot. Just misses in the flavor department and I wonder if perhaps I have an old bottle. This warrants another taste with another bottle.

Finish a bit coffee/carmel with hints of sweet and bitter. Not bad; just not real drinkable. All around character is a bit of "sour/sweet tortilla" or, a sweet-sour yeasty beer. Actually, it is a bit "soda poppy."

GRG1313, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of PhillyStyle
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml corked bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer poured a deep amber, almost red with a thick, foamy cream colored head which was retain for some time and a little throught the drink.

S: The aroma was a rather strong citrus. Could not put my finger on exactely what it was, but certainly gave me pause as to what to expect from the taste of the beer. Also some spices.

T: The first sip was not enjoyable for some reason, but after that, I seemed to enjoy it a bit more. The taste was crisp, somewhat sweet and spicey, but the flavor was enjoyable.

M/D: The carbonation was just right for the beer. Overall, not a bad beer but not a great beer either. I warmed up to it as I got through the glass, but I would reach for others in the style first before this one.

PhillyStyle, Jun 30, 2008
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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.