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

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

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BA SCORE
85
very good

207 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 167
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 10.79%
Wants: 3
Gots: 6 | 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: 207 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cresant
2.1/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured this 750 mL undated brown bottle into a Tripel Karmeliet glass. Bottle was corked with a synthetic corke and caged. Gentle pour resulted in a minimal tan head that faded to a constant island. The body was a dull, dark goden-brown/ruby color.

Smell was vinous and spicy. Later it began to smell of cough syrup.

Taste was also vinous. Powdery and dry. Prunes. Liquer-like. Somewhat medicinal. This is the worst tasting saison I have experienced. No funk, no spritziness, no fresh fruit character, no sourness. Not really saison-like. More appropriately classified as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale. I did not finish this bottle.

Mouthfeel was full to medium bodied.

Photo of kbrown
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of ryrust5301
2.55/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - Almost the color of cherry oak, which is a little dark for a saison. Looking like an impostor and not true to style will cost it a fair amount of points.. Pretty nice off white head, which stood up for quite some time and left it's mark around the glass.

Smell - Sweet cherry with a sour breath to it, almost like a flemish red. Sour, most definitely sour, with a fruity aroma to it; most likely banana. Very pungent, while not bad, not very saison like.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Really mellow with a thick creamy malt. Has a lot of sour fruit to it, and a little bit of a belgian quad type taste. Loads and loads of dark fruit are thrown in and have a candied taste to them. Have no idea what they're trying to pull off here? Medium mouthfeel is coating, but not really interested in what it's coating my mouth with.

Drinkability - This beer has no identity whatsoever. Don't know how or why this beer came to be, and don't really care.

Photo of philipquarles
2.65/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle. Pours a surprisingly dark, slightly hazy amber color with a tall light beige head that dies slowly to leave nice lacing. Smells heavily of caramel malts. Quite sugary sweet, with some dark fruits. Strong caramel malt taste with brown sugar and dried fruit. Cloyingly sweet throughout, though somehow it dries out a smidge at the end. Slight alcohol taste and warmth. Thick mouthfeel bordering on syrupy. Way too malty-sweet to be drinkable. This in no way resembles a saison...even a strong one. Kind of shocked that this came from the Proefbrouwerij.

Photo of goatgoat
2.68/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a murky light brown with orange highlights. Dark and murky for a saison. A huge tan head falls to a cap.

Aroma is sweet, caramel, bananas. Something in there is almost acrid. A hint of spices.

Taste is again, very sweet for a saison. Bruised bananas, caramel, almost rum like. No real tart or musty notes, but an alcoholic spiceness which dominates the finish.

Medium body with soft creamy carbonation. Dry finish.

This only way in which this resembles the other saisons I've tried is in the dry finish. This is more like the bastard child of a weizenbock and saison.

Photo of woosterbill
2.73/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle into an Old Engine Oil snifter. Thanks to vonschplieffen for sharing.

A: Hazy deep amber body with a dense tan head. Ok retention, spotty lace. Not bad looking, but way too dark for the style.

S: Sweet candied fruit and not much else. Caramel apple, some plum, and a bit of grassiness. Not that good for a Saison. A Tripel, maybe, but never a Saison.

T: Follows the nose - super sweet, fruity, and sugary. Nothing but candy. Meh.

M: Medium body, moderate amount of creamy carbonation. Great.

O: This was a disappointment, as it was WAY too sweet for the style, and the Brett really didn't add much of anything. It was mediocre for a sweet beer, and decidedly underwhelming for a Saison.

Cheers!

Photo of thirdeye11
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: Poured two beers from 750ml bottle to my Duvel tulip over about a 3 hour period.

Appearance: This beer pours a 1 finger head that recedes quickly, but leaves a LOT of lacing on the glass regardless of temperature. Very pretty brown/red almost rusty orange color that is completely opaque and darker than I expected. The second beer I poured of course was completely saturated with yeasty floaters throughout. I don't mind this and actually like the taste of the yeast in my beer.

S: Extremely funky barnyard smells here, horseblanket, and even detected what smelled like urine to me a couple of times. The smell does change throughout. I am not completely offended though as I do keep smelling it repeatedly, and sometimes a dark fruit aroma comes through which is good. There must be some Brett yeast in this beer. Oaky and earthy as well. I didn't care for the smell, and my wife absolutely hated it.

T: The taste was quite a bit better than the smell. Lots of sour tastes, some sweetness, and definite bitterness was there. I felt that the sour was nicely muted by some of the fruit flavors, but not enough to counteract some of the funkiness and sour that was going on here. More sweetness would have balanced this out and made this beer far better. The one fruit I do taste is sour green grapes. When I bought it I expected less earthy sourness, and less color as well. Maybe some caramel in the first notes of tasting as well. The bitter aftertaste lasted longer than almost any beer I've ever had, and I did find myself appreciating that particular quality.

M: Creamy, extremely carbonated in a great way. My wife said the one thing she liked about this beer was its carbonation, and I couldn't agree more.

D: I had some issues drinking a full 750ml of this. I might try it again, but I think I'd really rather only have 8-10oz of this at a time. It took me probably 3 hours to drink a 750ml which is pretty slow for me.

Overall I was surprised by how dark, unfruity, and funky this beer was. I suspect some Brett yeast was used and can be attributed to these qualities in the beer. I doubt I would buy it again in a 750ml format, but I might try it again just to see if some fruitiness comes through more for me a second time. That would make this beer far better. I don't mind funk when it is properly balanced, this one just wasn't.

Photo of largadeer
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly dark but clear amber, pretty unlike any saison I've seen. The head rises to about three fingers height and has great retention.

Smell: Extremely estery; berries, figs, dates, a hint of spice (nutmeg, allspice).

Taste/mouthfeel: Lots of estery dark fruit here, leaning toward the berry and fig flavors. The body is fairly light despite the high ABV, and I'd guess that this was significantly lower in alcohol if not for the slight heat that shows up in the finish. Sweet berry-like flavors continue right on through the finish - where's the dryness? This isn't a bad brew overall (nor is it great), but it's lacking all of the qualities that I look for in a saison.

Notes: A disappointing beer from a generally good brewery.

Photo of GRG1313
3/5  rDev -21.1%
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."

Photo of innerspacesuit
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of iwhitecavage
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Axnjxn
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of BeerBelcher
3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this saison to be rather non-approachable; interesting yet challenging to drink. Based on my experience with American saisons, I have a hard time calling this authentic version better.

Appearance was fairly carbonated looking, coffee colored, and fairly viscous looking.

Aroma was of cinammon and apples.

Taste was rather un-distinct. It tasted like alcohol in the nose, with pear in the finish. As it got warmer, I picked up some isoamyl acetate (banana) falvor.

Mouthfeel was pretty good, but I found this beer rather difficult to drink.

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of BeTheBall
3.03/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into my Duvel tulip. Darker than other Saisons I've had, an amber to brown color with lively carbonation and a one finger head. Some minimal lacing down the glass.
Smell was funky, sweaty, almost sour.
Taste was similar; dry but musty and funky. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but not horrible either.
Mouthfeel was good due to the carbonation.
Drinkability was decent smoothness-wise, but not a favorite taste for me. I wouldn't buy it again, but I'm sure there are those (Fantome fans) that would like it.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a frothy, three-finger thick, tan colored head that leaves a bit of a structured lacing pattern on the sides of my glass as it falls back into the beer. The head sits on top of a murky cherry red colored beer that shows an almost brilliantly clear, light cranberry color when held up to the light. The aroma is a mix of sticky, sweet malt notes and earthy spice aromatics. Flavors of buckwheat honey, cheap coriander, soft orange peel, clove, slightly woody (though more like hay) and lots of earthy spice / herbal notes. The aroma is ok, but really doesn't have a bright, Saison-like character to my senses.

Sweet, with a medium fullness to it up front, the beer actually gets a bit cloying towards the middle and end. Sweet flavors of herbal honey and grassy grain mix together with the substantial green, but still earthy, spice notes that are most evocative of cheap coriander and grass. A light bitterness in the finish and a herbal / grassy (complimenting the same flavors found in other components of the beer) hop character provide a touch of additional balance. The earthy, grassy notes really dominate the flavor profile of this brew, but it completely misses the finesse of a Saison Dupont. Instead the beer just tastes muddy, flabby and out of balance.

A bit too under-attenuated for me; I like a Saison that is typically a lot drier than this, this is just too heavy on the palate. This also doesn’t have the piquant spiciness (yeast character only please), or bright hop character, either of which I would expect in a good example of the style. This is especially true, despite the Imperiale moniker, when one considers this isn't really any stronger than most Fantôme beers and is lower in alcohol than Dupont's Avec les Bons Voeux.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Photo of BrewMonkey
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours clear, caramel in coler with lots of tan head. Slow to recede, the head leaves tons of lacing behind. Spicy belgian yeast aroma with some medicinal and metalic notes.

First sips bite at the sour parts of the pallate and there is a distinctive medicinal taste reminiscent of sort throat spray. Some light sour fruit taste are there, some sour fruit, but personally I can't get past the medicinal taste. To be fair, my wife likes sour tasting ales more than I do, and she liked this one. The sting of the flavor I don't like seems to fade as I drink, but the menthol like mouthfeel does not. Just not for me.

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Interesting, plastic cork. An attractive root beery copper color with a refined character to it. Squirrely bubbles work their way to the top where a lid of medium sized off white bubbles welcome them.

S: Green bananas, vanilla, yellow apples, daisies and hints of yogurt.

T: Begins mildly sour with delicate sweetness. Minor banana, pear and white grape add the fruit component with floral notes moving in strongly. This saison is on the sweet side opposed to dry with a boring honey overtone across the entire thing. Finishes up with more flowery flavors, peppery moments and lingering dried apricots.

M: Medium body, smooth but fizzy.

D: Decent beer but fairly boring. Good balance but nothing special.

Photo of CMW
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a light brown color with a very large off-white head. Interesting look for a saison, much darker than the rest of the offerings in the style.

S - Tart sour apples, heavy malt and some yeast.

T - The tart apple flavors are the first thing I notice. The malt and yeast flavors are rather bland and not what I would expect from a saison. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish.

M - Highly carbonated but quite thin.

D - Not bad, but I am not sure if I would purchase this again with the number of quality saisons available.

Photo of USCTrojanBrian
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, corked (newcork) and caged, purchased at The Perfect Pour (Columbia, Md.)

Wow, dark, dark "saison". Brown, yellow, interesting mix there. Not much head, poured into my Brewer's Art chalice.

Sweet aroma. Get some malts in there. This is really different. Something else in there too, some too-ripe fruit like raisin plus figs.

Nothing like a saison. More quadlike, a watery quad at that or a Belgian Dark. Sweet and fruity are the two main components here. Dark, complex concentrated sugar fruits like raisins, plums, figs.

Not what I expected. This is a talented brewery doing something a bit unpredictable here, I'm not necessarily taking to it but if someone digs those flavors this is probably a really interesting concoction, a less-intense quad or BDA with the various fruity flavors and nose.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Presentation: 750ml tall thin necked brown bottle sealed with a silver cage, black steel cap and a simple thumbed artificial “new”cork which is plain looking except for a relief code of “25D.3” on its underside. Main label has a beige colored background with the words “Saison Imperiale Belgian Farmhouse Ale”. Listed as “De ‘Proef’-Brouwerij Brewmaster’s Collection Special Reserve” on the top part of the label. The main picture is one of a quiet Thatched Flanders Farmhouse. Listed at 8.5% ABV. No discernible Freshness Date, but it has a smudged code on the plastic newcork.

Appearance: Ruddy amber with some deep polished coppery tones. Monster deep head besets a ¼” finished off-white head which laces with a serene scattered Milky Way set of depleted rings which deposits with each mouthful. Streamer laden body shines with a russet sunset glow when backlit. Carbonation is resilient and produces a fine appearance with a little agitation from each mouthful to keep things alive.

Nose: Lots of sweet caramel and some tannic fruits. Sweaty funk is soaked in crab apples and the barley sugar finish detracts at times. Yet fading Strawberries and other red berries punctuate the massed sweetness. Strange yet intriguing nose beguiles and fascinates. Nothing special but very nice.

Taste: Spiced malts, caramel body thins in the middle as a slight bitterness rides high against lactic tannins and brown sugar soaked in cold tea. Deft fruits are moldy and fade quickly. Saisons are delicate, even the powerful ones, but this one is far too bold, the residual Saison therefore ends up being suppressed and it ultimately means that this fails, rather spectacularly.

Mouthfeel: The body has only the mildest hint at an average feel, but the sweet sugary aspects fail to bolster anything more than a “not-good-but-not-bad” texture. Ultimately, for an 8.5% brew this one disappoints.

Drinkability: Not that impressed by this one, it’s OK, but I think that its biggest detraction is that this is not that sure what it really wants to be, I’m not sure either, I mean a Saison Imperiale!??! You see, it’s not the just the American brewers that push the boundaries, but some things just don’t work, no matter where the origins. And this, for me, doesn’t work – it’s like a 20lb Hummingbird, it just doesn’t fly.

Overall: It is a Quarter to Half Past 12……and Computer Says No <Urghurrhh>; I want that one, but not this one.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of hwwty4
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a corked and caged 750 into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer is remarkably dark for a saison. The color reminds me of a dried cherries, dark brown with red-amber hues when held to the light. The head is a massive beige explosion that leaves sticky lacing as it recedes down the glass. While it says it's an imperial saison it is still a rather odd color. The aroma is caramel malt. Huge toffee and caramel notes drown out any expectations of spices, apples, or funkiness. The flavor is fairly similar with caramel dominating the flavor profile. Dark, ripe plums, apple skins and just a slight bit of brett funk, peak out of the flavor profile but it's just not as dominant as I would have liked it to have been. Also this beer has very little spice to it. I would have expected some cardamom, pepper, or a yeasty spice but nothing. The mouthfeel is chewy. Full and carbonated. This beer reminds me of the antithesis of what a Saison is supposed to be. It's big and full and honestly not nearly as refreshing as most saisons are. I know the trend it to "imperialize" all beers, but maybe Saisons are just better left alone.

Photo of ccrida
3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a St. Feuillien goblet, the Saison Imperiale is a bright garnet color with a small but persistent white head. There are active streamers rising from the bottom, and there is a bit of scattered lace.
The aroma on this is moderate at best, sugary and musty, caramel and a discernible, but not off-putting funk. Letting it warm opens up lots of bread and fusels.
The taste is heavy on the candi sugar, initially reminding me of a belgian style micro, but with a dry, highly attenuated finish, as well as a very musty bite, boarding skunky. I like wild brews, but something about this one just doesn't seem to work, maybe because of the sugar. There are hints of dark fruits and honey trying to fight through the earthiness, and a bit of biscuit maltiness. There is also a fusel bite on the finish that could have been better executed. Overall, I liked the taste more then that description probably sounds, and when I stopped trying to categorize this beer and just drank it, I began to enjoy it more. I should note that when reviewing, especially from a 750ml, I ususally start with the first beer, then just drink it for a while, and then update any text and score it for the last 1/2 glass. On that note, as this warmed, there was more honey, and fusels.
The mouthfeel is dry and minerally, but still a bit sugary, tempered by spitzers of carbonation that stayed lively throughout.
The drinkability on this one is average. It was pretty interesting, and after 750ml I'm still not sure I have my head around it. That being said, it wasn't so great that I'd want to spend to much more time cracking it's code. Still, pretty good, and an interesting experience. But not my favorite Saison, nor what I was expecting. When I want a rich Saison, I'll take an Avec Les Bons Voeux over this every time, or most any Fantome for that matter.

Photo of superspak
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours very hazy very dark reddish brown color with a small 1 finger foamy off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Decent spotty lacing clings on the glass. The cork hardly popped when I opened it, probably pushing 4 years or more in age. Aromas of caramel, toffee, molasses, prune, raisin, toast, pepper, earth, and big phenolic yeast esters. Aromas aren’t very pleasant at all; very stale and unbalanced feeling. Taste of caramel, toffee, molasses, prune, toast, biscuit, raisin, earth, herbal, grass, and light yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toffee, toast, biscuit, dark fruits, herbal, earth, and light yeast spices on the finish for a good bit. Pretty good flavor balance and complexity; but it feels more like a Belgian dark ale than a saison. Flavors were not as robust as I was expecting; no cloying sweetness. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with pretty much no warming noticed at all after the finish. Overall this is a pretty solid dark Belgian saison. The aromas were pretty bad, but the taste turned out alright. Fairly enjoyable, if only they dated these bottles.

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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
85 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.