Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale - De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
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Ratings: 204 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
3.25/5 rDev -14.7%
Presentation: 750ml tall thin necked brown bottle sealed with a silver cage, black steel cap and a simple thumbed artificial newcork 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 Brewmasters 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, its OK, but I think that its biggest detraction is that this is not that sure what it really wants to be, Im not sure either, I mean a Saison Imperiale!??! You see, its not the just the American brewers that push the boundaries, but some things just dont work, no matter where the origins. And this, for me, doesnt work its like a 20lb Hummingbird, it just doesnt fly.
Overall: It is a Quarter to Half Past 12 and Computer Says No <Urghurrhh>; I want that one, but not this one.
09-15-2006 08:16:53 | More by TheLongBeachBum
3.35/5 rDev -12.1%
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 thats 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 didnt notice because I was so depressed by the flavor. Very simple, light, and dull.
Drinkability: Average. There is nothing special about this beers 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.
08-28-2006 19:47:25 | More by DaPeculierDane
3.35/5 rDev -12.1%
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.
04-30-2009 22:09:43 | More by hwwty4
3.35/5 rDev -12.1%
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.
03-23-2007 02:19:20 | More by ccrida
3.38/5 rDev -11.3%
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.
08-13-2012 05:51:11 | More by superspak
3.38/5 rDev -11.3%
This beer poured much darker than the other Saisons that I have tried. I was wondering about this based upon the "Imperiale" note on the label. But I do notice that this is considered the same style as the other Saisons.
I did enjoy trying this one, but have to admit that I enjoyed the other Saison versions a bit more.
But definitely worth trying.
The beer poured an Amber color with a great deal of orange tones to the color. This is a very good looking beer. There is an extremely creamy and thick head that formed in the glass. This head stayed for quite some time and later there was an insane amount of lacing left in the glass.
Aroma was very fruity and first made me think of bananas or pineapple. But later some regular apple. Also you can detect the spicy notes and perhaps what is referred to as "the funk"
After reading the article in the recent BA magazine on the style, I was waiting to encounter the "funk" discussed. I think I finally came across it in this version of the Saison vs. the others I've tried. It's certainly more pronounced at any rate.
Taste was definitely what I would call Belgian like. There was a fruity punch, some spiciness, then the classic yeast finish. Lots of things happening in this flavor profile. The fruity notes did change as the beer warmed up and I was becoming a bigger fan as I made my way through the glass.
Mouth feel was medium to slightly big and it was quite drinkable.
I really enjoyed the last pour from the bottle when we stirred up all the sediment.
Very creamy, smooth and black pepper notes really kicked up.
07-13-2008 21:27:40 | More by Reagan1984
3.4/5 rDev -10.8%
Of the newer beers available from De Proef, this is my least favorite. It is by no means a terrible beer, I just think they missed the mark for a Saison. Pours amber with a decent initial head that fades to a swirly cap that leaves some minimal lacing. Darker than most Saisons, but it is a broad category. Smells sweet/sour with aromas of cellared apples and a touch of balsamic, old fruit, and orange marmalade. No peppery snap that I like to see in a Saison. The taste also heavily leans on overly ripe fruit, very similar to the aromas, with the addition of apricots and persimmons. Again, no crispness, spice, or peppery snap, and without that it seems a little too sweet and tires the palate too quickly. I enjoy this less the more I drink of it. Give me any Fantome over this beer any day- they make plenty of examples with similar abv to this one that ccould also be called "Imperial" but vome across as much more complete, bold, and balanced.
06-27-2008 14:00:27 | More by Georgiabeer
3.43/5 rDev -10%
Poured into a Russian River goblet from a 750ml corked and caged bottle.
Pours a deep brown, much darker than your average saison, almost looks like a clouded Belgian brown. Aroma is yeasty, but not overwhelmingly so. Taste is not nearly as dry as I would expect from the style, not nearly dry enough, and too malty sweet. Overall, kind of a disappointment. Would much prefer a Saison Dupont or Red Barn from Lost Abbey.
04-17-2010 05:40:57 | More by IrieJackalope
3.43/5 rDev -10%
Served at just over fridge temperature in a Duvel tulip.
Appearance- Much, much more amber than any other Saison I've seen... The head is a creamy three finger tall, lacing moderately. A medium-thick mat is always present on the beer's surface.
Smell- An aroma of some funky Belgian yeast dominates the nose, then turning awfully swine-like... literally like pigs on a farm, rolling in mud.
Taste- Spicy with a quick, lashing hop bite. There's a rich, beefy alcohol presence that does hide beneath the hop bitterness, so no problem there.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The best feature is the beer's texture... rolling and slick. Heavy but enjoyable.
10-26-2008 17:50:51 | More by yelterdow
3.45/5 rDev -9.4%
Warning - LOTS of sediment. Pour this baby gently. Color is a dark amber. Darker than any other Saison I can recall. Nice head retention, nich lacing, but not the rocky monster it should be. Has a sweet funky smell which is reflected in the taste. Wow, this is sweet. Some banana. No white pepper, no discernable spice. Some barnyard is there, but the sweetness is too overpowering for it to stand out much.
Highly carbonated with a full and tingly mouthfeel. Drinkability is fine, but the sweetness just makes this too much for an everyday Saison. ABV is very well hidden. All and all, a decent brew, but not wone I would turn to before the big 3 (Dupont, Fantome, Hennepin).
04-19-2007 12:29:41 | More by Onibubba
3.48/5 rDev -8.7%
Clear dark amber colored ale with a very tall and lasting tan head, very dark for the beer style.
Smell is "Belgian Farm House Funk" with apple, lemon, plum, and allspice in the mix. Fainter coriander and ginger aromas and a Touch of Sour Flanders Red Ale.
The taste starts out sweet and woody with a bit of a bitter aftertaste at first. Cork and lemon on second taste and the herbal bitterness gets stronger, a lot like Italian bitter aperitifs. Tropical aftertaste, mainly pineapple and papaya.
Mouthfeel is Good.
Something like a Saison crossed with a Flanders Red to this tongue. It's OK but I will get Hennepin next time.
10-17-2008 01:03:58 | More by Zorro
3.48/5 rDev -8.7%
A -- Pours a deep amber orange with a nice frothy head that settles into a light skim and leaves a good amount of lacing.
S -- Caramel malt slightly soured with a solid barnyard funk. Almost smells of wild yeast although I don't think it A -- Pours a deep amber orange with a nice frothy head that settles into a light skim and leaves a good amount of lacing.
S -- is.
T -- Deeply malty with a nice crispness with a lingering dryness. Notes of peach and grapes, lightly hopped.
M -- Smooth and slightly tart, with a nice dry bitter note to end.
D -- Nice and approachable, I would use this as a great introduction to the style, although I wouldn't buy it again for my own consumption.
04-07-2010 00:58:11 | More by CPeterson
3.48/5 rDev -8.7%
The color of this Saison was quite deep orange and bordered on red. The carbonation was reserved, and the head was limited to about one to two fingers thick. The smell was floral, spicy, and a little hoppy, with some cheese like funk. The taste was crisp, tart, but not as funky as the nose led me to believe. There was some orange peel herbal spiciness, biut the overall flavor was blander than I had hoped for. As it warmed up, a little more sourness started to show up. A good beer, but other standard bearers of the style are noticeable better.
06-11-2008 03:42:56 | More by rajendra82
3.5/5 rDev -8.1%
Copper color with a soft foamy cream colored head. Aromas of burnt sugar and a little earth. Flavors of burnt sugar, candy corn, slightly tart. metallic. Damp earth? After it warms up it really gets an identity crisis - this doesn't taste like a saison. Medium-full body with a slightly bittersweet finish. Certainly interesting, but it starts tasting like a dubbel, maybe St. Bernardus Pater 6. Weird. Not much of a saison thing going on, so I can't score it too high. Initial flavors are best impression, but the flavor falls apart with a little time.
06-14-2008 05:52:08 | More by dedrinker
3.5/5 rDev -8.1%
A: pours a rather opaque tawny color. great thick head, slightly tan head/ great retention rate and solid lacing.
S: aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, wonderful fall fruits, apples, green raisins and dates. nice funk in the aroma.
T: green raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, some serious fall fruits, apples and pears. very funky. some alcohol notes. I also get some blueberry notes.
M: very well balanced ale, smooth and creamy mouth feel, slight alcohol burn. good mellow carbonation level.
02-12-2009 22:52:17 | More by paulthebeerguru
3.53/5 rDev -7.3%
Appearance: Pours a murky amber color with a couple of head fingers; leaves a nice pattern of lace behind, too
Smell: Expecting a Saison, I am picking up an Old Ale, with caramel and a range of fruity esters; there is a bit of funk, but it is very subtle
Taste: Plenty of caramel and fruit, up front, with pear, apple and cherry elements; by mid-palate, however, the Saison spice arrives to add a vaguely herbacious angle, though very subtle; after the swallow, the caramel lingers while the herbal and fruity elements combine to add contrast
Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation
Overall: An Imperialized Saison??? Well, I can't say the style does anything for me; interesting, but many things are off here, ranging from the overwhelming taste of caramel to the heavy mouthfeel; everything I love in Saisons is missing from this brew; glad I tried it but not something I would seek out again
Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity
05-27-2011 01:05:52 | More by brentk56
3.53/5 rDev -7.3%
Poured this into my Chimay goblet. A honey color with hints of chill haze. Bright white foamy head settled very quickly. Aroma is very sweet, with hints of candy sugar, some citrus or dried fruit as well. Taste is not like other saisons i remember having. Some fruity notes , light sugar sweet flavor . Mouthfeel starts of fizzy, but fades nice and smoothly, leaving just a bit of sweet aftertaste. A fairly drinkable brew, unique flavor, but i kinda wish it was more sour.
06-29-2008 02:15:20 | More by BigJTrucker
3.53/5 rDev -7.3%
Saison Imperiale pours extremely dark for a saison. Pours a slightly hazy amber that glows ruby when backlit. A three finger bubbly and fluffy head formed on the pour. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise to the ecru head after it falls to a one finger cap. Suprisingly the haziness clears up after a couple minutes. Leaves mild lacing.
The aroma starts off with a field of wildflowers and a touch of banyard. Some lightly toasted malts in the background. Not a whole lot going on here to get excited about. The barnyard aromas are welcomed but on the subtle side.
Malts in the flavor are more caramel than toasted. That little bit of barnyard is there but it's muddled and subtle. Slight metallic finish. Not bad just not what I expect from a saison.
Light body, a little too light even which wouldn't be bad if there was a little more carbonation to create a frothiness but the carbonation just isn't there.
Easy enough to put down but a glass or two is plenty for me.
This is a disappointment of a saison. Not at all bad just not really a saison. Too dark, too caramelly, not enough of the funkiness I've come to love in a saison. Not at all what I expected. Like I said not bad but nothing to get excited about either. Mediocre. At $9 I'll be passing by this one from now on.
08-18-2007 02:28:45 | More by joe1510
3.53/5 rDev -7.3%
ruby red and brownish hue's make this a little bit out of the norm from a typical Saison. Great lacing
mostly malt, not a ton of yeast which I was expecting. Hoping for some more funk. a little bit of plum and some dark fruits in the nose which are pleasant. not overpowering like a belgian Dubbel. crazy fruityness going on...not sure what kind at all but seems more like the tropical type. Really nice.
Similar to the smell. Somewhat subdued in the taste department, malt, caramel, dark fruits, tropical fruit.
low to medium mouthfell with low carbonation.
Interesting belgian beer. Hard to think of it as a Saison, but it's definitely a tasty beverage. Something just doesn't really work in this one. Maybe it's too fruity, or not yeasty enough. It's just ok.
07-30-2011 01:29:36 | More by nppeders
3.55/5 rDev -6.8%
Served in a tulip glass at Hopleaf 3/27/07. Assist by HeatherAnn.
A:Served a dark, tarnished copper color with no head to speak of.
S: Sweet apples and big yeast dominate.
T: Yeasty bananas and clove mixed with sweet & tart fruit, vanilla, and hops.
M: Tart, prickley, and fruity.
D: Very sweet and bitter with almost no horse blanket/barnyard funk. Very strange for a Saison. Not nearly tart or peppery enough.
04-07-2007 20:22:24 | More by GbVDave
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.