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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: 2
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:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%

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 Jason
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%

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 russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%

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 feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%

Brewmaster's Collection Special Reserve 'De Proef' Breweries

Saison Imperiale Belgian Farmhouse Ale, De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi, Belgium

Nice, amber-ruby hue, 1/4 inch beige-ish head. Definitely doesn't look like a saison, but that's not the idea, is it?

Aroma: rustic, earthy, gritty, spicy, ...rich malt...a touch of cocoa and coffee, just a hint. Not a typical saison aroma, and we're not doing a saison, are we? So far it seems that way. Raisins, toffee, coffee,...nope, not at all, saison-like.

Taste: Mmmmm, very nice, warm, malty, rich dark fruits...and very un-sasion-y, once again. Mmm, chocolate...mmm, coffee....mmm, raisins...but no matter how Imperiale, I never get the saison. I feel we've gone too far in pushing this envelope, in that we can't call it that anymore. And yet they do, so, who are we/am I to say?

Tasty stuff. Too malty for a saison, too spicy, not sure, but it is bigger in more ways than booze, as is the style in Imperializ-ing these days. It's a nice brew, but not terribly special, and still so confusing, that I can't really recommend it. Doesn't transcend the boundaries in such a way that it's exceptionalism should be celebrated.

Overall: eh....

feloniousmonk, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of Slatetank
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Slatetank, May 25, 2013
Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

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 08, 2009
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +5%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%

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

Gueuzedude, Jan 10, 2008
Photo of Gavage
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%

Appearance: cloudy amber in color with a 1" head. No lacing develops.

Smell: loads of fruit and some farmhouse funk rise from the glass.

Taste: apples, pears, green grapes, somne caramel, touch of sourness, some mild funkiness, and a soft bitterness make up a different kind of saison than one expects.

Mouthfeel: lightly crsip throughout. Medium bodied. Aftertaste is short as the fruitiness comes through the most.

Drinkability: this one is more of a slow sipping saison. Definitely worth grabbing a bottle of this.

Gavage, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +5%

05/10/06- Purchased at Ledger's Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. No freshness dating on the bottle. Poured into my Troubador tulip.

Appearance- Odd amber, extreme dark golden color. Full solid 3/4 inch head and leaves above average lacing. Can't remember a amber colored saison I've had.

Smell- The slightest bit of barnyard. A sweet carob-caramel scent? A bit of sourness and sweetness. Some definite sugary aspects.

Taste- This is some freaky hybrid beer. It's got qualities of many styles. If I had to call it something I would make it a Belgian Pale Ale. It has the bit of powdered sugar and touch of lemon rind like saisons have. It has a nice spicy and sweeter flavor like a strong belgian pale ale. It has a funky light brett sourness like a wild ale. It tastes good, but trying hard to figure out what it is.

Mouthfeel- Medium carb, nice sweet-sour aftertaste.

Drinkability- Whatever it is, it's definitely drinkable. Not outstanding, but worth giving it a shot...whatever the style may be. Although the $10 was a bit steep. I'm thinking about $7 or so may be worth it.

GClarkage, May 11, 2006
Photo of corby112
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours a very dark cloudy amber color with golden orange hues when held to a light source and a thick two finger yellowish head. Decent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves splotches of soapy lacing behind.

Slightly earthy, funky aroma with slight maltiness, dark fruit notes, oak and spice. Bready yeast, clove, coriander, banana, apple and pear in the nose.

Medium bodied that's on the fuller end of the spectrum with a surprising amount of chocolate maltiness along with a very prominent peppery/coriander spice character. Earthy oak with a slight tart sour funkiness that is balanced out by dark fruit notes, especially dark cherry. Soft carbonation up front that lingers over a funky sweetness midpalate into a lingering dry finish. Complex and pretty quaffable.

corby112, May 14, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%

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 Georgiabeer
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.

Georgiabeer, Jun 27, 2008
Photo of Zorro
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.

Zorro, Oct 17, 2008
Photo of afsdan
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

afsdan, May 22, 2014
Photo of superspak
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.

superspak, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +5%

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

Pours a dirty gold bordering on light tan. Decent amount of froth forms and recedes fairly quickly. In the nose, Belgian yeast esters, mild fruity notes, brett, and some earthy/musty farmhouse aromas as well. In the taste, tempered fruit notes (fig, pear, plum) as well as a little brett funk but not really tart or sour. Caramel, toffee, even banana flavors emerge. A beer full of nice complexities that make this beer a sipper. Soft woody hop bitterness, and just a hint of alcohol. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, semi-dry, and a clean finish. Overall, a really nice effort, a perfect night cap.

Stinkypuss, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of beerthulhu
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%

A: Dark tawny color, non-translucent, with a soft pillowy light tan head of generous size is slow to lapse while leaving thick spongey coating for a lacing. When held to the light a dense showering of micro-bubbles is aided by my etched duvel glass with a extreme rapid rate of rise.

S: Musky oranges, light worty notes with some cellar like dampness of fruit and pears. The finish is topped of by a faint peppery spiciness. Overall the strength was light, bordering on medium which was a slight disappointment for an imperial style labeling.

T: Rich caramel base with complimentary fruity tones of cantaloupe, fresh pears and miscellaneous notes of damp fruitiness. Sweet caramel, apples with some toasty warm munich malt is finished of with a spritzy, almost seltzer like carbonation that brings some life to the situation with a fade of peppery spiciness. The beer comes off with a bigger malt base then usual per style, with some sugary rum cane moments and chocolate. The touch of brettamyoces is nice, never overbearing and used as a compliment to the ale yeast to give it just the right amount of musky quality. Dried caramel nuttiness rounds things out here.

M: Lively mouthful from the overly active carbonation. Beautifuly malt base and forward beer with a medium dense state. Slippery smooth with a boozy malt finish.

D: A bit acidic but not so much per style, with a bit of alcohol. Smooth making for a moderate sipper, but with Fantomes and Duponts being commercially available in my area I find it hard to justify spending money (esp. $15) on a bomber that was just good, but ultimately falls short of the two fore-mentioned staples per style which are at par or even in some instances cheaper.

beerthulhu, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%

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 Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%

From the 750ml cork and wired bottle it pours a slightly cloudy golden amber color with a substantial head that is white and creamy, it slowly fades leaving a fine velum like coating on the glass. Nose is rich in malt, sweet with a sour musky tone, spicy and citrus like in its crispness, start is nicely malted, and sweet with a tangy bite at the back, top is light to medium in feel. Finish has a biting acidity, the hops present and accounted for; tart dry aftertaste lingers long on the palate, a fine drinking beer and certainly a credit to the style. (Note): after decanting the beer, the pour was completely cloudy golden amber, with the dregs increasing the musty sour aroma.

Gusler, Dec 05, 2007
Photo of scruffwhor
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%

Poured into my Goose Island tulip a deep burnished copper. Very reminiscent of a lot of Fantome's offerings. Nice head with strong retention and good lacing, but decreases as the beer warms The aroma is a sweeter, malty version of my pre-conception of a saison. Very caramelly. This is one of the sweetest and maltiest saisons I've ever had. Very unique, and you can taste and feel the alcohol on the palate. This saison would be awesome if the alcohol wasn't as present. This sweet saison still maintained a much lighter natural, earthy feel than most other saisons. A little tough to wanna ghave another after you had a bottle with your meal. Very glad I tried though.

scruffwhor, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of GraduatedCashew
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%

GraduatedCashew, Aug 29, 2013
Photo of ccrida
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.

ccrida, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of avalon07
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy head and solid lacing.

S: Smelled of Belgian yeast, some fruit and spices.

T: Not exactly what I expected. Taste consisted of dark fruit, Belgian yeast and malt. Another reviewer said this was more like a quadrupel than a saison. That's pretty accurate.

M: A nicely carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, a drinkable beer, though not as complex or in character as other saisons I've tried. Not bad, though.

avalon07, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%

Pours a surprisingly dark amber color with a typically huge, fluffy saison-esque head. Just like the color of the brew, the foam is very dark for the style...I dont remember it being so dark last time I had a bottle. Excellent mountainous retention and sticky lacing.

Nose is mostly sweet base malts, alcohol and a bit of saison funk, but not enough for me.

Boozy malts and woody Belgian funk are foremost in the flavor. For me, this beer does not taste very saison-like, but it is an enjoyable beer nonetheless. Maybe more like a Belgian Strong Dark ale blended with a Farmhouse ale. Toffee malts give it an earthy funk enhancer, while the grainy malts remind me more of a kolsch. Alcohol is a bit much as well. Overall, it tastes good, but DeProef has better beers out there.

twiggamortis420, Apr 29, 2009
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.