1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 204 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of superspak
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

superspak, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of Stinkypuss
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
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 Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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%
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.

ccrida, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of avalon07
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy orange-ish copper, with a fluffy tan head. In the aroma, yeasty and a small tart green apple. In the taste, just like the aroma, small tart green apple, and a nice yeasty taste. A small tart bite, and a medium mouthfeel, with a dry, tart green apple aftertaste. A great saison, good flavor and mellow, and doesn't taste like 8.5%.

OWSLEY069, Aug 08, 2008
Photo of tavernjef
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Autumn bronze gold color with a massive crown of dark beige foam that never moves. Impressive. Lacing is a lather of leftover sticky foam that coats the glass thickly.

Soft but alluringly complex nose with some dark earthy spices, fruits, and grasses. Quite musty as well with some rum raisin bread, a touch of dirty wood, all spice, and a pinch of cinnamon.

Taste is of paled breadyness and light fruity tang of dark malts. Some raisin and dates softly display a bit of dark tangyness. Caramel and molasses seep in as just a nudge of some the earthy grasses and spice tinge towards the finish as it stays mostly sweeter throughout. A bit drab overall on the taste and a bit muddled. However I do like it, but the complexity I found in the nose wasn't as prevalently showcased as I would like on the taste.

Body is a fluffy sweet medium with some malty tangyness creating a soft and smooth roundness with just a touch of grass and spice along the edges to make it interesting. Reminds more of a bakery with its bready flow and cookie spices as it goes along.

A OK to good Saison that's more on the malty side, which I tend to favor in this style.

tavernjef, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A nice, hazy mahogany-brown with a fairly decent-sized but not too persistent head. Aroma is strong and malty, and has an overtone of fruit, mainly apple. Flavor is rich and fruity, sweet but not cloying, with just a touch of hops and hints of caramel and nutty taste. Finish is smooth and very satisfying.

Cyberkedi, Oct 19, 2008
Photo of WOLFGANG
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

WOLFGANG, Jul 05, 2013
Photo of Haybeerman
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very clouded dark brown/orange color. Poured a 3 finger vigorous tan head that dissipated to a thick even skim of foam. Gobs of lacing slowly washed in fingers down the glass. Decanted continually

S: Wild yeast funk. All kinds of sweet and sour fruits and berries. Wet grains and damp wood in the backgrond.

T: Similar in aroma; big dark fruit and berries. Caramel, candied malt come through stronger with damp wood as their base.

M: Medium body. Ample carbonation. Sour feel with lingeringly sweet/dry champagne finish

D: Not well-versed in the style, but very interesting taste and consistent with the few other saisons I've had.

Haybeerman, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of Axnjxn
3/5  rDev -21.3%

Axnjxn, May 14, 2014
Photo of RBorsato
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber to chestnut in color with a low tan head, nice active carbonation in the middle of the goblet, and nice sheets of lace at the end. Spicy grassy aromas with a touch of Belgian candi sugars (maybe..). Similar flavors for the most part with a small touch of sourness and a touch of cinnamon. Medium bodied with a light warming alcohol sensation.

An interesting and different Saison...

Per label: "Brewmaster's Collection Special Reserve" & "Mixed Fermentation" & "Saison de Flandres"

'S1 1005' on faux cork
Tasted: 07/04/06

(25.4 oz / .75L tall brown wine-like bottle, corked, and caged)

RBorsato, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of champ103
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours an opaque amber/brown color. A large beige head of over two fingers forms. As the rocky, and frothy head recedes, rings of sticky lace are left.
S: Like all De Proef beers, a great medley of fruits. Lots of dark fruits of plums, raisins, melons, ect. That lovely barnyard funk that I love so much for the style as well.
T: At first a big caramel and sugary malt flavor. A bit odd for a Saison. A good fruitiness that follows the nose. Not as much of a barnyard flavor as I was expecting though. Still, the flavors work well together.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation, which is a bit out of style. Though I love the rich creaminess that I don't get much of with Saison's. At well over 8%, this is so smooth and easy to drink. If I am not careful, I can do more than sip on this.

I love this beer. I am not sure I would call this a Saison though. Maybe a Belgian Strong Ale? I guess that is why it is Saison Imperial. A new style perhaps? What ever you want to call, it is very tasty. Something I would highly recommend.

champ103, Feb 15, 2009
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 Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Thirstybird for the opportunity to try this. Poured a hazy garnet with a quarter inch, frothy head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually dissipates into a skim. Nose reveals caramel, sour cherry, a little malt with some medicinal qualities at the back. Taste follows nose, but medicinal quality really comes out in the flavor; however the flanders red character stated on the bottle label makes an appearance towards the back. Mouthfeel was just shy of medium-bodied and a little bit too effervescent with a slightly tart finish. I know farmhouse is a catchall style; however, not really consistent with my impression of the style. That being said, definitely interesting and flavorful.

Jwale73, Aug 10, 2009
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.25/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

TheLongBeachBum, Sep 15, 2006
Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clearish red-brown w/ 2 finger offwhite head that died real slow and left lace ring as it descended. A great mix of that Belgianesque aroma of yeast and orange, as well as some citric fruit/floral hops, a touch of sourness (or funk) and I'm getting a rather good amount of sweet caramel malts. The beer passes my tongue smooth, even slightly creamy, a bit chewier than a regular saison as there is some bready type malt in here. I still get that yeast/wheat twang with helps the beer go down easy and has some residual sweetness. Also picking up tart, citric fruit flavors mixed w/ touches of cherry/sour fruit and some dark fruit as well. The sweetness is there as there is a nice chunk of caramel and sugary sweet malts. The the spices and hops come together (w/ just a touch of the alcohol) for a dry, crisp finish that complements the rather sturdy and complex finish. To me, maybe closer to a Belgain dark ale than your typical saison as the malts and hop bite are stronger, but nonetheless a great beer.

clayrock81, Nov 05, 2011
Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer was a nice red color with a fluffy white head lazily floating atop the beer. The smell was a little funk (just a little) and some spices. The taste was good and had some tartness and sourness but not very much. It was also spicy and had a distinct taste that reminded me of watermelon (just barely). This was a pretty decent ale and it hid the alcohol well. Also, at $6 it was a good deal.

ArrogantB, Jun 13, 2007
Photo of woosterbill
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
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!

woosterbill, May 21, 2012
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
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.