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

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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrMonkey
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, rusty brown with a one-finger light tan head that sticks around for most of the duration. Little to no lacing left behind. Probably the darkest saison I've ever seen, and I was quite surprised.

Smell is Belgian yeast, plums, and wet hay.

Taste starts out yeasty with some tart cherries, sour apples and plums. Some wet hay and horse blanket round out the middle with a hint of alcohol. Finishes slightly bitter with a bit more sourness.

Creamy, medium body with a slight tingle from the carbonation.

A good saison, but probably not a bottle a could drink on my own. I was glad to be able to share this one with a couple of friends.

Photo of Foxman
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a rather murky mocha brown with a horseshoe of hazy amber. Three fingers of creamy light beige head shape and sustain considerably. Broad ridges of lacing plaster the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, underlying grain imparts caramel, toffee, and melon, and the esters are lightly spices with coriander and a general sour crispness. A touch of phenols stutter into a draft of alcohol.

Upon tasting, malted grain flashes candy sugar and caramel, along with a clean crispness that merges well with the sassy, airy esters. Hence, the general crisp spiciness incises further. Alcohol has a warm but muted personality. A soft resurgence of grain bespeaks a rounded, tart and fruity sweetness. A renewed and burgeoning dry crispness carries a lasting finish that bitters a touch. It's not groundbreaking but it is nicely tasty.

Medium bodied, the meandering flow and clean, crisp impression work toward an apt presence.

So the aroma comes up a little thin and short, in body if not features, but the overall character makes it simply good and well crafted. This is one you get to the palate promptly, and having done that, it drinks quite well. The ABV is mack-daddy enough for the style, but it's a happy buzz that ensues. In the end, I finish it gladly and welcome a return trip if it's in the cards.

Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nose is sour and medicinal on a malty, fruity base. Dark, ripe fruit with citric notes. Smells great. I love the complex aromas and interactions between malt and yeast.

Pours a deep murky brown with a small top. Looks okay - so dark and murky, some head but not a lot. Certainly doesn't look bad.

A complex sweetness greets the tongue; lots of fruity sugars. Good, stiff dose of medicinal and powdery dry yeast. As they say, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicinal go down. Moderately bitter and tannic-feeling. A little tart.

I wish it tasted like it smelled. It leaves me feeling kind of empty (flavorly speaking). I get some good yeast funk and sweetness, but I never get a good grasp of the malt or hops. Saisons are often lightly hopped, so I won't hold that against the flavor. I think it should be maltier to balance the medicinal yeast or the yeast should be tamed to balance the lighter malt.

Mouthfeel is alright. On the lighter side of full bodied, mild carbonation, a good deal of bitterness and residual coatings of yeastiness.

Drinkability is pretty good. It has many good qualities, but none roped me into loving it. As a Saison it is strong (as advertised by 'Imperiale') and lacks direction and balance. As a Belgian Strong Pale Ale it is soft and light with most of the medicinal flavors of a beer like Orval without the balancing grounding or strength to make up for it. As a beer, it is definitely better than average but it lands closer to pretty good than good.

Photo of BWH3
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep gold to light amber with orange hues. Big beige head creeps ever so slowly back into the beer while clinging to the edges of the glass. This is a sill and hazy beer. In appearance, it seems more like an Imperial IPA than a Saison.

S: Overripe pear dominates atop a solid base of bread-like pale malt sweetness that is punctuated with a faint banana ester. No tart, sour, or sharp scents. No clove or spice notes. Minimal musty hops aroma.

T: An unexpected shift in flavor tones to favor the musty and mineral hop profile as opposed to the light fruits. Overall, crisp and light. Unusual flavors for a saison and not quite the most pleasing.

M: Despite the hazy appearance and great head retention, this beer does not have an overly heavy body. perfect for saison.

D: A truly interesting take on the Saison. Perhaps more hops in the taste than any other saison I can recall.

Photo of daythree16
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Nice orange/amber/gold color with a huge, fluffy, three-finger head. The foam sticks around for most of the duration and leaves pretty decent lace as I drink it. This one is definitely darker than previous saisons I've had.

Big time aromas of Belgian fruity esters. Some honey and spiciness as well. Taste is very fruity with a little phenolic banana. The alcohol is slightly noticeable on the mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light-medium with lots of carbonation. This is a really delicious saison that definitely ranks up there with Hennepin and Dupont in my opinion. Very drinkable.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured in to my chimay chalice.

A- Body is a cloudy dark amber color. Much darker than most saisons. Pours with a 2 finger, creamy, slightly off-white head. Head fades slowly to 1 finger but has perfect retention from there and plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass. Cloudiness has medium thickness and is dynamic as yeast sediment and the cloudiness can be seen moving about in the glass.

S- Smell is on the sweeter side with peach, maybe some mango, and apple and pear coming through first with a slight floral accent. Some yeasty funk can be found in the background.

T- Upfront is a mix of sweet and tart fruitiness. I can definitely detect apples and pears, and maybe some peach and mango also (as there is definitely an exotic presence here). This is softly accented by a floral hop presence and a slightly funky, yet bready yeast looms in the background along with a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt. The finish is more tart and bitter than the initial flavor and the floral hops and yeast really make their presence known here.

M- Low to medium carbonation and nice, smooth, yeasty body.

D- This is an awesome beer and is definitely not typical of the style. I've never seen one this dark before and the exotic fruit presence is a great spin on this style. It is a bit sweeter than most but still very good. The ABV is undetectable also.

Photo of allengarvin
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Van Dieu glass, this rather brown, hazy saison has very little head to notice. The nose is interesting--one of the most bubblegum-like aromas I've ever smelt on a beer. There's also a distinct spiciness that's curious. Nice flavor--a distinct brett taste right from the start, though the sourness is restrained. A bit like Orval but funkier. Moderately high bitterness but hop flavor, I think, is mostly absent. There's a good spiciness accompanying but I'm guessing it's more yeast character, or actual spices, than hop taste.

Very interesting beer, and not what I expected. It misses my favorite flavor components of saisons, but that makes it complex.

Photo of Hophead101
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 6.14.08 with bro in law jason. poured from bottle into wide mouth glass.

godo copper color, hazy. thick and bubbly head, foamy. however the head dissipated quickly. it did leave a decent lacing.

good sweet malty smell with hints of cherry and honey. unexpected taste. a little sharp at first but a great malty flavor. mouthfeel was quite nice.

Photo of yelterdow
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost brown, dark orange color. Tanned head is pretty tall, pretty tight, with pretty good lacing.

The aroma brawls to get through the cap, but what's there is spicy, earthy, and a little fruity. Some pricks of alcohol.

It doesn't look or taste much like a saison in the usual sense; not unpleasant, just different. Lots more caramel malt than pale malt here. Spicing is prevalent, hops are there but not doing a ton to the flavor. The finish is hoppy and pretty long for this style - normally saisons are all bubbles.

Mouthfeel is a little thick for style, helped along by the caramel malt. Nothing funky or tart, just a lot of sweetness and the nutty spiciness. Pretty chewy.

Not worth the price, but an interesting, strong brew from De Proef. Not up to my expectations from that brewery.

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 RodBurg
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark copper with a thick tan head into a goblet. Good Lacing.

Lots of spice floating off this one. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves. Also has some fuity notes, plums and apples and some yeast.

Taste starts off with the spice and a little fruit. Yeast and banana bread also there. End has unique combo of tart, tang, and bitterness. Body goes well with the prickly carbonation.

Very complex and well put together. I'm a fan.

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of DrDogbeer
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a goblet. Thanks, TP!
Pours a dark orange/brown with a small off white head. Smell is pungent. Strong aromas of funk - definite barnyard here. Some cheese and alcohol too. Taste is totally phenolic. Tons of band-aid flavor. Very strong on the horse blanket as well. A good deal of spice to finish. Very dry mouthfeel. Interesting, does not taste like any saison I have ever had- more like a funky american wild ale.

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 jenitivecase
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Amber brown, with the color fading out at the edges. Pillowy off-white head pours about two fingers and then leaves a ridiculous amount of lacing. A very pretty beer.

S: Dried fruits (apricot, fig, plum), dark sugar, juniper, and an antiseptic scent - kind of rubbing alcohol-y.

T: Strong alcohol taste, as well as the dark fruits, sugar, antiseptic from the nose. Leaves an aftertaste which reminds me of Robitussin.

M: Moderate carbonation, medium-bodied, very smooth. The alcohol is present enough to leave a definite sting on the end of the taste, though.

D: This has a high alcohol content for a saison or for a Flanders, and you can definitely taste it. Not a session beer, and not something I'd really want more than one of.

Photo of buffettfan
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, into a tulip glass.

Poured a cloudy copper/orange color, with a thick, pillow of creamy head that lasted a long time. There was a nice layer of head in the glass almost the whole time!

Smell, hint of fruit, apple cider, almost a pumpkin spicy smell. Smelled like fall to me.

Taste- fruity, spicy and bit bread/yeasty. Not a real hop taste.

Went down smooth, not a beer I would drink more then one of, but certainly a nice, refreshing late summer/fall beer. I enjoyed it.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
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%.

Photo of rdickey
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: There wasn't a huge pop when I pulled the cork, so a gave it a roughish pour into a tulip, which resulted in some yeast sediment making its way into the glass. This is much, much darker than I expected, with a one-finger off-white head that lingers somewhat.

Smell: Tartness attacks even before I put my nose into the glass, at which point there's some barnyard funk. Frankly it's not the most appealing nose I've experienced, and I'm a fan of the funk.

Taste: Fruit sweetness dominates - peaches and pears, and a little spice. The tartness is present, too, and I'm wondering if this one is a little past its prime; could over-aging cause it to both darken and get tart? Although interesting, it feels a little unbalanced - the hops just play around the edges, and the funk in the nose doesn't get rolling in my mouth, so I ended up feeling like this was a bit sweeter than I'd typically expect for the style.

Mouthfeel: As you might expect, I didn't love the mouthfeel. Given the sweetness, a little more zip in this category might have helped. As it is, it finishes a little heavy for what I expect from this style.

Drinkability: I applaud the brewers for pushing the envelope a bit here (and the saison envelope is a pretty damn big envelope as it is), but it's not really a beer I'd be happy drinking all night, and at the same time it doesn't do it for me as a evening capper, etc. I wouldn't say don't try it, because it's interesting, but there are better saisons out there.

Photo of Reagan1984
3.38/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of gonzo46and2
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bright cloudy red. Minimal lacing. Poured a bit heavy with less lacing than the sasion.

Aroma of sweet tart fruit like cherries and brown sugar. Floral hops.

taste is sweet and a bit puckering with bitter sweetnesss.

Mouthfeel is heavy and carbonation is explosive and intermittent.

Drinkability is medium. It's a bit heavy but pleasant and easy to drink.

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