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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
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
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 167 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bruachan
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

damn, this bottle was stored a little warm, too. lots of foam (it's off white). the bits of sediment dance about in the columns of wild carbonation. the aroma these bubbles bring to the surface is quite yeasty and spicy, with coriander and cloves seemingly dominant. it actually smells quite a bit like a wit with some darker sweetness. hop character is limited

warm, yeasty and bready with fruit (of the dark variety: raisin, cherry). it's a nice brew, but something prevents me from declaring it excellent

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bronzed orange peel with a hint of cherry red. One doesn't normally see saisons this dark. The top half of the glass is filled with an outstanding looking crown of orangish ecru that is impressively sticky. No surprise, then, that the glass is positively coated with lace when the cap eventually recedes.

The nose is next to absent. I'm hoping that it'll open up when it warms, even though it isn't exactly cold right now. My impressions at the moment consist of musky, earthy and fruity; nothing more specific than that. Note: warming helps just enough to pull the aroma to above average.

Saison Imperiale is an odd beer. It's heavy on the caramel malt, moderate on the spices and light on the farmhouse funk. I'm not sure what it is, but I'd call it any number of things before I'd call it a saison, despite the catchall nature of that style. English old ale?

All that gooey caramel malt gives it a sweetness that is out of place. It also tends to drown out whatever complexity might have been provided by the yeast. One source I found says that coriander was used. I can sorta taste it, but I could never have identified it on my own. Add some earthy hops for a moderate bitterness and you have... nothing special really. Bruised apples? Nuts? Caramel-covered apples with nuts? Faint impressions at best.

The mouthfeel is more American than Belgian. In other words, it's medium-full with a moderate chewiness and a less than expansive amount of carbonation. I don't hate it, I just don't love it.

Saison Imperiale is a decent, drinkable beer, but it's nowhere near what De Proefbrouwerij usually delivers. What's a farmhouse ale without any farmhouse character? If you happen to run across a bottle, I'd suggest spending your money (I spent $8.99) on something else.

Photo of ArrogantB
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Photo of theopholis
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Deep, rich, amber/ body. Almost the color of old honey. Has a huge, off-white, loose head with great head retention and a little lace.

Aroma- Very nice mix of honey-like malt sweetness, floral hops and a bready aroma. Very well balanced.

Taste- Fairly sweet and malty up front. A very pesistant spicyness follows. I also get some ctirus, pineapple, lemon and pepper in the finish. I normally don't like the spiciness of Belgian ales, but this is very well balanced. The spicyness does increase as it warms.

Mouthfeel- Smooth, with a medium body and a nice tight carbonation that works well with the taste.

Drinkability- One of the best Belgium beers I've ad.

Photo of Onibubba
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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).

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 GbVDave
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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 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 WetCoaster
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep, rich, tawny amber with a thick caramel head. Great retention and some sticky lace. Crystal clear with streams of tiny bubbles racing to the top.

Smell: Wow, very, very nice. Floral (gardenias), clove, spice cookie, rainwater, citrus, apricot. Very dense.

Taste: Very spicy/yeasty up front. Honey. Slightly medicinal, sweet ctirus, pineapple, sour cherry midpalette, lemon and white pepper in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, though perhaps a bit undercarbonated, medium bodied.

Drinkability: I actually like it quite a bit. It is what it claims to be: a saison with a bit more, though not too much. I'd drink it again.

Photo of blitheringidiot
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Caged & corked 750 mL. bottle synthetic cork cap offering.

Pours into a Piraat tulip with an impressive statue ivory head cap topping of of pillowy cloud coating loading the glass with impressive lace content.

Nose is doughy with full on bready scents and light almond nuttiness.

First swigs: Thick saison with full body yet easy on flavor. Delicate citus fruit middle, red apple, crisp finish of fading wood. Dry weak funk of wet leather, but follows dry almost wanna be Orval.

Last swigs: An average stradle of Belgian Ale that is inviting but not impressive.

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 scruffwhor
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Photo of kamiller
4.4/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml poured into a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: poured a slightly cloudy reddish brown.

Smell: a great smell, fruity notes, sweet.

Taste: semi fruity taste, just a very slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, light to medium body, crisp and clean finish.

Drinkablity: Seems very drinkable, hides the high alcohol content very nicely.

Overall: I bought this beer on a recommendation from the store worker and I have been impressed. It is my first Saison's hopefully they are all this good.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.7/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lively carbonation with this one, and it's darker than most Saisons. Faint aroma of wild yeast, I think most of the fruity scents come from the malt. Some spices.

This is quite a twist on a Saison. Plenty of dark, fruity malt comes together with the wild yeast, which brings an earthiness to the whole thing. Something apple-like. I can't tell if they used spices in this, or if it is just their yeast. Mouthfeel has gone from prickly to lively to pretty smooth, the bubbles are small.

I love De Proef beers mainly for their wild yeastie beers, but I love this one for its "restrained" yeastiness.

Photo of calinative68
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Surprising amber color with a decent lasting head. I was looking for a more golden color

Good carbonation.

Taste is on the malty side with slight hops. Not what I was expecting for a Saison.

Kinda dry mouthfeel again with slight hop flavor.

Drinability is ok, not an all nighter. Again, I was expecting a completely different beer. Might give it a try again, but there are other Saisons that I would prefer.

Photo of fartingdog
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice auburn color, with a soon-to-receed head. Surprising color for a saison- smell was typical of a saison with an underlying sweetness- I wouldn't say raisiny, but perhaps some rich candied fruit. Taste hits all around- some typical spicy/appley notes with some good caramelized candy-sugar sweetness- kind of a cross between a saison and a dubbel. The carbonation dances on your tongue. Very nice and unexpected- I'm drinking this quicker than expected, glad I saved it till fall!.

And on that note, this is a perfect fall/indian summer beer (which we are currently having) - it's flavor is light and spicy, yet has a little more body , richness and warmth for the warmer days that receed to cool nights. Absolutely perfect fall beer!

Photo of merlin48
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle as pictured here. Pours into a tulip a slightly hazed copper body with an immense pillow of foamy beige head. Retention is excellent and lacing lavishly drapes the glass.

Aroma is an unexpected combination of caramel and cinnamon. A mild note of barnyard funkiness quickly comes to the rescue, followed by hints of lemon, mint, and pepper.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with silky carbonation.

Taste opens with sweet caramel maltiness, followed by a bitter floral hops presence. Just enough of an undertone of outdoorsy spicy botanicals to make you think this is really a saison. Pepper and mild coriander join with lemony citrus as it warms.

More an excellent bierre de garde than a saison, but a very palatable brew, nonetheless. Not at all like the brewery's Flemish wild ales, but still pleasantly drinkable.

Photo of silenius
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark amber with an off-white dense and long lasting head.

Moderate lacing on the glass and carbonation is very active.

Smells of dates, clean sheets, and a light lavender scent. Not very spicy smelling and no hops are detected.

Taste is on the malty side with the hops being detectable, but definitely playing backup here. Other flavors include some citrus elements without being acidic.

Mouthfeel is dry with some hop bittering in the aftertaste.

Drinability is good, but I was expecting more from this beer.

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

This beer pours a muddy copper color with a thick white head. The head fades slowly, leaving many thick laces.

This beer has a nice fruity aroma. Lemon and orange. It is also spicy. I smell some cloves and coriander. It has a pleasent grassy hop aroma also.

This beer has a spicy flavor. It is also slightly sour. I think the lemon flavor is very strong. It has a slight bubble gum flavor. The citrus hop flavor is very nice.

This beer goes down smooth, leaving a pleasent citrus like slightly sour aftertaste. This highly carbonated beer is very crisp and refreshing.

I think this beer would make a decent session beer. The only problem is that it is slightly high in alcohol.

Overall: I think this is a great beer. I have no complaints. If I see it again, I will buy it.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear deep amber wtih an off-white frothy head which rose tall and fell slowly to coat the glass.

The aroma was fruity with caramel and an earthy character. The aroma contained a light bit of dirty spice which most resembled cinnamon and a bit of pepper. Caramel malt ruled the aroma with a bit of a nutty and toasty presence.

The flavor was strong dark caramel and graham flavor. The flavor was strongly nutty, biscuity and toasty. Along with the strong toast character was an earthy presence and a light bit of Belgian yeast spice. The spice was cinnamon with a bit of pepper, just as was noted for the aroma. The flavor of the strong biscuit and spice just did not seem to work together to boost complexity, more of a struggle to see who reined supreme. Some dark fruits, namely raisins, were present.

The finish was dry with lasting earthy character, light spice, and dark fruits into the aftertaste. The body was just above medium with a moderate carbonation and a mouthfeel that was almost creamy. This beer teeters on being a Belgian Strong Dark. Perhaps that is what a Saison Imperiale should be. Drink it warmer as it tends to increase in complexity as the temperature rises. While not alluring at first, the beer certainly grows on you. Give it a whirl if you have the chance. Some alcohol warming was notable after consumption.

750 ml bottle.

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 shroompod
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Plastic caged cork. Clear orange color. Decent head with some lacing.

Smells faintly of grass. Some alcohol coming through. After tasting I think my sniffers broke with allergies.

Tastes intially tart , some carmel coming through. Spicy finish I can't pinpoint , cardamom maybe.

Mouthfeel is medium with decent carbonation.

Drinkabitly is pretty good for beer with high ABV.

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 RBorsato
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
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)

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