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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 Georgiabeer
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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 Beertracker
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Saison Imperiale pours up effervescent with a creamish white head that encompasses the glass and crowns the slightly hazy deep orangish-amber body with nobility. The lightly acidic aroma is ripe with citrus fruits (lemon, tangelo). In addition, there's a notable Brett character (earthy barnyard, horse blanket, etc...) with some mild spiciness (black peppercorn, clover, coriander) warmth that add to the overall complexity. The gravitational flavor starts off with a sweet maltiness that is somewhat restrained by a characterized bitterness. The spicy, earthiness from the brettanomyces helps create an acidic, slightly yeasty warming finish. This medium-full bodied Farmhouse Ale is a nice "throwback" that will keep the tastebuds happily entertained. Pick up a bottle to enjoy now and one to cellar, as this Saison Imperiale will likely only become more complex with age. Here's to The Prof and his Special Reserve!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with a soft foamy cream colored head. Aromas of burnt sugar and a little earth. Flavors of burnt sugar, candy corn, slightly tart. metallic. Damp earth? After it warms up it really gets an identity crisis - this doesn't taste like a saison. Medium-full body with a slightly bittersweet finish. Certainly interesting, but it starts tasting like a dubbel, maybe St. Bernardus Pater 6. Weird. Not much of a saison thing going on, so I can't score it too high. Initial flavors are best impression, but the flavor falls apart with a little time.

dedrinker, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of rajendra82
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this Saison was quite deep orange and bordered on red. The carbonation was reserved, and the head was limited to about one to two fingers thick. The smell was floral, spicy, and a little hoppy, with some cheese like funk. The taste was crisp, tart, but not as funky as the nose led me to believe. There was some orange peel herbal spiciness, biut the overall flavor was blander than I had hoped for. As it warmed up, a little more sourness started to show up. A good beer, but other standard bearers of the style are noticeable better.

rajendra82, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of largadeer
2.95/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly dark but clear amber, pretty unlike any saison I've seen. The head rises to about three fingers height and has great retention.

Smell: Extremely estery; berries, figs, dates, a hint of spice (nutmeg, allspice).

Taste/mouthfeel: Lots of estery dark fruit here, leaning toward the berry and fig flavors. The body is fairly light despite the high ABV, and I'd guess that this was significantly lower in alcohol if not for the slight heat that shows up in the finish. Sweet berry-like flavors continue right on through the finish - where's the dryness? This isn't a bad brew overall (nor is it great), but it's lacking all of the qualities that I look for in a saison.

Notes: A disappointing beer from a generally good brewery.

largadeer, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of mcallister
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice looking saison in my opinion. Amber in color with yeast particles reminiscing. Pours with an enormous fluffy carbonated head of off white that has the tendencies of a leach.

Much malt character in the nose very caramel in nature with some residual sugar accents. Nice contrast to the fruity, belgian spicey, yeasty traits of this beer. A floral hop shows through as well. Nice!

Again just great malt character. Caramel covered apples, orange, earth, spice, yeasty with a floral bitter finish. Nice refreshing carbonation and very easy to drink. Not one of my favorite styles because the belgian spices can sometimes be intruding to my palate. This one is very neutral and easy going.

mcallister, May 17, 2008
Photo of jakon
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle purchased for $8.99 on 4-25-7 at Whole Foods Tanasbourne.

This beer pours dark for a saison. Almost amberish. Average sized head that collapses on itself quickly, leaving behind splotches of lacing.

The aroma features light fruit notes such as honeydew, and a distinct sweet caramel maltiness. Yeasty, but not getting any funk here.

The taste is lightly sweet with a background hop bitterness. Not much of a resemblance to any other Sasion I've had, but I really like it. It's not as crisp and funky as I expected.

There was zero yeast sediment in the bottle, so I'm not sure if a bit of age would yield anything in the way of the desired brett funk.

Overall, a very enjoyable beer. Unique.

jakon, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

25oz. bottle

Very clear, red toned brass in color. Large, creamy, ivory head. Some legs, pretty good lacing.

Smelled sweet, cherries and honey. Touch of the barnyard, very mild. Green apples. Bananas.

Taste was malty and sweet, almost like a yeast roll. Cherries popped up again. Touch of bitter at the finish, herbal. Honey.

Medium to full in body, a bit slick. Carbonation seems low compared to size of head, but fine. Sweet more than dry.

Not much like a prototypical saison (DuPont, for example), and a bit sweeter than what I was looking for, but very tasty. Reminded me a bit of Delirium Tremens or La Fin du Monde.

, Apr 14, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle. First thing I noticed was how much head there was, but then it is a wheat beer. The color of the beer was an reddish orange color that was hazy. The head was white and had some moderate retention.

The smell was of apple, banana, and wheat. There was a very mild sour undertone. The taste was more sour and of soft wheat with some of that apple coming through. Interestingly enough there wasn't a bit of alcohol in the smell or taste.

Medium bodied with some chunkiness coming from the wheat. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

t0rin0, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of HombreWing
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

corked bottle...Glass > oversized Duvel

Eyes: Pours bright, darker amber....off white creamy head, laces as it goes. 2nd pour let some of the yeast come into play....nice little haze.

Nose: First pour had mostly malt w/ a little yeast ester. 2nd pour some lactic aromas...peppery yeast

Tongue: First pour...malty, subtle ripe fruit, balanced by mostly yeast characteristics. 2nd pour added a nice element of tartness that played nicely w/ the fuller mouth feel from the haze.

Texture: I prefer a drier saison. This was a little more fuller bodied but I'm sure that was due to it's strength

Overall experience: As much fun as it was to drink I thought it made a better Biere de Gard

HombreWing, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of bort11
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been eyeballing this one on the shelf for some time. Finally broke down and grabbed it.

750 ml corked bottle, poured into a St Bernardus chalice. Solid 1/4 inch thick head that leaves OK lacing. I think the head would have been bigger if the glass wasn't so wide mouthed. Dark but clear orange amber color.

Smell is full of banana esters with some nuttiness. Sweet malt aroma, lots of fruit, baked apples. Taste is also quite sweet with the fruity flavors. Spiced apples, banana nut bread. All very warm flavor combinations.

Mouthfeel is very sticky and juicy. Solid carbonation. I really liked this saison a lot. I will definitely try the others from the brewery.

bort11, Jan 22, 2008
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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 emerge077
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour is a hazy reddish amber, filled with tiny suspended particles. Foam has a creamy texture. It settles to a thin ring on the perimeter of the glass soon enough. One dimensional apple juice aroma. Slightly sweet, lightly spiced like a cider.

A light dried fruit note leads off, with an undercurrent of farmy Brettanomyces. It's a little horsey, but restrained well enough. The finish is dry, with a long aftertaste of rustic Belgian yeast.

Dry mouthfeel overall, but initially juicy and slightly cidery. With a medium level of carbonation, it could be quaffed or sipped. The dry Brett gets to be a little much, paired with the apple sweetness, i'm glad the 750 was shared.

emerge077, Dec 14, 2007
Photo of david131
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- An ever so slightly hazy, honey and gold colored liquid. The head is thick and creamy and leaves excellent lacing.

S- Funky and sour with fruity notes. Definitely a farmhouse characteristic. I love the smell of open fermentation.

T- Sweet, funky, fruity, honey, with a definite olive characteristic. Slightly tart. Not as crazy as I was expecting. Something is a little different here, but it is not necessarily a bad thing.

M- Very very smooth and creamy. Not sticky and pretty clean on the aftertaste.

D- This was a pretty interesting brew. Tasty and enjoyable. The alcohol is nowhere to be found here.

david131, Dec 09, 2007
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 BlindPig
3.98/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Really thick tan head on a cloudy amber body.
S- The "horse blanket" aroma comes through pretty big along with a really sweet caramel malt, fruits come through pretty big too. Almost a candy aroma. Alcohol comes through a bit and gives the nose a little zing. A really interesting blend of aromas that make it very complex. Just from the aroma it's like a Saison, Triple, and a little bit of a dubbel all blended together.
T- Really sweet upfront flavor. Not to much based around a saison style IMO. It comes through a little bit but with the sweetness from a triple and the fruits of a dubble. Some raisins and plums come through nicley too. Alcohol warms up the back of throat a little. Some grass hops leave the tip of the tongue with a nice little bitterness.
M-Full body with low carbonation.
D- Once you drink more of it and get used to the sweetness it does get better. The flavors and aromas in this beer are very unique and very complex.

BlindPig, Oct 23, 2007
Photo of walshclimb
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours nice reddish amber color that is cloudy with a thin off-white head. Smells of rich, sweet malt and sour yeast and a hint of spice. The initial flavor is a dominant lightly sour yeast with a good malt base. Less alcoholic than expected though it is definitely there. Sour yeast and lightly bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with alcholic finish and moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a tasty saison. I can't say I have had another Imperial Saison, but his beer is definitely bigger than the saisons I have tried. It is very nice and easily drinkable. Try it paired with mussels. We steamed the mussels in 3/4 cup of this beer along with some garlic butter, and the results were very tasty with the rest of the beer!

walshclimb, Oct 16, 2007
Photo of domtronzero
4.2/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish copper with a tan/off-white rocky, massive head. Lacing left through the finish. Aroma is of sweaty gym socks (major musky funk) and some piney resionous hop smells noted. Taste is similar to the aroma, but much more intense. Caramel sweetness up front, with the same gym sock flavor (it sounds bad, but is actually quite good tasting). Subdued hoppy resin/herbal flavors. Earthy undertones with some slightly noticable DMS flavors (cooked veggies). Mouthfeel is smooth but oily, and quite easy drinking. Not for the average beer drinker. For a good laugh, try giving this to one of your buddies who prefer Coors Light.

domtronzero, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of BMoney575
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 9-13-07

Pours a very pleasant golden/red with a foamy, craggy head that leaves huge lines of lacing.

Smell is very sour and funky, with just a hint of alcohol. I can see that barnyard character that has been noted before.

Taste is sweet, sour with that same grassy twinge as the smell. Surprisingly bitter on the finish, with a very dry aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light, very carbonated, adds to the sourness and bitterness.

Drinkability is good, but all I can say is different.

Overall, this is what you think of when you hear saison. Much more farmhouse than others I've tried, and better for it.

BMoney575, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.43/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 Jason
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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 cabsandking
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange/brown with a billowy off white head. Big fruity nose, banana pudding, orange, passion fruit, banana bread and some herbals. Earthy malt and sweetness play well with the sour yeasts although malt seems heavy for a saison. Begins dry and peppery and ends with a rush of honey sweetness, and unripened bananas. Big floral effervescence, herbals, caramel, and musty yeast notes all around. Medium body with lots of carbonation and a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. I enjoyed this one even though it might not fall along the lines of a traditional saison.

cabsandking, Sep 07, 2007
Photo of joe1510
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml.
$8.99
Binny's Willowbrook

Saison Imperiale pours extremely dark for a saison. Pours a slightly hazy amber that glows ruby when backlit. A three finger bubbly and fluffy head formed on the pour. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise to the ecru head after it falls to a one finger cap. Suprisingly the haziness clears up after a couple minutes. Leaves mild lacing.

The aroma starts off with a field of wildflowers and a touch of banyard. Some lightly toasted malts in the background. Not a whole lot going on here to get excited about. The barnyard aromas are welcomed but on the subtle side.

Malts in the flavor are more caramel than toasted. That little bit of barnyard is there but it's muddled and subtle. Slight metallic finish. Not bad just not what I expect from a saison.

Light body, a little too light even which wouldn't be bad if there was a little more carbonation to create a frothiness but the carbonation just isn't there.

Easy enough to put down but a glass or two is plenty for me.

This is a disappointment of a saison. Not at all bad just not really a saison. Too dark, too caramelly, not enough of the funkiness I've come to love in a saison. Not at all what I expected. Like I said not bad but nothing to get excited about either. Mediocre. At $9 I'll be passing by this one from now on.

joe1510, Aug 18, 2007
Photo of bruachan
4/5  rDev +5%
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

bruachan, Aug 12, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 19, 2007
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 204 ratings.