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

208 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 208
Reviews: 168
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 10.76%
Wants: 5
Gots: 9 | 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:
Beer added by: clickpush on 05-04-2006

Brewmaster's Collection - Special Reserve
Mixed Fermentation - Saison De Flandres
View: Beers (106) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 208 | Reviews: 168
Photo of eljefe21
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ice tea like in color. Pours to a single-finger head that quickly zeros out. Impressive fine lacing.

S: Sour malted smell. Very enticing. Ever so slight hint of vanilla.

T: Sour, slightly spicy, with a nice malt backbone. A very faint sweet, almost vanilla finish.

M: Good carbonation up front, fine bubbles like the lacing. Carbonation rolls back over the tongue and leaves with a pleasing dryness.

D: Probably popped the cork on this when it was still a bit cold. Got better as it got warmer (or was it me getting warmer?). Flavor and smells came out as it did. Refreshing flavors and mouthfeel hid the power in this brew. Nice for any time of the year.

Served: in an oversized wine glass.

Review from notes taken on: 9/7/09

Photo of GRG1313
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice clear and bright copper with a thin white head.

A lightly sour unripe peach, malty pear nose with some hints of spice and a light hint of citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium character and a bit creamy; good mouth.

Flavors are a bit of sour malt. A bit of sour sweet coffee and a bit of lightly sour sweet peach with hints of apricot. Just misses in the flavor department and I wonder if perhaps I have an old bottle. This warrants another taste with another bottle.

Finish a bit coffee/carmel with hints of sweet and bitter. Not bad; just not real drinkable. All around character is a bit of "sour/sweet tortilla" or, a sweet-sour yeasty beer. Actually, it is a bit "soda poppy."

Photo of philipquarles
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle. Pours a surprisingly dark, slightly hazy amber color with a tall light beige head that dies slowly to leave nice lacing. Smells heavily of caramel malts. Quite sugary sweet, with some dark fruits. Strong caramel malt taste with brown sugar and dried fruit. Cloyingly sweet throughout, though somehow it dries out a smidge at the end. Slight alcohol taste and warmth. Thick mouthfeel bordering on syrupy. Way too malty-sweet to be drinkable. This in no way resembles a saison...even a strong one. Kind of shocked that this came from the Proefbrouwerij.

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.

Photo of rtepiak
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

rather dark for a saison but i suppose thats what imperial means. come out reddish amber with some debris and a mild murkiness. nose has a flemish wild funk. barnyard. similar to their primitives but a bit earthier instead of sour. some fruit. raspberry marmalade with what would seem like juniper twigs. woody earth. a tad yeast. burn coriander and some premature orange peel and some cocoa bitter in the finish. it is rather meaty but i wouldn't have with something that isn't gamey. seems perfect for duck with boysenberry.

surprisingly close to jolly pumpkin Maracaibo Especial but broader and not a abrasive on the palate with smoke.

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

very very dark burnt orange with a slightly tan head that holds fairly well and leaves just a little lace. nose is extremely malty for a saison, but w/the imperiale thing, i guess i expected it. all kinds of stuff going on, from a honey nut cheerio cerealishness to earthy, barnyardy hoppiness to banana and clove to sweet, mild brown sugar. taste represents the nose in a pretty well balanced rush to the senses that rolls through on a medium full body with a slightly acidic mineral finish that carries a touch of bitter. very easy drink for such a complex beer and not hot at all. another interesting beer from deproef.

Photo of scootny
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A surprisingly dark saison. Initially not too cloudy but as I go down the bottle chunks of yeast murk up the glass. A very large head with impressive staying power and good lacing finish off the pleasing looks of this one.

Smell is not typical. A bigger dark malt structure overlaid with a touch of wine. Light banana and a hint of citrus are layered with a raisin and date combination. A firm yeastiness blends into a floral hoppiness. The saison spiciness is there but it is blended into the mix a bit more.

Taste is very much like the nose. Big smooth maltiness with a dark fruitiness and toffee infused sweetness. Buckwheat honey and faint banana as well. A very dry sharpness comes in and puckers the mouth. Firm hop florals as well a a phantom like grapefruit bittering that leaves tannic sourness and graham crackers on the palate and back of the throat. More tropical leaning fruitiness unfolds as it warms. Feel is medium and somewhat chewey. A healthy but finely carbonated touch breaks it up and keeps it pleasant on the tongue.

A very easy one to drink as the abv is well masked. I should say seductively hidden. This one gets better as you drink it and I wish I had more than one bottle.

Thanks to Dr. Dogbeer for this one.

Photo of cjgator3
4.54/5  rDev +19.2%
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!

Photo of ATPete
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle corked and caged

Pours a dirty brown/amber color with a medium sized tan head. Very malty nose, sweet and husky with subtleties of his signature funkiness. Sweeter than many other saisons, more compost-like in the grassy hay character, wet barnyard, but not as intense as that may sound, if that makes sense. Smooth as all hell, very drinkable for over 8%, a lot of wheat character here. I like the late appearing hop profile as well, its refreshing and begs for another sip. Well done and certainly unique in the already unique world of Belgian Saison.

Photo of BeTheBall
3.04/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 into my Duvel tulip. Darker than other Saisons I've had, an amber to brown color with lively carbonation and a one finger head. Some minimal lacing down the glass.
Smell was funky, sweaty, almost sour.
Taste was similar; dry but musty and funky. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but not horrible either.
Mouthfeel was good due to the carbonation.
Drinkability was decent smoothness-wise, but not a favorite taste for me. I wouldn't buy it again, but I'm sure there are those (Fantome fans) that would like it.

Photo of rossthefireman
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Nice deep brown hue, good head

S- Smell of funk and alcohol. Got a sweaty sock smell.

T- Lots of flavor. Slight sour and funk. Dark fruits. Tripel like sugar flavors. Caramel and biscuit. Lots of malt very ,little hops. Dark rum raisin alcohol. There is a lot going on in this beer.

M- A little thick and definatley heavy.

D- This isnt for everyone, its drinkable but for a small group.

Is this beer a saison or a belgian strong ale? I know its called 'imperale' but this isnt very close to 'normal' saisons. Too heavy, too thick not as light on the palate as it should be. However, this is a good beer with good flavors ! I like it , just not as a saison. It definitely strays from the norm. If you go into this beer thinking 'saison' you might be disappointed, but if you have no preconceptions, you will be okay. Definitely worth trying but if your looking for a true saison, this isnt the beer you want.

Photo of hwwty4
3.33/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a corked and caged 750 into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer is remarkably dark for a saison. The color reminds me of a dried cherries, dark brown with red-amber hues when held to the light. The head is a massive beige explosion that leaves sticky lacing as it recedes down the glass. While it says it's an imperial saison it is still a rather odd color. The aroma is caramel malt. Huge toffee and caramel notes drown out any expectations of spices, apples, or funkiness. The flavor is fairly similar with caramel dominating the flavor profile. Dark, ripe plums, apple skins and just a slight bit of brett funk, peak out of the flavor profile but it's just not as dominant as I would have liked it to have been. Also this beer has very little spice to it. I would have expected some cardamom, pepper, or a yeasty spice but nothing. The mouthfeel is chewy. Full and carbonated. This beer reminds me of the antithesis of what a Saison is supposed to be. It's big and full and honestly not nearly as refreshing as most saisons are. I know the trend it to "imperialize" all beers, but maybe Saisons are just better left alone.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

Photo of stephens101
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, very murky amber with hints of red on the edges. A tan two-finger head fizzles out quickly with a few various sized spots of lacing left behind. Aroma is very sour, tart and vegetal up front with dark fruits lying in waiting underneath. Kind of smells like damp hay sitting in a barn, all musty but inviting like a mid-afternoon lay by a Belgian farm girl who might be a few pounds overweight. Maybe there was some manure in the aroma as well, but who gives a flip, it's a farmhouse ale right? I guess what I'm saying is the shit is authentic smelling. Just make sure you stay away from the back door of the barn.

Taste is complex and very fruity (prunes, grapes, figs, sour apples ) with beer bread and tangy yeast thrown in and some earthy graininess and spice at the end. The alcohol is fairly well hidden, but if you go looking for it, you will find it. Mouth-feel is creamy, soft and almost chewy going down, which makes sense, because beer is food, and if you lived a subsistence lifestyle this would be a great way to get nourishment. Hell yeah, this farmhouse lifestyle is looking very tempting, so I say screw the whales, save the Farmhouse Ales.

Photo of cvstrickland
3.91/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle sealed with cork-in-cage; a freebie courtesy of BA Cindirene... muchas gracias, Chuck!

The bottle disgorges the cork with a hefty poof! and a whiff of fruity funkinesss registers briefly on my olfactory radar. Poured into my Duvel tulip, Saison Imperiale is cherry-tinted amber with a bit of haze and a huge cap of creamy orange-stained ivory foam. As the head deflates into a convoluted, misshapen mass, sticky gobs of webby lacing coat the curvy inner wall of my glass.

The aroma is tart, perhaps even to the point of sushi vinegar acidity, with a just a spritz of juicy citrus and floral fruit to sweeten things up. The brew is increasingly aromatic and more sweetly floral as the encounter continues.

The taste is a complementary melange of crisp and tangy with a dry, citrusy zip, but is also quite mild, mellow-sweet, and toasted-malty at its core. The same floral character from aroma appears in the flavor profile as well, assisting the drink in maintaining balance between grainy-sugary and lightly-funky twang. Any alcohol flavor is mildly fruity, complementary, and otherwise very well-hidden. Late into the bottle, a splash of dilute pear juice freshens the drink, along with a succulent bit of caramel that fits right in. A grassy hop flavor occupies the finish and a bit of a steely mineral note lingers in the aftertaste.

The drink is crisp and well-carbonated with a solid medium body. The brew is quite quaffable despite the beefy ABV. Good stuff, and it was definitely the right price! Thanks again, Chuck!

Photo of midnite2sixman
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark hazelnut brown in the glass. Lots of floaters. A good thing.

Brown sugar, yeast, belgian soil?, caramelized something or another on the nose. Lots of sweetness.

Taste: sour maltiness, rock candy and all sorts of flavors that I cant really put a name to.

Mouthfeel is medium, nice finish, lots of malts on this one, not nearly as big tasting as the ABV may indicate.

This is my first Imperial Saison and I am not sure of what to say about it. I enjoyed it, but cannot say I'd go back or not.

Photo of CMW
3.21/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a light brown color with a very large off-white head. Interesting look for a saison, much darker than the rest of the offerings in the style.

S - Tart sour apples, heavy malt and some yeast.

T - The tart apple flavors are the first thing I notice. The malt and yeast flavors are rather bland and not what I would expect from a saison. Alcohol is noticeable in the finish.

M - Highly carbonated but quite thin.

D - Not bad, but I am not sure if I would purchase this again with the number of quality saisons available.

Photo of ryrust5301
2.64/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance - Almost the color of cherry oak, which is a little dark for a saison. Looking like an impostor and not true to style will cost it a fair amount of points.. Pretty nice off white head, which stood up for quite some time and left it's mark around the glass.

Smell - Sweet cherry with a sour breath to it, almost like a flemish red. Sour, most definitely sour, with a fruity aroma to it; most likely banana. Very pungent, while not bad, not very saison like.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Really mellow with a thick creamy malt. Has a lot of sour fruit to it, and a little bit of a belgian quad type taste. Loads and loads of dark fruit are thrown in and have a candied taste to them. Have no idea what they're trying to pull off here? Medium mouthfeel is coating, but not really interested in what it's coating my mouth with.

Drinkability - This beer has no identity whatsoever. Don't know how or why this beer came to be, and don't really care.

Photo of ShrLSU
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks go out to glid02 for sending this brew my way.

A = A nice amber color with a generous white head. Thick lacing around the sides.

S = Lots of fruitiness. Some pear, apple, and some slight sour cherry.

T = This is pretty complex. i taste pears, some slight apple, and sour cherry taste. It comes through sweet in the end with some orange zest and a bit of spice with coriander. Very interesting and complex.

M = Kinda heavy and creamy with low carbonation

D = This is pretty interesting. It's worth a shot if you see it in the store or the bar. It's something that's a little different. Thanks again to glid02 for another tasty hook up!

Photo of goatgoat
2.7/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a murky light brown with orange highlights. Dark and murky for a saison. A huge tan head falls to a cap.

Aroma is sweet, caramel, bananas. Something in there is almost acrid. A hint of spices.

Taste is again, very sweet for a saison. Bruised bananas, caramel, almost rum like. No real tart or musty notes, but an alcoholic spiceness which dominates the finish.

Medium body with soft creamy carbonation. Dry finish.

This only way in which this resembles the other saisons I've tried is in the dry finish. This is more like the bastard child of a weizenbock and saison.

Photo of thirdeye11
2.92/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: Poured two beers from 750ml bottle to my Duvel tulip over about a 3 hour period.

Appearance: This beer pours a 1 finger head that recedes quickly, but leaves a LOT of lacing on the glass regardless of temperature. Very pretty brown/red almost rusty orange color that is completely opaque and darker than I expected. The second beer I poured of course was completely saturated with yeasty floaters throughout. I don't mind this and actually like the taste of the yeast in my beer.

S: Extremely funky barnyard smells here, horseblanket, and even detected what smelled like urine to me a couple of times. The smell does change throughout. I am not completely offended though as I do keep smelling it repeatedly, and sometimes a dark fruit aroma comes through which is good. There must be some Brett yeast in this beer. Oaky and earthy as well. I didn't care for the smell, and my wife absolutely hated it.

T: The taste was quite a bit better than the smell. Lots of sour tastes, some sweetness, and definite bitterness was there. I felt that the sour was nicely muted by some of the fruit flavors, but not enough to counteract some of the funkiness and sour that was going on here. More sweetness would have balanced this out and made this beer far better. The one fruit I do taste is sour green grapes. When I bought it I expected less earthy sourness, and less color as well. Maybe some caramel in the first notes of tasting as well. The bitter aftertaste lasted longer than almost any beer I've ever had, and I did find myself appreciating that particular quality.

M: Creamy, extremely carbonated in a great way. My wife said the one thing she liked about this beer was its carbonation, and I couldn't agree more.

D: I had some issues drinking a full 750ml of this. I might try it again, but I think I'd really rather only have 8-10oz of this at a time. It took me probably 3 hours to drink a 750ml which is pretty slow for me.

Overall I was surprised by how dark, unfruity, and funky this beer was. I suspect some Brett yeast was used and can be attributed to these qualities in the beer. I doubt I would buy it again in a 750ml format, but I might try it again just to see if some fruitiness comes through more for me a second time. That would make this beer far better. I don't mind funk when it is properly balanced, this one just wasn't.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into tulips.

A = Opaque amber, small yellowish head which resolves quickly into thin layer of foam on surface.

S = Overripe pears, orange zest, some slight general barnyard funk.

T = Pears, maple syrup, apricots, fresh vanilla beans, slightly smokey quality, quite complex but not at all what I expect from a Saison, has some Scotch ale or English barleywine aspects.

M = Medium-heavy to heavy body, luscious creamy feel but surprisingly light mouthcoating for the body, would have been an almost perfect mouthfeel but for that.

D = I like this beer and enjoy drinking it, but one glass is enough.

Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of champ103
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

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.

Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
86 out of 100 based on 208 ratings.