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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 glid02
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a turbid dark orange color with a big two-finger head. The head sticks around for a while before settling into a thin pancake of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Nice lacing is left all the way down.

Smells more like a quad than anything, with Belgian candy sugar and a yeast funk, but it's also joined by a grassy aroma.

Tastes very good. Again, more like a quad than a saison up front, with light and dark fruits mixing and sweet Belgian candy sugar. As it warms, the malt asserts itself more and there's definitely a grassy twang.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing this one and wish I'd bought the big bottle.

Overall, there's a lot of stuff going on in this beer and the flavors change slightly with every sip. An interesting "Belgian saison" that's definitely worth a shot.

Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of brystmar
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Large bomber into a chalice. Bottle label says 11.2 fluid oz, but that's clearly a misprint. :)

A: pours a hazy orange color with reddish hues. Beautiful white head reduces to a thin layer of white protection atop the brew. Mild lace adorns my glass.

S: earthy with plenty of yeasty funk. Malts and spice in the background.

T: spicy and malty with strong farmhouse yeast undertones. Mild sweetness and sourness too, but mostly just delicious.

M: medium-bodied, carbonation stings the tongue early on. Further through the experience, the bubbles subside which lends itself to a smoother and more enjoyable drink.

D: zero detectable boozy warmth. Very easy to drink; I could finish this entire bottle myself without problems if I didn't have company here to help me out.

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

A - Ruddy amber with a finger of thick white foam. Some yeast floaties are present.

S - Smells heavily spiced; cinnamon and the like. Still an undercurrent of yeast and a touch of saison funk.

T - Not quite as spiced as the smell would lead you to believe, but the cinnamon/nutmeg combo is coming through here and is really brought forward by the caramel malts. Not too much like a traditional saison, but some of that farmhouse flavor does come through. Also some citrus and other fruits; pear, grape etc.

M - Medium bodied and fairly high in carbonation; luckily this one doesn't cloy or the spices might be too much.

O - I like this beer; that being said, it really is unlike any saison I've come across. I guess the intensity is the whole 'imperial' part of the equation. Personally, I would desire this beer on a cooler evening where the warming alcohol and spices could comfort better.

Photo of mcallister
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged, I could not find any date marking on this bottle. It opened with a solid 'crack' (or should I say snap, or pop), but it didn't foam up. It poured a disappointingly hazy chestnut brown with an orange cast. I chalked the haze up to having not let the bottle sit long enough. Raised to the nose I got sharp fruit. There's a little bit of tang there. Green apple and dark fruit. Plum/prune, cherry, red grape/raisin. Leather, mineral and earth. Dusty. A bit of mud and a bit of barnyard and a bit of horse hair and sweat. Damp wood or straw perhaps. And spice. Soft spice... it's all kept in check. I'm thinking coriander, but also cinnamon and anise and even all-spice. And nutmeg. I'm thinking there can't be nutmeg, but I kind of get it. Who knows? It all comes back to prune though. Green apple and prune... I'm thinking that's the main note. That's what cuts through. And that's perhaps the main note of the flavor too, after you run through all of the aromas that I've just listed, and then break your way through the dry finish - because what differentiates the aroma from the flavor is the solid, dry, raspy and woody bitterness that runs through it! It's solid, and wide, but not sharp... maybe blunt is the word... no, I think perhaps raspy better suits it. Yes, it has a solid, blunt bitterness, but there's also an edge - raspy. And that must be because of spices. And for me, anyway, that kind of works. There's also a kind of herbal and dry-grass quality to it, and that seems to work with the low-level Brettanomyces. It's unusual in that way, with such a bark-like and woody bitterness. There's not as much fruitiness, but then again, it's also pretty malty. Those residual sugars are clinging to the palate and holding the bitterness and spice with them in the finish. So I have to think about it... what is Saison Imperiale? Well, obviously, it's a big saison. And with that comes bitterness. Right? Or is it too bitter and not big enough? Hmmm...? Well, it's not over-the-top in malt. I think it's just enough to keep from going over. And that needs to be balanced. Either by tartness or hop flavor or hop bitterness or spice. This has a little of each. I think it's well-done and well-balanced. It's interesting, and rich in character. I find it compelling as each sip seems to offer up a little bit more of the story. On the other hand, it can build on the palate after a serving or two. So final thoughts in five words... interesting, rich, full, worth-trying.

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

Pours slightly murky amber. Dark for the style I suppose, but it's appealing. Large frothy off-white/light tan head that recedes but sticks around for a while. Nice sticky lacing.

Smells of overripe fruit, green apples, brown sugar, molasses, a hint of bubblegum, earthy and funky yeast. A nice dose of tart and barnyard from the Brett. Somewhat spicy and very nice.

The taste consists of mild dark fruit, brown sugar, roasted malts. Finishes relatively sweet but earthy as well and leaves a spiciness that is almost reminiscent of rye, but is most definately from the yeast. The funk is not as present as in the aroma. Sweet and roasty for the style, but it's good.

Definately not carbonated enough. It's not awful because it does has a nice silky quality, but for a saison, it lacks the necessary dry crispness.

It's a very interesting beer to drink. It's a bit sweet, but for 8.5%, it's not much of a trouble to finish.

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 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 mwilbur
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed and reviewed on 1/28/10.
Poured from 750 mL bottle into pint glass (yeah, not ideal, but I had no other glassware on vacation).
A: Pours an inviting dark amber with moderate carbonation producing 1/2 inch tan head that quickly recedes. Decent lacing. An atypical appearance for style...first clue.
S: Caramelly sweet malt, candi sugar, and a hint of yeast.
T: Dark dried fruit, caramel malt, and candi sugar dominate. A dry acidic yeast note is in the background along with a backbone of mild farmhouse funk. Interesting--and definitely different--for style.
M: Medium body. Oily smooth sweet feel with hint of alcohol burn/bite at the finish.
D: Good drinkability and interesting for style. An enjoyable and atypical (more malt-forward) saison that doesn't stray too far from style.

Photo of bort11
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of walshclimb
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
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!

Photo of Jimmys
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750mL shared with friends.

A: a very hazy caramel hue. much darker than most saisons. billowing off-white head.

S: the aroma begins horsey. definitely get the Brett aspect. following the tart, a moderate amount of caramel and fruity smells. pears and apples.

T: im really enjoying this funk. very unique to this bottle. not overpowering, but certainly present. the palate then moves to a big malts. chewy toasted caramel and toffee. more fruit. figs. plums.

M: great carbonation. perfectly dont bottle carbonation here that makes for just the right amount of fizz. medium/full body.

D: really neat saison here. very different. the funk as well as the additional dark malts really makes this brew unique.

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 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 draheim
4.11/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL into a Hennepin glass. Pours a clear amber w/ a 1-finger head that leaves behind some fine lace. Moderate carbonation.

Aroma is spicy, earthy, and floral. Some wet hay. Typical Belgian saison character.

Taste is a little more complex than the nose. A blend of pale and sweet caramel malts, along with some spice and fruit. More floral notes; warm, bready yeast. No hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is smooth and slick, very drinkable. Crisp clean finish.

Overall a really nice saison from De Proef. There are more traditional versions of the style, but this one gives it a unique twist.

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

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a corked an caged 750 ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Moderate pour yields 1 inch of head. Head is an off white/tan with great retention and copious lace. Color is a cloudy orange brown.

Nose- Citric and musty, with nuances of yeast and dough.

Palate- Slightly sour citric quality. Smooth with highly active carbonation. Plenty of bitters at the finish. Some sweetness comes through. Distinctive yeast characteristics contribute to a musty element in the flavor profile. Plenty of hops, reminiscent of a Belgian IPA rather then a saison. Finish is long and dry with plenty of pithy bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Mildly cloying, very active and dry.

Drinkablility- This is a great beer. Keeps you interested.

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 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 HombreWing
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
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

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

750 ml bottle (corked & caged), poured into a pilsener glass.

A forceful "thwup" from the cork lets me know that good things are in store. The appearance is a bit darker than most Saison's I come across, but the clear, amber-russet body is attractive. A lively carbonation level fuels a well-retained cap of finely sorted, creme-colored foam. The aroma starts off almost like a good lambic with some vinegar and sour notes, but lurking below the surface is the signature "horse blanket" saison boquet. Notes of peat, dark spices, and charred wood present as well.

Wow...MUCH different flavor than I was expecting. Gone are the sour notes, as an influx of rich, caramel malt balances nicely with a spicy, floral hop bitterness. Lots of horse blanket funk and wood on the finish, outshining the softly carbonated, medium mouthfeel. A subtle hint of whiskey-like booze is all the 8.5% ABV lets on. Body is a bit on the watery side, and I was looking for a little more bubbliness given the appearance, but that's okay. All in all, I thought this was an above average-saison with lots of complexity. Would I have it again? You bet.

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 eljefe21
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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 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 mmmbeer
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL cork and cage Belgian bottle is mistakenly labeled 11.2 oz. This "saison de flandres" utilizes mixed fermentation. It is a hazy reddish copper, with medium carbonation and an inch of yellowed head that leaves sheets of lacing. Hops and spicy, lightly funky yeast in the nose, with caramelly and bready malts. It has a nice hop flavor, mild bitterness, pungent yeast bite and more caramel malt than most saisons. Light and smooth, with lots of carbonation and a dry finish. Not as assertive as I was hoping for, but this is a delicious brew that has a good hop/malt balance, and a mild, but noticeable "wild" flavor; probably a good gateway beer for those who have yet to try Brett.

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