Solstice D'hiver
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver
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American Barleywine
Ranked #164
Ranked #9,426
3.94 | pDev: 9.9%
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada
Very Good
Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver
Notes: This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. It has a complex aroma of fruits, alcohol and hops. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel. It is a very bitter beer with aromas and flavours reminiscent of red fruit. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops.
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Reviews: 455 | Ratings: 957
Photo of EmperorBevis
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled and possibly bottle conditioned sent by my good friend Zimbo and it arrived this morning
Very dark brown body with decent enough tan head
Aroma is proper full on liquorice dairy fudge
Flavour is deep crepe caramel

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Photo of jrc1093
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled on 10/19/17

Pours an extremely cloudy, nearly opaque burgundy, save for some light breaking through near the surface; slight, off-white head of foam that recedes in favor of some fairly thick, occasionally spotty layers of lacing and thin collar.

Aroma opens on the sweeter side, with floral notes of candy apple, red berry, and stewed fruit; quickly takes a roasty, earthy turn with plenty of toasted wood and caramel, with pointed hops and pine sticking out through the initially dominant sweeter notes.

Taste profile is very roasty, with the sweetness from the aroma more deeply imbued; toasted caramel, deep roasted barley, and stewed fruits making their way in; alcohol and herbal, bittering hops maintain a near-constant presence, adding a certain heft to the profile overall.

Mouthfeel brings a medium-heavy body with carbonation trending toward the lower end; slightly sticky but mostly drying from the mid-palate onward; warming booziness builds quietly, and through gritty malts comes a dense, hoppy bitterness on the finish; almost perfect balance without the slight boozy burn.

Burly booziness holds a really deep profile back quite a bit, even after about a year and a half of aging, but this is otherwise an offering of great all-around balance and strength in flavor; the positives are difficult to ignore, in spite of the still-raw nature of this one.

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Photo of TooManyGlasses
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nov 2016 bottle - a little over 2 years old. Pours a very nice mahogany with reddish undertones - relatively clear - very limited rim of off white head, minimal carbonation on pour.
Aroma is invitingly sweet - breads malt, molasses, a little bit floral with a vinous character - fantastic.
Taste is rich sweet molasses, toffee, caramel malt, hints of cherry that quickly becomes aggressively bitter and boozy.
Full mouthfeel - carbonation not bad considering above on pour - bitterness lingers but aroma keeps pulling me back to that initial sweetness.
A bit aggressive on the bitter, but I really quite liked this - 3 more bottles I will sit on over next year or so.

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Photo of jkblr
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

11.5oz twist off bottled 9/17/15 (over 3 years ago) poured into a becher glass at fridge temp 10.2% ABV. The beer pours a muddled medium brown with a meager very light brown head from a hard pour. There are some floaties as I just recently bought this from an unrefridgerated shelf. The aroma is light but rich with caramel malt, dark fruit and brown sugar. The taste is dark caramel, faded earthy hops and medium bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with less than medium carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, very good. Not overly complex, but held up well.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle with no discernable date, except a 1 and a 5 knicked on the side. Poured into a snifter at about 65f.

Pours a very deep mahogany color, with intense ruby red highlights and sheen. Looks almost black from the right angle, quite clear, but a slight cloud to it. Lively, loud, fizzy tan head dissipates in seconds, leaving a micro collar, and some streaming bubbles.

Nose is deep, deep, lightly toasty malt, evoking a feeling of caramel, toffee, maple syrup, milk chocolate, rich coffee, molasses, ultra light char, and some very light English style hopping. A little booze on the nose.

Palate is rich, sweet, toasted malt that immediately brings to mind maple bourbon barrel age. A big rich syrupy sweetness, with a vanilla, woody, maple character front and center. This honestly reminds me a little of Curmudgeon's Better Half. This has a little more smoky char, and hop influence, but it's big and smooth and sweet. Maple, toffee, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, oak, earth, and a nice backing of dark fruit notes like raisin, cherry, and currant. A smoky, charry, slightly hoppy bitter finish awaits after the initial sweetness, charry being the prevailing characteristic. Finishes mildly bitter, but the lingering sweetness reduces the bitter quite nicely.

Mouthfeel is full, slightly thick, bit not quite viscous - round, soft, and very lightly carbonated. Perfect for a winter sipper, but flavor, nor feel fall so much in any direction that you NEED to sip it. It's smooth and drinkable, but not something you want to gulp down. Savor it.

Overall, I see some negative reviews, and I do not understand them. Maybe I have an old bottle that has aged very nicely? I don't know, but I find this to be a beautiful creation of sweet, rich, smoky, woody, warming and welcoming. A delightful winter treat on this freezing night.

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Photo of Suds
3.51/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a twelve ounce bottle. this brew is a murky brown color. Limited head. The head is slim and clingy. The aroma has more fruit than I would expect from the style....fresh and resiny scents. The taste is dryish and warming. Good beer, but not exceptional.

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Photo of patre_tim
3.82/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Deep copper brown and slightly hazy, with a little fine bubbled carbonation. Topped with 3 fingers of beige head.

Smells of caramel, toffee, stinky foot, and fresh toasted dark bread.

Tastes of caramel, stinky foot, honey, toasted bread, then a big, dull, bitter finish.

Medium, thick body with little carbonation. Definitely smooth and totally covers the ABV.

Got in Gatineau, QC, drinking in Muskoka, April 22nd, 2018. Well done for the style.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From cervezasespeciales. In Teku glass. Watching Taken 3. Roasted caramel, children sweets, noticeable alcohol warmth yet not much bothering. A bit unidimensional

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Photo of Gchevy
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On the pour it does not hold its head retention for long, as I feel a barley wine should not. Color is a magnificent dark amber when held to light. Carbonation is up a little more than I would have imagined but nonetheless I am not disappointed. Initial take flavors show the dark malt characteristics and sweet smokiness. It is a heavy hitter at 10.2 and you can taste it for sure, heavy body. Strong overtones of grassy hopiness on the aftertaste as it washes down. Not sure how I feel about that personally, but that comes with a lot of hopped barleywines. Enjoy!

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.86/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Aged around 6 months : Deep murky dark brown color with a copper hue and lots of activity. Light creamy and bubbly beige 1-2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with poor legs but strong lacing yet wild swirl effect. Flavors of walnuts, dark berries, prunes, liquorice, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, dark grains dominant barley, and herbal hops. Slick and oily medium body with a light crisp. Strong strength finish, quite alcoholic and whiskey like with a slightly leathery feel. Thick ester fruits, leafy and earthy. Very lightly sour from the aging, so it did age well, it's not really vinous but more boozy and less fruity. Rich and powerful, yet the balance is good, ending with a nice barrel feel. It's the bold type of barleywine for real cold times. Could easy fit as an appetizer but would really appreciate a big portion for warming sessions. Easy to down and still highly enjoyable. Overall high quality craft.

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Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark caramel-brown with a finger of fast-dissipating tan head. Rather murky. The lacing is excellent, but this is not the prettiest brew you will find.

The aroma is very strong and very complex. Sweet malty aromas on the front end, though not bready. Dark fruits (fig and date) and diacetyl and molasses, with a touch of burnt sugar all join the party. However, this isn't a malt bomb. There is plenty of hoppiness lurking nearby. I echo other commenters--this smells and looks more like a barleywine from the other side of the pond. There is a lot going on here, and it's all good.

The flavor is pretty darn solid and down the middle--for an english barleywine. Strong malts are again in the leadoff role, this time with some brown sugar added to the caramel and dark fruits from the nose. However, the hops and booze are there to balance things out, along with tobacco, leather, and oak. I don't usually comment on other ratings but I didn't have the "hot" "bitter" or "burning" experience others did. I think that is because this bottle has about two years of age on it. There is maybe just a hint of oxidation going on, though the booze makes it difficult to tell. In any event, this is definitely a brew that needs some maturity. If this had been a "freshie" I can see how the hops and booze might have ripped my head off. As it is, the hops may be just a shade strong, but I can't really complain about that.

The mouthfeel is pretty heavy and almost--but not quite--sticky. The carbonation could be just a shade stronger, which might have helped.

Overall, this brew is kind of all over the place. It looks "meh." It smells great and tastes pretty good--but it ends up being a little cloying at the end. Still, a solid BW.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Much more like an English style barley wine than an american one.

L - Dark brown with no head but a really thin white lacing

S - very nice complexity, rum soaked raisin cake, figs, dates, balanced smell, some molasses, some grain, some toffee in the backend

T - A bit less balanced with a strong bitterness, some citrus, some grain, some chocolate, vinous

M - Low carbonation, astringent

O - All right barleywine, but it's more of an english barleywine than an american one

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a mini-snifter, here are my thoughts: The appearance had a light brown color with a decent transparency about it. Carbonation could be seen rising at a moderate pace. A filmy white head started and dissipated at a nice pace. Filmy lacing winds around the glass nicely. The smell starts off with sweet toffee, light breadiness, subtle toast, caramel malts. The flavor takes previously mentioned aromas and adds a subtle "dry" tobacco edge trying to slide into the aftertaste. Quick semi-sweet/dry finish. On the palate, this one sat about a light to medium on the body, yeah, just a tad lighter on the body than what I expected for a barleywine (could be a bit "aged" that could be doing it). Overall, for a barleywine, I’d say it works for the most part, yes, I did have this a little bit later than I probably should have, but in my opinion, I believe I did it’s due respect. I’d have again.

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Photo of akolb
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

20 month old beer. Pours a murky reddish-brown. Aroma of raisins, caramel, slight alcohol. Taste is rich and complex. Chocolate, dark fruits, leather, oak, rum, rich sweet caramel, strong bitterness. Aftertaste with strong alcohol and acrid bitterness. Very dry finish. A decent barleywine, but slightly unbalanced towards the bitter side of things.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle in a snifter. This Beefy little barely wine pours a
dark lightly cloudy mahogany with a modest head of off white foam that
settles to a thick ring, thin layer, and features light lacing. Nose of heavy handed
herbal hops, rich caramel malts, booze, and touches of fruit. Flavors hit the perfect
notes for the style with dried cranberries and touches of vanilla swirled into a bounty
of rich caramel and a touch of butterscotch with dark fruit notes that make themselves more
apparent with warmth such as fig, dates, and raisins with a strong herbal hop note on the rear.
Excellent mouth feel; warming, smooth, light carbonation, and a bitter hop aftertaste.

Overall----a WORTHY brew from a fantastic brewer.


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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.96/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! "Solstice d'hiver"
on tap at the brewery on 1 Octobre 2014
$5.75 / verre

Notes: Mostly clear chestnut brown with amber and ruby highlights beneath a short head of white that drops readily (probably from the alcohol). Aroma: caramel and dried dark-skinned fruit. Flavor: more caramel and dark-skinned fruit (both dried and fresh), toasted bready malt, brown sugar, wood. Moderately bitter but it finishes drying with a spritz of alcohol. Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation that leaves it smooth.

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Photo of spacecake9
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep amber with a small white head that goes away quickly.
S - Aroma is dark fruits.
T - Burnt caramel is a good description. Quite bitter, did not anticipate this from a barleywine.
M - Carbonation is less than average. Mouth feel is average.
O - Perfectly good barleywine that does nothing to stand out among the crowd. I was hoping for more of a flavor profile. I'm a big fan of Dieu du Ciel, happy to try any of their beers. Probably would not seek this one out unless I find it on tap in Quebec!

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Photo of Poljazz22
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served around 63f paid $4 Canadian for 11.5 onc. from a 4 pack dated 2016-09-08
A lovely dark clear brown.
Toasted malt molasses and coffee dark red fruit and quite dry.
Lots of alcohol heat, some carbonation well balanced with some hops bitterness
Be careful with this and take your time. Nice after dinner finish very port like but still beer. Not a thirst quencher lol.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: deep brown to ruby red thin reddish white head

S: Candide dark fruits dates figs subtle hops a little bit of oak New Age oak actually sweet candied orange brown sugar molasses

T: Brown sugar some oak barrel very raw oak losing this definitely can taste the alcohol get some burnt sugar Caramell fresh molasses little bit of ginger candy stone fruits

F: A little bit watery and a bit of Rall alcohol the kind of coats the pallet also finches crisp

O: overall I'm very happy with this especially for not being barrel age it's a really good quality barley wine that is got some good alcohol I drink as well and is just quite nice

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.23/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Muddy waste color, 1 finger head.

Honey sweetness in the nose with stings of bourbon, barley, viney aromas.

Lots of dry barley malt followed by toffee sweetness and tons of hot liqueur. Faint suggestions of banana. Slight honey.

Feel is sticky and hot. Lots of parch on the finish.

Overall, a little intense for me. Especially for a usually enjoyable style. It grows increasingly hard to drink. Nah, not again.

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Photo of g_rat
2.59/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 1.75

L: Cloudy opaque brown that fades from a dark chestnut brown up to a lighter amber caramel color. Thin cream head with very little retention & spotty lacing.

S: Sweet caramel malts, bright fruits (grapes, cherries, citrus) toasted bread, new leather, rum, hints of honey & vanilla

T: Starts off with sweet caramel, cream, pecan, honey, and almond, is quickly overwhelmed by strong alcohol taste, the alcohol is quite dry & burns on the way down, floral bitter hops end which mask some of the alcohol, but is not enough & leaves a very dry lingering alcohol taste. Vanilla present throughout. Mellows out as it warms.

F: Medium bodied, lots of alcohol sting, no noticeable carbonation, creamy but no stickiness from the malts

O: This was my 1st barley wine ale so I don't have anything else to compare it to. Overall it looks good & smells delicious, taste is not great because the alcohol overwhelms the entire pallet. Would love to try this with about 8% abv.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Really good barley wine ale. The hops ending makes it delicious and the sweetness is just slightly present to make it delicious to hide the 10.2% abv. The price of over 5.00 is what knocks the review down a touch in my opinion, but still a very strong showing from a Canadian brewery!

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Photo of papposilenus
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 341ml bottle, dated 2015-17-09, served in my Dieu du Ciel! Tulip... proper glassware!

A close-to-opaque pour the colour of cherry cola with a scant half-finger of creamy head. Retention is under a minute, leaving some spotty lacing.

The nose and taste are inseparable, cherries, vanilla and Grand Marnier, damp wood, pipe tobacco, molasses, leather, carnations and talcum powder. A solid, warm, toasty maltiness with a quick, dry, softly bitter finish. No syrupy-ness, little detectable alcohol.

Feel is clean, medium bodied, probably less thick than a typical barleywine?, with little discernible carbonation.

Overall, a nicely balanced but still fruity take on an American barley wine. Recommended for a closer/nightcap.

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Photo of Brew_42
4.06/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a tan head.

Smells of dark fruits, molasses, and malts and the taste follows closely.

Mouthfeel is medium.

Overall a pretty good barleywine.

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Photo of LAp
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.5oz bottle poured into a tulip. Nosing from the bottle presents toffee, caramel, toasted malt, alongside chocolate, and subdued red-fruit with an almost wine-like quality. Pours a murky ruby-amber with an almost-half-finger tan head. Nosing from the glass presents much the same notes as before, with an added sugary, almost candied quality. The palate is dominated by boozy, sugary notes - molasses and brown sugar, reduced dark red fruits (grape and dark cherries with an almost syrupy quality). The mouthfeel is medium-thick, and the truly full body solidifies the force of this big beer's strong palate. Not much carbonation here, which is a good thing, as it would feel out of place in conjunction with the beer's thick quality. Overall, a truly outstanding beer - robust yet nuanced, well-rounded notes with no unfinished edges - a beautiful take on the style.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 957 ratings