Solstice D'hiver | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver
Very Good
951 Ratings
Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Rastacouere on 12-10-2003

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 951 |  Reviews: 452
Reviews by ruckus232:
Photo of ruckus232
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

More User Reviews:
Photo of WesMantooth
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured into Dogfish Head snifter. Very dark reddish brown. A decent sized tan ring stays around for the whole ride

Aroma - Smells like a typical English barley. Dark fruits, sugar, caramel/toffee. Also fair amount of alcohol. Almost sweet rum like

Taste - Hidden surprise here. Some hops that I did not notice in the smell. Everything else followed suit to the nose. Carmalized sugar, and lots of deep malt flavor stand out along with the alcohol burn that stings the nostrils a bit.

Feel - Very smooth. Despite some hoppyness, it feels much like an English style. I would say medium bodied with a little bite in the follow through.

Overall - Excellent beer. I wasnt expecting it to be an American style, but it is more of a hybrid. I would say it actually may lean toward English. The flavors could be a little more pronounced. I would probably score it a little better as and English version. I think this would age really well though.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This is a nice, deep dark brown in color with a purple hue and a robust white head that left nice pitting on top of the liquid.

Smell - The rich malts are heavy and don't carry that winey aroma that a lot of examples of the style seem to have. Don't know that this is bad or good but just different. This is more of a pure malt aroma and for an ABW does not have the massive hop overkill which I appreciate. If I want a hop bomb I'll drink a DIPA.

Taste - Wow does this ABW explode in the mouth. The sugary sweetness that I failed to pick up at the smell is incredibly intense. It's not very complex, just a flavor explosion of sugar and sucrose that accentuate the big malt base. Again, I don't get a lot of that wine flavor here just a good, solid malt beer flavor with some monster sweets.

Mouthfeel - This is full-bodied with a sweetish beginning and middle and slight bitterness at the very end.

Drinkability - This is good and very unique. It might sound blasé, a big-malted barley wine with lots of sugar, but its beerness (as opposed to wineness) reminds the drinker that this style is in fact an ale.

 1,127 characters

Photo of cam477
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of DanGeo
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brownbeer
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a creamy, white sand head.

Prune, liqueur filled chocolates, ruby port, hops in the backdrop but not overdone. Fairly entertaining.

This has a fruity English yeast character that plays a big role in the flavor. Has sweeter caramel notes with a well hopped, slighty salty finish. It's full bodied with light carbonation, a bit chalky.

English-style all the way and a good one at that.
A solid winter treat from a great brewery.

 451 characters

Photo of tbryan5
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into a snifter. It had a hazy red/brown color, almost a muddy appearance, and a wisp of a head. Nice caramel aroma, light vanilla. Hoppy caramel taste. The alcohol was barely perceptable. Maybe a touch on the bitter side, but still a good barleywine.

 271 characters

Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Everything_Belgium
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Most excellent find.

Poured into a tulip glass. Nice pour with about a 1 inch head. Very nice color. Hazy.

Smell is superb. Sweet with floral accents.

The taste is killer. Sweet but not too sweet. Just how I like it. I bit of alcohol taste. Just the right amount.

Overall I would buy this beer again.

 308 characters

Photo of generallee
3.72/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of petewheeler
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a nice winter warmer this Canadian barleywine is. The 12 ounce bottle pours a slightly hazed, ruby chestnut body with a small beige head that quickly falls to a lasting collar. Some sparse wispy is left on the snifter.

Interesting aroma has caramel, stewed prunes, brown sugar, citrusy hops, and sherry.

Medium body has a relaxed carbonation that makes for a pleasantly smooth feel.

Taste has a lot going on. Pine and citrusy hops dominate most of the way through, but there is a complex maltiness that throws out toffee and caramel, leathery notes, candied fruits, and raisins. A hint of cherries adds some fun midway through. Soft sherry notes add a welcome alcohol warmth. Finishes with a lingering earthy hop bitterness.

Very well done and ideal as a winter warmer. A really fun experience as an extended sipper.

 825 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Exiled for sharing this bottle at a recent tasting.

The beer pours a nice brown color with an off-white head. The aroma is heavy on the caramel malts. The alcohol is also very present in the aroma. There is no doubt that this beer is nearly 10 percent ABV. The flavor is a great mix of caramel and chocolate malts. Once again the alcohol is present. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

 401 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of burninggoat
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.27/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just got in from shovelling 8 inches of snow. This calls for some seriously boozy barleywine. Fortunately, as usual, DDC delivers big time. I know I should save this for the actual winter solstice, but screw it, I'll just get another!

As usual, a wonderful bottle design from the DDC artists. Haunting imagery. Poured into a nonic. Rich amber-chestnut, with a very thin head that quickly recedes into a little ring. Looks thick and rich, like a slug of good malty scotch. About right for the style.

Nose is rich caramel, molasses, sherry, wood, cherry, good whiff of booze as well. This should be great!

A highly flavorful and enjoyable barleywine. Rich notes of caramel, brandy, grape, cherry, oak, toffee and cream. A nutty character to it as well, maybe cashew or almond. Sweet and rich, but that's what I'm always hoping for. Barleywines are fast becoming my go-to winter brew, and this one delivers big time. Alcohol is certainly present, but in a delightfully warming fashion. I may still be reeling from a snow-shovelling stupor, but this brew is really hitting the spot. The right brew at the right time, that's what I say!

Thick and chewy, slick, but with a delightfully higher-than-average carbonation level. This one is going down well.

Another winner from DDC - great on a cold, snowy night. I may be biassed towards barleywines, but if I likes it, I scores it high. And this one I likes. A few of these kicking around the house will certainly help get me through the cold, cold winter ahead. I also plan to age a couple for next season.

Great stuff.

 1,570 characters

Photo of lostandwandering
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of Meyers1023
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a very murky dark Amber color. It had a tan color head that disappeared almost instantly. The nose is sweet, caramel and alcohol, with a bit of floral from the hops. The flavor is very malt forward with a caramel taste giving it sweetness but you do get a slight bitter bite before it finishes boozy. The feel is medium with decent carbonation and a little thickness to it. This is an easier drinking barley wine. I was expecting more alcohol flavor but glad I was wrong.

 478 characters

Photo of Marius
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%

Photo of Pier-luc
4/5  rDev +2.3%

Photo of Kraken
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 04/01/09

Poured from an 11.5oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Firm pour evokes a scant head that fizzles out very quickly. Head is a light tan in color and leaves and uneven lace. Color is a dark and cloudy apple cider in color.

Nose- Sweet over ripe apple in the nose. Some cinnemon. Not getting much else.

taste- Plenty of sweet rich over ripe apple on the palate. Robust vanilla, like an oaked chardonney. Slight sweetness about it. Rich and Creamy on the tongue. Pronounced and prolonged bitterness. Very nice.

Mouthfeel- Oily, rich, creamy and Dry

Drinkablity- Very rich, and complex. Strong Truely a sipper.

 632 characters

Photo of jondeelee
4.89/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Solstice d’hiver opens with a rich, sugary, syrupy nose that smells immediately like several beers’ worth of concentrated aroma. The notes center especially around gloopy fruit esters, including fig, date, raisin, prune, and black cherry, with lesser (but still quite potent) orange and nectarine touches. There’s also a heaping dose of molasses and brown sugar, as well as pure vanilla extract to add to the sweetness. All of this is balanced by thick, mealy breads, with rising wheat dough and brown toast crust, spent grain loafs, and a near pumpernickel-rye touch. Some anise and pepper spices linger at the edges, as well as ash. There is an overarching alcoholic vapor, which when combined with the dark fruit esters lends the beer a cognac overtone, but this blends nicely. As a whole, the nose is excellent, being everything that a solid Barleywine should aspire to: excellent balance, superb range, enticing aroma. There’s not a thing about this beer I would so far change.

On the tongue, the first notes are deep, dark sugars, including fig, raisin, prune, plum, and black cherry. These are joined quickly by the aforementioned dark bread combo, here especially leaning toward slightly-burnt toast crust and doughy pumpernickel-rye. A good dose of pine resin and grapefruit rinds adds a bitter hop counter that blends nicely with a touch of tangerine from the malts. Molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla add further sugar flavors, and pepper and anise add a spicy touch. Heavily noticeable is an alcoholic burn, which when combined with the burnt toast crust and ash flavors lends the beer a barrel-aged feel, and imparts a rum-soaked raisin addition to the fruits. If held in the mouth long enough, this alcoholic burn with increase in strength as the sugars die off, until it will eventually come quite close to bourbon. The aftertaste is also a strong bourbon-like burn, with lingering sugars, and lasts for a long time. Mouthfeel is medium to medium-heavy, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a fantastic Barleywine, and one I would gladly reach for again and again. The fine balance and delicious flavors in here mark a brew crafted by true experts and lovers of the style, and even the heavy alcohol burn is a perfect complement to the dark sugars and ashy notes. I certainly know what I’ll be drinking when the snow comes.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 951 ratings