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Solstice D'hiver | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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Solstice D'hiverSolstice D'hiver
Very Good
931 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 931 |  Reviews: 445
Photo of Jayhoop
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Krakpoff
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of kevanb
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

341ml bottle poured into a stemless wine glass.

The beer pours a deep amber color, burgundy hues, mostly opaque with just a touch of clarity. A soapy, bone colored head sits atop the beer, that has good retention and leaves touches of spotted lacing behind. The aroma is very intense, lots of rich, sweet grain with subtle stone fruit that is countered with piney, spicy hops that really bite hard. Strong, punishing alcohol lingers behind and is quite abrasive. Hops are first on the tongue, very abrasive, piney and sticky and massively bitter that leads to rich dark grain, light stone fruit is detectable at the finish but the rush of sweet burning alcohol mutes any subtlety in this beer. The body is nice and rich, very smooth despite the burning alcohol, coats the mouth well with a warming as it goes down.

Verdict: A harsh barleywine from DDC, and another example of why I'm not a fan of American style Barleywines, just too bitter and abrasive. The grain and fruit really get overshadowed by the hops and alcohol. Hardly enjoyable.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into wine glass.

A - Looks great. Beautiful bronze color. Decent head. Great lacing.

S - Kind oif a weak aroma. Nothing outstanding.

T - Tastes nothing like it looks. Not enough fruit for me. Seems almost flat. Could use more sugar, fruit, heat, something. Hope it was just a bad batch.

M - Not bad. Decent body.

O - A bit of a disappointment. Does this need to age more?

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz served in a snifter

A - Pours a dark brandy color with a small khaki head.

S - Roasted/charred barley, toffee, caramelized brown sugar, dried fruit, cherries, plums, over ripe apples, fruity ethanol, old wood, vanilla. Of course the longer it sits the better it gets.

T - Rich roasted barley, charred caramel/toffee, sweet vanilla and fruit, apples, plums, the bitterness doesn't hit until mid palate but comes on strong in the form of roast bitterness and grows stronger through the finish.

M - Smooth body, low creamy carbonation,

Very deep and robust nose. Agressive barley flavors with a sweet and fruity background. The hops come on strong on the finish balancing out the rich sweetness.

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Photo of Sparky44
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of kojevergas
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

10.2% ABV confirmed. Acquired for $1.00 in SoCal - probably the best deal I've ever gotten on a beer. 11.5 fl oz brown glass with branded standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery, which makes some beers I'm a big fan of. Imported by the Shelton Bastards. There are notches in the "1" and "0" slots, but I don't know what date that indicates.

Served after a brief period of rest following its removal from the fridge and allowed to warm further over the course of consumption; I prefer my barleywines just slightly chilled. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger khaki colour head of nice cream and thickness, and average (~2 minute) retention - which isn't actually bad for the high ABV. Body colour is a hazy caramel-amber brown; very typical of a refined barleywine. Nontranslucent. Opaque. No yeast particles are visible, if only because it's opaque. This is definitely unfiltered. No bubble show. It's what I'd expect from a good barleywine; I'm not blown away but I'm looking forward to trying it.

Sm: Rich caramel, toffee, malty sweetness, light toasted malt, grains and sugars, burnt bread crust. Redolent of old brown leather. Some fig fruit and other stonefruit. Raisin. A touch of earthiness - in a good sense. Light vanilla. Candied fruit. A light dark spice. A bit of fennel. Candied green apple. A complex aroma of moderate to fairly high strength. Alcohol's there, but it's well concealed. An evocative aroma that affirms complexity to come, but doesn't come off horribly balanced. I can't wait to find out.

T: Dominant caramel. A bit of toffee. The sweetness is certainly there, but it's well balanced by more refined notes. I'm sure it'd be better with more age, all the same. The sweetness would fade a bit. Light fig and mild candied apple fruit come through, adding pleasant dimensions. Biscuit malt and brown malts aid the body. Some raisin. A bit of lurking alcohol, but I wouldn't call it hot or boozy. Little yeast comes through, if any. Hopping is generic and floral - and certainly minimal. Malts are the star of this show, and as well they should be. The dominant note is redolent of those caramel-apple sticks you'd get at a fair. Light burnt bread crust isn't as deep here as I'd like; it's there in traces but that flavour is the highlight for me. I could do without the fennel/light licorice, but that's just personal taste. A nicely balanced little barleywine, but one that seems like it'd be a lot better with 2-3 years of age on it. Pretty good balance, for the most part.

Mf: Smooth and wet. Thick - like it needs to be for the style. It's got definite presence on the palate, but I wouldn't say it's too heavy. Firm and punchy. Good carbonation. Complements the flavour profile pretty well, and in some ways it seems like it's tailored to it - but the execution doesn't come off incredibly. Solidly done, but not great.

Dr*: It's not a great barleywine, but it's rather solid. I wouldn't pay the full $6.00 import price for it, but I love the $1.00 price tag I paid. I'm glad I picked up 5 others; this is far better stuff than Bigfoot (at least fresh Bigfoot). Another solid brew from Dieu du Ciel, but I did expect a little more given their usual quality. Worth picking up at the right price, but otherwise I wouldn't recommend it to friends. Like it, don't love it. It is quite drinkable for the ABV though. I could have more than one of these in the same night and I wouldn't mind.


Definitely a beer that'd be better with age. 2-5 years for this one methinks.

I regret I was forced to drink this one from a pint glass. By all means, use a snifter or tulip if you've got one. Hell, even a wine glass would be better than a conical pint glass.

*I had to play with the overall score to get the letter grade that was appropriate. This keeps my reviews fair and consistent. Please see my profile for more information.

 4,076 characters

Photo of markgoodman10
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of jlindsey
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of ryan1788a5
3.57/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A: Dark ruby color with brown hues. Head sputters out very quickly. Small spots of lacing.

S: Rich malty aroma redolent of caramel and brown bread. Toasted crust. Very subtle vanilla. Slight brown cocoa. Bruised apple and fig. Faint whiff of alcohol spice. Suggestion of earthy hops.

T: Rich caramel and lots of toasted crust. A little nutty, hints of brown cocoa and leather. Spicy alcohol butts in on the mid palate with a stiff jab that wakes the palate. A whisper of chocolate covered raspberry. Fig. Very mild pine and earthy hops. Drying bready finish, alcohol rides it out as well.

M: Big and thick-bodied. Very chewy, slightly syrupy. Mouth coating with some silky creaminess. Little to n o carbonation. Hot in the alcohol department.

O: This is fairly boozy. Time in the cellar will iron that out, but even then there's nothing that really makes this beer stand out from the pack. The price point won't help it either. I can see this being a perennial slow seller.

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Photo of chippo33
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of DruC4
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of silverking
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- It pours a dark brown with a definite red tinge. It sports a tan head with excellent lacing.

S- Malty and toasty. Cherry and candied fruits. Alcohol is detectable.

T- Sweet malt, caramel, and cherry. Taste transitions into dark cocoa and eventually leads into a hoppy bitter finish. Alcohol is less detectable in the flavor

M- Thick, rich, and oily. gentle carbonation. Nice warming sensation.

O- Very nice beer. well rounded and complex.

 445 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -23.5%

Photo of GoHabsGo
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of 4ster
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled November 2011. Poured into a large wine glass.

A: Dark burnt amber, lots of bubbles, light head, quick die off to a wispy lacing.

S: Sweet fruits, cherry bubblegum, light citrus/spice/caramel, and bit medicinal alcohol..

T: Fruit forward like the aroma, cherry, grape, sour apple, nice sweet malts, finishes with a nice oily hop bitterness and slight alcohol flavour.

M: Good carbonation, fizzy but not overpowering, very smooth, well balanced, with the alcohol providing a great warming sensation. Very sticky/oily and slightly dry.

O: Don't have a huge experience with Barley Wines, but this one is quite nice. Hits a sweet spot about not being too sweet, with a nice balance between the fruits and hops, and keeps it warm without being over powering. As I said, not an expert, but no complaints and worth trying for sure...Good after dinner beer during the cold months, and will be interesting to see how it tastes with age. (also, if you're getting this beer in Florida, you shouldn't complaint too much about the cost, as it's reasonably priced where it's brewed @ 3$/bottle)

 1,093 characters

Photo of Howlader
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of nzerbe
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of lgmol
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of Muhly
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a brandy snifter at cellar temps. Bottled in October 2012 according to the label.

A-dark brown. Ruby and amber highlights. Required a pretty vigorous pour to generate two fingers of tan head. Low head retention and some strands of lacing here and there as head drops. Has some legs.

S-caramel and some fruitiness. Slightly toasted or burnt notes. A bit of hops.

T-dark malts, hints of caramel and fruit. Hop bitterness finishes it off.

M-pretty round and soft mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. Definite touch of warmth from the alcohol. Moderate hop driven astringency.

O-very nice. Complex and well rounded. My first barley wine so I don't have a great frame of reference, but this is great on a cool winter's eve and seems to fit the style description. Will throw a couple in the cellar for next year.

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Photo of snatch210
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of yancot
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of zac16125
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.5oz bottle into a snifter
2012 vintage (punched out between the 0-1 and 7-8)

A: Pours hazy to the degree of being opaque. Dark mahogany in color with some sedimentation particles suspended in the glass. A sliver of light mocha colored head comes and goes quickly. Leaves no lacing.

S: Lots of apple. Some caramel sweetness, Booze, a medicinal astringency. Aromas are very strong, but not as appealing as many barleywines out there. However, it does significantly improve as it warms, with nutty aromas and cinnamon.

T: Sweeter than the nose implies, with more traditional barleywine flavors. Caramel and toffee, bakers chocolate, with a bitterness on the back end. There are hints of the apple character that was on the nose. Fair amount of booze.

M/D: Medium bodied, but not thick or syrupy, maybe a touch thin. Fairly smooth, with a moderately low carbonation. Drinkability is good. Alcohol is noticeable,and it gives a whole body warming sensation, without producing a burn in the throat.

O: Overall, good but not great. It did the trick on this (relatively) cold Feb night. Overpriced at almost $6 a bottle, which seems to be the MO for this brewery. Worth a try, but I dont think Id purchase this again unless there was a significant decrease in price.

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Photo of stephens101
4.47/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with crimson hues and a light tan head that dies quickly. Aroma is brilliant with subtle notes of milk chocolate, spice, dark fruits, vinegar and red licorice. Tastes sweet and oaky with a hint of cherry, grain, vinegar and hops. Complex yet smooth all the way with a light to medium, creamy body and a perfect hint of alcohol warmth.

 351 characters

Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 931 ratings
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