Solstice D'hiver | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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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

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Reviews: 440 | Ratings: 921
Photo of VbolieuV
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark amber/brown in color with a small white head that disappear quickly, with some carbonation visible. The nose is dominated by dark fruits with hints of sweetness from the alcohol and really subtle smell of hops. Really nice taste, you get roasted malts first with some dark fruits (mostly black cherries) and a small alcohol burn. There's quite a big hops presence for a Barleywine, nice bitterness to finish it off. Really a good winter beer, the warmer the beer gets the better it is.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice barley wine from a very good brewery. Pours a hazy chestnut with little head. Bubblegum and citrusy hop aromas, some caramel, and a fairly big booziness in the nose. Big, in your face taste, but the various compononents are nicely balanced. Lots of hop bitterness, more bubblegum, sweet malt, and laced with alcohol and grapefruit. Beautiful sipper for the fireside. Tannic and sweet in the mouth, and loaded with flavor in every sip. I like this quite a bit.

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Photo of larryi86
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.5 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Brown with hints of red and a small off-white head

S- Dark fruit, burnt caramel, and alcohol.

T- Close to the smell, roasted malts come out adding some complexity, and the alcohol is hidden.

M- Medium to heavy body, a little sticky.

D- This is an enjoyable Barleywine, but does not stand out as a great Barleywine. The store I got it at did have it on sale so it was worth the money. I would have enjoyed it more if it had the added complexity of a hoppy finish.

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Photo of WankelEngine
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.5oz bottle into a snifter

A: The beer is a a murky medium dark brow. A vigorous pour yields a light tan head of foam that reduces to some bubbles around the edge of the glass with light curtains of lace.

S: Sweet and malty. Brown sugar and burnt caramel are prominent, as is raisin. This is accentuated by some hop bitterness.

T: The taste starts out sweet and malty like the smell. Molasses and prunes. Hop bitterness quickly takes over. Mild alcohol heat and the pine/grass hops lead to a long and bitter aftertaste.

M: Moderate thickness, fairly smooth and slick.

O: A bold, tasty barley wine. More hops than I would have expected.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
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 Poljazz22
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
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 schoolboy
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is one of the better barleywines that do not need aging. Now, how would it taste aged? I would like to find out.

It pours to a typical for the style thin head and deep rich color. The aroma is faintly sweet and pleasant and somewhat more - maybe a little hoppy.

The taste is first class - complex and hoppy for a barleywine, with plenty of things to distract from there being too much malt (typical for the style). The aftertaste is a loving one! You are happy that you had this great drink. I've had this a few times and it has always been a winner (although one time it was beaten at a tasting by a barleywine from Iceland).

Tres bien!

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Photo of seasonsix
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really fun and different barley wine.

A - dark dark brown, nearly black with basically no head.

S - dark malt characters, sweet syrup.

T - very cool taste. almost like a porter with the roasted character dialed all the way back. dark malts shine through here with velvety molasses settling in.

M - well balanced carbonation - subtle, yet present so that the potent flavors dont just sit on your tongue and overstay their welcome.

O - enjoyable and worth your while. This isn't a boozy barley wine which I really appreciate - while sweet, it's also balanced. It's not aggressive and unlike many barley wines enjoyed the full 8oz pour. Would certainly check this one out again.

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Photo of beermanbrian
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brown color with some faint red tint. Off white short head that drops to a significant halo that leaves rings around the glass.

First smell impression is candied sugar with some fruityness. On second approach ther is some spice and alcohol burn.

First taste is again sweetness but there is a nice pepper finish. Second try on the taste brings forth more of a caramel malt with some burnt notes. This one is ever changing and tough to get a handle on. Lots of interesting flavors floating around and the 9.8% lets you know that it is there.

Mouth is a little full with the heavy sweetness. Not what I would call a real drinkable beer but I never rate drinkability on how many I think I could down in a sitting, preferring to think of it as more of an overall impression and if I would want another one. For this beer it's a definate yes as long as the weather stays cool. A great sipper on a cold winter night.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Solstice D'hiver seemed an appropriate choice since A.) Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel has recently announced it presence on my beer radar with authority with the sterling Rigor Mortis, and B.) the winter solstice arrives tomorrow, with the first coupling of the solstice with a lunar eclipse in nearly 500 years. It seems almost out of my hands that I should have come across this, then, at the great Sun Singer in Champaign, IL.

A thin finger of caramel-drizzled tan foam tops a deep amber body; little lacing on the pint glass. Decent but timid nose, with roasted malt, a nice amount of fruit particularly fig, raisin, and berry, and some chocolate. A more robust nose, especially for an American Barleywine, would do Solstice D'hiver wonders.

The taste, however, recovers considerable promise. It's very malty, somewhat fruity, and nicely hopped--more like an English barleywine in the hops and mouthfeel. As it warms, the second half brings forth the dried fruit in greater prominence and, combined with the dark chocolate and roasted caramel malt flavors, this brew is really delicious. The fig and raisin truly shine.

The mouthfeel is good, providing a nice texture. It's surely not a big, beefy American barleywine in terms of hop content and texture, although some hop bitterness certainly emerges with Solstice. However, it is a good, well-rounded barleywine that is well worth a go, especially at $4.99 a pop--definitely worth the price.

I am glad to have another of these on hand for the eclipse/solstice that shall come very late tonight. Well done from Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel, a really good barleywine that may not be in the upper echelon of American Barleywines but, nonetheless, is good, delicious, and more than worthy from this excellent Canadian brewery.

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Photo of Zorro
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear brown colored beer with a slight reddish tinge. No real head formation.

Smells strongly of chocolate and brown sugar. Scent of grape in here, there is a bit of vanilla too, almost suggesting a brandy barrel or one from whiskey. Alcohol is strong here and there are slight tobacco and cherry scents.

Starts out sweet and malty with a strong soda cracker flavor and no clear aftertaste at the start. Alcohol can certainly be felt though. Mildly sweet, this is quite tame flavored. Fruity flavor, mostly vanilla and cherry. Mildly bitter but is actually more woody than bitter.

Mouthfeel is full but not excessive.

Very drinkable. Despite a considerable amount of alcohol this is quite drinkable though a real chest warmer.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.19/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a very dirty and cloudy dark red with a thin lacy head off-white head. Aroma is top notch, bourbon, caramel and brown sugar with a little of that boozy quality all the good barley wines have. Taste follows the same, slightly sweet and boozy but is still nicely balanced. A very nice American barley wine all around.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Random buy based on the label and the name... I know!

A: in a berleywine, you've gotta do something to impress me. There's so much range in this genre (?) of beer that a dark ruby-brown ale with a thin tan head doesn't mean much to me.

S: nice smelling - some sweets like caramel and toffee, and some sharper hops beneath

T: gets better than it smells - warm and spiced, some bitters, some sugars, some malts and some hops - a very complex and nicely balanced brew

M: syrup up front turns astringent and savory

O: what a delightful beer - a very warming drink for the winter holidays. Well-crafted and interesting. It is a haunting beer that comes to mind quickly when I want to drink a really good beer.

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Photo of Giggy
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with red highlights. Little to no head.

S: Caramel, dark fruits, vanilla, sharpness of alcohol

T: Sweet roasted malts, dark sugars, malty, bitter at the end of the swallow

M: Full, thick, creamy, and tingly

O: Sip slowly! Alcohol is strong on this one. Looking forward to trying others from this brewery. Nice to know Canada Brews more than Molson & Labbats.

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Photo of Derek
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cellared from last year. Perfect day for this one! :D

A: Copper-chestnut with a tan head, thin ring of retention, nice leg/lace. Impressive for its strength.

S: Alcohol, sherry?, dark fruit (raisins, prunes, figs), candied fruit, brown sugar, caramel, orange rind. Really more of an English aroma.

T: Raisins, figs, nectarine, dark caramel, brown sugar, burnt toffee, candied fruit, orange rind, good bitterness, slight alcohol warmth, though considering its strength, it's well-hidden.

M: Light residual sweetness has a warming (slightly drying) alcohol finish.

D: A very pleasant sipper.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never seen this one around my area so a big THANK YOU to Patrick for generously sending this 2009 bottle to try.

A - Pours an opaque raisin, orange, brown sugar color. Minimal head, and initially has an off white fluffy head.

S - Smells very Belgian in character. Has deep layers of toffee and barley aroma, strong toffee caramel with a balancing of vanilla, brown sugar, figs, prunes, and mild nutmeg. Smells a little estery, nutty, and a little maple syrup buried way down there.

T - Wow! Taste is every bit as complex as the aroma suggests. The taste matches the nose in almost every way with layer after layer of taste hitting the tongue. If I didn't read the label first, I would call this a Belgian/English Strong Ale. It doesn't present itself as a Barley Wine, especially an American style which I beg to differ with its classification, the Belgian yeast is very noticeable. Toffee & caramel immediately emerge before settling in to a maple syrup/brown sugar blend intertwined with plumbs, figs, and mild amounts of prune. (a.k.a. - "dark fruit") The hop bitterness seems to provide added support of the malts. There's also an oakey and and a little smokiness lending itself to the overall flavor.

M - Finishes dry and leaves a bittersweet and crisp coating in the mouth. Is a little medicinal in taste. Medium heavy in body, not syrupy or sticky (like I expected). Early in the bottle there's a noticeable ABV warming but midway through my throat and palette adjusted and it wasn't as noticeable.

D - The alcohol presence drives drinkability down a little bit, however, well brewed and interesting. I would like another one of these because I'm savoring every sip.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours murky brown with a small off-white thick head. Dissipates into rich lacings.

S: Sweet malt, roasted caramell. Dark dried fruit. Faint chocolate.

T: Sweet roasted caramell malt, acctually malt galore! Dark dried fruits.

M: Fullbodied and lowcarbonated (GREAT!). Aftertaste is rather short and holds mostly sweetness.

D: This is a very nice Barleywine. I love this brewery! Still I've not tasted a beer that wasn't great from them.
In Sweden - this is marketed as a X-mas beer. I feel that's quite unfair - this is a much better product than any X-maxbeer. My only regret is that I didn't buy a whole case and put it in my beercellar...

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this bottle in a recent haul and noticed only an hour ago as I put it in the fridge to chill that the bottling date is '02. I can hardly wait. I would cellar it and save it for a special occasion but I know where I can get more!

It appears bottle brown in the glass but to the light it is a clear blood-ruby color. The thin layer of head sits like a crown in this glass.

First whiff is very vanilla extract; like when making cookies as a child and I am equally excited to experience this delight. Like the label says, I also get the idea of red fruits like cherry raspberry and strawberry in the nose.

It takes a few sips to even understand what the taste is saying to me. There is a very dry, rye quality that appears first, fully supported by a decent caramel toasty malt flavor and pure alcohol. Not boozy but a very clean tasting alcohol. There is nothing fancy about this batch. It really deserves the name barleywine.

Mouthfeel is light to medium in body and the light carbonation that makes a nice creamy foam at first sip makes this very pleasant on the tongue. From creamy to dry to alcohol rinsed, this liquid moves along nicely.

Drinkability here is a split decision depending on how you mean it. I have no problem passing this through my mouth and throat but at 9.8% and 7 years old, a few sips in I'm really feeling it.

I will definitely get this one again, provided I can find it of a similar vintage.

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Photo of CMW
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark red color with a soapy off white head. The head disappears quickly a leaves just a slight film.

S - Smells of malt, yeast, and some sweet fruits. There are also some nice caramel nodes mixed with nutmeg and cinnamon.

T - Caramel malts are plentiful and are the first thing I notice. The fruits a spices appear in the middle but are quickly pushed to the back due to some heavy citrus hops. These hops carry through to the finish. In the aftertaste the spices seem to linger on the tongue.

M - Medium bodied but with very little carbonation.

D - I do love American Barleywines and this is a great example of the style. The alcohol is barely noticeable despite being almost 10%. Very easy to drink and we definitely buy another.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a opaque, muddled, toffee brown coloring with no head. Aromas of booze first and foremost, with a rich, solid follow of toffee, caramel, molasses, vanilla, apple, date, raisins, brown sugar,and earthy notes. Very rich, but balanced. Flavors are rich and creamy smooth forward, heavy on apple, caramel, toffee, date, raisins, and woody and earthy highlights. Very layered and dynamic palate, with lots of earthy characteristics providing depth to the flavor profiles. Smooth, rich, creamy body, with a slow building warmth as you drink. The aftertaste is more of the old world fruit characteristics, with a boozy component, and subtle vanilla highlights. Smooth, rich, slow finish, with a solid boozy and richly sweet linger. Very solid representation of the style.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Goldorak
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Sampled their 2004 version on tap, this one is listed as 9% ABV.

Appearance: Very dark, but with blood red hues when you bring it to the light. Clingy lacing.

Smell: Very, very sweet smell, like cloverleaf honey with a hoppy twist. Impressive.

Taste: Honey sweet, creamy and full. A nice alcohol bite with a strong bitter and malty aftertaste that seems to last and last. Great, great stuff.

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Photo of ronniebruner
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Upon first pour you notice a wonderful aroma of barley and sugar. The beer pours a honey cream color with a decent amount of head and minimal carbonation. The high ABV is countered by a sugary sweet note of citrus fruit, followed by a nice aftertaste that leaves a warm tinge on the tongue. A very good brew indeed.

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Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber, almost brown color with a 1/4" offwhite head slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a wonderful burnt toffee aroma that's warming yet sweet and inviting. The taste is good. It has a nice hop bite that's complimented by a really awesome toffee flavor. It goes down smooth and finishes warm and earthy. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking barleywine. I love the hop and malt character; well done!

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Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This appeared at my local Bevmo about 1.5 years ago, so I bought out all the bottles (maybe half a dozen). Just drank my last one.

Dark mahogany, with some clumpy yeast sediment. Yum. Lack luster lacing.

Smells great. Alcohol definitely present. Bready, carmelly.

More carmel and bread with a warming alcohol presence. Something else that I can't quite put my finger on? Vanilla? Special B? Interesting and yummy.

Thick barleywine mouthfeel at it's finest.

Overall a delicious beer from the best microbrew in Canada.

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Solstice D'hiver from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
3.91 out of 5 based on 921 ratings.
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