Solstice D'hiver | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 931 |  Reviews: 445
Photo of nathanjohnson
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of chippo33
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Zbeetleman
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Hultkrantz
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of Ivanhoes_Backpack
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of jmdr
3.25/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.26/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2009 bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Rich and murky earthy brown body with a short, creamy, tan cap. Not a whole lot of retention: heads sits as a tight halo for most of the session. Lots of suspended sediment can be seen when the beer is held to light, and the color changes from earthy brown to bright reddish copper. Light lacing.

Smell: Tree bark (mainly pine), sweet and juicy grapefruit, red currants, and sweet esters. Holiday spices and caramel become more apparent as I really dig into the beer, but all in all there ain't a whole lot goin' on in the smell department.

Taste: Pretty hefty alcohol greets the palate initially. As I became acclimated to the ABV, burnt caramel, pine, cinnamon, and other spices came to the forefront. Not my favorite take on a barley wine, but it does seem to fit the season.

Mouthfeel: Heavy, syrupy, lightly carbonated, dry, and warm. ABV feels a little higher than I think it should. Meh...

Drinkability: While this certainly isn't a bad barley wine, I find it to be both dull and forgettable. I won't be buying it again.

 1,091 characters

Photo of Dicers
3.27/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of skrib09
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

this barleywine poured a rich dark brown. it's pretty cloudy and the head disappeared rather quickly.

smells of burnt caramel, alcohol, hops, and a distinct fruity sweetness. deep roasty notes.

taste is alcohol, fruit, hops, and a developed sweetness.

good mouthfeel. rich and deep, almost clingy. not a heavy drinking beer.

 327 characters

Photo of far333
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Caramel colored, slightly hazy. A thin wispy head leaves a fine low film of foam.

Low aroma of toffee and honey, some floral hops.

Initial flavors of caramel, tea and ripe apple, accented by some oak and hop bitters, but quickly overpowered by boozey brandy notes, a fusel alcohol burn lingers.

Thin mouthfeel, watery, low carbonation. Not very drinkable. Really boozey, maybe would mellow with some age.

 407 characters

Photo of tdawgydog
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is has been sitting in the cellar since the holidays. Time to make some room for the summer seasonals.

A - Poured a beautiful dark brown. Carbonation flowed up from the bottom of the glass to build a really nice head. Almost looked like something out of a Guinness commercial.

S - Sweet yet strong. It's difficult to hide the 9+ ABV and it's clearly visible in the nose of this brew.

T - Started off extremely sweet. Hints of chocolate and caramel, but as I got to the bottom of the glass all I could taste was the alcohol. Almost a scotch taste.

D - First part was really enjoyable. It could be that I left this in the cellar too long but I'm not convinced that is the problem. All Dieu Du Ciel beers that I have enjoyed have been really well done. Not that this one is bad, I just wouldn't seek it out again.

M - Again it started out great but went downhill after that. I only had a single bottle so it's neither here nor there.

 940 characters

Photo of rapidsequence
3.3/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle from Total Wine in NoVA.

Appearance: Very dark, but clear amber. Very thin, wispy off white head with poor retention and just some spots of lacing.

Smell: Cherry and some raisin. Very earthy hops aromas. Caramel malt aroma is a bit steely and slightly burnt. Not real boozy for a big barleywine, not all that interesting either.

Taste: As with the smell, there is quite a cherry presence, and some more dried fruit flavors as well. Hops impart significant bitterness. The estery flavors are a signature of the English ale yeast used. Again, not very boozy tasting.

Mouthfeel: Lacks the heavy, sticky mouthfeel I expected. Carbonation is appropriate. Finish is drier than I'd like.

Overall: This is a decent beer that is better than the sum of its parts. Its actually very easy drinking for the ABV and has some interesting flavor combinations, but it just isnt as good as a really good big barleywine.

 919 characters

Photo of andpit
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Naugros
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Really dark reddish brown or dark copper, if you will. Rose more of a head than I'm used to from barleywines with the remnants of it being a good ring with a top film. That ring leaves some lacing.

Smell: Cocoa, tobacco, oak and dark fruits without the alcoholic bite I usually get in a barleywine's smell. A sweet, malty aroma backs it all up.

Taste: Disappointed that the taste didn't follow the smell so much. Phenols (cloves) seem to take over the flavor and have a hand in lowering the mouthfeel score as well. Get past them and the sweet malts are there as well as the cocoa. I'm thinking that the tobacco I got in the nose was due to the phenolic presence.

Mouthfeel; See above. The cloves get really strong and even engage my gag reflex. Not good. I'm going to let it warm and see if it improves. I waited it did, but just a little.

This brewery has some major hits...Peche Mortel of course and Aphrodite, but this I put in the category with their attempt at an IPA (Corne du Diable)...a miss.

 1,020 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very reluctant 1/8" head which dissipated to a trace. Dark burnt umber color. Almost no smell at all. Not particularly thick bodied for a barleywine, I'd just call it medium. Classic dark beer flavors of chocolate malt, barley, caramel, and coffee. Good but I agree with some other reviewers it's a little harsh, so not great.

 335 characters

Photo of biglobo8971
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from bottle into tulip. This beer has regular distro in my area, never tried it before I received it in a trade.
lools solid, seems particular dark, almost porter ish. No head at all, very slim lacing that clings to outer rim, does not follow down the glass. Very faint in the nose, small hints of sweetness, not much else. Taste is solid, slight malt sweetness, very little hop flavor. The mouthfeel is ok, not spectacular, flavors still resonate longer than it should. Overall, solid beer, not outstanding, just solid.

 527 characters

Photo of Auror
3.33/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an old bottle. At least 2 years, probably 3 or more. Batch code has 0 and 8 notched, how I wish DDC made it more clear when the batches were from on US bottles. As a barleywine, I'd expect this to hold up fairly well though.

Poured into my Kate the Great snifter.

Appearance- Pours a dark muddy, reddish-brown. One finger head diminishes quickly to a slight ring. Carbonation bubbles are evident, a good sign considering this bottle's age. Mild lacing.

Smell- Chocolate, fruity malt, strawberry, wood, damp leaves.

Taste- Some malt sweetness upfront reminiscent of cherries. A little bit of a chalky flavor in the middle (oxidation?). Finishes with a tingling, lingering bitterness. Hops might have been prevalent once, but now only the bitterness remains. No alcohol present.

Mouthfeel- Surprisingly sharp carbonation. Medium feel.

Overall- I'm only guessing here, but from reading other reviews this beer has lost a lot of flavor. In exchange for that, the 10% alcohol is just non-existent.

 1,008 characters

Photo of Otterburn
3.37/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Barley wine 9,8 % 341ml bottle

Appearance is a dark brow color with no head, low carbonation

Smell's kind of caramel and alcool

Taste is caramel and alcool

mouthfeel is similar the a thin syrop with low carbonation

Drinkability is average. because of the taste and the mouthfeel.

It is not bad, maybe its only the style thats not my favorite.

 350 characters

Photo of CoreyC
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of mikehblack
3.38/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours into my snifter a brownish honey color. Some orange on the edges. Very little head and apparent carbonation. Smells of sweet sugars and caramel, bit of alcohol. Taste brings forth some hop bitterness at the front. Continues with those caramel notes. Fairly balanced hop and malt flavors but it's leaving me with desire for more complexity. I can taste the 10.2% but it isn't overwhelming. Medium bodied with pretty good carbonation that wasn't as noticeable on the pour. Overall a decent American barleywine but the depth and balance just isn't quite there for me.

 570 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.39/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Big yellow pour and white head 1" on the top. Aroma didn't reveal this to be bretty. Almost more like a pale ale.

Taste seemed over carbonated and plain. A little bit of flowery-ness to it, and the mouthfeel was amazing for being 8%. Yeast flavors weren't pungent, more clean, earthy. I wouldn't recommend someone spending $15 on a bottle of this, no way. No off flavors, but nothing special. Good not great.

 417 characters

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 biboergosum
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

341ml bottle - the label image does a good job of making me feel colder than the climate already does, yeah?

This beer pours a dark, over-steeped black tea colour, with two fingers of puffy beige head, which leaves a consistent pattern of looped lace around the glass as it evenly settles.

It smells of big sugary caramel/toffee malt, mild dark complex fruit, and somewhat acrid booze. The taste is quite strongly stewed butterscotch malt, dark fruit liqueur, and further drying edgy, earthy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and a bit on the high side for the style, the body pretty hefty, smooth, but noticeable for its lack of stickiness. It finishes mostly in kind - a lingering caramel sweetness, smacked right down by booze and bitter hops. Wow - after reading the product description in French on the side label - looks like I was bang on: alcohol, fruit, and bitter hops - c'est vrai!

I sure don't mind the hops and strength in barleywines, but this one is just too astringently boozy for my liking - probably my own fault, as it was bottled less than 3 months ago. It would be interesting to match this against the new release of my local concern's barleywine - Alley Kat's 2010 Old Deuteronomy. Time may very well tell.

 1,237 characters

Photo of thebeers
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Murky cherry brown with tiny head. Big aroma of fig, raisins, brown sugar and a hint of hops. Syrupy, creamy mouthfeel. Hops prevalent up front in the taste, then some slight cherry sweetness and pronounced bitterness in the aftertaste. I know this is an American barleywine, but the mix isn't doing it for me.

 314 characters

Photo of justme
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Prefer English style Barleywines, but this was good. Not excessively hoppy with robust flavor

93 characters

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

    Founded in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.