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Isseki Nicho | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
89
very good
65 Reviews
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Isseki NichoIsseki Nicho
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada | website

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Special collaboration between Dieu du Ciel and Shiga Kougen, a Japanese brewery located in Nagano. Hybrid of an imperial stout and a Belgian saison, its color is dark black. Strong bitterness and roasted malt flavours come in first, and are well balanced by a strong alcohol level. Dry and complex finishing provided by the saison yeast.

Added by bobsy on 10-05-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
65
Ratings:
210
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
15.46%
 
 
Wants:
15
Gots:
32
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 65 | Ratings: 210
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask remaining two days after DDC night, at Cafe Volo. Cross style one-off callaboration. Black colour, with significant bubbly cask head. Aroma of pepper,malt, roast, and spicey yeast. Above average mouthfeel, particularly for a cask. Some hops, yeast in taste, some astringency on the tongue, roasted barley, some brown rice. A sipper.A unique Belgian stout imperial porter saison.
Had it again at Mondiale 2010 and it was a middling saison and RIS. Noticed dark chocolate, 3/8" bubbly head and above average mouthfeel.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.81/5  rDev -5%

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, earth, chalk, spice, and char aromas. Taste is much the same with dark roasted malt, cocoa, char, and yeast flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with more imperial stout than saison qualities in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of metter98
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color; faint hints of reddish brown are visible near the edges of the glass. It poured with a quarter finger high dark tan head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass, a collar around the edge and bits of lacing down the sides,
S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts are present in the nose along with notes of yeast.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but seems more like a saison with more spices towards the finish. Noted of licorice are also apparent. No alcohol is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is really interesting as it has some properties of a Russian Imperial Stout having used its grain bill. It is extremely easy to drink considering its strength.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.99/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Whenever I hear a type of beer that's dubbed "black" anything that wasn't originally a dark beer (Black IPA, Black Saison...) I have become accustomed to it becoming a Porter with the base beer tendencies. But with the quality I've come to expect from Dieu Du Ciel, I'm expecting different from Isseki Nicho.

And dark brown to its core, the ale pours with a head porter character. Its body is a shade off of black but is opaque due to its shaddowy hues. A creamy ivory head billows to the top of the tulip in true farmhouse fashion. Its long retention and well-defined concentric rings sing praises of well-constructed Saison.

Its nose is surprisingly perfumy and floral. A waft of potpourri washes over the nose with a backbone of honey, orchard fruit and spice. Black peppercorn and a faint scent of charred toast bring a balance to the malt and fruit. Coming up to temperature, the ale continues to reveal mild coffee and walnut notes.

Its malty-dry taste is of cream, baking bread, toasted grain and with supple buckwheat honey. As the sweeter side trails, its fruity and spicy center emerges. Again, with apple, pear, orange and a tinge of tart berries; then a more spicy side balances with cardamom, clove, coriander, peppercorn, dandelion, and flower pedals. As the ale finishes, its timid coffee, char and cocoa note are a bit more pronounced.

Its body is highly effervescent with fine bubbles that give a creamier, rather than zesty impression. Yet, the beer sheds its medium weight late and prefers a dry malt texture that highlights its spicy alcohol and peppery bite. Its dry toast character further elevates the ale's dryness before echoes of that floral bouquet linger in aftertaste.

I'm impressed that the ale shows so much darkness and dryness from roasted malt, but doesn't contribute any porter or stout-like char. I'm also impressed that the ale can retain such dryness as its resists becoming a sweet beer.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a large dark black color ale with a large deep brown color head with good detention and some pretty good lacing. Aroma of roasted malt notes is quite dominant with some light tart notes and some green citrusy hoppy notes also easily detectable. Taste is also a mix between some huge roasted malt notes with a serious hoppy profile with some citrus notes. Chocolate and light dry coffee notes are also detectable as well as light tart/lemony notes in the aftertaste. Body is full with creamy texture with great carbonation and no alcohol was perceptible. Interesting combination of flavour and totally not what I was expecting but very good nonetheless.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

341ml bottle, my thanks to Mike from Artisan Ales (hoser around these parts) for the sample. I very much like the 'kill two birds with one stone' cross-cultural aphorism explanation on the label.

This beer pours a slight caramel tinted black, with no discernible edges, and three healthy fingers of puffy, tight, but thinly foamy beige head, which leaves some sparse gull-wing lace around the glass as it slowly and evenly abates. A whole new kind of saison awaits me here, I'm guessing.

It smells of bittersweet black fruit - the usual suspect plums and prunes, mostly - mildly roasted, and slightly smoked grainy malt, gritty coffee grounds, sharply metallic spices, mint and anise, predominantly, swamped saison-friendly yeast, and a hint of warming alcohol. The taste is roasted bready malt, caramel-heavy coffee, tart dark fruit, dry Belgian yeast set afloat, a dose of baker's chocolate, sassy grapefruit and leafy hops, and some dampened, muddled earthy spices. The big ABV is sneakily obfuscated in the morass.

The bubbles are well active, and quite frothy, the body a sturdy medium weight, smooth amongst a slight grittiness, and actually a tad creamy. It finishes off-dry, the caramel/coffee/cocoa backbone hard to write off, even if the spicy, mildly yeasty and more to the point bitter hoppiness seems to have found its strong second wind.

Well, 'Imperial' and 'Dark' tend to have a specific effect on any base beer - in that they get very stout-like, with only tacit references to the bottom in the affair. Here, the dry yeast and subtle fruitiness gets lost in the maw of the beast, as it were. Not a bad thing, I suppose, but it's quite hard to not stifle a laugh now, looking at the classification, even more so than for some of the headier American Black Ales out there. Tasty, sure, but don't go looking for the pastoral French countryside in this one.

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Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - a very dark brown body, topped bya small head of medium tan foam. The head settles fairly quickly but leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - dark caramel and some molasses with a hint of green hops in the background.

T - brown sugar and toffee up front. Some dark caramel and molasses notes come out in the middle. The beer finishes with cinnamon, clove, and smoky chocolate as well as a lingering licorice note.

M - medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - very complex, with lots of dark sugar and some spicy yeast character in the finish. It could be a bit dryer, but at this strength, done residual sweetness is forgivable even in a saison.

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Photo of jlindros
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

picked up in Montreal, split with rudzud

Big oversized fluffy thick head fades slowly with tons of lacing, super dark just about pitch black beer.

Nose mild roast and dark caramel, toasty wheat, fruity esters that don't blend nicely, little orange zest, apple thing and perfumey phenols, choc malt note.

Taste creamy malts, little choc, roasty dark caramel, burnt roast and smoke like, bitter roast, peppery phenols and perfumey chemical notes, bitter spicy hops that don't blend at all, citrus rind, yeasty over attenuated weird, bitter, etc. Finish sticky dry phenols orange cleaner, bitter earthy hops.

Mouth is way over carbonated, med bod, little syrupy sticky.

Overall this was a mess, nothing went together well, too many different flavors messing with each other and nothing came through nicely without being effected by something else.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.5 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 9/10/2015. Pours pitch black color with a 2-3 finger fairly dense and fluffy tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, fig, blackberry, date, pear, apple, apricot, orange zest, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, peppercorn, clove, licorice, toasted dark bread, char, herbal, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, roast/bready malt, and citrus/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, fig, blackberry, date, pear, apple, apricot, orange zest, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, peppercorn, clove, licorice, toasted dark bread, char, herbal, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Good amount of roast/char bitterness and peppery yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, pear, apple, apricot, orange zest, peppercorn, clove, licorice, chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toasted dark bread, char, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, roast/bready malt, and citrus/earthy hop flavors; with a nice malt/bitter/spiciness balance and zero astringent flavors after the finish. Good amount of dryness from hop/roasted bitterness as well. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready, and sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent imperial dark saison style! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, roast/bready malt, and citrus/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of smcolw
4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown where no light through. Some streaks for lace from the modest beige head.

The smell is more stout than saison. Chalky and chocolatey smell. I also get a bit of black cherries and currants.

The taste is as I expected from the smell. I don't get much sourness at all, except briefly in the swallow. Very little burnt elements and even the chocolate is semisweet. The mouthfeel is middle of the road all around. Unsweetened cocoa is the aftertaste.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Kristina. Comes complete with photocopied label affixed via a rubber band. I'm guessing this is the correct beer, as it said Imperial Dark Saison in English and had a bunch of Japanese characters. Served in a wine glass.

A - It's definitely dark, with a semi-transparent dark chocolate body. A dark tan foam settles to a solid cap, leaving behind splotchy lace.

S - Cocoa, burnt and charred malts, spicy yeast, slight anise, and some earthy notes as well.

T - The taste is sweeter than the nose implies, with lots of baker's chocolate and dark fruit character. There is again some light spice character both of the estery variety as well as some star anise.

M - Medium-light body that seems a bit undersized for the alcohol. Very smooth texture, moderate carbonation, with a lightly chewy finish.

D - This was very nice, and a surprise highlight at the surprisingly debaucherous tasting that accompanied Jeppe's visit to Chicago. One or two beers, my ass. In any case, this was a very good beer and a textbook dark saison, but it's probably something you wouldn't want to pound all night.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Kinda murky. Big mocha head. Great retention. Thick collar.

Smell - Yeasty and estery. Some bright aromas. Dark chocolate.

Taste - Much more roasty. Dark chocolate. The belgian flavors kick in with some fruity flavors. Yeasty with some bright fruity flavors.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation. Yeasty. Bitter.

Overall - Pretty good. Complex and unique.

 416 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown color with mocha head. Aroma has dark malts, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruits and some spices. Taste starts with some liquorice, chocolate, roasted malt, quite bitter, especially on the finish and lingering very long on the aftertaste with roasted chocolate malt. Body is quite light with a good amount of carbonation. Overall it's an interesting spicy beer with a very well hidden ABV but a bit unbalanced for my taste.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

What if a Japanese and Québécois brewery got together and made a beer? In this case, you get a black saison. On-tap at 38 Degrees in Alhambra, on to the beer"

Topping the black body is a tanned head, which retains well and leaves some lacing around the glass. Continuing the good start is the aroma, which offers a spicy rye note, a kiss of cocoa, and lemon wedges. And like that, the good start ends and it becomes....weird. There's a wild citrus flavor throughout the beer, and not even the breaths of cocoa can breathe enough into the beer and get it out of that direction. It's also modestly sour. The taste isn't bad to me; it's just on the singular side and unexpected.

One crazy beer. If you're prepared for a wild ride, Isseki Nicho might be ready for you. If not, shoot for another option. I'm glad that I tried it, but probably not again (more so considering the price).

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Photo of Tone
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of strong alcohol, sweet malt, slight roasted malt, strong yeast, wood, hint of chocolate, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Saison / Farmhouse Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, hops, slight sweet malt, slight alcohol, hint of wood, yeast, and a hint of chocolate. Overall, good appearance, aroma, body, and blend.

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

More saison than imperial stout? A bit odd... Enticing aroma, the roasted flavours are consumed by the saison yeast byproducts... More "Belgian" than many so-called Belgian stouts.

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Photo of rudzud
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Split with JLindros.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown almost black hue with a fat two finger mocha head that fades to leave sticky lacing and fat blanket.

s - Aromas of wheat, darker malts, light saison notes, very subtle funk.

T - Taste is similar to the nose, light roast malts, light chocolate, decent funk, nice toasty malts. Rather yeast and over attenuated.

M - Mouthfeel is brightly carbonated, almost too much.

O - Overall this beer started decent but quickly became yeasty and over attenuated. Really just mediocre.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of wordemupg
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured into tulip 6/5/13 some hoser was nice enough to give me the bottle

A just a thumbnail of cola in a black liquid, three fingers of dark mocha foam has good retention slowly falling to a thick film that leaves lots of random lace on its way down

S charred wood, espresso, bakers chocolate, hit me first followed by a hop blast of grapefruit and tangerine that are much stronger then expected, a little licorice and fudge as it warms with just a hint of the farmhouse yeast and booze

T more dark roast in the mouth but the hops are still strong, the chocolates not quite as dark as what I was smelling and I get a little rind I didn't find on the nose, great mix of hops and dark roast but I think the "Saison" aspects a little hard to find

M not quite as thick as the color would have me guess but still a full bodied beer, has a bitter snap to it, and a long strange mix of coffee and hops on the finish

O even 6 months old this still has a massive hop presence, drinks like a fresh hopped up RIS and that suits me just fine, I was expecting more Belgian influence and I suppose it comes out a little more as it warms but still subtle

I'm pretty happy with whats in my glass and would definitely buy this often if I could get it off the shelf here in Alberta, time will tell I suppose. One of those beers where you want to taste a bottle fresh and with a couple years on it, I'm not sure what if age would do to this one.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

341ml bottle from Broue Haha QC for 12$ for a 4-pack

Appearance - Brown/black colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for 1-2 minutes.

Smell - Malts, clove, chocolate, coffee, earthiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, anise, and clove. There are also notes of coffee, chocolate and a light smokiness. It ends with an earthy yet spicy herbal aftertaste.

Overall - Lots of taste going on here.. a little something for everyone. Point for originality but not something you'd want to have more than 1 of in a sitting. It will be interesting to see how aging effects this one.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.5 ounce bottle. Served in a tulip, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. I like the aroma, the brew smells like roasted malt, lemon peel, apricots, coffee, bittersweet and milk chocolate, burnt/charred malt and a bit of blueberry. The brew tastes like roasted/charred/burnt malt, blueberries, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, citrus peel, peppery spice, blackberries, herbalness, apricots and a bit of grainy/bready malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's coating and a bit creamy, and also has a good amount of carbonation. I think this is a good and interesting brew. For some reason the flavor reminds me of Dark Horse's Tres Blueberry Stout, even though there isn't any blueberry in this beer (that I'm aware of anyway). The label says it's a hybrid between an imperial stout and a saison, and I'd agree with that even though I think it leans more towards a stout. If you come across a bottle of this, pick it up! $5.19 a bottle.

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Photo of barczar
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%

Aroma is roasty and vinous, with Belgian yeast esters and coffee surfacing. Flavor reveals medicinal phenols at the base, along with roast and dark chocolate. There's a tart character in the background, which adds intrigue. Wish the phenols were less prevalent.

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Photo of Viggo
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at the Volo Dieu du Ciel launch.

Pours a deep and dark reddish black, slightly opaque, medium sized and big bubbled tan head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, some solid lacing. Smell is neat, very fruity, some chocolate and a touch of roast, raisin, caramel, lightly funky saison character, hay, wood, earthy, pretty neat, alcohol comes through as well. Taste is nice too, fruity, very smooth light chocolate and roast character, some funk, licorice, alcohol, a bit herbal and grassy, pretty neat. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with low carbonation, some warmth going down. A pretty cool experiment, great beer.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 09.14

A - Pours black of course. Good mocha head at 2 and a half thick creamy fingers. Good carbonation. Good retention with a full finger and great lace rings.

S - Coffee, Belgian yeast, some funk,

T - Huge wallop of Belgian yeast and funk. Lot's of dark malt, coffee and nuttiness. Lot's of fruit and some booze.

M - A good yeasty, funky finish with some fruit, good carbonation and a nice full body.

O/D - Definitely an interesting beer. Wacky and new for sure. The bending of style guidelines works well here and the yeast really drives the malt profile in a new and interesting direction. Worth a shot for sure.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Kristina for this and Alex for tracking it down on BA...Darkish brown pour, but a little watery as its semi clear. A light tan head leaves a nice cap, ok lacing...Charred spice aroma, pretty interesting...The taste is nice, not sure how its a saison though with no hop presence. Dark fruits with spice, and a chocolate finish.

Interesting and worth trying.

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Photo of Rutager
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks for the killer beers, montrealbcr89!

Appearance. Pours a very deep brown, pretty black in the glass with 2 fingers of than head that lasts a while and leaves a bunch of nice lace.

Smell. Spicy saison yeast and grapefruits, dark chocolate, some black licorice and bit of roasty, maybe smokey malt.

Taste. Dark chocolate and big citrusy hops, some spicy yeast, roasty dark malts and black coffee.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with smooth medium carbonation.

Overall. I would call this beast an "Imperial Cascadian Saison". Really nice stuff.

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Isseki Nicho from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
89 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.
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