Solstice D'hiver Réserve Spéciale En Fût De Bourbon | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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Solstice D'hiver Réserve Spéciale En Fût De BourbonSolstice D'hiver Réserve Spéciale En Fût De Bourbon

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2009 vintage: 67.5% aged in Utopias barrels, 22.5% aged in bourbon barrels, 10% fresh beer.

All subsequent vintages are aged 6-12 months in bourbon barrels.

Added by papat444 on 02-13-2010

For Trade:
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Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 107
Photo of ArrogantB
3.13/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I received the barrel aged version from a generous Canadian Ba, thanks! Murky brown color, scant head. Smell is barrel and BOOZE! Taste us booze, oxidation, booze, alcohol, wood, very little barleywine. Overall I was glad to try this but unimpressed and unlikely to pick up the regular version.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium size head with average retention and minimal lacing. Aroma of caramelized barley malty with some vanilla and bourbon notes with light acrid finish which is not the most pleasant. Taste is also dominated with big caramelized malt notes with quite a big of residual sugars with some notes of bourbon and vanilla with an acrid finish. Body is quite full with good carbonation with no apparent alcohol notes. Very nice night cap but I could do without some of the acrid notes detected here.

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Photo of kjyost
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to papat444 for this trade.

Sadly though, this bottle rolled out of my van and smashed itself on the ground, breaking the neck. I successfully saved about half the bottle.

A: Rich amber and dark with a nice head, especially considering what the beer had been through.

S: Oak comes through above the sweetness and candied fruit.

T: Personally I could taste the oak at a good level, and this was the best thing about the beer. Overall I found the body of the beer to have numerous subtle flavours of fruit and caramel but the body is cloyingly sweet. I know this is a barley wine, but it is too sweet. Perhaps if I had a had a chance to enjoy this on a cool evening it would seem different, but right now it is cloying.

M&D: Low carbonation is good, but the sweetness sticks way too much to the palate which kills its drinkability...

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Photo of Lucho
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to montrealbcr89 for this trade. Cheers!

A: pours a dark cherry brown with a slight hazy character. forms a lovely two finger off white date brown thick head. good retention and lacing.

S: caramelized sugar and a light plum smell. not getting much barrels but maybe as it warms it will open up. there is a scent of booze on the nose.

T: bourbon soaked caramelized sugarcane. not very sweet though. There is not the amount of dark fruits that I am fond of in my b-wines. There is a nice mild bourbon character that imparts the usual vanilla flavors. This brew is surprisingly drinkable considering the almost 11%

M: medium to heavy bodied with light carbonation on the tongue, very nice.

Overall this is a good beer. not the best of the style but one worth seeking out. Cheers

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Courtesy of after4ever over on the other site, ratebeer. Thanks Tom. Pours amber with some haze and thin off white head. The aroma is smooth oak, vanilla, sweet dark fruitiness and mild bourbon boozy heat. The taste is nice and sweet with rich dark fruitiness quickly moving seamlessly into vanilla, oak, bourbon and chocolate. Tasty stuff.

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Photo of trxxpaxxs
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to tom10101 for this bottle...

A: Pours a super deep brown with about a half of a finger of light tan head. The foam fades fairly quickly, leaving a thin layer of bubbles across the top of the beer and along the edges of the glass.

S: The nose is sweet of caramel and bourbon, some vanilla, a touch of yeast, and a bit of seaweed.

T: It starts out with sweet caramel malt and seaweed. The are some vanilla/oak notes that begin to shine towards the middle. I get a full on melange of flavors with malt, caramel, vanilla, seaweed, bourbon, char, and hop bitters. As it moves to the back end I get that stinging American Barleywine hop presence, barrel treatment, and alcohol.

M: Full bodied. This version (with the barrel treatment) is syrup and cloying from first sip to the last. It coats the palate and refuses to leave, even after the beer is long gone.

O: Again, this beer is decent but it isn't stellar. The hops are still too bitter, the seaweed notes are off-putting, and it's super sticky this time around. All that being said... the barrel character adds to the beer nicely, the malt base is still delicious, and the caramel and vanilla notes really shine in the middle. I would dink this again, but I doubt I'll ever seek it out in the future.

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Photo of spinrsx
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

341ml Bottle from Marche Omni QC for $5 - 2012 edition

Appearance - Hazy brown colour with a small size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, caramel/butterscotch, dark fruits, bourbon

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, sweet butterscotch/caramel, and dark fruits. There is also some woody/bourbon notes and some mild hops.

Overall - There is a warming feeling after the very first sip. A great winter warmer and the perfect beer to sip on for a while. There is quite a bit of bourbon on the nose, but not as much in the flavour. A great beer that I wish I had a case of.

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Photo of stakem
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'09 bottling care of Kegatron, thanks for sharing Heath! 12oz bottle into a snifter, the brew appears amber with orange clarity around the edges. Some spotty lace sticks to the wall of the glass after the finger of froth dissipates. When held to the light, it shows more ruby through the body and yellowish to orange around the edges.

The aroma containes caramel and toffee. Sticky sweetness smells quite sugary before some bourbon-like booze starts to shine through. There is a mild oakiness present somewhat smelling like cinnamon. As it warms, it becomes increasingly boozy and slightly solvent.

The flavor has caramel, toffee, maple, vanilla and oak all well represented in equal parts. A light amount of cardboard-like oxidation and warming to tangy bourbon accent isnpresent mid-pallet. As it warms up, it gets a bit of fruity alcohol note which is enjoyable.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. It is boozy, complex and enjoyable. It has been quite awhile since I drank the base version but from what I remember, this is a pleasant upgrade. Worth checking out.

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Photo of papat444
4.07/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

***2009 vintage but bottled January 2010***

Poured from a 341ml. bottle and shared with my wife.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown that looks black but as thin head (only 1 finger!) recedes, i can see reddish hues in the brown body. Alright but leaves me kind of wanting more.

Smell: This is better. Strong aroma of caramel, candied sugar and dried fruits . Has a vinous feel to it with a little oak that lends a little sherry feel to it but not as much as i would have thought.

Taste: Strong sugar, dark fruit (cherries especially) with a sweet side but has some hops bitterness hidden in there also. Getting some oak on the sides and especially in the finish and the lasting aftertaste. Also in the finish, i pick up a distinct taste, like creme caramel or hardened caramel.

Mouthfeel: Glides effortlessly in the palate. A little boozy but otherwise very pleasant. Low carbonation which suits me just fine.

Drinkability: Superior ease of consumption here. Though heavy in taste, it doesn't feel heavy or cumbersome to drink this. Found myself drinking easily rather then just sipping.

Overall: A little disappointed that the oak was not more prominent but i did find this beer to be good and would definitely have it again.

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Photo of Etan
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz sent by tom10101. Thanks! The label says (translated from French): "Special Reserve - aged 1 year in a bourbon cask".

A: Pours a sediment-filled dark brown body with some maple hues. Small light khaki head.

S: Heavy tannic bourbon, maple, figs, brown sugar, vanilla and caramel, cooked raisins. Very rich aroma.

T: The taste brings more dark fruit, tannic sweetness, plenty of oak, marshamallow, mild caramelized grain, a bit of lingering hoppiness. There's a slightly astringent bitterness here - not sure if it's from the oak or the old hops but the beer would be better off without it.

M: Thick-bodied with light carbonation.

O: This was quite a nice beer (especially the aroma), but the out-of-place bitterness in the taste lowers the score a bit for me.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Zwanze Day/DDC Anniversary party at DDC. From notes.

A - Poured murky brown and a film of white head and spotty lace. Film of retention.

S - Lot's of dark fruit, kool aid, sweet dark fruit, some vanilla.

T - Wood, bourbon, dark fruit, quite sweet but not cloying, lot's of raisins.

M - Good mild carbonation, medium body, dry finish.

O/D - Very nice. Smooth and flavourful. Liked that the bourbon was subtle and complimentary to the overall barleywine character.

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Photo of vande
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one seems to have Barleywine written all over it from the pour... a frothy, somewhat dirty looking head layered atop a thicker looking, murky off colored orangish-brown colored pour...smells of sugar, bit of oakiness, some booziness is definitely present, with dashes of vanilla... initially, reminded me of an 07 Lagunitas Gnarleywine via the nose.. Tasted somewhat like the nose predicted to be honest..add the initial aromatic hints with some breadiness and brown sugar, giving it a bit of a "coppery" field and you've got a pretty darn good barleywine here.. I believe the bottle we popped tonight may of had a year on it...and I've got a twin in my cellar.. Although I'm not the largest Barleywine constituent, this was a pretty tasty sipper..

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Photo of Coronaeus
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

341ml bottle.

Deep mahogany with next to no head. Mild bourbon and oak on the nose. Bourbon, sweet toffee, slight vanilla and well integrated alcohol. A little thinner than expected with little to no carbonation. Enjoyable barley wine that I am glad to have tried.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz glass, at the first ever DDC tap takeover in Edmonton - wheee!

This beer appears a hazy, dark ruddy brownish hue, with one finger of bubbly, weakly foamy beige head, which leaves a low-lying band of spectral lace around the glass as it somewhat hastily recedes.

It smells of rye whisky-sodden wood, musty caramel/toffee malt, dark fleshy fruit, a hint of yeast, and earthy, leafy hops. The taste is more rather musty, dusty caramel, like a Zellers candy aisle blowout, spicy, grainy, pungent, yet neutered rye whisky barrel essence, dusty black fruit, singed brown sugar, vanilla, and a sneaky as shit alcohol warming.

The carbonation is more or less underwhelming, and we're a-ok with that, here, the body a hefty medium weight, and weirdly thin at the same time, though I suspect the woodiness for this perceived defect. It finishes just on the sweet side, the barrel notes lingering, in concert with the fruit, sugar, and booze, in a weirdly satfisfying medley of the seasonally damned.

A more than agreeable application of the wood to an already stellar barleywine - subtle, mostly, and just edgy enough to warn potential imbibers not to exactly overdo it, mais oui?

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Photo of MasterSki
4.22/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to papat444 for sending this my way. Served in a Darkness glass.

A - Quick-dissolving white foam settles to a bit of wispy bubbles on-top and spotty lace. The body is a murky brown color.

S - Brown and burnt sugars, sharp oak, light oxidation, maple, and some booze and bourbon(?) flavor that grows as this warms up. Bottle says "oak barrels" but is vague about their origin - doesn't taste like virgin oak in any case.

T - This is surprisingly mellow, with a hefty amount of bread, brown sugar, dark fruits, caramel, toffee, sharp oak, vanilla, and better hidden booze than in the aroma.

M - Smooth, creamy, chewy texture, with lower carbonation, some moderate warming alcohol, and light tannic dryness in the finish.

D - Quite good, and a marked improvement over the base beer. Alcohol is quite well-hidden once you get past the aroma. I'd happily have this one again, and I now want to seek out the Oak-Aged Equinoxe Du Printemps.

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Photo of Derek
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015-09-25 @ 10.2%

Murky pour, only a thin ring of head, but it shows some lace.

Sweet, malty aroma... Caramel, figs, raisins... Fruit cake?

Alcohol is fairly assertive, some fruit cake in the flavour, brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla, oak, restrained bitterness.

Light residual sweetness, with a drying alcohol finish.

Thanks Vincent!

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Photo of Jeffo
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from peensteen a while back. Thanks dude!

From a bottle into a snifter
Bottled November 2012
Barleywine aged 1 year in bourbon barrels

APPEARANCE: Pours a one finger, medium-looser looking, foamy, light tan head with good retention. Clear dark brown, kind of a maroon red, with medium levels of carbonation. Head quickly fades to a full cap and creamy ring. A slight wisp and ring remain with dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Bourbon, oak, sweet vanilla, coconut, toffee and caramel on the nose. The coconut and oak aromas work really nicely together. Bold and aromatic with lots going on. Really good.

TASTE: Oak, bourbon, caramel and alcohol up front. More bourbon at the swallow with a bold finish of oak, coconut, vanilla, toffee and butterscotch sweetness lingering on the palate. The sweet notes, coconut and vanilla mostly, work really well with the oak barrel and the lingering alcohol as well. Really flavorful and enjoyable.

PALATE: Medium-lighter body with medium levels of carbonation. Creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a burn at the swallow and finishes sticky. Some heat lingers. A touch lighter perhaps, but nicely creamy for the style.

OVERALL: Delicious. The barrel is definitely the star of the show here, but the base barelywine is strong enough to push its way through and play a role as well. Though it might be a touch light in the body, it is definitely creamy and smooth enough, with lots of character and complexity worth pondering. Thanks again peensteen. Highly recommended.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! "Solstice d'hiver Bourbon"
on tap at the brewery on 1 Octobre 2014
$5.75 / verre

Notes: Listed at 10%. Hazy deep mahogany body beneath a light tan head that's slightly yellowish. Excellent head retention and lacing. Bourbon and light, soft caramel are found in the nose, followed by much more in the flavor which also includes notes of golden caramel, a touch of nuttiness, some toastiness, toasted coconut, a subtle hint of dark fruit, and a flicker of alcohol. It's sweetish but tempered. It's medium-full in body and creamy smooth and velvety. It gets better as it warms, there's more alcohol but it's also more spread out and warming rather than cutting through, and you get more of the fruitiness. Having tasted the Solstice d'hiver as well, I can definitely say that the Bourbon barrel aging really morphs it into something new. Which one is better I don't know, I'd imagine that goes to personal preference.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to David for this bottle! Bottled on 11/12.
Poured in to snifter.

A - Very dark murky brown with a thin layer of tan coloured head.

S - Bourbon, vanilla and toasted oak up front with caramel, toffee and raisin aromas in the background.

T - The barrel characteristics are not nearly as prominent as the nose suggested and a play a secondary role in the palate. Sweet caramel, toffee and brown sugar flavours are dominant in the palate with more subtle vanilla, toasted oak and bourbon in the background. The barrel notes and the base beer flavours integrate very well together.

M - Medium to full body. Chewy. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Holland
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to tom10101 for this beauty!

A: pour an opaque dark brown with some cloudiness visible along the edges, a small one finger head, and some lacing on the wall of the glass with a thin layer of fine foam on top. The head is surprisingly light compared to the darkness of the beer.

S: sweet malts, toffee, raisin, dates, figs, and molasses come to mind.

T: this is where the deliciousness lies. It's very dark fruit forward, with hints of barrel flavor throughout. No lack of taste at all. Some alcohol is present, though I drank it at 55 or 60 Fahrenheit. Some bitterness balances it nicely for an after dinner beer.

M: thick but not syrupy because of the nice medium carbonation and a bit of alcohol that gives it a lift.

O: wish I had purchased the regular version to compare. This is no doubt a nice barleywine, but I would like to see how different it is from the original and discern what the bourbon barrels did for it. Delicious overall beer. Glad I was able to try it. Thanks, Tommy!

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Photo of mtomlins
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a stemmed tulip glass.
Bottle Date: 11/2012; Poured: 12/2013.

A: Pours a deep. Dark brown with a maroon hue with a short bubbly head falling fast to a thin collar with a bit of lacing.

S: Big, boozy bourbon; deep, rich dark fruit (prunes and raisins), very jammy. Rich and spicy.

T: The deep, sweet malts and lots of dried fruit (prunes and raisins) as the nose suggested. A big boozy bourbon with some warm alcohol, the bourbon is present but not overpowering. Some candied fruit and brown sugar? The finish dries out a bit with a pleasant spicy hopiness.

M: Medium-high body and low carbonation; smooth and rich.

O: A delicious example of a well-balanced BS barley wine.

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Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing. Glad I have some more in the cellar.

Pours a hazy dark reddish brown, relatively opaque, very thick light tan head forms and settles to a very thick ring around the glass, great retention, some lace chunks stick to the glass.

Smell is great, big and intense, lots of toffee/caramel, raisin and dates, brown sugar, a shit ton of dark fruit, vanilla, oak, bourbon sweetness, red wine, coconut, a bit of alcohol, brandy, nice oaky character without being too much, really adds to the beer.

Taste is similar, huge, tons of rich raisin and dates, caramel/toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, brandy, oak, dark fruit, coconut, a touch of milk chocolate, a bit of booziness, rich raisin finish, more coconut, just fantastic.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, a touch of heat going down. Huge flavours, maybe a touch thin in the body but everything is there. A little more time in the cellar will help. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of biegaman
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage sampled 16/07/2010.

The beer was aged in wood and it looks a little like it - a classy mahogany tone gives way to ruby and orange highlights when held against the light. The clarity is impeccable for a barrel aged beer. Its head, too, for a beer that's been through what this has is outstandingly thick and foamy, a peach-coloured, tapioca-like fuzz that leaves ring after ring of lace.

Anyone who drinks bourbon or most any white wine is likely familiar with these kinds of oaky, buttery, vanilla-y attributes. Unlike most other barrel-aged beers, however, this was not mellowed in bins that previously held the aforementioned bourbon or wine, but rather brand new, untainted oak barrels. As result, there's not nearly the alcoholic intensity.

There is still, however, the cream-like richness, the fruity esters, the sugary vanilla and caramelly, tootsie-roll sweetness that follows, the splintery dryness, chocolaty truffles and the exotic and lush notes of coconut. French V.S.O.P brandies eat your hearts out! This is as complex and sophisticated than just about any other beer, wine or spirit I've tried.

And, although it's still too intense for probably 99% of the population, it is remarkably smooth for a beer of its strength. The use of new oak barrels as oppose to used bourbon barrels has, in my mind, everything to do with it. The obnoxious, excessive, concentrated fervidness of the bourbon is not missed in the least (the beer is better off without it).

On this summer night, one third the bottle seemed indulgently sufficient, however, this is admittedly a beer engineered for relished, sensual drinking suited to the long, desolate, dark, ungodly cold Quebec winter. (A fireplace would make probably the most ideal accessory.) I've no doubt that if French Canada had the population of California this would sell-out at the same exorbitant prices and speed as the Firestone-Walker releases.

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Photo of grub
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

another tasty DDC treat that papat444 hooked me up with. thanks again pat!

12oz bottle. sampled sept 3/2010.

pours crystal clear reddish brown with just a touch of orange when held to the light. the small very fine dark tan head quickly drops to a ring around the glass and leaves plenty of spotty lace.

aroma is awesome. bourbon and oak. vanilla. caramel and toffee, with a hint of butterscotch. light alcohol. multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker. earthy. hint of smoke. wow, i'm in love with this one already.

taste is great. burnt toffee. caramel. bit of butterscotch. bourbon, vanilla, and raw oak. light orange and tangerine. warming alcohol. earthy. touch of honey. multi-grain bread and biscuit. slightly toasty. tons of depth to this.

mouthfeel is good. medium-large body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is good. tons of depth. the barrel character is very complimentary without being too overbearing. the alcohol is a touch warm, which may subside a bit with time. glad i've got another for the cellar!

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Photo of jrenihan
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled November 2012. Huge thanks to Papat444 for this one.

Beer is very dark brown with a moderately-sized tan head. Head fades at a steady pace, leaving just a bit of film.

Smell is big and rich. Bourbon, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, toffee, some dark fruits. Quite a lot happening. Very nice. Great invitation to taste this beer!

Bourbon is upfront flavourwise, along with lots of vanilla and a good dose of oak. Underneath that is toffee, brown sugar, a bit of molasses, caramel, earthy flavours, a bit of fruit and a noticeable (but not unpleasant) amount of booze. Quite sweet but a woody finish lends a bit of dryness. Really good.

Full bodied, moderate to low carbonation level. A bit astringent, quite smooth.

Overall, really good. A significant improvement over the regular version, in my view.

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Solstice D'hiver Réserve Spéciale En Fût De Bourbon from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
4.2 out of 5 based on 107 ratings.
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