Équinoxe Du Printemps | Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

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Équinoxe Du PrintempsÉquinoxe Du Printemps

Brewed by:
Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
Quebec, Canada

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Équinoxe du Printemps (French for "spring equinox") is the quintessential marriage of two great traditions: beer brewing in Scotland, and maple syrup production in Quebec. At the first draught, the mouth is overcome by woody, malty flavours, sustained by a discrete touch of sweetness. The aftertaste brings about the flavours of maple, which are sufficiently present to be appreciated, but never overwhelming the typical flavours of a Scotch Ale.

Equinoxe du printemps is brewed only once a year in January. It is aged for two months in order to attain a perfect balance in taste. Then, it is sold starting March 21st, until stocks last.

The Equinoxe du printemps was born in our Montreal brewpub in February 1999.

Added by francisweizen on 05-02-2003

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Reviews: 259 | Ratings: 554
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at Mondiale 2008. One of several maple offerings. Creamy orange colour with a bit of head. Aroma is malty and fruity. Taste is malt and alcohol, with tart fruit finish. White lacing. ABove average mouthfeel.Aged in wood, complex, a sipper that reminds me of an oaked barleywine.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, earth, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, brown sugar, toffee, wood, and slight maple flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth and wood bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with lots of sweet sugary and earthy characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No head to speak of on a murky amber body. Aroma is pretty boozy with raisins, caramel and candy sugar. This one is pretty hard to drink at first. Some of the most prevalent toffee notes of any beer I have had. Also fig, raisin, caramel, lots of maple syrup. The malts are strong too. Medium body and light carbonation. This one was too hard to drink for me. Lots of flavor but a little too much of a boozy and sweet combination.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

anything maple is going to get favorable scores from me, but this is a tremendous bottle of beer. not sure i have seen the maple syrup used in a scotch ale as a base, i love the innovation and i love the execution. paler than i thought it would be in color, deep copper orangey, but not brown or red. the head is tall and thick, the beer is bubbly and mostly clear, and the aroma is enticing. sweet maple right away, a little bit of dried fruit, maybe apricot, and some sort of yeast i was not expecting, almost belgian on the nose. the flavor shows plenty of maple, they were smart to lighten up the malts a little bit from the scotch ale norm to let this awesome element show so prominently. bready cereal malts, slight caramelization, fall spice (odd in a spring release i know, but there is an appreciable spice complex, likely from the yeast, on the back end here), wet wood, maybe even a little smoke. the alcohol shows through only a little bit, enough to warm me up but not enough to slow me down drinking it. its rich in the middle but fairly dry by the end, the malts and the maple go amazingly well together, and i remain intrigued by this yeast strain and process of fermentation. impressive beer overall, i have always thought these guys were a bit under appreciated by the masses. nothing but quality top to bottom in their portfolio.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out with a nice brown color with a creamy light tan color head on top. The smell of the beer was malty and sweet. The taste of the beer is pretty powerful, there is a good amount of maple in there too. The mouthfeel of this beer is medium to heavy with a bit of an oily feel to it. Overall it's a pretty good Scotch Ale, I would try it again if I came across it.

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Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: It poured cloudy in color with a thin white head that left nice lacing patterns. A light level of carbonation is visible.
S: There are lots of aromas of maple syrup and caramel in the nose, along with some notes of alcohol.
T: There is a lot of malty sweetness in the taste, along with flavors of maple syrup, caramel and oak.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate with some warming from the alcohol in the finish.
D: This is a beer that can only really be sipped. I would definitely try this again, particularly if it is available again next spring.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The emergence from winter becons for a beer full of spirit, ambition, and warmth. All that is delivered in Dieu du Ciel's spring seasonal, although enjoyed on a warm summer night.

The Wee Heavy pours with a malty-rich appearance of medium brown to bronze with a mild haze. A dense froth caps the beer like a thick blanket across the glass. Light lacing gives a glimpse into the formidable beer to be enjoyed.

Sweet and spicy to start, the aromas of hearty malt is evedent with deeply caramelized toffee and maple with a background note of peat, smoky plastics, and fresh cracked peppercorn. Low on hops, there's a woody scent that replaces any noteworthy hop balance and prefers the complexity of its own malt development to shine.

Flavors capture the caramel and bready sweetness from malt and share a fruitcake-like menage of rum, maple syrup, and brown sugar. Interestingly, the beer's sweetness is somewhat understated when up against the acidic and dry malt flavors that follow up the initial sweetness. In masculine fashion, the slight smoky wood flavors, peppercorn bite, and slight fruit notes of applewood and white grapes round out the finish with a hearty and refined memory.

Medium-full in texture, it's the dry malt taste that circumvents the residual sweetness and blends with the oddly compelling acidic note that's not normally found in strong Scottish ales. But the creamy carbonation buffers against the acidic fruit notes and finishes with a light powdery texture and alcohol warmth.

Though truly masculine in taste, the beer is not without refinement. The combination creates a gentlemanly approach that challenges the palate with each sip but also comforts the taste buds charm and strength.

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Photo of brentk56
3.47/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours with a mahogany color; not much head appears though there are some squiggles of lace

Smell: Maple syrup and peat, with undertones of caramel and grain

Taste: Maple syrup and caramel, up front, with a growing peat presence; by mid-palate, however, there is a serious phenolic development that also brings fusel alcohol into the forefront; downhill, after the swallow, as the booziness and phenols offset the promising beginning

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: Although I purchased this bottle from a new store, I wonder about the age here as "0" and "9" are notched into the label and I haven't seen this elsewhere; I'll try it another time in case I have an off bottle but this doesn't much taste like any Wee Heavy I have encountered before, other than the peat element (which I enjoyed for a brief moment)

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Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle - spring has decided to turtle once again, here in late May, so I drink this ode to it with muffled irony.

This beer pours a murky, dark brownish orange colour, with three fingers of thick, puffy, and creamy beige head, which displays very good retention, leaving some decent sudsy chainlink lace around the glass.

It smells of woody maple, biscuity caramel malt, tanned leather, a further toffee sweetness, an oily nuttiness, reduced brown sugar, and some sedate oaken alcohol. The taste is big caramel/biscuit malt, still isolated hard toffee, semi-sweet maple sap, a hint of vegetal smoke, dark earthy fruit, more gritty leather, ethereal savoury spice, and a heady, but well tethered, enveloping booze warmth.

The carbonation is quite low, and almost invisible at times, the body a prominent medium-heavy weight, thick, viscous, somewhat oily, and creamy - a sledgehammer of pleasure on my palate. It finishes well off-dry, the complex malt offset by the lingering besotted fruitiness, and some late-arriving earthy, leafy, and slightly perfumed hops.

Suffice it to say the emphasis is on the 'heavy' in this wee heavy - Fat Bastard himself would be proud! One smooth-drinking, filling, and cockles-warming elixir, this one is. An appropriate offering for we north of the 49th parallel, as the onset of springtime predicated by the equinox normally still means snow on the ground and sub-zero temps that have overstayed their welcome.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a light hazy brown color ale with a huge foamy head with good retention and good lacing. Aroma of light maple notes with some caramel malt. Taste is a mix between some medium sweetness with light maples notes and good caramel malt notes. Nice creamy body with good carbonation. I think this beer could have been improved with a more pronounce maple taste but still very good nonetheless.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.4/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.5 fl oz with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness Goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are extremely high given the brewery, which I've come to admire.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and good retention for the high ABV. Colour is a rather dark ruby. Appealing.

Sm: Heavy maple syrup, dark malts, yeast, wood, and brown sugar. A rather subtle moderate strength aroma.

T: Dark malts form the foundation, with subtle maple syrup atop. I'm surprised at how tame and balanced the maple is; I've had beers built around maple before and it was always overwhelming. Brown sugar adds a tingly dimension to the climax. The scotch ale aspects are pleasant, with well executed caramelization and some nice roasted malt characteristics. All around a pleasant brew, with some layering. Complex enough. I like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some nice cream. Good thickness. Adequate carbonation. Complements the flavours nicely.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable for the style. Hides its ABV well. A solid maple syrup beer with a bit too much sweetness but a good all around flavour profile. It's somewhat unique. I'd have it again if I were in the mood. It's not special, but I might recommend it to friends who really enjoy the style. Another success from Dieu Du Ciel.


A decent candidate for aging.

Drank just fine out of me Guinness goblet.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a somewhat murky medium brown that is mostly opaque. Thin head. Nose brings dark fruits, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and hints of maple. Taste is fairly sweet with a touch if booze and some fruit. Moderate feel with a nice smoothness to it. Drinks quite well. Another hit from the folks up North.

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Photo of oline73
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Max's, served in a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark brown with some light at the edge. There is a finger of off white head that disappears completely.

Smell: Very fruity with lots of banana and maple notes. Bready and caramel malt.

Taste: Quite sweet. Again there are banana and maple notes. There is some bready malt with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with mild, smooth carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: I enjoyed the combination of flavors in this one and would have it again.

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Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Blue Monk last night.Came to the table in a goblet a burnt orange infused chesnut brown with a thin head atop.Brown sugar,dark fruit,maple,and lightly roasted nut in a rich nose.Thick and chewey the mouthfeel is everything you would want in the style.Dark fruit and brown sugar malt flavors with atinge of mable,as it warmed sweet alcohol cameinto play.I really enjoyed this warming wee heavy.

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Photo of nickfl
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a light brown head on top of a red-brown body with good clarity. Low retention and decent lace.

S - Floral with fruit syrup notes. Blackberry and toffee as well as smoky toasted malt.

T - Sweet, syrupy malt with lots of toffee. Moderate, spicy hop flavors and balancing bitterness. Notes of vanilla, smoke, caramel, brown sugar, and spicy alcohol.

M - Thick, smooth body, moderate carbonation, and a somewhat sweet finish.

D - This is an unusual scotch ale that breaks the normal boundaries of the style, but does so successfully. There is a lot of complexity, mostly from the sugar and malt notes, and it is well balanced. A nice sipping beer.

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Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Smokestack Chalice.

Pours a small ¼ finger slightly tan head that fades down quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass. Not very much lace. Color is a robust caramel brown, somewhat hazy.

Aroma: Wood/oak, vanilla, lots of malts, maple syrup in the background, sweet sugar, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Big vanilla flavors with some oak to follow along. A lot of malts which is normal for a scotch. Alcohol and ends with maple syrup. They maple syrup is good, but it brings a lot of heat with it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, a little crisp, and hot. Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends with a pretty clean aftertaste.

Overall, a decent beer. I am not for sure, but I am guessing all the sugar in the maple syrup had something to do with all the alcohol in this beer. I think it would be a lot better if the abv was able to be toned down a bit. I do like it that I can taste the maple syrup, however. An interesting brew, maybe not worth the price tag.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.5 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in 2010(I think). Pours hazy reddish brown color with a small fairly dense khaki head with good retention that reduces to a thin lacing cap. Some nice bits of lacing cling to the glass as well. Aromas of big caramel, dark fruits, whiskey, spices, molasses, maple syrup, and alcohol. Some nice aromas that are improving a bit as it warms. Taste of big caramel, maple syrup, molasses, whiskey, spices, and a bit of wood. No bitterness noticed on the finish; and lingering notes of maple syrup, caramel, molasses, and some whiskey on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with only a warming on the finish noticed. Nice smooth drinkability for the level of alcohol, but is still a sipper. Nice balance of flavors. Overall a really nice scotch ale. The maple syrup definitely has a strong presence in this.

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Photo of chinchill
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.5 oz bottle served at a temperature of about 50F.

Appearance: The body is hazy with a dark brown color that has reddish highlights. It has a good tan head that soon dies down to a full top coat and leaves decent lacing,

Aroma: dark, yeasty bread,alcohol esters with notes of sweet dark fruits (raisins, blackberry), molasses, and, perhaps, a hint of maple syrup. A bit boozy but in an acceptable way.

Flavor: Like the aroma, it has dark bread, yeast and some dark fruit, including dates More earthy hops here than the aroma suggested. Hints of smoke and maple/toffee sweetness, and grass/hay. Mild bitterness. The complex, lingering aftertaste is a highlight.

Mouthfeel: Full, creamy body with medium-low carbonation but with more heat in the mouth from the alcohol than optimum.

Overall: Initially disappointing, it remained somewhat disappointing but not much, as I adjusted my expectations.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dull pumpkin orange with a cherry skin blush. An increasingly high-altitude pour did not succeed in creating a crown thicker than one finger. The ecru colored suds fade fairly quickly, leaving nothing on the snifter but a thin rim where beer, glass and air meet.

The most prominent part of the aroma is grain alcohol, which is never a good thing. One could be excused for thinking that a Scotch ale brewed with maple syrup would smell like either one or the other. There is a little dark caramel malt, but it's too little.

Equinoxe Du Printemps tastes better than it smells... but then it would have to. This is one of those 9.5% ales that tastes and feels like every bit of 12.5%. Even at one year of age (2009 release), alcohol dominates the palate. It isn't the flavorful alcohol of a single malt scotch, but the more raw, medicinal, unintegrated alcohol of a low quality blended whisky. Back to beer.

At least it tastes like a Scotch ale. Barleywine and strong ale would work too. Specifics include steely caramel, crumbs of pumpernickel toast, a dash of Angostura bitters, and good ol' ethanol. The maple syrup must have been completely consumed by the yeast because there isn't much sweetness and precious little, if any, maple flavor.

Mouthfeel is a tough call. It's too light by half, yet doesn't feel the least bit thin, has a hint of back end stickiness and is properly bubbled. So why almost no head?

Equinoxe Du Printemps (Spring Equinox) tastes and feels and drinks more like liqueur than beer. I'm usually on-board with that concept, but this brew doesn't have a broad enough or deep enough flavor profile. Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel might impress me one of these days. It hasn't happened yet. Not to mention... $5.49 per single is ridiculous. Bourbon County Stout is cheaper than that.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was by far the best part as a rich caramel colored mixture came forward right out of the gate. Rich looking and almost opaque except for the lightest bit of color poking through on the sides and the bottom of the glass. A huge head of light tan color then came up and over the top, settling down only lightly into a nice pillow that seemed to stay on top throughout the rest of the session. Lots of lacing here as well, really starting to show off with how good this one really is. Rich caramel malts here, hints of herbal notes, and a touch of grass round it out very nicely, and as I take the first sip I am amazed at how big this one is. Really very full feel here with lots of carbonation and really a very well put together profile. Smooth, silky as it rolls across the tongue with loads of sweetness and an wonderful sense of grainy malts and nice touches of an almost brown sugar like taste. Very drinkable, I could have done this one all day long.

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Photo of russpowell
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours an effervescent chestnut/mahogany with a pinky fast falling tan head. Pretty nice head retention and lacing

S: Cakeyness and some iron

T: Cakeyness, maple syrup, smokeyness & a touch of booze & toffee up front. Toffee, a little maple syrup & smokeyness as this warms, some warming booze, faint woody and herbal hop presence as well, starting to show some rough edges. Finishes with pears, figs, a little herbal hop & booze

MF: Fairly chewy, over-aggressive carbonation, somewhat warming

A nice try at the style, was expecting a little more, Just kind of fell apart on me as it warmed A sipper to be sure

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Mugs Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY

A: Pours a very cloudy mahogany in color with very little visible head. The little head that the beer had when poured reduced to just a thin off-white patch in the center. No lacing is observed.

S: Pleasantly sweet, not too intense. There is a lot of dark fruit aroma in this beer, primary that of raisins.

T: Very sweet from the sweet caramel malts and the dark fruit (raisin) and some hints of maple. There is also a subtle hint of peat smoke, like a whiskey barrel as well.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation.

O: A very strong beer and that is something you can tell from the hints of alcohol and the sweetness. Definitely more of a sipping beer but not one that you want a large serving - a little moderation with this is a good thing. I like the flavors in the beer that complement the sweetness.

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Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Modest head that dies to a thin film--leaves spotty lace that slides down the glass. The color is light brown and very cloudy.

Sugary malt aroma; the maple syrup really shows up here.

Sweet crystal malt and maple syrup flavor. Enough hop to provide interest and keep the Scotch Ale true to form. There's a touch of smokiness and molasses. Rich body as expected. I wouldn't describe this as a quaffing beer, but like others from Dieu du Ciel, it is complex and interesting.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clouded brown with a thin eggshell toned head. Nose is definitely influenced by the maple syrup. Flavor is intense. A bit too much so I would have to say. Too tangy and sweet and a bit too vibrant. As it warms I can appreciate it a bit more. Still a bit too bright though. Feel has a fairly full carbonation to it and the liquid is thicker as well. A nice drinker, but probably not worth the coin.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

How fortunate of me to have bought one in the Spring of 2015! I set it aside for/toward no particular occasion, but today is Canadian Thanksgiving Day 2016 (M, 10 Oct 2016) & I decided to pull it out in celebration.

From the bottle: "Équinoxe du Printemps (French for "spring equinox") is the quintessential marriage of two great traditions: beer brewing in Scotland, and maple syrup production in Quebec. At the first draught, the mouth is overcome by woody, malty flavours, sustained by a discrete touch of sweetness. The aftertaste brings about the flavours of maple, which are sufficiently present to be appreciated, but never overwhelming the typical flavours of a Scotch Ale."

I Pop!ped the cap, but given its age & bottle-conditioned origin, I went with a very gentle pour so as not to rouse any lees that may have formed. This did not produce more than wisps, so I did a vigorous swirl that produced a brief finger of light-tan head that quickly fell to wisps. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity & deep-amber highlights. Nose was redolent with fusel alcohol heat! This was a no-playing-around beer. Warming, it smelled deeply of leather, oak, treacle & smoky, syrupy malts. Phew. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full. The taste was less sweet than I expected since it was brewed with maple syrup. Instead, my aging (a January 2015 bottle in October 2016) had allowed the sweetness to fade, creating a very leathery, almost brandy-like flavor. Once I got past the initial heat, a treacle/molasses flavor began to assert itself, but it was still very dry. Wow! Phew! Next came the finish, which you may imagine was dry as any brandy. This is undoubtedly one to purchase & set aside.

I was careful in pouring this one as the label read "Bottle Conditioned", plus I could see a fair amount of lees in the bottom of the bottle. As such, I produced only wisps on the pour. Color was a deep reddish-amber with NE-quality clarity, another reason not to muddy it up carelessly. Nose was really sugary sweet, definitely a maple syrup base! Mouthfeel was fairly full, not viscous, but close. Man, was I getting a LOT of malty sweetness on the tongue. The finish was awash in maple syrup. I felt like sitting down to a stack of pancakes to perhaps soak up some of the alcohol. This would be the far end of the spectrum from what I would normally drink, but it was bought and paid for, so it made a nice interlude on the afternoon.

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Équinoxe Du Printemps from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!
3.88 out of 5 based on 554 ratings.
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