Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale | De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)

BA SCORE
85
very good
214 Ratings
Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse AleSaison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Belgium
proefbrouwerij.com

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewmaster's Collection - Special Reserve
Mixed Fermentation - Saison De Flandres

Added by clickpush on 05-04-2006

BEER STATS
Ratings:
214
Reviews:
168
Avg:
3.81
pDev:
10.76%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
9
For Trade:
0
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Ratings: 214 |  Reviews: 168
Photo of Reagan1984
3.38/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured much darker than the other Saisons that I have tried. I was wondering about this based upon the "Imperiale" note on the label. But I do notice that this is considered the same style as the other Saisons.

I did enjoy trying this one, but have to admit that I enjoyed the other Saison versions a bit more.

But definitely worth trying.

The beer poured an Amber color with a great deal of orange tones to the color. This is a very good looking beer. There is an extremely creamy and thick head that formed in the glass. This head stayed for quite some time and later there was an insane amount of lacing left in the glass.

Aroma was very fruity and first made me think of bananas or pineapple. But later some regular apple. Also you can detect the spicy notes and perhaps what is referred to as "the funk"

After reading the article in the recent BA magazine on the style, I was waiting to encounter the "funk" discussed. I think I finally came across it in this version of the Saison vs. the others I've tried. It's certainly more pronounced at any rate.

Taste was definitely what I would call Belgian like. There was a fruity punch, some spiciness, then the classic yeast finish. Lots of things happening in this flavor profile. The fruity notes did change as the beer warmed up and I was becoming a bigger fan as I made my way through the glass.

Mouth feel was medium to slightly big and it was quite drinkable.

I really enjoyed the last pour from the bottle when we stirred up all the sediment.

Very creamy, smooth and black pepper notes really kicked up.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.39/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at just over fridge temperature in a Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Much, much more amber than any other Saison I've seen... The head is a creamy three finger tall, lacing moderately. A medium-thick mat is always present on the beer's surface.

Smell- An aroma of some funky Belgian yeast dominates the nose, then turning awfully swine-like... literally like pigs on a farm, rolling in mud.

Taste- Spicy with a quick, lashing hop bite. There's a rich, beefy alcohol presence that does hide beneath the hop bitterness, so no problem there.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The best feature is the beer's texture... rolling and slick. Heavy but enjoyable.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.4/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Of the newer beers available from De Proef, this is my least favorite. It is by no means a terrible beer, I just think they missed the mark for a Saison. Pours amber with a decent initial head that fades to a swirly cap that leaves some minimal lacing. Darker than most Saisons, but it is a broad category. Smells sweet/sour with aromas of cellared apples and a touch of balsamic, old fruit, and orange marmalade. No peppery snap that I like to see in a Saison. The taste also heavily leans on overly ripe fruit, very similar to the aromas, with the addition of apricots and persimmons. Again, no crispness, spice, or peppery snap, and without that it seems a little too sweet and tires the palate too quickly. I enjoy this less the more I drink of it. Give me any Fantome over this beer any day- they make plenty of examples with similar abv to this one that ccould also be called "Imperial" but vome across as much more complete, bold, and balanced.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Striking orange amber color with a less impressive head that reduces quickly to a thin skim and minor clinging around the glass. Nicely assertive carbonation.

Aroma: Highly impressive nose. Sweet caramel base, with all the farmyard attributes one expects in a good saison and then some. This brew goes above and beyond to a certain degree in terms of sour lemon that one might find in a lambic. Other aroma notes include rotten hay, clove, and a cherry-strawberry jam like quality. Also, some light floral notes are present.

Taste: What a let down. The nose got me all hyped up for something unique and interesting yet the taste is just blah. Very plain caramel malt and light floral hops with almost no farmlike qualities to speak of. Subtle candied sugar, lemon sweetness but that’s it. Very dull.

Mouthfeel: Almost flat, despite loads of visible carbonation, although perhaps this was just my perception because the flavor was so bland (I suppose this beer could have been spritzy and I didn’t notice because I was so depressed by the flavor. Very simple, light, and dull.

Drinkability: Average. There is nothing special about this beer’s flavor and I would not go out of my way to drink large quantities of it, however, it does quaff well and has no negative attributes.

A let down overall yet so close to my favorite approach to one of my favorite styles.

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Photo of IrieJackalope
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Russian River goblet from a 750ml corked and caged bottle.

Pours a deep brown, much darker than your average saison, almost looks like a clouded Belgian brown. Aroma is yeasty, but not overwhelmingly so. Taste is not nearly as dry as I would expect from the style, not nearly dry enough, and too malty sweet. Overall, kind of a disappointment. Would much prefer a Saison Dupont or Red Barn from Lost Abbey.

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Photo of n2185
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Onibubba
3.43/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Warning - LOTS of sediment. Pour this baby gently. Color is a dark amber. Darker than any other Saison I can recall. Nice head retention, nich lacing, but not the rocky monster it should be. Has a sweet funky smell which is reflected in the taste. Wow, this is sweet. Some banana. No white pepper, no discernable spice. Some barnyard is there, but the sweetness is too overpowering for it to stand out much.

Highly carbonated with a full and tingly mouthfeel. Drinkability is fine, but the sweetness just makes this too much for an everyday Saison. ABV is very well hidden. All and all, a decent brew, but not wone I would turn to before the big 3 (Dupont, Fantome, Hennepin).

 680 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear dark amber colored ale with a very tall and lasting tan head, very dark for the beer style.

Smell is "Belgian Farm House Funk" with apple, lemon, plum, and allspice in the mix. Fainter coriander and ginger aromas and a Touch of Sour Flanders Red Ale.

The taste starts out sweet and woody with a bit of a bitter aftertaste at first. Cork and lemon on second taste and the herbal bitterness gets stronger, a lot like Italian bitter aperitifs. Tropical aftertaste, mainly pineapple and papaya.

Mouthfeel is Good.

Something like a Saison crossed with a Flanders Red to this tongue. It's OK but I will get Hennepin next time.

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Photo of CPeterson
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A -- Pours a deep amber orange with a nice frothy head that settles into a light skim and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S -- Caramel malt slightly soured with a solid barnyard funk. Almost smells of wild yeast although I don't think it A -- Pours a deep amber orange with a nice frothy head that settles into a light skim and leaves a good amount of lacing.

S -- is.

T -- Deeply malty with a nice crispness with a lingering dryness. Notes of peach and grapes, lightly hopped.

M -- Smooth and slightly tart, with a nice dry bitter note to end.

D -- Nice and approachable, I would use this as a great introduction to the style, although I wouldn't buy it again for my own consumption.

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Photo of JamLand
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of x37x
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of akttr
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of JDavidRice
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of dedrinker
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper color with a soft foamy cream colored head. Aromas of burnt sugar and a little earth. Flavors of burnt sugar, candy corn, slightly tart. metallic. Damp earth? After it warms up it really gets an identity crisis - this doesn't taste like a saison. Medium-full body with a slightly bittersweet finish. Certainly interesting, but it starts tasting like a dubbel, maybe St. Bernardus Pater 6. Weird. Not much of a saison thing going on, so I can't score it too high. Initial flavors are best impression, but the flavor falls apart with a little time.

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Photo of MammothTarantula
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: pours a rather opaque tawny color. great thick head, slightly tan head/ great retention rate and solid lacing.

S: aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg, wonderful fall fruits, apples, green raisins and dates. nice funk in the aroma.

T: green raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, some serious fall fruits, apples and pears. very funky. some alcohol notes. I also get some blueberry notes.

M: very well balanced ale, smooth and creamy mouth feel, slight alcohol burn. good mellow carbonation level.

 484 characters

Photo of KZE80
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of rajendra82
3.52/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color of this Saison was quite deep orange and bordered on red. The carbonation was reserved, and the head was limited to about one to two fingers thick. The smell was floral, spicy, and a little hoppy, with some cheese like funk. The taste was crisp, tart, but not as funky as the nose led me to believe. There was some orange peel herbal spiciness, biut the overall flavor was blander than I had hoped for. As it warmed up, a little more sourness started to show up. A good beer, but other standard bearers of the style are noticeable better.

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Photo of BigJTrucker
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into my Chimay goblet. A honey color with hints of chill haze. Bright white foamy head settled very quickly. Aroma is very sweet, with hints of candy sugar, some citrus or dried fruit as well. Taste is not like other saisons i remember having. Some fruity notes , light sugar sweet flavor . Mouthfeel starts of fizzy, but fades nice and smoothly, leaving just a bit of sweet aftertaste. A fairly drinkable brew, unique flavor, but i kinda wish it was more sour.

 473 characters

Photo of joe1510
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml.
$8.99
Binny's Willowbrook

Saison Imperiale pours extremely dark for a saison. Pours a slightly hazy amber that glows ruby when backlit. A three finger bubbly and fluffy head formed on the pour. Tiny carbonation bubbles rise to the ecru head after it falls to a one finger cap. Suprisingly the haziness clears up after a couple minutes. Leaves mild lacing.

The aroma starts off with a field of wildflowers and a touch of banyard. Some lightly toasted malts in the background. Not a whole lot going on here to get excited about. The barnyard aromas are welcomed but on the subtle side.

Malts in the flavor are more caramel than toasted. That little bit of barnyard is there but it's muddled and subtle. Slight metallic finish. Not bad just not what I expect from a saison.

Light body, a little too light even which wouldn't be bad if there was a little more carbonation to create a frothiness but the carbonation just isn't there.

Easy enough to put down but a glass or two is plenty for me.

This is a disappointment of a saison. Not at all bad just not really a saison. Too dark, too caramelly, not enough of the funkiness I've come to love in a saison. Not at all what I expected. Like I said not bad but nothing to get excited about either. Mediocre. At $9 I'll be passing by this one from now on.

 1,326 characters

Photo of nppeders
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

appearance
ruby red and brownish hue's make this a little bit out of the norm from a typical Saison. Great lacing

smell
mostly malt, not a ton of yeast which I was expecting. Hoping for some more funk. a little bit of plum and some dark fruits in the nose which are pleasant. not overpowering like a belgian Dubbel. crazy fruityness going on...not sure what kind at all but seems more like the tropical type. Really nice.

taste
Similar to the smell. Somewhat subdued in the taste department, malt, caramel, dark fruits, tropical fruit.

mouthfeel -
low to medium mouthfell with low carbonation.

overall -
Interesting belgian beer. Hard to think of it as a Saison, but it's definitely a tasty beverage. Something just doesn't really work in this one. Maybe it's too fruity, or not yeasty enough. It's just ok.

 813 characters

Photo of GbVDave
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass at Hopleaf 3/27/07. Assist by HeatherAnn.

A:Served a dark, tarnished copper color with no head to speak of.

S: Sweet apples and big yeast dominate.

T: Yeasty bananas and clove mixed with sweet & tart fruit, vanilla, and hops.

M: Tart, prickley, and fruity.

D: Very sweet and bitter with almost no horse blanket/barnyard funk. Very strange for a Saison. Not nearly tart or peppery enough.

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Photo of brentk56
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a murky amber color with a couple of head fingers; leaves a nice pattern of lace behind, too

Smell: Expecting a Saison, I am picking up an Old Ale, with caramel and a range of fruity esters; there is a bit of funk, but it is very subtle

Taste: Plenty of caramel and fruit, up front, with pear, apple and cherry elements; by mid-palate, however, the Saison spice arrives to add a vaguely herbacious angle, though very subtle; after the swallow, the caramel lingers while the herbal and fruity elements combine to add contrast

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: An Imperialized Saison??? Well, I can't say the style does anything for me; interesting, but many things are off here, ranging from the overwhelming taste of caramel to the heavy mouthfeel; everything I love in Saisons is missing from this brew; glad I tried it but not something I would seek out again

Thanks, mrmiles, for the opportunity

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bronzed orange peel with a hint of cherry red. One doesn't normally see saisons this dark. The top half of the glass is filled with an outstanding looking crown of orangish ecru that is impressively sticky. No surprise, then, that the glass is positively coated with lace when the cap eventually recedes.

The nose is next to absent. I'm hoping that it'll open up when it warms, even though it isn't exactly cold right now. My impressions at the moment consist of musky, earthy and fruity; nothing more specific than that. Note: warming helps just enough to pull the aroma to above average.

Saison Imperiale is an odd beer. It's heavy on the caramel malt, moderate on the spices and light on the farmhouse funk. I'm not sure what it is, but I'd call it any number of things before I'd call it a saison, despite the catchall nature of that style. English old ale?

All that gooey caramel malt gives it a sweetness that is out of place. It also tends to drown out whatever complexity might have been provided by the yeast. One source I found says that coriander was used. I can sorta taste it, but I could never have identified it on my own. Add some earthy hops for a moderate bitterness and you have... nothing special really. Bruised apples? Nuts? Caramel-covered apples with nuts? Faint impressions at best.

The mouthfeel is more American than Belgian. In other words, it's medium-full with a moderate chewiness and a less than expansive amount of carbonation. I don't hate it, I just don't love it.

Saison Imperiale is a decent, drinkable beer, but it's nowhere near what De Proefbrouwerij usually delivers. What's a farmhouse ale without any farmhouse character? If you happen to run across a bottle, I'd suggest spending your money (I spent $8.99) on something else.

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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
3.81 out of 5 based on 214 ratings.
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