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

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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse AleSaison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale
BA SCORE
3.81/5
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
Ranking:
#15,414
Reviews:
168
Ratings:
214
pDev:
10.76%
Bros Score:
3.95
 
 
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6
Gots:
9
Trade:
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Ratings: 214 |  Reviews: 168
Photo of drummstikk
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first thing to notice is this beer pours a dark orange, much darker than most saisons. Head is cream-colored and thick, rising above crystal-clear orange beer. The first taste is much less tart than you might expect from a Brettanomyces beer -- instead, you taste ripe cherries and dark musty plant matter, like a pile of fallen leaves or wet bark. There is also a bit of the "bandaid" Brettanomyces flavor, but it's not nearly as pungent as a box of the real bandages -- more like a hint of plastic funkiness. The wild flavors are supported by just a twang of acetic acid.

The Saccharomyces have not delivered the usual earthy and peppery flavors of a Saison, though there are plenty of fruit esters and a hint of spiciness.

The malts are thick and caramelly, with hints of dark caramels and a solid body of medium, sweet caramel flavors. Like a good Saison, this beer finishes sufficiently dry, a feat considering the sweet caramel and thick body. Perhaps the Brettanomyces has contributed significantly to the effect of the dry finish.

The alcohols are present and noticeable in every sip, but not so fusely to be unenjoyable. You couldn't classify this beer as dangerously strong, because nobody will have illusions about the beer's strength. But the strong alcohol flavors and the bizarre Brettanomyces flavors certainly go together to make the effect of a big rambunctious beer, meant to be enjoyed on its own or maybe with a spicy Cajun seafood dish.

Not a bad beer to showcase Brettanomyces, either. You could try Saison Imperiale alongside Orval and a dry lambic to get a feel for the range of flavors that genus of yeast is capable of.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.82/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewmaster's Collection Special Reserve 'De Proef' Breweries

Saison Imperiale Belgian Farmhouse Ale, De Proef Brouwerij, Lochristi, Belgium

Nice, amber-ruby hue, 1/4 inch beige-ish head. Definitely doesn't look like a saison, but that's not the idea, is it?

Aroma: rustic, earthy, gritty, spicy, ...rich malt...a touch of cocoa and coffee, just a hint. Not a typical saison aroma, and we're not doing a saison, are we? So far it seems that way. Raisins, toffee, coffee,...nope, not at all, saison-like.

Taste: Mmmmm, very nice, warm, malty, rich dark fruits...and very un-sasion-y, once again. Mmm, chocolate...mmm, coffee....mmm, raisins...but no matter how Imperiale, I never get the saison. I feel we've gone too far in pushing this envelope, in that we can't call it that anymore. And yet they do, so, who are we/am I to say?

Tasty stuff. Too malty for a saison, too spicy, not sure, but it is bigger in more ways than booze, as is the style in Imperializ-ing these days. It's a nice brew, but not terribly special, and still so confusing, that I can't really recommend it. Doesn't transcend the boundaries in such a way that it's exceptionalism should be celebrated.

Overall: eh....

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark tawny color, non-translucent, with a soft pillowy light tan head of generous size is slow to lapse while leaving thick spongey coating for a lacing. When held to the light a dense showering of micro-bubbles is aided by my etched duvel glass with a extreme rapid rate of rise.

S: Musky oranges, light worty notes with some cellar like dampness of fruit and pears. The finish is topped of by a faint peppery spiciness. Overall the strength was light, bordering on medium which was a slight disappointment for an imperial style labeling.

T: Rich caramel base with complimentary fruity tones of cantaloupe, fresh pears and miscellaneous notes of damp fruitiness. Sweet caramel, apples with some toasty warm munich malt is finished of with a spritzy, almost seltzer like carbonation that brings some life to the situation with a fade of peppery spiciness. The beer comes off with a bigger malt base then usual per style, with some sugary rum cane moments and chocolate. The touch of brettamyoces is nice, never overbearing and used as a compliment to the ale yeast to give it just the right amount of musky quality. Dried caramel nuttiness rounds things out here.

M: Lively mouthful from the overly active carbonation. Beautifuly malt base and forward beer with a medium dense state. Slippery smooth with a boozy malt finish.

D: A bit acidic but not so much per style, with a bit of alcohol. Smooth making for a moderate sipper, but with Fantomes and Duponts being commercially available in my area I find it hard to justify spending money (esp. $15) on a bomber that was just good, but ultimately falls short of the two fore-mentioned staples per style which are at par or even in some instances cheaper.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL cork and cage Belgian bottle is mistakenly labeled 11.2 oz. This "saison de flandres" utilizes mixed fermentation. It is a hazy reddish copper, with medium carbonation and an inch of yellowed head that leaves sheets of lacing. Hops and spicy, lightly funky yeast in the nose, with caramelly and bready malts. It has a nice hop flavor, mild bitterness, pungent yeast bite and more caramel malt than most saisons. Light and smooth, with lots of carbonation and a dry finish. Not as assertive as I was hoping for, but this is a delicious brew that has a good hop/malt balance, and a mild, but noticeable "wild" flavor; probably a good gateway beer for those who have yet to try Brett.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a nice hazy dark orange color with a .5 inch head that is a light tan color. It is quite dense and has some nice sticky properties to it.

S - Aroma is of some nice fruits like pears and apples with some slight hop hints as well. There are slightly tropical hop hints which is surprising. There are some nice funk hints on the nose as well as some yeast phenols.

T & M - Taste starts off with some nice yeasty funk followed by nice dry vinous fruit characters. The Brett notes are pretty prevalent with some nice woody notes as well. The yeast phenols are very delicious. There are some bready malt hints that have slight caramel sweetness but are then well balanced by some nice hop bitterness and spicy notes. Slight clove and great earthiness are prevalent in this beer. The beer is nice and medium bodied with some great carbonation. Flavors are clean and crisp but also have some great funk to them. Overall this is a great tasting Saison.

D - Very high even for the higher ABV. This is a good brew from a solid brewery.

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Photo of brystmar
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Large bomber into a chalice. Bottle label says 11.2 fluid oz, but that's clearly a misprint. :)

A: pours a hazy orange color with reddish hues. Beautiful white head reduces to a thin layer of white protection atop the brew. Mild lace adorns my glass.

S: earthy with plenty of yeasty funk. Malts and spice in the background.

T: spicy and malty with strong farmhouse yeast undertones. Mild sweetness and sourness too, but mostly just delicious.

M: medium-bodied, carbonation stings the tongue early on. Further through the experience, the bubbles subside which lends itself to a smoother and more enjoyable drink.

D: zero detectable boozy warmth. Very easy to drink; I could finish this entire bottle myself without problems if I didn't have company here to help me out.

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Photo of corby112
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark cloudy amber color with golden orange hues when held to a light source and a thick two finger yellowish head. Decent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting ring that leaves splotches of soapy lacing behind.

Slightly earthy, funky aroma with slight maltiness, dark fruit notes, oak and spice. Bready yeast, clove, coriander, banana, apple and pear in the nose.

Medium bodied that's on the fuller end of the spectrum with a surprising amount of chocolate maltiness along with a very prominent peppery/coriander spice character. Earthy oak with a slight tart sour funkiness that is balanced out by dark fruit notes, especially dark cherry. Soft carbonation up front that lingers over a funky sweetness midpalate into a lingering dry finish. Complex and pretty quaffable.

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Photo of srandycarter
4.02/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Murky brown with tan head with pretty good retention. Disk remains and lots of spotty cling lace.

S - Yeast and caramel, with a little straw.

T - Taste similar to smell, but has an astringent aftertaste that lowered the mark for me.

M - Med to full, creamy viscous and coating. Only thing is that astringent aftertaste...

D - Nice beer, fun to try.

Note: REtry 2012 - Much more lush, tropical fruit and banana. Pleasant!

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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 ryanonline
3.6/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

deep hazy coppery color, with a big ol tan head and good clumpy lacing.

smells a little like cotton candy and apples. a little farmhouse scent, straw and funk.

taste is the same. a little bitter and funky. dry finish

mouthfeel is watery and foamy. very dry finish.

moderate drinkability. kind of lasting flavor that doesn't necessarily taste all that wonderful.

im a bit confused by this beer it is kind of an odd farmhouse ale. not bad, but confusing.

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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 dstc
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange with ruby tones. Nice white head falls rather slow to a minimal one. Very thin lace.

Nice aroma up front. Deep down there is a bit of musty earth smell with a slight aroma of a urinal. Yeah, you read that right.

Nice full "Imperial" flavor. Rather nice and quite boozy. Sweet raisin-like taste ending with a slight sour taste.

Rather full and smooth, not overly carbonated. Bit of alcohol on the tongue.

Pleasant. Bolder than I was expecting. Decent.

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Photo of Spineypanda
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a nice amber color slightly hard to see through with a nice lasting head, not huge.
Smells like spices, some cloves and something else not sure what.
Tastes like a neutral yeast instead of the Belgian yeasts were used.
A great beer, one of the more enjoyable Belgians I have had in a long time.

Spices are nice but not overwhelming like in some Christmas beers.

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a hazelnut color into my Bell's tulip. About a finger of quick forming head that is just as quick in disappearing. Moderate lacing is left on the sides of the glass.

Smell - A slight sourness to the nose which is followed by some barnyard funk. Not as prominent as one would think though. I get a bit of wet grass/hay, just a tinge of leather and is that cinnamon and/or nutmeg? Smells pretty good actually.

Taste - This tastes different at first from other Saison's I've had. I get an immediate sweet/malty taste (caramel) which is followed by the spices and finishes up with a slight barnyard funk. Not nearly as much funk as I would have assumed.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied (almost on the lighter side), decent carbonation, and finishes sweet.

Drinkability - I'm not sure yet...this is a very sweet Saison and I honestly am not sure I like it as of yet. I thoroughly enjoyed Bam Bière which had a lot more funk to it though was still relatively balanced. There are many more spices in here than I remember with other Saison's also. Overall it is not a bad sipper but I would prefer a more funky Saison in the future.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.08/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed and reviewed on 1/28/10.
Poured from 750 mL bottle into pint glass (yeah, not ideal, but I had no other glassware on vacation).
A: Pours an inviting dark amber with moderate carbonation producing 1/2 inch tan head that quickly recedes. Decent lacing. An atypical appearance for style...first clue.
S: Caramelly sweet malt, candi sugar, and a hint of yeast.
T: Dark dried fruit, caramel malt, and candi sugar dominate. A dry acidic yeast note is in the background along with a backbone of mild farmhouse funk. Interesting--and definitely different--for style.
M: Medium body. Oily smooth sweet feel with hint of alcohol burn/bite at the finish.
D: Good drinkability and interesting for style. An enjoyable and atypical (more malt-forward) saison that doesn't stray too far from style.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not your typical saison, but it was still an enjoyable beer. Taste was much more funky than a typical saison, as I detected no pepper or spice in the beer but got a lot of funk. When I smelled the beer the first thing I thought of was Victory WildDevil. The beer is very drinkable, but if you are looking for a standard saison, you need to keep looking.

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Photo of eljefe21
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Ice tea like in color. Pours to a single-finger head that quickly zeros out. Impressive fine lacing.

S: Sour malted smell. Very enticing. Ever so slight hint of vanilla.

T: Sour, slightly spicy, with a nice malt backbone. A very faint sweet, almost vanilla finish.

M: Good carbonation up front, fine bubbles like the lacing. Carbonation rolls back over the tongue and leaves with a pleasing dryness.

D: Probably popped the cork on this when it was still a bit cold. Got better as it got warmer (or was it me getting warmer?). Flavor and smells came out as it did. Refreshing flavors and mouthfeel hid the power in this brew. Nice for any time of the year.

Served: in an oversized wine glass.

Review from notes taken on: 9/7/09

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Photo of GRG1313
3.01/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice clear and bright copper with a thin white head.

A lightly sour unripe peach, malty pear nose with some hints of spice and a light hint of citrus.

Mouthfeel is medium character and a bit creamy; good mouth.

Flavors are a bit of sour malt. A bit of sour sweet coffee and a bit of lightly sour sweet peach with hints of apricot. Just misses in the flavor department and I wonder if perhaps I have an old bottle. This warrants another taste with another bottle.

Finish a bit coffee/carmel with hints of sweet and bitter. Not bad; just not real drinkable. All around character is a bit of "sour/sweet tortilla" or, a sweet-sour yeasty beer. Actually, it is a bit "soda poppy."

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Photo of philipquarles
2.73/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle. Pours a surprisingly dark, slightly hazy amber color with a tall light beige head that dies slowly to leave nice lacing. Smells heavily of caramel malts. Quite sugary sweet, with some dark fruits. Strong caramel malt taste with brown sugar and dried fruit. Cloyingly sweet throughout, though somehow it dries out a smidge at the end. Slight alcohol taste and warmth. Thick mouthfeel bordering on syrupy. Way too malty-sweet to be drinkable. This in no way resembles a saison...even a strong one. Kind of shocked that this came from the Proefbrouwerij.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to Thirstybird for the opportunity to try this. Poured a hazy garnet with a quarter inch, frothy head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually dissipates into a skim. Nose reveals caramel, sour cherry, a little malt with some medicinal qualities at the back. Taste follows nose, but medicinal quality really comes out in the flavor; however the flanders red character stated on the bottle label makes an appearance towards the back. Mouthfeel was just shy of medium-bodied and a little bit too effervescent with a slightly tart finish. I know farmhouse is a catchall style; however, not really consistent with my impression of the style. That being said, definitely interesting and flavorful.

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Photo of rtepiak
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

rather dark for a saison but i suppose thats what imperial means. come out reddish amber with some debris and a mild murkiness. nose has a flemish wild funk. barnyard. similar to their primitives but a bit earthier instead of sour. some fruit. raspberry marmalade with what would seem like juniper twigs. woody earth. a tad yeast. burn coriander and some premature orange peel and some cocoa bitter in the finish. it is rather meaty but i wouldn't have with something that isn't gamey. seems perfect for duck with boysenberry.

surprisingly close to jolly pumpkin Maracaibo Especial but broader and not a abrasive on the palate with smoke.

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Photo of timtim
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

very very dark burnt orange with a slightly tan head that holds fairly well and leaves just a little lace. nose is extremely malty for a saison, but w/the imperiale thing, i guess i expected it. all kinds of stuff going on, from a honey nut cheerio cerealishness to earthy, barnyardy hoppiness to banana and clove to sweet, mild brown sugar. taste represents the nose in a pretty well balanced rush to the senses that rolls through on a medium full body with a slightly acidic mineral finish that carries a touch of bitter. very easy drink for such a complex beer and not hot at all. another interesting beer from deproef.

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Photo of scootny
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A surprisingly dark saison. Initially not too cloudy but as I go down the bottle chunks of yeast murk up the glass. A very large head with impressive staying power and good lacing finish off the pleasing looks of this one.

Smell is not typical. A bigger dark malt structure overlaid with a touch of wine. Light banana and a hint of citrus are layered with a raisin and date combination. A firm yeastiness blends into a floral hoppiness. The saison spiciness is there but it is blended into the mix a bit more.

Taste is very much like the nose. Big smooth maltiness with a dark fruitiness and toffee infused sweetness. Buckwheat honey and faint banana as well. A very dry sharpness comes in and puckers the mouth. Firm hop florals as well a a phantom like grapefruit bittering that leaves tannic sourness and graham crackers on the palate and back of the throat. More tropical leaning fruitiness unfolds as it warms. Feel is medium and somewhat chewey. A healthy but finely carbonated touch breaks it up and keeps it pleasant on the tongue.

A very easy one to drink as the abv is well masked. I should say seductively hidden. This one gets better as you drink it and I wish I had more than one bottle.

Thanks to Dr. Dogbeer for this one.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.54/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle

A- Corked and caged 750ml bottle. Pours a dark brownish color with an off-white head. A little darker than most Saidons I've tried.

S- The aroma is surprisingly very malty with hints of spices, must, barnyard funk and yeast. The dark color was the first sign that this wasn't going to be your typical Saison, the aroma confirms this notion. I really like it! Fantastic!

T- The taste starts out with a good amount of malt and caramel flavors. Some spices start to come in along with some funk and earthy hops inthe finish. Like the aroma, the taste is fantastic!

M - The mouthfeel is somewhere between light and medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It is another great beer from this brewery and something I will definitely pick up more of in the future. Highly Recommended!

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Photo of ATPete
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle corked and caged

Pours a dirty brown/amber color with a medium sized tan head. Very malty nose, sweet and husky with subtleties of his signature funkiness. Sweeter than many other saisons, more compost-like in the grassy hay character, wet barnyard, but not as intense as that may sound, if that makes sense. Smooth as all hell, very drinkable for over 8%, a lot of wheat character here. I like the late appearing hop profile as well, its refreshing and begs for another sip. Well done and certainly unique in the already unique world of Belgian Saison.

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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Beer rating: 3.81 out of 5 with 214 ratings
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