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

Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse AleSaison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale
BA SCORE
65.9%
Liked This Beer
3.81 w/ 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:
#14,564
Reviews:
168
Ratings:
214
Liked:
141
Avg:
3.81/5
pDev:
10.76%
Alströms:
3.95
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
9
Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 214 |  Reviews: 168
Photo of htomsirveaux
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 750 mL bottle.

Pours with a fizzy lacy peachy white head. Somewhat flat, clear bright ruby color. A strong smell of tart cherries and brown sugar, almost burnt caramel. Starts tart and sweet with a distinct hint of cherry pits, becoming dry in the finish and aftertaste. Light to medium body is warming in the finish. Becomes sweeter as it warms.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.63/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Rust-water that's been steeping a while has a few specks in it. Specks of some sort of yeast or active culture, it seems. A small mountain of tannish foam sits atop, dropping after a few moments to a patchy layer. A few leftovers cling to the walls, lending an attractive appearance.
One of my favorite flavors in the world is butter-graham-cracker-crust, the kind that crumbles when you attempt to pick up whatever it is that the crust contains. Some nuttiness in the aroma, and just a bit of wild yeast... but that very crust that I love so much is the dominant note in the nose. I'm not sure what they were, some sort of almond-brownie-bars, but as I walked into the house last night, it smelled like this. Maybe just a little too rich and sweet of an aroma for a farmhouse... I wonder if this would sour a little more after some years?
That ridiculously sweet, buttery graham cracker and almond is the same in the flavor... I wonder if she blended them and snuck them into this bottle? ("are you trying to tell me something? Gain some weight?") Just a tinge of spice/sourness... and then, with the almonds and buttery-sweetness, comes an earthy hop note that balances the finish and makes one want another draw... Just the slightest touch of peppery alcohol rounds it out...
Crumbly, though. Dries out the mouth after swallowing. Dances on the tongue. Some hints of warmth.
I just don't know. It's a great beer, but I feel the calories seeping into me as I drink, far more than an RIS. It's as though the almond-butter-graham-cracker-pecan-pie-bars were liquefied and chilled, then carbonated and a little hint of bitter and sour was added. Caramelized sugars, I suppose. Doesn't taste like Brach's or anything, but you'll get some of that buttery sweet.
I think a little wilder yeast would do it some good... balance that sweetness a little more. Maybe some age. Let the yeast change and mature and sour the flavor a little. Certainly a worthy brew, but could be world-class.

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

Into my Duvel glass

A: Darker than anticipated. A murky brownish orange with a 1+ finger off-white head and fairly high carbonation. Great lacing

S: cinnamon, faint dark fruit, wild yeast funk, sour berries, a little medicinal, candied sugar and grassy. All sorts of aromas

T: dark fruit and berries (like aroma) caramel, malt, some wood

M: rather full bodied with high carb and a sourness, dry with a little bit of a sticky mouthfeel

D: A pretty good saison, not my favorite, but well done.

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Photo of Kraken
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured from a corked an caged 750 ml bottle into a Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Moderate pour yields 1 inch of head. Head is an off white/tan with great retention and copious lace. Color is a cloudy orange brown.

Nose- Citric and musty, with nuances of yeast and dough.

Palate- Slightly sour citric quality. Smooth with highly active carbonation. Plenty of bitters at the finish. Some sweetness comes through. Distinctive yeast characteristics contribute to a musty element in the flavor profile. Plenty of hops, reminiscent of a Belgian IPA rather then a saison. Finish is long and dry with plenty of pithy bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Mildly cloying, very active and dry.

Drinkablility- This is a great beer. Keeps you interested.

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Photo of avalon07
3.7/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a brown color and a thick consistency. There was a quarter inch of foamy head and solid lacing.

S: Smelled of Belgian yeast, some fruit and spices.

T: Not exactly what I expected. Taste consisted of dark fruit, Belgian yeast and malt. Another reviewer said this was more like a quadrupel than a saison. That's pretty accurate.

M: A nicely carbonated beer with a smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

D: On the whole, a drinkable beer, though not as complex or in character as other saisons I've tried. Not bad, though.

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Photo of glid02
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a turbid dark orange color with a big two-finger head. The head sticks around for a while before settling into a thin pancake of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Nice lacing is left all the way down.

Smells more like a quad than anything, with Belgian candy sugar and a yeast funk, but it's also joined by a grassy aroma.

Tastes very good. Again, more like a quad than a saison up front, with light and dark fruits mixing and sweet Belgian candy sugar. As it warms, the malt asserts itself more and there's definitely a grassy twang.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness with active carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem finishing this one and wish I'd bought the big bottle.

Overall, there's a lot of stuff going on in this beer and the flavors change slightly with every sip. An interesting "Belgian saison" that's definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of Billolick
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Belgian bomber, caged and corked, no freshness info to be taken in. Pours dark and murky for a saison, dark tan head, with good staying power, then leaves a load of ringed, froth and then lace. The nose is just moderately of some earthiness and perhaps some lazy yeast in the background. On the malty side for a saison, this one lacks some of the guiding traits that make saison the popular style that it is. Light on the spice, funky barnyard and yeasty intrigue. I do get plenty of maple infused malts, some light holiday type spicing, some heady warming alcohol and a moderately floral hoppy final wave. Decent stuff, nothing special, a bit of a disappointment, especially from Deproef, who have turned out some special brews over the years.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged, I could not find any date marking on this bottle. It opened with a solid 'crack' (or should I say snap, or pop), but it didn't foam up. It poured a disappointingly hazy chestnut brown with an orange cast. I chalked the haze up to having not let the bottle sit long enough. Raised to the nose I got sharp fruit. There's a little bit of tang there. Green apple and dark fruit. Plum/prune, cherry, red grape/raisin. Leather, mineral and earth. Dusty. A bit of mud and a bit of barnyard and a bit of horse hair and sweat. Damp wood or straw perhaps. And spice. Soft spice... it's all kept in check. I'm thinking coriander, but also cinnamon and anise and even all-spice. And nutmeg. I'm thinking there can't be nutmeg, but I kind of get it. Who knows? It all comes back to prune though. Green apple and prune... I'm thinking that's the main note. That's what cuts through. And that's perhaps the main note of the flavor too, after you run through all of the aromas that I've just listed, and then break your way through the dry finish - because what differentiates the aroma from the flavor is the solid, dry, raspy and woody bitterness that runs through it! It's solid, and wide, but not sharp... maybe blunt is the word... no, I think perhaps raspy better suits it. Yes, it has a solid, blunt bitterness, but there's also an edge - raspy. And that must be because of spices. And for me, anyway, that kind of works. There's also a kind of herbal and dry-grass quality to it, and that seems to work with the low-level Brettanomyces. It's unusual in that way, with such a bark-like and woody bitterness. There's not as much fruitiness, but then again, it's also pretty malty. Those residual sugars are clinging to the palate and holding the bitterness and spice with them in the finish. So I have to think about it... what is Saison Imperiale? Well, obviously, it's a big saison. And with that comes bitterness. Right? Or is it too bitter and not big enough? Hmmm...? Well, it's not over-the-top in malt. I think it's just enough to keep from going over. And that needs to be balanced. Either by tartness or hop flavor or hop bitterness or spice. This has a little of each. I think it's well-done and well-balanced. It's interesting, and rich in character. I find it compelling as each sip seems to offer up a little bit more of the story. On the other hand, it can build on the palate after a serving or two. So final thoughts in five words... interesting, rich, full, worth-trying.

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Photo of MrMonkey
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy, rusty brown with a one-finger light tan head that sticks around for most of the duration. Little to no lacing left behind. Probably the darkest saison I've ever seen, and I was quite surprised.

Smell is Belgian yeast, plums, and wet hay.

Taste starts out yeasty with some tart cherries, sour apples and plums. Some wet hay and horse blanket round out the middle with a hint of alcohol. Finishes slightly bitter with a bit more sourness.

Creamy, medium body with a slight tingle from the carbonation.

A good saison, but probably not a bottle a could drink on my own. I was glad to be able to share this one with a couple of friends.

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

It pours a rather murky mocha brown with a horseshoe of hazy amber. Three fingers of creamy light beige head shape and sustain considerably. Broad ridges of lacing plaster the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, underlying grain imparts caramel, toffee, and melon, and the esters are lightly spices with coriander and a general sour crispness. A touch of phenols stutter into a draft of alcohol.

Upon tasting, malted grain flashes candy sugar and caramel, along with a clean crispness that merges well with the sassy, airy esters. Hence, the general crisp spiciness incises further. Alcohol has a warm but muted personality. A soft resurgence of grain bespeaks a rounded, tart and fruity sweetness. A renewed and burgeoning dry crispness carries a lasting finish that bitters a touch. It's not groundbreaking but it is nicely tasty.

Medium bodied, the meandering flow and clean, crisp impression work toward an apt presence.

So the aroma comes up a little thin and short, in body if not features, but the overall character makes it simply good and well crafted. This is one you get to the palate promptly, and having done that, it drinks quite well. The ABV is mack-daddy enough for the style, but it's a happy buzz that ensues. In the end, I finish it gladly and welcome a return trip if it's in the cards.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.74/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nose is sour and medicinal on a malty, fruity base. Dark, ripe fruit with citric notes. Smells great. I love the complex aromas and interactions between malt and yeast.

Pours a deep murky brown with a small top. Looks okay - so dark and murky, some head but not a lot. Certainly doesn't look bad.

A complex sweetness greets the tongue; lots of fruity sugars. Good, stiff dose of medicinal and powdery dry yeast. As they say, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicinal go down. Moderately bitter and tannic-feeling. A little tart.

I wish it tasted like it smelled. It leaves me feeling kind of empty (flavorly speaking). I get some good yeast funk and sweetness, but I never get a good grasp of the malt or hops. Saisons are often lightly hopped, so I won't hold that against the flavor. I think it should be maltier to balance the medicinal yeast or the yeast should be tamed to balance the lighter malt.

Mouthfeel is alright. On the lighter side of full bodied, mild carbonation, a good deal of bitterness and residual coatings of yeastiness.

Drinkability is pretty good. It has many good qualities, but none roped me into loving it. As a Saison it is strong (as advertised by 'Imperiale') and lacks direction and balance. As a Belgian Strong Pale Ale it is soft and light with most of the medicinal flavors of a beer like Orval without the balancing grounding or strength to make up for it. As a beer, it is definitely better than average but it lands closer to pretty good than good.

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Photo of BWH3
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep gold to light amber with orange hues. Big beige head creeps ever so slowly back into the beer while clinging to the edges of the glass. This is a sill and hazy beer. In appearance, it seems more like an Imperial IPA than a Saison.

S: Overripe pear dominates atop a solid base of bread-like pale malt sweetness that is punctuated with a faint banana ester. No tart, sour, or sharp scents. No clove or spice notes. Minimal musty hops aroma.

T: An unexpected shift in flavor tones to favor the musty and mineral hop profile as opposed to the light fruits. Overall, crisp and light. Unusual flavors for a saison and not quite the most pleasing.

M: Despite the hazy appearance and great head retention, this beer does not have an overly heavy body. perfect for saison.

D: A truly interesting take on the Saison. Perhaps more hops in the taste than any other saison I can recall.

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Photo of daythree16
4.18/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Nice orange/amber/gold color with a huge, fluffy, three-finger head. The foam sticks around for most of the duration and leaves pretty decent lace as I drink it. This one is definitely darker than previous saisons I've had.

Big time aromas of Belgian fruity esters. Some honey and spiciness as well. Taste is very fruity with a little phenolic banana. The alcohol is slightly noticeable on the mildly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is light-medium with lots of carbonation. This is a really delicious saison that definitely ranks up there with Hennepin and Dupont in my opinion. Very drinkable.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle poured in to my chimay chalice.

A- Body is a cloudy dark amber color. Much darker than most saisons. Pours with a 2 finger, creamy, slightly off-white head. Head fades slowly to 1 finger but has perfect retention from there and plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass. Cloudiness has medium thickness and is dynamic as yeast sediment and the cloudiness can be seen moving about in the glass.

S- Smell is on the sweeter side with peach, maybe some mango, and apple and pear coming through first with a slight floral accent. Some yeasty funk can be found in the background.

T- Upfront is a mix of sweet and tart fruitiness. I can definitely detect apples and pears, and maybe some peach and mango also (as there is definitely an exotic presence here). This is softly accented by a floral hop presence and a slightly funky, yet bready yeast looms in the background along with a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt. The finish is more tart and bitter than the initial flavor and the floral hops and yeast really make their presence known here.

M- Low to medium carbonation and nice, smooth, yeasty body.

D- This is an awesome beer and is definitely not typical of the style. I've never seen one this dark before and the exotic fruit presence is a great spin on this style. It is a bit sweeter than most but still very good. The ABV is undetectable also.

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Photo of allengarvin
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Van Dieu glass, this rather brown, hazy saison has very little head to notice. The nose is interesting--one of the most bubblegum-like aromas I've ever smelt on a beer. There's also a distinct spiciness that's curious. Nice flavor--a distinct brett taste right from the start, though the sourness is restrained. A bit like Orval but funkier. Moderately high bitterness but hop flavor, I think, is mostly absent. There's a good spiciness accompanying but I'm guessing it's more yeast character, or actual spices, than hop taste.

Very interesting beer, and not what I expected. It misses my favorite flavor components of saisons, but that makes it complex.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on 6.14.08 with bro in law jason. poured from bottle into wide mouth glass.

godo copper color, hazy. thick and bubbly head, foamy. however the head dissipated quickly. it did leave a decent lacing.

good sweet malty smell with hints of cherry and honey. unexpected taste. a little sharp at first but a great malty flavor. mouthfeel was quite nice.

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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 Cyberkedi
4.4/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A nice, hazy mahogany-brown with a fairly decent-sized but not too persistent head. Aroma is strong and malty, and has an overtone of fruit, mainly apple. Flavor is rich and fruity, sweet but not cloying, with just a touch of hops and hints of caramel and nutty taste. Finish is smooth and very satisfying.

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Photo of Sammy
3.64/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a real farmhouse, the barnyard smell is there and it stays, whati the brett accumulating?. Active white head that evolves ito some creaminess. Active spice and carbonation, yet it does not detract. Satisfying aftertaste. The alcohol warms as it accumulates.

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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 BretSikkink
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost brown, dark orange color. Tanned head is pretty tall, pretty tight, with pretty good lacing.

The aroma brawls to get through the cap, but what's there is spicy, earthy, and a little fruity. Some pricks of alcohol.

It doesn't look or taste much like a saison in the usual sense; not unpleasant, just different. Lots more caramel malt than pale malt here. Spicing is prevalent, hops are there but not doing a ton to the flavor. The finish is hoppy and pretty long for this style - normally saisons are all bubbles.

Mouthfeel is a little thick for style, helped along by the caramel malt. Nothing funky or tart, just a lot of sweetness and the nutty spiciness. Pretty chewy.

Not worth the price, but an interesting, strong brew from De Proef. Not up to my expectations from that brewery.

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Photo of USCTrojanBrian
3.3/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle, corked (newcork) and caged, purchased at The Perfect Pour (Columbia, Md.)

Wow, dark, dark "saison". Brown, yellow, interesting mix there. Not much head, poured into my Brewer's Art chalice.

Sweet aroma. Get some malts in there. This is really different. Something else in there too, some too-ripe fruit like raisin plus figs.

Nothing like a saison. More quadlike, a watery quad at that or a Belgian Dark. Sweet and fruity are the two main components here. Dark, complex concentrated sugar fruits like raisins, plums, figs.

Not what I expected. This is a talented brewery doing something a bit unpredictable here, I'm not necessarily taking to it but if someone digs those flavors this is probably a really interesting concoction, a less-intense quad or BDA with the various fruity flavors and nose.

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Photo of RodBurg
4.22/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice dark copper with a thick tan head into a goblet. Good Lacing.

Lots of spice floating off this one. Cinnamon, allspice, cloves. Also has some fuity notes, plums and apples and some yeast.

Taste starts off with the spice and a little fruit. Yeast and banana bread also there. End has unique combo of tart, tang, and bitterness. Body goes well with the prickly carbonation.

Very complex and well put together. I'm a fan.

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a chalice style glass.

I have to say that as I poured this into the glass I did a double take. To date, the Saison style brews that I have had have all been light golden yellow in color. This brew is different as it has a dark orange amber color. It is not at all unattractive but it was different than expected. The finished pour sported a nice two fingers of creamy white foam that stayed put through the whole drink. Lacing was light to moderate.

Malt is the first thing I noticed, followed by sweet smells of caramel and Belgian candy sugar. There is a light fruit smell as well but it is faint.

Sweet caramels and malts steal the show with this one followed up by some dark fruit flavors, like fig. There are no real noticeable hop notes but there are a few hints of spice. The flavors stay solid and relatively heavy on the tongue, not quite cloying but definitely sweet. The finish is relatively long and again, sweet. The carbonation does give this some body and character as the bubbles are fine and persistent, giving the brew a nice creamy texture. Pleasant overall.

This was a pretty good Saison but not what I would call 'great'. I give it kudos because it is relatively strong for Saison but I didn't get a real strong sense of alcohol on the palate or in the finish. It was a little too sweet for my liking but it still wasn't bad. Give it a shot if you like the Saison style and would like to try something different.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
3.77/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a goblet. Thanks, TP!
Pours a dark orange/brown with a small off white head. Smell is pungent. Strong aromas of funk - definite barnyard here. Some cheese and alcohol too. Taste is totally phenolic. Tons of band-aid flavor. Very strong on the horse blanket as well. A good deal of spice to finish. Very dry mouthfeel. Interesting, does not taste like any saison I have ever had- more like a funky american wild ale.

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Saison Imperiale - Belgian Farmhouse Ale from De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot)
Beer rating: 65.9% out of 100 with 214 ratings
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