Solstice D’hiver

Reviewed by on January 20, 2014 in Winter Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel!

  • Origin: Montréal, QC, CA

  • Rated On: December 6, 2012

  • Best Before: bottled in October 2011

  • ABV: 10.2%

  • Ideal Temperature: cellar temperature

  • Style: American Barleywine

  • Rating: GOOD !

The Review

‘The Winter Solstice”, en francais. The barren, leaf-less spindly tree on the label drives that point home in a manner akin to the climate outside right now. Dieu de Diel has national distribution, in Canada, as well as in the United States.

This beer pours a dark over-steeped tea colour, with two fingers of puffy beige head, which leaves a consistent pattern of droopy looped lace around the glass as it evenly settles. It smells of big sugary caramel/toffee malt, mild dark complex fruit, a twinge of treacle, and a somewhat acrid booziness. The taste is quite strongly stewed butterscotch malt, dark fruit liqueur, and further drying edgy, earthy hops. The carbonation is moderate, and a bit on the high side for the style, the body pretty hefty, smooth, but noticeable for its lack of stickiness. It finishes mostly in kind – a lingering caramel sweetness, smacked right down by booze and bitter hops.

I sure don’t mind the hops and strength in barleywines, but this one is just a tad too astringently boozy for my liking – maybe partly my own fault, as it was bottled only a little over a year ago. It would be interesting to match this against an equally aged release of my local concern’s barleywine – Alley Kat’s 2010 Old Deuteronomy. Time may very well tell. And after reading the product description in French on the side label – looks like I was bang on: alcohol, fruit, and bitter hops – c’est vrai!

Brady White

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