Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D’hiver

May 8th, 2009 beckel

Here I have what is sure to be an interesting Barleywine from the brewery Dieu Du Ciel from  St-Jerome, Quebec, Canada. I saw this beer on the shelves of The Four Firkins when I was there for the beers you can’t get here tasting and though it was rather pricey for a single 11.5 oz bottle the foreign Barleywine called to me, perhaps it had something to do with the barren tree on the label or the person curdling inside the tree like a womb (and being pleased our surroundings finally don’t look like that). From the description it appears that this beer is only brewed once a year and then aged for 4 to 5 months before distribution. This beer pours a very dark reddish brown that looks almost black until you bring it to light and is incredibly opaque. Head is creme in color but only a couple millimeters fading within a minute or less. Aroma contains quite a bit of alcohol as well as dark pitted fruits and a bit of malt sweetness, though it is less obvious because of the intense alcohol aroma present. Presently this beer is just a bit below room temperature as it has been sitting out for over an hour. Taste isn’t as alcoholic as the aroma though it is still a bit more apparent than I would prefer. Further you can detect dates, plums, cherry and a good deal of malty sweetness though still not nearly enough to hide the alcohol. After three or four sips my palate is starting to get used to the alcohol and the nice balance between gentle pitted fruits and sweet caramely malted barley is becoming more and more apparent.  This really is one tasty brew I just wish the alcohol wasn’t so intense initially even at 9.8% ABV. Some vanilla and sweet cream flavors are present in this beer as well but are much more subtle. Mouthfeel is very smooth and the body is medium for the style. Over all this really is a very tasty brew I just wish the alcohol was a little less apparent, additionally I wonder how it would present itself when poured colder though I’m not sure it would necessarily be “better”. If you are into Barleywines that are obviously brewed with quality ingredients and a good intention you will likely appreciate trying this beer though don’t bother if you can’t get beyond some serious alcohol initially. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dieu Du Ciel Solstice D'hiver Barleywine

Three Floyds Dark Lord

May 8th, 2009 beckel

Yesterday my buddie Stu of Friday Night Beer was so kind as to share a bottle of Three Floyds’ elusive Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout with me as well as a bottle of Minneasota’s very own Bearded Brewer’s El Muerto Ale which was very tasty and unique with malt, hop, fruit and herbal flavors creating a delicious balance that I have never quite experienced before. Though I only had about 6 ounces to work with it was truly a beautiful beer appearance wise, well carbonated, very drinkable and was enjoyed thoroughly, I will have to get in contact with the man himself to see about properly reviewing some more of his brews. After sharing a bottle of He’Brew’s Genesi 10:10 [review] (I was lucky enough to find some more at Zipps Liquors and grabbed all 8 bottles on the shelf so we can see how it continues to age) we went for the Dark Lord and boy is it one interesting beer. We consumed this beer at room temperature and as one should expect it pours completely pitch black, looking just like motor oil, though a bit less thick. When brought to direct light you can see the tiniest amount of an amber or brown hue at the very surface of the beer but it is very difficult to notice. Head was a an attractive brown shade but was only visible for a very short period of time as it dissipated almost immediately leaving the surface area almost completely clean. Aroma is surprisingly mellow but is of dark roasted malts, a bit of malty bitterness contrasted and balanced by malty sweetness with alcohol wafting in and out. With a 13% ABV there is no question that alcohol is noticeable in the flavor but remarkably balanced by the immense number of flavors in this brew. The body is on the heavy side but the mouthfeel is incredibly smooth making this a reasonably easy beer to drink considering what you are consuming. As we drank the beer me and Stu chatted about the vast flavor profile of this beer and even as I jotted down random flavor notes I still simply don’t know quite what to say about this beer other than it tastes like Dark Lord. So many flavors are represented Santa’s list couldn’t do this beer justice. From dark roasted malt to coffee and chocolate notes, creamy sweetness and a strange almost tangy mouthfeel created somewhere between the malt and alcohol near the end of the palate as well as many more I can’t quite place my finger on. This beer may be dark, dark and then darker but its flavors are nothing but diverse. Though there are a ton of favors in this beer it is reasonably mellow on some of the roasted flavors which I think allows the many other flavors to expose themselves further. I would be curious to see the differences in flavor if this beer was consumed cold, though I am very glad we drank it warm as I feel I was able to get a glimpse of the vast variety of flavors present in this brew. This beer will be enjoyed by fans of diverse and dark beer alike and I will definitely be making the trek to Indiana next year if I have the means as it sounds like a wonderful community gathering (read Stu’s account here). Thanks again for sharing Stu. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout

Bearded Brewing El Muerto Ale