Solstice D’hiver

Solstice D’hiver
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel
American Barleywine
9.8% ABV

Poured from 11.5oz bottle into a snifter, this beer poured thick and heavy. A deep earthy brown with some faint crimson highlights when held up to the light, this is quite a menacing looking beer. Not much head to speak of, though some visible carbonation, which I thought odd for a barleywine. Decent lacing for the style as well, which means there are hops to counter the excessive malt.

Very thick whiff of malted grain and caramel. Spicy hops dance on the nose as hints of plum and dried apricot poke in here and there.

Cane sugar sweetness with a mouthful of bittering hops. Strong alcohol presence as well as some charcoal coming in. Not what I was expecting at all, but a welcome change to the style!

Not as thick feeling as the pour led me to believe, though this is quite a carbonated barleywine. Very dry finishing due to the prominent alcohol vapors.

This is definitely a sipping beer (he says as he notices his snifter is half empty). This is not what I would consider a session barleywine (yes, I’ve done that many a time). There is just too much of an alcohol presence, almost like vodka, in this beer. The bubbles don’t help that burn, either.

Well, despite the burning bubbles, I’m impressed. This is definitely unique for the style, from the color to the charcoal flavors. Though I was hoping for more of a sticky sweetness to mask the ABV, I’m still enjoying this one, though not enough to make me run out and buy a case (even at the low low price of $5.50/bottle). I give it a B.


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