Dieu Du Ciel! ‘Isseki Nicho’ Imperial Dark Saison


image“This very unique beer was born in 2009 from a special collaboration between Dieu du Ciel! and Shiga Kougen, a brewery from Nagano, Japan. Black in color, it is an hybrid between an Imperial Stout and a Belgian Saison. It presents predominant bitterness and roasted malt flavours, balanced by strong alcohol content. The finale is dry, complex and spicy, a typical signature given by Saison yeasts.”

Served in a goblet. Practically impenetrable black pour with a finger of loosely packed tan foam assembling on top. Rapid reduction, eventually forming a fine ring that laced surprisingly well.
Geez this is one seriously complex aroma here. At its base it is super malty, we pick up licorice, dark fruits, subtle whiskey, jaffa and black tea with this left field orange citrus and piney hop character cutting through. WTF?! At this point we double checked what we were drinking. Yep, still an imperial dark saison.
The mouth feel is rich, sharp, boozy (9.5%), bitter and somehow drying in the finish. We can visualize the brewers saying “hey, let’s brew something with almost every possible texture in one!”
How do we convey this maze of flavours to you. Again, it initiates with an explosion of dark spicy malts where licorice, jaffa, toast and cocoa are overtaken by earthy coffee, black tea and an unusual hoppy dryness midway. It all seems to soften a little before it finishes dry, roasty and spicy with a lingering warmth in the tail.
We have more questions than we have descriptions right now. What an outrageous but wonderfully intricate beer. We can see the “imperial” and we can see the “dark” but where the hell does the “saison” fit in? Right now we have stout, porter, quadrupel, black IPA and everything in between. Trust Dieu Di Ciel to offer this amazing drop!