Dieu Du Ciel! ‘Solstice d’hiver’ Barleywine


“This noble winter beer is brown in colour with flaming red highlights. Its taste is delicately sweet and liquor-like with a hint of burnt caramel coming from the malt and a prolonged boiling time. It is a very bitter beer with aromas of hops and alcohol, and flavours reminiscent of red fruit brought by the English-type yeast we use to ferment it. The aftertaste is accentuated by the wonderful flavour of hops.”

Glassware: Snifter.

Appearance: Exactly what we envisioned it to look like – muddy dark brown with a short khaki head. Very finely beaded. Fine lace work as it subsides.

Aroma: The whole time we were writing the appearance we could smell what we thought was Bourbon but a quick look at the specs doesn’t show any barrel aging or spiking. It’s just a ridiculously complex and well layered beer! Massive caramel overtones initially, followed by toffee apple, brown sugar, marzipan, golden raisin, dates, pumpernickel and earthy spice. Oooft!

Flavour: So incredibly smooth for its size. It does have this line of delicate bitterness that extends through to the finish which is absolutely crucial to the overall balance. Other than that it’s just dense caramel and toffee, dark fruits, earthy spice, residual sugars and an obscure bready-ness which is hard to describe. It all aligns for such a delicious and intriguing finish though.

Mouthfeel: Chewy yet silky smooth with a dry bitterness developing in the swallow. Flat-ish Co2 and a very well behaved 10.2% ABV.

Overall: It’s been quite a few years between drinks for us and DDC. These guys have always been our favourite Canadian brewery and still, all these years later, they still are…and for good reason!