Solstice d’Hiver – Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!

Vin d’orge Américain, 10.2%, de Montréal, Québec.

American Barleywine, 10.2%, from Montréal, Québec.
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4 = 3.86/5

Aged around 6 months : Deep murky dark brown color with a copper hue and lots of activity. Light creamy and bubbly beige 1-2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with poor legs but strong lacing yet wild swirl effect. Flavors of walnuts, dark berries, prunes, liquorice, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, dark grains dominant barley, and herbal hops. Slick and oily medium body with a light crisp. Strong strength finish, quite alcoholic and whiskey like with a slightly leathery feel. Thick ester fruits, leafy and earthy. Very lightly sour from the aging, so it did age well, it’s not really vinous but more boozy and less fruity. Rich and powerful, yet the balance is good, ending with a nice barrel feel. It’s the bold type of barleywine for real cold times. Could easy fit as an appetizer but would really appreciate a big portion for warming sessions. Easy to down and still highly enjoyable. Overall high quality craft.

Frappabord – Microbrasserie Du Lac-Saint-Jean

Barleywine Américain, 11%, de Saint-Gédéon, Québec.

American Barleywine, 11%, from Saint-Gédéon, Québec.
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25 = 4.12/5

Aged 8 months old : Deep cloudy and murky brown caramel color with not much visible activity. Creamy and frothy beige 3-4 finger bubbling head, lasting around 10 minutes, with good legs and decent swirl reaction, some powerful lacing. Flavors of berries, plums, toffee, orange peels, slight cheese, wood, walnuts, barley and herbal hops. Slightly creamy, smooth silky, medium to full body with soft crisp. Strong strength finish, thick dark esters, pleasant caramel feel similar to maple, ends leafy and earthy on the tongue, a bit clovey with a hint of grapefruits. Superb balance and decent freshness from probably some Belgian yeast in there. The barley sensation is not too intense, it’s still a robust one while strangely delicate. Slightly sour from the aged session, but it aged well with added complexity. Impressive intensity, the alcohol effect is moderate, very easy to drink while extremely warming. Overall excellent quality craft.