78 / 100
355ml screw-top brown bottle purchased from Barny's in Alexandria, Sydney. Poured with the sediment.
Body is a fairly thick peachy golden colour, quite heavily hazed and with some weight behind it. Head forms a fine crest—certainly not very effervescent but with some persistence, and pure white in colour, like the name insists it should be. Lacing is fine and tiny. Looks pretty good.
Nose is spicy but rounded, with a thick sweetness and bold Belgian yeast characters. Spice like uncracked coriander seed and grains of paradise come through, and the peely orange character gives it the fragrance of fruit bread or hot cross buns. Again, it's very nice.
The palate is just as good. Here, the roundness of the yeast characters help blossom the spice notes, giving more clove characters and a more pronounced dried peel fragrance. Booze in a little noticeable on the back, but it's almost as though it dips towards another dimension of the spice, leaving a slight clinging metallic quality. Finish has a little bit of fragrant vanilla pod to mingle with the residual pepper and coriander seed notes. Very well done indeed.
Feel is also good—thickness is usually a fairly good quality in a regular strength witbier anyway, but it doesn't go overboard here, just providing a little extra weight to support the extra flavours.
Overall, this is cracking stuff. For the strength, it drinks very smooth, and manages to present itself as a more flavoursome, more characterful witbier. It's not more booze for the sake of more booze, it has a purpose, and uses the extra weight to a wonderful end. Great stuff.
Pours a lovely red-amber hue, with decent clarity for such a deep and heavy brew. Lace seems to form before the head forms, leaving gorgeous patterns down the inside of the glass. The head itself is a filmy affair, but it's very finely bubbled. Body is incredibly thick and full, and it has some of the best static carbonation I've ever seen. Gorgeous.
Nose is really surprisingly weak, with just a peppery yeast note and a slight alcohol whiff. Rather smooth vanilla note and a raw meatiness. Not bad, but I'm really surprised at how insipid it is.
Taste is a bit better, with a sweet caramel basis and a biting acetone finish. It's still extremely mellow and mild, and it's impressive how little this leaves an imprint on the palate given its strength, but I'd really enjoy a bit more complexity and body.
Feel very smooth, which helps the drinkability.
Really, really smooth. So much that it doesn't even feel as though it's hitting the sides. It's a weird experience, but I like my beers to be more complex, and more challenging. This is decent, but far from Dieu Du Ciel's best.
Pours a dark red colour with lots of cloud. Head is modest and thin but nicely dense, retaining a thin film of creamy foam with beautiful dense lace. Yeah, looks like a good strong, hearty beer.
Smell is reasonably fruity, of the dark variety. Lots of plum and raisin notes. Plenty of tart spice with hints of cardamom and some vanilla in there. Orange peel as well, and some pine needle for good measure. A bit on the sweet 'n' sour side, could use more spice oomph, in lieu of bitterness.
Taste is quite chocolatey and sweet at first, lots of cocoa and woody characters with some tart fruit notes. Plenty of plum and apple/pear sweetness coming through, slightly candied and almost liqueury actually. Light spice and Belgian phenols come through late, hints of some green peppercorns + pink as well - no black or white though, note - and a touch of coriander as well. Nice alcohol warmth on the back, just softly boozey with a full, silky body. A touch of tingle from the carbonation makes it a bit dry on the finish and the woody notes kind of add to that, with the major aftertaste being oaky. Overall, nice complexity but lacking in the front-mid palate, flavour-wise.
A pleasant drop with good flavours, quality over quantity really. What's there is tasty but I kind of expect more from 10.5%
73 / 100
Pours a lovely slightly cloudy, low flocculated brown red. Head is very finely bubbled, a lovely yellow-beige colour. Minimal lacing, but the body is very thick and heavy. I love that it has such robust carbonation though. It looks great when swirled. Very nice indeed.
Ooh, lovely Belgian yeast notes on the nose, wonderfully mixed with a pleasant spice and the tantalising hint of big boozy characters on the palate. Not a huge amount of sweetness promised, but there's some very pleasant true Abbey Ale characters to it.
Taste is, to be fair, a little disappointing. Minimal sweetness and surprisingly little body, so the full breadth of the palate is not really used. What's there is a pleasant spice and a slightly dusty and boozy bitterness on the back palate. Ashy finish. I'm tempted to say it's a bit old, and perhaps a touch oxidised, but that's not really the characters I'm getting.
Decent enough, but I was underwhelmed after taking a sip. Don't get me wrong, it's still a very good beer, but it feels like it's lacking for the style.
72 / 100
Pours a Hellish dark-red colour, humble head when poured, sinks quickly but retains a thin ring of beige lacing which clings sweetly to the glass. Evidence of a steady trickle of carbonation in the body. Looks pretty darned good, in-fucking-deed.
Ooh yeah, that's a scotch ale nose alright. Lots of sweetness with caramel malt, vanilla and maple syrup clinging to the olfactory. But accompanying that sweetness is a big whiff of fusel alcohol giving a distinct bite - even a spice - to proceedings. Some slight chocolatey notes on there as well. Not bad, I don't trust sweet noses very much though.
Taste is very malty, with a lot of sweet toffee notes underlying a palate with a lot of that maple syrup spicy sweetness, slight floral and woody characters on there as well that actually manage to distinguish themselves against that sweetness so the palate is not all that syrupy past the mid. The beer is well-attenuated as well, so while there is a lot of body, it goes down quite slick with a little drying after-effect. There is, however, a noticeable burn from the alcohol, and without the sweetness continuing on the back, it kind of tastes like a separate flavour and is slightly characterless; kind of a refined sugar-fermentation character (like rum, people). Just a little roughness though, and certainly doesn't spoil an otherwise intriguing and pleasant flavour.
Yeah, a usable ale - less sweet than worse scotch ales I've had but retaining that heat, so while it's good it's not THAT drinkable.
71 / 100
I do like a good Rye beer -- and one brewed with peppercorns? Well that just sets off my novelty alarm. Let's go.
Pours a pleasant deep red-brown colour, with a coarse-bubbled head of off-white foam that almost has a greenish tinge to it. Lacing is a bit foamy and loose. Body looks pretty solid and heavy for a 5% beer. Pretty decent all up.
Yup, there's pepper all over the nose, freshly cracked corns of spice, overlaid on a rather sweet smelling malt-base. Certainly not much in the way of rye, although I generally find rye giving a slightly peppery overtone to the aroma of beers in any case. It's very pleasant -- the pepper, while obvious, is a nice touch.
Taste is pleasantly done. Here, the hops come forward to add a pleasant bitterness which mingles almost indistinguishably with the pepper character. Perhaps a hint of rye astringency comes forward too. Finish is very light and dry, just leaving the prickly pepper residuals to dance across the back. Quite a sharp ending, and the more you drink, the more pepper spice builds up on the back of the throat.
Still, it is as I expected, a very interesting brew, and one which is surprisingly approachable. The bite of the pepper becomes a bit much after a while, but it's quite the unique brew. Certainly something to look out for if you're after something a bit different.
87 / 100
Pours a rude ruby colour, with great beige head, visible bubbles, but nicely fluffy on top. Body is clear, showing steady thin bead, while head sinks slowly, leaving some nice - but thin - trails of lace around. Pretty damned nice.
Pleasant nose. Quite sour with that definitely-tart-but-beer character. Not sour like a lambic but that tart gristy grain character. The peppercorns definitely hit you on there, green and mildly spicy with a nice piquancy, a slight briney note to the spice, also kind of chilli-esque. Very intriguing, but also very pleasant.
Taste begins largely malty with a fair caramel and barley grain flavour on the front-to-mid, just a slight acidity from the rye that becomes more prominent towards the back. Some slight cocoa notes and vanilla sweetness takes us through to the finish. Now the main event - the pepper. Starts late-mid and complements the slight gherkiny tartness wonderfully, then gives a noticeable peppery bite right at the end that remains as a slight heat, just pleasantly spicy. This is my kind of beer; I love that spice sensation, and the rye gives it a great bite that really develops the palate well toward that end. Great and interesting flavours, used well, balanced, very enjoyable beer.
The mouthfeel is moderate, and sadly a little flat. Most of the sensations are that spice at the end - which I enjoy, but it could use a little more body and a little bit more sparkle from carbonation.
A bold flavour like this I can imagine putting people off, but I am a spicehead and it's just a hugely enjoyable, unusual sensation to me. I just love this beer to bits and could drink it all night.
Pours a nice orangey-brown colour, head is foamy, off-white and beautiful, leaving some amazing wads of cottony lace around the edge. What a body! Slight haze and light bead through it. Wonderful, wonderful IPA look. A killer!
Nose is tangy and floral. More sweet than bitter hoppy. Huge rosewater hit with light citrus notes, lavender and pineapple. Pleasant but a bit too sweet for me. Vanilla, rose, fruit. Nothing to cleanse with.
Taste is malty, with a fair amount of caramel at first. Lots of cake dough as well with vanilla and pearl barley grain notes as well. Hops come through fairly early, again with floral and sweet flavours - citrus fruit, pineapple and tartaric acid. Bitterness finishes off but doesn't quite flow from the hop flavour, just floats up at the end, acerbic and phenolic in nature but reasonably cleansing. Quite woody as well, with a resinous edge to it. Not bad, but feels unbalanced overall. Could use a bit more late-hopping on the brew to help the mild hop flavours blend better with the hop bitterness.
Good body to this brew, with nice viscosity that coats the mouth as it goes through. Smooth to match the palate well. Very good in fact.
Yeah, it's a pretty good IPA but could be more drinkable. I do, however, feel like the American IPA bar is set very high for me because I've drunk some truly extraordinary examples of late.
69 / 100
Looks like watered-down tomato juice. Bizarre pink colour with opaque haze throughout it, very light/no head, small, small trails of lace. Looks interesting enough not to hate it, but seriously, weird.
Smell is very pleasant. Tingly, tangy and zesty, with a huge sherbet character and nice berry notes as well giving fresh fruit. Reminds me of pink lady apples and that 'purple' candy smell. But mostly sherbet. Not sure how beer-like it is, but at least it's pleasant.
Taste is richer, with a large tomato boldness cutting through the middle. Has a lot of that tartaric zip on the front, then gets bold and slightly bitter on the mid, slight sourness and quite a woody character. Some citrus zest on the back and definitely a sweet nectar syrup. Fascinating drop, really, good grainy undertones but a very unique floral flavour dominates.
Feels quite thick, adds to that nectar undertone. But goes down pretty easily with just a slight prickle at the back.
Kudos for trying something different. This one is for the open-minded but thankfully it's really quite palatable. More like soft drink or fruit juice than beer but enjoyable in its way.
Pours a burnished brown colour with lacklustre beige head. Lace is something else - spectacular, letting me know this coal lady has a great body (what coal lady doesn't?), but head could stick around a bit more. I prefer my coal ladies to have heads. Body is clear with no real bead. Overall decent.
Smell is smoke-tastic. A lot of charred meat, bacon and just good old wood smoke on there. Slight cheesiness to it. Not a lot else, maybe a slight fruity tang, but yeah lots of meaty smoke. Simple but good.
Taste is quite charry. Has a slight spice at the front with mild caramel malt character. Smoke doesn't hit you until the mid-palate but then it's there, woody and meaty, with lots of that charcoaly, ashy, peaty flavour coming through on the back. Really cuts through that glazed meat character to leave a smokey bitterness that is surprisingly refreshing. I think I'm getting to the stage where I've tried enough smoked beers to "get it" and they need to offer me something special. This is a very decent example, well constructed palate.
Mouthfeel is a bit harsh around the edges but nice amount of body. Goes down roughly, but overall makes me feel alright.
Definitely couldn't slam a smoked beer at the best of times. This is okay, but drinkable is not the word that springs to mind.
75 / 100
Pours a very pale straw colour with big bubbles clinging to the side. Lots of haze, head is snowy, sinks but leaves lovely thick webs of lace behind. Pretty damn nice witbier.
Zing! Huge fruit on the nose, masses of citrus, orange and lemon with a sherbet twang to it. Tang that up ya! A bit hint of rubber and maybe some banana at the back, but yeah, really nice tropical smell, grounded well by mild bitterness. Could use a little bit more obvious spice, although there are noticeable traces of nutmeg/coriander lingering at the back. Almost perfect otherwise.
Taste has more of those same tropical fruit notes. A lot of orange, lemon, grapefruit, with a tartaric twang on the mid. Finish has really nice bitterness to clean up, mild spice with coriander and nutmeg, more of that rubber character and a hint of pine wood. The fault lies in this odd sweetness that underlies the whole palate and gives a slight saccharine edge to the otherwise pleasant finish.
Swills nicely in the mouth with lots of body, but leaves very dry indeed. Otherwise nice but yeah the dryness is palpable.
If you can ignore those couple of excesses, this is a very good wit with nice flavour bouncing off it.
74 / 100
Pours a pale gold with translucent haze. Head is modest, white, nice specks of lace being left behind as it slowly goes down. Steady carbonation throughout the body. Looks good, but I'm not quite sure about that much haze in a BPA.
Nose has a huge sweet aroma. Lots of fruit with fresh pineapple, citrus, lots of cake dough and light toffee edge to the malt. Slight hint of dry-roasted coriander seeds at the back, just enough to spice and funkify this delicious fruity smell.
Taste is very fruity and tangy. Lots of candied pineapple with slight passionfruit and almost a berry character as well. Lots of cinnamon comes through on the mid with a baked apple sweet/sour character as well. A hit of phenolic Belgian yeast bitterness underlies and comes to the fore at the end. Pleasant but a little overpowering at the finish line. Could use more complexity in the sweet front, it's a little too refined-sugar, while finish is clean but leaves a hint of dry-ash feel.
A pleasant drinking beer with a couple of challenging flavours, but goes down smooth. Very enjoyable.
74 / 100
Had on tap at The Local Taphouse in Sydney, as part of their Canadian Beer SpecTapular.
Very pink, salmon coloured body, with a filmy head of pale pink bubbles. Light in the body, but you expect that. I like that the colour at least doesn't look so much like artificial pink food colouring.
Very sweet on the nose, with odd fragrant wood notes and a light spiciness. Hints of rosewater and lemon that give a really pleasant deep sweetness. It's actually extremely pleasant -- I have to say they've got a good concoction of flavours here.
Taste is also really good. More rosewater, and a light herbaceous character. I guess that's what the hibiscus imparts. Notes of pear become prominent after a while, very fresh sweet and refined. My guess is that it's just the combinations of other esters which release that flavour, but it's really quite lovely.
Very, very drinkable and refreshing, and quite surprisingly well integrated. It feels like the sort of flavours that should always have been infused into beer.
For the record, I had an argument with another guy at the SpecTapular about whether this was "really beer". I said that we've accepted things like orange and coriander spiced witbiers, so why not this? I believe this is much of the same ilk, that the combination of flavours works as a beer - and much different from some other sugary fruit-or-spice infused beers.
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse Canadian Beer SpecTapular.
Nice, very pale yellow coloured body without much of a head. Lacing is a bit sudsy, but is surprisingly good for the lack of head. Not bad.
Nose is quite sweet and citrussy, like moroccan candied lemon peel. Some grassy notes to it as well, quite fresh which add a subtle ruggedness. Also some flavour which reminded me of America which I couldn't initially pick until I realised it was the sweet fake vanilla candy character. Nice though.
Taste is very sharp and clear and spicy. Coriander comes through a lot on the palate, giving a spicy and robust backpalate that gets a little overwhelming. A bit too intense on the spice. The nose suggested more mellow, sweet and refreshing characters. Mouthfeel is round and clear. Nice.
This is a nice beer which just has a little too much aggression on the palate for a wit. I feel as though the flavour needed some more sweetness and a lot more temperance.
88 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst as part of their Canadian Beer SpecTapular.
Pours a very deep, opaque black, with a crusty head of mocha foam. Thick, with lots of statick bubbles in the body under the head. Heavy, devilish and delicious-looking.
Huge chocolate, nutty and vinally ice-cream characters on the nose, with a hint of rye crackers and Nutella. So sweet and lovely; really, really awesome. Not a huge amount of layering of complexity, but the intensity and sweet deliciousness of the characters is great.
Smooth entry, light hints of dark grain, before the soothing vanilla and chocolate sauce characters come through to mellow the palate into sweetness. Very sweet, with only a whiff of roasted charred characters, giving a slight cigar smoke piquancy. Really delicious.
This was a sensational beer, and one of the very best on the day. So delectable, so rich, but so mellow and seductive. Awesome.
76 / 100
On tap at the Local Taphouse Sydney's Canadian Beer SpecTapular.
Pours a clousy, very pale yellow. Frothy, creamy head of pure white, with lots of carbonation feeding it. It looks like whipped egg-white on the top of the beer. Nice.
Quite fruity on the nose, with nice big round Belgian yeast notes and a touch of spice. Not huge hoppy characters, given that it's supposedly dry-hopped, but there are some restrained tropical fruit notes which more set off the Belgian yeast. Potent but pleasant.
Taste has odd hoppiness to it which jangles a little against the round and spicy Belgian body. Sweet entry, spice and hops bouncing off each other, and a dry, lightly bitter and phenolic finish.
Mouthfeel is clear and clean and smooth. Very lovely.
Very nice. Interesting twist to a pretty well made Belgian ale, that works. Very drinkable all up.
79 / 100
On tap at Sydney's Local Taphouse for the Canadian SpecTapular.
Lightish red-amber hue, with a fine but slightly filmy head of white bubbling. Some fine carbonation, but not a lot. Looks decent without being exceptional.
Definitely lots of smoke on the nose, but it's a big peaty and earthy kind of smoke aroma. Even a little roasted grain coming through. All of this succeeds in balancing the nose quite well. Very nice.
Taste is superb. A really big and robust smoke presence throughout, matched with some fresh, green, slightly herbaceous characters, and a light drying of the palate to create some crispness on the back. Smoke continues to the end though, leaving a lingering whisper of wood-fire and turned earth. All too often the smoke in a beer appears on the nose, but gets lost on the palate. This one is a winner.
A really wonderful smoked beer, full of flavour and very classic.
71 / 100
Pours a cola-brown, with the colour only visible at the edges once in the glass. Slightly pink-tinged beige head that dissipates to leave deliciously thick lines of lacing around the glass. Steady carbonation is visible. Looks alright, could be better.
Nose is quite delicious, with the aroma detectable during the pour, nice and strong. Sweet cocoa-rich chocolate on the nose with a decent milkiness to it. Can't get any distinct vanilla because it's lost in the sweet mélange presented to me. Toasted grain, sweet corn/rice on there, with light caramelisation, cream and cinnamon. Very tasty, hearty and sexy fragrance.
Taste leands more heavily on the cocoa side and as a result is more bitter. Starts with that sweet character with caramel, vanilla and some lightly toasted bread notes, then cocoa takes over, imparting a strong, robust unsweetened chocolate flavour for the mid which is rich and earthy. Finish lets the sweetness trail off and bitterness abounds, with a light ashy flavour late, notes of spent coffee and tobacco on there. Particularly prominent on the aftertaste, and I'm finding a very slight watery gap late on the finish before that bitterness takes over. From my nose expectations I'm disappointed but despire its faults this is a fairly tasty stout.
Feel is smooth with a little bubbliness as it goes down. Perfect viscosity coats your mouth.
Definitely a good one to drink. At 6.5% it can almost pass for sessionable, and the doses of bitter and sweet are balanced enough to keep you coming back. Look forward to trying this on tap at the Moose and Mountie spectapular at the Local Taphouse in a couple of weeks.
74 / 100
Purchased about 6 months prior to opening, in New York, and carried back to Australia to crack open with @thescotdownunder. This was prior to Dieu du Ciel becoming available in Australia, although I'm yet to see this particular beer on Australian shelves.
Pours a thick and heavy, brilliant burnished red colour, with a frothy but fine head of pale beige bubbles. Very good lacing, but minimal carbonation, even when swirled. Still, the body looks very thick. It looks a very nice beer. I love the colour, in particular.
Nose is wonderful. I feared the maple syrup would get lost in fermentation, but there's a big dollop of it here, sweet and slightly resiny, giving a lightly aromatic citrus character like candied lemon peel. Very sweet, but cut through with a lilt of acidity. Smells wonderful. Just delicious.
Taste is much stronger, and much more confronting. Initial welling of boozy phenols threaten to overwhelm the palate, which crescendoes in a great climax, and then recedes, leaving the residual maple character on the back, along with a light roasted bitterness that is in some way imparted by the boozy heat. For all its intensity, it doesn't have a huge amount of body, or depth - there's certainly no subtle layering of flavours on the palate. Mouthfeel is fine, but not as thick as I thought it might be from the look.
Still, a very interesting brew from Dieu du Ciel, who have a habit of coming up with interesting and well-made beers. Not my favourite of theirs, but I'm glad I got to sample it.
77 / 100
Pours an oddly pale red-tinged black, gorgeous beige head of dense foam, leaves some lovely lace behind. Mild gelatinous wobble to it just from the thickness, but yeah mild, it's fluid of course. Looks like a good imp. stout.
Smell is strong, first of all. A lot of sweetness to it. Hints of bubblegum of all things on there with some fruity hints of currant and apple. Slight roasty note at the back with a tinge of espresso. Overall a bit too sweet for my liking but interesting. Unique, to say the least.
Taste is roasty with a nice smooth mouthfeel, lots of cocoa flavour on the early mid descends into a noticeable coffee character, lots of espresso bitterness with a slight mocha tinge and a lingering roastiness. Leaves with a really nice, pleasantly bitter toasty note. Has lots of spice overtones as well, clovey and peppery particularly on the back where the alcohol kicks in, nice and toasty warm with a slight scorch of booze that just stumbles its way down the throat. Not quite as mind-blowing on the flavour as I'd hoped, but very pleasant nonetheless.
As mentioned before, smooth mouthfeel. Gorgeous and silky. Noticeable body and strength but it just slips through the mouth, absolutely perfect.
A pleasant winter warmer, roasty and nicely bitter.
76 / 100
Pours a lovely deep orange colour, with a foamy yellow-white head of bubble-ridden cloud. Some decent lacing and good depth to the body. Overall, a nice looking beer.
Nice sweet citrus on the nose. Hints of fresh valencia oranges, a little liquorice and a floral rosewater note. Very fragrant, and not overpowering, but with a depth of character to give it substance.
Taste is also balanced nicely between sweet and bitter. Some malty flavours riddled with a light resiny, almost menthol-like character with an overtone of orange rind, and a rather short but sharply struck note of bitterness on the back. Clean finish, meaning the beer is extremely drinkable. Crisp feel accentuates this.
A very solid IPA with a great, clean, refreshing vibe to it. It's well-balanced, very fragrant and really easy to put away. Good characters stylistically, although as far as I'm concerned it is truly an American style IPA, not an English style as it is classified here.
85 / 100
Pours a sinewy black-brown, with lots of body, coalescing a rocky and voluminous head of coarse-bubbled tan. Lacing is complex as the head sinks. Opaque and thick in the glass. Looks great.
Wow. Holy crap, that is a big impressive coffee-bomb on the nose. Huge notes of high-roast espresso bean, ultra-high cocoa chocolate and smoldering charcoal. That is insane - so much dark deliciousness roiling about. It's so dark, but veers almost towards smokiness in one direction and comforting sweetness in the other. Big, big aromas - and the coffee notes are just what is promised and expected. Wonderful.
Lovely on the palate too, although the intensity here becomes a little confronting. Smooth entry, with some subtle dark characters like well-browned toast. Everything hits on the aftertaste. Big rich and roasted characters of rough dark cocoa, carbonised coffee bean with a smooth lightly boozy note to wash it down. Feel could be slicker, but that's picking at what is an otherwise exemplary beer.
I just said it: an exemplary beer. The booze is very well hidden, or is used to great effect where present, leaving it a very drinkable beer given its intensity and alcohol content. An absolutely wonderful stout, superbly well done.