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Taras Boulba - Brasserie de la Senne

Not Rated.
Taras BoulbaTaras Boulba

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

383 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 383
Reviews: 190
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.25%
Wants: 38
Gots: 29 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 09-19-2006

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (18) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 383 | Reviews: 190
Reviews by RedChrome:
Photo of RedChrome
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A cloudy bright gold colored beer. A massive rapidly forming airy white head faded over a few minutes. Large carbonation bubbles were scant and rose fast. Minimal lace spots.

Earthy scents with strong grass and yeast presence. Hops have a subdued quality and only hint at a bitter aroma. A buttery finish on the back of the nose.

A bitter subdued hops flavor up front. Straw and grass flavors. AS it warms a light fruity essence comes out stronger without having any specific flavor to note.

A nice thickness on the tongue. Few minimal carbonation tingle. Flavors cling very nicely well after swallowing.

A good brew. This one would work nicely with chicken Francaise. A great session brew. Well worth trying if you see it out and about.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle. Another localized Belgian name I'll look up later.

This beer pours a cloudy, very pale golden yellow colour, with four fat fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat bubbly eggshell white head, which leaves some stellar layered weeping cloud lace around the glass as it gradually recedes - this is one purdy brew!

It smells of semi-sweet bready pale malt, orange cream, zesty yeast, muted coriander, musty pine needles, and a subtle leafy grassiness. The taste is grainy, slightly biscuity pale malt, mildly acrid yeast, subdued, and muddled citrus rind, faint savoury spice, and pleasantly leafy, grassy hops.

The carbonation is quite tight in its closely-held, edgy frothiness, the body medium-light in weight, and a bit too acerbic to be deemed all that smooth. It finishes mostly dry, the gritty malt, yeast, and various citrus, flora, and spicy hops conspiring and colluding as such.

A generally agreeable BPA, one whose mantra of 'extra hoppy' is played out well enough, I suppose, for the conservative Brussels crowd, even if this reviewer is a little nonplussed. Easy to drink, the kind of beer that once you get through half of it, all the while relating it via words, you feel the urge to just say, fuck it, close the laptop, and sit back and enjoy it. I only mention this, because that doesn't happen very often.

Photo of macher0
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a wonderful session or outside type ale. A slightly cloudy light straw color with a thick, frothy fine bubble egg shell head. The head slowly retreats with marvelous lace rings. The nose is bright and fruity with strong malt presence. A complex yeast starts off the taste. The mid point of the palate comes through with light malts and dusty grain. The end hits with mild hops. The feel is thin, light, crisp and high carbonation which equates to a fairly smooth finish. Tons of flavor, dry on the end. Go for this if you get the chance.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

(served in a pint)

A: pale, yellow-amber liquid... hazy as hell... gorgeous, gooey foam stand

S: noble hops galore... grassy, with a farmhouse dirt and spice... dried lemon peel, old cloth

T: grassy, floral edging... mildly piney bitterness that hums and lingers... light lemon in the finish, where a mild malt sweetness and cereal flavor emerges... bitter, yellow grapefruit flesh and a dusting of must in the aftertaste

M: soft, plushy, quiet... sanded smooth, but not polished... mumbling, fade away finish... extremely easy to knock back

O: pretty damn tasty, lovely showcase of hop bitterness... heard this guy say he's more a fan of English ales, and it shows in this one... comes across as a sort of hybrid English bitter and small Saison... curious to try it over there - held up pretty well here

Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

"It was the best of beers, it was the worst of beers..." Well, there's no downside to this Belgian offering but with a foral delicate character up front and a biting bitter note in the back, this really is a tale of two beers.

Pouring with the delicate light straw hue that's typical with Belgian blonde ales, the beer casts a mild yeasty cloud and uninterrupted streams of carbonation. The spritzy bubbles build a fluffed cottony head that sits lightly on the beer and laces the glass intricately.

Very floral to the nose, the beer's supple malt sweetness gives a rounded and somewhat fuller scent to the bouquet of orange blossom, honeysuckle, lavender, lemongrass, and soft coriander. Underpinnings of soft bready pilsner malt allows for a light grain and yeast scent to give impressions of cookie dough.

Just when you think that the aroma profile translates effortlessly to taste, the beer gives a few surprises. Of course the supple sweetness of malt touches the tongue and then seemingly dissolves like powdered sugar while the floral notes march onto the mid palate with a developing earth, grassy, and pepper tone. But the procession toward finish continues to grow into an intensely hopped bitterness that wasn't expected. Finish much like many Belgian IPAs, the bitter bite that's only illuminated in the back of the throat reminds me of lemon pepper, sassafras, and sandalwood.

The finesse of the beer's upstart plays light on the palate with the creamy effervescent that lifts and whimsically dissapears- again, much like powdered sugar or cotton candy. This powdery note hides its bittering power very well and never allows it to pronounce until deeper in the finish. But that bitterness does bring about a sharp, peppery, and somewhat astringent bite that's much like biting on raspberry seeds. Lightly acidic, the beer closes with pleasant alcohol warmth, aided hop dryness, and a fast-fleeting malt presence.

This beer would work perfectly with some of those delicate fish entrees that are also a bit oily. The floral notes of the beer will complement that of the fish preparation, and the bitterness will cleanse the mouth and allow the champagney carbonation to refresh the palate and ensure every bite tastes like the first.

Photo of dcmchew
3.46/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours hazy yellow, big fluffy white head, nice retention.
Smells lagerish, some extra lemon and grains, "greener", but not very attractive.
Taste starts with lemon, and ends with lemon. A bit of orange sweetness, grapefruit, faint orchard and tropical fruit, followed by huge green hops, really bitter. A touch of "soapy" aromatic herbs. Finish is very aggressive and bitter, like being hit with a barrel of hops in the head (the label seemed very inspiring).
Medium body and carbonation, very dry. Damn, this is bitter.
Again, huge hops seem to cover up some probably nice notes. Bravo on the hop-bomb, not so happy about the sacrificed flavours.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sparkling sunshine yellow with a generous amount of carbonation and an expansive head that was first visible extruding out of the bottle neck following cork removal. The foam looks much better in the glass. It's pearlescent ivory in color, has a fantastic texture (softly rocky and ridiculously sticky) and is depositing patches of thick lace.

TB smells more like a saison than a Belgian pale ale. The nose is lemon peppery and herbal at once. I keep reading about how hoppy this ale is, but it doesn't smell as hoppy as a trio of great Belgians that I've had in the past year or so (Urthel Hop-It, De Ranke XX Bitter and Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel). Let's see what the taste buds have to say.

Taras Boulba is very good beer. It's also amazingly quenching and refreshing beer. Given the flavor and the ABV, this '750' should be gone in no time at all. Back to appearance: a second pour has added a huge amount of yeast to the glass and has made the already attractive head even more attractive. This is one gorgeous ale.

Several ounces are gone and my initial enthusiasm has ebbed a little... but only a little. The beer's biggest negative is that the flavor isn't quite as deep and as complex as it could be. I wonder if a slightly higher ABV would help in that regard. That's pretty much it for the negatives... on to the positives.

Despite a lack of barnyard funk, saison is still the more appropriate style. There's a modest amount of untoasted crackery malt, just enough to give the top notes of hops and yeast an adequate amount of support. Hop flavor and bitterness is generous for a Belgian ale. The finish is especially snappy and tight.

As far as specific flavors are concerned, let's go with lemon zest, meadow grasses, white pepper and spicy cardamom. Maybe a little ground clove as well, but it isn't dominant. The flavor is definitely more assertive as I get into the middle of the bottle. It could be due to warming, but I suspect that the yeast are simply now more plentiful within each gulp. The next highest flavor score is a small step away rather than a giant leap.

Considering the 4.5% ABV, the mouthfeel is surprisingly enjoyable. It doesn't venture beyond light, yet has enough smooth creaminess to get the job done. Longer lasting bubbles would be good; both overall and within each mouthful.

Why would Brasserie De La Senne name a pale ale after an obscure historical novel written by an obscure Ukranian named Nikolai Gogole? Who cares, as long as the beer is delicious. Taras Boulba is another hoppy Belgian that saison freaks owe it to themselves to try.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.28/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Shared with my wife at Novare Res's Zwanze day.

The look is pale golden straw with a big thick white head it laces very nice.

The nose is sweet with hints of pale malts and the hops are subtle in the nose slight grass straw.

The taste is thin at first but becomes more bitter hops and mix with a pale malts to become bitter and fresh. All in all a nice refreshing beer.

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belgian bomber, no freshness/brewing date info. Capped and corked, I also found a bit of darker liquid betw. the cap and the top of the cork. The cork seemed to have a slight blue cheese sheen to it, Funky....This one pours cloudy medium tangerine, with an initial huge, wild head, after a minute or two the poor was more controllable and resulted in a real nice slowly fading merainge, and then a thick, wildly undulating film and leaving the now expected extensive thick sheeting and lace. Nose is of candied and spiced cotton candy and popcorn. Earthy, lightly peppery, plenty of yeasty interest. Notes of some light grapefruit, herbal and flowery hop notes and more mild, lingering peppery spice. Very Saison like. Fairly light bodied, quite complex and interesting. I love to come across a new (at least to me), vibrant and very tasty offering like this one. Yeast filled final pour, adds some nutty notes, medium chunks and perhaps a more pronounced hop presence, very nice beer. Not cheap @ $9.99, but oh so worth it

Photo of Kraken
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from capped and corked 750ml bottle into a standard pint glass. This unlike the Zinnebier did not have beer between the cork and the cap. Firm pour yielded a 3 finger head with good staying pour and nice lacing. Beer was a pale translucent amber. Smell was of slight hops, straw and Belgian yeast. Taste was slightly sweet, straw/grassy flavors, very light with a hop bitterness in the finish. Long finish. Very easy drinking, light and somewhat mild. Beer was a little thin. Very nice.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml bottle with no visible BB date. Acquired a while back from Trembling Madness in York. Described as an extra hoppy ale. I'm curious as to what is going on in the scene represented on the label....

Poured into a Delirium chalice. Bottle conditioned. A hazy golden-amber hue with chunky floating sediment and good carbonation. Produces a large head of creamy white foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a thick surface layer. Some lacing. Aroma of fruity yeast esters with hints of bubblegum, clove, spice, phenolics, faint banana, grass and earthiness. Mildly sweet, with satisfying depth.

Tastes of earthy, fruity yeast with a dry finish. Notes of tart apples, cloves, spice, phenolics, mild bubblegum, faint banana, grass/hay, earthiness and a whisper of stewed hops. Highly attenuated, with a twinge of harsh cardboard and solvent in the background. A subtle bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth, bone-dry and tingly, with pleasant carbonation and good body. Very astringent, followed by an aftertaste of earthy yeast, fruity esters and cardboard.

Pretty good, though I can't say the hops really make themselves felt. Perhaps this is too old - without a date it's hard to tell. Looks nice, with a rounded, yeasty aroma. Flavour is OK but various off-notes spoil the effect. Satisfying body. Goes down easily enough; I'll certainly have another if opportunity knocks. Worth sampling if you have the chance.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a golden-yellow body that is clear but gets hazier with each glass. There is a sea of carbonation that supports an off-white head that turns into thick odd-shaped clouds.

S- A yeasty green aroma has a fresh rain quality to it but not really any hops or malt notes come through. Pretty clean aroma even when warm.

T- The soft water flavor has a white plastic note to it with some herbal qualities coming through as it warms. There is a green bitter not in the finish that increases as the beer warms. There is a big pungent dandelion bitterness after each sip that lingers.

M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a fizzy note that cleans out any hint of flavor except for the pungent bitterness.

D- There is not a lot of flavor in this beer other than the pungent bitterness after each sip. The hops due linger but there is just no real aroma or flavor hops and not much to support the bitterness of the hops that are there.

Photo of alex667gbg
4.11/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was glad that this was still available here in Sweden this week, as is was a temporary release for this spring. So here is my review.

You can notice the yeast floating around in the bottle before opening it. Pouring up a cloudy, almost glowing yellow liquid with a really thick small bubbled creamy head. Beautiful!

Nose is Yeast, herby and a bit hoppy. Not a very big nose however.

Something that describes this beer in taste is its balance! Great hops and malts in a great balance and it gives you a fruity citrus, apple touch that really seem strange for a belgian beer. Good hops for us hoppy freaks too. Great beer!

A really good beer!

Photo of ggaughan
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle. The beer poured a cloudy golden color with a one inch plus head, thick and fluffy. The nose gave me notes of citrus and an earthiness. Taste was smooth, lemon citrus on the tongue. There is a nice hop kick in the mouth but it is not overpowering bur rather pleasing to the taste buds. Overall this is a fairly easy drinking well balanced beer.

Photo of nkersten
4.32/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into St Feuillien tulip. Beer is a light slightly hazy yellow with a half inch white head. Nice retention and some lacing. Smell is incredibly floral hops, very fresh smelling. Belgian yeast in the background, the hops steal the show here. Taste follows smell, firm hop bitterness followed by a very floral hop flavor, a hint of rosewater, a very unique hop profile. Some light malts and a nice bready yeast finish to help balance out the hops a little. A light body with a medium carbonation, the hop flavor coats and gives an interesting finish. Drinkability is very good. I love finding a beer that has lower abv and great flavor. If this was easier to find I would drink it much more often.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Stand-Out Belgian Pale, one of the finds of my obscure pale hunt. Mildly yeasty, with a good fomay head. Nice mouthfeel, medium lus mouthfeel, expirey 2008. Quite hoppy,good bitterness and a remarkable overall taste effort for 4.5% a.b.v. I would drink this regular and convert many people if this was available regularly.

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 330mL bottle into my Troubadour tulip. Best before February 11th, 2012.

Sunglow body with shades of golden poppy and golden yellow at the edges. Delicate magnolia crown is thin but persists. Lacing is very nice, with the appearance of a countour drawing of snow-capped peaks. Shimmering legs run rapidly down the sides.

Biscuity pale malt, fresh noble hops, and faint citrus adorn the nose.

De La Senne's signature blonde yeast is evident though restrained compared to some of their other offerings; a complex blend of phenols and fruit. Hops suggesting alfalfa and unripe stone fruit contribute a moderate drying bitterness that makes this incredibly drinkable. Somewhere between a Belgian Pale and a Belgian IPA.

Smooth, medium-light bodied, with a soft effervesence.

Low ABV, excellent flavor, very refreshing - a wonderfully sessionable Belgian ale.

Photo of dirtylou
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330ml Singler

Feels odd drinking De La Senne now after all the time spent politely ignoring their presence when in Belgium, but sometimes its just takes time. Pale golden body - nice healthy head, little bid of sediment. A little bit of euroskunk at first whiff that departs quickly. High bitterness, light clean hoppiness, crisp yeast, a bit grainy. OK, but not something I'm likely to buy again. It may be 4.5%, but the dry bitterness limits its sessionability

Photo of sfprint
3.82/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Single finger head, a beautifully bright yellow apricot in color with soda like carbonation, totally hazy with no visible rising carbonation.

Smells basically like a nice witbier. Cilantro, orange zest, citrus notes.

Extremely tangy bitterness like grapefruit rind. Citrus peel bite is first which is a bit difficult, but under that is a very nice, light, pomelo/tangelo citrusiness. However the flavor isn't super strong. The strongest thing is the intial tang.

Light with an initial mouthpuckering tang. Not much carbonation.

A friend of mine says this is his favorite beer and I do agree that it's very nice and well constructed.

Photo of osusullins
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Jake Melnick's in Chicago.

This is a very nice BPA. I've had quite a few of this style and found this one to be one of my favorites. The hops are a little more aggressive than are typical of the style.

Pours a golden color with a nice white head. Attractive beer.

Smell is subtle hops and earthiness with some citrus.

Taste is very nice. Hops are presant, but not over powering. I'm tasting some citrus (maybe tangerine), and a touch of biscuity malts. Very funky and interesting beer. Nice carbonation and overall a good beer.

Photo of 3leggeddub
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to BanditBrewingCo for the trade.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Nice 2 inch head of rocky white foam. Sticky lacing all the way down as the glass drains. Cloudy golden yellow. This is a damn good looking beer. Basically, when I think of beer this is what I see I my head. The mouth waters.

Smell: Not a whole lot going on in the aroma department. Mild hops in the background some floral hints, but mostly it's just kind of grassy.

Taste: There's astringent hops bite mixed with an sulfurous tinge. Dry finish with sharp metallic bitterness in the end. Makes me think of the unpleasant tang of mainstream Euro imports.

Mouthfeel: Thin on the tongue with a decent amount of carbonation. Crisp, dry finish. All in all a slightly above average feel to it.

Drinkability: Not a compelling beer, average at best.

Overall: I don't see myself seeking this one out again. Taras Boulba isn't awful, but it's not what I thought it would be. I was not expecting the sulfur/skunk tang of it. It looks great and feels pretty good, but to me the flavor just wasn't good at all. I have to wonder if the problem is my lack of familiarity with the style given the high rating of this by fellow BAs or even maybe a light struck bottle. I actually chose to trade for this because it is supposed to be an nearly top shelf example of a Belgian Pale Ale. I must be missing something, though because for me this was not a reassuring introduction to the style.

Photo of jtierney89
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazed pale yellow color. Tight bright white head.Spicy yeast and and spicy, floral/herbal/earthy hop. Richer and silkier body than expected. Carbonation is very bright bu flatter than expected too. Dry semi-sweet fruits up front, taffy, some spice, extremely dry finish with some bitterness for balance. Pretty good, could use more bitterness, has a nice savory flavor to it though from the hop/yeast combination. A boldly flavored session ale.

Photo of philipquarles
4.9/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

33cl bottle. Pours an opaque straw yellow with a huge white head that lasts. Characteristic sediment. Smells strongly of Belgian yeast and hops. Very floral and somewhat grassy. Light grain in the background. Tastes floral, with a definite hop presence; slightly sweet, grainy malt in the back. Faint yeasty spice. For the style and ABV, the body is as full as it gets. Nice effervescence. Crisp, refreshing, plenty of flavor, lots of character, refined, balanced, etc etc. Fantastic.

Photo of emerge077
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review #300

For this "benchmark" review, I wanted to try something new & relatively unknown.

Taras Boulba pours a deep peachy tone into an oversized tulip glass. Slightly hazy texture with unfiltered particles of yeast, and steady streamers of carbonation. Merengue-like foam billows to form craggy peaks. Irregular, spotty lacing rings the glass as the excess foam dwindles to an iceberg-like island. It certainly looks Belgian in all aspects.

There's a light pear fruitiness to the aroma, similar to Zinnebir from this brewery. Also a mineral water element, with light earthy hops making an appearance.

It's lightly fruity and hoppy on the palate, with a residual dry, herbal aftertaste. The hops are earthy, and balance the mild fruitiness. Not over the top hops, just gently bitter, with the drying herbal aftertaste.

The feel is airy and effervescent, juicy at first, then with the dry smack on the back of the palate. It was very easy to finish a 750mL of this very refreshing summertime Belgian. Imagine a hoppier, less fruity version of Zinnebir, and that's not far off the mark.

Photo of Rutager
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance. Pours a golden, hazy straw with a finger and a half of white bubbly head that lasts a couple minutes.

Smell. Light grains and funky Belgian yeast. Some herbal hops and spoiled fruit.

Taste. Bitter grassy and herbal hops and light malt. A little sour apples and a long lasting, bitter finish.

Mouthfeel. Medium-light body with medium-strong carbonation.

Overall. This is a case of the sum being greater than the parts. Everything works so well together in this beer. Great stuff.

Thanks, NorthYorkSammy!

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Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
88 out of 100 based on 383 ratings.