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Taras Boulba | Brasserie de la Senne

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203 Reviews
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Taras BoulbaTaras Boulba

Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GCBrewingCo on 09-19-2006

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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 456
Photo of cswhitehorse
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Taras Boulba poured a hazy straw yellow with a wicked strong foam head which was 3-4 fingers. It left some nice lacing on the sides of the glass and retention was moderate.

Aroma was enjoyable as it reminded of Belgian smells with added hoppiness. It had a nice fruitiness to it. The taste is light and fruity and was one which could be session-able. It was pretty dry in the mouth and you were left with some resinous hops. Overall a very solid Belgian Pale.

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

Pours a clouded yellow orange that's hard to see in this dark light. Nose is minor dough with spices mixed in. Milder than I expected. Flavor is quite hoppy it seems. Fair amount of dough. Earthy too. Minor citrus on the backside. Decent level of spices it seems, buy really the hops are in full effect here. Smooth feel. Low carbonation. Nice to drink. It started off off to me but soon got quite nice. Like this beer a lot.

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Photo of hellbilly
4.3/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle BB may 09 by way of glouglouburp.

a rather ugly hazy blonde colored pour with a soft white head and light spotty lacing.

fruity yeasty aroma... pear, lemon and grass with a ton of flowers and herbs (thyme, rosemary and savory... yep). it actually smells like my herb garden!

there's just a touch of flower blossom sweetness on the palate. but that's it!.... extremely dry with a nice lingering bitterness throughout. flavors of pale grain, dust, faint citrus, earth, more herbs and grassy/skunky hops with a spicy bite on the finish. light to medium bodied with prickly lively carbonation and mouth feel. airy texture. extremely refreshing yet complex.

great lunch beer... i bet it's insane fresh off the taps!

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Photo of gregmurer
4.94/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

THE best of...
Best of, for it's drinkability, even after tree or four of them, it's still a pleasure to order a fourth one...
Best of, for it's mouthfeel, so nice, so strong and hoppy, so good and powerfull...
Best of, for it's taste, that is about the best hop-mix of the brewing industry...
Best of, for it's smell, that only let you one way... drinking it...

and... even the appearance is nice... so, actually, it's the best when you like beers that are made by brewers that are not crawling in front of the market.

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Photo of corby112
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a nice golden color with a thin white head that didn't last very long. Nice hop aroma with hints of spice and fruit. Strange combination of a belgian strong ale and an IPA. The absence of any malt flavor gave this a funky aftertaste.

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Photo of currysage1
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle with some very interesting artwork, went to the Shelton Brothers website to get the 411. Interesting story.

Starts by overflowing the bottle when uncapped, poured into my Ommegang chalice. Color is very cloudy, like unfiltered cider, 2 finger white crackly head sinks to a good covering with decent lacing.

Smell is of spiced honey, light fruitiness, almost like a light perfume. Some hop presence but too light to tell anything definitive.

Taste is of bitter apples, definately more hop forward in the flavor, bitterness, very flavorful with untoasted grain and grape skins.

Feel is what I would expect from a beer of this style, refreshing body, heavy carbonation. Could have another but the bitterness might get to me. Very good recommended.

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

Golden body, modest, retaining head, and not-to-crisp on the tongue. Wonderfully refreshing with a hint of honey on a bed of flower. Slight sour tart oils incude citrus and powdered candy sugar. A lemon merengue turns De Ranke bitter with healthy use of hops, the way only Belgium knows how. Something special.

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Photo of ATPete
3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

green 750ml
thanks Skourtis!

Pours a hazy yellow color with a huge white head that just wont quit, sticky and very strong, lots of vigourous rising carbonation rush to support the monster. Creamy Belgian yeast and sweet buttery hops develop in to an interesting nose. Lemon skin, orange pulp, fresh grapefruit rind, makes for a slightly tart approach throughout also notes of wintergreen minty pine and soap. Slightly skunked but barely, although i wish there was a date on the bottle. Overall this is a damn interesting beer. Decent medium and grainy body, but very refreshing and drinkable.


maybe i am the fool, you better watch this one, i got a booming head ache just minutes after finishing the bottle!

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

33 cl bottle.

Pours a very hazy, pulpy, mango yellow with powdery lemonade edges. Rocky, lacy, cotton white head. Perfume-y nose of lemon bars, wheat bread, cloves, hay, a hint of bubble gum, and a mix of peppery and herbal hops.

Grainy astringency and assertive, grassy hop bitterness up front. A dollop of honey on wheat bread shows up mid-palate along with lemon mineral water bitterness. Lemon peel and yeast dominate the finish, with some lingering spicy wheat malt fighting with the bitterness. Moderate body with a lively, bottle-conditioned feel. Refreshing and interesting. Would be a nice quaffer for a hot Belgian day!

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Photo of Proteus93
2.97/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A: A murky, yet a rather vibrant hue of yellow. Similar to what I would typically expect from a witbier. A big, rocky and foamy head of stark white billows on top.

S: Not the most pleasant thing to my nose... quite a soapy, and almost skunky aroma. There are herbal elements there, but they are quite overwhelmed by the other scents.

T: The taste doesn't come across as so much 'skunked.' The big, soapy kind of flavour is there, as the aroma suggested. A notable hop bitterness is there, but certainly doesn't present itself as aggressively as many American hopbombs will.

M + D: Feels great... it's a shame I'm not blown away with the scent and flavour, as this would really top it off. A nice, crisp carbonation to begin, followed by a fairly slick and even oily body which makes for a smooth and easy finish before basically 'vaporizing' with a bit of a post-finish dryness. This may be a case of an "off-bottle" and it may simply be that I am not too keen on the hops used or the method in which this beer was made. I'd be happy to try it again to ensure I am not throwing a perfectly good beer out the window with this one, becasue it looks fine in the glass and the feel is fabulous.

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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.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The labeling of this beer indicates that it is imported by Shelton Brothers. Their website says they're "only interested in bringing you the very best," but I didn't this beer to be all that representative of that claim. OK to be sure, but definitely under-delivers on the big claim of "Extra hoppy ale," which I found to be typical of Belgian beers that claimed to be hoppy. A nice blonde beer, but nothing special.

Appearance was a cloudy hazy yellow (like beer + lemonade) with clove-y aroma and more hop than is typical in Belgian ale, although for an American accustomed to DIPAs, IPAs, and APAs, it really isn't hoppy...maybe more hops than the average Belgian golden ale, but certainly not much more. A bit of sweetness and citrus as well. Pretty thin mouthfeel, on the watery side.

I'd weakly recommend this beer - OK, but I didn't mention it on the postcards I sent home.

I bought this bottle at Beer Mania in Brussels. The bottle I got was labeled for import, which is where the Shelton Brothers URL came from.

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

A: Hazy straw with a huge, fluffy, white head. Good retention and some lacing.

S: Floral (slightly soapy) hops, marmalade, minerals, lemon grass, candied fruit.

T: Floral, slightly citrusy hops; lemon zest; pale malt; light spiciness; some saison character really comes through in the finish; good bitterness. Hard to believe it's only 4.5%. I'd love to see this 'imperialized' for some more flavour.

M: Light to moderate body is well-carbonated. Very dry, crisp finish.

D: Very drinkable.

Big thanks to Phyl21ca for this extra!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a cloudy (lots of lees) beige color ale with a nice foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of extra dry hops with lightly spicy yeast. Taste is a well balance mix between some spicy yeast with some really dry hops (not really bitter though) and good Belgian style malt profile. Full body with great carbonation. Well done if maybe a tad too dry but I wouldn't mind having this more often.

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

Pours a somewhat cloudy dark golden with an excellent creamy white head and some sticky lacing. Smells earthy with hops and a bit of forest floor. Big bitterness from earthy and herbaceous hops. There are some spice notes, a bit of creaminess, and some smooth very slightly sweet malt providing a backbone. Aftertaste of white pepper. This is extraordinarily flavorful for such a low abv beer. Excellent achievement. The mouthfeel is a bit spicy and quite smooth, even a tad light. Very drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of papat444
4.57/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Glouglouburp for giving this to me as a last minute extra.

When i open the bottle (33cl), i see loads of bubbles rising and not long after, it starts foaming out of the bottle. No time like the present to pour...

Appearance: Hazy, golden body with massive foam that doesn't take too long to form a nice 2 finger head which is fluffed like a cloud as if it were whipped.

Smell: A sweet aroma that i can't put my finger on (at first). Bubblegum? Not quite, more like a natural sweetness, sugar cane? Closer but not quite. More of a fresh dough smell, bordering on a fresh donut.

Taste: I like it right off the bat. First thing i taste is hops, mixed with some dry fruit maybe? Malt rounds it off quite nicely. Extremely well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is low. Very tolerable biitterness felt throughout the palate. Hops are always present but never dominant. Some kind of rind-like feel (lemon?). A floral/grassy character is felt which reminds me of a meadow or pasture with all the aromas involved.

Drinkability: Very easy to drink with enough taste to match. Seriously, this beer puts to shame all beers that sacrifice taste for ease of consumption.

Overall: The most flavorful beer with a lower ABV i've had to date. A beer i would have again in a heartbeat. Definitely put one on the top of your list.

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Photo of chuckd123
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this a couple of weeks ago at Moan & Dove. Poured from a 750ml corked bottle into a goblet. Color is a light copper - I'd call it a shade or two lighter than a typical pale ale. Very nice 1/2 - 3/4" head with good lacing and retention. The aroma is slightly floral, with faint smell of hops mixed in. Exeptionally drinkable beer (although in this case three of us split one bottle), one I could see having several of over the course of an afternoon with friends. Relatively low abv% adds to drinkability. This is a very unique beer, and one I will definitely try again.

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Photo of donaldchapman
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Cloudy golden orange, with a long lasting white head.
S - Slight skunk aroma (green bottle), some nice esters and phenolics, earthy hop aroma.
T - Very bitter finish, that accentuates the slight maltyness, accompanied by some subtle ester and phenolic notes from the yeast.
M - Very dry finish, high carbonation.

This is a pretty good beer, unfortunately the bottle I drank had begun to skunk. The dry finish is right on and the spicy aromas and flavors complement the hops well.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of drunkmonk
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Recieved as part of a Birthday gift sample of goodies. Thanks Bob!

Smeirlap! My Flemish is rusty. Not sure what it means, but by the label art, someones going to recieve some beer and a whole lot of it. Some other flemish words written as well.

A- Clear golden, nice bubbly and creamy lace. Good 3-D and very lively carbonation helping to keep that lace there for the duration.

S- Nice earthy and grassy hop aroma's, also hints of lemon, green apple, and pear. Very nice.

T- Pale malts with some pear flavors start on the sweet side, but a grassy lemon pepper and hop bite finishes things off. Nice lingering grassy hop finish.

M- Light to thin, with a push of carbonation keeping things very crisp. I'm thinking this is the point here.

D- A nice amount to consider here in only a 4.5%abv beer. Nicely done. With the low strenth and refreshing components here, it welcomes more recreational fun with this. Being a Shelton Bro's import, I'm not sure what kind of coin it might take to session this puppy?

Really enjoyable.

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

Appearance: Hazy, light straw ocher color. Plenty of voluptuous white head (it started pouring out the bottle as soon as i uncorked it), dies back slowly. A bit of thick lacing.

Smell: Fantastic. Refreshing. Earthy, grassy notes balanced with barley husk and lemon rind. A bit of hoppiness too.

Taste: Not quite as fantastic as the smell would imply, but still very dry, refreshing and malty. Slightly tart on the front of the palate, mellow and bitter on the back. Lemon is still there, some granny smith apple too.

Mouthfeel: Great combination of tart, dry, smooth and all over refreshing. The mouthfeel is noticeably different on the front and on the back of the tongue. Carbonation is in perfect balance with this beer.

Drinkability: Very high. This beer is extremely refreshing (especially on a hot day like today), but it is complex enough to give you something to think about while you are drinking it.

Very impressed with this beer. Definitely will pick up some more of this when I can

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Photo of fitzy84
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was on tap for one night only at Moan and Dove. The drink had a murky and generally cloudy look to it. Colors were a plain gold look with a rather quick lacing. The aromas were of sharp alcohol with some hops. The alcohol was most apparent which wrapped around the drinks grassy aromas. The taste definitely was grassy but it was light enough to not be overpowering. Generally bitter taste. Solid body allowed it from not being heavy or light; just right. Overall, a real treat.

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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.

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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.

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Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
88 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.