Taras Boulba - Brasserie de la Senne

Not Rated.
Taras BoulbaTaras Boulba

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very good

357 Ratings

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Ratings: 357
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 11.2%
Wants: 38
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Pale Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 09-19-2006)
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Ratings: 357 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rarbring
3.15/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer is clouded light golden with an uneven white head that leaves good lacing.

Spicy and fruity, clove, cardamom, banana and apples.

Initially a taste of sweet fruits, peach and red apples, some lemon and a distinct bitter spiciness.

Medium low carbonation, a small body, a very coarse dry feeling.

Actually, a bit to unbalanced hoppiness, I lack a body to help it be refreshing.

Photo of biegaman
4.58/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Taras Boulba has a solid appearance. And while that is certainly true in the figurative sense as it is quite commendable, I meant it more literally: I can't see through the damn thing! Its fair golden tone is misleading - this has a dense complexion (such that all highlights have been squashed). Its head too is impressively solid. It is substantial and steadfast.

Its smell is like that of a lover in that while it might seem unusual and unfamiliar at first, in time it grows to arouse you. Indeed, I've become attached (nearly obsessed actually) with this reeking - but curiously attractive - bouquet that has the underlying odor of a dusty attic and stinky, soft rind cheese. Of course, those are mostly covered up by a perfume of fruity yeast and even fruitier, effervescent hops.

I'm not sure that beer (or anything for that matter) can have a taste independent of its taster. But let us not get bogged down debating philosophy and let it suffice to say that this beer tastes amazing to me. Your palate may feel otherwise. But for mine, this simple (but substantial) flavour of pale malts and pineapple-like hops is the knees. And at such a low alcohol makes possibly the most definitive session beer.

Hops! What a glorious discovery! The lingering fruity esters of the yeast would have complimented the toasty sweetness of the malts just fine on their own, as it has been for centuries, but with the help up a hop profile that is thick and bitter and sprightly, the beer is taken to new levels. This may not have been the first European brewery to experiment with American hops, but they may have conceived the best outcome.

I understand Gogol is one of the greatest of all the great Russian writers but I doubt even he could have devised a character so memorable and unique as this. In fact, this is my favourite Belgian character since Hercule Poirot. While admittedly it does a take a great deal of its character from the American hops, there's no mistaking that its intricacy, balance and the first-rate of its craftsmanship were undoubtedly the work of a Belgian mind.

Photo of Cmack15
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I had on this tap at Julians and instantly fell in love with this beer. This is a perfect session beer in my opinion and I wish I could find bottles of it. The mouth feel, aroma, and taste are all nice and evenly balanced. The low abv makes this beer perfect. Super highly recommend it.

Photo of oglmcdgl
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at memphis taproom. Been looking for this on draft forever. Nice!

A- comes to me with two huge fingers of bright white head atop a hazy golden yellow brew. Head settles rather quickly to leave a ton of sticky lace and a giant frothy ring around the glass.

S- bananas and honey, belgian yeast out the ass. Some lighter spice and pale malts. Bright sweet florals.

T- spiced bananas and honeysuckle with a slow roll into some bready dusty Belgian yeast and powdery malts.

M- a bit less than medium in body and a bit more than medium in carb.

D- this stuff rocks! Simply beautiful brew. Super drinkable and a blast to quaff. Worth the wait to find it on draft.

Photo of jrallen34
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap into a tulip at Moeder Lambic...A honey gold pour with a light tan head. A big clear thick off white head, good retention and lacing...A light sweet aroma of honey and grain, mostly the same on the taste. A light tasting but flavorful and easy to drink brew.

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Dan.

Pours a hazy pale yellowish with a somewhat small coarse head. Smell is floral and herbal with a saison-like essence. A faint funk and yeast also is pleasant. Taste is lemony and herbal/flowery with barely a trace of malt. Dry and bitter on the finish. Mouthfeel is too thin and watery. Overall, a good sessionable pale.

Photo of Chincino
4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer on tap as part of a four beer sampler so it was poured into a sampler glass.

It poured a hazy golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma was floral. It was light bodied with high drinkability. It was very light, refreshing, and crisp.

Photo of nkersten
4.33/5  rDev +10.2%
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 MarcGetty
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found the 11.2 ounce bottle at a local bottle shop and was intrigued by the "extra hoppy ale" label. As it was "extra hoppy" and from Belgium, I knew this would be more towards regular hoppy than extra hoppy for American tastes (a good thing to me).

Pours a light, almost golden color that is far from transparent, almost cloudy. It has a small head at pour, but retains this all the way through the beer which is a nice touch.

The taste is really great. Slightly more hoppy than a Houblon or Local 1 and very tasty. I'm definitely going to go find some more.

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle to tulip. Best by date of 11/02/12 printed on the top of the cap. $4.50 for the single. The label art looks like the work of a modern day Picasso.

A: Pours with a modest head of 1 1/2 fingers, even with multiple streamers along the glass to aid in retention. Eggshell white in color. The creamy texture lays down lacing in torn sheets around the glass. The body is fairly cloudy and has a golden yellow hue with light to medium saturation. Only noticeable when held to light, this brew is heavily particulate with brown and grey flecks collecting at the bottom of the glass.

S & T: Malts of straw and grain, lightly toasted. The hops are heavy and produce a balanced bouquet of grass, flower stems and herbs with light lemon and the faintest orange in the background. Big leafy yeast contribution, lightly musty and maybe even sweaty as well. Pepper, coriander and dusty flavors are mixed in. Touch of sourness. Somehow a less-than-stellar nose gives way to remarkable flavor. Very commendable since I was convinced I had yet another average Belgian Pale Ale in my glass. Not the case.

M: The mouthfeel is better still. And I'm surprised to see the sub 5% ABV indicated here. Medium-full with a thick and creamy texture. Slightly minerally. The carbonation is lively, yet finely fizzy. The finish is bone dry and moderately bitter. Damn near perfect in my eyes.

D: Highly palatable but...intensely dry drinks have never been highly quaffable for me. Nevertheless, Taras Boulba drinks very well, particulary the first one or two glasses.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours a lightly hazy goldenrod with a poofy white head which leaves good lace.

S: Stone fruit, bready pils type malt, with notes of grass and floral herbs.

T: Definitely has a bit of a hop kick to it in this style. Unripe peach, yellow apples, and a hint of spice.

M: Smooth, soft almost frothy carbonation, a classic Belgian mouthfeel.

D: Nice BPA, lower in alcohol than most, but still pretty full-flavoured, a session beer for Belgium.

Photo of rudzud
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from at the Armsby Abbey on 8/11

A - Nice straw color with a big fluffy two finger head. Tons of lacing down the sides throughout the entire beverage.

S - Big time hops with this belgian pale ale. Some faint malt aroma on the end.

T - Citrus! Smooth but crisp and refreshing. My only knock is that for some reason I'm getting a bit metallic after taste.

M - Medium carbonation. Very refreshing!

D - This is really great. Goes down wonderfully to the point of being dangerous. Pale but bitter. Just really enjoyable.

Photo of bobsy
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle at Beerbistro.

Hazy gold pour with three fingers of white head that laces prodigiously as it drops to a thick cap. Tree fruit mingles with pale malt in the nose, with a sweet spiciness in the tail. Finely balanced Belgian Pale Ale profile, with light estery flavours of pear and gooseberry mixing with mild funk and pepper. Herbs, flowers and spices join the mix to make a complex flavour. The light body doesn't seem out of place and contributes to this beer's drinkability, while a billowy carbonations helps to bulk up the mouthfeel to pleasing levels.

This is an outstanding Belgian Pale Ale, and incredibly sessionable and quenching for its weight. It will not be replacing Orval any time soon, but it's a beautifully crafted beer with finesse and style.

Photo of mynie
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this into a pint glass because what the hell, why not, don't tell me how to live. Also, sidenote, I love creepy cartoons from European nations of no political consequence. Estonian ones especially, but Belgian ones are pretty slick. More of this please.

So this is a Flemmish hoppy pale, I take it. Which makes it my first. And it's also the best hoppy Belgian I can ever remember having, its body and flavor resembling Orval on PCP.

Then again, I don't really remember what Orval tastes like. I remember that it was damned impressive for its size, that it managed to cram in most of the best Belganiness of a good Dubbel only without much of the alcohol burn. This is like that. There's a goddamn Turkishmarketsworth of ripe fruit in there, along with maybe the nicest Belgian yeast profile I've ever come across. It's all the nice flavors you normally associate with burn only there's no burn. And the aftertaste is superb. It tastes the way an old dusty beerstore smells, only in no way gross. One sip of this and it's like I'm standing in the middle of John's Grocery.

Photo of largadeer
4.4/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple bottles from Dyan this week. Thanks!

Into a wide-mouthed goblet, Taras Boulba appears a hazy, yeasty straw color. Champagne-like effervescence feeds a large creamy head that slowly settles to a splotchy cap.

The aroma contains a subtle and pleasant mix of bready malts, spicy Belgian yeast and zesty, lemony hops.

Herbal, floral, zesty hops hit the palate first, quickly matched by bready and earthy malts, white pepper-like spiciness, strong lemon rind bitterness. This has a lot of flavor and complexity, but it never feels heavier than its 4.5% ABV. Light and thirst-quenching, dry from front to back, I'm really liking the balance between the malt, hops and yeast. There's a touch of medicinal phenols in the finish that remind me of aged Orval, faint enough to add an interesting complexity. The bitterness in the finish seems to grow with each sip, lingering for minutes in between sips, exhibiting an herbal and lemon peel-like character. Such a great beer.

Photo of Jeffo
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Bert's Bierhuis in Utrecht.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours a 2 ½ finger thinner looking bubbly white head with decent retention. Opaque amber orange with higher levels of carbonation. Head eventually fades to a bubbly foam cap. A thin film remains until the end and leaves bits of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Pale and wheat malt in the nose, with lost of continental hops as well. Lots of floral notes and some spices as well. A big nose on the pour.

TASTE: Follows the nose nicely. Pale and wheat malts again, with floral hops and spices following. Ends with some sweet malt and a bitter hop bite, moving into a long lasting bold and bitter aftertaste. Very flavorful for such a low ABV.

PALATE: Medium body, light on the palate, with higher levels of carbonation. Creamy, though a little thin on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry on the palate.

OVERALL: A great, flavorful summer session beer. Proves that a low ABV doesn't mean low in flavor and complexity. This is a great alternative to witbier on the terrace on a warm summer afternoon. It's just too bad this one isn't distributed more widely. Highly recommended.

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
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 benfons
3.28/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A: Hazy blonde, thick foamy head

S: Malts, grains, with a bit of sourness too.

T: Hops overpowering the "herbiness" of the beer. Probably also the first beer that starts bitter and becomes sweeter in the aftertaste.

M/D: Carbonation i allright, but it does have a soapy feel to it. ABV-level is fine.

Photo of DefenCorps
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ryan raved so much about this beer that I couldn't pass up when I saw bottles at the Perfect Pour yesterday. Best by 11 Feb 2012, that's quite a ways out, especially for a 4.5% pale ale.

In my Duvel tulip, this beer is a touch hazy, light orange in color with a thick, choppy white head with great retention and lacing. The nose is just outstanding. Delicately bready and delicately hoppy, this is an exceptionally balanced beer. A touch of floral honey to go with the hop character that's equal parts earth and lemon. Delicately spicy as well, with some pepper, this is also mildly yeasty.
The palate is dry and an interesting blend of what I assume is Belgian pale malt and some fresh baked white bread. Not "extra hoppy" by any stretch of the imagination, there's a blend of earthy bitterness and lemony tartness, with a solid dose of floral honey thrown in for good measure. Some yeast too? Again, this is an exceptionally balanced, delicate, and nuanced beer. Drying on the finish with the *perfect* blend of delicate earthy hop bitterness and drying, cracker-like malt. With medium-high carbonation, this beer is darn near perfect. I can (and am) inhaling this beer.

When I get back to homebrewing, I will attempt something like this. Fantastic stuff.

Photo of Walken
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brasserie De La Senne: Taras Boulba (Best by: 11/02/12) (Sampled: 04/21/10)
12 oz. bottle, poured into a cervoise goblet.

Appearance: Full pour yields a hazy yellow/orange beer with a nice two-inch head of tight bone-white bubbles. They cling to the sides of the glass leaving tide marks, and in some cases sheets of lace.
Odor: Orange peel and hop spice come to mind, followed by hints of malt sweetness. Not much.
Consistency: Light bodied beer with a strong, effervescent carbonation and a definite tart edge.
Flavor: Dry bready malt flavors, almost reminiscent of a traditional English pale ale, with a hint of fruit, red and under-ripe. Hops throw two elements into the mix, one being a definite orange/peel character which explains tartness when combined with the fruity yeast. There is also a firm, waxy, bitter flavor that carries throughout and flourishes in the dry, tart finish.

This is a great beer, there's a certain cohesion between the seemingly incongruous elements that makes it a really drinkable pale ale.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear gold with an ample head that dissipates slowly, leaving small amounts of lacing on the glass.

Aromas of sweet malt, green hops, honey.

Tastes of light malt, yet a little funky with some horseblanket, and a nice bitter green hop flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel is light with crisp carbonation. Finishes dry.

A refreshing light beer, and highly drinkable at under 5% ABV.

Photo of portia99
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle (exp 11/02/12 on cap) poured into a Russian River stemmed Belgian glass.

A - Pours a very hazy pale straw gold color (fairly close to a wit in appearance) with a thin white head that falls quickly to an uneven layer on the surface and a thick collar.

S - Heavy with earthy and spicey hops with some floral character and a bit of skunkiness too. Light biscuity malt aroma in the background, but the hops definitely dominate the aroma.

T - Bready malt backbone gives a nice solid base to this beer. Some lemony citrus sits in a layer of flavor just above the malt. On top of it all, a very firm hop bitterness dominates the flavor. The bitterness really actually overpowers the malt - definitely not a balanced beer - hop bitterness is the focus without much accompanying flavors with it. Good, but rather one dimensional.

M - Light in body but definitely not watery. Carbonation is on the high side and quite fizzy and lively. Bitterness coats the mouth and just sits there forever after the swallow.

D - A bit of a one dimensional beer with bitter, bitter hops and not much else. Malt is secondary, hop flavor is non-existent. I guess I'm probably used to/spoiled by excellent American interpretations with way more hop character. I guess I'm a bit disappointed in this one...it's good, but I have no need to have another now, and I don't see myself seeking this out either - too many other good beers out there to revisit this one.

Photo of jgasparine
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served at Chez Moder Lambic (St. Giles), Brussles, Belgium on 3/17/2010.

A- Poured from the tap with a big 1.5" foamy white head, which was well-retained and presenting some nice lacing throughout the drink. The body was a slightly hazy yellow with some lazy bubble trains working their way up the sides of the glass.

S- The nose is packed with big zesty hop aromas and perceived peppery spices. Lesser aromas of pale malt, straw, dough and must are present in lesser quantities.

T- A wonderful replicate of the nose- big hoppiness and perceived peppery notes up front, over a base of musty straw, pale malt and dough. Some flavors of lemongrass emerge in the finish and linger on the tongue.

M- Thin to medium body- highly attenuated- with a coarse carbonation which delivers a slightly bloating feeling. Could stand to have some softer carbonation.

D- Smells and tastes nice, but the bloaty feeling keeps me from wanting a second glass this particular day.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz into tulip. Label reads 'Extra Hoppy Ale'.

A- Nice hazy light yellow with peach highlights. A great fluffy white head that has very nice lacing- thick and creamy. Head fizzes out after 5 minutes or so but nice creamy bubbles remain.

S- Yeasty, floral, fruity, maybe a kiss of hops but nothing too big or bold. Still, a nice aroma.

T- Hops are a bit more evident here.. nice yeast notes, a bit bready, and a good hop bitterness. Lacks the fruitiness of the nose but I'm not complaining- really solid flavor profile here. This is a supremely well-crafted Belgian Pale.. the hops are spot-on.

M- A bit chalky, good carbonation (fairly high) and good flavors keep this one moving.

D- Moderate. I really enjoyed it, I'd like to see it in a larger bottle format. Buying a few of these small bottles to drink over a night would hurt the wallet- but I like this beer. While not 'extra hoppy' it is more than sufficiently hoppy, a Belgian pale with a bit of a kick to it. Nice.

Photo of sholland119
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-A gusher! A cloudy summer squash yellow, a foamy white head, no lacing.

S-Belgian yeast, peppery hops and some spiciness.

T-Peppery spice and some bitterness in the finish. The heavy champagne-like carbonation is a real distraction and detracts from the flavor of the beer.

M-Too aggressively carbonated for my taste.

D-I am not a big fan of this beer.


Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne
88 out of 100 based on 357 ratings.