Equinox / Zwarte Piet - Brasserie de la Senne

Not Rated.
Equinox / Zwarte PietEquinox / Zwarte Piet

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very good

110 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 110
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 12.23%
Wants: 2
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brasserie de la Senne visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBeing on 09-18-2007

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 110 | Reviews: 58
Reviews by selecter70:
Photo of selecter70
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another great offering over at Lord Hobo, on a mellow Valentine's Day...A rich dark brown pour with 1/2 finger of tan head that lessened to nil with little lace. Wonderful dark roasted malt with black coffee, bit of dark chocolate and lovely anise & prune dark fruit smells. Medium-bodied, but still some smooth chewy quality and dry finish; a nice slow one, warming rich flavors as you go. The taste is likewise full of dark goodness: roasted malt, brown bread, raisins, some dark chocolate and yeast. Overall. a wonderful Belgian dark ale, less tart/sour than what many look for, but definitely more in my taste!

More User Reviews:
Photo of ggaughan
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

33 cl bottle. Beer poured a hazy brown color with a half inch thick tan head that was nearly gone in less than a minute and was replaced by a ring around the edge. The nose is malty, cocoa with a touch of spice. The taste is chocolately, peppery and creamy with a toasted malt character and a slight sweetness. Maybe even a touch of fruit underneath. Solid beer.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Capped and corked, and when pulled the cork gave a huge "POP" but luckily no gushing here (common with bottle-fermented Belgians). Pours a lovely, deep chocolate brown color, quite dark, and it goes nicely with the dirty-white head that pops and crackles slowly to a thinner layer.

Something really alluring about the aroma. Remarkably vinous, but with equal amounts of nutty yeast, cocoa nib and alcohol warmth. Something like malted milk balls emerges through all of that.

Taste-wise this isn't as confident or impressive as the appearance and smell. A burnt flavor detracts from the good things going on here, and the good things were all identified in the aroma: malted milk balls, cocoa nibs, wine/grape...and some fig as well. Some pumpernickel too, but ultimately the burnt flavor feels "off" and, while the alcohol isn't flaring or cloying, its presence seems pushy when smacked up against that off/burnt taste.

Feel is quite right, that's for sure. Smooth, caressing bubbles give a nice silky character while maintaining a strong tingle for extra life and buoyancy.

Here's an example of a beer that is really damn good...except for how it tastes. And if the taste is off, what have you really got? It's hardly even bad, there's enough good going on in the flavor to keep me interested, but it's a bit messy and needs some work.

Photo of Sammy
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the tastier beers I have had in a while.Complex and very drinkable. Initial gulp, maybe because of long cellaring didn't do it. But then, chocolate, spice,some roast,fruity
very dark with off-white head. Spicey and cherry nose.Smooth drinking.

Photo of eallured
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into de la senne tall tulip at brugs beertje in Brugge. A typical Belgian brown color with moderate (for a Belgian) tan head that quickly dissipates and leaves no lacing.
Aroma is of dark, but not burnt toast, light roasted coffee and a good bit of alcohol, slightly sharper than the clean ethanol sweetness. Some sweet fruit, maybe pear, and also a floral note is also present.
Taste is initially of the same light roasted coffee, almost nutty, and definite strong bitterness, quite aggressive for a Belgian. There is enough sweetness, however, and the roast flavors are light enough that the bitterness is pleasant and round, rather than sharp and astringent. A relatively high finishing gravity makes the finish a bit sweet, but the bitterness definitely lingers as well.
Mouthfeel is medium for your typical BSDA. Far from the thickness of a gulden draak for example, but not light and quaffable. As with all good Belgian beers, this is best drunk slow and savoured.
Overall a very enjoyable beer, and not a session ender, but deep and complex. Moderate alcohol for the style. Leaves you not neccessarily wanting another of this(especially with all of Belgium currently at my fingertips) but definitely wanting another of something.

Photo of RickS95
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark, burnt chocolate brown. As dark as I've seen for the style. Head is offwhite and fleeting.

A lot of stuff to choose from. At different times I picked up chocolate, coffee, pine, citrus, licorice, and vanilla.

It tastes more like a stout. The chocolate is most noticeable, but it's nothing resembling dominant. It actually tastes like watered-down coffee with some cocoa in it, but it works.

While the taste worked, the mouthfeel was nothing worth writing home about. Bordering on light bodied, almost a Guinness like feel, with some bittering hops in the finish.

This beer needed something. Not so much flavor, just more character in the body. It was too loose for my liking.

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.15/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Brown body. Hinting at black. Big head. Lots of wisps. Nice lacing.

Smell - Very acidic. Some deep roasted malts. Lemony acidity. Clean tartness.

Taste - The roasted malts take a back seat to an immediate sourness. Brett flavors. Lemony tartness. Grainy. Some chocolate comes back in the end. Dry.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish. Medium light body. Not a ton of tartness but what it has is good.

Overall - Good blend of acids and chocolate. Doesn't do much for me, but it's a decent beer.

Photo of philipquarles
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

film and very good lacing.

Smells of roasted malt pure and simple. This also comes through in the taste, with a chocolate/coffee smokiness predominant. Very light prune-esters. Hops are there, but very weak.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick; the creamy head is also a plus.

Very drinkable. A really simple, traditional Belgian take on a stout.

Photo of CooperEllis
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter.
The head was thick, maybe 1/3" but disappated quickly, leaving only traces of foam around the edge of the glass. The remaining head did remain for the duration of the drink, sliding down the glass without leaving any residue.
The aroma is excellent: dark cherry or currant with slight carob.
The taste is unwhelming, altough the carbonation is very to my taste and the alcholol bites slightly. The longer this stood, the better the taste developed. Oddly, there is no decernible aftertaste - and the initial flavor (of which no single character dominates) doesn't linger. Once it's swallowed, it's gone.
Throughout the glass, the mouthfeel was excellent; very full. As the temperature rose the feel remained constant.
I would say this is very drinkable, but I question if I would.

(review #2 - I've decided to number my reviews so that if people are reading them they can place the review in it's proper context - maybe someday I'll have 100 up and someone will read this and think "eh, terrrible review", well, now you'll know why - it was my 2nd one)

Photo of ManforallSaisons
3.26/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It being Sinterklaas/St. Nicolas, it was clearly time to pull this out of the cellar, I think a couple months after buying. While I should strive not to prejudge, it was what I'd expected, in fact hoped for from this house: not a standard Belgian Christmas ale but a modern take on a peacefully non-imperial stout -- more roast and no/less candy sugar, clean, solid rather than decadent. Goodness knows for sure about a best-by date but looks like 2014 and no month are ticked on the label. Luscious-looking brown-black body with a sustained layer of cream. Little smell, some esters, a touch of coffee, but little is the operative word. Seriously roasted coffee again, in the flavor, plus toffee, some apricot and citrus, along with herbal and bitter but slightly coppery hops. Nice chewy attack and it cleans out well.

Photo of dabears
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed it just as it hit the local store. 25oz bottle that fools you. Opened the bottle cap to find a cork underneath (have a corkscrew). Color is super dark brown, bordering on black. The nose has some belgian sweet candy and hints of spice. The body of the beer does not match the color, but it does deliver flavor. A well balenced beer with hints of belgian sugar sweetness, spice, and a generous amount of hops. Hops are not prominent or overwhelming if that is what you are looking/not looking for. Overall didnt seem much different from year round belgian ales, but it was a tasty beer.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a large off-white foamy head with good retention and great lacing. Aroma of dry malt with a light European hops finish. Taste is definitely drier then I would have expected with a nice enough dry hops finish. The label ''winter beer'' lead me to expect a Belgian malt bomb with some balance sweetness but instead it seems I got a dry winter beer. Good carbonation with no discernable alcohol. While this is not bad or flawed, I thought it was too dry for my taste buds and not something I would revisit anytime soon.

Photo of theopholis
2.46/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Pours a fairly opaque amber with a good, frothy yet creamy, off-white head.Good head retention.

Aroma- Quite sour, with an uncomfortable barnyard smell lingering in the background. Smells like somebody squeezed a bunch of lemons over a chicken coop.

Taste- It's unusually hoppy for a Belgian beer. Spicy. Some hints of licorice. Kind of a free-for-all.

Mouthfeel- The carbonation is a bit high, and loose. Doesn't have that tight CO2 most Belgians do. Body seems about right.

Drinkability. Well...I didn't dump it down the sink.

Photo of smakawhat
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2012 poured on tap at Churchkey DC into a snifter glass. Described as a Belgian Imperial Stout.

A real nice red body with hints of dark chestnut brown, giving to a faint tan head. Manages to keep a collar.

Interesting nose on this beer. Light grass, and a fruity nuttiness similar to an English Dark Mild but a bit bolder.

Taste brings a real nice and controlled roasty character of char and pan gravy but with a Belgian like sweetness as well. Creamy charring mix with no perceived heat either. Body is very light in feel but gives lots of flavor

Overall it really does remind me of a dark mild with a fascinating character. Real interesting beer.

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

Poured into a Reuben's Brew snifter. Pours a very dark, nearly opaque brown with a nice to finger light brown head that dissipates slowly, leaving heavy lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, nuts, cocoa, faint Belgian yeast and spicing. Flavor is initially muted toasted malt, cocoa with dark, tart fruit developing later and finishing with charred malt, cocoa and some grassy hop bitterness. Medium bodied with peppery sharp carbonation. An unusual take on a brown ale, flavors are more muted and not as rich as a porter, but there is a lighter, Belgian fruit component that makes this interesting and different. The char in the finish is unexpected and perhaps a bit strong for flavor balance, but overall a quite interesting hybrid of porter and Belgian dark. Worth a try.

Photo of CookstLiquor
3.67/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Racist label aside, this pours a rich dark brown. Nose offers up complex floral, fruity notes with roasty notes of chocolate. Taste is boozy and a bit sweet, with notes of dark dried fruits and a strong bitter finish. Very smooth and sippable.

Photo of ritzkiss
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Zwarte Piet label is racist as hell, but the beer isn't bad. Not sure what's behind the name change but I'm sure it has something to do with controversy, which the label seems to see no reason to shy away from - Black face explorer matching the Black animal it gazes at...

Mix of roast and cocoa with a strong cranberry presence, a light tartness and some hop drying in the finish. Mix of stout and Belgian Dark.

Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle from the Bevmo La Quinta CA for 5$

Appearance - Brown colour with an average size fizzy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for only a few minutes.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, chocolate, smoke

Taste & Mouth - There is a below average amount of carbonation and I can taste raisins/dates, malts, and some chocolate. There is also some herbal notes and a smokiness. It ends with a chocolatey malt aftertaste with a light bitterness.

Overall - Can't say I've ever had a beer that tasted quite like this one. It had some interesting flavours that really worked well together. Worth trying.

Photo of Absumaster
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown beer with red hues and a thin head.

Smell of roasted malt, chocolate, cherries, wood and some tartness. Complex is the right word.

Taste is roasted with heavy dark malt tastes. This makes the beer lean towards a porter, but with a Belgian yeast character. A nice maltbitterness, together with the hop bitterness is giving the beer a great bitterness. There are woody notes in the beer that I think the yeast is responsible of. The yeast also produces some esters. Mouthfeel is spot on for this beer.
Aftertaste is dry and lingering maltbitter.

Photo of mdagnew
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought online from BeersofEurope.co.uk

Poured a deep mahogany nutty brown colour. Nice creamy tan head poured very tight, thick and foamy with a whipped meringue like topping then faded fairly quickly to decent thick covering. No carbonation at all... some light lacing...

Aroma - Lots of lightly roasted chocolate malts, some dried tobacco notes, peppery, roasted (maybe slightly charred ?) nuttiness, nutmeg spiciness, some anise, coffee, woody hints, molasses traces, dark dried fruits (raisins and currents)...

Taste - Lots of dark chocolate maltiness, earthy, spicy dark fruits (raisins, dates, plums), muscovado sugar sweetness, light roasted nuttiness, some yeasty and bready notes, strong coffee, treacle...

M&D - Pretty sharp and dry then mellows out... medium bodied... Very drinkable for an 8% brew...

Overall - An excellent strong dark ale and another fine brew from Brasserie De La Senne... defrinitely recommended...

Photo of Thorpe429
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle picked up at State Line in Elkton, MD. Served in a De La Senne tulip.

Pours a dark brown with purple-ish tints to it. Good head and lacing. The nose carries plenty of dark fruit plus some semi-sweet malt. Good yeast character. Flavor is similar. Nice yeast, but nothing really taking it over the top. Medium body with a touch of alcohol. Solid.

Photo of Rifugium
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Monk's, Philly, PA

Smooth, silky, spicy, and sexy.

Poured a dark hazy brown with a finger of tan head and moderate carbonation. Everything dark in the aroma: malts, fruits, chocolate. Roasty malts in the taste, with velvety smooth dark chocolate, raisins, dried black cherries, and pumpernickel. A good sense of alcohol. Medium bodied, and a very pleasant drink.

Photo of byronic
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with a nice thick head, looks very nice after the pour. Can't distinguish much from the nose other than some malts and Belgian yeast. Tastes rather muted with some hints of bitterness and malts. The alcohol is very present and overpowering. Perhaps some of the flavours have disappeared with age but I wouldn't return to have this brew again.

Photo of dbalsock
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer reminded me a lot of Stone´s RIS... although it has it´s differences. It appears dark brown with a tan head of about 2 fingers smelling of chocolate, hops and roasted goodness. It tastes predominantly of roasted malt with a sweet caramel and molasses background. Hiding in it all are notes of prunes and raisins with a solid backdrop of hops. The mouthfeel is good with a decent bitterness made from both the roastiness and the hops and allows the brew to be quite drinkable and well balanced.

Photo of champ103
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown that is nearly opaque. At first a large tan head forms, but recedes in an instant. Not much lace to speak of.
S: Dark fruit esters, yeast, and pepper. Dry wood and sweet caramel.
T: Dry wood, and dark fruit esters again. A little to much dryness for me though.
M/D: A medium body that is a bit over carbonated. Easy and smooth to drink though. A nice beer to sip on.

I enjoy this beer. It might not be the best in the style for me, but still very good. Something I would recommend.

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Equinox / Zwarte Piet from Brasserie de la Senne
85 out of 100 based on 110 ratings.