St. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve - Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.
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Ratings: 130 | Reviews: 96 | Display Reviews Only:
4.85/5 rDev +25.6%
Pours a cloudy light brown ale with a fair white head. This looks exactly like apple cider.
Smell is a little sweet with a big fruity scent. Apples, spice, pine and a whiff of brandy are in this.
Taste is mildly sweet and very spicy in the first sip. Flavor of brown sugar and pineapple are dominant at first. Noticeable alcohol flavor but it isn't very strong. Cinnamon stick, allspice, mace, cloves, ginger, malt, and powdery yeast are all in the flavor of this one. Very quickly the sweetness disappears and leaves only spice in your glass. At the end it tastes a LOT like a spiced rum drink, and that isn't a bad thing at all.
Mouthfeel is very good, perfect in fact.
OK this was an excellent beer experience. If it has a defect it would be the color and intensity of the flavor. I absolutely enjoyed this, the bottle cost $11 and it was worth it! Strange that this is listed as retired, every little shop in Solvang California sells this stuff. I neglected trying this for more than a year because of the bottle, I thought it was just a gimmick to sell second rate Belgian beer.
09-07-2005 02:55:27 | More by Zorro
4.15/5 rDev +7.5%
yeah, yeah, the bottle. just means heavier bag to carry downstairs when i bring my empties out for recycling... aww hell ill probably just give it to one of my homebrewing friends.
fyi, that bottle holds 16oz.
a clear orange brew with a dense syrupy quality. not much head. big airy bubbles inspired by a hard pour, thats it. BE WARNED though, this bottle had lots and lots of chunky sediment.. to the point of grossness. and i dont mind sediment, but this was a yeast cake. aroma is very nice, a good balance between sweet fruity maltiness and hot spiciness. plums, licorice, and some brown sugar. flavor is confusing but has potential. first off, this thing is hot like jet fuel. this hides some of the subtler flavors that i think are there, but allows striking notes of black pepper, candy corn, peach and vanilla to shine. light and goes down smooth, texturally... just so damn hot. this beer should have been 'grand reserve'd for another 5 years. another bottle perhaps? at $6, why not.
08-22-2005 20:43:05 | More by goodbyeohio
4/5 rDev +3.6%
Well, the bottle is quite simply bad ass. It comes in a heavy ceramic 16 oz bottle with a unneeded swing top. It pours a golden amber with a mild head. The aroma has hint of honey and booze. At 10% it is awfully mild and drinkable. Really it kind of tastes like an amped up pilsner with a hint of candi sugar. This one isn't worth seeking out; but if you impulse buy it because of the bottle you will not be disappointed.
04-01-2005 04:22:24 | More by swamiswamu
4.1/5 rDev +6.2%
16oz bottle purchased at Domaney's Wines & Liquors, Great Barrington, MA. Nice ceramic bottle with flip-top cover to use after cracking the bottle cap open.
Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 3/4" beige head over the light amber brew, with floaties present. Head is frothy and holds on strong, probably due to rigorous carbonation, with nice heavy lacing. Aroma is sweet malts, with spicy notes, and maybe a tad of veggie. Flavor is spicy yet sweet pale malts, closing with a slight warming. Mouthfeel is good, creamy, possibly seems a bit thin, with excellent drinkability. Can't believe this is 10%abv, could be dangerously good.
03-30-2005 00:41:39 | More by ppoitras
4/5 rDev +3.6%
The first thing I have to note about this beer is the presentation. A beautiful gray ceramic bottle with a flip top. Pours out a cloudy orange, amber color with a small head that does not last. The lable on this beer says it is brewed once a year.
The smell is a bit metallic with hints of malt and something citrus. The taste is much more smooth. A sold malt backbone with some citrus notes and candie sugar coming through. A tiny bit of dry hoppyness in the finish. The 10% alcohol is very well hidden.
Overall a good beer. Nothing mind blowing but well made.
01-22-2005 01:13:37 | More by CharlesRiver
3.83/5 rDev -0.8%
Clear amber brew with decent white lasted head but some clinging lace. Nose presents some honey, baked apples, and slick, sweet malt. Beer warms the throat on the way down. 10% come through with some spiciness and alcoholic warmth, but no bite. Moderately fruity, sweet malt presence, and just enough hops to keep things from getting out of whack. Carbonation is light and body is slick and full. Almost an oily feel on the tongue. Great mouth feel! I was a little turned off by the packaging which comes across as gimmicky, but this is a very solid beer.
01-12-2005 22:45:44 | More by yen157
3.13/5 rDev -18.9%
This was a yellow beer with a one-finger head, and floaters abounded.
The aroma was of rich light malts and apples... not too tart, not too sweet, more of a Cortland than a Mac or Delicious.
The taste was malty, with a slight sweetness and fruitiness... definitely less fruitiness than the aroma would lead one to expect. It was also somewhat flat and subdued, compared to others of the style I have had.
Not what I expected from a "Grand Reserve"... I will not get it again, and it may be some time before I try others from this brewery.
01-08-2005 04:29:27 | More by connecticutpoet
4.28/5 rDev +10.9%
Appearance: Very cloudy amber color, with a film of thin foam on top.
Aroma: Vanilla, sweet honey, ripe apple aroma.
Flavor: Burst of fruit (peach? apple? big estery flavor in any case), very spicy yeast character and noticibly peppery alcohol on the sides of the tongue. No hop flavor than I can find (though it's hard to sift through the many flavors), but bitterness comes out at the end, along with some sourness, for a tart, pungent finish.
Body: Very tannic mouthfeel, full bodied, but still somewhat light for a 10% beer.
Other Sterkens beers I've tried have been fairly uninteresting, but this beer is excellent.
01-05-2005 03:17:41 | More by allengarvin
3.55/5 rDev -8%
Pours a deep golden with chunks and floaties swirling about with a big fluffy head that leaves a nice amount of lace,yeasty,spicey aromas with some green apple in there but it is pretty light for a big beer.Spicey and yeasty up front with some underlying tropical fruit,finishes pretty sweet with the alcohol flavor slowly kreeping up as it warms.Not one of the best Belgian strong pale ales I have had but still a decent brew none the less.
12-25-2004 23:47:06 | More by oberon
3.43/5 rDev -11.1%
No freshness date. Pours a clear golden-amber with small white head and light lacing. Smells strongly of grain & malts, some sweet fruits, and spicy alcohol. Flavor begins with sweet grainy malts and develops into very powerful solvent-like alcohols and slight spicing. Slight carbonation; feels fairly light in the mouth for the strength.
Easy to drink considering the ABV, but overall a brutish, unsubtle, beast of a strong pale ale. Perhaps my sample was mishandled, but this is not something I'll be returning to when there are *far* better examples out there.
12-22-2004 04:07:23 | More by dgallina
4.25/5 rDev +10.1%
Style points go out for the classy bottle that this one comes in. Pours a hazy light golden with a slight green apple tint. Leaves tons of fine wispy lacing and sheeting. Nose is a soft sweet, fruity spicy blend. Soft mouthfeel, notes of melon, honey, pepper, alcohol evident. Tasty, strong, sharp and crisp. Lovely creation in brewing. get some of this stuff and enjoy.
11-10-2004 01:30:14 | More by Billolick
4.05/5 rDev +4.9%
The beer poured into the chalice clear medium golden. The head was very low and did not want to form. The head that did form was low and barley sustained itself at the edges of the surface and tried to lace the glass.
The aroma was spicy with a peppery yeast aroma that was a bit sulphury.
The flavor was nicely accomplished with a belgian candy sugar caramelization present and nice belgian yeast spiciness that contributed complexity to the beer. The sweetness in the flavor is well balanced by bittering.
The finish was just dry with nice bittering and spice that lasted well into the aftertaste. The body was medium or just a bit more and well done.
16 ounce ceramic bottle with cap and swing top as pictured. With more head retention and better aroma this beer would be truly world class, but the head retention was less than stellar and the aroma did not measure up to the flavor.
11-06-2004 01:24:03 | More by GCBrewingCo
3.58/5 rDev -7.3%
Pours a hazy amber with almost no head. Carbonation is nearly non-existant, no head and flat mouthfeel. Sweet malty aroma with a spicy touch. Flavor is candy sweet with citrus and malt dominating. Quick hop bite at the end keeps things balanced and somewhat dry. Mouthfeel was a bit thin and flat. Not a bad beer by any definition, but still disapointing. With more carbonation it may improve quite a bit, but as it stands its not worth a second look.
11-02-2004 08:48:35 | More by Sixpack595
3.65/5 rDev -5.4%
16 oz ceramic bottle.
Frothy and rocky white head that slides to the sides after a few moments. Very condensed lacing throughout the glass. A hazy, golden-light orange in color.
A candy sweetness; vanilla and some slight fruit aromas: apple and raspberry. Accompanied by a faint alcohol aroma as well.
Candied-sugar, vanilla sweetness drives this ale. A very faint apple and raspberry fruitiness. Rather bland in terms of flavor after the sweetness. Alcohol flavor in the aftertaste.
Light on the palate; a bit thin and somewhat watery. A smooth candied coating and low in carbonation.
Although very faint in detection, the 10% abv is a deterrent in terms of drinkability. The sweetness of this ale is also a preventative in having more than one. My expectations were too high going into this one. It was nice to try, and I'll definitely try some of their other ales, but one try for this one is all I need.
09-12-2004 04:09:04 | More by NEhophead
4.15/5 rDev +7.5%
A dark honey colored brew in the goblet with a small head that lingered.
Smell of malt, oak and a faint fruitiness.
Taste was malty, oakey, alcohol (noticeable but not overpowering) and some fruit at the end which became more noticeable as it warmed. Nicely complex as one might expect.
Medium body, smooth, lightly effervescent. Very drinkable, the only restrain being the ABV. Definitely a fine brew.
07-24-2004 03:03:25 | More by PorterLambic
3.93/5 rDev +1.8%
The pour a clear deep amber, the head is mediorce, the lace spare, the color off white. Nose is malt, citrus tones, light hints of bubble gum. Front is malt, sweet, the top is medium, the finish is acerbic, dry, the 10% ABV, is felt in the "Tummy" and the long lasting alcohol bitter aftertaste. "Works for me!", as I like my beers pungent and brawny. Ranks #504 on my current 1000 beer master list.
07-14-2004 13:24:40 | More by Gusler
4.5/5 rDev +16.6%
Everything about this ale is absolutley fantastic. The pottery-like crockery style bottle is very interesting. The ale itself pours a slightly cloudy orange with almost no head. Only a thin, hazy sheet of tiny bubbles covers the top with light delicate lacing around the sides. The smell is quite sweet and spicy with clove like accents. In fact, the appearance, smell and taste are tremendously similar to a hefeweisen. What is not similar to a hefe, is the strength of this ale. One can certainly tell, and quickly, that this a 10%abv.
With almost a total lack of any carbonation, St. Sebastiaan's Grand Reserve goes down smooth. It's just really heavy and really filling. Easy to drink, if you're only drinking one.
I highly recommend this ale to anyone who fancies the hefe style unfiltered wheat type brews.
05-08-2004 02:26:06 | More by SilentSabre
4.33/5 rDev +12.2%
Small, creamy-white, ultra-fine head. Fine, fine sheets of tiny spots of lacing. Clear orange beer. Wasn't expecting that. Sweet caramel in the nose. Some milk. Spicy front: pepper, alcohol and lots of fruit. Dark-tasting malt, almost sour. Nice. Very bitter, grainsy finish. Some fruit. D-licious! Malty, spicy, grainsy, not too sweet. Beauty.
03-30-2004 22:47:59 | More by kbub6f
4/5 rDev +3.6%
The beer pours a true gold color with a lacey off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a strong alcohol scent, accompanied by Belgian pale ale malts and fruity Belgian yeast; very nice. The taste is good. It has a pretty basic malt structure with some fruity yeast and a dry, warm finish. It has a nice flavor. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a fine brew. It goes down easy with pleasure.
03-28-2004 00:36:33 | More by WesWes
3.28/5 rDev -15%
Pours a hazy orange-gold color, it is very low on carbonation; it barely summons a week wispy white head. Aromas of oxidation immediately waft from my glass as I pour this beer. The aroma is indeed dominated by notes of oxidation; sherry, wet cardboard. Perhaps there is a hint of alcohol in the nose as well as a bit of sweetness. Fairly light beer on the palate. There are some flavors of orange and perhaps some raisin. The oxidation is not nearly so dominant in the, and as it warms up I get a certain spiciness to it. flavor of this beer, but it is here as well. This beer ends with a bit of vegetal astringency that is not quite off-putting. Not a great beer, I certainly expected more from something titled a Grand Reserve.
02-06-2004 23:28:06 | More by Gueuzedude
3.95/5 rDev +2.3%
Poura light copper with gold highlights. Small white head vanishes quickly but leaves lots of thick, sticky lace on the side of the glass.
Aroma of dark fruits, yeast, wheat bread, banana, apple and cloves.
Flavors of sweet and citrus fruits, medium malt, some yeast and some clove notes. Virtually no bitterness and finish has a little spicy alcohol kick.
Mouthfeel doesn't have much liveliness as I would expect for the style and finish is somewhat shorter than I would like for the style. Very drinkable beer though.
01-18-2004 23:10:28 | More by CRJMellor
4/5 rDev +3.6%
Auburn-infused golden hued with a large bubbled head that wastes itself away in a matter of minutes.
Sugarcane, ginger, honeyed apricots and sweet melons on the nose.
The taste progresses through distinct stages. Flows through the mouth with a honey-drenched cantaloupe sensation immediately. Spicing invades. Peppery and savory. Fruit returns via lightly scorched pineapples. Spicing appears again, but more intense. Still light herbal, leafy and peppery, but it wipes the mouth clean of any sweetness. Continuing this wet-dry / sweet-bitter cycle, raw sugar begins to develops, coupling with something that hints at orange juice. However, the hopping does not allow it to come to fruition, as it sweeps down, and rinses the palate clean. Almost out of spite, a light honeyed sensation develops post-swallow.
Alcohol is of little notice for a 10% brew, but shows up on occasion by way of vodka hues.
Meaty bodied, just shy of full with stunted carbonation.
The drying qualities are both a savior and a distraction. This one seems to be pulling in two different directions. The end result is tasty and very drinkable, but I have the impression that this could have been even more. I'm just not sure what.
Nice brew, regardless. Nice bottle too.
10-21-2003 23:37:39 | More by cokes
3.53/5 rDev -8.5%
The same great flip-top ceramic bottle as the other St. Sebastiaan beers have.
Aroma: Dominated by the banana like smell I associate with the Weihenstephan yeast strain, on top of a fairly heavy malt sweetness.
Appearance: Clear straw color with a fluffy head that collared and laced.
Taste: Same as the smell, yeast really comes through a heavy malt, but not cloying. There is a significant alcohol burn in the aftertaste, but no hop bitterness noted. There is also a spicy, peppery bite.
Mouthfeel: Thick a touch heavy.
Overall: A good beer, but a bit out of style by my read. The lack of head, lacing took points off, and the mouthfeel is a bit heavy for the style. I also found it had a hard time hiding the substantial alcohol level. While that isn't a deal breaker, it took some points off my review. This is a good beer, rich, well made, fulfilling. It's a bit heavy for consistency drinkability, but a good treat now and then.
10-03-2003 23:18:05 | More by HardTarget
4.33/5 rDev +12.2%
Appearance Orangish-brown body with a nice head that laced the glass.
Smell Theres a nice, light, spicy fruit aroma from this one. The melons, peaches, oranges, and apricots are touched off with a bit of coriander and cinnamon. The (very) lightly toasted malt backbone is present as well, but this is all about the fruit.
Taste This is big flavor. The multitude of spices are out in force, deeply soaked in the light fruits from the nose along with cranberry and apple juice. The malt fades a bit at the tongue.
Mouthfeel This is lightly carbonated and medium-bodied. The alcohol is there, but comes out more like a light, fruity mixed drink thats been spiced with white rum.
Drinkability This one is big on the melons and (especially) peaches, similar to its Golden cousin, which makes it go down smooth.
Update I first rated this in 2003. Oh, Lawdy, have I been a BA that long? Anyway, here we are four years later and it tastes almost exactly the same. If nothing else we have to award points for consistency. Nice job, Sterkens!
09-20-2003 01:11:11 | More by RoyalT
4.15/5 rDev +7.5%
I had this back a couple years ago and remembered it as a favorite then. Now with much more experience behind me, I try it again.
Exceptional crystal clear view with a white rocky head. Aroma is quite fruity without a lot of sweet. Nice full mouthfeel, malty malty without the feeling that this beer is 10,0%. Starts light and malty but turns very warming by the time it leaves the back of your tongue.
Strange it's served in a 16oz crock/swingtop but only is capped. :-/
This beer deserves to be corked and aged, that is my only complaint.
(I bought a case [12x16oz] of this brew after reviewing this)
07-11-2003 20:38:23 | More by truthbrew
St. Sebastiaan Grande Reserve from Brouwerij Sterkens N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 130 ratings.