't Smisje Calva Reserva - Brouwerij Smisje

Not Rated.
't Smisje Calva Reserva't Smisje Calva Reserva

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BA SCORE
87
very good

139 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 139
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 3.86
pDev: 15.28%
Wants: 8
Gots: 7 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Jon on 11-26-2003)
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Ratings: 139 | Reviews: 101 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrunseen
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
5/5  rDev +29.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

((((Unbelievable))))

This... this is a beer that if I would ever see again, I would buy as much as I could.

It cost about $6-$7, but it was amazing.

Poured a very nice deep brown/red, a bit murky... a bit creamy look to it. Very fine, grainy bubbles that stood the test of time and did not go flat through the lengthy enjoyment of the beer. Just held on excellent.

Smelled wonderful, had that calvados scent, bright apple and raspberry sort of tart smell, intermingled with wood and earth tones. Hints of pepper and vanilla.

The taste is great. I held on to a bottle for quite a while and it matured well. The calvados comes through in the front, it is sweet. A bit thick but not sticky. There is a soury tartness that cleans the palate. You really get a great pinch and peppery bite from the grains of paradise and the booze. There are cherries and apple, berries, brandy, oaky vanilla flowing through this beautiful brew. There is a slight dryness with the low tone sour and pepper bite.

Mouthfeel is great, as said it is sweet but not sticky. Which I love for the medium to slightly chewy body. The carbonation is fine and gritty. Adds kind of a crunchiness to it.

I can't believe this beer is not rated higher. It is definitely a dessert/cold autumn/winter to spring transition night beer. But I love this beer. One of my favorite Belgian Brewers, and by far my favorite of this brewer's beers that I have had.

Photo of jim102864
4.88/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a shot in the dark purchase, but given my love for Belgian Quads, a no brainer. And what a find it turned out to be.

The appearance of this special Quad was cloudy, chocolatey in color with a thin head and some specks of yeast floating in my Duvel tulip glass. Some sticky lace hugged the glass.

The nose was ripe with prunes, figs, raisens and other like dark, aged fruit and candy sugar. Truly a special aroma and classic for a dark quad such as this.

Taste was fruity, somewhat sweet with candy sugar and lively alcohol in the finish. Delicious.

Mouthfeel was full with notes of port and and aged fruit hugging the tongue and alcohol in the background.

Overall, a highly enjoyable and very special quad, meant to be savored in a proper glass. I will seek this one out again and again.

Photo of sulldaddy
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked one of these up at Mountview liquorafter Terry told me there was only 2 cases of it in the state.
I am drinking a room temp bottle and pouring into a chalice. Upon opening the beer I get some gushing foam out of the top. As quickly as possible I begin to pour the beer into my glass. The beer pours a hazy chestnut twinged orange with some white yeast sediment on the bottom of my glass. After the gushing opening, I am surprised at the rather small beige head of .5 cm that develops, The head fades to a sturday surface layer that does stick around through the sampling.
Aroma is complex with green apple, sour cherry, cloves, some general bready/biscuity scnets and a brief hit of white grapes and alcohol as well. First sip reveals a thick body and fine tingly carbonation. THe texture is actually almost syrupy or chewy. Flavor is tasty and complex with caramel, apples, white grape, and perhaps melon. Overall it is very fruity and sweet up front. I also get some warming alcohol on the finish in my belly.
Overall this beer is very easy to drink for being 12% and I enjoy it thoroughly. Definitely buy this if you can find it!

Photo of Iguana
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tonights rainy, drizzly, cold made this seem like a good choice. Pour was a nice deep brown/ruby color with a 1 inch head that receded to lacing fairly quick. Smell is of raisins, and dark fruity sugars. Smells great. Taste blew me away, my initial taste right after I poured was like a smoky quad, but as it warmed up it got alot more complex and alot tastier. Dark fruit simmered in brown sugar is what I am tasting, simply amazing. Mouthfeel was silky smooth, and sweet, perfect for the style. Drinkability is only hindered by the fact this stuff is kinda hard to track down and the fact the bottle is so small. The 12% alcohol cant be detected in the taste but you can feel it warm ya up as ya go. This is a great beer and I would recommend it for anyone who is a fan of quads or belgian strong dark's. Now if only I can find more for me.

Photo of acoatley
4.72/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: hazey golden amber moderate head that dissipated quickly

aroma: sour cherries and heavy caramel malt buttery toffee and light coffee

Flavor: Rich toffee with walnut and pecans, a hint of port or marsala wine just a hint of warm alcohol excellent


Mouthfeel: creamy and smooth low carbonation and full body

Photo of BeerBuilder
4.65/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour to a murky brown color with a bit of ruby highlights. It forms a thick, creamy tan head that leaves a lot of lacing when sipped down. The aroma is malty, brown sugar, rum soaked raisins & dates. It has a sweet candy-like aroma. A bit of alcohol is also present. Very nice.

The flavor is candy-like, with dark fruits and a brown sugar sweetness. It is full-bodied and warms the belly. It has a somewhat creamy texture, which makes it easy to sip despite its strength.

A really enjoyable sipping beer.

Photo of tbrown4
4.58/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

8 oz. -> Ithaca tulip. Split with my buddy Greg on a brew day, just after final hop addition to an English barleywine.

A - Murky dark brown, just a little bit of a large bubble pressence. Not much carb.

S - Raisins, dark cherry, slight yeast

T - Woody, raisins, dark cherries, slight earthy pungent, light alcohol

M - Slight alcohol warmth, feels not as viscous and chewy as others in the style.

D - Easy sipper. 4 oz pour is enough, two servings from this bottle. This one did catch up on me after about 45 minutes. I'm going hunting for more to let sit for a while. Would be a good special occasion beer.

Photo of WckdVbz
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of HappyHourHero
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at room temperature. Poured from a couple inches above the glass and no head formed, just some large bubbles around the edges. The aroma is fairly mild, a little bit of alcohol, but not like I expected. Some sweet raisiny smell in there as well. I thought it was going to be pitch black in color, but it's actually more of a glowing dark apple cider color. Wow, this beer is mellow, no bite to it, and the mouthfeel is silky smooth, although I could go for a little carbonation. The flavor is mild as well, especially so for a 12% beer. Raisins and mild apples soaked in dark rum. This is an incredibly good beer and deserves a higher overall rating, but I can't justify giving it a 5 in any category. I am incredibly impressed by how mellow and flavorful this beer is. I wouldn't drink it too cold or the flavors will be drowned by the alcohol.

Photo of silenius
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I always expect something special to come from tiny bottles. This beer met those expectations.

The pour is a bit cloudy and muddled and topped off with a light brown growing head that relaxes back into a thin blanket with lace. I was surprised it was so murky looking - almost like a very dark unfiltered apple cider. Sort of a dullish brown.

Smell is quite pleasant with many aromas. I get toffee, peanut butter, tangerines, peanut brittle, and something slightly woody.

Taste is quite malty sweet, but not cloying in any way. Very much a dessert beer! It hits me with a dense fruity sweetness and a caramel maltiness that is really mouthcoating. Somewhere in there I get some notes of cinnamon. The aftertaste has a light woody bitterness that wraps things up nicely.

Mouthfeel is plush and velvety soft like the backseat of a big ol' Cadillac.

Very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of nlmartin
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have no clue where I got this beer. I wish I had purchased a second one. The beer was served in my trusty Hamms chalice.

Appearance: The beer pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown coloration. The head was a very short lived white coloration. The head quickly resolved to a thin ring of foam. No lacing was left behind on my glass.

Smell: This beer has a strong malty caramel/ vanilla aroma. This combines very well with the apple, pear and berry fruityness of the beer. The alcohol is very spicey and almost gives the beer a bourbon character. In short this beer smell very nice!

Taste: The beer delivers a most excellent carameled apple and dates combination. The beer has plenty of malty sweetness. The oak/ vanilla taste wonderful. The alcohol is noticeable but not obnoxious.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: The beer is full bodied and very syruppy. Overall this was a very enjoyable and drinkable beer drink. I wish I had another one of these. If you like Quads or Belgian Strong ale you will most likely like this one.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one pours with a decent head, the last time I had this ( about a year ago ) it was almost totally still. Body is a slightly hazy amber. Aroma of apples, rum, raisins, plums, all well blended.

Taste is great, age has done this well. Not as sweet as it was last year, it is now malty sweet, rather than sugary sweet. It is bready, fruity(raisins/figs/apples), and warming on this snowy night. The calvados ageing is obvious. Mouthfeel is thick, and moderately carbonated, especially for the ABV. Drinkable as hell, the bottle has got to be like 8.5 oz. or so.

Photo of claaark13
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottle, 25cl. Poured into a Bell's tulip. Approx. 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Jedwards, thanks for another great bottle that I never knew existed.

A - Dark brown pour, not much light is getting through at all. 1/2" or more of head, slowly but surely dissipates. Lacing retains even now, which is about 45 minutes after the pour. Pretty good looking beer.

S - I could smell it as soon as it started coming out of the bottle. Dark fruits, mild licorice and esters. As it airs out for a few moments, a swirl gives me what I believe are apples. Yes, green (not sour) apples. Very pleasant. Slight amount of cherries.

T - Yep, cherries and apples are coming out. Cherries start and meld into a slight amount of boozy cherries, going into apples....then a pretty dry finish. There is a mild Belgian dark ale in the distant back-flavor. About 1/2 way through each sip, the calva barrel esters start to appear and then turn into apples. It is pretty unique. There is a mild amount of sweetness, but nothing that really stands out. Great balance, smooth, and the noticeable esters are very welcome.

M - Smooth until towards the end, when the slight booze and dryness come out. Medium body that fits perfectly with the rest of the beer. It could work if a little thicker, but I like it how it stands. This is extremely drinkable. I think that red wine drinkers would go crazy of this one.

O - Pretty good beer here. Well balanced, the barrel aging adds favorable and unique layers, the sweetness is low and allows for the other flavors to come out, the mouthfeel fits well. I will get more of this one. I am very happy with it. My only concern is that I've reviewed a beer that is 7 years old and I'm not sure how a fresher one will fare. I can see a younger bottle being hot and something more around the B+ range. I will know soon enough.

Photo of corby112
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark red/brown color with hardly any head at all. Tart aroma of cherries, grape, blackberry, raisin and plum. Sweet fruit taste perfectly balanced out with strong alcohol flavor rendering it not too sweet. A touch sour in the finish. Very good!

Photo of fartingdog
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reddish brown with a very thin head. Light carbonation. Smell oaky and faintly sweet, you can tell it's gonna be strong. Tatses oaky, candi-sweet, dried fruit, with a bit of bitterness, bourbon notes. First thought was 'delicious'! There's some alcohol warming- no disguising the strength, but it is extremely drinkable. Not much carbonation, but not flat either.

This is a wonderful barrel-aged Belgian beer. Sure wish I could get more of this.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark burgundy color, utterly opaque....nestled 'neath a solid, if thinnish cap of tannish foam.

Aroma: sweet, tart, pungent, cherryish, lemony, deep, twisted, delicious...love it.

Taste it, now: huge presence in the mouth, floods every section of the senses with intense flavors, vast citric feel, sharp, spicy, somewhat sweet taste...brandy and barleywine comes to mind...big plum and grape...a little oaky, but fruit and alcohol reigns supreme.
The 12 % abv becomes king in time, but the flavor there remains Lord of All. Wow. If you want a tasty ride for mind and body...grap onto a bottle of this one!

...it's almost "too strong"..but, then, it's not...it's huge, but...I like that!

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very carefully poured from a long-standing bottle with great care to leave the lees behind, it's a fairly clear orange-copper color. A half ounce of beer may be lost in the effort to leave the sediment behind, but it's well worth it as it leaves a cleaner flavor and lends a bit to its appearance as the lack of head can be somewhat detracting. The aroma, however, more than makes up for any faults in its appearance with it's rich caramel-drenched maltiness, dark sugars, sticky prunes and soft raisins, just-cut juicy apples, earthy wood, subtle vanilla, and delicate waft of alcohol. A Belgian barleywine? Interesting. It's body is full, and it's exceptionally smooth across the palate as there's no carbonation whatsoever; leaving it very much like a brandy in more ways than one. The flavor continues the onslaught of apple/caramel/prune that the aroma began with the addition of some spice and heat from the alcohol. As it warms (and you progress through the glass) the alcohol softens a bit, but still lingers at the back of the throat. Hmmm.... given that this is a rich and strong sipping beer, but not one that's overly complex (class it along with Samichlaus), I'd suggest that the intensity of the alcohol might be a bit much. A pleasant surprise that's certainly worth trying but Valhalla's a long way off.

Photo of rallison
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red brown with a 1 finger off-white head that leaves some interesting lacing. Smell is of Belgian Candi Sugar, raisins, dates and toffee.

Taste is quite interesting, and very nice. Lots of Belgian Candi sugar, with port wine soaked raisins, toffee and other dark fruits. No hops whatsoever, with an overall sweetness. Nice touches of oak. Some alcohol, but that seems to have mostly mellowed by this point. Rich and delicious.

Mouthfeel is beautifully rich and creamy. A wonderful after dinner sipper. Drinkability, while not perfect, is pretty good on this one - especially considering the high alcohol and oak aging.

Highly recommended. I believe this bottle has aged for a while - picked it up at Stuffed Sandwich a few months ago - so that I think has really helped this one out. If you see this, give it a try.

Photo of Greggy
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a 1 finger head into a large snifter. After about a minute, the head drops down leaving some great sticky lacing. The body is ruby brown and hazy with light yeast sediment.

S- First off, I can smell the alcohol, but hey, it's 12%. I get a very dry fresh baking flour component as well as some dark fruit mainly being prunes and raisins. I catch a light whiff of coriander and also gather the apples from the calva (french apple brandy) casks. A nice vanilla buttery note is also there which I suspect being the oak.

T- Huge mouthfeel here as soon as it hits the palette. I gather notes of green apple, brandy almost red wine like notes, dark fruits, and then a nice dry pepper finish reminiscent of shiraz. Pretty unique. No alcohol heat detected in the finish so it's nicely hidden there.

M- Huge mouthfeel with only light carbonation. Nice dry finish.

D- This is a very nice quad that is very complex. I look forward to having it now and then. It's definitely a sipper, but could easily be drank to fast. Be careful..

Photo of kolbe
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Once again I must say "Thanks!" to the fabulous gentlemen at Bottleworks for recommending this one to me. What a unique beer! It's a great opportunity to get to try this one.

The first thing I noticed when I popped the cap on this bottle was ... nothing. There was no hiss, no pop, nothing. This bizarre, complete absence of any carbonation was again obvious when I poured this into a small goblet and saw no head whatsoever. It could be that this was due to a bottling error or some other anomaly that is not representative of the whole batch.

The smell is lovely, and very strong of wood, as has been amply noted by other reviewers, and as would be expected by the name and preparation.

The taste is quite sweet and fruity, more like some kind of mead here than beer due to the complete lack of any carbonation to agitate the volatiles and bring out a bit more of the spice.

I think I would really enjoy this beer if there were at least a *few* bubbles emerging from the surface. The eerie stillness lost this offering a few points in the appearance and mouthfeel categories, but the taste and unique secondary fermentation make it compelling and worthwhile.

Strangely, the one thing I found most unappealing about this beer is the thing that might make want to try it again -- in an effort to see if it's meant (or doomed) to be experienced this way.

[EDIT: I bought another of these, and this one had some carbonation to it! Absolutely sublime. Increasing ratings accordingly.]

Photo of Jon
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

't Smisje Calva Reserva is yet another take on barrel aged beer. This beer is aged in E. Dupont Calvados casks for six months before bottling. Keeping that in mind, this is a wonderfully unique creation. It pours a murky auburn color with absolutely no head and no active carbonation. Nose is dominated by the Calvados, or apple brandy, oak, raisins, additional ripe fruit and a healthy dose of alcohol. Additional notes of sweet malts, coriander, Calvados, overripe fruit (apples, obviously) and a warming alcohol presence characterize the flavor profile. Only the slightest hint of earthy Hallertauer hops used in the brewing process are noted. Mouthfeel is super smooth and elegant, much reminiscent of a strong liqueur. This is a true sipping beer with the weight it carries, but it sure is delicious on the way down.

Photo of kmo1030
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the beer pours a deep orange ruby brown with a large ligth tan head tht sticks around for the long haul and laces well.
the aroma is great... it's got rum raisin, lightly boozy berries, corriander, white peppery yeast, vanilla oakiness, caramel, and a small amount of brown sugar. a touch chalky. a very well balanced pleasant nose, it's got everything i'm looking for in a quad.
the taste while a touch sweet for me is not cloyingly so. it's got very little heat for the abv. the taste has got a dominant, but soft fruitiness, with raisin, berries (blue?), cherries, brandy, a hint of mango, and the slightest touch of citrus. there is some candy sugar sweetness in here too. on the more traditional maltier side of things you have caramel, vanilla tinged oak, brown sugar and raisin (different sort).
the mouthfeel is fuller side of medium bodied, with an active, but fine carbonation.
the drinkability is very good, the alcohol is masked well. this is my favorite quad to date. while a huge beer, it showed an admirable degree of restraint and balance. drinks like a well crafted dubbel.

Photo of themind
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This brew is very good! it has a slight sour taste to it and an apple brandy finish. The barrel aging is pronounced yet not overwhelming. I really enjoyed this and I am surprised this is not rated higher. This is a quality Belgium brew that I would buy again.

Bottom Line: Good brew!

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't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
87 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.