't Smisje Calva Reserva - Brouwerij Smisje

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

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very good

105 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 105
Hads: 152
Avg: 3.91
pDev: 14.83%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jon on 11-26-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 105 | Hads: 152
Photo of Rastacouere
2.54/5  rDev -35%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle at Spuyten Duyvil. Dark Mahogany, no head, looks completely still. Extremely sweet aroma with cask wood aging notes obvious. Extremely vinous (port), apple or plum like. Huge alcohol flavor. It lacks some dimension other than liquorous anything. Tongue-burning like a strong scotch that you keep a long time in mouth, Very yeasty, cake-like. Medium to full body, appears syrupy with this carbonation absence. Feels like hot syrup. Not very good at all, I could not finish a whole bottle of this liquorous, heating, sweet wood juice. Overwhelming.

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Photo of dougnboston
2.63/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Please understand, it's about 85 degrees (f) here today and this beer deserves a strong winter storm, being cut off from all the world, a big fire and someone special to linger with. Pair it with a hearty stew and you may have something.

Summer beer it's not, so it's very hard for me to rate this fairly. I'm not an extreem alchohol guy and this one is stong on the taste. Plums do seem to come to mind. Sweet for sure. Dark, dark fruits. Malty after taste. The head died quickly and no lace on the glass. Smell the brandy! Light up a cigar with this baby. It's a big one.

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Photo of counselor
2.82/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a ruddy brown with no head, practically flat. aromas of nut, plum and soy, the taste was similar, vinous, alcohol , deep braised fruits, plum, raisin, and burnt meat. Not terribly appealing and quite a dissapointment given the price for a 11.2 oz bottle.

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Photo of granger10
2.95/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a murky reddish brown color that turns peach when exposed to light. There was some yeast floating in my glass even though I poured quite carefully. No head or carbonation to speak of. The aroma was amazing however. Strong notes of fruit and wood and rum filled the room. It attacked my senses! Really good, I was very excited to take a sip of this one. Upon my first sip I get a watery sensation and little else. What!? Where's the taste that should follow the aroma? Well, the more I drank of it the more of a rum alcohol taste I get. I also get some red apples and a woody tone around the edges. This beer is really weak in body and too smooth, as in no bite from carbonation or any other flavors. To be honest the alcohol didn't offset the lack of carbonation like I thought it would. It was warming in the finish but I drank this one a little too quick because there were no lingering flavors. I am Very Disappointed! Way too expensive!

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Photo of rastaman
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle @Toronado, San Fransisco. I think thanks go to mat for this beer, but i’m not entirely sure. this was pretty wierd. Salted licorice, toasty caramel and vegemite, definite aged character, not quite my bag, but not bad. Packed a punch, and theres lots of flavour.

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Photo of ark57
3.02/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

There is no head on this barrel aged beer and there is no carbonation to speak either. It is a murky ruby-brown. The aroma is fruity (apple is detectable among some dark fruits), woody (very strong wood character), and there is peppery alcohol. The aroma is somewhat pleasant yet harsh. Apple is the first flavor noticeable then a strong woodiness. It is malty, but seems to be dominated by the barrel and alcohol. The finish has a good amount of hotness from the alochol. The initial taste is not too grea, but the lingering apple in the aftertaste helps the score out.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.11/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Seriously explosive carbonation on the pour. Mysterious chestnut color with a lot of haze to it. Head settles down and remains that profound traditional Belgian head, night khaki color.

S: You can really smell the calvados, its crazy. Really dirty aroma to it. Sort of a rum raisin, cherry and a nip of citrus.

T: Begins really woody at the tip of the tongue. Seems relentless at first but releases its death grip and allows some strong, satured amber to dark fruit flavors to come through. Brown sugar plays the sweet angle which increases quickly to strong alcohol esters. Notes of plums, raspberries and red apple while here. Finishes dirty with very strong alcohol vapors.

M: Full body and syrupy.

D: Wow, aggresive beer. Unbalanced and a bit kooky. Not so hot on this one. Its too hot and needs to relax a bit. Maybe after some age it might be better but I'm not sure it would help the overwhelming wood flavor.

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Photo of ggaughan
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I shared this bottle with my wife at the Brugs Beertje in Brugge. The beer poured a brown color with no head to speak of. It had an iced tea look to it, not the taste though. The aroma of the beer gave off solid hints of the high abv that this beer has. The taste was a bit citrus but was dominated by the high abv and some oak notes from the aging. The beer also had an almost maple syrup quality to it as well.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.25/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours to a nutty brown and blood red color with a nice thick frothy head. Carbonation is fairly minimal. Laces the glass very well.

The smell is good. Some complex raisin, plum, and fig with some strong malt and candy sugar. Only a slight cidery aroma from the calvados.

The taste is not too great. Starts off nice and sweet with a tart cider fading into the raisin, fig, and plum and then finishing dry, nutty, and earthy. Quite complex, though it is a journey through borderline foul taste.

The body is full and syrupy. Carbonation is sharp and prickly. Alcohol is right up front, but doesn't provide a lot of burn. This is not a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.27/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I found this in the back of my beer closet and have no idea where I got it. That being said, the pour was a cloudy brown color with red amber highlights. There was some sediment but a good pour kept it in the bottle. No head really to speak of or carbonation either.

The nose was noticeable with a sweet caramel aroma. More of a caramel candy smell then a caramel malt. Noticeable candy hints. Some lighter tropical fruits as well, with some raisin and touches of plums.

The taste is similar but more emphasis on the sweet candy caramel flavor. The malt is the major characteristic with the sugary background. There are some toffee and a light phenolic value that is noticeable. This comes out more as the beer warms. I also picked up some hints of vanilla as it warmed too.

The body was a little skeptical with the lack of carbonation, but the sweet maltiness of it helps with a more mid to full feel. A nice creaminess to it as well. Overall I wonder if I might have sat on this too long, oh well.

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Photo of ypsifly
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured from an 11.2 with no dates into a chalice.

Brown with no head at all. The sediment is easily disturbed so this one was given a delicate pour, however there's still a lot of floaters in the glass.

Whisky notes dominate the nose. Smells very alcoholic. My nose says "get ready for a sherry dosed with Macallan's 12yr scotch".

Very sweet. You can really taste the "E. Dupont wooden calvados casks" that the label says this was aged in for 6 months. The alcohol registers a bit creamy. Good mouthfeel, but I wouldn't call this very drinkable.

't Smisje impressed me with their BBBougondier, but I won't be revisiting this brew unless someone offers me a freebie.

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Photo of pigc
3.35/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark brown with two finger head.

S - Banana, clove, bubblegum, raisin, figs, dark fruits.

T - Peppery sweetness upfront followed by a wave of dryness and taste of rum cake and tropical fruits. An astringent aftertaste that lingers at the end. A bit off-putting.

M - Medium to full bodied with decent carbonation.

O - Decent Belgian strong ale but nothing to get excited about. It's been a while since I've had this style but this one seems on the dry, astringent side.

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Photo of clickpush
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour: 11.2oz bottle to wide mouth glass. Cloudy dull brown body w/ absolutely no head. Bottle opened w/ a hiss but nothing like that in view in the glass.

Nose: Mulled apple cider. Sweet and fruity. Malty, caramel, honey.

Mouth: Somewhat fizzy, minty, malty, cider-y... a touch of roasty, brown malts. Warm alcohol heat. Enjoyable but perhaps a bit past its prime.

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Photo of clvand0
3.45/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with no carbonation, no head. The aroma is very alcoholic and fruity. There doesn't seem to be much more to it than alcohol and raisin/grape fruit. The flavor is very much the same. Very thin with a lot of raisin and grape flavors going around and an alcoholic bite. The body is very thin. The drinkability is ok, but the thin alcoholic character makes it tough.

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Photo of aasher
3.47/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Calvados, I'm in. This beer arrived in Indianapolis a few weeks ago.

Calva Reserva pours a dirty full bodied pond water brown with a frothy cream colored lacing. It looks like a toilet that you'd find unflushed in a subway bathroom. The nose is rich and malty with plenty of calvados on the nose. It's solid and has plenty of caramel apple presence. The flavors are kind of a mess though. There's the green apple and caramel but also plenty of random malty sweetness, heavy on the toffee and butterscotch. It's too much sweetness and doesn't feature enough complexity. It drinks heavy and sticky and surprisingly doesn't show any alcohol. This beer was strange but had some redeeming qualities. It wasn't bad at $5.99 a bottle.

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

Poured this dark redish brown beer into a pint glass. Amazed that it produced very little head and no lacing. It seemed like it was flat to me. The aroma of fruitiness greats the nose. The taste of bing cherries, grapes, and berries greet the palate. The alcohol gives off a tart sour finish.

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

poured from a bottle into a Jackie O's tulip glass

A: cloudy hazel body with a light off white head. Head grows to half an inche and settles quickly to a thin layer of bubbles on the body.

S: The initial smell is brett funk. I was not expecting this. Faint caramel is in there too, but Brett is dominating.

T: Well the brett is much, much less pronounced in the taste. I get a lot of champagne notes with some light sour apple notes. I am not really getting the more nuanced flavor of calvados as much as just some apple tartness. I am wondering if this bottle has a tiny bit of infection going on. I will check some other reviews to see if others have noted this. Some tobacco and light wood linger well after the swallow. I am not blown away, but I sure like it. The 11% alcohol is not really an element to my tastebuds. The carbonation is just right.

M: Stay with me here, but it "feels" like champagne bitterness without the bubbles. Otherwise the mouthfeel is not particularly noteworthy.

Overalll, this is an interesting beer. I like it, but it was not like I expected. There is a lingering bitterness, tobacco and oak like, that I am just not on board with. I would like to try this beer again with some other calvados barrel aged beers.

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

Poured from an 11ish ounce bottle into my dollar store snifter glass. Appears a clear deep ruby red/brown color with about a finger of light ecru foam. Smells and tastes of mildly spicy belgian yeast, hint of pepper, dark fruits such as plums, cherry skins, raisins, apples and pears. Medium in both body and carbonation, this quad left a bit to be desired when compared to what else is out there in this style.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
3.59/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

put this bottle next to another 11.2 oz bottle and tell me it's not a midget.. i truly think the t'smisje brewery is lying about their beer size.. but that's another issue, and one i can send a nasty email about when i perfect my belgian.

pours a murky belgian brown/red.. no lacing, really no head either. nose draws alot of sweet liquor, wood, vanilla and pepper out of those casks. age has pushed the aroma here into the green apple/cidery realm, creating an atmosphere of nervousness and foreboding daunting tasks.. very smooth beer flavorwise. vanilla custard and brandy milkshake... like bailey's, this goes down smooth but carries an uncompromising weight and alcohol warmth that cannot help but limit consumption,

an interesting treat.. not worth 6$ for 10 oz and probably not something i'd buy again... but im glad i tried it. the dulle teve reserva is along these lines with deeper depth and more vibrant expression to it.

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Photo of berkey
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My first beer in about a week (on a diet to get ready for the warmer weather) so figured I'd make it a strong one. From last night's notes.

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Forms a surprisingly large head when compared to other offerings from this brewer I've tried. Very large, loose, soapy bubbles. Retention was also very good but once it finally died down it was gone completely. Body is a very cloudy brown with hints of red. Very little in the way of lacing.

Aroma is very sweet and a little intense. Apples stand out much more than expected. The spicy aromas typical of a Belgian Winter Ale are very dominant as well, much more so than the Grande Reserva. Alcohol isn't difficult to pick out here along with the yeast.

Spices dominate even more on the palate. It's actually a little much for my tastes. Alcohol isn't hidden here either and Brandy notes (although I wouldn't necessarily say Calvados) are front and center on the aftertaste along with some leather and wood flavors. Apples and other fruit are here as well but not as much as in the aroma. If you're thinking the combination of an estery Belgian ale, Brandy, and tons of spice, is odd then you're right. It doesn't quite come together in my opinion.

Medium carbonation and silky texture create a good mouthfeel but the spice and booze hurt the drinkability in my opinion. I don't know exactly why the barrel aging didn't soften the edges and create more well rounded flavor like on the Grande Reserva but I enjoyed this one much less.

Overall not entirely unpleasant and I wouldn't turn down one if it were offered but not something I'll seek out again. I love most everything I've tried from Regenboog but this is my least favorite to date.

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Photo of impending
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5


33cl into a tulip. Pours a rich amber dirty cola dishwater, little head, minimal lacing.

The aroma is treacly sweet in a nice way, rich in caramel and barrel. Vinous and mild oxidation. Lots of fruits that have begun to rot.

Pleasantly low in sweetness, less than expected. Full bodied lifeless mouthfeel. The barrel aging is its signature. Only a hint of tart but enough to know this is destined to be cider given time. More a belgian barleywine than a bsda.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.61/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

God help me if I could remember when I got this beer. I think that it was in Colorado a couple years ago, but here is is with a $5.69 price tag on top, so someone was proud of it...and I obviously wanted to try it bad enough to shell out $6 for it, so let's give it a shot. With it being an aged beer already that was 12%, I am sure that the extra time hasn't hurt it.

Appearance: Has a little off-gas when opened, but pours a clear Reddish brown with no head at all. It looks a bit like a still Coke, but more Red.

Aroma: I initially got a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt mixed with a reserved sour note like you get with Vichtenaar. As the beer starts to warm, the alcohol is adding heat to the nose as well as some defined spice.

Taste: The flavor is quite thick at first giving you some syrupy sweetness to start out the flavor profile, but the alcohol quickly comes in to take care of that and thin out the beer on the palate a bit like how a solvent comes in and cleans things up. After the alcohol comes in, it adds spice and heat that takes you all the way to the finish. the wood is blatantly obvious in the flavor and is coming out more as it warms. I am not getting the sour notes in the flavor like I was in the aroma. There may be a little bit there, but it is reserved. the overall body is medium despite the perception of significant sweetness at the beginning of the sip. The carbonation is non-existent.

Opinion: Well, this is a pretty good beer. There is a lot of flavor, which I can certainly appreciate. That said, it is severely lacking carbonation compared to just about ANY other example of this style. I would go so far to say that perhaps if they got the carbonation up, that this may be a different beer. As it is, I will drink the whole thing and like it, but I wouldn't put it up there with Rochefort or anything where you savor every sip.

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Photo of digr
3.62/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from Notes:

Highly Carbonated - Opening bottle gave a strong "woosh" despite just out of the cold fridge. The bottle continued to pour foam as soon as the bottle touched the glass (tilted). Filled to the top of the Belgian style Rapscallion goblet. Huge head - only able to pour small amounts before foam fills the glass. Beer literally "foams" out instead of pouring liquid.

Initial taste has a metallic taste... This might be from the bottle cap?

After mid pour - Beer is strong. Medium thick mouthfeel. Slightly sweet balanced with bitterness. No real "Funk", but not exactly "clean" either. Not a sippin' beer. More like take long mouthfuls and swishing it about to get the full effect of bubbles and taste. Can really taste the wood / Calvados aging - as an after taste (tannins).

Kinda like a Belgian Quad (Which I guess this is roughly), Brown - Cloudy, darkfruit. But no Bananas. Some Caramel.

11% alcohol is well hidden in the rest of the flavors.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Squat 11.2oz bottle picked up at the Coop more than a week ago and refrigerated ever since.... poured into my Chimay goblet... Don't remember exactly, but paid about $5.

Cracked the seal and immediately the brew fizzed up and out of the bottle.. at least I was able to keep it over the counter on the way to the sink and off the floor.... Crap!! about a third of the bottle was gone by the time I got things cleaned up and poured it.

4 finger head stood an easy half inch out of the glass... lite tan and died back noisily leaving descent lace... the brew is a very murky lite walnut.

Nose is expected spicy dark fruits with a pronounced applesauce aroma.. raisins and mild caramel trails off into the apple... some earthy woody notes as it hits room temperature..

Flavor is an interesting yet fairly uninspired mix of dark fruity malts with a significant pour of apple juice... sorta funky woody presence... just doesn't strike me as remotely interesting in the big picture... all the flavors are by themselves and are one dimensional at that... I think some age in the bottle may help it, but christ.. I don't want bottle bombs.

The body is about right for the style, but the carbonation is waay too much..

I don't think I got a bad bottle.. I am pretty sure of it.. I do however think this was bottled before it's time... descent and better than my above negatives describe, but I am still not digging it as I approach the bottom of the glass... I've always found quality control issues with this brewery.


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Photo of cjgator3
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice. It pours a murky dark brown color with a light tan head. The aroma is very aromatic and complex. The aroma explodes with dark fruits, freshly baked bread, and yeast with a touch of spices. The taste is slightly fruits with bready malt with some spices and a boozy finish. Overall, this is a very nice brew that is definitely a "sipper" that would be perfect to warm up with on a cold night. Too bad we really don't get many snuggle up by the fire nights in Florida.

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't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
87 out of 100 based on 105 ratings.