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't Smisje Calva Reserva - Brouwerij Smisje

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

143 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 143
Reviews: 101
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 15.06%
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:
Beer added by: Jon on 11-26-2003

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 143 | Reviews: 101 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedneckBeerz
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of mdillon86
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of AltBock
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz dateless stubby bottle with a bright red cap. The label is a blurry purple colored piece of wood. The top of the one and only label explains what kind of barrel it was aged in and what kind of spices it was brewed with. Poured into a Cycle Brewing Snifter.

This beer looked like an apple cider to me. It poured a murky caramel brown with some minor reddish orange highlight. The head of foam was a weird color as well. It was a light tan/khaki color. It's hard to explain the true color. As for the size of it, it wasn't that big. It was about 1/4 of inch in height. It had acceptable retention that a sting of foamy rings and some small spots of lace around the glass.

The aroma was apple brandy first and the beer a far second. Up front was the tart green apples, sweet caramel, brandy/alcohol, and a whiff of raspberry and oak. If you can catch it, you'll smell the malt and that's the only beer like aroma that came through. It sort of smelled like an apple cider.

Looked like an apple cider, smelled like an apple cider, but did it taste like one? I'd say so. Like the aroma, it was apple brandy first and the beer a very far second. The apple brandy was a lot stronger in the aroma than the taste. The taste started off with lightly tart green apples, a dash of raspberry, a plum or two, a bite of sweet caramel, a pinch of oak, and a subtle taste of alcohol/brandy. After that, the beer then finishes up with a taste of dry lightly roasted malt.

Despite clocking in at 11% ABV, this beer was medium bodied. This beer's apple cider qualities masked the high ABV. It also added to the beer's low carbonation rate and apple heavy aftertaste. The aftertaste had a bunch of lightly tart apples, caramel, a little raspberry, oak, and a pinch of malt. This aftertaste doesn't linger.

It's certainly unique, I'll give them that. Looked like an apple cider, smelled like an apple cider, tasted like apple cider, but guess what, it's not an apple cider. You'd think this Calvados barrel aged beer would be overpriced, but its not. I think I paid about $6 for this small bottle. Not too overpriced. If you like your hard ciders, I'd say you should buy a bottle. Would I drink it again? One bottle is fine for me.

Photo of sholland119
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of themind
4.34/5  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!

Photo of PEIhop
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
5/5  rDev +29.9%
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 MDDMD
3.84/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown red color with a light tan head and minimal lacing

S-dark fruit, apple, caramel, brandy, hint of spice

T-caramel malt, dark fruit, apples, brandy, cinnamon, slightly boozy, flavor fades quickly with no significant aftertaste

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-a nice strong ale, but flavor seems to fade out. Would have merited a higher score if not for that.

Photo of TXhomebrewer
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of RickS95
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rich mahogany brown pour, thickest looking beer I've seen that wasn't pitch black. Nothing watery looking, just a muddy brown that you can tell is full of flavor. The head is a very light brown/tan color and creamy looking. Decent retention, small buildup of bubbles forming a ring as the bubbles dissipate. No lacing at this point.

Malt and alcohol. Smells like a liqueur, less like a beer, unless it's a brute and based on the ABV for this, it is. The more whiffs I take, the more is smells like Utopias.

The malt is prevalent on the taste buds, but thankfully, the alcohol isn't. Caramel and dark fruits, think plum or raisin. Only a splash of alcohol deep, deep in the swallow.

Remarkably smooth compared to what I expected from the smell. The alcohol is well-hidden, only showing up as a bit of heat from time to time. Sweet intial burst of flavor, buttery in mid-sip and slightly tart, hot finish. Full bodied. There is some carbonation in the finish, as it starts off somewhat crisp but the butteriness comes on for a sticky swallow.

I was scared of this just from the smell, but it's exceptionally good beer. A sipper for sure, my bottle only claims 11% ABV, but it's still plenty. Reasonably easy to drink, full of good flavor. Very happy to have another bottle for another time.

Photo of impending
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

B

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.
cheers
jd

Photo of ROGUE16
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of kkmiller76
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of ColForbinBC
3.89/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a snifter; thanks to Keanlacrosse for the share

A hazy brown body with a thin light tan head. Not much staying power as it falls pretty quick. No discernable lacing.

Loads of fruit on the nose. Apples, bears, bananas, raisins/figs, and plums. Notes of caramel, oak, brandy, and sweet bready malt.

Caramel, plums, and apples slide onto the palate. Oak and a mild tartness through the middle with a finish of booze and fruit. There are layers of complexity here. Each sip brings something a little different.

Medium feel, soft carbonation. The finish has this lingering fruity tartness that mixes with a little booze and oak.

Solid complexity with some very good flavors. Worth a shot.

Photo of imperialking
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of WynnO
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.01/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a murky dark orange amber. Nice one finger white head with lots of lacing. Looks very attractive. Sour and fruit aroma. Nice medium body. Light fruits, spice, mild malt and just the right amount of sour. A definite vinous quality that worked well. A nice complex dark Belgian and one of the first unequivocally enjoyable beers from Smisje for me.

Photo of mikeinmemphis
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is cloudy brown in color and poured with a two finger high off white head that has very good retention properties and took a long time to settle down.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of dark fruits in the nose—raisins seem to stand out in particular.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some hints of wood in the finish.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a high amount of carbonation. Some warmth from the alcohol becomes noticeable as the beer warms up.
O: This is a very enjoyable that is pleasant to sip, although it seems to be a bit over-carbonated (you need to pour it carefully and let it settle down). It’s also not too difficult to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Photo of mrfrancis
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark, hazy amber with a thin, creamy white head.

S: Strong apple skin and oak aromas reminiscent of calvados dominate the nose. There are also traces of caramel, alcohol, pear, and cherry.

T: Calvados, brandy, sweet cherry, spiced pear, caramel, toffee, vanilla bean, brown sugar, and a melange of spices wash across the palate. The finish is peppery and prickly with a combination of spice and calvados flavors.

M: Very full in body, rich, and grainy. Quite dry. Carbonation is stinging. Alcohol presence is pronounced.

O: I'm always at least intrigued by Smisje's products, but this one I love. The overwhelming spice and calvados flavors lend this ale a great deal of depth and complexity. Quite sophisticated and refined for such a rustic, unorthodox brewer.

Photo of JohnK17
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of aasher
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Photo of pigc
3.35/5  rDev -13%
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.

Photo of patm1986
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
86 out of 100 based on 143 ratings.