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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.
very good

143 Ratings
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

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 rallison
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 nlmartin
4.44/5  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 IntriqKen
4.14/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark amber fills the glass with a small white head of tiny bubbles that melts to a fine ring very quickly.

Aromas are caramel, brown sugar, applesaste , pears, and cherries.

Taste is richly thick caramel malt with a slightly burnt aftertaste. Apples and pears with a hint of cherry dominate the very present fruits in the flavor. Only a hint of the very strong alcohol comes out in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is full, rich, and creamy but leaves the mouth with only the hint of dark fruits and alcohol.

Very pleasant warmth as it fills your body.

I didn't realize this was a quad and was expecting a belguim red, for some reason. Consequentially, this tasting was a very pleasant surprise.

Photo of SacoDeToro
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured a nice rich amber with a rocky off-white head.

The aroma smelled of sweet brown sugar and alcohol. Caramel and biscuit malts were in the background. There was a faint smell of apples and pears in the nose as well.

The flavor of the beer was intense and slightly sweet. It had a heavy flavors of dates and pears. There was a little bit of oak and apple in the finish, but not so much that I'd think this beer was barrel aged, let alone in calvados barrels. The alcohol was warm and a good amount of fusels were there. This was an interesting contrast to the serving temp of the beer (50 deg). Some floral hops were there, but were pretty subdued.

The mouthfeel was thick and syrupy although this beer was very drinkable for being 12%. The carbonation seemed good.

This was a decent quadrupel, but can't hold a candle to the likes of Rochefort 10. Reminded me a lot of Avery's The Reverend, which is a pretty bright Belgian quad.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.27/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

Photo of fartingdog
4.42/5  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 kolbe
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
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 Westsidethreat
3.11/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

Photo of Iguana
4.72/5  rDev +22.6%
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 TastyTaste
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

50 degrees and rain outside, seems like a 12% oak aged quadrupel should be right on.

Appearance: Evenly hazed red/brown body, head is large at first (even with the abv). Good retention after it fades to small creamy layer.

Smell: Sweet and woody, raisins, brown sugar, a malt bomb, with alcohol not making all that much of an impresion.

Taste: Very woody and earthy, vegetable flavors are big. Not as sweet as the smell would indicate, but it grows on me the more i sip, a very unique flavor, but not as good as many of the other quads.

Drinkability: Not bad, and fairly interesting, more complete than BBBourgondier, but not one of my favorites in the style.

Photo of dougnboston
2.63/5  rDev -31.7%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass a deep brown with ruby red tint when held up to the light a few chunkies and floaties swirling about,deep dark brown sugar notes along with some candied orange peel with an underlying oakiness as well.Starts out quite sweet I pick up some vanilla and caramel along with that candied orange peel like in the nose finishing slighty dry and woody.Full lush mouthfeel like dessert in a bottle almost,a nice night cap brew although not my favorite style its nice to indulge in things like this from time to time.

Photo of acoatley
4.71/5  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 Sammy
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A rich aged beer, reddish-brown, not much head, slightly detracted satisfying experience at the end, with many black grains of sediment. Alcohol warming began promptly. Brandy influence from barrel. Caramel. Fruity and honeyish, yet grainy not creamy mouthfeel.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.42/5  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 Crosling
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Burgundy color, with a lasting film of large bubbles. Expressive apple brandy, soaked oak and brown sugar in the aroma, with hints of caramel and cider. Flavor is rich, supple and very well balanced. The attributes of the original beer integrate well with the barrel, giving hints of soft caramel, apple skins, toffee and vanilla. It’s delicious, no doubt, yet, unfortunately, the front palate to the mid-palate shows a completely flat body and it only improves a little and becomes very slightly chewy on the finish. Could easily be a 4.3+ if I didn’t score the mouthfeel a 1. Too bad.

Photo of brentk56
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy sienna body with a modest head that declines to a film but leave an abstract pattern of lacing across the chalice

Smell: Strong phenols with prominent apple and grape elements as well as some wood

Taste: Starts with a complex blend of burnt caramel, oak and fruit that is transformed, mid-palate by Candi Sugar, raisins and oaky tannins

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly light bodied with very modest carbonation; lots of warming on the finish

Drinkability: Very interesting and unusual; a definite sipper

Photo of clvand0
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
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.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.18/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid amber color with almost no head and no hint of carbonation from the bottom. Very pretty shade. Nose is alcoholic, with a background of raisin and a red winey grape, almost portlike. Wow. Intense aromas. I'm a little scared to taste it. Flavor is not as strong as the aroma would lead to believe. Foundation is the dark fruity to winey, but with a solid oaky character on the finish. I think the oakyness helps to balance it and make this a very tasty beer. The alcohol is not too strong on the flavor either. Tasty. Feel is thick, with a lack of carbonation. I'm actually impressed with the drinkability of this brew. Everything about it is big and full, but it doesn't keep it from disappearing from my glass. I enjoy it a lot.

Photo of daedalus
4.24/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From what I have read, calvados is the new ‘in’ liquor and is gaining popularity in upscale restaurants and trendy bars along the East Coast. The apple brandy is most often served as a digestif, which is exactly how I enjoyed this beer.

Poured carefully into the center of a brandy snifter with the yeast left at the bottom of the bottle. After all of the aging, I was surprised to see carbonation, coarse as it was, form a quickly dissipating tan colored head. The beer itself is burnt sienna with orange hues - nearly the same color as the bottle from which it was poured.

The nose reveals dark fruits, rum soaked bread, calvados/apple aromas and a fair amount of alcohol.

Served at cellar temp, the flavors really come alive. The calvados is evident, but not overpowering, and a sweet caramel maltiness disguises the beer’s strength. The pleasant, warming alcoholic finish makes this one a nice conclusion to a hearty meal.

Photo of Sephiroth
4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
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 BeerBuilder
4.67/5  rDev +21.3%
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 neonbrown82
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 330ml bottle. Black label has red, orange and yellow artwork, lending a fiery appearance. Listed at 12% abv and described as being brewed with Barley malt, wheat malt, Vienna malt and caramel malt. Hallertauer and Kent Goldings hops are used together with dark & white candy sugars. Spiced with Coriander and Grain de Paradise. Aged in E. Dupont calvados casks for 6 months.

Appearance: Leaving the thick carpet of dark brown yeast behind in the bottle, a steady pour reveals a dark brown body that is pellucid. Held to the light a shimmering dark orange reflects the light. A small bubbling crusty tan colored head starts smooth but then collapses to leave a craggy looking pot-marked creviced head which soon disappears completely. Negligible carbonation.

Nose: Lots of dark fruits, dried orange zest, spices and black peppers mingle nicely in the dark malts and high end alcohols. Very strong aromas from this monster.

Taste: Rum like bourbon soak woods entrance this goliath. Dark rum soaked fruit cake sizzles throughout. Smooth flavors but the alcohol is detectable in the latter third. After the swallow the alcohol scorches with burnt sugar and spiky black peppers lingering on the tongue. As it warmed the dark fruits revealed a luscious rich feel.

Mouthfeel: Warming alcohol leaves a temperature trail; at the death it fires a little. Burnt sugar laces the finish. Despite the double-digit tag, it keeps you guessing because it felt like it lacked something somehow. Big but thin at times. The low carbonaion does not help either.

Drinkability: Difficult to finish towards the end but given the high alcohol content it was a pleasant enough brew.

Overall: I found this one to be a little too much in the end, it felt like it was too harsh in the finish, maybe a bit more time in the bottle would have remedied this, but it is still an expensive investment nonetheless. Share this one if you can.

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