't Smisje Calva Reserva - Brouwerij Smisje

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

151 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 151
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 9
Gots: 8 | 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.
View: Beers (22) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 151 | Reviews: 105
Photo of GilGarp
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle served at about 50 degrees. No date but I would be interested to know.

Poured into a New Belgium etched-bottom goblet, Calva Reserva is a deep redish brown color with good clarity. The head is creamy smooth but settles pretty quickly. A quick swirl brings it back easily.

Aroma is sweet and a little boozy. There is some oak but the smell is really dominated by cherries and other sweet dark fruit.

Flavor is very intense and equally unusual. It has a richness that is almost port-like. Cherries, chocolate, and oaky vanilla all come through. It's definately a sweet beer but never cloying. Bitterness is minimal.

Velvety mouthfeel with full body and low carbonation. The alcohol is very well hidden.

This is a great slow sipper of a beer. The alcohol warms but otherwise you would never know it's 12%. I'd love to get another botttle for the colder winter nights ahead. Next time at cellar temperature.

Photo of drpimento
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I thought this was going to be better. Poured a small, light tan, fizzy head that quickly faded and no lace. Aroma was malt, toffee, ripe dark fruits, caramel, and wet cardboard. Color was a slightly hazy brown with amber highlights. Flavor was like aroma. Didn't really taste the alcohol as much as feel the effect. Finish is fairly short and like flavor. Wholesale price for this is way too high.

Photo of zhooker
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was briefly on cask at The Ginger Man, NYC.

From a goblet. Per cask, little to no head. Brown with red and purple hues.

STRONG smell of raisins/prunes -- first and foremost. Then some orange peel, cherries, maybe some coriander? Funky, and I will say it again... strong.

The nose doesn't lie -- first sip almost feels like a spiced/mulled wine. And that is the overriding theme throughout the glass -- the Autumnal flavors of a warm spiced wine not-so-gently mixed with an average Belgian Dark or Stong Ale, something along the lines of Brooklyn Brewery's Local #2. Make no mistake though, it is the spiced raisin/prune flavor that dominates this drink, even to the detriment of its drinkability.

This was a fun glass, definitely one to pass around the table and watch reactions, gather taste interpretations, but I can't say I would order it again.

Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yeah baby, out of a gravity feed cask at 72 hours of Belgium (at Max's today).

The beer pous a hazy tannish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is profoundly complex, with orange peel milk chocolate, brown sugar and honey. There's some underlying spice as well, but I can't begin to describe it. Flavors replicate the nose on this moderatly sweet beer, with the spice and light hoppiness giving the beer a somewhat dry, lightly bitter finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, and drinkability is very good.

Nice beer and an absolute treat to sample on cask.

Photo of jampics2
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled with the Grand Reserve, which I much preferred, though this wasn't bad.

Amber beer, looks very similar to the GR.

Smell is sweet malt, toffee, and the calvados wood.

Taste is a bit too hot for me, not as balanced as the GR. Brown sugar, malt, figs, toffee, Spices, and Belgian yeast.

Mouthfeel was good, nice low carb.

Very drinkable but a touch too hot. OK beer.

Photo of Jwale73
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jedwards for sharing. 2009 vintage served in my Allagash tulip. Poured a translucent copper, almost caramel in color, with a bubbly, quarter inch bright white head. Some lacing, but no legs. Nose is boozy - dark fruit (prunes) and vinous. Taste is boozy, sugary (brown sugar and/or molasses) with some dark fruit and grains of paradise. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and a little fizzy. A flavorful Belgian Strong Dark - a little hot, but didn't overly detract from the experience.

Photo of digr
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of berkey
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
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.


Photo of Yetiman420
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Consumed fresh on site at The Fooder in Philadelphia.

Poured into a Stoudts pint glass. Hazy copper brown with exceptional appearance.

1/2 finger head with consistently small bubbles.

Nothing exceptional from what I expected to be a spicy Belgian aroma.

Full mouthfeel with a punchy Belgian flavor. Really hits you upfront and finishes strong and clean. Lots of flavor in this one.

Photo of bigkahunas4
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 350 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Body was a nice amber color, with some cranberry highlights. Visual esthetic's ended there, as the brew produced no head, and didn't have any lacing to speak of. Nose was quite strong, dark malty fruits and very apparent alcohol. There also was a bold honey scent, anticipated from the brewer's bee harvest.

Flavors were very similar to the nose, lots of bready fruits with a big alcohol bite to finish. The alcohol was quite tart, and for me, soured the taste. Honey notes were apparent, but not strong enough to counterbalance. Mouthfeel was rather blah - not much carb - mildly sticky.

Not a terrible brew, but certainly one you can't have many of. Probably won't seek this out again, unless it's handed to me.

Photo of Tolnik
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Photo of corby112
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
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 orbitalr0x
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From my cellar, same bottle as pictured. Honestly not sure how long I have held onto this one. It pours into my glass a murky, hazy cola brown with orange accents. A small head appears and fades to a ring of bubbles just as quickly. Aromas begin with sweet dark malts upfront with lots of fruit flavors. Apple brandy is quite evident with oak undertones. Raisins, brown sugar and marzipan with yeasty spiciness. Very mild oxidation. I like it.

First sip brings sweet malts racing across the palate with fruity flavors leading the way. Bread notes in the middle along with a touch of fig. Apple brandy moves in along with a woody twang. As the brew flows down hints of raisins and brown sugar meld into a yeasty spiciness with a touch of coriander. Rather sweet overall with a mild alcohol hotness on the finish. Complex.

Mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat chewy as well with solid maltiness, however it is thinner than most Quads. Carbonation is quite mellow here. Alcohol is evident but not overpowering. This is a nice sipper and has aged well. I'll need to get a couple fresh bottles and keep track of how long I age them better next time. Would make a good dessert beer.

Photo of koopa
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 Bottle Sampled Tonight

Appearance: Murky brown with a caramel head that fades quicly. Little lacing to be found but as you drink you see foam on the opposite side of the glass with extremely small bubbles in it.

Smell: Vinous qualities mixed with leather, tobacco, and fig. I wish I had a fresh bottle to compare it to.

Taste: Considering that the brewer ages this extensively before bottling and it was bottled 3 years ago, this one has held up to be an interesting meld of daring notes. Leather, Wine, Tobacco, Fig, Blackberries, Raisins, etc. The alcohol is non-existent which is amazing considering this one is 12% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly, this 2005 bottle had a nice carbonation release when I opened the bottle. Medium to borderline thin mouthfeel but I'm sure the age of this bottle factored in to it. I really wish I had a newer bottle to compare it to. I only see the mouthfeel getting progressively worse in time.

Drinkability: This is a sipper all the way. The flavors aren't the most approachable for me so I'm not sure if I will come back to this in the future. But I'm still amazed that this brew is 12% ABV because its very soft and gentle.

Photo of Greggy
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
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 kmo1030
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
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 brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stubby bottle with the new label, no bottle date.

Pours dark copper and clear, with a one inch head of off-white.
Retention is moderate and theres a decent amount of continual lacework throughout.

Aromatics lead off with fruit-laden booze, raisins, spice, and a hint of oak.
Tangerines drizzeled with caramel, vanilla-steeped rum, coriander, white pepper, and cedar.
Some earthy, slightly musty notes step forward as the brew warms.

Medium bodied, chewy, and creamy. Fullish mouthfeel without being thick, thanks to a higher carbonation level.

Sweet malt, rum-soaked raisins, and citrus fruit start the pallet. Warming spice and lingering alcohol rise up, as well as some vanilla and oak.
Some faint grape jam pulls through with brown sugar residuals.

Finishes with lingering alcohol warmth, a peppery spicyness, and woodsy bark.

Plenty going on here, and the nose takes the cake. Quite boozy in general with plenty of spice and fruit.

Photo of Kraken
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from odd sized11.2oz bottle into a standard pint glass . Minimal head that dissapates very quickly, beverage is a cloudy chesnut in color. Smell is amazing , rasins, malts, alcohol complex. . Taste very similar to smell, raisins , sour apple , fair malt backbone hints of vanilla. Finish was odd, sort of a sour rotten wood funk from barrel aging. Mouthfeel was suprisingly thin n for a quad. Drinkabiliity suffers at 12% . Devecnt beer worth a try unique.

Photo of GClarkage
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

05/04/08- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 8oz stubby bottle. Not sure of the bottling date, but I have had it since '05. Pretty sure it's an '02 or '03. Poured into my J.W. Lees glass.

Appearance- Brown-caramel colored pour. Solid 3/4 inch pocky head. Leaves light lace streaks behind.

Smell- Smells strong...liquor-like strong. Dark fruits, chocolate, tobacco, earth. Oh and alcohol.

Taste- Taste mirrors the nose, except the alcohol is a bit more relaxed. Lots of tobacco as well as a chocolate-dirt flavor if that makes sense. Prunes soaked in a brandy like flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Too carbonated for a 5 or 6 year old beer of his style. Flavors were fine in the aftertaste, but didn't quite last long enough.

Drinkability- If this were a bit more cask-like, it would really make the beer. I picture myself sitting in a 8 bedroom mansion, sitting my cherry walled office while smoking my pipe and reading War and Peace. Or sitting on my Levitz couch while watching Sportscenter. Really good beer...could probably age for another 5-10 years and be just fine or better.

Photo of albern
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The ABV on the bottle is 11% ABV and the label is noticeably different than the pic on BA. I'm assuming things are accurate. The beer pours a dark, murky brown with a slightly frothy brownish head that retains around the rim. I don't see any yeasty bits floating about. The smell is quite alcoholic, with lots of heavyish fruits such as raisin, fig, rind, with maybe a citric pineapple whiff in there too. There are some spices in here as well, coriander and clove for sure. The taste is quite full bodied, syrupy, strongly alcoholy, and sweet. There is a strong licorice flavor present as well. You'll get the candied sugar fermentation oh so typical of a Belgian. There are plenty of fruits, spices, and sweet malts here (heavy fruits, orange, coriander, clove). There is also definitely an oaky alcohol infused backbone to this beer that diminishes things a bit. There isn't the typical pepperish bite in the finish, which is probably a plus given the high ABV. As the beer warms, the warming alcohol notes do insinuate themselves and add to the pleasure of the experience. I like this beer, and I'm liking it more as it settles. The drinkability is a bit compomised because the strong ABV doesn't mask itself all that well. L'Chaim.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Intense beer that shows many signs of age; perhapse too many. Opens with a murky, orange rust color, a slight, fleeting foamstand and a lot of particulates floating around. Aromas of fruitcake abound with emphasis on cherries, apples, over-rippened oranges, grapes, nuts, berries... it's all in there, but muted and well rounded into the malt profile. Flavors are the same, but with a syrupy sweetness that hurts the drinkability. Musty, vineous, and rather earthy flavors come up in the aftertaste. Nearly flat texture, makes the beer feel heavy and oily to the mouth. Finishes with a mouth-coating film of grandma's fruitcake. Thanks Jeremy.

Photo of msubulldog25
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This has been on my 'wants' for some time (I believe since it had been at a recent Portland Int'l Beerfest at $3, maybe even $4, for a 4 oz. taste); thanks to Metalmonk for saving one from a dusty NC shelf, then sending it clear across the country to be sampled by me this evening. No date on the 11.2 oz bottle, poured to a snifter.

A: Is there such a thing as a mediocre-looking quadrupel? 'Cuz this is... a ho-hum murky brown, very little head (a thin off-white ring and a few bubbles in the center). held to light, I see a few small bubbles rising around the edges, but mustly it looks like water out of a ditch.

S: Bits of caramel and toffee, some candied fruit and a trace of booze-soaked oakiness (the 6 mo.-aged Calvados casks). a little cleaning solvent/alcohol aroma...and, as it warms, some tart/yeast qualities come forward.

T: Alright, so there's still something left in the flavor: rum raisins and licorice, cloves and some herbal hops; plenty of sweet citrus, smacking lightly of pineapple and apple cider. Sort of buttery sweet - caramel popcorn?

M: Smooth, soft and rather sublime. There's not a great deal of complexity, but there is a pleasing warmth and coating richness. One of the thinner bodies I've had in an alcohol-laden quad, I must say...

D: It's a rather strange blend of sweetness, a little citrus and tartness. Wood is an aftertaste only; there's warmth and familiarity though it stays as a background accent. All those subtle, blended qualities make this surprisingly easy to sip...I'd like to try this again fresher, but I can't complain much about the nuances in this version, of yet-to-be-determined age. Thanks again to Jeff for sending...

Photo of Metalmonk
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bought these in dusty condition--not the most promising looking things, but I figured at 12% there had to be some life in them. Or maybe I can claim a valiant effort to save them, as it didn't look like they'd be rescued anytime soon. No bottle dating of any sort, dammit.

Pours a thin head that disappears to a wispy crown very quickly. Nice murky brown color with tiny particles of sediment in suspension. Didn't try to rouse it up at all, but I don't mind the stuff anyway. Still, it's not the best looking beer, no real complaints either. Moving on...

Rich, earthy and bold aromas awake the nose: black cherry, cola, black currant, blackberry, lightly smoked malt, and just a peek into the magical yeast.

Flavor is just as good, with fruits exhibiting darkly sweet, seductive characteristics; hints of spice & leather; big pungent peat-like malts; a hint of the yeast which provides an earthy grounding to the succulent malt/berry-fruit feature. A quintessential Quadrupel flavor without the cloying alcohol that is sometimes their Achilles' heel. At 12%, it's very well-incorporated. Not "well-hidden", because there's just the slight bit of warmth, but it's an undertow and not an overlying trait. Finishes lightly sticky with milk-chocolate licorice lingering.

Mouthfeel is a little thin. I'm guessing this is due to the presumed age and obvious lack of carbonation. Play with it a little more and it's not so much thin as it is mellow. Found it to be complementary to the flavors, but the sticky coating was a little tiring in time.

A cask-aged beer that doesn't scream "wood!"...it's just the means to the end...a delicious end. Would love to try this a little fresher and closer to its home.

't Smisje Calva Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
87 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.