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't Smisje Grande Reserva - Brouwerij Smisje

Not Rated.
't Smisje Grande Reserva't Smisje Grande Reserva

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

80 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 80
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 20.65%
Wants: 7
Gots: 6 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Smisje visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Dark Ale |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: emerge077 on 12-09-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 80 | Reviews: 51 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This brewery has been barrel-ageing up a storm and this is no exception. The whiskey is prominent. It is good looking and most drinkable, despite the booziness which is apparent. Average mouthfeel. I would have liked a little less sweetness, brought on by the corriander.

Sammy, Aug 11, 2008
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

t0rin0, Sep 02, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
1.4/5  rDev -62%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bottle shared by bmanning.

Pours a murky light brown with quite a bit of haze and sediment. Small, tight head. No lacing. Nose is something else, with a weird nutty character permeating everything else. Hints of toffee and dark fruits in the back. Taste is dark fruits, toffee, caramel, and a strong nutty presence. A bit of something else is off, though it is hard to place. Feel is creamy and nutty with almost no carbonation. Really bad. Overall, just not a good beer with some seriously strange flavors.

Thorpe429, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bonfire orange with tangerine dipped in honey borders. No yeasties so far, but only the top two-thirds of the bottle exited on the initial pour. The great looking crown is midway between cream and beige. It has a milkshake-like creaminess and enough stickiness to paint the glass with a fair amount of sea foam lace.

The label indicates that Grande Reserva is Kerst that has been 'whisky cask matured'. By the smell of things, the brewery used Islay Scotch casks. There's a phenolic, smoky peat-like aroma that doesn't come from any other type of whiskey. The coriander and grains of paradise have been steamrolled into oblivion. If you don't care for Islay Scotch, knock off a half-point.

Unlike some barrel-aged beer, this ale picked up a significant amount of character from the wood and the whiskey. Perhaps too much. The complexity present in a great many BSDAs simply isn't present. That doesn't mean the beer isn't good, however.

The final pour adds a deep, rich, coppery color and a significant amount of yeast. It also intensifies an already aggressive flavor profile. Scotch is one of the world's finest libations, but it doesn't always complement beer as well as bourbon does. The flavors here do tend to clash a bit. Can you feel the ambivalence?

Warming helps bring out the spiciness. That said, there's no way I could have identified the spices by name given the cask aging. The beer is also fairly sweet, which works well in the grand scheme of things. A little warmth from the alcohol isn't surprising given the ABV.

The mouthfeel is on the full side of medium-full and delivers a moderate stickiness after the swallow. There isn't as much velvety volume as there could be, but the viscosity makes up for it. Lots of candi sugar, no doubt.

It's hard to say whether 'whisky' cask aging did Kerst any favors. I like the original beer and I like this version just as well. However, neither one even sniffs greatness. The fact that it's unique makes 't Smisje Grande Reserva worth a purchase. That said, I have very little desire to drink it again.

BuckeyeNation, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of ygtbsm94
3/5  rDev -18.5%

ygtbsm94, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, amber body with a small, fizzy white head.

Smell: Heady aroma of smoke, juniper berries, fruit, and a dizzingly array of strong spice notes.

Taste: Honeyed sweetness, a tart fruitiness, wood, spices, and lots meaty smokiness, like biting into a pulled pork sandwich. All of the flavors push and shoove the palate around, all vieing for your undivided attention.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Quite warming. Sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Plenty of intense, otherworldly flavors jumbled up in here, and, while it's interesting, I don't think I'll be reaching for another bottle anytime soon.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 23, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured out as a dark brown color with a fluffy tan colored head on top. This brew is smells a little roasted and yeasty, not too bad. The taste of the beer gives of some raisin flavors along with a bit of spice in the finish. The mouthfeel is rather mellow and smooth, a little bit lighter than expected from a dark brew. Overall it's a pretty nice brew, I'd drink it again.

Knapp85, Oct 04, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -45.7%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 26, 2013
Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Whisky cask matured 't Smisje Kerst Ale brewed with spices (coriander and grain of paradise)" From the importer: Tsmisje Kerst matured in Michel Couvreur’s whiskey barrels. (Scotch whisky is my guess)

Color is a deep caramel tone, nearly opaque. Aroma of overripe fruit, a little funky at first, but that soon blows off. A touch sweet and earthy as well. Mildly sweet and spicy, full bodied but not syrupy or huge.

Very long finish of earthy peat and campfire smoke. Celery salt or artichoke? It's an acquired taste, but it's delicious. Warming, without the solvent alcohol of the Scotch. Nice mouthfeel for 11%, great for sipping. Bottle was $6, very much worth it.

Listed ingredients: Barley, Wheat, Amber & Caramunich malts. Hallertauer & Goldings hops. Spices: Dark candi sugar, coriander, grain of paradise.

emerge077, Dec 09, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

JAHMUR, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gorgeous, hazy crimson look, nice, creamy head.

Lovely aromatics, deep, malty, rich, & inviting. Cherries, blackberries, other dark fruits, spices. Gettin' the whiskey, too.

Big splash onto the palate, fat and tasty, but a bit brash. Brandy-like, richness, ...ah, reading the label closely, I see it's the Kerst, which I recently had matured in the whiskey casks.
A little nutty, ...altogether odd, to be accurate. Doesn't press all the right buttons with me, and I can't say why exactly...but, that's cool.

Nice stuff, even if doesn't set my world on fire. And I can hardly notice the 11% abv. Wait...there it is!

feloniousmonk, Jan 16, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
1.35/5  rDev -63.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This beer was so bad it was offensive. I am HUGELY unimpressed with this entire brewery. It baffles me that this beer has a positive review. This was close to the worse BEVERAGE I've ever had. If I were still in Arizona, I wouldn't have poured this down the drain, I would have taken the bottle out to the mesa and shot it with an assault rifle. Unfortunately, this was not an option. Beer poured into a tiny snifter. I only drank 1.5 ounces before choking back my gag reflex.

Beer is kind of brown / amber but its so settled that there appears to be a gradient of crap in the glass. Its darker at the bottom than the top and I don't know what to think about that. No head, no lacing, no nothing.

Aroma is harsh, mildly smoky, a little sweet. Probably the best thing about this beer.

Light in body, dry in finish, peaty smoke in the palate, gross midpalate flavors. I hoped that the smoke would cover up the rotten wood flavors and skunk and nastiness but it somehow amplified them. I would never buy or drink this beer. It was horrid.

drabmuh, Oct 18, 2010
Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +8.7%

Rochefort10nh, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of corby112
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark copper color with dark ruby and chestnut brown hues when held to a light source with a huge frothy beige head that has excellent retention, lasting the whole way through and leaving nice chunks of lacing along it's way.

Peppery spice aroma with a nice citrus fruit presence along with an earthy oak, vanilla and whiskey notes.

Spicy flavor with a nice peppery presence and hints of citrus and dark fruit. Orange peel, lemon zest, orange peel, dark cherry, plum, raisin, fig are balanced out by a peasant earthy oak/vanilla flavor from the aging with a nice bit of whiskey and a slightly sour, dry finish.

corby112, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of weeare138
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a semi-transparent, crimsoned toned amber with a small white head that slowly fades into a heavy collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, light smoke, and toffee.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with meaty, smoked jerky jumping across the tongue.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a grainy, astringent, heat that is mildly tough to swallow.

weeare138, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of akorsak
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at Max's during 72 Hours of Belgium. This is, based on distributed notes, the first time it has been served on draught in the U.S.

A: The ale is a cloudy creek water brown, showing off some red tones. Not much head sits atop the ale.

S: The nose is a peat wet dream, thick with smoky notes that are damn near chewable. This is no bourbon barrel wonder, Scotch creates an awesome smell.

T: Like the best rauchbiers, this beer is so meaty that you can chew it. The whisky barrels (note the spelling) add a delicious peat flavor that has some sea salt bite. The peat envelops the ale, permeating every aspect. There really isn't any indication that this is a Belgian ale, the barrel has so taken it over. But wow, what a way to go.

M: Like meat aging in a smokehouse, this beer is a meal. So chewy and thick, it's hard to but the glass down.

D: Damn! 11%? No wonder I was a little tipsy this morning (okay, a lot tipsy). Hopefully more places will see it on draught now that Max's has popped the cherry.

akorsak, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a dense brown body with a reddish glow from the base of the glass. There is a thick sticky, spongy off-white head that sticks to the glass with each sip. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that trickle up the sides of the glass.

S- This beer has a creamy slightly sweet soft peat note with a hint of whiskey and caramel malt and a faint finish of brown sugar.

T- The taste of light smoky wet wood blends with a cream and caramel sweetness. There is a light spice hint to the finish with a slightly dry brown sugar taste.

M- This beer has a full mouthfeel with a creamy texture due to the thick head that last the full beer. There is no real alcohol heat until the beer warms quite a bit and even then it is pretty soft.

D- This beer has a nice smooth yet complex flavor that has many sugary characteristics without being overly sweet. The whiskey and wood flavors have a unique twist of peat but they all work together nicely. Nice winter sipper that is a bit mysterious.

rhoadsrage, Dec 10, 2007
Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

afsdan, May 28, 2014
Photo of John_M
4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm equally puzzled by those who refer to whiskey barrel aging. The label refers to this as Catherine the Great Stout aged in cognac barrels. In any event, this beer is delicious.

The beer pours a murky brown color with impressive head retention and lacing. In fact, if anything the beer was a little too active, as I had to wait 15 or 20 minutes for the head to die down. The nose is just wonderful in this beer, consisting of chocolate, butter (a lot of butter), vanilla and root beer. There is also a hint of brandy in the aroma, though it's hard to pick out from all the other wonderful smells in this beer. For the most part, the flavors on the palate replicates the nose, except there is more of a pronounced chocolate, cherry and vanilla flavor. There is also considerable spice in this beer, which inparts some additional coffee and orange citrus flavors. The beer has a moderately sweet flavor profile. Mouthfeel is sensational with this beer, as I get a long, soft creamy finish. This beer is absolutely delicious. The abv. is well disguised in this beer, which is a bit dangerous. I can easily see myself downing a couple of these bad boys at a sitting, which at 11%, would not be such a great idea.

Excellent beer. Would not hesitate to order this one again.

John_M, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

Latarnik, May 28, 2014
Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

PEIhop, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of ccrida
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

33cl bottle that over-foamed pretty badly at first. Poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, 't Smisje Grande Reserva is a hazy dark auburn with a big, fluffy off-white head that is slow to recede, leaving rocky hunks of foamy lace.

Smell is super rich, nutty, toffee like malt, kind of English barleywine like.

Taste is strong and really complex, this is a barrel aged beer for sure, that has frankly run a little wild (as was obvious from the over-foaming). Surprisingly smokey, a little acrid funk, there's a rich caramel taste as well as a bit of nuttiness. I have to say I was expected sweet, rich boozy bomb, and am really enjoying the smokiness.

Mouthfeel is pretty carbonated, and on the lighter side, especially for the size.

Drinkability is pretty good, I'm really surprised. But you have to like smoky beers. The high ABV is very well hidden, the complexity is enjoyable, and overall, I really dug this incredibly unique grand cru.

ccrida, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle picked up at State Line a while back.

A: In my Koningshoeven goblet, this beer pours a deep, reddish brown with a thick, creamy light brown head. Retention is good, and there's some nice lacework as the head slowly recedes

S: Very rich, this beer has a lot of depth. It opens up with a combination of fresh bread, spices (nutmeg and mace) and a rich and sweet booziness. Being aged in cognac barrels, there is a rich vinous character, with sweet brandy and cognac booze. As good as this is, I can't give it a 4.5

T: Opens with a mild brown sugar sweetness and a bite of alcohol before a melange of spices - herbal with a little mint, as well as nutmeg and a little mace - kicks in. Great barrel character with a big cognac presence with oaky tannins present. The finish is long, dry, and tannic with some alcohol. As it warms up, the complexity of the base beer becomes more apparent, with the rich malty base with brown sugar, burnt sugar, cocoa and a little coffee grinds coming through.

M: This beer is pretty great. Medium in body with moderate carbonation and a great finish

D: As excellent as this beer is, I'm having a hard drinking this. It's too rich for its own good, and a perfect beer to share.

DefenCorps, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of WOLFGANG
4/5  rDev +8.7%

WOLFGANG, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of mrfrancis
4/5  rDev +8.7%

mrfrancis, Jun 18, 2013
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't Smisje Grande Reserva from Brouwerij Smisje
83 out of 100 based on 80 ratings.