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Piraat Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Piraat AlePiraat Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,872 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,872
Reviews: 956
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
Wants: 69
Gots: 99 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A robustly bitter strong Belgian pale ale.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2001)
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Ratings: 1,872 | Reviews: 956 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EvilKeith


4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This one is very foamy on the pour, treat it like you would champagne. Pour very carefully.

This one pours into the glass a lightly hazed, warm golden color with two fingers of meringue-like ivory colored foam. Continuous streams of tiny bubbles work their way to the surface as incredibly thick and sticky lace clings to the glass.

The smell is funky wet Belgian yeast, ripe fruit, citrus, spicy, with faint buttery toffee and peppery alcohol. As it warms the sweet malts become more noticable.

The taste is a bit tart, citrus, yeasty dough, and spicy. The alcohol warms the back of the throat. A yeasty and alcoholic aftertaste.

Flavorful and complex. This is something for special occasions for me. It is highly drinkable, but I would not last too long trying to session with this kind of ABV.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2006 22:57:36 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of Regenpak


3.15/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Many years ago, when I was meddling with illegal pirate radio transmitters, this was my beer of choice. And I loved it! At the time ABV was a whopping 11.5%, which was unusual as it was very drinkable with the heavy alcohol way in the background, almost not present at all. Then ABV was brought down to 10.5%. This did not change the character of Piraat much. It was still a very enjoyable, nice sweetly tripel. Maybe this was the best version they made, and which I enjoyed on a brewery trip about ten years ago. Currently ABV is only a paltry 9.0%, a reduction that the beer did not survive. While still not a bad tripel it is now average, the taste having acquired a watery blandness that was not present with the previous versions. I now only purchase it if nothing else is available.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2006 19:25:50 | More by Regenpak
Photo of MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smells sweet, yeasty and hoppy. Murky yellow body with very thick off-white head. One thing I do like about this one as opposed to some Belgians is how the head does not overflow quite as easily as many. Tons of lacing, typical of a Belgian... Sweet - citrus and pine definitely present. Alcohol noticeable but not overpowering like some beers of this high an abv or even lower. Very good. Flavorful, but smooth and mild. Pretty good. Similar to La Fin Du Monde, but less earthy and less overwealming. Not sure I’d pay 11$ per bottle all the time, but not bad, definitely worth the try.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2006 00:56:50 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of geographie


4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A :: Strong, fluffy head. Lightly creamy in appearance. Light golden coloured beer, not too strongly opaque, but not clean and clear either.

S :: Citrus! Then aromas of malt, followed by notes of ginger and honey.

T :: Yum. The tartness of lemon zest, combined with malt tingles the palate in a battle for attention. Then fruity esters peek through and permeate your taste buds, refusing to leave - all the while the low-dosage, yet sharply defined bitterness attacks the back of the mouth. Its a warzone in your mouth, but inevitably the fruit wins and remains long after the sip.. Alcohol is cool and refreshing, but intermittenly present.

M :: Creamy carbonation, nothing overdone. Carries flavours well and texture is quite enjoyable.

D :: Pretty good. A very special drink. I'd only want one or two in a sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

09-02-2006 17:02:07 | More by geographie
Photo of dgallina


3.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fluid ounce stubby brown bottle without freshness dating.

Pours into the tulip extremely clear golden yellow, with 2 inches of foamy thin head and fine lace. Smells of strong spicy alcohol, yeast, sweet malts, black pepper, tropical fruits (banana, pineapple). Tastes of somewhat sour medicinal alcohol at the front, becomes gently rounded with pineapple fruit in the center and finish. Medium body with fairly big carbonation. A mediocre strong ale in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2006 02:31:55 | More by dgallina
Photo of afinepilsner


4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz brown bottle

Piraat ale was a hazy golden amber color with a large white rocky head. The head had good retention a left lots of lace. The aroma was yeasty and sort of peppery with some light malt mixed in. The taste was somewhat spicy with the alcohol evident and a warming finish. This beer has a medium body and high carbonation level. This is a highly drinkable beer, but the alcohol keeps you from having more than a couple. An excellent beer, I will definately purchace again.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2006 22:47:11 | More by afinepilsner
Photo of dblinkhorn


4.1/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into a glass chalice.

Appearance - Pours an orange, honey color that is very slightly hazy with moderate carbonation activity. The head is moderate, about two and half fingers from the start. It quickly dissipates to a patchy cap of smooth, foamy, white head. This remains for the entire drink.

Smell - Sweet fruit aromas make the foundation of the smell. The malt is semi-sweet smelling, and somewhat bready. The hops are more than I expected, and give a very nice bitter edge to the smell. They smell clean, crisp, and quite citrusy. Clove seems to be the only spice I can pick up on in this brew, and it is of moderate potency. Lastly, there is a pretty well-hidden alcohol scent that hides underneath the rest of the aromas.

Taste - The 10.5% alcohol is actually the first flavor I pick up on, paired with a nice sweet, dark fruit taste. The latter quickly increases in power as the former decreases as you taste. Coming in after this is the medium richness of the malt, that is (again) somewhat bready and very much the foundation which the rest of the flavors rest on. Also in the middle of the taste is a slight touch of some tropical fruit flavors. This also comes in strongly for the finish, along with a nice touch of clove. The aftertaste consists almost entirely of bready malt flavor and a bit of lingering hop bitterness. The alcohol burn, which is strong at first, slowly and steadily decreases as the taste progresses.

Mouthfeel - A very nice level of carbonation along with a higher-end light-bodied brew, make this brew a pleasure in the mouth. It's not quite as smooth as others of its style, but still quite pleasant.

Drinkability - The alcohol is deceiving, as you can't really smell it but boy can you ever taste it. From the first part of the taste it rears its head in a big way. This is the only thing that makes this brew a definite sipper and therefore lowers its overall drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2006 04:03:33 | More by dblinkhorn
Photo of Osiris9588


4.58/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. I poured it from a 750ml bottle, corked and caged. It has a golden color with a slight amber tint. The head was thick and frothy, stiffly ascending above the lip of my tulip glass with substantial retention. The bouquet is full of a blend of spice and fruit, most notably cinnamon and orange, along with subtle warm not of yeast. The taste is similar to the boquet, again with a strong citrus presence, acidic on the front, a slight but pleasant burst of alchohol on the back. The beer is wonderfully carbonated, full yet vibrant simultaneously. It is exceedingly drinkable--a party in my mouth.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 19:43:28 | More by Osiris9588
Photo of stephendr


3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dull gold murky appearance – nice head however the head does not last long– nose is sour milk and raw dough, flowers, and caramel – medium body – initial taste is sweet then turns acidic, and dried apricotish - aftertaste is medium with a creamy, acidic and alcohol Dull gold murky appearance – nice head however the head does not last long– nose is sour milk and raw dough, flowers, and caramel – medium body – initial taste is sweet then turns acidic, and dried apricotish - aftertaste is medium with a creamy, acidic and alcohol

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2006 02:05:56 | More by stephendr
Photo of BlackAngus


3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Color is a light amber, pure white rocky head with great retention.

S - Malt, some hops, smell of sugar, some citrus, definite alcohol aroma.

T - Malt, alcohol. Kind of disappointing. Smooth, though.

M - A little thin for style, lightly carbed.

D - Not bad. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2006 00:31:51 | More by BlackAngus
Photo of Boozie132


3.13/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance looks great the head is thick and looms for a little while.
Smell is alright not that great. a little citrus flavor, also smell the malt with the strong alcohol.
Taste you definately get the alcohol taste on this one
Mouthfeel is alright
Drinkability ABV does hit you and its not suttle

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2006 16:45:36 | More by Boozie132
Photo of supercolter


3.45/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance is excellent...a 4 finger head that lurks around for a while... nice lacing
Smell is good...but not great, strong malt and slight citrus taste, combined with an overpowering alcohol smell about half way through
Taste is nothing but alcohol and sweet malt, thats all I get
Mouthfeel is good, creamy and full of life.
Drinkability is inhibited strongly by the ABV not hidden very well

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2006 02:09:41 | More by supercolter
Photo of silver0rlead

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a slightly cloudy golden yellow with a massive, merengue like white head that retains impeccably...absolutely perfect. The aroma has some tropical fruits upfront, along with biscuity malt, curacao, floral hops, candy sugar and a touch of alcohol. The flavor has some tropical fruit notes upfront, as well as some spices (corriander and curacao), candy sugar, some floral hops, alcohol and some metallic notes. The mouthfeel is slightly thicker than expected and carbonation is low; drinkability is ok. An interesting BSPA, the alcohol is concealed well enough but the complexity just isnt there.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 03:49:30 | More by silver0rlead
Photo of trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a snifter. Pours a hazey coppery orange colour with a generous head and pretty lacing. Smell is intense and I'm glad I have the snifter for this one. Lots of spice. A slight sweetness but there's a lovely pepperiness there too. Some summery fruit, peaches, nectarines. Noble hops give this a grassy/earthy character. This one is begging for a taste.

This beer nearly overcame my tastebuds. Absolutely packed with flavour. Sweet but not cloying, like a fine chocolate. The sweetness starts off fruity but reveals a more nutty and chocolately layer. Spiciness as well, perhaps a little clove. There's a little bit of apple/pear flavour in here too. Earthy hops try to balance out the sweetness, but the scales tip on the side of the more sweet and spicy notes. As I said before, not cloying in the least though. A lovely malty/yeastiness comes to light as the beer warms and it becomes more comforting. There's a lot of alcohol in this one, but it really serves to enhance all the flavours inherent here. Mouthfeel is near-perfect. Bites the tongue a bit but the flavours sparkle all over the tongue. A bit thick and so intense. So drinkable, a truly great sipping beer, and a classic Belgian. This would make a perfect after-dinner drink or nightcap.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 00:59:39 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of BEERchitect


3.63/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

After resisting for quite some time because I thought the bottle version was way too alcoholic, hot, and spicy, I decided to order the tap version. Though very similar to the bottled version with it's fruity, spicy, and Belgian-y characters, the fruits seem riper and fresher in flavor. The alcohols seem to hide behind better creaminess, fuller body, and a rounder malt flavor. Don't get me wrong, the beer is very hot and spicy, but alcohols are not all I taste when on tap. A good alternative to Duvel and Tremens.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2006 01:43:42 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of IntriqKen


3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Perfect light golden amber with a massive 4 finger white head that melts to very thick sticky lacing.
Aroma is definately alcohol with begium yeasts and honey undertones.
Taste is fresh citrus fruit, belgium yeasts, alcohol...only a touch medicinal, however this beer is a lot about the alcohol. I can't help but wonder how it would mellow with a couple of years in the cellar.
Aftertaste cleans up nicely with slight drying but alcohol burning presence remains. Still it is missing some balance due to the high alcohol presence. I marked down both taste and mouthfeel because of this. Time should fix this.
This is a sipping beer to get drunk with....it's good and very complex and tasty, but each taste brings just a little more feel of alcohol buzz.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2006 00:00:15 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of unclecrappy


4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 750ml bottle poured into a big-ass wine glass. The appearance is a slightly cloudy amber, with a thick, white two-finger head that held on very well.

Aroma is killer: Big fruit and spice, with a little mustiness. Complex and compelling.

With a taste, Piraat keeps its promise of complexity. Musty, fruity sweetness balances a lightly toasted malt flavor. Actually finishes a little tart, which I thought was a nice surprise. And yeah, you really can taste the alcohol, although it doesn't overwhelm.

It feels pretty rich in your mouth. High carbonation levels without feeling fizzy.

I had tried this months ago, when I was just starting to figure out Belgian beer, and I remember being more overwhelmed than appreciative. This time, it blew me away. A new addition to my regulars.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2006 21:17:33 | More by unclecrappy
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a hazy, murky honey gold, shining softly. A finger of pithy white head drops soon to the merest wisps of froth. Slivers of lacing shell the inside of the glass.

The aroma feathers a light malt and grain earthiness, mildly sweet and vaguely musty. A distant toffee note precedes a more strident air of alcohol. The tiniest touch of hops flirsts, then passes.

Upon tasting, it's lightly toasted and roundly fruity, but it's all about malted grain, deeply sweet and boasting caramel, berry, and vanilla. A crisp edge of brown sugar is soon blunted by an understated spiciness and drying alcohol. A thinner version of the maltiness returns near the close before a muted peppery bitterness lingers a bit. The dense malt gives it a basic, rich profile.

Full bodied, a flash of syrupy sweetness cloys pleasantly on the tongue.

I drank this with no preconceptions, but I was still surprised by the muscular malt character. Sure, there is a touch of peppery spice, but it's the grain at the fore. Balance is not the way here, nor should it be. A strapping ABV is wide open and mighty warming, and a caution if there ever was one. Still, while one is the wisest choice, it's one that does itself reasonably proud.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2006 17:22:48 | More by Foxman
Photo of kmcnair


4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle

Pours an even copper color and makes a very thick, rocky white head. Drops quickly into huge clumps of thick foam and leaves thick and sticky lacing down the sides of my glass.

Aroma is huge with noble saaz hops. Lemony, earthy hop character dominates the nose. There is a rush of sulphur upon pouring, however this aspect quickly fades. Some malty tones are there, but not in excess.

Flavor is dominated by fruity esters -- apples & pears. Some clean and sweet caramel malts try to poke through the rush of peppery spice and clove like phenolics. Hint of alcohol bite in the finish. The spicy element to this is amplified by the warming of the beer. Huge complexity, I am uncertain why I never bothered to try this before.

Medium bodied and highly carbonated, warms as it goes down, slightly sticky in the finish.

This is a nice strong golden Belgian beer that I will certainly visit again.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2006 05:31:51 | More by kmcnair
Photo of brushpig


3.83/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a bottle @ the Map Room in Chicago in a piraat glass.

The body was a nice golden color with a moderate fizzy head that left quickly.

The smell had light fruit aroma with a spices and alcohol in the back of the nose.

The taste was full and complex. the hops have a bitter taste but there is also very sweet, but you can't get away from the strong alcohol taste. So get ready to burn if you have a bottle or two.Very likable, but not as balenced as they might advertised.

The mouthfeel is also a bit of the same, feel the alcohol.

Likeable strong pale ale, but not as balenced as say Duvel.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2006 16:38:25 | More by brushpig
Photo of Damian


4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a medium amber with a small head.

Smell was dominated by yeast and spices.

Taste was incredibly smooth. Citrus and mild spices dominated. This beer left a sweet, resonating aftertaste in the back of my mouth that was even more impressive than the initial flavor. At 10.5% ABV, I was amazed at how well the alcohol taste was masked.

Mouthfeel was very smooth. Carbonation was minimal.

Overall, this was quite a flavorful and refreshing beer.

Serving type: on-tap

06-30-2006 04:38:43 | More by Damian
Photo of instrumentality


3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

To be on the safe side, I bought the smaller, 11.2 oz. bottle. I poured the contents into an oversized wine glass per the BA recommendation.

This is the lightest colored beer I've had in awhile - basically golden, transparent, with a substantial head - almost 3 fingers once settled, and that's as low as it's going.

Odor was pretty malty with a hint of orange peel.

Upon taking the first gulp into my mouth, I found this beer to be unexpectedly full-bodied - creamy, a bit citrusy, a hint of clove (little enough not to upset me), slightly sweet, and again, very malty. Warmth is definitely kind to this one, to a point - as it heated up, I began to recognize a layer of banana that nicely balanced the maltiness. It's amazing how much I can taste that my sense of smell couldn't pick up.

The alcohol is somewhat well-hidden given the content, but I can definitely taste it, and it burns a bit in my mouth. Carbonation is moderate.

Given that most of my drinking experience over the past few months has consisted of running down the Best of BA list and drinking whatever I can find that sounds at least moderately appealing, this one wasn't all that impressive. However, from a less biased perspective, it is a pretty tasty and complex beer, relatively drinkable for its alcohol content. Since it's hard to find (at least in my experience) and generally shares the shelf with some much finer offerings, I don't foresee myself having it again any time soon, but if it happens to pop up on tap somewhere, I'll be sure to pay my respects.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2006 02:15:50 | More by instrumentality
Photo of GCBrewingCo

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured into the chalice crystal clear golden with an off-white and moussy head which rose tall and fell very slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was earthy with a farmhouse character and a light spice as the head remained tall. As the head fell some malt character was present, coupled with alcohol.

The flavor was nicely done with an earthy presence and a good hop balance and flavor. A very light sweetness met the palate but was quickly trumped by a light spice and good bittering. The hops were lightly grassy and definitely earthy.

The finish was dry with a lasting hop and very, very light spice impression into the aftertaste. The body was medium with a fairly high carbonation which caused a creamy mouthfeel. The warming after consumption was over the top, burning more than warming, tread lightly.

750 ml bottle.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2006 22:53:40 | More by GCBrewingCo
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Sunset Bar & Grill with my lunch on June 10, 2006.

Poured golden clear with no head. Nice and shiny. Nose was a slight bit of everything. Some spices, cherries and apples. Flavor was ctrong in dried apples and candied cherries. Malts give the beer a solid sweet backbone. Bit of heat from alcohol. Tingles the tongue a bit from the heat. Just a tad too syrupy though. Nice and drinkable with a hit from the alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

06-11-2006 14:15:41 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of

1.78/5  rDev -56.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Poured a dark gold/copper color with quite a bit of haze. Head settled quickly. Smell was at first malt, then rubbing alcohol. Taste was about the same, some sweetness on the front, followed by a blast of alcohol. As I struggled through the glass, I seemed to also get a grassy aftertaste. My final thought was that the beer left me feeling like I had gargled with alcohol. It seemed to improve a little bit as it warmed (taste mellowed), but it's also possible that my tastebuds were just pummeled into senselessness. Mouthfeel was OK (I think). Drinkability - well I didn't pour it out, but I am not happy that I have a second one. Are you beginning to get the idea I didn't like this beer? Looking at the other reviews, I may have gotten a skunked beer. Since I have a second, I will, as a service to beerkind, try it again.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2006 13:32:07 | More by
Piraat Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 1,872 ratings.