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Piraat Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Piraat AlePiraat Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,956 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,956
Reviews: 962
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 77
Gots: 122 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,956 | Reviews: 962 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

unclecrappy, Jul 13, 2006
Photo of Foxman
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.

Foxman, Jul 07, 2006
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.

kmcnair, Jul 06, 2006
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.

brushpig, Jul 05, 2006
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.

Damian, Jun 30, 2006
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.

instrumentality, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
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.

GCBrewingCo, Jun 17, 2006
Photo of MuddyFeet
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.

MuddyFeet, Jun 11, 2006
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.

, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of JayTheFinn
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cloudy yellowy straw-like look in the glass, with a strong white lasting head. Sweet smell of grapes, which makes the wine flavoring make sense. I'm also tasting a very strong liquorice and alcohol flavor. The high ABV is quite noticeable. This one is more sip-able than drinkable. The alcohol is too pronounced in the flavor for me, and while the sweetness helps to balance it a bit, in the end I have to give the drinkability just a 3.0 rating.

JayTheFinn, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.55/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

10.5oz bottle

Pours a hazy blonde color with a creamy white head that maintains. Thick lacing on the glass.

Very aromatic. Strong bready and yeasty smells with a tart fruitiness.

Sweet and malty upfront with lost of bready and yeasty flavors. A slight hop bitterness in the middle followed by a bit of alcohol. Finishes sweet.

Rich body, creamy texture. Nice carbonation.

This is a meal of a brew. I am enjoying this bottle, but one will be enough.

MaltyGoodness, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of kmo1030
3.7/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

hazed juicy looking gold color with a thick white head that laces well.
the aroma is filled with white pepper and hay horse blanket funk along with alcohol and some some cut grass, dried pineapple, and other non peppery spicy qualities. a candy-like smell that hints at bubblegum comes out as it warms.
the taste has a lot of alcohol in it, but really without heat. there is a lot of candy sugar type sweetness with pepper and some citrusy pineapple. some grainyness. it doesn't end up as complex as the smell lets on.
lighter body than expected which is good in this case.
pretty good drinkability, just a little too sweet maybe. good though.

kmo1030, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of the 'çlone' brews of Duvel, not exactly a 1 on 1 copy, but ít should come a long way.
Appearance is pretty much the same, a bright golden beer with lots of carbonation and a firm, lasting head.
Smell was different, not the DMS or veggie smell of Duvel, but a peachy fruity smell and some esters.
Taste was bitter and dry/ crisp, yet sticky and syrupy. Again some fruit like peaches and apricots, sizzling of the high carbonation. It lacks some complexity. Highly drinkable for the 9% ABV. Difference with Duvel is its full body and stickiness, which the original does not have.

After reviewing this beer, I have to say that this is a beer on it's own and deserves an unbiased review. Pretty good stuff, but not as good as a Duvel!

Absumaster, Jun 04, 2006
Photo of 0tt0
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: 11.2 oz. brown bottle pours an alluring peach color. A solid two fingers of head appears that is extremely sticky, though it loses some volume and reduces moderately during consumption. Label looks like something I doodled on my notebook in fifth grade, which adds a playful bit of anticipation to the whole endeavor.

Nose: Bready, with notes of lemon, cloves, and slight caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium, but deceptively so. Feels watery on the tongue immediately, but somehow seems more dense as it goes down. Nice.

Taste: No hiding the alcohol here. Bubbly, effervescent, and champagne-like. Citrus notes up front are short-lived, giving way to a rich, malty finish that really hangs around. Grows more sugary as it warms. Likewise, my belly begins to warm up as it goes.

Overall: at 10.5% ABV, you're certainly not going to overlook the alcohol. Bubbly carbontation and champagne-like texture are the obvious pluses of this one, but the growing candy flavors overtake it eventually, which is a disappointment. Bought as part of a Belgium sample pack, I wouldn't hesitate to try it again. After this undertaking, though, I'm not terribly impressed. Lot of foreplay with little stamina...

0tt0, Jun 02, 2006
Photo of AlexJ
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazed dull golden pour with initially high and mighty head of loosely whipped white froth that disappears too quickly for my liking, eventually settling out to nothing more than a thin collar.

Aroma is strikingly sweeter that I remember it. Overripe tropical fruit, powdery citrus drink mix, banana and clove phenols, white pepper and a touch of dry, powdery crushed rock.

Flavor is plush and sweet, overflowing with mushy mango and pinapple-mint, lemon curd, and buttery biscuits drizzled with orange blossom honey. It dries out towads the end with chalky minerality and white pepper/coriander spice. The finish has peppery hops with floral touches and a touch of cotton csandy sweetness.

Body is medium but feels bigger. Fluffy, expansive mouthfeel with airy fluffed merangue texture. Great mouthfeel, although as it warms, the estery alcoholic heat detracts a bit. Need a few years to dry out.

AlexJ, May 28, 2006
Photo of oelergud
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Semitransparent reddish straw colored body with moderate carbonation. The head dissipates to a thin float leaving little lace.
Strong caramel, honey and suryp scent with a good spicy hop charater.
The taste is caramel and spiced honey maltiness up front with the hops following close behind. The aftertaste is a mild sensation of balanced hops and malts.
Medium body, somewhat slick and spiked.
Pleasant and interesting to drink and the high ABV is not noticable in the smell or taste but watch out!

-Oelergud

oelergud, May 20, 2006
Photo of DaggerEyes
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ML Bottle Caged and Corked
poured into an oversized wine glass

pours a very slightly hazy golden yellow, with bead of carbonation and a HUGE fluffy head that gives way to lovely lacing. Sticky as hell to the sides of the glass..

Scents of green apple, bubble gum, honey, some grain, on the nose the alcohol is extremely well masked and is only slightly noticable in the background of the scent. Some earthy notes also

Sugary malts with some flavors of grape skin and bubble gum laced with honey. Balanced out by a slightly spicy flavor.

nice carbonation, round and medium body, very smooth a bit prickly on the tip of the tounge.

a very drinkable brew, a true pleasure and would get a 5 in the drinkability department if it weren't for the high ABV

DaggerEyes, May 20, 2006
Photo of wedge
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy yellow-gold with a torrent of carbonation in the center and a large, suprisingly creamy looking pure white head. Good retention as a milky cap and leaves decent patchy lacing. Aroma is citrus esters, spicy yeast, phenols and a light sweet creaminess. A swirl of the glass brings out some spicy alcohol. Sweet ripe fruit flavor with peppery phenols. Definately warming as it heads to the stomach. Lingering earthy tartness. Very soft and fluffy in the mouth - a little tart but rather plush overall. Its strength detracts from its drinkability.

Very distinctive stuff. I never found the alcohol overwhelming, though there is always the impression of its strength. I'd say this would make for a fine dessert beer.

wedge, May 17, 2006
Photo of fingolfin72
4/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Tyler's in Durham in a Piraat tulip glass.

Appearance- Clear, 24k gold with a fine, white head. Lovely in the evening light at our patio table.

Aroma- Bubble gum, croissants and alcohol.

Palate- Rich, balanced and alcoholic. Bubble gum, banana, hops, mineral, a hint of butterscotch. The mouthfeel was nice and creamy. The alcohol was evident, but not unpleasant. A very dangerous beer.

The alcohol was really the only drawback. I didn't mind it very much, but it gives the beer a bit of a nail polish remover bouquet. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

fingolfin72, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Stubby little 330ml. brown glass bottle pours out a beautiful honey-gold, slightly hazy ale with atomic carbonation. A super thick frothy 2inch white head forms and soon turns rocky. Tons of thick lacing to boot! Stuff looks awesome and delicious.

Sweet, fruity, big malt nose with trailings of yeast and alcohol, lurking in the depths of this Belgian beauty.Time to indulge!

Ahhh, big round palate filling malt, nice fruity sweetness that gets carried away gently by the perfect hop ending. Flavor is bold and balanced with the high ABV extra warming and very pleasant.

Plenty of body with a slick, creamy mouthfeel and almost too easy to drink make this a dangerously delicious offering from where else...Belgium, go figure!.

scottoale, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of BadBadger
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This belgian brew pours from the bottle a cloudy golden color. The head is a monstrosity. Good golly it is the largest head ever! After 10 minutes I was finally able to get the glass full. The smell is hoppy, malty, and citrus (with slight alcohol undertones). The carbonation carries up inot the nose. The taste certainly conveys the alcohol content of this beer, but in a plesant manner. The mouthfeel is smooth on the palate and a bit sticky on the tongue with a slight lingering of alcohol. This is a descent brew worthy of your attention. Give it a go, but beware the moderately high ABV.

BadBadger, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of jabocu
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden slightly hazy honey color. Thick white cap that fell into deep taverns, and settled to a 1/4 inch cap. Aroma was sweet esters of ripe banana, apple, and citrus. Root beer, cloves, and yeast were in the nose lightly. A little alcohol was apparant in nose as well. Flavor was fruity sweet with banana and apple at first with a little grapefuit citrusy background. Some pepper and spice filled the palate as it became more grapefruit and the alcohol came out in taste. Good blend of sweet and bitter with a hanging bitterness at back of tounge. Mouthfeel was crisp and refreshing during drink, and finishes dry and warm.

jabocu, Apr 13, 2006
Photo of Erdinger2003
4.35/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The head falls thin, but doesn't break. The lacing sticks a little, but not much, and the color is a bright gold throughout.

The smell is clovey, fruity, and crisp.

The taste is a little fruity with burnt sugar, and as I it warms flavors of orange and apple.

The mouthfeel is crisp, but not harsh.

Drinkability is great, the beer is crisp, refreshing and fruity, but still soft.

Erdinger2003, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a lovely golden color with massive chunky white head. Head lasted throughout and nice lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is truly enjoyable with nice notes of summer fruits, bananas, bubble-gum, and yeast. Taste is also very pleasant with strong banana and other light fruit flavors. Nice and creamy in the mouth with an almost syrup like feeling being left behind. Some alcohol detected, but not what you would think for a 10.5% beer. Way too easy to drink. Very enjoyable beer.

tgbljb, Apr 09, 2006
Photo of scoobybrew
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Upon pouring, this beer presents a beautiful forthy head that has excellent retention, even until the very end. It's highly carbonated with a light golden color. The aroma is yeasty with a sweet malt smell and a hint of alcohol. Upon tasting, the creamy mouthfeel is characterised by the sweet, complex malt is spiced with yeast phenolics that are noticed immediately. Later, as the temperature gets closer to room temperature (you cannot drink this fast, too enjoyable, but also very potent), the alcohol content is more perceptable (without diminishing the experience).

Overall, I'm really in love with this beer. It is one of my favorite commerical choices. So much so that I sprung for the expense to have it served for all to enjoy at my wedding. A must for Belgian beer lovers and a necessary experience for all beer fans.

10/14/06 - revised review and scoring based on recent tasting: I still love this beer very much after not having one for nearly 6 months!

scoobybrew, Apr 01, 2006
Piraat Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 1,956 ratings.