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Piraat Ale - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Piraat AlePiraat Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,951 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,951
Reviews: 962
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 77
Gots: 120 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,951 | Reviews: 962 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of crwills
4.18/5  rDev +2.7%

OK so I'm confused. This was certainly a strong pale ale and not an IPA. The front of the stubby bottle says 10.5% ABV, but the back says 9.0%, and there are two different 'Piraat' beers on this site, one with each ABV. Who knows. Regardless, this was a pretty good Belgian ale and I wish I had more.

I got this in a sampler for Christmas along with a bunch of other stuff from the same brewery. This one was poured from a stubby bottle into a large red wine glass. Pleasant, shining golden colour with a huge fluffy 2"+ head. Some dark yeasty bits in the bottom -- I shouldn't have emptied the bottle. My bad. The head fades quickly and leaves lots of lacing.

Smell is a bit heavy on the alcohol, which I don't like much. Behind that is fruity and spicy, with prominent pepper and pineapple notes.

Taste is a lot like Duvel. Spicy with bananas and pineapple, and a lot more carbonation than expected. Thick, coating mouthfeel and almost no aftertaste, which is a nice change. Quite a well balanced beer, although it didn't really stand out as something unique for me.

crwills, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of WaffleSauce
3.48/5  rDev -14.5%

Thanks to jpm30 for the trade on this one. Cork hit the ceiling upon opening. Pours (in to my trusty Stone pint glass) a very hazy yellow, a hint of orange, and slightly cloudy. GARGANTUAN white head, and many, many, many bubbles. Head is ridiculously persistent, and lacing factor is off the scale.

Nose is very malty with a hint of citrus, more lemony than organge.

Very malty and lemony upfront, slightly metallic but not at all abrasively so. Moves in to a noticeable reminder of the 10.5% ABV factor, but not in a bad way. Finishes with a tangy bitter, but not the typical hop bitter that I’m accustomed to.

Being a fan of huge American style IPAs, this was one of my first steps out of my comfort zone of mind-numbingly hopped IPAs. I don’t think I’d drink it on a regular basis, but it is fairly drinkable despite its massive alcohol.

WaffleSauce, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of audiojon
3.9/5  rDev -4.2%

2nd review-

I'm under the impression my first bottle had something wrong with it. The second time around, this beer is much easier to drink and looks a whole lot better to boot! My last bottle had very large yeast flakes floating around- way too many, it seemed, for a little 11.2oz bottle. My presumption has proved correct, as this bottle had only mild yeast floaties, and tasted a hell of a lot better. Very refreshing for 10.5% abv, an excellent example of a Belgian strong pale. I can't say the brew is very complex, but it tastes wonderful for what it is. I'd like to try this on tap, as I recently had the Boucanier on tap and it was much tastier than it's bottled brother.

audiojon, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of CNeilP09
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

Personally, this is my favorite beer of all time. Strand me on an island, with an unlimited reserve of this beer, and I'll die a happy man.

Serving type: 330ml bottle poured respectfully into a wide-mouthed tulip goblet, of the classic belgian style. Slightly chilled, with 55 minutes in a refrigerated envrionment set at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. The "flash-chilling" I do for most Belgian beers works well for me, possibly not others.

Appearance: This Belgian has a wonderful cottonish head, thick and cloud-like. The head is rooted by a copper-yellow ale, magnificent in its own right.

Smell: Fruity, Spicy, hints of maple, a touch or two of caramel, a backbone of prevailing alcohol(10.5% is hardly unrecognized) and a bit of anise.

Taste: Astonishing. Much like the nose, this beer delivers. Warm on the end, and complex at the beginning. It's almost the "Willy Wonka" of beer, think of a flavor and you'll taste it.

Mouthfeel: Robust, sligthly chewy, a touch of graininess overridden by the thorough components of what makes this beer what it is.

Drinkability: Again, strand me on a desert island, this is the one i'd want with me. But due to its hefty alcohol volume, it's one of those beers that is meant to be savoured, not swilled. One or two in a sitting is all one would need. Great Beer. Bottom Line.

CNeilP09, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev -1.7%

03/04/06- Purchased at Beverages and More in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz stubby bottle. Poured into my Duvel tulip. No freshness info to be found.

Appearance- Golden-orange coloration. Full inch + head at pour. Light rim sticks throughout. Light lacing along the edges.

Smell- Sweetness for sure. Brown sugar and candy-like scents. Maybe some cotton candy. Slight fusel alcohol smell as well. Maybe cutting through the sweetness you can find a bit of bitter hop smell.

Taste- Sugary, which turns to a quick flash of tartness which turns to a nice light bitter hop profile. Some peppery aspects as well as maybe a touch of corriander also.

Mouthfeel- Slightly drying effect in the aftertaste as well as a mild bitter aftertaste. Moderate to higher carbonation.

Drinkability- One of the sweeter beers I have had from this style. Very warming as it should be at almost 11%. Tangy and tasty. A sipper and not one to be slammed down. Allow this one to warm and take your time. Goes well with Inidan food....chicken korma in particular.

GClarkage, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4.22/5  rDev +3.7%

What's this noise about an Amber Triple IPA? Is this a misprint? Well, either way, 33 cl bottle into my Corsendonk tulip.

Appearance: Love the bubbles caterwauling toward the top, always recharging, and naturally to boot, the head of the brew. Nice semi-hazy golden yellow color as far as the body goes. Also, the head was consistently graceful when I poured, but nothing toward overflow, which somehow usually happens with me and the stronger Belgians. And though it doesn't look like ice cream, it's been staying at it's 3/4 to 1" level the whole time, with a good variation of spotty and clumpy lacing circling the top of the glass. And damn the bubbles are nice to watch, along with their patterns and variations.

Smell: Belgian yeast with some phenolic qualities: feeling a bit of medicinal and band-aid and slight leather. I never thought such aromas and intricacies would be appealing to me. Coupled with that is major candi sugar, banana, huge amounts of citrus zest, and some pear and cherry. Also some hops in there, but nothing to the point where I'm deeming it a factor of importance unless it's relating to the balance with the heavy malts, which certainly could be the case.

Taste: Clean, Belgian, balanced, and a long finish. It's hard to differentiate from many others of the style (those that really do what they're supposed to do, I should say), but this is very nice. Lots of yeast, malt, and candi sugar, with underlying banana and zest as the fruit that dominates. Finish is a pretty harmonious initial balance of malt and hops, which later fades into ripe cherry, pear, and banana. If this were somehow... I don't know, more singular maybe, this could be close to a perfect score. And I'm giving it a 4 because there are so many great Belgians out there, and I'm deeming this as one of them, but anything higher warrants much brought to the table, to me, that exhibits some qualities that others don't have. Hints of that here, but not the whole deal.

Mouthfeel: A pretty good balance between the carbonation and thickness with the malt and sugars. It never becomes cloying in the least.

Drinkability: Not feeling the 10.5% at all. I suppose the better stronger beers end up hiding it well, though. I paid around $4 for the bottle, which I think is now well worth it. Lots of balance, flavor, and clean sipping. Very enjoyable. Beyond impressed with this overall.

asabreed, Feb 24, 2006
Photo of DrJay
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%

Light gold with a faint haze and bright white head. It poured with huge, fluffy foam that showed good retention and lacing. Aromas of pear and lemon to start. These lead into bready yeast and alcohol that's a little bit forward, but balanced well. Significant sweetness in the flavour with pepperiness throughout. Low bitterness initially, but it becomes stronger towards the finish. Light fruitiness. Alcohol appears at the end. Medium bodied, generous carbonation, off-dry with a hint of slickness. The alcohol could be hidden better, but there's a lot of it to hide. Still, pretty solid.

DrJay, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of FenwaySquid
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%

Presentation: 330ml fat bottle poured unhurriedly into a tulip glass. I think I found the botting date on the back label. (05DE, Dec. 05?)

Appearance: Poured a hazy dark gold color, almost amber. Head was a white-tan shade, formed thick with very small bubbles and took up the top half of the glass easily. It is fading very slowly as the bubbles grow larger. the carbonation bubbles rising through the glass look great.

Aroma: Peppery, some hints of spice are detectable.

Taste: Wow, this one really packs a punch. Very sweet malt flavors enter with a touch of honey as well. Midway it switches gears and becomes more peppery from the alcohol. The finish is kind of grassy.

Mouthfeel: A little creamy for my taste, but still smooth. Carbonation is in good balance.

Overall: I'm glad I bought the smaller bottle as I'm not sure I'd be able to stand on my own had I needed to polish off a 750ml by myself. If you're a fan of Belgians, though, this one is worth a try.

FenwaySquid, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of gmcfarre
3.93/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured from 330ml bottle in Samuel Smith curvy pint glass.

A- slightly cloudy gold, nice n billowy 1in. white foam head

S- citrus, apple, banana and yeast, alcohol is well hidden with just a touch of spiciness

T- very similar to smell with alot of sweetness. perhaps a drop of honey to combine with the citrus and others from above

M- nice tingle, otherwise pretty smooth, not heavy enough to be creamy, no bitterness and not biting at all

D- alcohol pretty well hidden, but it does hit you after a bit. Overall its not as complex as I want out of a belgian. Reminiscent of a good wheat beer.

gmcfarre, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of stcules
1.9/5  rDev -53.3%

Golden color, almost amber. White foam, compact, not bad.
The smell: not bad in itself, with flowers and fresh fruitiness, but the problem is the alcohol, a lot. Absolutely too strong. Honey, perhaps? Anyway, unbalanced.
In the taste too, again fruity (pear), the alcohol is too strong. Absolutely unbalanced. 10.5 ABV. All perceptible.
Scarce drinkability, too much alcohol.

stcules, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%

From the 11-oz. bottle size. This tasty tripel pours cloudy and dark gold. A nice, fluffy head forms and then fades to just cover the beer. Nose is heavy with burnt sugar, alcohol, and baking spices. Very active on the tongue, with an almost cloying sweetness giving way to hops tasted in the middle/back of the tongue and on the roof of the mouth. Effervescent carbonation. Not terribly complex -- these are big flavors with relatively few nuances, but they are also GOOD big flavors, so that's not a put-down.

Overall, a very nice tripel and recommended to try. There are better ones out there, and there are worse.

By the way, have pirates EVER drunk tripel?

geexploitation, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of Sephiroth
4.13/5  rDev +1.5%

Wow! I can barely refrain from giving this beer a five in appearance. It is simply golden in color, the inch of head leaves a nice ring of lace. The bubbles are rising up the middle of my engrave tulip, they're going up the sides too. They are everywhere. Smells of sweet boozy banana bready malt.

Taste is more alcoholic than I remembered from the draft version, but this has subsided now that I have finished over half of the 750 ml. The flavor contains banana, is bready, and is definitely sweet. Mouthfeel is nice, mildly carbonated with big bubbles. Watch out for this one. Finished this in less than an hour. I remember the days when this was my fallback beer at Chalkies. Well, it was this or Gulden Draak, both on tap at all times. Those were the days.

Sephiroth, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of BillyB
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%

Very good beer but I think it's in the wrong style category. It doesn't really taste like a big IPA. Not much hop flavor let alone HUGE hops.
Pours a nice golden color with a nice 2 inch white head.
Aroma is fruity and a bit yeasty. Smells like sweet candy sugar.
Taste is again, fruity, yeasty and sweet.
Very drinkable. Not much hop presence.

BillyB, Jan 27, 2006
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

Had on tap at the Winking Lizard in Columbus. Looked like a pilsner, clear golden color with thin 1-finger white froth.

I'm not sure what's up with calling it a Triple IPA in the name on BA, this is definitely a Belgian strong pale ale, veering towards a tripel. Sweet and alcoholic, with some fruity flavors.

Very good, not as sweet as I prefer but not bad.

TurdFurgison, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of bashiba
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%

Poured a nice golden orange with a small amount of white head.

Smell was very sweet and fruity with hints of citrus and banana.

Taste on the other hand was nearly as fruity as the smell would have suggested. Had a bit of fruit but also tastes of wheat, yeast, and a bit of nice grassy hops to even things out.

Mouthfeel was warm and fizzy.

Overall and enjoyable and drinkable brew. High ABV not even really noticeable until it was gone and I had to try and type.

bashiba, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of WetCoaster
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%

* 750 ml

What is up with this brewery and inventing styles? A dark triple, now an amber triple IPA? This, I gotta see...

Appearance: Gold. A slightly darker-than-macro fairly clear gold. The head is quite good, pure white, dense, frothy, with very good retention and thick lacing. Moderately carbonated.

Smell: Dense and boozy, sweet - this could easily be a honey beer -- and fruity, elements of citrus and pineapple. Heavy, a bit solvent, but still nice.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Again, dense and sweet. Citrus rind, pineapple, and flat-out sugar. A bit cloying and boozy; not my glass of BSPA. The mouthfeel is quite nice, chewy and smooth.

Drinkability: While not the best BSPA you're likely to run across, reasonably priced, tasty and quite potent -- you could do worse.

WetCoaster, Jan 15, 2006
Photo of Tupperwolf
4.63/5  rDev +13.8%

Pours from one of those 330ml stubby Belgian bottles that I love into my tulip an apple-juice gold, lazily murky with lots of tiny dotting of suspended yeast and quickly rising bubbles of carbonation - a two-finger head rises with a careful pour and fades somewhat quickly to an eggshell ring. I wasn't sure what to expect on the pour; Anything more aggressive would likely have come up with a large head indeed. It leaves minimal lacing, which is forgiven for a strong golden ale like this'n.

Sour, acidic notes on the nose, fermenting apples and plums, some honey and bread that lighten things; Gently tart and gently hinting at mean.

WHOA! Alcohol! I might regret drinking this. The first sip punches me in the face. There's a quick, super tight swirl of firm carbonation, a crabapple sourness, and then my mouth is set aflame with astringent alcohol. It's swept away almost at once in a new sweep of creamy tastes and dissappears almost completely in the time it's taken me to write this. What the heck? Another, more thoughtful sip... Yum! On second thought, no regrets at all! There is indeed a lot of alcohol present in this, but it's got a lot of character backing it up. There's a serious flavor of oranges in this beer - not orange peel, mind you, but pure oranges - very sweet and citrusy - and behind it, there's a slightly yeasty nibble of esters. Wow! I really like this! It's kind of hard to describe, but this beer has a really refreshing flavor. I think the first punch of liquor knocked out my taste buds, because I no longer taste that astringency - only pure, delicious flavor.

Super good mouthfeel, now that I come to think of it. This does indeed have a somewhat champagne-like carbonation, fat bubbles that bounce like a wave of tiny basketballs over your tongue - the flavor is so much like oranges, in that medium-citrus way (not too sweet like lemons, not too sour like grapefruit) that the carbonation works really well with it. The finish is pretty crisp, which also works well for this beer's flavor - it's got a lot of alcohol present, and as soon as you swallow, it clears away completely, making you forget it was ever there.

This is a beast of a beer. My cheeks are burning, my mouth is watering, and I wish I'd bought more. Yum!

Tupperwolf, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of Derek
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%

A: Brownish-gold, a little murky, pours a little white head. Although there's minimal retention, it does cling to the glass.

S: Bready, a little fruity, slight hint of caramel & clean, fresh, noble hops. Good, but nothing special.

T: Good bittersweet balance, a little sweet in the aftertaste. Cidery, caramelized sugar and a some fruit (pineapple, apple, pear). Alcohol is fairly assertive. As it warms to room temperature, the alcohol finish becomes a little harsh. (really between a 3.5 and 4)

M: Exceptionally light for its strength (moderate body), fairly high carbonation.

D: Good. Approachable, but the alcohol taste begins to turn me off.

Derek, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of JohnW
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%

I have to confess that this is one of my all time favourite beers, so whatever I write is biased! First aquaintence with this beer was in the Staminee le Garre bar in Bruge Belgium in 2004, as their 'house beer' and can only describe it as amazing. Medium dark gold colour, clear, reasonable thick head, fairly dense, and rich heavy fruity aroma, that makes the alcohol content obvious. Some spicy overtones, but sweetness dominates the smell. Very rich flavour, almost too much at first (especially after having some lager or pilsner type beer!) which is both sweet, fruity and heavy with the alcohol content. It has dark overtones, as if the colour ought to be darker than it is, and sultanas, spices and a hint of bitterness as it goes down the throat that gives it a little bite. I love the taste of this, but it is not an easy beer to drink because of its richness and alcohol content. You sure would not want to drink more than three! Tasting from the bottle is similar, though maybe its slightly sweeter, but that could be just a trick of my memory. Have downrated the 'drinkability' simply because of its high alcohol content and richness, it is a beer to savour and enjoy like a fine wine, not a beer to have down the pub in 3 or 4 pint quantities!

John W
Bham UK Jan 2006

JohnW, Jan 11, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

Large, dense, bright white head that lingers until the last sip. A clean, yet full golden in color with noticeable carbonation. Patches of condensed lacing around the glass.

Light citrus aromas over a light, yet distinct wheat presence. Lemongrass, orange peel, and a touch of pepper. Some notes of warming alcohol.

A nice pineapple, orange, and lemon citrus-like flavor combination. A husk of wheat and lemongrass with a touch of candied sweetness. Light mustiness with a bit of spice. Only very light alcohol hints that round out a smooth yet dry finish.

Almost medium bodied; smooth and bright on the palate.

The alcohol presence is extremely understated and very well hidden. This could be a very dangerous session Belgian at 10.5%abv.

NEhophead, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of LPorter33
3.68/5  rDev -9.6%

11.2 oz bottle from the sampler.

Appearance = Ridiculous amount of head - like 5 to 6 inches of thick milky white froth and foam. I've never seen a beer with this much head and I tried to pour it carefully. Extreme carbonation with a foggy golden brown/amber color. Looks pretty darn good; I just need this one to settle.

15 minutes later.

Smell = Sour, fruit smell with bananna and spices. Pretty typical smell of Belgians. Not bad though.

Taste = Nice strong, full flavor. You can definitely taste the alcohol although it doesn't seem quite as high as 10.5%. Pleasant sweet flavor that compliments the alcohol well. This is a fine tasting Belgian. The mouthfeel is a little flat and thin which surprised me given the huge head and carbonation.

Overall = A decent Belgian pale ale. I recommend it for fans of the style.

LPorter33, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of findlayfan
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%

330 ml bottle - same size and shape as Duvel.

Pours with fluffy 3/4" head, some of which lingers quite a while. Nice gold body, hazy with good carbonation.

Sweet/sour nose, with a variety of fruit and a touch of citrus.

Rather "typical" trippel Belgian taste - very similar to Duvel, but alcohol more noticible (quite understandable given the +2% ABV).

Significant lacing in the glass - starts out as a white coating but eventually turns to lace.

Easy to drink, but certainly not a session beer, so I only give it a 3.5 in drinkability.

Very good example of the type - I look forward to doing some one-on-one comparisons between Piraat and Duvel.

findlayfan, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of pjwilson
4.1/5  rDev +0.7%

appearance: pours a deep orange into a tulip glass. Dark for a tripel, but still in the ballpark for style. small head forms with a little lacing.

smell: the old pears and plums. lots of that estery goodness, but very refined. a deep inhale reveals some of the alcohol.

taste: complex. the flavor of the yeast, mingles with the caramel flavored malts. this is quite a dry beer. there is very little alcohol in the taste... only felt in the belly. pears. Very good for a tripel, however it is just a bit more abrasive than other more smoother examples of the style.

note: second half of the bottle was much smoother and creamier from the yeast. I liked this half more.

mouthfeel: the end of the taste is characterized by the dryness. Drinking a beer like this makes you more thirsty.

drinkability: good for a 11.2 once bottle, but a 750 could be a touch much.

all in all, a unique take on the tripel style. The higher alcohol is a bit much here, as it worked better in gulden draake. certainly a great beer to have time and again.

pjwilson, Jan 02, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.63/5  rDev -10.8%

Tangerine peel with buttered rum edges and a moderate dusting of small particulates. The pale gold-tinted ivory crown is four fingers to start and is exceptionally tight-bubbled and firm. It also looks to be fairly sticky, as evidenced by its semi-rocky upper surface and the respectable amount of lace that has appeared on the glass in a 'painting spatters' pattern.

There's no mistaking the nose as belonging to a BSPA. Piraat fits within the style boundaries with ease, although I wish it was more powerful and more distinctive. On second thought, it's distinctive, but not necessarily in a good way. The beer smells like sour apples dipped in butter and sprinkled sparingly with ground clove. The sourness and phenols bring it down a notch in my eyes.

The flavor is a carbon copy of the aroma. I experience a brief burst of optimism each time beer enters mouth, but the initial flavors don't really expand and intensify, they just soak the taste buds and then begin to slowly fade away. That isn't to say this is bad beer, just that it's far from special when judged against the world's best.

Piraat is big and golden malty with a fair amount of underlying sweetness. Hops answer the bell and match every sweet malty jab with a bitter-hoppy right cross. I'm not sure what hop variety/varieties are in use, but I'm not that impressed with their flavor delivery, either in terms of amount or character. This is one case where malt and hops seem to cancel one another out rather than build on one another in a constructive manner.

Alcohol is noticeable, but is easily handled. The 10.5% ABV tastes and drinks not one whit higher than 8.0%. The mouthfeel is closer to full than to medium and is, unquestionably, the highlight of this experience. Rich and silky smooth, it's a finely-tuned sports car in dire need of an accomplished driver. The word 'luxurious' comes to mind.

Piraat is better than the average BSPA, but has a long, long way to go to be mentioned in the same breath with the greats of the style. It lacks that *certain something* that puts a twinkle in my eye and a spring in my step, but I still had a good time with the bottle. Watch out for that ABV. It'll plunder your booty if you aren't careful.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of beerphilosopher
3.85/5  rDev -5.4%

Poured into a wide mouth tulip type goblet from a squatty bottle ... 11.? oz.

A - Slightly cloudy golden color with a thick, rich white head. Good retention and persistent lacing.

S - Mmmm ... smells Belgian. Yeasty and citrusy with sweet notes of exotic fruit and warm bread. Not a lot of distinctive spicy noted in this one though.

T - Ah yes. This one doesn't disappoint. Yeast upfront with sweet honey, citrus, and spice behind. A well balanced pale Belgian ale. Alcohol is really quite hidden initially, then asserts itself at the finish.

M - Relatively thich and complex. Good hop balance to the sweet malt doninance. Really quite rich and smooth in it's mouthfeel. A quality Belgian ale.

D - I had been wanting to try this one for some time and finally picked up a single from a store while on vacation. This one was everything I expected it to be, although maybe ever so slightly sweeter than I thought. A good representation of the pale Belgian style ... I recommend and will have it again.

beerphilosopher, Dec 29, 2005
Piraat Ale from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 1,951 ratings.