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Piraat - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,055 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,055
Reviews: 969
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: 12.29%
Wants: 80
Gots: 159 | FT: 1
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: 2,055 | Reviews: 969 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sleazo
4.6/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Lovely clouded orange colour with a huge fluffy head that seems to be it's own entity. Very nice looking, the only improvement woudl be better lacing. other than that beautiful.

S-Very complex aroma, I get anise on first whiff then a bananas foster type burnt sugar alcohol banana smell. A faint floral hop bitterness lingers in the background. Wow is all i can say.

T-Bananas and cloves and licorice oh my!. This is a unique treat with hints of pepper and a slow warming sensation from the alcohol but not harsh at all. the yeast plays a wonderful role in amping everything up from the bread to the hops and the spices it creates. You get those wonderful spices but in the end there is an unerlying bitterness from the hops. i am not sure when the hops were added to this brew but it is strong in the bittering variety and not so much in the aroma. Complex and nothing like I have had before.

M-Fluffy, highly carbonated with the tingling bubbles.

D-now this is one dangerous brew that I wish I got in a larger size than this stubby. This is basically a tripel with a huge dose of bittering hops. The almost honey like sweetness plays so well off of the bitter hop background and then at the end you get this dose of spice, magnificent. I will go out of my way for this.

sleazo, Jul 28, 2007
Photo of Metalmonk
4.65/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very thick head that takes a long time to settle to a thin skim. Color is peachy gold with a slight haze, and plenty of bubbles feeding that greedy head. Lots of styrofoamy lace as the head drops.

This aroma brings funk the is wrapped around lively fruits and peppery spices. A big, sweet, musty smell, I can't help but award it the highest marks.

Flavor is a mixture of apple, black pepper, banana, must, honey and what has to be one of the finest yeast strains in the world. Finish is a sour/sweet/spice character that leaves you dying for the next sip. Alcohol is very well-hidden. A mild, pleasant heat lurks in the background, but for 10.5% you can't beat it.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Airy yet substantial, bouncy, creamy, just bubbly enough but not too demanding.

A quintessential example of a fine Belgian ales. Sometimes Piraat tastes more funky to me, other bottles some fruitier. But it's always wonderful. Van Steenberge forever has my highest respect for creating two world-class beers: this and the phenomenal Gulden Draak.

Metalmonk, Jul 24, 2007
Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Max's the other day. Such an excelletn triple/IPA

The beer pours an impressive, solid gold color with pretty good lacing and head retention. There isn't a huge amount of foam, but what there is, lasts and lasts. The beer has a sweet honey aroma on the nose, but with some underlying spice and white pepper. Very intriguing. The beer is just excellent on the palate; with flavors of honey, butter and white pepper. The beer is not the least bit heavy and has a crispness I really appreciate it. It finishes just a bit dry/bitter from the hops, and is quite refreshing. Although you know the abv. is up there, this beer is surprising easy to drink. Really, one would never guess the abv. is 10.5%. Just an altogether excellent beer.

John_M, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of rodrot
3.58/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a corked 750 ml bottle, this beer poured a medium gold color with a massive head that threatened to spill all over the floor. This is one lively brew. Aroma was very fruity and floral with some spicy hops in the nose. Taste was incredibly sweet and syrupy with some notes of citrus and peppery spices to go along with it. Alcohol was quite evident up front and in the finish, but I didn't mind too much after half the bottle was gone. Mouthfeel was medium to full in the palate. The very high level of sweetness paired with the strong alcoholic notes hurt the drinkability for me. Overall, this is a pretty good Belgian IPA that would benefit from some time in the cellar.

rodrot, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- clear champagne colored body with bubbles rising to the top. Thin white ehad that quickly fades and some lacing remains in the glass.

S- Complex smell with an interesting mix of hops, wheat, citrus, sugar, and spices.

T- Citrus and spices up front with a light hop overtone and decent wheat backbone. Followed by a mix of mild hops and a sweet sugary taste. Finish is bittersweet with a mix of sweet bread and refreshing hops. The alcohol is easily detectible but not cloying. Taste is pleasantly complex and unexpected.

M- Smooth and creamy with yeasty body and medium carbonation.

D- This is very drinkable and quite complex.

PittBeerGirl, Jul 02, 2007
Photo of Nesued
3.8/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Poured from a 11.2 fl oz bottle. Poured with a huge white fluffy head. I had to slow pour this one, otherwise I would have been cleaning up the mess for a while. Ample lacing formed after the pour and remained. The head resolved into a half-finger head that was fed by an ample carbonation. Clear golden in coloring.

Smell - The aroma is a bit alcoholic with some fruity overtones. The overall presentation is one of a grassy, hoppy nose.

Taste - Tangy bite at the onset the fades into a honey/sweet taste on the tongue. There is a hoppy finish, but not as much as I would have expected from this IPA. Others have said a peppery presence as well. I can see that but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel - The travels of the beer around my mouth was very much assisted by the lively carbonation. There is a good bit of density to this beer and one that assists in making it something to be remembered.

Drinkability - I have heard a lot about this beer and tried to have that not effect my review. I can see the attraction for this offering and it does represent the Belgian IPA style very well. However, my leanings are toward the Chouffe or Ranke offerings.

Nesued, Jun 28, 2007
Photo of Hibernator
4.03/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Piraat Ale
11.2 oz brown bottle
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours a hazy golden yellow. A massive fluffy head forms instantaneously. Incredible trails of sticky lacings cling to the glass.

Interesting aroma with wiffs of spice, tropical fruit and Belgian funk.

Each sip is quite complex with hints of black pepper, pineapple and distinctive Belgian yeast flair.


Hibernator, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of ultralarry2006
3.53/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 ml. bottle. Leaves a big, off-white, foamy head of two fingers in depth, and it has very good retention, as well as very good lacing. Body is an orange tinted gold.

Smell - cloves, some horseblanket, biscuity malt, some spicy hops, and a slight hint of spicy alcohol.

Taste - exactly as promised by the nose - cloves, horseblanket, some spicy hops, and some spicy, but mostly well hidden alcohol.

Mouthfeel - medium to full bodied, slightly semi-dry.

Drinkability - high abv holds down sessionability, but even if it did not, I find this to be only a decent beer, not one that I would seek out often.

ultralarry2006, Jun 24, 2007
Photo of MiScusi
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Piraat tulip. Pours a rich golden orange with a white, super frothy rocky head that sits there for a long time. The aroma is of Belgian yeast, sugar, and fruit. That taste mimics it, not a lot of hops detected but some earthiness, mostly sweetwess in the form of sugar and fruit. Mouthfeel is very smooth and medium bodied. A very nice strong Belgian pale ale.

MiScusi, Jun 17, 2007
Photo of Beerzebub
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As soon as the cage is loosened, the cork blows off with a very loud pop and hits the ceiling very hard. The same happened the last time I had this beer!

Orangish golden color. First glass is crystal clear, the rest translucent. First glass, two inch very loosely knit white head that quickly falls to half an inch. Swirling brings it back, and denser. Head and lace get denser with each glass, the last glass has blobs of sticky head and lace like froghopper froth.

Smells of grassy hops, sweet honeyish malt, mushy brown apple, dried tropical fruit, leafy vegetables, and sharp, spicy, vaguely bacterial earthy yeast. Unusual.

Tastes of sweet honey and alcohol, backed up by moderate grassy hop flavor but fairly little bitterness. Very assertive, somewhat funky yeast character. Brown apple - not an oxidized taste, more like slightly rotten, but not unpleasant. Dried papaya, dirt, something medicinal, a hint of smoke. Something vegetal like kale or seaweed, I can't tell if it's from the hops or not. Maybe even decomposing kelp, but that's probably the brown apple caught up with the vegetal element. Long finish: grassy hops, odd yeasty funk, minty alcohol and honey.

Decent mouthfeel, but it can seem sugary. Pretty drinkable in a way, but there's no way around the sweetness and alcohol.

This beer is an odd one, and certainly worth a try. The smell and taste of this beer remind me of playing in apple orchards in Sebastopol CA when i was a kid, plenty of brown apples on the ground.

Beerzebub, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of yelterdow
4.55/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A two year cellared 750ml bottle served at between fridge and cellar temperature in a Duvel tulip. A small hunk of Chimay Met Biere cheese will accompany this tasting.

Appearance- With a resounding *pop*, the cork disengages. On a generous pour, this beer is pale gold and supports a nice, soapy three-finger head that crackles softly but never goes away. Small chunks of sediment hover and swim around in the glass, suspended in space and time. Very appetizing and quite big.

Smell- Aromas of grass and hay dominate the nose, while the more substantial malts and alcohol fill the nostrils with anticipation. As the beer slowly comes to temperature, a candy-like sweet character begins its approach.

Taste- The instant this beer hits the tongue, there is a most delicate tartness that fades away completely in seconds... followed by a full-bodied, exceptionally well rounded example of a strong Belgian IPA. It's hard to describe, but Piraat is terrifically balanced... it seems that two years in the basement may have really done this beer well.

Sweet, hoppy, and malty in exactly the right degrees... a fabulously enjoyable treat that defies the appropriate words.

<note>... only half way through this delightful bottle, I must proclaim this realization: Great beer is waiting for you to realize its greatness... it can happen at any time, even without notice or preparation... just like this event here tonight.

Mouthfeel- Initially soft and prickly, the beer swells and fills the mouth... creating a self-imposed meal in its own right. The texture thins during the swallow and finishes easily.

Drinkabilty- i am hammmered.

yelterdow, Jun 01, 2007
Photo of Sixpoint
4.28/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe all the sleepers on this beer. Can you deny the complex musty funky yeast ZAP with every sip?

To me, that is the standout feature of this beer. It tempers the high alcohol warming sensation with every sip. The Brett character subdues the otherwise aggressive phenol and spice and warmth from the high gravity.

What you are charmed with is a the barnyard musty character of a slight Brett character, and just enough spice from the hops and yeast to round out the profile.

Served in my Westmalle glass while I watch the Brewers come back and defeat the Braves, I'd have to say life is pretty good.

Sixpoint, May 30, 2007
Photo of meadhead
4.47/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a swirl of confluence:
sweet honey malt
apple pear yeast ester
slight pepper grass hop

very mild phenols and other
subtle tastes

drinks exceptionally well
for the high ABV

mouthfeel is balanced
with a medium carbonation

another truly unique
Belgian ale creation

meadhead, May 28, 2007
Photo of PhiloPsych
3.43/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looked clear and yellow as it poured from the bottle, but was a darker orangish, almost tan color in the glass. Looked like an IPA. No hops in the nose, though; the only smell was sweet alcohol. The taste is buttery and yeasty, but no malt flavors and almost no hops at all. Certainly doesn't fit my idea of an IPA, more like a Belgian tripel.

PhiloPsych, May 28, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the great beers that I can never get sick of... ever!! It is light in color, a dry finish, with a huge alcohol presence. It is listed as 10.5%, but after talking to Jef Versale of Van Steenberge, it ranges between 9% to 14%. So it is always a surprise where it might take you. Plus, after a Piraat, everything gets better...PRAAT!

OWSLEY069, May 28, 2007
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.05/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a cloudy golden color with a huge head – and nice lacing. The smell is sweet and hoppy with a touch of sourness. The taste is fruity and spicy mixed with hops and sourness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied. While drinking at a warmer temperature helps, the flavors do not seem to blend well and therefore, does not make this a highly drinkable beer.

barefootbrewer, May 10, 2007
Photo of willjschmidt
4.15/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into my Piraat tulip.

A: Pours a golden and slightly orangish color with a great thick white head. The head slowly recedes leaving quite a bit of lacing.

S: Slightly sweet malts with some faint spices.

T: A delicious taste, a little bit syrupy with a sweet honey taste up front. This is followed by some light citrus. I know that it's hard to hide 10.5% but the alcohol is very prevalent and warming. There is also some faint spice and hop flavors as well.

M: Slightly syrupy with light carbonation and the hot taste of alcohol.

D: This isn't the most drinkable beer because of all the alcohol. It's definitely a sipping beer, I think it would be a nice after dinner sipper. I really did enjoy this beer though, it was a pleasure to drink.

willjschmidt, Apr 26, 2007
Photo of vancurly
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First thought I was drinking calvados... alcohol & apples....

Pours clear first, then hazy as the yeast is disturbed. Golden. Nice heavy white head.

Aromas of apples.... skin, flesh, stems, seeds.... the lot. Some fleshy yeast, sweet malt, and subtle caraway seed.

Metallic & flinty hops, caramel & honeycomb. Alcohol...apples.

Chewy and warming. This beer would be ideal with pork knuckle... enough spirit & fruit to cut through the fat, and hold it's own.

vancurly, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of Cyberkedi
3.98/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks good and drinkable. Aroma has strong fruity overtones, making it smell almost like a cider rather than an ale. Taste is strongly fruity, as well as malty with quite a bite of bitter. I had a rather small bottle, but it was all I needed to sample this brew and rate it. A nice jazzy ale that is a pleasure to drink.

Cyberkedi, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of grub
3.35/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle marked 04/05/08.

pours deep golden yellow with a half inch of dense white head. head drops fairly quickly but leaves lots of lace.

aroma is nice. bit of alcohol. spice - clove and a bit of black pepper. crackery malt. touch of funk.

taste is nice. light honey sweetness. med-low bitterness. bit of clove. alcohol. cracker malt. bit of light orange citrus.

mouthfeel is good. above average carbonation. medium body.

drinkability is good. a touch sweet, but that balances the alcohol fairly well. fairly simple and straightforward, but enjoyable. don't really get any "ipa" out of this, so it loses taste/aroma points for that.

grub, Apr 12, 2007
Photo of paleoplant
4.08/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a small bottle the pour was a nice creamy golden color. There was a slight foam on top, more than I am used to in Belgian beers. This is the first Belgian IPA that I have tried and enjoyed it. It seemed very similar to a Belgian strong pale ale with extra something (hops?). It has a crisp strong taste that was flavorful. It was enjoyable, but the strong bite never calmed down so it may become overwhelming if I had too much.

paleoplant, Apr 03, 2007
Photo of mithrascruor
3.2/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a straw-orange color with a thick foamy white head. Leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

Smell: Not a spectacular smell, but an ok one. Some spices (including pepper), yeast, and a bit of malts.

Taste: The flavor is almost overwhelming. Some herbs, spices, and a bit of metallic flavor. A bit of midly bitter citrus is present, along with some yeast. Alcohol is also relatively noticable in the taste, as well as some additional bitterness that I can't identify.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, semi-smooth, and with a moderate amount of relatively soft carbonation.

Drinkability: It's a bit too much for me; not alcohol-wise, but just flavor-wise.

Certainly an interesting beer worth trying for the Belgian ale aficionado, but I probably won't have this again unless a friend wants to try it too. The flavors are a bit too intense, slightly unbalanced, and not entirely to my liking. For me it's merely a novelty.

mithrascruor, Mar 20, 2007
Photo of haz77
4.25/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A – Pours a bright, clear amber with a huge white head. Masses of streamers keep this in place for quite some time. As the head slowly falls some nice clumps of lacing a left behind.

S – Plasticy phenols, banana, peach, clove, honey.

T – Biting carbonation, which only softens slightly through the length of the drink, leads to light fruitiness. Phenols come through in the middle along with the clove. Bone dry finish that has a background tobacco flavour.

M – Very lively carbonation and a smooth, but crisp, medium body.

D – Very drinkable and little trace of the 10.5% ABV in the taste. Recommended.

haz77, Mar 18, 2007
Photo of KingG
3.75/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this before but it was served too cold to enjoy.

Served chilled and poured into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance is very good. A huge off-white head forms as the beer is poured. As it settles down it leaves a ton of spiderweb-like lacing in the glass with a crater of foam. The beer's color is dirty yellow/straw.

Smell is good. Aromas of Belgian yeast, roasted peanuts and hops. Not a very strong smell but still good.

Taste is above-average. Much like the smell but with a slight alcohol flavor. Hops are apparent yet don't make a strong statement in the taste.

Mouthfeel is above-average. Thankfully not over-carbonated. Nice creamy texture but still could use more body because the beer finishes a little bit thin. Uneven.

Drinkability is good. I could drink a few of these during a session no problem.

Overall: A good 'Belgian IPA' but i'd rather have a Hoblen Chouffe Triple IPA instead which is a better example of the style, imo.

KingG, Mar 15, 2007
Photo of Steve188821
2.75/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This beer pours a golden colour with a large fluffy head. the smell is of spiced yeast and fresh fruit. Alcohol is dominant in the taste, esters are also present as well as a hint of grass. The mouthfeel is too aggresive for me, far too gassy making this beer undrinkable for me.

Steve188821, Mar 12, 2007
Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
91 out of 100 based on 2,055 ratings.