Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Join The Buzz! Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Piraat - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

996 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 996
Hads: 2,250
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 10.7%
Wants: 111
Gots: 276 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2001

A robustly bitter strong Belgian pale ale.
View: Beers (93) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Piraat Alström Bros
Reviews: 996 | Hads: 2,250
Photo of babaracas
4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a hazy dark amber with fluffy khaki colored head, settles slowly to a quarter inch, splotchy rings on the glass. Smell: pear, cooked red delicious apple, peppery and spicy, orange peel. Taste: pear, candied orange peel, dried apricot, bready, caramel note, big spicy and peppery flavors and a little grassy. Syrupy-to-fluffy, peach skin finish. Huge and delicious with just a touch of warming alcohol. From corked and caged 750, no date found on bottle but judging from the label design it's 2013/4 bottling. (514 characters)

Photo of thehyperduck
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330 mL bottle from a sampler pack; best before June 17 2016. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a cloudy amber-orange colour, topped off with two fingers of fluffy, off-white head. Good retention; the froth slowly seeps away over the next five minutes or so, leaving behind a lacey imprint as it settles down into a loose, bumpy cap and collar. The aroma is yeasty and sweet, immediately bringing to mind various orchard fruits - green apple, pear, peach and orange come to mind, in addition to banana, bubblegum and pithy grapefruit.

Grainy malt sweetness, peaches, apple and apricot are the first flavours that cross the tongue, followed soon after by banana and orange peel. There is some grassy, almost earthy bitterness, with spicy clove and coriander leading into a warming, boozy, yeasty aftertaste. Moderately complex flavour that opens up for the better as the beer warms. Medium-full in body, with assertive carbonation that assaults the tongue; yet a smooth, almost creamy feel on the palate. I seriously cannot believe how well the 10.5% alcohol is hidden on this one; it becomes a little more noticeable as it warms, but even then, this is a dangerously drinkable beer that does not betray its strength - until you stand up after finishing the glass, at least.

Final Grade: 4.29, an awesome A-. This is one of my favourite styles of beer, and I must say that Piraat compares admirably to many of my long-time favourites like Duvel, La Chouffe and Don de Dieu. This is a sinfully-tasty strong Belgian golden ale, and its alcohol content is so masterfully masked that I'd be likely to place it closer to 7-8% than 10-11% on a blind test. A great way to cap off Christmas 2014, and any fan of strong Belgian pales should consider this an absolute must-try. (1,766 characters)

Photo of BlazerT
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Teku glass. Deep amber/gold colour with nice, big, creamy white, long lasting head. The aroma is big biscuit, bready mixed with hops - mainly fruit aromas and some herbs, spices (coriander?), again the big grainy aroma and also grape juice. The taste is medium to heavy sweet, crackery, some biscuit, warming booze sensations, there are also some yeasty notes - clove and earthy. The aftertaste is big malty and again bready. The warming booze sensations begins somewhere in the middle till very end. The body is smooth, thick with high carbonation and smooth finish. In overall interesting belgian beer, which strikes with lots of aromas and flavours. (652 characters)

Photo of cjgiant
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle (03JM):
Pours a cloudy orange yellow, with a large amount of head on a fairly aggressive pour. The head was larger, soapy on initial pour, but reduced to fluffy off white head that remained thickly on the surface, also providing a ton of lacing. The nose is a bit candy-like in one respect. Sweet notes of honey and caramel pair with a faint waft of grapefruit (I think) to counter it slightly to produce a fairly unique scent. Beyond that are some classic Belgian notes, including some funk, some hay, and some saison-like dry notes. I also get a strange light neutral smoke note, though I have no idea why,.

The taste follows the nose pretty well, except the Belgian notes are a bit stronger in the taste, making it overall a bit less sweet. The specific taste that I get is that the grass/hay flavors are more prevalent than I noticed in the smell. I can take the malt profile in the nose, but the flavor is just slightly off-putting to me in this taste. The body is maybe a little fuller than medium, with a decent amount of carbonation adding some bite.

I think I might have rated this slightly higher (3.85 or 3.9) if I did precise (and based on previous experiences with the beer). This particular taste I rated down the taste because it didn't sit as well with me as it has in the past (I wavered b/t 3.5 and 3.75). Will continue to grab this occasionally, as I feel I do still enjoy it. (1,415 characters)

Photo of JackRWatkins
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Good but at least in my opinion it's not duvel, the sheer brute force and stature of this beer may make it a tad difficult to appreciate some of the finer subtleties present, these flavors will fade before you are done reeling from the size of this beer (253 characters)

Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Appearance: amber, heady white froth, fine carbonation

Smell: strong malt with hint of flower/bitter hops, yeast, honey , esters and faint alcohol .

Taste: Great balance of hop forward followed by Sweet, flowery malts and clean finish.

Overall: Great beer, well balanced and goes well with cheese, pizza and high fat/greasy fair. Palate cleansing. (350 characters)

Photo of DaveBar
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of a seasonal mixed 6pk at the LCBO for a pretty kind $18.00. Served at 4deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and you need to watch you don't pour a ton of head. Head stays a while then settles to a nice film

S- Touch lacking here. Unusual orange peel scent. Yeast on yeast

T- Very good. Rather complex considering that it is only months old. Bite at the end when it's warm but stays still cold

M- Dry and tart. Very good but very carbonated

O- Very good beer. Enjoyable and for $3.00 for a 330ml bottle a pretty good deal. IF and that's a BIG IF there are 2 more good ones I'll buy another 6pk.

Food Pairing

This wonderful yeasty beer went well with...... Samosas. That samosa bite can't stand a chance at this nice beer

Enjoy (747 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Piraat pours a golden color with a big lacing head. There is a big aroma, lots of candy aromas, hints of peach and yeast. The taste is very fruity, lots of peach, lots of candy, hints of a warm alcohol. Big body, nice feel too. Overall its a big strong beer, too sweet and fruity for me. (291 characters)

Photo of ordybill
4.69/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 330 ML bottle into a tulip glass.
Aroma- Has a yeast and fruit
Appearance- Has a nice amber color with a giant white head.
Taste- Excellent blend of hops and malts
Palate- A medium bodied beer with heavy carbonation.
Overall- Outstanding beer, side note, for those who collect bottle caps this beer has a beautiful bottle cap. (340 characters)

Photo of PaulietheBrit
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Lovely hazy amber pour with an aggressive but loose head. Settles quickly with good lacing.
The booze hits you first, with a fruity, toffee undertone.
Flavor is alcohol upfront with a smooth malty hoppiness, dry and bitter with fruit finish.
Feels good in the back of my mouth, a little warm from the alcohol. Mmmmmm. (317 characters)

Photo of rangerred
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

330ml bottle into a goblet.

Pours a clear dark copper with just the smallest bit of sediment from the bottle sneaking into the glass. Huge solid two finger white billowy head that hangs on the entire time the beer is in the glass.

Aroma is quite spicy with hints of coriander and peach along with a whiff of alcohol. Not incredibly deep but it is true to style.

The flavor continues with the spiciness with coriander but the peach is a bit more subtle. A touch of dark fruit and caramel underneath along with a touch of caramel. The alcohol definitely makes its presence known but it never becomes overwhelming. Very dry mouthfeel with just a light touch of sweetness in the end.

Overall, this is a very good beer. It is not top of the line but it isn't very far off. Love that it packs a decent punch and is not overly sweet. (831 characters)

Photo of MrIncognito
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Amazing. Hazy golden body with a thick, lasting white head. Smell of lemon peel, a little herbal hop, candy sugar, and yeast. Fantastic taste that is smooth and sweet with just enough bitterness to prevent any sticky, cloying sweetness. There is a nice malt backbone to this with a smooth honey and candy sugar sweetness. (325 characters)

Photo of mblk6062
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

This is one of the best Belgian ales of all time. I rate it slightly above Maredsous. One of those "if I was stranded on a desert island, and had only one beer...." kind of beers! (179 characters)

Photo of HuskerTornado
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into tulip glass. Pours a copper color with a mountainous cream colored head that very slowly dissipates to over a quarter inch thick with some spots much thicker that remain and leaves behind thick lacing.

Smell is of sweet honey and malt, floral hoppiness, and the Belgian yeast always brings a fruitiness to the table. A lot going on here.

Taste impressively complex. Big floral hop presence combined with honey sweetness right off the bat. Lots of hops here, but the bitterness is not overly intense. In the middle comes a mixture of lighter fruits like pears and dark fruits like plums. In the finish, the 10.5% alcohol makes it's presence felt and there is a grassy finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

Overall, a great Belgian strong pale ale. I've had this bottle a while, and poured darker than usual, but the flavor profile seemed to be about the same. (890 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.89/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant light golden with a lingering frothy ivory head. Aroma is floral, with green apple sharpness and notes of perfumey hops. Flavor reveals more sweetness, with cherry cough drop coming to mind. Finish is alcoholic. The phenols are overpowering. (259 characters)

Photo of Homers_Beer_Odyssey
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE - Pours coppery red, with a huge, five-finger beige head that lasts a long time. It leaves a floaty yeast lump up till the last sip.

SMELL/AROMA - Herbaceous, sweet, a little piney.

TASTE - Sweet, herbaceous, piney. Definitely not bitter as advertised. ABV only a bit hidden.

MOUTHFEEL/PALATE - Lots of carbonation, light, not syrupy.

OVERALL - A bit boozy, but a nice beer, sippable, not quaffable. Advertised as bitter, but it's not at all bitter IMHO. (469 characters)

Photo of Roguer
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Huge fluffy white head with great retention and chunky lacing. Brew is a thick, translucent, mango-orange gold.

Sharp, pepper and yeast aroma with hay and wheat.

Banana notes, sweet malt and yeast, clove, earthy. Tiny bit of alcohol. Nice earthy bitterness.

Thick and smooth mouthfeel. Chewy with sting.

Good, balanced strong ale; not oversweet, nor too bitter. (365 characters)

Photo of FLima
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Amber color with a three finger thick off-white head with good retention and leaving lots of laces.
Sweet aroma of Cointreau liquor, herbal hops, Belgian yeast and mild white pepper. Hints of pears and peaches after warming up.
Similarly, flavor of Cointreau liquor with lots of perfumy and herbal hops, light white pepper, green pears, champagne and pineapples juice foam. Aftertaste takes a while to become dry and bitter.
Medium body with effervescent carbonation. Alcohol of 10.5% abv is noticeable but is harmonic with the overall beer.
Good beer, though I was expecting a bit more complexity, but on the other hand, it was surprisingly hoppy for the style and interesting that borders other styles besides Strong Golden Ale such as Belgian IPA and Tripel. (761 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A robust tan head throws a thick blanket over this orange brew. Smells of mostly light fruits (pear, green apple, peach), Belgian yeast and very faint hops, if any. Big fruits and subtle hops mix quickly on the tongue and play together nicely, forming a pleasant, creamy, medium body. Alcohol heat flickers across the back of the throat. Flavorful and consistent all the way through. (383 characters)

Photo of EagleTalon
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a generous buff head and orange-amber color. Aroma is clove, fruit, spice, bubblegum, aged hops and sugary sweet grains. Flavor is complex, strong on alcohol and esters and finishes boozy yet balanced. Mouthfeel is effervescent and medium. Overall a very good belgian ale. I don't think "IPA" fits here. (316 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Next brew on my history lesson trot is Piraat, Arrrgh! [couldn't resist throwing in good "arrrgh"]. Everyone knows what a pirate is so I'll be brief: the Spanish got to Latin America first, plundered the shit out of it, the rest of Europe was like "Hell no!" and the monarchies at war with Spain gave "letters of marque" to bad ass dudes with ships which was essentially a licence to attack Spain and take as much booty (note: 'booty' meant treasure back then not a 'fine ass') as they could. They were otherwise known as "privateers" from which we get the word pirate. Eventually the Spanish began sending out pirate hunters, also bad ass dudes with ships, and began to protect their galleons with more ships/guns, and thus the golden age of piracy ended.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Cloudy amber bodied with a light slightly off-white lacing for a head, generally most brews over 10% ABV have a very minimal head and this one is no different.

S: This Belgian IPA has quite a boozy brandy-like aroma that assails the nostrils at first whiff. A second more deliberate inhalation reveals pear and apple esters along with pepper and grape bubblegum fragrance. There are some nice yeast notes at play as well giving this ale a touch of bread and clove as well.

T: Glad I let this warm to 8 degrees as the label recommends, what a symphony of flavours at play here: grape bubblegum, pear and apple esters, pepper, warming alcohol (more Rum than Brandy) and clove wrapped up in a medicinal hop finish. The thing about this bold Belgian ale is how it slaps you in the face like a glove in the hand of a pirate challenging you to death by cutlass. That Rum hint only adds to the sensible and righteous naming of this fine brew.

M: Medium bodied with some dense/harsh carbonation. A touch on the gassy side.

D: One glass of this brew makes one want to sail the Spanish main in search of plunder and fine Caribbean booty, booty in the modern sense, preferably from a tavern wench. In all my years drinking I have never tasted any beer that fits its name as well [slight exaggeration for effect there]. Really this is a fantastic ale. Minor cons - the carbonation isn't as smooth as expected from a Belgian ale, and the alcohol really lets you know that this is 10.5% ABV. Otherwise a solid effort from Brouwerij Van Steenberge *cough*notasgoodasGuldenDraak*cough*.

Food match: Tavern wenches... but seriously this bold ale would have to be paired with a bold meal - char-grilled meats, bold cheeses, large Cuban cigars and gunpowder, yes gunpowder... (these food match things I write are getting rather silly now aren't they?). (2,650 characters)

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Belgian IPA? Really? I’m not sure it’s regarded as such in Belgium.

A: Poured into my Duvel glass I get an interesting dull, darkish amber body with a huge foamy off-white head. Strings of fine bubbles shoot vigorously up the centre.

S: Dull malt and bread. Metallic. Esters of sorts, liquorice. It’s probably a bit too cold.

T: Solvent-like with dank, herbal, and fruity hops and a prickly malt backbone eased by just enough sweetness. In fact I get a nose full of fruity sweetness every time I gulp. Also some shower gel like quality which at first I thought were my hands. In the aftertaste I get dank, herbal hops.

O: It’s in the same vein as Duvel and I'm guessing the hops are Saaz? Just as I was getting bored of Belgian beer. Very nice. (756 characters)

Photo of Maxwell
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a rich, golden amber and sits in the glass as a dark orange. A head of off-white bubbles forms above the beer but quickly whittles to a scrim. In body the beer is dark and opaque, with hints of cloudiness swirling before the eyes. When washed against the sides of the glass, it leaves a nice set of legs. On the nose, the beer smells of musty grains, honey, fusel alcohol, and cidery fruit notes. Hints of herbal and minty hops work their way into the scent as the glass is agitated, as well as subtle sherry. The smell is not particularly strong for a 10.5% ABV beer, but is instead richly subtle and restrained. On the tongue, the beer tastes smoothly sweet with a warming, grainy, alcohol heat that builds to just before the finish. The finish splashes slight herbal hops and just a whisper of acidity and salinity, rounding the beer into a subtly complex giant. In flavor, the beer tastes of sweet cereal grains, which move into rich, silky clover honey before introducing sweet, grainy alcohol. The alcoholic heat builds into the finish of the beer, briefly skirting on cloying and then on to fusel notes, before it mellows into a minerally-sweet finish that blends the honey malts with herbal, minty hops, booze, very faint lemongrass, and a touch of salty bread. The aftertaste is of lingering honey and herbal, bitter hops that linger in the mouth for quite some time. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body with a crisp, sharp, yet smooth mouthfeel, and silky carbonation. The mouth is left tingling from the alcoholic heat when the beer leaves, but is then doused in a torrent of spittle that pours from the sides of the tongue. Overall, this is a beautifully restrained Belgian Strong Golden Ale. The yeast character is soft, though subtle phenols and esters do start to sprout as the beer warms. This is a beautiful sipper, and a wonderful example of how to brew with a restrained hand (quite the opposite of most American brewers these days…). The more I drink this beer, the more flavors I unravel, which is excellent. (2,074 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

(wasn't poured by myself - coworker did it, abandoning drinking it for themself and passing it off to me... ok then... used to drink this often enough many years ago when I first started trying Belgian beers)

A: amber color, cloudy (hops? lees?)... compact, spongy, white foam... killer cap retention, scant lace

S: lightly gingerbready... hops that remind me of Styrian Goldings (or something noble)... mellow medicinal phenolics, chlorophyll tones from the hops... all in all, very polished, subtle aromas from the plants, foundation of clovey yeast character

T: mild banana, candied orange?... spicy booze... aggressively bitter, lightly-floral, noble-like hops... late, lasting clove-y aftertaste... tastes more like an extra-hopped tripel... hop bitterness is pretty prominent in the aftertaste

M: smoothish, frothy wash... phantom medium fullness... mellow, muffled, yet persistent phenolic warmth... dry as hell

O: suppose I'll have to try this again, poured more carefully... won't go out of my way though... it's ok, just artfully refined and somewhat boring, a vehicle for booze (1,093 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle marked 14HM 13:31 at 45 degrees into goblet and allowed to warm
Aroma of coriander, yeast, and alcohol
Head average (3.5 cm), off white, creamy, fairly rapidly diminishing to a 1 cm thick floating island
Lacing good, forming thick rings of mostly very small bubbles
Body medium orange – first pour clear. The second (final) pour stirred up very fine yeast sediment which made it cloudy.
Flavor begins with a pronounced alcohol hit that overpowers any subtle flavors. This subsides to an alcohol stomach burn which quickly fades. There is no aftertaste.
Palate is medium, oily, with lively carbonation.

A nice looking first pour and good lacing make this an attractive beer. It has good mouthfeel. The only detraction is the heavy appearance of alcohol in both the nose and taste. A shame; otherwise this beer would be excellent. (838 characters)

Piraat from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
90 out of 100 based on 996 ratings.