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Witches' Brew - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Witches' BrewWitches' Brew

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

223 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 223
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 12
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Tripel |  9.30% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Beerbuddha on 10-17-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (87) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 223 | Reviews: 119
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Comes out of the bottle a beautiful clear golden amber with a fairly thick, palest amber head that leaves some generous lacing. Strong aroma is malty and fruity, the latter being equal parts pear and banana, with just a hint of butterscotch. Flavor has malty, sweet fruity - again, pear plus banana - yeasty and butterscotch notes, just a hint of hops and no bitterness. Smooth texture is a bit syrupy, fairly fizzy, leaving a nice fruity and yeasty finish. Put a spell on you indeed! Drat, I should have drunk this on Halloween.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a chalice

Appearance – The beer pours a light orange-tinted golden color with a one finger head of pure white billowy foam. The head has a great level of retention, with the big carbonation bubbles of the foam popping over time, leading to the head slowly fading to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is strong of a dry cracker smell mixed with a light fruity smell of grape, peach, and pear and a little bit of candied sugar as well as a hint of grass. Along with these smells comes some notes of a yeast along with a strong showing of coriander and clove, which with the cracker, really dominate the smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a drier cracker flavor along with a moderately strong showing of yeast and spice of clove and coriander, just as the nose would have suggested. As the taste advances to the middle, the spice and yeast grow even slightly stronger, but are nicely complimented by some sweeter flavors of candied sugar and fruit of a white grape, pear, and peach nature, with the cracker transitioning to a more bready like nature. While these sweeter flavors come, they later go, and end up bringing back the drier cracker taste. With some grassy flavors and a bit of a boozy alcohol coming to the tongue at the end, one is left with a drier and crisp triple like flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the thinner side with a carbonation level that is rather high. For the more dry nature of the brew, mixed with the light fruit and grassy flavors, the feel is quite fantastic as it mimics a more brut champagne like nature, with the flavors of the brew all matching these characteristics rather nicely.

Overall – This is a rather nice Belgian Strong ale that has the characteristics of a dry sparkling white wine, all while still having a nice cracker and yeast-spiced base to keep it of the Belgian beer style. A great one to try if you have the opportunity.

Photo of spinrsx
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $8

Appearance - Gold colour with a large size fizzy/frothy white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some good lacing. The head lasted for over 5 minutes.

Smell - Cloves, breads/grains, grapes, corn, a mustiness

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste breads/grains, cloves, and a musty grape flavour. There is also a corn flavour and a touch of vanilla.

Overall - Best before date is only a few months away, maybe the musty flavour isn't typical. Still a decent tripel just nothing mind blowing. It also has a touch of an adjunct type flavour to it. Not a repeat purchase for me.

Photo of Badger6
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a red wine glass (traveling...had to make do).

A: Hazy golden orange with huge fluffy head with decent retention. Lots of visible carbonation, and nice lacing.

S: It's Belgian! Yeasty, malty, and spicy aroma with hints of dark fruits, citrus, and candied sugar. But, the smell is not overpowering or overly bold.

T: Yeasty taste up front. Fruity esters layered within the malt and lot of spiciness- cinnamon and nutmeg especially. The fruits are complex- raisins, figs, grapes, pears, citrus. The malts are bready and sweet. A slight booziness at the finish. Not funky at all.

M: Body is substantial, but not heavy or thick. Lots of carbonation makes this prickly, in a good way. Some alcohol warming, and slightly astringent feel as it finishes.

O: A good example of a Belgian Tripel. The smell is nicely subdued, but offers a clear preview of the flavor. The flavor is bolder than the aroma, and while it is complex, and well ordered, the profile seems to follow a strange arc initially. Starts nicely goes to stratosphere in the middle, and then calms as it finishes....not a bad thing, but not expected. Overall, a good brew, and one worth sampling again.

Photo of a0lbudman
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Hazy gold color with an off white head
S-clove, spicy, some citrus in there also
T-Clove, spice, slight malt that leads to a spicy warming aftertaste, with some hop bitterness in that leads to a spice finish
M-high carbonation and creaminess with a medium body
O-was a great beer that I paid $4.99 for a 750ml bottle, and I knew I should have bought more

Photo of obywan59
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear and golden in color with a huge 4 finger billowy white head. Amazing carbonation, like an upside down snow globe in my over sized wine glass. Attractive lacing. Gorgeous!

Fruity with holiday spice. Bubblegum. Belgian yeast. Tart citrus and green apple.

Yeasty with Belgian spice, and sweet, (Belgian candi sugar?) Cloves predominate, but there is some tart citrus and some bitter grapefruit rind as well

Medium to medium full in body. It lays slightly thick on the tongue. A bit drying and astringent, with substantial heat in the throat.

Very well done! Maybe not the best in the style, but it's well balanced and flavorful. A nicely restrained Belgian. Only a hint of funk. Definitely worth a repeat.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a very hazy golden orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Huge four finger off white head with decent retention. Leaves a decent amount of bubbly lacing around the glass.

Smell: A very yeasty and spicy Belgian aroma with gig hints of fruits and sugar. Upfront Belgian yeast with some funk and a mix of spice esters including cloves, peppers, and slight cinnamon and nutmeg. Big mix of fruit esters with hints of green apple, pear, bananas, and white grapes. Citrus hop hints of orange, pineapple, and apricot. Dark fruit hints of fig and raisin. Big sweet hints of Belgian candied sugar. Pale malt with hints of grains, straw, caramel, and cracker. Some good hints of bubblegum as well. A very good Tripel aroma.

Taste: As spellbinding as the aroma, a yeasty and funky taste with lots of fruit and spice esters. Big upfront Belgian yeast presence with a good taste of funk and spice notes of cloves, peppers, cinnamon, and a little nutmeg. Sweet taste of Belgian candied sugar. Lots of fruit esters with notes of green apples, bananas, pear, and white grapes along with citrus hop esters of orange, pineapple, and apricot. Some dark fruit notes of raisin and fig come through. Bubblegum notes also. Bready pale malt with notes of straw, grains, caramel, and cracker. A little taste of booze is noticeable. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Body is on the higher end of medium. Carbonation is fairly high. Nicely, spicy, juicy, and prickly. Some alcohol heat is there but its still nicely smooth.

Overall: A very good Belgian Tripel. Good mix of spices, fruit esters, and funk. Nicely complex.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a hazy bright golden color ale with a super large foamy head with good retention and some great lacing. Aroma of fruity ester with peppery yeast and sweet Belgian style malt notes are quite nice. Taste is a mix between some fruity ester and peppery yeast with some rustic Belgian malt notes with light residual candi sugar notes. Body is fuller then average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed and enjoyable without re-writing the style.

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a clear golden colour, two thumbs of big bubbled head with solid retention and some chunky sporadic lacing.

S - Sweet cloves and yeast esthers, hints of mandarin amidst bready malt notes, and a touch of citrus hops on the finish.

T - Fruity cloves and sweet yeast notes dominate, some sour caramel and sourdough bread come through alongside a hint of ABV sweetness and a touch of citrus hop bitterness that lingers on the finish.

M - Lighter bodied ale that fills the mouth, goes down a tad prickly, but finishes nice and wet.

O - Insanely drinkable 9+% tripel that offers up a solid flavour profile and is a nicely balanced offering. I think I might grab myself a few extra bottles before they run out because I really enjoyed this one.

Photo of TerryW
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks great, after that it's rather run-of-the-mill.

Monster big fluffy head that lives forever. Big and chunky pretty much all the way down. Clear golden orange colour.

Nose is fairly sweet and fruity. Has a touch of the Belgian about it. Also sweet and malty to taste. Noticeable alcohol and yeast, a touch of spice.

Photo of liamt07
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the LCBO, 750ml into a tulip. Best before August 13/14.

Clear golden orange, gargantuan white head that sticks around for days. Obligatory lacing and chunks of retention. Nose has some light hopping, a hit her ak with some faint citrus. And a good bit of spice from the yeast. Taste has some hops upfront, moderately sweet malt and finishes with some light fleshed fruits and bitterness. Some sweet gum/chewy candy as well. Alcohol is moderate to minimal, medium full feel and despite the massive apparent carbonation is quite low on the palate. A nice Belgian pale/tripel.

Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Though I'd love nothing more than to make some kind of spooky reference, Witches Brew legitimately looks like it belongs around the neck of an Olympian. Polished and golden, the beer sports perfect clarity and athletic bubbles. Tripels characteristically look light compared to the huge strain put on them by a heavily weighted head, but this offering is modestly carbonated.

The aroma has the prescribed amounts of sweet cereal grain, fruity esters, and floral phenols, but while it meets quotas, it far from exceeds them. Tripels are notoriously perfumed, so while this has a relatively heightened level of aromatics, it's actually fairly underwhelming given the style. That said there is a faint note of vanilla cupcake that persuaded me to up the score.

The mouthfeel showcases a much more pronounced mineral presence than is typical for tripels (or Belgian ales on the whole for that matter). It's like calcium or magnesium or who knows what mineral gives an almost 'salty' and definitively chlorine-like tinge. It is awfully bare too and drinks with a coarse graininess and occasional hiccups of unchecked alcohol. Should be less 'raw' and offer more complexity.

Despite cereal notes of wheat and oat, the flavour procures a subtle banana cream-like taste and vague traces of vanilla. There is a slight grassiness and iron salts (or whatever mineral) that really impress on the palate as well. Also, an old book-like mustiness. This has nowhere near the ageworthy structure of the highest-rated brands nor does it pack the high-flying dynamics, but it's certainly very palatable.

Brouwerij Van Steenberge has a long history of underwhelming me and, indeed, Witches Brew is far from bewitching (sorry, I couldn't resist the pun). While it makes a perfectly serviceable strong golden ale, it doesn't touch Belgium's best tripels. The fact that similar, better beers can be more easily found at similar price points makes this hard to recommend, though fans of the style should be able to justify the pickup.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(4.0) A: Hazy golden colour with a tall and large-bubbled foam head. Very good retention and outstanding lacing down the glass as this one really clings.

(4.0) S: Wheat grass, banana, apricot, pineapple, cloves, bubblegum, and cotton candy. Solid mix of aromas with a noticeable sugary candy aroma that is pleasing to the nose. Have to dig a little bit to find some of the aromas but they are inviting when found.

(3.5) T: Similar to aroma with quite a dominant sweet taste and less of a focus on the bitter and dry qualities. Very ripe banana and sugary bubblegum are examples of the sweet with the grasses presenting some contrasting bittering qualities. Perhaps a little too focused and not all that dynamic in the taste profile, nonetheless still very tasty.

(4.0) M: Medium bodied with a moderate-high carbonation. Solid oily texture with a bit of grainy chewiness.

(3.5) D: Glad I had an opportunity to try this. Not as varied in the taste profile as I would prefer but still a solid Tripel and one that I would recommend trying.

Photo of peensteen
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden honey colour, 3 fingers worth of big fluffy white head, nice lace all the way down. Smell is fairly fruity, spicy belgian yeast, grassy hops, green apple and some bubble gum with a faint bit of alcohol. Taste is of green apple, fruity and a bit of spice as well, a little bit of spice, lightly sweet, medium hop bitterness, drying in the finish. Fairly high dry carbonation, medium body, good feel. Quite the nice Tripel, not terribly complex but still rather enjoyable.

Photo of jrenihan
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB August 13, 2014.

Beer is golden coloured with a very large white head. Very good retention, head stays forever. Lots of lace.

Smell is a bit faint. Belgian yeast, a bit of spice. Some dry fruit scents, apple and pear.

Taste contains Belgian yeast, white pepper, banana, bready malt and peach. Moderately sweet, with alcohol noticeable but not overly so. A bit creamy, with a honey flavour. Good, but nothing exciting or particularly noteworthy.

Full bodied, highly carbonated, very active in the mouth.

Overall, a very solid tripel. Nice beer, but certainly not one of the greats.

Photo of JayQue
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty good Tripel. Served in a Chimay goblet from a corked and caged bottle. Pours a hazy apricot color with a medium size delicately bubbly white head. Head retention is pretty good for this style.

Smell is fairly mild until the beer warms. Since I split the bottle, and it was good, I drank most of it before it warmed up. Cold...a little light fruit (especially pears) and some alcohol. As it warmed there was a yeast aroma as well.

Taste is good warm or cold. Mostly light fruit...some alcohol and a good yeast presence as it warms. Not a great Tripel but a pretty good.

Mouthfeel is rich and the alcohol presence is not overwhelming.

In all...a solid (but not great) Tripel.

Photo of Murrhey
3.33/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a large 750ml bottle into a wine glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Two finger cloudy white head that recedes rather quickly to a 1.5 inch head with peaks and nice lacing. Relatively large bubbles, and torrents of carbonation. Cloudy straw color with nice density. Appealing.

S- Bubblegum and banana, cream, yeast and light fruits. Alcohol is present on the very edge of the aroma but is not heavy.

T- The alcohol comes into much heavier play here. The light fruits and bitter backbone of yeast are here in full force as well. Pineapple? Sweet but finishes bitter.

M- Medium viscosity, wet and full at first, dry finish. Semi-vinous feel.

O- I had higher hopes, although admittedly I am not a huge fan of Tripels.

Photo of smakawhat
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass.

A real nice peach orange color, cloudy a bit with a real nice off white banana like yellow colored head. Makes a nice somewhat creamy/soapy presentation, but also gives real nice carbonation rising too.

Wonderful nose on this tripel. Clove spice and sweet nutmeg, light taffy sugars, a real nice brown toasty dry spice and sweetness. Just classic tripel smelling really digging this.

Taste has a real great feel first and foremost. Creamy and just a hint of wet but gives big depth to the palate. Rich malt and slight booze, but a real mix of clove and hop bitter. Big warming in the pit of the stomach finish with no burn. Mild sugar sticky sweetness combining with a creamy milk also. Crisply carbonated just a hair to make it playful, with honey coating lips on each sip.

A delicious tripel, going to be buying more of this in the future for sure.

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into chalice, 26HH bottle code(?). Pours lightly hazy golden orange color with a good 2 finger foamy white head with great retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings to the glass, with a small amount of carbonation streaming up. Aromas of apple, pear, apple skin, caramel, grape, candi sugar, raisin, clove, herbal, earth, and yeast spiciness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity. Taste of apple, pear, raisin, grape, clove, candi sugar, caramel, herbal, earth, and yeast spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, caramel, candi sugar, clove, earth, and yeast spices on the finish for a bit. Awesome balance of malty flavors with great complexity; no cloying sweetness at all. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Very smooth to sip on. Overall this is a highly excellent tripel! Great flavor balance and complexity; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one.

Photo of rapidsequence
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. I think Erin bought it at World Market- somewhere. No date.

Appearance: Its a quite lovely, perfectly clear golden color with a big, fluffy white head. Excellent hea retention and lots of sticky lacing.

Smell: Candy sweet with pear, apple, and peach notes. Spicy yeast-- clove and white pepper dominate. A little doughy. Some herbal, grassy hops too.

Taste: As the smell advertised, very yeasty, spicy and sweet/fruity. The prominent sweetness has some balance thanks to a bit of hot/bitter alcohol and a nice herbal/bitter hoppiness that was a little unexpected.

Mouthfeel: Soft and creamy, with a stickiness through the middle. It doesn't dry out quite enough, but thats minor.

Overall: A pretty solid tripel. There are better ones for the price, but this is worth drinking.

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Eric for gifting me with a bottle of this quite some time ago. 750 corked and caged bottle poured into a couple of tulips. The brew appears a clear copper with 3 fingers of yellowish head. The composition is big and flufy with a constant stream of supporting bubbles. A wall of lace coats the glassware.

The smell is lightly earthy but with a suppoerting candy sweetness instead of malt. A solid spicy yeast inclusion brings out a scent of clove, coriander and it is mildly vinous with a hint of cork/old musty wood.

The taste is sweet like candy sugar just like the aroma indicates. However, the flavor blends from candy sweetness into a caramel/toasty maltiness as well. Spices from the yeast keep things lively in the mouth with hints of clove, earth qualities and pear skins.

This is a medium bodied brew that is big and bubbly with the carbonation but fitting for the styke. It is quite a warming brew that hides the alcohol well initially bu really gets warming through the experience. All around a solid brew that I enjoyed with some unique character.

Photo of BellsFan
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured it from a 750 mL wine bottle into a Samuel Adams pint glass. EXTREME HEAD! It took a few pours to top up the glass. You know the drill: pour, foam, wait, repeat. But the wait was worth it!

A: nearly off white leaning to all white head, with a ton of foam
S: Smelled of sweet-bread with honey
T: reminds me of mead but better; its sweet with an alcohol finish
M: thin and crisp
O: I'd buy it again

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 3/2011 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a murky medium orange amber with a huge white head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet malt and light fruit, with Belgian spicing. Sweet fruit and light malt start, with an almost metallic spicing. Finishes sweet with hints of fruit, caramel and honey. The somewhat astringent middle does not meld well with the other flavors. A well made ale with some nice flavor, but marred by the spicing.

Photo of ryanonline
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours very clear, bright, orangey, yellow with a lot of foamy head and some serious lacing.

Smells super sweet and a wee bit spicy. A touch of cinnamon and clove offset a slight hippy bitterness.

Taste is very similar but the sweetness is much more dominant.

Mouthfeel is clean and slightly prickly while very creamy and medium bodied.

Super drinkable. Almost dangerously so.

Overall a wonderful beer that goes down smooth and gives ya quite a kick.

Photo of RTJakarta
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours into a snifter.

A: Pours a very beautiful orange-y gold, with a nice fluffy head that fades away pretty quickly. Leaves behind some decent lacing as your drink. Very nice.

S: Not what I expected at all. To me, smells like green apple, coriander, other spices. Good yeast aroma. Very sweet.

T: Much like the aroma. Fruity, citrusy, and spicy. Definitely a good deal of what tastes like Belgian candi sugar. Overall, very bold spiciness, but smooth citrus notes as well. Tasty tasty tasty.

M: Pretty full body, good carbonation. Feels as big as this beer is.

O: Overall, pretty good. The beer kinda heats up the more you drink it, but the flavor is still very nice. Considering I got a bomber for $6.99, I am very satisfied. Worth checking out if you can and you like the style.

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Witches' Brew from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 223 ratings.