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Witches' Brew - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
Witches' BrewWitches' Brew

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

119 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 119
Hads: 226
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 15.54%
Wants: 13
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website

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 (92) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 119 | Hads: 226
Photo of cvstrickland
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The 750 ml cork-in-cage bottle opens with a healthy Pfft! and a whiff of fruity malt. Poured into a gold-rimmed goblet, the beer is sparkling-clear and pale golden with minimal internal carbonation bubbling underneath a finger-thick cap of soft white foam. The head recedes to a silk-screened sheet with a thin collar that deposits a few drippy, broken bands of lacing onto the glass.

The smell is malty sweet and fruity with an alcohol presence that masquerades as sweet fallen apples and bitter plum skin. A brown sugary note of pale malt laced with toffee adds rich, mellow sweetness.

The taste is crisp and fruity with a cocktail of tart, bitter plum skin, apple cider and juicy pears laden atop a solid sticky backing of semi-sweet toffee and carbonized burnt caramel. Dried apple peel, bitter lime zest oil and a mildly-flavored but powder-dry yeastiness knock down the considerable sweetness and bring balance to the drink. The finish is a touch fruity yet quite drying, and lingers as if awaiting another quenching sip.

The drink is crisp and refreshing and entirely too drinkable for the virtually-invisible-yet-totally-ferocious 9.3% ABV. On the light side of medium-bodied, Witches' Brew possesses zesty carbonation and superb drinkability for style.

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Photo of farrago
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very aggressive foaming in the glass upon the pour, could go head-to-head with Scrubbing Bubbles, light cream in color with micro bubbles and milder lacing. Very hazy golden color with orange streaks to darken it, bubble beads easily visible within. Banana, sour mandarin orange, green apple, pear, clove and violets produce a serene, balanced nose, that said, light enough that some alcoholic fumes rise up. Light-bodied, here the froth actually makes it feel lighter and more whipped up than broader. Sour edge to the mandarin orange, white grapefruit citrus, makes the apple, pineapple, pear fruit more tart as well. And lessens the banana aspect. The clove, coriander comes through well. Both the texture and flavors are grainy, slight roughness all about. The foam outlasts the flavor depth through the finish. Requires stronger focus.

 840 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - pours an orangey kind of gold. A fluffy white cap sits above, fed well by the voracious bead from below; it's holding steady. Plenty of ribboned lacing as the beer is consumed, like little echo waves...waves...waves... :-D

Aroma - grainy, almost corny nose, some light yeastiness/fruitiness, but not a whole lot. I can't tell if I'm being affected by some light congestion or if this nose is just very faint. With some warming, I get a better shot at it. Not sure what the smell is, but it reminds me of the Imperial Dortmunder.

Taste - starts off with dry, slightly bitter graininess. Again, the suggestion of corn has me thinking malt liquor, yikes. There is more complexity to this, though. The hops are hitting early but it's kind of a rye feel too. The hops swell on the swallow along with some abv warming in the throat. Not much development beyond that at the colder temps. The alcohol warmth lingers as does the bitterness. As the beer warms, some intersting clove notes come out that really inspire this thing above the realm of the 40's. Dang, wish I'd let thing warm up a little more, I'd have gotten to that sooner, which I rather enjoy. But such is the nature of the witches' brew. *Which* reminds me of a great golfing joke about a witch in the woods, but there is no witch-in-the-woods-golf-joke-advocate.com, so you'll have to beermail me if you want that. Huh, 9.3% eh? You'd have never guessed...

Mouthfeel - much carbonation, leading to the full crispness. Easy-going body isn't heavy at all, just very even.

Drinkability - I gotta say, I had flashbacks of malt liquors throughout the tasting. Technically, I guess this is a malt liquor of sorts, so the bad connotation isn't fair, as the OE800 crowd could get five or six of theirs for one of these. I'd prefer one of these myself but it wasn't anything beyond just a pleasure to drink.

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Photo of russpowell
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent golden/honey with 2 fingers of pearl white head. Average head retention & some lacing

S: Slight phenolic hints, band aids & pineapple & honey

T: Coriander, dryness & band aids, some pineapples. Grassy hops, more pineapple, green bananas, grapefruit & lemon, candi sugar as this warms. Finishes with a slight acidic twang, & more tropical fruit, plus green apple

MF: Sticky, with low carbonation, but a slightly acidic twang, that morphs into a more champagne type feel

Drinks alright, this is not really a tripel to get too excited about, let it warm waaay up

 585 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours hazy gold with a huge white head. Thick lacing. Apples, honey, musty yeast, bananas, and soap in the nose. Super-sweet to the point it became too much. Honey, saaz, grain, sugar, banana, fruit, and more sugary sweetness. Good in moderation. Find a couple people to drink the 750 ml bottle with.

 300 characters

Photo of BrewMonkey
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Skight cork pop. Pours clear straw color with a few fingers of tight white head.

Belgian esters in the aroma with a slight metallic/medicinal backdrop.

Sweet crystal malt flavor with a mild sourness in the background. Mild hop bitterness and very light herbal hop flavor. Slight carbonation bite on the toungue which was a bit of a suprise given the lackluster cork pop.

Finishes dry, but drinks a bit sweet. Otherwise, pretty good stuff.

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Photo of joemo
4.11/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle.

Served in a glass goblet on Halloween night, consumed whilst eating pizza and handing out candy to the little ghouls who came to the door.

The beer poured a beautiful golden color. Head was short-lived. Slight alcohol notes at first, but as the brew lost its refrigerator chill it opened up and smoothed out with a pleasing mouthfeel. By the end this proved to be a most tasty, drinkable quaff. Good with pizza, too.

I would buy this again.

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Photo of GClarkage
2.78/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

10/18/08- Purchased at the Garlic Shoppe in Gilroy, CA.

Presentation- 750ml bottle, both caged and corked. Did not look for freshness info. Poured into a champagne style glass.

Appearance- Oily looking golden pour. Champagne-looking bubbles, fairly effervescent. Smaller 1/4 inch head and watery light lace spotting.

Smell- Smells very grainy with alcohol, confectioniers sugar and a bit of corriander.

Taste- Is there a category for a Belgian style Malt Liquor? That's what this reminds me of. Very grainy and malty in flavor with a strong alcohol taste, not really strong in feeling, just flavor. A good amount of powdered sugar with not much in the spice area. Reminds me of Westmalle Tripel, but with a malt liquor kick.

Mouthfeel- Higher sharp carbonation level, alcohol aftertaste and fuller mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Did I get an off bottle? Seems everyone else likes this. I didn't care for it at all. I almost dumped it...but being on vacation, it was the only beer I had.

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Photo of Wildman
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear golden color and formed a foamy white head that coated the glass with lace as it slowly subsided. A heavy amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, clove and citrus with a hint of pepper. The flavor was of malt, flowers, pepper and citrus. The body is medium light and the finish is sprite and slightly peppery.

 346 characters

Photo of JBogan
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Since Halloween is right around the corner, why not try out some Witches' Brew?

This one pours a clear light golden hue with a small white head which leaves quickly and deposits a moderate amount of lacing.

Smells of apples and pear.

The tastebuds are greeted by a sweet fruit taste, mostly apples along with pears. Surprisingly not a sign of alcohol to be found.

Mouthfeel was quite thin, but with enough carbonation to make it lively. Still, just average in this department.

I'd say this was a drinkable brew, but nothing outstanding. Honestly I was hoping for a bit more, and for the price (about $12 for a 750) I'll most likely pass on this in the future for one of the more outstanding offerings that are out there.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Bottle Conditioned Blond Triple Living Ale"

750 ml caged & corked bottle into a Three Philosopher's chalice.

Pours an apple-juice color and clarity with lots of carbonation rising up to supply an off-white head. Foam builds to a quarter inch before quickly retreating to a patchy sheet and ring around the glass -- nice lacing spackles left behind. The label says "It will put a spell on you", and Witches' Brew does just that, as complex fruits leap out of the chalice. Lots of Granny Smith apples, pear, and white grape juice balanced by sugar-rich Belgian malts, soft breads, and floral hops.

Flavor profile starts off with peppery spices and a slight bitterness before quickly transitioning to fruity yeast esthers of pear and apple. However, the spiciness nearly overpowers the soft fruits, while the malts are completely overshadowed. Lemongrass and floral hops hit the back of the palate with a dry finish that hints at white grapes. A light kiss of white wine booziness lingers, as do notes of hops & bitter grasses. Body is medium-light with a lively carbonation level that draws out the yeast and spice notes. Overall, this was an impressive Belgian--was it worth the $8.99 asking price? Almost. Did I enjoy Witches' Brew? You bet.

 1,247 characters

Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.31/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL corked & caged bottle. ABV listed at 9.3%. I purchased this beer after it was strongly recommended at Ashe's.

Glowing orange-amber in color with a fluffy, pocked off-white head. It's not a stretch to say this is one of the most beautiful beers I've seen.

Aroma is inviting, with hops, apricot, green apple, coriander, and a touch of alcohol. The first sip is delectable -- nice and crisp up front, with fruity, slightly spiced sweetness to follow. This is very, very nice. I get why this was so highly recommended -- I'll have to have it again.

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Photo of brushtachio
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful golden color but the head flares up and dissapears almost instantly. Zero lacing. Smell is a bit tame. Hints of spice, cinnamon accompany the prevailing bready odor. Taste adds in a little green apple and a mild hop finish. Mouthfeel is nice with a very dry finish. Very drinkable for the style

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spicy notes of cider, ginger and pepper greet my nose as I pour this into my 25cl tulip glass. The beer pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, pale, off-white colored head; the head leaves lots of lacing on the sides of my glass as it very slowly subsides. The beer is a nice copper hue as it sits on my desk but shows a clear, bright gold color when held up to the light. Other aromas of melon, star-fruit, herbal grass, sweet clove, white pepper, something a bit like spicy oak and a flinty, almost metallic white grape skin note. This has a very complex nose to it, a bit warm, perhaps even hot from some higher alcohols, but still interesting enough that I can let it slide that this is not the most integrated of aromas.

Wow, this is very well carbonated; despite resting in my glass for the last 15 minutes, my first sip of this just seems to vaporize into a sea of foam. After a quick de-gassing the beer stills has an ample, peppery, fizzy carbonation that really helps to cut through the viscous body that this beer has. Sweet, though not overly so, with flavors of honey-like grain, some ripe melon notes and a touch of not-quite perfectly ripe pear. Quite spicy too, the ample carbonation certainly accentuates this, but there are also notes of clove, a ginger bite, some hot alcohol all of which contribute to a slight tongue numbing character. A base, toasty / cracker-like, malt character that I like to find in these types of beers is not much noticeable here. A touch of hop bitterness in the finish mixes with some of the spicy notes that are noticeable.

As the beer warms up I realize that much of the perceived sweetness is actually contributed by the fruity esters and the higher alcohols. This does actually achieve the lightness in body that I like to see in strong beers of this type. Warming up also softens the overall impact of this beer, taming the heat from the alcohols in the finish and allowing a creamy, smooth finish to become more noticeable. An interesting beer, this is actually pretty tasty & I find that I am enjoying this more than I expected.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of Onibubba
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden pour into a Duvel with ample and billowy white head. Head stays with the drink and leaves a good bit of lacing. Sweet triple aroma with no real surprises. Taste is on the sweet side, to be expected, but never cloying. Mouthfeel is the real strong point and it really ties everything together. High and nearly effervescent on the tongue. Alchohol makes its presence know but is nothing intruding or offensive, making this one dangerously drinkable triple. A very nice surprise. Glad I picked up a second bottle of this. Will purchase again.

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Photo of theopholis
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the brown 750ml.corked bottle, into a standard tulip.

Appearance- Stunningly clear, sparkling apple juice color that continually effervesces for quite a long time. The effervescence is very aggressive. Despite a fairly careful pour (so as to not disturb the yeast cake) the head is a huge, 3-finger, white, pillowy affair. Lots of staying power, and it leaves behind a very sticky lacing. Very inviting looking.

Smell- Very clean, sweet and fruity. Difficult to identify individual fruits. Maybe some nice, crisp apples, banana. Everything else is to subtle for me to identify. again....very inviting. Can't wait to taste it.

Taste- Starts off with a very pleasant malt sweetness, with a tartness lingering in the background. Hints of mild citrusy hops, hints of a spiciness that I often find overpowering in Beligian triples. This one is just right. Has a semi-dry champagne like finish.

Mouthfeel- Body is fairly light, with a lively carbonation that really causes it to dance over your tongue. Clings to the mouth very nicely to, giving you a warm, flavorful after-taste.

Drinkability- I'll get some for my friends.

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Photo of scottoale
4.53/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

"It will put a spell on you", or so the label says with a TM (trade mark). I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing?!

Anyhow, good things to say about this ale and nothing bad...and that's good...

Poured from the brown 750ml.cork finished bottle, into a standard Duvel tulip is a radiating apricot gold with a solid two-finger off-white head with stamina. The pillowy thick foam sticks like cotton candy to the inside of the glass...web like and intricate.

The smell is sweet and fruity...over-ripend mango, apricot, green grape, faint banana with a mildly citrus hop and light yeast spice. Lots of nice aroma with each sniff and more so as it warms, yet the alcohol is well masked for an ale of this strength.

And the taste...that's where this brew really shines. All the flavors from the fore mentioned with complexity increasing with each sip. A wonderful tasting ale from the pleasant sweet start that is perfectly balanced by the mild citrusy hops, then winding down to a dry champagne like finish. Very lively carbonation at the start that gives it the dry crispness and no sign of alcohol until the very end when the brew eventually flatens out and warms to near room temp.

A great brew with a solid body for a light Triple and a lot going on...need I say, never a dull moment and superb drinkability.

I must say, this is a skillfully brewed ale that deserves recognition...great stuff!

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Photo of clickpush
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: 750ml bottle to wide mouth glass. A cloudy orange body slips out of the bottle forming large bubble trails in the beer and a finger's width of white head. The head scatters quickly but leaves in its wake a nice cap of lacing and plenty of webbing along the glass.

Nose: At first blast the aroma is corky like musty Belgian yeast and dry like chalk powder. Are you sure this isn't a bottle of Champagne? Upon further exploration the malt aroma appears: apricot and vanilla and a touch of oily slickness. Everything is very subtle, though attractive and mouth watering.

Mouth: Flavors are just what the aromas would have you believe, sweetened with some unfermented sugars. Luckily none of the oil notes that I got from the nose (is diacetyl just an aroma thing?). Some soft-pitted fruit characters interlace with the dry, wild yeast thing that's going on. Finishes with a somewhat sweeter, long lingering dark fruit (cherry) and caramel flavor. The body is a bit over-carbonated, making it somewhat explosive in the mouth and when swallowing.

Overall, however, the flavors are great and aroma is great. Very nice beer.

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Photo of Beerbuddha
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- This beer poured a clear beautiful golden straw color with a 2 inch, fluffy off white head.

Smell- A nice hint of citrus with strong smell of alcohol.

Taste- A nice sweetness upfront followed by a decent hoppy bitterness. I could taste the alcohol but it wasn't overpowering.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- This was a very nice beer. The alcohol was a bit strong but it wasn't overpowering. It had a nice balance of sweetness and hoppyness.

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Witches' Brew from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 119 ratings.