St. Stefanus - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Not Rated.
St. StefanusSt. Stefanus

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BA SCORE
87
very good

70 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 70
Hads: 256
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 14
Gots: 43 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. visit their website
Belgium

Style | ABV
Belgian Strong Pale Ale |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Fux on 03-08-2012

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 70 | Hads: 256
Photo of pleasewearpants
2.58/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ahh St. Stefanus. The patron saint of graphic design right? Aroma is green apple, vegetal, cooked corn. Mild notes of yeast and bread. Flavor is typical. Bit of sweetness followed by an unpleasant bitter finish. Cant help but think this is a purely boardroom driven beer. Nice labels bad beer. (293 characters)

Photo of chris826
3/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jan 2 2015. 2012 celler release date. Murky opaque brownish orange color. Half finger head and thin mouthfeel. Can't detect any certain flavor but average beer. (160 characters)

Photo of pixieskid
3.19/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into the matching goblet; standard orange hue with a 1 finger white head...excellent retention, lasting forever really with nice lacing.

Nose; pretty muted but notes honey, grains, and a touch of floral hops come through.

Taste; soft sweetness upfront (caramel and honey), some corriander, and mild floral/citrus hop presence in the finish. Honestly, that's about it for the taste. Pretty one dimensional, yet it is well balanced and quite drinkable.

Mouthfeel; soft and delicate with a mild carbonation.

Overall; well balanced and tasty but lacking real character separating from the rest in the style... (616 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.21/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled 8/2012. Opened 8/2013
Poured a finger of foamy head on a almost clear, medium straw colored body. Looks great.
The aroma is mild overall. Slight dry grain and fruit smell.
The taste has a mild bitterness and a touch of apple with some fizzy texture. No real depth.
The carbonation is moderate with a crisp body.
A bit of a disappointment. A nice fizzy drink but no real flavor to aroma. (395 characters)

Photo of davey101
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cellar release 4-2012. Stubby 11.2 oz bottle into a goblet. Interesting "Ed Hardy" styled bottle cap.

A - Golden amber body. Fluffy one finger off white head. Great lacing.

S - Spicy Belgian yeast, banana, lemons, grass and hay, a touch of alcohol.

T - Not very BSPA like actually. I'm getting a lot of bready malts with just a touch of spicy yeast, lemons, and skunkiness. Finishes dry with a lingering hop presence and sweetness. Mouth feel is medium bodied with some lively carbonation.

O - Below average BSPA. The taste is somewhat skunky and hoppy and lacking that great Belgian spice and ester magic that makes up a great BSPA. Worth a try but not worth a revisit. (674 characters)

Photo of msquared36
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Golden color with champaign like carbonation - tiny bubbles floating to the top. Nearly solid lacing down the glass.

Strong banana bread aroma from the pour.

Banana and clove present in the taste, along with a sweet malt backbone. Slightly tart aftertaste.

All those tiny bubbles are noticeable, but it's not overly tingly. Light feel without being watery.

The bottling date is 9-12 and the label highlights the change in flavor as it ages. I tried a bottle (with a 9-12 date) about a year ago and recall being more impressed than I am today. I've seen the same untouched stack of four packs at a local market for months and finally decided to try it again. At $15.95 per four pack, I think I'll let that stack stay untouched a while longer. Not bad but not good enough at that price. (790 characters)

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

A - pours a slightly hazy marigold. Two fingers of tightly packed white foam with great retention. Settles at under a fingers worth. Leaves chunks of thick lacing on the glass.

S - classic belgian golden ale aroma. The yeast character is highly intense. Bubblegum and granulated sugar are abundant while notes of apples, pears and white grapes fight for attention. Notes of white pepper in the backround.

T - flavors are bit muted up front. Some slight bready notes not much else. Fruity and peppery notes enter mid palate. Mostly white grapes and apples. Finish is soft yet peppery.

M - medium bodied. Texture is slightly watery. High carbonation.

O - great look and nose but this ale comes up short in taste. Despite having the classic belgian pale ale aroma, the flavors just aren't there. (796 characters)

Photo of warrenout330
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml pour, swirled in bottle to break up yeast

A- pours a hazy golden amber color... decent sized head.... turns to a thick ring around the beer.... light streaks of lace

S- whiffs of sour apple's, light earthyness, slight grass ... litter bit of pear

T- faint sour apple... light grain and yeasty. A tad tartness in the finish

M- medium bodied, above average carbonation makes it almost buttery. Lingering dryness for a clean up

O- I don't know? I wanna like it, but it lacks complexity. I know who imports this and the idea behind this beer from these "macro" giants.... but I'm just not buying it.... don't be fooled, because that's what they're exactly trying to do... (678 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Rob for sharing this bottle.

Poured with two fingers of fluffy head. Nose is very mild, some crackers perhaps. Not much there. Taste is zippy with big carbonation, when this yields, then some underlying cloves and bananas, sweet fruit esters. Not too bad, but not a great deal of flavor. Too light on the flavor and nose. (333 characters)

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

33cl Bottle: best before 21 Feb 2014, poured into the correct glass (a goblet/chalice) at ‘The Last Drop Inn’, Bolton on 8 Sep 2012 by myself: I didn’t trust the staff!

This was on the bars ‘Boutique Beer List’ and although a bit expensive, it caught my eye. The posh bottle even had a cellar date (5/12) on it, so this was young when I got it.

Deep golden to light amber body, sediment remained in the bottle, nice head even with the steady pour I gave it.

Malts, yeast and mixed fruit in the nose: this carried on into the taste, semi-sweet malty molasses being the prominent flavour. As the beer warmed a little it became a bit metallic in its mouth feel and although I enjoyed the first three quarters of the beer I struggled with the last few sips. (766 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle around $10 and bottled April 2012.

A- a good pop when I removed the cork, it pours a clear 24k gold, has a 2 finger head of foam, leaves some good lacing in the glass.

S- smells yeasty, somewhat spicy with some notes of pepper, light clove, more wheaty than anything.

T- lots of wheat and yeast up front, some pepper and again, light note of clove. Earthy malt overall and no real bitterness that I can taste.

M- medium bodied with lots of carbonation. Too much carbonation in my book for the style.

O- a decent brew, no more, no less. I'm not sure if it is worth the bucks. (593 characters)

Photo of chogm54
3.54/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottled Nov 2013, I have cellared this for a year in an average 10 degrees C. Xmas eve 2014 - time to enjoy! There is a BB date of May 2015 on the bottle.

750bottle poured into a sherry glass.

L - burnt orange, clear, pours a 1cm thick creamy slightly lumpy head. Moderate head retention

S - bread malts and orange, all wrapped up in husky, earthy yeast odour, and spicy esters

T -- toffee malt tastes upfront, medium sweetness for style with some pepper and vanilla notes half way through. The end tapers off with increased acidity and sweetness wrapped up in apple and butterscotch.

F - feels a lot more watery than I expected, with a light body for style. Alcohol is more than the 7% suggests (maybe due to the cellaring).

O -Nice beer would a try - interesting flavours. But the watery texture is not well received. (835 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Color is an attractive light amber with a sturdy foam. This one pours in a well-behaved manner and forms a tapestry of lacing in the deep-dish Orval chalice. Very prickly and frothy in the mouth.

This is so remarkably dry, it seems to be a showcase for Belgian yeast as it swims upstream to spawn. The fruit that must have been here two years ago has left hardly a trace. The grainy straw is the main flavor, with the bitterish almost perfumey yeast taking over. Hints of oregano. Nothing like alcohol taste.

Now I'm curious to try a fresh bottle. I don't think this argues so well for aging. From the 750 ml corked, caged bottle dated 7-2012 and purchased at Grapevine Liquor in Denver. (690 characters)

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.59/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Cellar Release" 750ml bottle dated April 2012. I'm operating under the assumption that this is a bottling date and not a BB date.

Pours out a very transparent golden straw color with a flash head and only minimal lacing. It could have used a lot more retention time to stack up to the other greats already on the market, to be honest. Lighter side of medium body and carbonation levels.

Smells of cereal grains and a grand medley of stone fruit esters (plums, pears, some light cherries, etc.) blended with a medium strength white grape juice and belgian bubblegum yeast character, with a tinge of alcohol heat and candi sugar in the background. The flavor follows suit but with less complexity to the spectrum of fruity esters on the tongue than in the nose. It also gains a touch of honeyed breadiness in the midsip as the glass warms up, and doesn't quite get as dry as I normally prefer my BSPAs. It's not big enough an issue to call a flaw, it's more like a higher-than-typical sweetness variation. I'd recommend trying this one if you prefer sweeter-balanced BSPAS with boldly fruity noses. (1,099 characters)

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.
7% ABV, Cellar Release: 1-2012, 8°C, "maturation calendar" on side, Best Before: 03/11/13 on back label.

A - A steady stream of strong carbonation billows from the glass' etching, through the vibrantly clear golden yellow beer, to the effervescent and pillowy egg shell-colored head. Gobs of lace decorate the glass in a whole-y Swiss cheese pattern.

S - Giant fruit esters erupt from this fresh Belgian yeast-laden beer! Sweet orange peel citrus masks, ever-so-slightly, a dribble of white grape juice while earthy clay and white pepper spice follow through. Pilsner malt adds plenty of sweetness to the aroma as alcohol finishes out gently. Abounding aromatics make this one hell of a great smelling beer!

T - Sweet pilsner malt is traded for an unpleasant grainy pale malt as the explosive yeast esters fade to the background. Apricot hints come out and white pepper is still pretty strong, but the finish is very dry and almost metallic tasting.

M - Strong carbonation should come as no surprise, making this a perfect beer to pair with some cheese as it'll scrub your tongue nicely. Medium-bodied and leaning towards the sweet size, hops never enter the picture; instead, the beer is balanced by an overwhelming dryness along the finish that lingers for quite a bit.

O - This beer loses track somewhere between the aroma and flavor, changing drastically. The first sip was quite distasteful as it finished out with a metallic-like dryness, but after a few further sips, it became more drinkable. It's aggressive and inviting aroma is near perfection, it's just the flavor that doesn't quite follow in the footsteps. I'd imagine that this beer with it's fruity, earthy, and spice characteristics would be a good beer to pair with a handful of different cheeses and explore their interactions. (1,844 characters)

Photo of Uniobrew31
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

3 of the 8 bottles I bought exploded as soon as I opened them, cold. The others were so over carbonated that they needed to be set aside for 15 minutes before I could drink them. Once it was at a drinkable level though they were good. (236 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750 ml caged and corked bottle of this "blonde ale" served in a Porter Bar goblet. Bottling date of 7-2012.

Clear copper-amber body with a fizzy head that has limited retention and leaves very little lacing.

The aroma (approaches 4) is notably malt dominant for style, but with fruit and spice notes.

The flavor is yeasty and fruity, like most blondes, and seems to be just marginally more malty/bready than average. It is also a bit less spicy than the average blonde.

Lively carbonation in a near medium body. (523 characters)

Photo of impending
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

B

750ml into a tulip. Pours a slightly hazed mid toned golden orange, dense cream colored head retains fed by exuberant carbonation, nice lacing.

Aroma is spices and clean fruits, no low notes. Yeasty. Unripened apricots, dry sweet grass, orange rind and a dab of camphor.

Fairly sweet, particularly in the finish when it sits besides a tiny bitter. Again some apricot but now with a touch of mango. The phenolic taste echo lingers subtly for a while. Doesn't have the complexity of the scent. Grainy medium to full bodied lively mouthfeel.
cheers
jd (553 characters)

Photo of hreb
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750mL cork-topped bottle of St. Stefanus Blonde, cellar release 8-2012. served in Chimay chalice glass. beer pours golden yellow with a medium white head, just shy of crystal clear, and big bubbles rising towards the surface. Aroma is bright and sweet, and very much like cider. Taste is mild and brings traditional Beligan Blonde flavors, but doesn't wow me. Hoppy bitterness complements yeasty earthiness. Pretty dry though, I don't get caramel flavors as much of a highly attenuated / low final gravity ale. In the back there are subtler flavors of clove and grass.

overall: Enjoyable, but there is nothing to keep me coming back to this particular BPA. (657 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clear golden colour with a small fluffy white head. Good head retention.

Slightly aromatic. Clove and touches of coriander. Mild citrus and banana. Malt is evident but not overpowering.

Interesting balance of yeast character and bitterness. Good banana and clove notes. Coriander. The bitterness finishes well.

Medium body with moderately-high carbonation. Okay.

A solid beer but it does not live up to my expectations. Good flavour but it doesn't shine in any particular way. (480 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

St. Stefanus Blonde, from the same brewery (Brouwerij Van Steenberge) that brought us the mighty Gulden Draak and Piraat, this is going to be a good drop have no doubt. Also a steal from DM’s at $50 for 6 x 750ml corked’n caged bottles, which works out to be 8.3333333333... (ad infinitum) dollars. When you’re getting a $12 750ml bottle of 3 Monts and thinking that is cheap $8.33 is a real find, besides I do love a Belgian Strong Pale Ale (just look at my Beeradvocate.com top 10) so I was eager to wrap my gob around this one.

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Cloudy amber body with a billowy 3 cm off-white head that soon disintegrates leaving a thin lace covering. I have a bias towards cloudy beers which plays somewhat into my score, take a couple points off if you like a clear beer. 8/10.

S: Pear and apple esters upfront and all over your face, bam! Bready overtones balance this out with hints of cracked pepper and clove adding a touch of spice as well. Overall St. Stefanus has a pleasant aroma leaning more towards sweeter characters, looking forward to the next category. 8/10.

T: Fruity with pear and scrumpy red apple cider notes which lead into the aforementioned bread yeast and a cracked pepper/clove flourish towards the end, which is an even crisp and dry, almost vinous (white wine) tannin-like finish. As it warms some metallic notes become ever-present and distract a little from this delightful brew, too bad St. Stefanus. 7/10.

M: Mid to light, could benefit from more heft, with a tack sharp carbonation. 6/10.

D: If you’re going to compare this to the awe-inspiring Duvel or La Chouffe it will (of course) fall short of greatness. Nonetheless this is a great buy at the price, I would easily spend $10 a 750ml bottle on a brew of this calibre, so don’t mistake St. Stefanus for an average Belgian Strong Pale Ale because it is a decent brew, unfortunately it resides in the style pantheon of the greatest brews. Interestingly I noticed “rice” listed as an ingredient in this beer, anno 1295, European brew? Something is amiss here - I don’t recall hearing about European beers having rice in them back in 1295... or hops even... or anything other than Gruit* in those days. 8/10.

Food match: Cheese platter, obviously, and that old catch-all: Brasserie food.

*Google is your friend. (2,353 characters)

Photo of Fux
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear golden color with a 2 fingers fizzy head that turns quickly into a thin film

S: Smell is fruity esters, yellow fruits (peach, banana), citruses, yeasts.

T: Sweet caramel malts make a good balance to the hoppy character of this beer. Quite big alcohol presence and lots of residual sugar. Dry aftertaste.

M: Light bodied with a huge carbonation. Easy to drink despite the alcohol presence.

O: The brewer advises to compare the evolutions of this beer from 3 to 18 months of maturation. This one has been drunk young (3 months) and is pleasantly hoppy and fruity. Should age well given the sweetness and yeastiness. (634 characters)

Photo of katan
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a dark golden color. Fairly opaque, thick looking. Strong pearly white head but it is breaking down quickly.

S - A mostly yeasty nose, lots of esters and a bit of white pepper background. Pulls the Belgian card, no doubt.

T - Starts off smooth and sweet, just a little pilsner sweetness. Turns to esters quickly, breaking in with frutiness. Finishes clean and smooth with just a little of the citrus flavors hanging on. Turns very dry in the finish.

M - Moderate body and a strong carbonation. Very champaign like. A little sweetness, but not much alcohol warmth.

O/D - A nice nd easy drinking belgian.. Alcohol is up there but managable. Heavy from all the carbonation. Fits the summer beer to a tee. (717 characters)

Photo of dooger
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great feel, nice taste. Good drink. The aroma does not do the taste justice. Good deep flavor but not overwhelming. Very good looking blonde beer, keeps head, and does not flat when sitting. Cant beat the lasting taste. Drink it cold. Better bite up front, then smooth at the end. (280 characters)

Photo of Strix
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark-yellow with lots of tiny bubbles, huge lingering head.

Aroma of light fruit, mild bready yeast

Sweet grains punctuated by green apple, coriander, black pepper. Crisp, but not flavorful.

Delightful bubbly mouthfeel.

Certainly pleasant, but seemed to lose flavor the longer it sat. Didn't quite live up to my expectations. (335 characters)

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St. Stefanus from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.