St. Stefanus - Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

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St. StefanusSt. Stefanus

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BA SCORE
87
very good

71 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 71
Hads: 257
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 10.31%
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: 71 | Hads: 257
Photo of matjack85
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I tried this beer at the Shiroz On The Lake Restaurant in Bloomingdale, IL. It is part of the Hilton's Indian Lakes Resort complex. It was the only beer on their unimpressive beer list that I hadn't had before so I decided to try it. A bit pricey at $8.50 for a 12oz squatty brown bottle, but this is after all, a Hilton. I was impressed with the hand written bottled on date and signature on the front label, but the bottled on date concerned me a bit. It said the beer was released in April of 2012 and it is now August of 2015, so I hope this is one of those beers that gets better with age and not one that's been sitting in their cellar because they don't sell that many.

The beer poured a hazy gold color with a 1-finger white head. The head dissipated in about 45 seconds but it did leave some decent lacing.

The beer had a strong Belgian yeast smell to it followed by some sweet malts and tropical fruit.

The flavor starts out with some sweet malt followed by a variety of fruits - banana, orange, tangerine, pear, and apple. The next layer has Belgian yeast in it along with some spices. My best guess is clove and coriander. The alcohol is also well hidden for a 7.0% abv beer.

Medium bodied with high carbonation, which makes it crisp and refreshing.

This is a well made Belgian ale. My only question is why does it say BLONDE on the label? This isn't a blonde ale at all. (1,401 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
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 chinchill
3.61/5  rDev -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 sporklift87
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle dated 9-2012. Extremely heady pour, off white and frothy with retention that almost tries my patience. Cloudy and vibrant orange in color. Rather strong aroma, Belgian yeast, spices, light banana notes. Hint of nutmeg. Tastes like aroma. Less heat than aroma suggests. Very clean finish with lingering spice. Feels lower in carbonation and nearly watery in texture. Mild sickness. Very delicious and will be looking for another to cellar. (452 characters)

Photo of Uniobrew31
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
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 BeerMeColorado
4.49/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 8-2012 Can't read the brewmaster signature to well...Versele?

Poured a classic Belgian rocky pillowy head with massive carbonation.

Nose of tree fruit and bready yeast. Quite nice.

Taste was great...crisp and clean with similar notes from the aroma. Very enjoyable. Not as boozy as others which was nice. (316 characters)

Photo of pat61
4.44/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bread, fruit, biscuit on the nose. It pours brilliant gold with a slight copper tint under a lacy, 2” pillowy head. The initial palate offers an array of fruit – peach and tropical light fruits with some over ripeness. A light sweetness form the malt hinting at bubble gum balances an earthy hop bitterness on the finish. Mdeium full body ahnd medium carbonation. (367 characters)

Photo of FriarMickOnThePlateau
4.11/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellar release Oct 2012, consumed March 2015. The taste was perfect once the giganto head subsided. The head lasted as long as the beer. Great lacing... however a bit over done. Really the only thing I can fault it for along with the haze, blonds should be clearer. Overall, this is a very clean and creamy blond and well worth the wait. (342 characters)

Photo of chris826
3/5  rDev -22.7%
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 chogm54
3.54/5  rDev -8.8%
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 LiquidAmber
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium burnished golden amber with a one finger white head with great retention and lots of lacing. Nice aroma of light stone fruit, Belgian yeast, caramel malt, clove. Flavor follows, with caramel malt, stone fruit and light citrus, clove, hints of banana, starts semi-sweet, but finishes dry with a bit of astringency from the clove. Medium bodied with active carbonation. A nicely made Belgian pale ale with good fruit and light malt flavors, good transition to the dry finish, perhaps a bit astringent in the finish. A crisp, tasty Belgian froma brewery that makes some of my favorite ales (Piraat and Gulden Draak). Always a pleasure. (681 characters)

Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

St stefanus

St Stefanus has a nice cloudy amber appearance with a healthy , vigorous stream of carbonation rushing up the centre of my Duvel tulip glass. The head starts off big but recedes gradually. Excellent lacing.

The aroma is dominated by slightly funky Belgian yeast. Caramel, banana and white grapes are all suggested. Every time you go for a sip you breathe in that inviting aroma beforehand and detect something slightly different from the last time.

The taste is of yeasty goodness. Slight suggestion of marmalade. A rich, spicy, sweet, complex taste with a bit of bitterness making it very well balanced dry finish. Excellent tasting beer!

Overall, a really enjoyable spicy, yeasty dry Belgian beer. Amazing to me that it's only 7% as it tastes more like an 8% or above Belgian Strong Pale Ale.

My level of enjoyment of this beer was right up there with a Duvel, Delirium Tremens or Brigand.

My percentage rating would be 94/100. (948 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
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 puboflyons
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

From the corked, caged bottle hand dated 7-2012. Sampled on June 19, 2014.

Cloudy copper-amber brown pour leading up a full cream colored head that sits delicately on top.

Lovely Belgian aromas of toasted biscuits, toasted malts, yeast, spice, pepper, but basically no outward hop sensation. Just enticing.

The body is full.

A bit more spicy pepper characteristics playing off the malts and yeast in the flavor. Pleasant sipping beer. (438 characters)

Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- deep honey. Full head.

Aroma- spice, hint of apricot, and honey.

Taste- Starts floral with mild wheatiness in mid-body then finishing with a mildly hoppy crispness. Release 7-2012.

Poured from a corked 750 ml bottle into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted Jan. 2013. (326 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear dark yellow in color and has a light to moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high off white head that died down, leaving a pillow of bubbles in the center of the glass, a thick collar around the edge, and a thin head in between.
S: Moderate aromas of candi sugars are present in the nose along with notes of pale malts and hints of fruity yeast.
T: While the taste has sweet flavors of candi sugars, there are a lot more fruity flavors
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer seemed a lot sweeter compared to most of the other beers I've had in the style and didn't have any spicy flavors. It was also rather drinkable because it managed to mask any traces of alcohol from the taste. (791 characters)

Photo of thierrynantes
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Beer bottle (33 cl.) purchased from Bières d'Ailleurs, and tasted in 2014.

Appearance : golden color, with white foam head.
Smell : fruity and malty aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : fruity and spicy flavors, moderate bitter finish.
Overall : a good beer in the style Belgian Ale. (276 characters)

Photo of Richardp
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

330cl bottle, cellar release date 5-2013

Poured slowly into Belgian beer bowl glass, slightly cloudy with a very strong head. Highly carbonated, with many small bubbles. Served slightly warmer than suggested 8c (personal preference).

Complex aroma, with honey banana, and slightly sourdough bread hints.

Complex somewhat crisp, and fruity taste, malt and caramel undertones, with a lasting dry yeast finish. Hints of spice, though very background.

Lively mouthfeel, due to carbonation, with a hint of alcohol, and sparkle on the toungue. Lasting coating of sweetness in the mouth augments the aroma.

Overall a complex, light, fruity, beer, with hints of further complexity.

I have another bottle, that is slightly older, and intend to keep it a further 3-4 months, in the hope the spice character develops. (818 characters)

Photo of msquared36
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
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 irishpaulie
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 33cl bottle into a German Pokal beer glass

Appearance - Medium golden and cloudy. Strong lacy 1cm head.

Nose - Clean. Medium intensity yeast, apples, bruised or stewed apples, cider apples, some tropical fruit, pinapple, mango. Brioche bread

Palate - Strong carbonation, malt, yeast, almonds, banana, mango. All in all not very intense.

Finish - A little bit too much carbonation, intensity is light but it makes for a refreshing blond beer. Good (465 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a large fading head.
Nose shows doughy Belgian yeast, soft spicy phenols, caramel and candi notes.
More doughy notes as flavours along with caramel and more candi sugar characters. A little cloying.
Carbonation seems a tad excessive. (250 characters)

Photo of PolarBear3
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Chimay Chalice

A - Pours a slightly cloudy and pale yellow colour with a terrific two fingered white head

S - Get yeasty, tropical notes, hint of banana and clove

T - Similiar to the nose yeasty, some tropical fruit, banana although a little more tangy, fairly sweet ,pepper and spice on the finish

M - Medium to fairly high carbonation and light to medium bodied

O - A nice refreshing Belgium ale that is enjoyable to drink. A little over carbonated but recommend you give it a try. (503 characters)

Photo of admiral
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

really enjoyed this beer - easy drinking and tasty: perfect for relaxing in summer

aroma and taste: orange blossom, clove, champagne, cardamom and slight honey. Taste also includes some nice malt flavours and also flavours that more resemble a hefeweizen.

Shared with my Wife who also enjoyed - caters to many tastes. Is very well balanced and will be seeking out again (371 characters)

Photo of dgilks
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
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 Damian
4.69/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Drank from an 11.2 fl oz bottle
Cellar Release: 4-2012
Served in a goblet
Thanks to Neil and Joyce for this thoughtful gift.

Pretty slick bottle graphics. It appears that the monks got their hands on the latest version of Photoshop. The beer maturation chart on the label may seem a bit kitschy, but for newbies this info might actually be helpful.

As for the beer, it poured a hazy amber color. A super bubbly and fluffy, one-finger tall, off-white crown topped the liquid. Patchy streaks of lacing coated the glass. The head faded to a lasting cap of froth.

The aroma was really interesting. Super wine-y and rather sweet. This reminded me a lot of a riesling. Muscat grape notes came through strong. Slightly musty. Lots of fruity esters and strong Belgian yeast notes. Spicy and phenolic. Somewhat smoky. A touch of citrus appeared as well.

The flavor profile was stellar. It was similar to the nose in many regards, but perhaps slightly more punchy and complex. Again, the white wine qualities were quite evident. Rich and complex with a stiff, pale malt base. There was a strong Belgian yeast presence. Super phenolic and spicy with clove and coriander notes dominating. Hint of citrus. Touch of smoke as well. A bit of alcohol warmth came through on the crisp, peppery, off-dry finish. Overall, really interesting and dangerously quaffable.

The mouthfeel was simply flawless. Super fluffy and plush on the palate with a fine yet intense carbonation. While the beer was highly effervescent, the liquid quickly settled on the palate and became amazingly creamy and smooth.

I never heard of this beer until I received it as a gift from my girlfriend's parents, and I am very thankful that they picked this up for me. St. Stefanus ranks up there with some of the most interesting and complex Belgian beers I have ever tried. While I could have opted for the "fresh & fruity" flavors of a younger bottle, I am grateful that I carried this out the full 18 months to get something that was truly "complex & aromatic." Sure, you too can laugh at some of the marketing gimmicks on the bottle but, in the end, this beer is no joke. (2,134 characters)

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St. Stefanus from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
87 out of 100 based on 71 ratings.