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De Ranke XX Bitter - Brouwerij De Ranke

De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

674 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 674
Reviews: 463
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: 11.22%

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke visit their website

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2002)
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Ratings: 674 | Reviews: 463 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hoppy, malty, like a golden, not too spicey, very attractive with retaining head in the glass. A bit of lemon, not too sour at all. If cellaring had an effect, it was a mellowing. Easy drink, hops there. Unique and drinkable.
This brewery delivers a good product.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2005 03:25:18 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky light orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus zest, yeast, and some peppery aromas. Taste is much the same with a grain flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the flavors don't match up to the smells I am getting on this one.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2013 05:02:42 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wrapped, corked and capped 750 ml bottle. The 'best by' date along the bottom of the label isn't notched. Although it goes all the way to 2017, I've decided to drink it sooner rather than later to get the maximum impact from the hops. One final note: I just noticed 11.2 fl.oz on the label, but this is clearly the big dog. Thanks in advance to OtisCampbell for the bottle.

Gorgeously gauzy goldenrod with a smattering of the superfine particles. A generous amount of carbonation hurries upward to add size to the already large head. Shockingly bright white, it was a top half of the glass filler immediately after the pour and is still a beautiful, rugged, rocky presence. Thick, arching strands of lace are arrayed every which way and should be present until the party's over. Subsequent pours add more haze to the glass, improving what is already an outstanding appearance.

The aroma is a gentle caresser rather than an aggressive pummeler. That's not to say that it isn't wonderful. There's an impressive combination of hop character: citric, floral and spicy at once. I don't appreciate much malt, but that's isn't what this beer is about. I do believe this is the best noble hop dominant nose I've ever experienced. The word 'refined' keeps coming to mind.

Upon tasting, I'm not immediately bowled over. Those looking for an 'aggressive pummeler' of a hoppy beer, along the lines of a supercharged IPA, will be disappointed. Now that I've reset my expectations regarding bitterness, I can assess the beer with a newly opened mind. Pale malt isn't noted on the palate in terms of flavor, but it's obviously working furiously behind the scenes to provide an underlying sweetness and to sand the edges off the hop buzzsaw.

As the ounces disappear, the hop flavor becomes more and more pungent (and more and more delicious). Whether that's due to warming or to the addition of the beer at mid-bottle, I couldn't say. What I do know is that this is a beer for lovers of noble hops. Lemon zest and lemongrass are especially prominent. The flavors usually attributable to Belgian yeast are nowhere to be found. I spoke too soon! My next mouthful delivered hints of yeastiness that will, hopefully, become definitive statements before long. I love how XX Bitter is continuing to change as I get deeper and deeper into the bottle.

Appearance update: we're now at 'considerably cloudy' and the gluesticky head continues to impress. Like the flavor, the appearance is improving with each addition to the glass. Where will it end? The mouthfeel is on the light side of medium and is on the undercarbonated side for a Belgian beer. I like it just fine, but it isn't quite a match for the rest of this remarkable ale.

It took a great deal of effort to remove the cork from this bottle of De Ranke XX Bitter, but it was worth every grunt and heave. I don't believe I've ever had a Belgian pale ale that can compare to this one. Although it isn't the bitter bomb that I was expecting, it is the hoppiest non-U.S. beer I've ever had. All things considered, it's probably a better beer than the one that lived in my hop-fevered imagination. Refined. World-Class. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2005 22:04:06 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Spectacular - the cloudy goldenrod-colored liquid sports a massive head that sticks around as if to pose for a picture; copious amounts of Belgian lace coat the side of the chalice

Smell: Grassy hops, cracker malt and pear; yeasty phenols waft around, as well

Taste: Cracker malt and grassy hops dominate the front end, with the pear rounding out the profile in the middle; the yeasty phenols, in particular, the Brett, drive home the finish, with a bit of Barnyard funk and a very dry, mineral-like character

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with buoyant carbonation

Overall: Surprised that I haven't tried this before as I have tasted many other Belgian IPAs over the years; this, apparently, is the original and is well worth seeking out

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2012 19:38:20 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pale yellowish kind of beer with a medium head with better then average retention. Aroma is quite hoppy thought not in the American sense (IPA) but more in the sense of Orval. Taste is also impregnated with the hops and you can feel brett yeast all the way through. Not too sure of what to make of this one since it seems to exist outside of my usual beer boundaries.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2005 17:41:08 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interestingly and experimental. It's a great Belgian even without the hopping. The aromas bring out citrus, tartness, lemon, grapefruit, muskiness, yeast, spice, and sweetness. The hazy golden brew has a fizzy head that retains really well. Tastes sweet and tart at first, but then intense hop flavor comes through in the form of lemons and grapefruit. Combined with the fruity belgian peaches and pears, with spices of corriander and pepper-like prickling. Bitter in the finish with a lingering belgian malt flavor. Alcohols are a little plastic-like, but easy to ignore. The body is light and creamy. The hops give a mild oily and protein thickness--a good combination here. Will have again.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 22:30:39 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly-hazed straw color with a good-sized white head that eventually makes its way down to about an eighth of an inch of lacing. Nose is slightly sweet and grassy with a wee bit of hay. Some pear and milder fruits. Taste is similar with a bit of bitterness coming through alongside a bit more earth. Mouthfeel is beautifully done; wonderful carbonation and a silky creaminess. Excellent drinkability. Another big hit from De Ranke.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2010 00:42:32 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is slightly hazy yellow in color and has a moderate to high amount of carbonation and a small amount of visible particles floating in suspension. It poured with a three finger high bright white head that has excellent retention properties and consistently left a finger high head covering the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of yeast in the nose along with some notes of floral hops and spices. The spiciness particularly stands out in the finish.
T: Like the smell, flavors of peppery spices and yeast stand out in the overall taste, which has a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels light- to medium bodied, clean and very dry on the palate with a high amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink for the style and the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2011 17:29:46 | More by metter98
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hoppiest beer in Belgium?Pours a nice hazy orage/golden color with a huge blooming head that globs up on the side of the glass,citruisy aroma with some deep honey estures pretty appetizing.Taste starts ut dry and leafy definent hop profile but not a big fan of the heavy medicinal flavor in the finish and aftertaste all good up till then.A well made Belgian Pale but a little to medicinal for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2004 21:28:05 | More by oberon
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, wrapped in an extra tissue-paper label, which pretty much throws down a challenge with its "Bitter" struck across two big 'X's, with hop cone dingleberries...so unlike those nice Belgian people...they of the peeing boy statue.

This beer pours a cloudy, pale golden apricot colour - very much like fermenting white wine must - with a foaming tower of loosely soapy off-white head, which leaves a bit of sparsely strewn patchy, sudsy lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells chiefly of bitter citrus fruit - lemon, grapefruit, and orange, sort of lacking their constituent sweetness - some earthy floral essence, gritty pale malt, and musty, spicy yeast. The taste is bitter pine needle, citrus rind, and musty floral hop esters, a bit of semi-sweet biscuity pale malt, and an underlying dusty barnyard essence yeastiness - the booze, as usual, is well integrated.

The carbonation is quite active in its effervescent frothiness, the body on the light side of medium weight, a bit prickly, yet with some airy and fruity creaminess. It finishes quite dry, the bitterness of the big hop bill not about to allow for failure.

This is the closest thing to an acrid west coast American IPA that I have experienced of the Belgian variety. Of course, in this case, the hop flavour profile differs, as it should, but the bitterness remains, along with yer typical pervasive yeastiness. I'm used to malt-heavy Belgian offerings - nice to see one more given to the hoppy side of the coin.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 00:07:56 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Why has it taken me so long to get to this one?

11.2 oz bottle. Into a Maredsous tulip glass.

Cloudy, pale amber color, huge head, bone white and pillowy, lace leaving.

Gorgeous aroma, smacking of spice and citrus, some clove and cardamom, white pepper...bright, bitter lemon and orange. Floral and fruity, and lovely.

Zest continues once it jumps on the tongue. Big spice and citric twang on board the palate, a pleasantly bitter smack to the senses. Fades slowly, gently, goes to the back, while lingering long.

Medium body, long finish, plump with character.The hops and the zestiness never really quit. Hangs on all over the mouth. Really rewarding, and quite refreshing.

Nothing quite like this one. Except for all the others that have come along since.
But this here's the original.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2009 04:15:50 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 8/26/07 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a very thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of strong pale hops and light malts but not much else.

T: Unlike a lot of beers that have the word “bitter” in their name, this one earns it. A strong, bitter bite of hops starts out, then a light malt character comes in to provide a little bit of balance. There’s also a mild flavor of Belgian yeast but it’s the hops flavor that dominates.

M: Very crisp with a little smoothness, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, it’s a decent beer to stick with but it would not be my first choice.

Serving type: on-tap

08-27-2007 18:34:32 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of emerge077


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle, served at cellar temperature. Sat in the cellar for at least 4-5 months.

Pours a golden yellow tone with high clarity. Lots of lacing, and an ever-present skim of foam.

Grainy, musty smell, that retains some positive Belgian characteristics. There is an underlying earthiness and faint herbal aroma.

Malt component has an earthy, almost smoky flavor. Hops show a big prescence, earthy, herbal, with slight bitterness.

For what it is, it sees and raises the ante on US IPA's. Very balanced and tasty, exceptional drinkability. If it were a 750mL bottle, it would disappear just as fast.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 01:03:11 | More by emerge077
Photo of russpowell


4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ozer that has BBD of Sep 11, couldn't wait, sorry

Pours semi-hazy golden/bronze with a rocky 2 fingers deep off white head. Good lacing & a pretty healthy film

S: Apple skins & breadyness as it warms

T: Huge grapefruitty hops with a little malt sweetness, not much. Some fruittyness/jammyness as it warms. Breadyness fights through earthy hoppyness. Finishes citrussy, fruitty & dry

MF: Low carbonation with a little slickness & fair balance

Drinks fairly easy, says it's the hoppiest ale in Belgium & to my knowledge they might be right. Granted they cheated by going low on the abv 6.2%/malt profile by Belgian standards. I liked this & wished it wasn't so expensive ($4.50 a bottle)

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2006 23:25:16 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh


3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 2014 so this is a "fresh" bottle. I wanted to drink it fresh because this is supposedly an IPA. Served in a tulip glass.

Beer is yellow and forms a giant head of tiny bubbles that completely coat the glass with lacing. Carbonation is moderate looks good. Mild hazy.

Aroma is sweet and mildly hoppy aroma. Some piny and earthy hops.

Beer is light in body and finishes a little dry. Bitterness builds in the back of the palate. There isn't much sweetness up front and the yeast / bready character with the nice Belgian yeast esters are also rather subdued. Drinkability is good and mouthfeel is fine. Overall its a little thin and a little too dry.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2010 18:11:04 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy, golden-orange color with a three-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left nice rings of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled yeasty, funky, herbal and a little skunky. It was odd

T - The taste was herbal, a little musty and quite bitter. The hops were balance out by a caramel and toffee backbone.

M - This was very crisp and sharp. One of the driest finishes I've ever had in a beer. A medium bodied Belgian.

D - This is an interesting beer. The smell and taste were vastly different. Overall, it's good but not great.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2010 19:46:12 | More by zeff80
Photo of jlindros


4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap @ Armsby Abbey,
A: huge 2+ finger fluffy head fades at a medium pace over hazy golden orange yellow colored beer, lots of sticky lacing.

N: Lots of Belgian golden malts, light malty aromas, the some floral light spicy hops, lower alpha, a little sweet as well.

T: Somewhat sweet with more Belgian malts, fluffy tasting malts, some hop bitterness with spicy and floral hops, light grassy and citrus hops as well, very slight astringent as well, some wheat with banana and light fruits, and even a little lemon.

M: Medium body loaded with carbonation.

F: The bitterness comes out more on the finish as it builds especially, and a little more astringent too. Grassy earthy spicy hops with a little citrus are the key items. It's somewhat dry as well, with some lingering Belgian malts and a looong bitterness.

Serving type: on-tap

06-09-2010 20:47:09 | More by jlindros
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sits a hazy straw color in my glass with a frothy, pale, off-white head that fades after a bit of time. The aroma is herbal with lots of hoppy notes to it. There is a sharp bitterness cuts throughout the flavor notes of this beer. It is quite herbal as well with a raw grassiness to it. The hops clearly dominate this beer: bitter, chewy and raw, dominating any light malt character that might be present. There is a bit of a tart lemon-like character here, which seems to be hop derived as well. This is quite tasty, though it seems a lot cleaner than the bottled version that I am used to. I definitely like it, but I think I prefer the funkiness that is found in the bottled version.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2005 03:57:07 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a hazy looking golden color with a fluffy white head on top. The head left behind some good lacing. The smell of the beer had lots of Belgian hop aromas to it. The taste of the beer was earthy and very bitter. The mouthfeel was smooth but dries out the mouth really quick. Overall this brew is pretty good, I like that they are attempting "the hoppiest beer in Belgium". I think that's pretty cool.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2011 19:43:52 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interestingly, this 750 ml bottle states "11.2 fl. oz." on the label (Impossible, but I suppose good for an "I just had one" excuse?) Cork-caged bottle, best by June 2012, poured into tulip glass:

Pours hazed/cloudy golden with a thick, foamy, then rocky, white head that thins and stays. Some trailing lace sticks to the glass.

The smell is of lemon and orange peel with grassy and herbal notes. It's a bit musty, earthy and floral.

The taste is bitter. The first few sips reminded me of chewing aspirins. Subsequent sippings reveal more balance with some orange and lemon tartness and just a hint of malt sweetness. It is bitter. I can appreciate a more bitter than sweet beer, but this is bitter over-load in a medicial/aspirin-like way. Finishes puckeringly bitter and dry.

Carbonation is enough to cleanse the palate without being too prickly.

With help of water after each few sips, this is pretty drinkable for how bitter it is. The aspirin-like taste does fade a bit as it progresses. Overall it is reminiscent of Campari, and would serve well as an aperitif, though a whole 750 is a bit much.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 01:22:02 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown 33cl bottle, best before Aug 2014, drank on Fathers Day (19 June) 2011. Poured into a La Chouffe stemmed tulip glass.

Hazy look to the dull golden body, lively and with a good white head on top.

As you'd expect a pronounced hop aroma came from the glass, floral more than spicey. The taste followed the smells, with hints of spices now coming from the hop content. The alcohol is evident, but not overpowering, the hops keeping it in place.

Most likely the hoppiest Belgian beer I've had so far. I'm a malt man normally, but this was fine for me: any more hops however and I'd not be so generous with my review or scores.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 16:25:34 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clouded orange brown with a frothy creme head. Nose is very earthy with some yeasty funk in there too. Flavor has an earthy bitter tone. I can't say it's very complex, but it's definitely robust. Feel has a fairly full carbonation to it. Liquid is smooth enough. This is quite the robust Belgian IPA. Distinct because of it's rugged earthiness.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2008 06:52:49 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clouded golden orange hue with a rocky foam white head very gelatinous in texture with fine Belgian lacing. Aroma: Sharp citrus hop edge with flowery hops flowing in the mix this shit is hoppy surrounded by a sweet honey malt profile. Taste: Extremely hoppy belgian ale, this is the Stone Brewing of Belgium awesome stuff earty mix of pine cone flavor hops rough edge of citrusy hop bite, soft Belgian pale malts tie this one altogether. Mouthfeel: Effervescent carbonation bubbly medium body hop resins flowing along the palate. Drinkability: Good stuff happy to taste a belgian this hoppy adds a new posibility to the flavor profile of beers great bier easily consumed.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2004 02:53:29 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Monk's in Philly.

Appearance: hazy pale golden yellow color with a one finger head. Nice lacing develops during the session.

Smell: floral hops and loads of sharp citrus tones are easily detectable by the nose.

Taste: lighter malt profile with a bold hop bitterness that works well. Grapefruits, spice, and a hint of yeast keep this in balance.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Crisp from start to finish. Short bitter aftertaste.

Drinkability: wonderful belgian pale ale that can almost be considered a session beer. Easy to drink and very enjoyable on the tastebuds.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2006 17:29:18 | More by Gavage
Photo of smcolw


3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Some green-yellow color to the cloudy liquor--large bubbled head, but it leaves some nice lace.

Traditional pale Belgian aromas, including some barnyard smells.

I like the bitterness--from mid-taste through the finish and aftertaste. There's a good malt base. Lots of ground pepper. Spritzy but with a good body.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2009 20:11:27 | More by smcolw
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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 674 ratings.