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De Ranke XX Bitter | Brouwerij De Ranke

495 Reviews
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De Ranke XX BitterDe Ranke XX Bitter

Brewed by:
Brouwerij De Ranke
Belgium | website

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
XX Bitter or Extra Extra Bitter is a blond, bitter ale containing 6.2% vol. Alc. It’s famous for it’s very bitter and strong flavour. XX is being made with pale pilsner malt and loads of Brewers Gold and Hallertau hop flowers. A perfect combination that has been nationally and internationally praised. This ale has been a real trendsetter for the current comeback of bitter ales in Belgium.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-28-2002

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Reviews: 495 | Ratings: 909
Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Enjoyed a pint on tap at Beer Revolution in Calgary. A Belgian IPA actually from Belgium, this brew presents a slightly cloudy golden yellow with just under an inch of white foam on top, looks much like Duvel or another "strong golden" ale. Aroma presages the tart, dry bitterness to come, tons of Styrian-type hops and an astringent green apple, pear, and orange fruitiness counterbalanced by a doughy yeast sweetness. Although a subtle candi sugar sweet note is detectable, on my palate this brew registers largely as tart, dry, bitter, and rather woody, medicinal hops leading the way and closing out the show with a tannic, dry gooseberry and grape finale. Once the palate acclimatizes to said bitterness, you will notice the fruit elements from the nose (pear, apple, orange) and a classic Belgian yeast character, but this requires some perseverance if you are unfamiliar with this style. Did I mention that this beer is dry? Well-attenuated body and rather heavy carbonation. Truth be told, I prefer many North American takes on this style, where the fruit is more ripe and prominent on the palate, but this obviously has its merits and is a good benchmark for a classic, genuinely Belgian hoppy ale.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.17/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330ml Bottle from Beers of Europe website (£2.09):
Slightly cloudy, bright amber to orange with a 1cm, foamy white head that holds well. Head retention is good with it reducing slightly to hold at just under half a cm & covers the surface of the beer, with plenty of bubbles rising to the top too.

Tonnes of yeast & floral notes upfront, subtle hops as well & plenty of fruits coming through. Apples, some pear, lemon & orange all feature with plenty of pepper & spice backing them up. The smell wasn't the strongest initially but at the same time it wouldn't be considered weak either, the balance seemed good. I got some grain & a slight touch of alcohol with plenty of bitterness.

Spicy with a very bitter taste that was only hinted at in the aroma, the taste goes well beyond that with some hops coming through too. The yeast from the nose featured strongly here as well with some pepper & a few fruits like apple & pears.

Smooth with solid, high carbonation & a medium body. The beer is a very dry & sharp tasting one with an intensely bitter finish.

I wasn't too sure about this one really, I quite enjoyed the aroma & how the taste started out but I wasn't a fan of the incredibly bitter finish to the beer. Despite the fact that the name should have been an indication, nothing in the smell prepared me for just how bitter the taste of this one would end up. Drinkable but not one I'll go back to.

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Photo of fourstringer
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bagged and capped 750 mL bottle into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate hand. Exp: 14/09/18.

A: Lightly cloudy golden yellow body. 1.5 fingers of clean, white head. Good retention. Moderate lacing. Classic vibes.

S: Slightly musty Belgian yeast. Hay, grass. Floral hops. Hints of apple. Cracker. Earth. A tad light overall, but very nice.

T: Flash of sweetness before a moderate, noble-type hop bitterness. A lightly bready pale malt backbone develops, but never overtakes the hops. Finishes rather dry with a lingering flowery bite. Minimal alcohol.

M: Moderate carbonation with a fine, creamy texture. Moderate body. Excellent.

O: An assertively hopped Belgian pale of very high quality. Superb drinkability. All around class act. If you don't like this, you don't like beer.


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Photo of JTuomi
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into a tulip. Clear golden color, a medium white head with decent retention and good lacing. Hazy golden after pouring in the yeasty bottom of the bottle after sipping halfway through the glass.
The smell has sweet floral and grassy hops and some belgian yeast without pouring the yeast from the bottle, mostly yeast on the nose after pouring it all in. Before pouring the bottom of the bottle in, tastes of crisp sweet malts followed by a dry resiny hop bitterness that stayed in the aftertaste. Having the yeast poured in, the taste is more earthy and the hoppy bitterness is cutted down, but still present.
Medium body, high carbonation, creamy mouthfeel. Drinkable despite the bitterness, didn't last too long in the glass. Overall a good belgian IPA, which I preferred with the yeast poured, but very good both ways.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.84/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

belgian golden meets english bitter to me here, its got the dry belgian yeast and great carbonation, but also that english grain profile and body. it has a nice golden color, cloudy and with some lingering yeast floaters, as well as a tall and bright white head. it smells like the all too common euro green bottle skunk. its not old at all, but has that stink to it that is in so many of these. behind that though is a summery belgian yeast and what appears to be a primarily wheat malt base. the flavor has a great grassy hop finish to it, bitter and robust, but pleasing and refreshing. the malt is bigger than it looks, and has a nice frothy texture to it. combined with such frantic carbonation, the mouthfeel on this beer is near perfect for the style. i wish i could try it without the staleness to it, but i like it more as i drink it more, and i can see what its supposed to be even through this. simple beer really, but a nice balance between yeast and hops, the two main flavor agents of this brew. overpriced at about 13 bucks on shelves, but a tasty brew nevertheless.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up at a great little beer store in Arlon, Belgium, Miorge Mihoublon. Cloudy golden-yellow pour with a two finger foamy white head with decent retention and great lacing. The nose is herbal and grassy with hints of lemon, grapefruit, subtle yeast, and straw. The taste lives up to the name with loads of bitter hoppiness along with hints of grass, lemon zest, white pepper, grapefruit, and subtle caramel sweetness. The mouthfeel is light bodied, sharp and tangy, with a refreshing crisp, bitter, dry finish. Overall, this was about what I had expected, considering that I had already had the XXX Bitter. Extremely bitter, but quite drinkable and very refreshing. And you can't beat the price for a beer of this quality. Wondering why I waited so long to try this.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy yellowish golden body with great carbonation that gave a very large, foamy head, that died slow and left lace patches everywhere with a mild bitter hop aroma, I mostly picked up some funk and a little Belgian yeast. Smooth, lighter bodied, has this yeastiness on the edge that makes it pass easy on the tongue and gives a touch of sweetness. There seems to be sour/tart fruit flavors like green apple or pear and there is a nice bit of barnyard funk. Some minor citric hop bitterness adds a little spice to the beer, mainly the finish, and once in a while I get some fruit sweetness.

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Photo of babaracas
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy tangerine color with three fingers high rocky white head, sheet of sticky lace for a few inches. Smell: hoppy and fruity; lemon, grapefruit, grass; pine, pear, and berry notes. Taste: biscuit, notes of stone fruit and not-so-ripe pear, spicy, grassy, sticky orange citrus notes. Hop soaked, semi-sticky, semi-dry finish. Mouthfeel: medium-plus bodied, incredibly creamy, prickly then pillowy -- very near perfect. A fantastic Belgian IPA.

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Photo of beerpirates
3.73/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

33cl bottle poured into my struise tulip glass

A: Pours a hazy beige color with a light white medium head which doesn't leave many lacings
S: hops and yeasts are evident. Barley malts. The hops are citrus, grassy, earthy and stinging in the nose
T: Pretty much as the smell. Very dry, little sweet , malty , earthy and bitter (very good)
M: Medium body , good carbonation
D: High. Refreshing. The "low" ABV helps a lot and the bitterness is a must.

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Photo of jhawth
3.83/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured into a goblet. Pours a murky, light orange-ish straw with a foamy two-finger head.

Aroma: Spicy Belgian yeast notes reminiscent of other Belgian golden ales, herbal, floral, grassy, and spicy hop notes, malt notes are subdued.

Taste: Some biscuity malts, plenty of spicy Belgian yeastiness, and a healthy dose of hop bitterness to accompany the aromatic qualities.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, light carbonation. A little thin, perhaps.

Overall: Interesting, hoppy, enjoyable Belgian golden ale.

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Photo of draheim
3.69/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330mL (Exp. 16/05/18) into a tulip. Pours a clear golden color w/ a 1-finger white head.

Aroma leads off with a damp, moldy basement smell I'm not enjoying, which I attribute to the yeast. The yeast also brings a spicy, lemony quality. Beyond that, some muted floral and herbal hops.

Taste also has that musty, spicy character from the Belgian yeast. Floral and bitter, fruity esters. Pale biscuity malt.

Mouthfeel is soft and medium-bodied.

Overall a different take on the IPA with approximately equal contributions from the yeast, hops, and malt. I didn't enjoy this nearly as much as some other Belgian IPAs.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not-yet-reviewed classic. This has a best-by date of 5/16/18, pretty fresh.

Hazy and straw-colored with a big foamy white head. A thick cap is left for most of the duration. Nose brings on a good mix of herbal and citrus hop but wheat, yeast and slight farm remain at the forefront. Decent potency.

Taste follows with a nice plethora of hop flavors (earthy, peach, lemon, grassy) and some spiciness. Nice yeasty/biscuit tones that leave you with a delicious finish. Farm and some medicinal tones feel a little out of place but overall very nicely balanced, moreso than the scent definitely. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a good/generous amount of foaminess, a pretty dry finish, easy-drinking for sure.

This isn't my favorite for the style but still damn good. Nice hop flavor with low bitterness and plenty of Belgian flair.

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Photo of joe1510
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz Bottle
Binny's Willowbrook

Best before date: 4/10

XX Bitter pours a deep hazy golden. The gold absolutely glows in the light becoming more of a straw golden. Massive amounts of tiny carbonation bubbles rise to the surface creating a big three finger dense white creamy head and keeping it there for ages. As the head ever so slowly recedes I get sheet lacing so thick it's impossible to see through it. This is one amazing looking brew.

Aroma is big and juicy. Candi sugar and biscuity malts greet the nose up front. Grassy hops come along rather quickly and floral hop aromas show up on the finish. Dusty yeast is splashed around throughout always in the background but always there. Strong wafts of gritty pear and granny smith apple rise into the air as well. An excellent smelling ale.

Flavor is right on par with the aroma. Biscuity malts create a solid background with a sprinkling of candi sugar sweetness. The dusty yeast shows up mid palate along with pear skins and granny smith apples. For being an older bottle the hops are still very apparant showing up on the finish with a very welcomed grassy, spicy nature. Excellent!

The mouthfeel is absolutely alive. High natural carbonation tickles the tongue and gets it ready for the hoppy finish. Light body from the use of candi sugar. The swallow is dry and leaves you wanting another drink immediately.

The drinkability is off the charts. This glass I poured myself is disappearing far too quickly. I find myself wanting to gulp it down.

XX Bitter, in my opinion, is one outstanding ale. Absolutely delicious with a nice hop bitterness on the finish. I feel like running to the store and picking up more of these right now. Two thumbs up. I'm anxious to try others from De Ranke.

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Photo of FLima
4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Best before September 2015, but left refrigerated for a decent time.
Amber gold color with apparent carbonation and a fluffy head that dissipated quickly leaving some laces. Gets murky after pouring the residual yeast.
Citrusy aroma with notes of herbal hops, Cointreau and brown sugar.
Delicious flavor, with fresh tangerine notes and lemon zest followed by a good deal of herbal and earthy hops. Hints of slightly toasted malts, lemongrass, pineapple and minerals. Distant tartness. Dry and bitter aftertaste.
Light body with low carbonation with tiny bubbles.
What a superb beer, refreshing with an assertive and elegant hoppiness, and still very well balanced and with high drinkability. And it is not overly sweet, which in my opinion is an original sin of several Belgian brews, and it is much more fun given the adequate hopping with a mild tartness.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Poured into a Dogfish Spiegelau glass. Paper says Best Before End of: 11 2016

A- Pours a medium amber color with a full inch of off-white head that retains good and long before eventually settling at a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a full sheet of surface foam. Non-resilient lacing slides down the glass.

S- Bright and bubbly with the usual fruit aromas associated with pale Belgians plus a healthy dose of yeastiness but hardly any hops are detected. Hint of wet cardboard.

T- Damn. I was hoping I wouldn't be detecting this much oxidation but the wet cardboard flavor is just reigning over this beer. Whatever hoppiness was in there before is no longer apart of the overall profile except for a tad in the aftertaste. Still, there's a decent amount of malt still providing some good taste. But, altogether, this beer's well past its prime in the flavor department.

M- Nice and spritzy with a bit of dryness. Medium-high carbonation and a lightish body.

O- Everything about this beer is OK except for the flavor. Yes, it does say that the bottling date is five years prior to the Best Before date so that means it's over a year and a half old, but it also says that it will be good up until 2016 which I disagree with. They should just put a bottled-on date.

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Photo of dar482
4.49/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The beer gently poured out of the bottle right after popping the cap. It has date of expiration at 3/17/2017, which seems way too long for a hoppy beer. Pouring into the glass in a hazy deep golden yellow color with tons of tiny carbonation. The head is literally huge of huge huge bubbles and takes forever to dissipate. What a beautiful deep hazy gold color with the yeast in there.

The aroma is very refreshing. Tons of fruity esters from Belgian yeast, grassy spicy lemony citrus hops, floral, but then there’s tons of that tartness and funk. It’s extremely deep in the funk. It’s woody, it’s tons of Brett, it’s rich.

The flavor follows with tons of that funk. I don’t know if I’ve had a beer with so much funk and barn yardy grassiness to it. The front hits you with some citrus and lemon. The beer later finishes with a beautiful, but extremely strong drying grapefruit character. It's a tannin drying.

This beer is so darn complex and refreshing, but interesting at 6.2% ABV. I’m maybe influenced with my rating based on how much American IPAs I’ve had. I love how Belgian and funky this beer is. This truly is one of my favorite beers having had it again.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.38/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

33cl bottle into a tulip. best by 31/10/17

pours a pale, hazy yellow with an inch thick lasting white head. Smell is big right out of the bottle - tart white grape aroma fills your senses. Taste is super intriguing and not at all expected. Almost..bland actually. Nothing at all how it initially smelled coming out of the bottle. there's a strong bitterness on the backend for sure, hence the name of course, but other than that there really isnt much to speak of. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Drinkability is low because of the bitterness and nothing else. Dry.

Overall extremely dissappointing. Not sure what i was expecting, but it wasnt this. Do not recommend.

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.61/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dusty orange colour; decent cloud, bit of bead feeding a thin white crown of tight-bubbled head. Lace clings nicely. Maybe more head would be nice, but otherwise looks great.

Smells rank from the pour. Nice, wild organic notes with a touch of lucerne, some raw bread dough and a whisper of vinegar at the back. Maybe a touch yeasty, but the tang of the hops is pleasantly refreshing.

Taste is very grainy indeed. Lots of cereal notes, honeyed oat and puffed rice on the front with a touch of caramel. Hops come through midway, with some grassy and slightly herbal notes. Decent earthy bitterness, fairly mild which is nice but a bit too mild so the sweetness is not totally balanced out and cleansed. I like it well enough, but it just seems a little drab.

Not bad, really. Lots of texture, quite bitty with a bit of fizz.

To be honest I'm not seeing what the big deal with this beer is. Implications seemed to be that this would change my mind about Belgian IPAs. It's a little different maybe and perhaps a bit more cohesive but it still strikes me as quite a middle-of-the-road drop.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crystal clear golden color with off-white head. Quite clean aroma, similar to a lager, just some slight yeast esters and grassy hops. Taste starts slightly sweet with some Belgian yeast notes and gets aggressively bitter in the finish and lingers in the aftertaste. If you like really bitter beer, this is one for you.

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Photo of tigg924
3.74/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle says best by January 2015.

Appearance: 1 inch head, clear, bright yellow in color, high carbonation

Smell: smells like hoppy sparkling wine

Taste: mineral is the predominant taste I get, light dry hops as well--light citrus

Mouthfeel: only slightly bitter but a nice dry taste towards the end, light bodied with high carbonation

Overall: A solid Belgian IPA that had more of a Belgian feel than a hoppy one that I get with American versions of this style. The beer has a super dry finish. Left me wanting to have another one, yet there are others in the style I would go to first.

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Photo of magictacosinus
4.4/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Suddenly I'm seeing bottles of this everywhere at my favorite stores. Poured into a chalice out of a 11.2oz bottle. Freshness date is imprinted on the cap as "25/08/17." Pretty impressive for a beer edging 6% ABV!

Pours a very cloudy, hazed yellowish-amber color, complete with a little bit of foamy white head that slowly vanishes to about a half finger in size. Definitely the carbonation sticks around for a while, to the point where lots of spotted circles remain at the top in a scattered way. Alcohol legs are modest here, with slight lacing at the beginning. Definitely well carbonated at first, with layers of bubbles sticking to the sides of the glass within the liquid. There's a yeasty haze permeating this thing, but otherwise it's pretty and modest in presentation.

The aroma is a dried hop explosion of lemon and grass combined with crisp grains and lots of candy sugar. Reminds me right off the bat of most great Belgian tripels, except something's clearly different here. For one, the hop profile is undeniably more prominent, to the point of ridiculousness. The bitterness rises exponentially with each whiff, but definitely the yeasty phenols resembling apricots, apples, and sour nectarines are all there. Really fantastically refreshing take on the style.

The flavor does definitely continue the dry hopped bitterness in the aroma, but does so in a far more astringent way. Big citrus aromas meld and then seemingly melt with peaches, oranges, and slight tropical flavors. The carbonation, yeastiness, and thickened malt profile provides a bready, hearty experience without feeling too overwhelming. Gets progressively sour as it warms up, though. A bit of graininess at the finish adds some balance, but the focus is truly on the bittered dry hops and candied sugar here. Not exactly balanced, but still zesty and tasty unlike any Belgian beer I've had to date... Definitely a sipping treat here, and not to be toyed with.

I really do love this beer, despite its bittered excessiveness. There's a lot of wonderful fruity esters and a dried citrus finish that makes it really unique and sublime. This pairs with spicy food like a charm, as well as fried fish with lemons and pesto pasta - which is what I had this with. Fans of tripels and colorful bitter beers must try this for sure.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Hazy straw yellow with a white cap. Trails of lace all over the glass as I drank this down. Spices and earthy, grassy hops come through the nose as a touch of light pale malt and honey wafts through as well. Very light citrus tone too. The flavor is of crackers, earth, nutty yeast, pears and other lighter fruits, golden raisins, spice. A medium body with a fair amount of carbonation. Very nice.

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Photo of Radome
3.49/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Served from a 33 cl bottle bought in Brussels.

A - Beer is a light straw color and slightly hazy. The head is bright white and made of tiny bubbles. It stacks high on the pour and sustains throughout.

S - Aroma is a mix of fresh, green, noble hops and a bit of funky, aged aroma. The malt barely comes through as a mild bready smell and maybe a faint sweetness.

T - There is a moderate to high hops bitterness that ends in a sharp astringency. No malt to balance the strong hops flavor. Nothing to add depth or complexity. Maybe a tiny hint of lemon and horseblanket in the final edge of the palate to show that Brett. character that was in the aroma.

M - Body is thin. No alcohol burn. Carbonation is fluffy and mouth-filling. Dry and astringent finish.

O - I find this beer disappointingly one-dimensional. There is a bit of Brettanomyces character in the end of a swallow, but there is a lack of malt to round out and balance the strong hops. I'm not a hophead, so I find this one disappointing.

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Photo of catadoraccidental
2.77/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

APPEARANCE: Many white foam mostly inconsistent. There remains a layer thickness of a finger for several minutes passes before stabilizing at a thickness of half finger. Many brands irregular foam from the maximum height reached to serve. Hazy blond color. MSE gaseous seen intense activity coming from the background, as if boiling. The "boil" is very curious. AROMA: In the first instant, herbal flavor that gives way after a bitter notes. That smell becomes final. I like. TASTE: No shades or is especially attractive. I expected a very intense bitterness, but is moderate. Very ordinary except for the bitterness that, again, is present, and is intensifying, but without being excessive. Easily drinkable and refreshing, but nothing more. Okay to accompany nibbles like some fries or a rough, and in that sense is a good alternative to the plague of European lager, but nothing more. Overall rating: Not rated I think it's okay to consider it more like an Orval, for example. For me there is more than a good quality lager. I said. If your budget allows, alternative to a common European lager. € 2.20

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De Ranke XX Bitter from Brouwerij De Ranke
91 out of 100 based on 495 ratings.